IAMC Weekly News Roundup - July 7th, 2014 - IAMC
no-image IAMC

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 7th, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Over 150 Hindu inmates keep Roza with 2,300 Muslims at Tihar (Jul 6, 2014, Indian Express)

Setting an example of rare communal harmony, more than 150 Hindu inmates of Tihar Jail here are keeping roza, the dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramzan, along with over 2,300 Muslim inmates. The holy month of Ramazan commenced on June 29 this year. Tihar Jail authorities said the Hindu inmates started keeping Rozas along with the Muslim inmates from the very first day and have said they will continue the month-long fasting to its completion.

“The inmates have symbolised the strong bond of unity among them which is appreciable. Jail authorities have made all the arrangements so that those observing Ramzan do not face any difficulty,” Tihar jail PRO Sunil Gupta said. Special arrangements have been made for the inmates to perform prayers and enjoy their pre-dawn ‘sehri’ meal and evening meals known as ‘iftars’.

“Food items like seasonal fruits, sweets like ‘Jalebi’, dry fruits, and various other snacks are being made available to them for both ‘Sehari’ and ‘Iftar’,” he said. Gupta said that the day-long ‘roza’ ends with ‘iftar’ in their respective wards of the jail following which they offer Namaz outside their cells. Over 70 women inmates are also a part of the religious practice, he added. …


[Back to Top]

12 years on, Gujarat riots probe panel gets 22nd extension (Jun 30, 2014, Times of India)

The Gujarat government today granted yet another extension to the Justice Nanavati commission which is probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots. “Today, the state government granted a two-month extension to the commission, valid up to August 31,” said secretary to the panel C G Patel.

This is the 22nd extension granted to the commission. In December 2013 it had got a six-month extension, which was to expire today. The commission comprises Justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta (both retired).

In 2008 it submitted a part of its finding, which held that burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, which led to the riots, was “a planned conspiracy”. …



[Back to Top]

Ishrat case: CBI gives more proof to MHA (Jul 2, 2014, Hindustan Times)

In a fresh move to break the deadlock with home ministry over sharing of case diary in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter probe, the CBI has provided it other key evidence, including statements of the accused and witnesses relied upon in chargesheeting four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers in February.

HT had first reported on June 23 about the CBI decision to share other key case evidence, but not the case diary, with the ministry. The CBI did not give the case diary since only the courts – and not the home ministry – were entitled to examine its case diary under the law, section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

“We have given key relied-upon-evidence to the home ministry that should be sufficient for them to decide if the government should sanction prosecution of the then four IB officers as requested by the agency,” said a CBI source.

“The evidence shared with them included statements of the accused, witnesses and a few other documents requested for by the ministry,” said the source. “Now, the onus is on the ministry to take a decision on the grant of the prosecution sanctions,” said the source. The home ministry had insisted that it would need the case diary to decide whether to sanction prosecution of the four then IB officers.



[Back to Top]

Karnataka Congress Govt drags 23 terror acquits rotting in jail since 14 years to Supreme Court (Jul 5, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Twenty three Muslim youths languishing in Karnataka jails for past 14 years on flimsy terror charges received a serious disappointment as Congress Government approached the Supreme Court to challenge their long struggled acquittal from the state High court. Two days back aged Ifteqhar Ali received a bulky notice from the Supreme Court at his wielding workshop in Asifnagar informing him about the state appeal against acquittal of his son Farooq Ali. “I tell you, I have always tried to be strong before my family, but when my son was finally acquitted by the High Court I cried out of happiness, but this summon has again brought us back on the verge of despair,” Mr. Ali told TwoCircles.net, narrating in apparent frustration. …

In the year