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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 6th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Announcements

Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment

Multiple attacks on Indian Americans including shooting of Sikh man in Washington

March 06, 2017

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to promoting the shared values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights, today condemned increasing hate crimes in the US, including those targeting Indian Americans.

On 22 February, Indian engineers Mr. Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot by suspected gunman Adam Purinton in Kansas, who yelled “get out of my country,” when opening fire at them. Mr. Kuchibhotla died while Mr. Madasani was injured. Mr. Ian Grillot, who was shot while trying to intervene, has been rightly called a “hero” by Indians, including India’s foreign minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj.

On March 03, a Sikh man was shot and injured in Kent, WA, near Seattle, with the gunman yelling a similar hateful sentiment asking the victim to “go back to your own country.” Police have confirmed the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Kuchibhotla, and wish a speedy recovery for Mr. Madasani, Mr. Grillot and the Sikh victim who has chosen to not be identified publicly,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, President of IAMC. “We continue to work with our coalition partners in increasing interfaith and inter-community understanding in the US, with a particular focus on the Indian diaspora,” added Mr. Khan.

In a separate incident, a businessman of Indian origin, Mr. Harnish Patel was shot dead in South Carolina, although its not clear at this point whether this was a hate crime.

“IAMC expresses its utmost gratitude to countless fellow Americans who have openly expressed their rejection of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments emerging from the highest echelons of power. In this context, the outpouring of support for Indian Americans and Muslims is deeply heartening as they underscore diversity and religious freedom as core American values,” said Ms. Seema Sufia Salim, Vice-President of IAMC. “Thanks are especially due to a number of public-spirited non-governmental organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the International Refugee Assistance Project, besides others, for their active and enthusiastic support for refugees, immigrants and Muslims,” added Ms. Salim.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Communal Harmony

Mangalore Defeats RSS Disruption of the Communal Harmony March (Mar 2, 2017, News Click)

The RSS and its affiliates had opposed the recent Karavali Souharda Rally (Communal Harmony Rally) in Mangaluru, threatening violence. CPI(M)’s Mangaluru office was burned by RSS activists on 23rd February, 2017. The miscreants torched the CPI(M) office in an attempt to stop the rally. The RSS was opposed to Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan’s participation in rally.…

While the RSS attempted to stop the Communal-Harmony Rally, there were people who extended their support to the rally. Ganesh Devy, a former Professor of English at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, renowned literary critic and an activist, and the famous Kannada writer Devanuru Mahadeva wrote in solidarity among others.…

This is not the first time that the RSS had tried to stop the Kerala CM. They had also opposed Vijayan’s address in Bhopal. Since the Madhya Pradesh government connived with the RSS and refused to provide security for him, the visit had to be cancelled.

http://newsclick.in/mangalore-defeats-rss-disruption-communal-harmony-march

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‘Gujarat riots did not happen all of a sudden’ (Mar 7, 2017, The Hindu)

Days after Oxford Bookstore in central Delhi’s Connaught Place cancelled human rights activist Teesta Setalvad’s discussion on her memoir, ‘The Foot Soldier of the Constitution’, the programme was conducted at the Press Club of India on Monday. “I don’t want to talk much about the cancellation of the venue. Maybe there was some pressure,” said Ms. Setalvad.

The discussion started with the three major communal riots that she has elaborated in her book – 1984 Bhiwadi riots, 1992 Ayodhya riots, and 2002 Gujarat riots – her continuing fight for the victims, and the consequences of going head-to-head with the RSS ideology.

“Through the book I have gone back to explain the history of Gujarat because the 2002 riots did not happen all of a sudden. Circumstances were building up towards such violence for a long time,” she said in conversation with Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of The Caravan – the organisers of the discussion.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/gujarat-riots-did-not-happen-all-of-a-sudden/article17419695.ece

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RSS Leader Boasts of Killing 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, Wants Kerala CM Beheaded (Mar 2, 2017, The Wire)

An inflammatory speech by a leader of the RSS in which he boasts of how ‘Hindu society’ killed 2000 Muslims in Gujarat to avenge the death of 56 Hindus in Godhra has reignited public memories of the 2002 massacres in which Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of the state at the time, is accused of complicity. Speaking at an event backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on March 1, RSS mahanagar pramukh Kundan Chandrawat also said he was ready to give one crore rupees to anyone who killed Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.…

“That guilty person, that traitor, does he think Hindus don’t have the pride of Shivaji in their blood, that Hindus don’t have that kind of passion in their blood? I, Dr Kundan Chandrawat, am declaring from this platform, I have enough wealth so I am being bold in saying this – I have a house worth one crore, cut off the head of [Kerala chief minister] Vijayan and bring it to me and I will hand over my house and my wealth. Such traitors have no right to live in this country, such traitors have no right to murder democracy.

Have you forgotten Godhra? You killed 56, we sent 2000 to the graveyard. [He makes a slicing motion with his hand and the audience applauds loudly]. We – this same Hindu community – shoved [their corpses] underground [he gestures downwards, more applause]. You have killed 300 pracharaks and activists, we will present Bharat Mata with a garland of 300,000 skulls in return. … Till the time of publication, the RSS has not condemned Chandrawat’s comments boasting about the killing of 2000 Muslims.

https://thewire.in/113357/rss-behead-kerala-cm-gujarat-killed-2000-ranawat/

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Maharashtra Bureaucrat Transfered Weeks After Questioning Allocation Of Cheap Land To Ramdev’s Food Park (Mar 8, 2017, India Times)

Last year, the Maharashtra government made a decision to give a 75% discount on land for a food park in Nagpur, which eventually was awarded to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd.

Documents accessed through RTI show that the decision was not uncontested. A senior bureaucrat, then principal secretary of financial reforms, Bijay Kumar, had raised concerns in writing about the basis of the price waiver.

Three weeks after Kumar questioned the financial calculations behind the price reduction, he was transferred on April 29, 2016. The transfer came less than a year and a half into his posting while the usual tenure is at least three years.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/maharashtra-bureaucrat-transffered-weeks-after-questioning-cheap-land-to-ramdev-s-food-park-272972.html

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Babri case: SC may examine reviving conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti (Mar 6, 2017, The Hindu)

In a huge blow to BJP leaders, the Supreme Court on Monday indicated it may consider reviving the conspiracy charge against them in the December 6, 1992, Babri Masjid demolition case.

The sudden development came on an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the CBI in 2011, during the UPA era, against the dropping of the conspiracy charge against L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

Noting that “there is something very peculiar going on in this case,” a Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman said it would examine in detail why the conspiracy charge was dropped on mere technical grounds and never revived all these years.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-to-take-up-babri-masjid-demolition-case-on-march-22/article17416752.ece

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Sikh man shot at in US; attacker yelled ‘go back to your own country’ (Mar 6, 2017, Times of India)

A 39-year-old Sikh man in the US has been shot and wounded outside his home by a partially – masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime incident that comes just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas.

The Sikh man, identified as US national Deep Rai by Indian officials in New Delhi, was working on his vehicle outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to his driveway.

Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with Rai saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country”. The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57473102.cms

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Let’s Crush Human Rights Activists Using Motor Vehicles, Says Chhattisgarh Cop (Mar 3, 2017, The Wire)

Amidst continuing reports of rampant human rights violations in Bastar, the Sukma superintendent of police, Indira Kalyan Elesela, has stirred up a fresh controversy by saying that human rights activists should be crushed on the highway using advanced motor vehicles. The SP made the controversial statement in Jagdalpur during a program organised by an automobile company to discuss the ‘elimination of the Naxal threat’.

According to a report published in the Chhattisgarh daily Navbharat, “on Thursday, Sukma SP Elesela was invited to a program to discuss the elimination of Naxals from the area. While making his speech, he went on to say that human rights activists like Isha Khandelwal and Shalini Gera should be crushed on the road.”

Lawyers Khandelwal and Gera are part of the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group and have been instrumental, along with academic and academic-activist Bela Bhatia in the filing of FIRs in cases of gang-rape of adivasi women allegedly by security forces personnel in Chhattisgarh. The two lawyers were forced to leave Bastar last year after their landlord refused to rent his house to them citing police pressure.…

https://thewire.in/113810/113810/

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Child trafficking case: BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury sent to 12-day CID remand (Mar 1, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s women wing leader Juhi Chowdhury, who was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) from the India-Nepal border as a suspect in connection with the child trafficking case, has sent to 12 days CID remand by Jalpaiguri District Court.…

She was on the run for the last few days after her name was linked to the case involving trafficking of children. The CID had earlier in January this year received a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) about irregularities prevailing in three children homes run by Chakraborty.

The investigation into the three orphanage homes indicated Chakraborty and her associate Sonali Mondal reportedly sold babies to the foreign countries.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/india/child-trafficking-case-bjp-leader-juhi-chowdhury-sent-to-12-day-cid-remand/1027239

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Plea to Supreme Court CJ to inquire into Gujarat’s Naliya sex racket, obtain CD from deputy chief minister (Mar 3, 2017, Counterview)

A fact-finding committee on the Naliya sex scam of Kutch district, which is experiencing tremors in Gujarat for the last several weeks, has sought a thorough inquiry into the incident of gangrape of a 19-year-old girl hailing from Kutch under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court chief justice.

The independent fact-finding committee, which met the victim’s parents in Kothara village near Naliya, says that she is one of the 35 women who are being sexually exploited in an educational institute being run directly under the BJP supervision. “Main accused in this episode is the convener of BJP’s OBC cell of Abdasa taluka of Kutch district”, the report claims.

Pointing out that some 65 persons, all belonging to the BJP, are involved in the sex racket, the report insists, the inquiry into the episode should begin with the recovery a CD in possession of the deputy chief minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel, as also Leader of Opposition, Shakarsinh Vaghela. The CD is said to be key to bringing the culprits to book.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/plea-to-supreme-court-cj-to-inquire.html

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Why impose Sanskrit in Assam classrooms when Hindi is still an optional subject? (Mar 3, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The BJP government in Assam has made Sanskrit compulsory in all state board schools till Class 8. In state board schools across Assam, students are taught either Assamese, Bodo or Bengali, depending on the areas where they reside. While English is compulsory, schools also teach Hindi, but it is optional.

For the uninitiated, there are many languages spoken in Assam. While majority of people in Assam speak Assamese,… Bodo was formally declared as an associate official language last year in districts having substantial Bodo population. In some of the districts in the Barak Valley, Bengali enjoys the official status. Both Assamese and Bodo are among the 22 official languages according to the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. However, linguistic diversity in Assam runs far wider with a number of other native languages and dialects spoken – Dimasa, Mishing, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa, etc.…

In some parts, there are also people who speak Manipuri, Khasi, Garo, Hmar, Kuki, etc. But almost no one in the state speaks Sanskrit. And that’s true not just for Assam, but the entire Northeast. Making Sanskrit compulsory also raises serious concerns in view of the conflicting history of language in the state.… student organisations like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) are perplexed. They see it as a well-orchestrated “conspiracy micro-managed and monitored from Nagpur” which could be made possible after the BJP came to power with an unexpected win last year in the Northeastern state.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/sanskrit-assam-saffronisation/story/1/15962.html

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Intra-BJP rivalry? Gujarat Dalit sarpanch hacked to death for “winning” village polls he was told not to contest (Mar 1, 2017, Counterview)

In a gruesome incident, young Dalit sarpanch Jaysukh Madhad, aged 30, belonging to village Varasda of Gujarat’s Amreli district of Saurashtra region, was hacked to death on February 28 at around 7.30 pm by three persons, said to be belonging to a so-called upper caste.

According to reports, top representatives of the dominant caste of the village were against his election to the village post, which became the main reason for the attack. The incident has led to a major uproar across Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, particularly Amreli town, where thousands of anxious and angry Dalits gathered expressing their concern over “increasing” atrocities against the community.

Local media reports suggest the murder is part of an intra-BJP rivalry over the post of sarpanch. Madhad was “associated” with the BJP, says a report, adding, one of the accused too is son of a BJP village leader.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/intra-bjp-rivalry-gujarat-dalit.html

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Opinions and Editorials

2002 Godhra Riots: 15 years pass, but the stain will never leave Narendra Modi – Harsh Mander with Ranjan Crasta (Mar 1, 2017, Catch News)

27 February, 2002, was a day that would change the landscape of Gujarat forever. While some may argue that the incidents at Godhra that fateful February were merely the culmination of a long, simmering build up, it was the events of this day that set in motion months of violence that would rewrite the state’s DNA.

As communal riots erupted across the length and breadth of Gujarat, state machinery was paralysed and the nation watched on as scores were murdered in waves of brutal violence that raged on for what seemed like eternity. Scarcely 10 months on, Narendra Modi, the then-CM of Gujarat, his Hindutva credentials strengthened by the State’s apparent complicity in the violence, was re-elected in a landslide despite months of lawlessness. It has now been 15 years since those fateful events, Narendra Modi has leveraged that re-election to launch his political career to even greater heights.…

In this interview with Catch, social activist Harsh Mander, who has worked since 2002 to obtain justice for the victims of the Gujarat violence, talks about why the violence cannot and should not be forgotten, and why Modi will never be absolved of the violence that rocked Gujarat under his watch.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/15-years-pass-but-the-stain-of-2002-riots-will-never-leave-narendra-modi-52954.html

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Modi’s Muslim Bashing In U.P Elections: Carrying Forward The RSS Legacy – By Shamsul Islam (Feb 21, 2017, Countercurrents)

As the multi-phased UP assembly elections progress, PM Modi as the only mascot of BJP’s campaign is becoming more belligerent in his communal polarizing rhetoric. Speaking in an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, PM while raising the issue of appeasement of Muslim minority in the State by the current Samajwadi Party government he went to the extent of declaring that “Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimination)…Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (graveyard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too”. PM Modi was clearly targeting Akhilesh government for favouring Muslims over Hindus of UP. Though he did not share any data to prove this serious allegation, PM wanted to convey to his Hindu audience that Samajwadi Party did not care for Hindu votes and was in power due to Muslim votes, so naturally cared for the latter only.

This brash allegation needs serious investigation. Modi has been addressing election meetings in UP for almost last 3 weeks but never raised this issue. The Fatehpur address showed that he was trying to heighten the pitch for polarization between Hindus and Muslim electorate. It also meant that UP electorate, overwhelmingly consisting of Hindus, had not come out in support of the BJP. So, the bogey of Muslim appeasement and ‘enemy’ Muslim were being raised. Responding to this development a leading English daily of the country editorially wrote that halfway into the UP campaign, “both the PM’s choice of examples, and his message, are unfortunate…It neither behoves the PM nor his office.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/02/21/modis-muslim-bashing-in-u-p-elections-carrying-forward-the-rss-legacy/

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Ujjain RSS leader must be arrested for hate speech and BJP must condemn his remarks – Editorial (Mar 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The RSS is not known for being circumspect in its remarks on the minorities, but even by its standards the speech made by Kundan Chandrawat, prachar pramukh from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, is appalling. In a rabid address, he not only spoke glowingly of the courage of Hindus in whom Shivaji’s “blood runs” in killing over 2,000 Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but also promised more reprisals. The most shocking part of his speech, however, was the offer of a Rs 1 crore bounty to anyone who would bring him the head of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

After this statement, the RSS scrambled for cover saying that the organisation does not advocate violence. The BJP MP from Ujjain Chintamani Malviya sought to cover up the whole thing saying that Chandrawat was distraught at the killing of RSS workers in Kerala and was expressing his pent up feelings. While it is true that clashes between the CPI(M) and RSS are common in north Kerala with casualties on both sides, nothing justifies advocating murder.

Chandrawat… should be arrested and charged with making a hate speech and inciting people to murder. His open praise of the Hindu mobs that killed Muslims during the fateful riots does no credit to the BJP, which was in power in the state at that time under the stewardship of then chief minister Narendra Modi. This is positively embarrassing for the party, which has distanced itself from those events. The RSS has all too often made intemperate remarks and then retreated in the face of public outrage. The fact that offenders are let off lightly is what has encouraged the likes of Chandrawat to come up with such incendiary remarks.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/ujjain-rss-leader-must-be-arrested-for-hate-speech-and-bjp-must-condemn-this/story-v5h4WXgsXoinX8kqoaOsfO.html

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Narendra Modi’s Silence on Kansas Shooting Speaks Volumes – By Ruchira Sen (Mar 1, 2017, The Wire)

…According to bystanders, 51-year-old Adam Purinton opened fire on the two men – who he mistook to be Middle Eastern – after yelling “Get out of my country”. Kuchibhotla was killed in the incident, while Madasani and Ian Grillot, an American who had attempted to intervene, sustained injuries. The reactions to the incident, which is being viewed as a hate crime, have been perplexing.…

Considering Trump ascended to the presidency with promises of white supremacy, it was not surprising that he did not immediately condemn the murder of a person of colour by a white person. On the other hand, what is surprising is that the Narendra Modi-led Indian government, which has been pushing a particular brand of nationalism on everyone has had nothing to say about the attack. One can only guess the reasons for the prime minister’s silence on the incident.…

Like Trump, Modi too has been pushing ‘alternate facts’ of his own. For example, during the ‘California textbook controversy,’ Hindutva activists insisted that it was the Muslim rulers who had introduced the caste system into India. Had it not been for the intervention of independent scholars and the Indian American Muslim Council, it is possible that a generation of school children in California would have grown up studying ‘alternate facts’ instead of South Asian history.…

https://thewire.in/112746/modi-silence-kansas-shooting/

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Intolerance thy name is ABVP – By Charanjit Ahuja (Mar 3, 2017, Tehelka)

When the 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur tweeted, “I am not afraid of ABVP”, it was clear that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has begun wearing its peculiar brand of nationalism upon its sleeves. She went on “to anyone questioning my courage and bravery. I’ve shown more than enough”. Her tweets following violence at Delhi University’s Ramjas College went viral and received massive support from students across various universities. Though subsequently, she withdrew from the campaign but she had made a point that intolerance and jingoism had crept in our system.…

The DU incident is line with the ABVP’s provocative attitude that was earlier witnessed in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Hyderabad University, IIT-Chennai, and other institutions of academic repute. There is a question mark whether it was a spontaneous reaction of ABVP or there was a method in the madness. The pattern shows that it was not the act of a group of youngsters with a brazen sense of nationalism better said as jingoism. The journey from JNU to DU showed a pattern with law enforcing agencies remaining a mute spectator, falling short of abetting.

The act was at a sniffing distance from gagging the free speech by the on the campus. It is apparent that the way police allowed an event to be disrupted at Ramjas College and the subsequent violence amounted to complete failure of the law enforcing force. As Delhi Police comes directly under the Union Home Ministry, the government cannot disown its responsibility.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/03/intolerance-thy-name-is-abvp/?singlepage=1

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The Many Criminal Injustices of India’s Police and Investigating Agencies – By Basant Rath (Mar 7, 2017, The Wire)

For the first time in its history, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigation agency, is probing two of its former directors, Ranjit Sinha and A.P. Singh. India’s police leaders – the members of the Indian Police Service (IPS) who head, superintend and supervise the country’s criminal investigation architecture at the federal and state levels – need to ask themselves whether the cases of two former CBI directors constitute the tip of the proverbial iceberg or are exceptions in an otherwise professionally-run, stain-free establishment.…

If this is what has been happening in the CBI, a central agency answerable to the Union government at the national capital, then what is the state of affairs in the investigating agencies operating in the state and district capitals where officers are definitely more vulnerable to the bureaucrat-politician-corporate-money nexus and organised crime syndicates?…

What is the contribution of the erring police officers and their investigating agencies to the perversion of India’s criminal justice system? Between 1953 and 2013, the quality of investigation and prosecution has gone down. Convictions in murder cases fell from 51% to 36.5%. Convictions in kidnapping cases fell from 48% to 21.3%. Robbery convictions fell during this period from 47% to 29%. In 2013, only 26.5% of alleged rapists were brought to book. What is the relative contribution of the police led by the IPS to this mess? This is a question that should trouble the members of the elite service.…

https://thewire.in/114440/police-investigating-agencies-accountability/

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Book Review

Hashimpura 22 May

Author: Vibhuti Narain Rai
Reviewed by: Shaikh Mujibur Rehman
Available at: Penguin Books India Limited, 11 Community Centre, 110017, Panchseel, Panchshila Park South, Panchshila Park, New Delhi, Delhi. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
A modern day Jallianwala Bagh (Mar 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

By all accounts, custodial killings of more than 40 innocent young Muslims in Hashimpura on May 22, 1987 by Uttar Pradesh’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) of the 41st battalion can only be regarded as a modern day Jallianwalabagh or worse. In Jallianwalabagh, the crowd had gathered to take part in a political protest; here, these innocent youths were chosen from neighbouring villages.

PAC’s 41st battalion led by Platoon Commander Surender Pal Singh, selected youngsters in full public view from a crowd of roughly 500 people, loaded them onto an official truck, number URU 1352, drove them to the canal, shot each to death one by one, threw them into the water, and then returned to the camp for a regular life as though they had executed a routine job. Twenty eight years later, on March 21, 2015, the verdict on the crime was pronounced and all the accused were released.

Its key figure, Surender Pal Singh, is no more. The author interviewed him several times and heard him say that Muslims needed to be taught a lesson, but accepts his failure to figure out what made Singh lead this massacre. The murder of Prabhat Kumar; and his influential relatives, and their ideologies could have been the reason. That is how far we travel in this account to make sense of this tragedy.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/books/a-modern-day-jallianwala-bagh-review-of-vibhuti-narain-rai-s-hashimpura-22-may/story-O5cLXywrNLqrQGxhNmB07H.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 21st, 2013

by newsdigest on October 22, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Narendra Modi and Muslims: can they come together? (Oct 19, 2013, Hindustan Times))

As he towered over a special meeting at his party headquarters in June, BJP mascot Narendra Modi asked partymen not to consider Muslims “unapproachable”. They must be wooed, and not given up on, he said. Modi’s chutzpah comes from Gujarat, where he has managed to garner Muslim votes. His call has led the party’s minority affairs wing to organise a series of outreach programmes. Muslims were encouraged to turn up in skullcaps and burqas at his rallies.

These efforts point to the significance political parties attach to Muslim voters in any election. But for most Muslims, Modi remains someone under whose watch a carnage in 2002 killed over 1,000 people, about three-fourths of them Muslims. That is why when Mahmood Madni, a prominent cleric and a faction leader of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, hit out at the Congress earlier this week and warned “secular parties” not to scare Muslims by citing Modi, it was music to Modi’s ears.

Zafar Sareshwala, a prominent Muslim businessman and backroom organiser for Modi, claimed Madni was articulating a “churning” among Muslims. But reactions to Modi can still be bitter among Muslims, India’s largest minority numbering around 160 million. “Who can forgive Modi? In Bihar, we are preparing to defeat him. It’s clear that Mahmood Madni has a secret pact with Modi,” said Qari Shoaib Ahmed, a leader in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.

Modi too isn’t expecting a red carpet from Muslims. “We don’t want Muslims to appreciate Modi as much as we want them to criticise Congress,” an insider in Modi’s team told HT. After a Hindu fundamentalist movement led to the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992, many Muslims have articulated a longing for a “truly secular” alternative to the Congress, accusing the party of often letting the community down. That option has remained elusive.

Syed Najeeb of the Mumbai-based Association of Muslim Professionals said Modi could trigger panic voting among Muslims to defeat the BJP. “It’s true Muslims don’t want to remain under the shadow of any event, like the Babri Masjid demolition or Gujarat riots, but the scars are difficult to forget,” he said. Some Muslim leaders, like Jamaat-e-Islami’s national secretary Mohd Salim Engineer, are sanguine in the hope that Modi would face a bulwark of not only a majority of Muslims but also the so-called secular parties.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1137425.aspx

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UP Police to Narendra Modi: Murders were double in UP during BJP’s regime (Oct 20, 2013, Times of India)

Like his previous speeches, the one delivered in Kanpur by Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has also sparked a row. Attacking poor law and order in UP under the Samajwadi Party government, Modi said in the past one year over 5,000 innocent persons have been murdered, which speaks volumes about the state of affair in UP. Police, however, pointed out that the number of murders were double under BJP’s regime in the state in 1990.

“Modi ji apparently quoted the National Crime Records data on total number of murders in UP. If one goes by NCRB, 4,966 murders were committed in UP in 2012. The same NCRB data shows that in 1992 all 10,559 murders took place when BJP was in power with Kalyan Singh as chief minister. Further, in 1997 and 1998 under Kalyan Singh’s second term, the count was 7,756 ad 8,303, respectively. In 1999, under the BJP government headed by Ram Prakash Gupta, number of murders in the state was 7,850. Under Rajnath Singh’s chief ministership, total number of murders was 7,755 and 7,601, respectively in 2000 and 2001,” said a senior police officer, pleading anonymity. He also said that in the first six months of 2013, total murders reported in UP were 2,363.

Earlier, on July 14, in his lecture in Pune’s Fergusson College, Modi had said that China spends 20% of its GDP on education. His critics were quick to point out that the real figure was 3.9%. On September 15, in the rally in Rewari, Modi had claimed that he envisioned and implemented the Kutch Drinking Water Pipeline. But, his adversaries had then pointed out that the Kutch drinking water pipeline was part of bigger project called Sardar Sarovar Canal. The Mahi Pipeline based drinking water supply plan was envisaged, designed, funded and promoted much before Modi had become the chief minister and he merely inaugurated the project in 2002. There was also a controversy when Modi in his September 29 rally accused Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif of calling Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat’, which was later contradicted.

Meanwhile, some activists also drew attention towards the alleged communal agenda of the BJP. “Though Modi did not speak about Ram temple or Muzaffarnagar riots, he shared the dais with former chief minister Kalyan Singh, who in his speech justified killing of Muslims in Gujarat riots,” said activist Rakesh Rana. “Kalyan said that opposition repeatedly talks about 2002 riots in Gujarat, which Modi controlled, but what they don’t mention is that the burning of Hindus in the train sparked the riots,” Rana said. Further, Rana added, Kalyan in his speech said “Kriya hogi toh pratikriya bhi hogi.

Kriya nahin hoti toh pratikriya nahin hoti (There will be reaction to every action. Had there been no action, there would have been no reaction).” Rana said “After Gujarat riots, Modi had reportedly given a similar statement. Now, it is clear that the strategy of the BJP is that Modi will talk about development and other leaders will try to divide people on communal lines.” Activist Anshuman Singh said Modi criticised the SP government for withdrawing cases against terror accused. “The BJP has been describing withdrawal of cases as Muslim appeasement, hence Modi through his remarks indirectly touched Hindutva,” he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/24404428.cms

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CBI chargesheet to name 4 IB officials (Oct 15, 2013, Asian Age)

The CBI, which is preparing to file a supplementary chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, is all set to mention the alleged role of four officials – then working with the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau – in the conspiracy which led to the encounter of Mumbai-based teenager, in its probe report. The agency, sources said, is also examining the alleged role of the then Gujarat state home minister Amit Shah in the conspiracy behind the encounter.

Sources said, “The agency will conclude its probe by the end of this month. Only after completion of the probe, the agency sleuths will be in a position to decide names of the individuals to be named in the supplementary chargesheet.” Sources, however, made it clear that the supplementary chargesheet will detail the alleged role played by four officials, including former special director Rajinder Kumar, in its report.

“We are probing all angles in the Ishrat case, including the statements of some witnesses claiming knowledge of political conspiracy behind the fake encounter involving the Gujarat police and the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau,” sources said. The supplementary chargesheet will be based on the scientific evidence collected by the agency during the probe, sources added.

Ishrat along with three others – Javed Sheikh, alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Jishan Johar – were killed in a fake encounter near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The agency sleuths also analysed the conduct of the IB officials before and after the encounter, and this will be a crucial part of the supplementary chargesheet, sources said.

http://www.asianage.com/india/cbi-chargesheet-name-4-ib-officials-933

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Another BJP MLA held for his role in Muzaffarnagar riots (Oct 18, 2013, Times of India)

BJP legislator Kunwar Bhartendu Singh was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fanning the communal violence in western Uttar Pradesh, which killed 62 people last month. Singh, who was later remanded in 14-day judicial custody, is the third BJP lawmaker after Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana to be arrested for inciting violence. Police were forced to arrest Singh after he held a presser in Muzaffarnagar to deny his involvement in the communal carnage.

Earlier, police had registered a case against Bhartendu and 15 other political leaders, including Son and Rana on September 19, but opted not to arrest him despite warrants from a local court. Police had no option but to arrest him as ignoring his presence in the city could have landed them in trouble as he was roaming around in the city. Singh is charged with violation of prohibitory orders and provoking communal violence by making inflammatory speeches during a panchayat at Nagla Mandaur.

Police had earlier arrested Som and Rana and booked them under the National Security Act. Separately, Som was named an accused in a case registered in connection with a Hindu Panchayat at Manki village in Deoband on July 17. The case was lodged on July 18 as the event was held without the mandatory permission. Some local Bajrang Dal leaders and 2,000 unidentified others were named accused then. During the course of investigations, it was revealed Som had also participated in the meet.

This Mahapanchayat was held to protest a case against Rashtrawadi Mahasabha national president Virendra Gujjar and his aide, Varisht Gujjar, in connection with a clash at Manglaur bus station in Muzaffarnagar. As per police investigations, Som had incited communal passions and hatred between two members of different religions in the region in his speech.

Meanwhile, the number of cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots has crossed 400. The special investigating cell (SIC), constituted to probe the riot-related cases, has been lodging and investigating the cases. Officials are finding it difficult to expeditiously probe the cases and gather evidence.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-18/india/43176901_1_sangeet-singh-som-muzaffarnagar-riots-kunwar-bhartendu-singh

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Over 2,000 VHP, BJP leaders, workers arrested in Uttar Pradesh (Oct 19, 2013, The Hindu)

Over 2,000 Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and workers were arrested to foil their attempts to observe “sankalp divas” (for the construction of a Ram temple) and hold a “sankalp sabha” at Ayodhya on Friday. Among those arrested were BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath; the former MP, Satyadev Singh; and VHP national general secretary Champat Rai.

Tight security in and around Faizabad and Ayodhya, thwarted the VHP’s attempts to hold a “sankalp sabha” at Karsevakpuram. Vigil was also intensified on the State’s borders with Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. IG (Law and Order) R.K. Vishwakarma told reporters that since Friday coincided with Sharad Purnima, there was no bar on pilgrims from taking a holy dip in the Sarayu. However, the VHP’s ‘sankalp sabha’ was banned by the Faizabad district administration.

Yogi Adityanath and Mr. Satydev Singh, along with two dozen supporters, were arrested when they tried to move towards Ayodhya after alighting from the New Delhi-Gorakhpur Vaishali Express at the Gonda railway station. They were taken to the Irrigation Inspection Bungalow in Gonda. The police used ‘mild force’ to disperse VHP supporters near the Hanumangarhi Temple in Ayodhya. “Mahant” of Hanumangarhi temple Baba Ramesh Das and State president of the BJP Yuva Morcha Ashutosh, along with about 60 Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party supporters, were arrested from near the temple and taken to makeshift jails in Ayodhya and Faizabad.

BJP MP from Rudauli in Faizabad district Ram Sevak Yadav and Mr. Rai were arrested along with 200 VHP men at Ramsevakpuram, Mr. Vishwakarma said. Ramsevakpuram, where a “sankalp sabha” was proposed to be held was sealed by the police. As a consequence, the VHP shifted the venue to Karsevakpuram. Around 2,000 Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed in Ayodhya and Faizabad.

After the “chaurasi kos yatra,” “sankalp divas” was the second VHP programme for the construction of a Ram temple to be held in the last two months. However, with September’s communal violence in Muzaffarnagar fresh in memory, the Union Home Ministry had asked the State government to ensure that status quo at the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhumi site was maintained in the light of the Supreme Court directives.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/over-2000-vhp-bjp-leaders-workers-arrested-in-uttar-pradesh/article5249851.ece

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Babri Masjid case: SC to hear CBI’s plea against 20 BJP leaders on Dec 12 (Oct 21, 2013, IBN)

The Supreme Court, on Monday, said it will hear on December 12 the appeal of CBI against dropping of conspiracy charge against senior BJP leader LK Advani and 19 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case. A bench headed by Justice HL Dattu said that it would accord “full hearing” to the matter on December 12. The court, on September 3, had preponed by about two months the date of hearing in the case, which was earlier fixed in December, on the plea of the CBI. It was not opposed by the counsel for Advani.

The case was filed by CBI challenging Allahabad High Court’s verdict on dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and 19 others in Babri Masjid demolition case. The apex court had earlier pulled up CBI for the delay in filing an appeal against the Allahabad High Court verdict. CBI had filed an appeal in the apex court challenging the verdicts of a special CBI court and the Allahabad High Court dropping conspiracy charge against Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi.

The others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, CR Bansal, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, VH Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, RV Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, BL Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save. Bal Thackeray’s name was removed from the list of accused persons after his death.

CBI has challenged in the Supreme Court the May 21, 2010 order of the high court, which had upheld a special court’s decision to drop the charge against the leaders. The high court at that time, however, had allowed CBI to proceed with other charges against Advani and others in a Rae Bareily court, under whose jurisdiction the case falls.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/babri-masjid-case-sc-to-hear-cbis-plea-against-20-bjp-leaders-on-dec-12/429688-3.html

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Bangalore: Tension as hundreds of RSS?men try to enter Idgah Grounds (Oct 21, 2013, Deccan Chronicle)

Tension prevailed in Chamarajpet on Sunday morning when hundreds of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists tried to enter the Idgah Grounds. The police stopped the activists, saying they had not taken prior permission to enter the ground.

Aound 400 activists of the organisation, led by BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar, had taken out a march to mark RSS’s 88th Foundation Day. The march began at Shankarpuram, and according to sources, some activists tried to enter the Idgah ground.

Sensing trouble as it is a communally sensitive area, the police stopped the activists from entering the area. This led to an argument between the activists and the policemen. Finally, the police said no prior permission was taken and they could not allow the activists to enter the ground. The activists then marched on the road next to the ground and moved on.

Ananth Kumar told reporters that over the last several years, RSS activists had marched on the ground. “There was nothing wrong in it and there is good communal harmony in the state. The confusion was created by the police,” he said.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Kamal Pant, however, said, “We hadgiven them permission to take out a march along a designated route and they have not taken prior permission to march on the ground. They were stopped from entering the ground.”

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/131021/news-current-affairs/article/tension-rss%E2%80%88men-try-enter-idgah-grounds

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Disqualify convicted MPs without further delay: Vahanvati (Oct 20, 2013, The Hindu)

Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati is said to have opined that the convicted MPs – Rasheed Masood, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagadish Sharma – should be disqualified without any further delay and the vacancy notified vis-a-vis Supreme Court’s July 10, 2013, verdict declaring ultra vires Section of the 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act.

Informed sources said in his advice to the Parliament Secretariat, which was routed through the Law and Justice Ministry, the AG has pointed out that any delay in notifying the disqualification of the MPs would amount to non-compliance of the court order.

While Rasheed Masood is a Congress representative in the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, Lalu represents RJD from Chapra Lok Sabha constituency and Jagadish Sharma was elected on a Janata Dal (United) ticket from Jahanabad (both in Bihar). All the three MPs were convicted in corruption cases filed by the CBI and have been lodged in jail.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/disqualify-convicted-mps-without-further-delay-vahanvati/article5252947.ece

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‘Asaram’s ashram had abortion centre where rape victims underwent operations’ (Oct 20, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)

Accused of sexual harassment and rape, Asaram has landed in another controversy. It is being revealed that Asaram had an abortion centre where he used to conduct abortion operation on his victims. According to Gujarat Police, Asaram had opened an abortion centre inside his ashram where girls raped by him used to be forced for abortion. It is being reported that ashram’s caretaker, Dhruv Ben used to oversee the entire operation.

The session court has extended police remand of Asaramtill 22 October, on request of police. The police came to know about the abortion centre through the two girls from Gujarat who were allegedly raped by Asaram. A woman who was allegedly raped by Asaram in his Surat ashram has revealed that the girls who used to get pregnant after getting allegedly raped by Asaramwere immediately taken to a doctor or a nearby hospital by Dhruv Ben. The victim stayed in Asaram’s ashram for ten long years, from 1997-2007.

She alleges that she was first raped in 2001 and since then Asaram had been continuously harassing her. Problems for godman Asaram Bapu is escalating day by day. The SIT, which is investigating the Surat rape case, has stumbled upon reports that Asaramallegedly raped two other women. SIT chief JK Bhatt has confirmed that investigators have found indications of other incidents of sexual assaults inflicted by the godman on his disciples. The investigators got this hint when they made Asaram to face the rape victim. They have started probing the alleged crimes. As per sources, there were 18 other people involved in the rapes. Their statements would be recorded soon.

The SIT, constituted to probe alleged sexual assault by Asaram Bapu, made major headway in the investigation, when they cross-verified him and his Surat-based victim at ATS office in Ahmadabad on Thursday. The self-styled godman was “quite shocked” upon learning of the woman’s presence, said sources. In fact, they were in the same room during the cross-verification conducted by SIT but were facing in the opposite direction. A member of the SIT stated the victim was brought in from Surat early on Thursday and had reached Anti-Terrorism Squad’s office on SG Road by 11 am. Before her deposition, police officials had briefed her to prepare her for the cross-verification against Asaram.

The SIT had prepared a list of 40 questions for the cross-verification, but Asaram didn’t initially respond to the queries. “For the first 35-40 minutes of interrogation, Asaram resisted but eventually agreed to having known the woman. He had wanted to make her a spokesperson of his organisation,” said an SIT official. The questioning also brought revealed 18 names, identified as sadhaks and ashram functionaries of Asaram.

http://daily.bhaskar.com/article-hl/GUJ-AHD-asarams-ashram-had-abortion-centre-where-rape-victims-underwent-operations-4408677-NOR.html

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Dalit woman alleges police inaction (Oct 19, 2013, The Hindu)

A 56-year-old Dalit woman, allegedly intimidated and abused by caste Hindus over a land dispute in Kodangipatti village under Palamedu police station limits, has complained of police inaction. According to the complainant, Rajammal, she was alone at home on September 22 when Swaminathan, his son Venkatesan, and another person barged into her house and attempted to kill her for refusing to part with her property. With the help of her brother, Lohidasan, she lodged a complaint with the Palamedu police on October 4. The police registered an FIR against the trio under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, no arrests have been made so far. “Since the accused belong to the upper caste, the police officials have turned a blind eye to my family’s suffering,” Lohidasan contends. It is alleged that Swaminathan sold 48 cents of land to Rajammal in 1998. But the following year, her family left the village, along with other Dalit families, in the wake of caste clashes. However, the property remained in her possession, though no sale deed was registered in her name for over a decade.

“Taking advantage of the situation, the accused had transferred the patta of the land to his name without the knowledge of Rajammal and threatened her family to vacate the land,” said Sivalingam, Rajammal’s lawyer. When contacted, Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan said the complaint appeared to be “exaggerated.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/dalit-woman-alleges-police-inaction/article5250685.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

The Gujarat Model of Social Welfare – By Archana Prasad (Oct 20, 2013, Peoples Democracy)

The Raghuram Rajan committee on evolving a composite index for the ranking of states categorised Gujarat as a “less developed state.” The state ranked 12th from the top and was surpassed by Sikkim, Tripura and Himachal amongst the other “less developed states” within the index. At the same time, states with similar growth rates like Maharashtra and Tamilnadu were termed as “relatively developed states” in terms of the composite index.

The index has been attacked by the supporters of the chief minister, Narendra Modi, who claim that Gujarat is a model of inclusive development. However, a closer look at the patterns of state intervention in social welfare reveals that the state’s claims of “growth for all” are not entirely true. The evidence presented by researchers as well as recent government reports proves this fact. Recent reports on the state of Gujarat’s social sector indicate that the Gujarat model is based on less investment in the social sector and higher investments in industrial infrastructure. …

As far as Gujarat is concerned, the state ranks 16th in regard to the education sector and 14th in regard to the health sector. The only sector where it can be considered ‘relatively developed’ is in infrastructure (where its ranking is number 6). Given this fact, it is not surprising that every third child in the state is malnourished and that the state has to depend on corporate funded non-government organisations (NGOs) to bring children into schools. Thus the aim of its Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is to subsidise the existing infrastructure of private schools and make “private school education more affordable for poor children.”

Similarly, the PPP model being used in the state provides the framework for subsidising private health services in the state. In both cases, the focus is to spend on infrastructure for the privatisation of social services. This model is compatible with the overall model of corporate growth where social services are being restructured for the benefit of big corporate businesses. …

Thus we can see that the impact of the Gujarat model of development has been very negative insofar as the vulnerable social groups are concerned. This is largely because such a model is largely driven by a restructuring of the social sector for the benefit of corporate enterprises. Such an extreme form of corporate capitalism needs to be opposed and its truth needs to be exposed in order to build up a broadbased campaign against the communalised developmental politics of Narendra Modi and his cohorts.

http://pd.cpim.org/2013/1020_pd/10202013_gujarat.html

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What Really Happened At Jauli Canal? – By Deevakar Anand (Oct 26, 2013, Tehelka)

Though it is widely believed that the Muzaffarnagar riots started with an attack on a Jat convoy by a Muslim mob on 7 September, details of the preliminary investigations by the police suggest a different narrative. According to the FIRs accessed by TEHELKA, more Muslims were killed in the violence at Jauli village than Hindus. The FIRs registered so far mention the death of only seven persons. Four of them were Muslims. And the only person recorded as missing is also a Muslim. The bodies of the four Muslims were found at the site of violence and that of the three Hindus were fished out from the Jauli canal that runs through the village. Eighty percent of Jauli’s 5,000 residents are Muslims and the canal separates the Hindu and Muslim parts of the village.

On 7 September, a group of Jats were allegedly waylaid by an armed mob of Muslims at Jauli while returning on tractors from the ‘Bahu-Beti Izzat Bachao Jat Mahapanchayat’ at Nangla Mandaur, about 10 km away. More than a lakh Jats had assembled at the mahapanchayat to protest against the alleged “one-sided” police action following the killing of two Jat cousins and a Muslim youth at Kawal village. According to local accounts, the Muslim youth was stabbed to death on 27 August because he was allegedly stalking the school-going sister of one of the Jat cousins. In retaliation, a group of Muslims allegedly beat the cousins to death.

Rumours that a large number of Jats were massacred at Jauli – many of whom were thrown into the canal – led to communal riots spreading across Muzaffarnagar and parts of the neighbouring Shamli district over the next two days, killing 52 and rendering 50,000 homeless. But, according to the FIRs, four Muslims – Latafat, Nazar Mohammed, Salman and Mohammed Nazim – were killed at Jauli, while Nissar from the nearby Kisanpur village went missing. The Hindus killed were Ajay Kumar, Sohanveer Singh and Brijpal Rana. While the details in the FIRs point to a violent clash between two mobs and not a one-sided attack by Muslims, many eyewitnesses and survivors refuse to believe that only three Jats were killed.

Bagesh, a Jat from Jauli told TEHELKA that he had seen an armed Muslim mob hiding in the sugarcane fields near the village. “I was standing on the other side of the Jauli canal when I saw them attack the convoy of around 15 tractors returning from the mahapanchayat,” he says. “The mayhem continued for over an hour. People were killed and thrown into the canal. I cannot believe that only three Jats were killed.” Baba Hari survived the Jauli attack with bullet injuries in his leg. “I was not part of the Jat convoy, but got caught in the violence while returning on a bike from a nearby temple,” he says. “I couldn’t keep an exact count, but I am sure at least a dozen Hindus were killed in the attack.”

However, according to a senior police officer, all complaints of dead or missing persons have been recorded. “It’s been more than a month since the incident but if we receive more complaints, we will register additional cases,” says the officer, who didn’t want to be named. “There was perhaps a major confrontation between people from the two communities. Had there been a one-sided attack by an armed Muslim mob, many more Jats would have been killed. But let’s wait for the SIC (Special Investigation Cell, set up after the riots) to finish its probe and come out with the truth.” A senior officer of the SIC told TEHELKA that what really happened at Jauli on 7 September will become clear only after the investigations are completed. “Our investigation into every riot incident will be based on the facts and not on any of the narratives doing the rounds,” he says.

http://www.tehelka.com/what-really-happened-at-jauli-canal/

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Lalu’s nemesis – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Nov 1, 2013, Frontline)

The conviction of Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra, two former Chief Ministers of Bihar, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Ranchi on October 3 in the fodder scam case, opened a Pandora’s box. The verdict not only underlined the increasing criminalisation of politics but exposed the manifold ways in which an ubiquitous but invisible corrupt nexus of bureaucrats, politicians and private contractors works in a State administration. The 700-page judgment of Special Judge Pravas Kumar Singh has become the most pertinent example of how corruption in the legislative and executive bodies is often guided by the business interests of a few individuals.

The verdict is significant as Lalu Prasad, a sitting Member of Parliament, faces immediate disqualification and will be rendered ineligible to contest any election for at least six years. He is the second MP to be disqualified on the basis of the recent Supreme Court order. In a ruling delivered in July, the court struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and mandated that elected representatives convicted of any criminal charge should face immediate disqualification. Section 8 (4) had provided an additional layer of immunity to lawmakers to retain their seats upon conviction if they could appeal to a higher court within 90 days.

Rasheed Masood, Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, was the first MP to be disqualified under the apex court order. Masood was found guilty of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to seats in medical colleges across the country when he was Union Health Minister in V.P. Singh’s government during 1990-91. While the verdict quashing Section 8(4) will help raise the level of accountability in the Indian political system, it will also significantly alter the political landscape of Bihar in the coming years.

Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of the State between 1990 and 1997. He resigned in 1997 following corruption charges relating to the fodder scam and disproportionate assets cases but continued to be at the helm of affairs until 2005 when his wife Rabri Devi was Chief Minister. Lalu Prasad emerged as a social justice hero during Jayaprakash Narayan’s “Total Revolution” in the 1970s. By the 1990s, he had established himself as a mass leader of a substantial Yadav population in Bihar. By forging a powerful Yadav-Muslim alliance, he ended the dominance of the upper-caste Bhumihar-Brahmin-Rajput-Kayastha alliance in the State’s politics. As is famously held, he gave the backward classes swar (voice) andsamman (dignity). Bihar remained free of communal riots during his tenure. Many observers believe that Lalu Prasad’s political masterstroke was that he united the traditional adversaries, Yadavs and Muslims.

However, rampant corruption and the absence of a sustainable governance model began to take their toll on the State. The high-handedness of Lalu Prasad and his power-hungry family members caused public outrage. It is in this context that the chara ghotala (fodder scam), involving the embezzlement of some Rs.950 crore from the State treasury, was exposed. It was alleged that huge amounts of fodder was shown to be procured for a large number of fictitious livestock over a period of 10 years. While corrupt practices were known to be rampant in his administration, what was shocking about the fodder scam in monetary terms was its magnitude. Since the allegations were against top officials and politicians, including the two Chief Ministers, the case was referred to the CBI in 1996. …

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/lalus-nemesis/article5229031.ece

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Violence Against Women In India – A Review Of The Popular Mythologies And Their Implications For VAW – By Cynthia Stephen (Oct 15, 2013, Countercurrents)

India’s reputation as a destination for spiritual seekers seems to have faded in recent years. Reputed worldwide to the be the land of the oldest living civilisation, with a rich culture, living tradition, and a climate of ahimsa (non-violence), as exemplified by the struggle against the British colonisers which was almost bloodless, and resulted in the Independent Indian nation on the 15th of August, 1947. A part of this tradition, it is claimed, is revering women in the form of the mother or the goddess. Proponents of this viewpoint cite a verse to the effect that “Where women are worshipped there the gods reside”. But there has always been ample evidence that this was more observed in the breach; that the societal structures discriminated severely against women in all arenas: economic, social, legal, political, personal. The evidence came in the 1970s, in the form of the Report “Towards Equality” – A report of the Status of Women in India. The elite women who formed the study team, set up by the Central Government, were stunned at the disparity between men and women in India. It was in the aftermath of this study, which was prepared for the first UN World Conference on Women in Mexico in 1975, that the government of India began to undertake policy measures and provide funding work among and for women.

Be that as it may, India has now begun to have a reputation for misogyny which appears to be richly deserved. Figures for violence against women across the world continue to alarm. But those for India hit new records in the last couple of decades: a widening child sex ratio, persistent reports of rapes and molestation of women in public, and a justice system that has done little to bring the perpetrators to book. What is the reason for the existence of such persistent, wide-ranging and endemic violence and misogyny against women, of all classes, but especially against the dalits and tribals, in this culture? Could it be the myths and legends that play a strong but subliminal and conditioning role in determining attitudes and behaviours which tend to be misogynistic in nature? Women are supposed to submit silently to any atrocity that any random male chooses to subject them to, whether in public or private. The situation is such that it is almost impossible for women to get redressal for the blatant violations of their human rights. Witness the incident in March 2013 when a girl and her father were beaten up in a police station in Punjab when they went to file a complaint against some young boys who had been subjecting her to unwanted sexual harassment. …

Close to Guwahati, the capital city of the Northeastern Indian state of Assam, is the site of the famous Shakti peeth, the Kamakhya temple. The temple which dates back to the middle of the second millennium, does not have any idol. There is, instead, a hollow depression in the ground, about 10 inches deep, formed where a sheet of stone slopes downward from both sides. It is constantly wet due to a perennial spring and is worshipped as the most important abode of Shakti, the female form of divinity. Another – and later – name for the goddess is Sati. The temple has been a sacred space for centuries, and is an important site for Tantric worshippers. There is a story attached to the temple and its status as a Shakti peeth.[ii] The legend underscores the practice of Tantric – or goddess-oriented worship systems in Eastern and parts of Northeast India. But this area is also known for the practice of “witch hunting” – one of the most vicious forms of public and organised violence against women.

There are other well-known stories in the popular puranas – the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha – which appear to legitimise extreme violence against women, even if they are goddesses or belonged to the families of kings. For instance, Surpanakhi, who is a forest-dweller, expresses attraction to Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, as they are in their forest exile. His response is to “cut off her nose”, which can either mean that he literally chopped her nose off, or be a euphemism for sexually insulting her. The story goes that she was the sister of Ravana, who then planned the abduction of Sita in retaliation for this insult. The outcome of the story does not go well even for Sita, the wife of the Purushottam – the ultimate man – Rama. He too subjects his wife to a test of virtue, in public. She ends up self-immolating her body in protest. The practice of Sati, that is, of the wife being expected to immolate herself on the funeral pyre of her husband also owes its existence to the story of Sati who also commits self-immolation to protest a perceived insult to her husband by her father. Could this be the subliminal reason for people in India choosing to set themselves on fire almost as a preferred form of committing suicide? A way of demonstrating, by dying in a ‘purifying’ fire, their basic purity of intention and faith? This is a particularly common method of suicide in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. They even have a special term for it – it is called “Bathing in fire” (Thee kulikkirathu)

From the Mahabharatha comes the wellknown story of Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandava brothers. She is used as a pawn in a game of dice by the eldest of the brothers, ironically known as Dharmaraya – king of dharma or virtue, and loses. The winners, her husband’s cousins and adversaries, take her to the centre of the Kaurava court, and verbally abuse her. Duryodhana attempts to disrobe her publicly. She escapes with her modesty intact by the grace of Krishna: – her saree, while being pulled off by Duryodhana, turns out to be never-ending. Echoes of these practices are still seen in the public disrobing of women from dalit and adivasi groups – both Surpanakhi and Draupadi are said to have belonged to indigenous people groups. Only here, there is no intervention by a divine being to protect their ‘modesty’. Some of the more enduring myths in India have to do with the fight of good over evil. The popular festival, Navaratri or Dasara, or Durga Puja, depending on the region, is celebrated with this theme during the month of October. The central theme is of the goddess, in a martial form, with her multiple arms bristling with weapons, depicted as being victorious over a dark-skinned male adversary on whose body she dances in triumph. In South India, the notable celebration is held in Mysore, where the goddess is known as Chamundi, who triumphs over Mahisa, king of the dark-skinned Asuras – or demons. In fact the name Mysore is a corruption of the name Mahisa. …

http://www.countercurrents.org/stephen151013.htm

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No, Not Good News – By Valay Singh Rai (Oct 28, 2013, Outlook)

Even in disaster, the worst blow has been dealt to an already marginalised group in Orissa. The Hadis are a pig-rearing community and can be found living at the periphery of villages. Seventeen families of this community are the only ones whose houses have been completely destroyed by Cyclone Phailin in the Old Baxapalli village of Ganjam district. They are also the only ones to take shelter in the local primary school. Having lost their meagre food stocks, they are surviving on the generosity of the villagers and the nearby army camp, which has been serving them khichdi every day. They may still have their lives but they have lost everything else they possessed to the cyclone. Yet, till three days after, nobody from the government has bothered to assess their losses. There are single-women households, disabled people and young children who need immediate care and support. Without it, they will be reduced to utter penury, a prospect millions others in Orissa are facing.

True, both the government and the people were better prepared to face the ‘badya’ (as a cyclone is called in Oriya) this time. Ever since the 1999 supercyclone, which claimed 12,000-plus lives, the state had become much more disaster-sensitive. Several NGOs in the state had been running disaster preparedness programmes, working closely with the government and communities, even schools. But that would be half the work done. In Ganjam district alone, 15 lakh people have lost their homes and all their belongings to the cyclone. People in the villages we visit are angry that the government is yet to take note of the damage to their houses, the loss of crop like coconut, cashew, paddy and plantain, or their fishing nets and boats. Srita Nayak, a single mother of three young children, of whom six-year-old Mary is paralysed, is inconsolable. The cyclone made an already bad situation worse for her, forcing her to work as a daily-wager to support herself and her children. For her, it is a disaster.

The situation is no better in Baddanouliyanaugam village, 30 km away and barely 300 metres from the sea. Its residents, almost all of them fisherfolk, left their houses a day before the cyclone struck, but didn’t take shelter in the government-built storm shelter. They went instead to Chhatrapur, the district headquarters of Ganjam. “Have you seen what bad shape it is in? Who’ll stay there?” retorted a villager when asked why they didn’t go there. The villagers returned on Sunday to find Phailin had not spared even a single house. But like elsewhere, the government had made no assessment till the time of writing, even though chief minister Naveen Patnaik had made a quick visit to a neighbouring area. Kammudu and her husband were among those who had left home a day before the cyclone with their two small children and a month-old baby girl whom they have not even named yet. Their meagre food stock is ruined and Kammudu has been feeding her children only chatua and biscuits. According to the local accredited social health activist M. Parvathi, there are 25 pregnant women and 145 young children in this village of 1,700 people.

According to government figures, the crop loss is to the tune of Rs 4,005 crore. Prahlad Sethi, a farmer who owns a four-bigha plot in Venkatraipur village, is desperate because he has lost 90 per cent of his coconut, chiku and plantain crop. “One coconut tree used to fetch me Rs 3,000 annually, now there are only five of them standing; my chiku and mango trees too have been destroyed,” he says. “We have no recourse but to borrow or beg now.” In the same village, 60-year-old Kalagang-amma sits desolately in the veranda of her damaged house. She says she doesn’t have a BPL card and there is nothing to eat in the house. Village after village, it is the same story; people are alive but desperate, having lost their houses and livelihoods. Socially excluded groups like the Hadis, along with women, children and disabled people, are the worst hit.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?288204

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Justice delayed and denied – Editorial (Oct 15, 2013, DNA India)

The acquittal of the 26 accused in the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case is the latest in a long line of such verdicts that disempower Bihar’s Dalit population. When applied inadequately, the principles of natural justice can undermine the broader societal justice they are intended to serve, as emphatically as they can uphold it. The Patna High Court’s acquittal of the 26 accused in the 1997 Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case has thrown that into sharp relief. Certainly, neither the capital punishment awarded to 16 of them nor the life imprisonment given to the rest should have stood if it failed to prove culpability beyond reasonable doubt.

That is the first principle. But the high court’s claim that it failed this test is on shaky ground itself when it comes to the second principle: Nemo judex in causa sua. Let no man be a judge in his own case; in essence, no legal decision should be influenced by any interest or bias. When seen from a broader perspective, those biases become regrettably clear. One such outcome may be happenstance and two coincidence, but when the pattern is repeated as often as it has been, it becomes apparent for what it is. Either actively or via a lack of rigour in enforcing the law, an institutional and political bias in favour of the caste and socio-economic elite has permeated the state apparatus in Bihar.

Consider the statistics. In the span of the past year alone, three similar verdicts have preceded this one with men from the upper-caste landlord militia Ranvir Sena, accused in the Miapur, Nagari and Bathani Tola massacres of Dalit villagers, walking free. This is part of a larger pattern. In the quarter century ending at the turn of the millennium, there were 80 such incidents where Dalits or those affiliated with them were killed. It is no one’s case that retaliatory violence did not take place as well, but the numbers make the skewed balance of power clear: 15 incidents in which upper-caste villagers were killed.

Seen in this context, the Laxmanpur-Bathe verdict underscores the many problems plaguing the treatment of such incidents. The inordinate length of time it takes cases to work their way through the legal system is a common issue across the country, of course; the longer the process, the weaker the prosecution’s case inevitably becomes. There are other, more specific issues as well. Why, for instance, are eyewitness accounts blithely dismissed as unreliable as they were in this instance? Why are trial court verdicts finding the accused guilty so often overturned by the high court? Why are Bihar’s politicians, cutting across party lines, silent, save for token expressions of regret and sympathy and a predictable ramping up of rhetoric when it is time to go to the hustings?

The last is, perhaps, the most troubling. The reality and perception of Dalit political empowerment are an absolute must in a state with a long, violent history of caste conflict centred on land issues. Instead, with moves such as Nitish Kumar’s abolishment of the Justice Amir Das Commission of Enquiry – set up to look into the Ranvir Sena’s links with political parties – soon after coming to power in 2005, the message the political establishment sends is that the state and legal apparatus are out of bounds for Dalits. This is a potentially incendiary mistake. And it is an affront to the victims of Laxmanpur-Bathe and those before them.

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/1903706/editorial-dna-edit-justice-delayed-and-denied

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Book Review

India’s Tryst with Destiny: Debunking Myths that Undermine Progress and Addressing New Challenges

Author: Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya
Reviewed by: Indira Hirway
Available at: Harper Collins Publishers India, A 53, Sector 57, NOIDA, UP, India, 2012; pp 285, Rs 599..http://www.harpercollins.co.in/
Review:
Partial View of Outcome of Reforms and Gujarat ‘Model’ (Oct 26, 2013, EPW)

Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya have written extensively on the economics of India in recent decades. Yet they have written this book because, according to them, at this stage of political and economic development in India there is a need to have a comprehensive look at the accomplishments and failures of the economy. There is also a need “to refute unwarranted and unsupported populist myths prevailing about the economy”, and to understand and address the next set of challenges so as to move ahead with faster and more inclusive growth. …

Also, there is no adequate empirical support to say that India does not have crony capitalism and that power of labour and democratic forces protect the interests of labour and the poor. Take the example of Gujarat (its growth model is praised sky high by the authors). There is enough evidence to show that the state government has gone overboard in providing incentives and subsidies to corporate investments (Hirway, Shah and Sharma 2013). … about the Gujarat model. Its achievements in health and education despite its high economic growth are far from satisfactory. With a high dropout rate in schools, deteriorating quality of primary education in the last decade, and declining rank in literacy from four in 2001 to nine in 2011 among the 20 major states, the performance of Gujarat in education is anything but respectable. Again, with slow decline (slower than most states) in infant and maternal mortality rates, as well as slow progress in immunisation of children, poor availability of potable drinking water and safe sanitation (Census of Population 2011), the performance in health is definitely much less than respectable. The latest data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) support this, with per capita expenditure on health, education, and social sectors in the last decade one of the lowest in the state, and the state’s rank declining to the bottom among the major 20 states. The expenditure on incentives to corporates has clearly left much less money for the social sector.

There is no doubt that Gujarat has achieved a high growth rate, above 10% per year, in the period of economic reforms, particularly in the last decade. Even agriculture has grown at a much higher rate (6%) per year against 2-3% in India. However, this growth has serious problems. To start with, in spite of diversification of the sources of state domestic product (SDP), there has been no significant structural change in employment. Though the primary sector contributes 14% to the SDP, it houses 55% of the population. This indicates highly capital-intensive growth in the non-primary sectors that has failed to create employment opportunities for a structural shift. Since the officially committed goal of industrial development in the state is to be “the fastest growing state in the world”, the growth has created a dualism in the economy, with a small modern sector enjoying the lion’s share of growth and the remaining sectors lagging in technology, productivity, and incomes.

An important exclusion from the discussion on the Gujarat model as well as from the policy framework supported by the authors is of natural resources or natural capital, which is now recognised as a factor of production and an important component of total capital stock in an economy. The authors neglect the massive depletion and degradation of natural resources, which have affected adversely the livelihoods of people, particularly the marginalised sections in Gujarat. This depletion and degradation in Gujarat in the last decades (Viswanathan and Pathak 2013) is leading the state towards non-sustainable development. …

http://www.epw.in/book-review/partial-view-outcome-reforms-and-gujarat-model.html

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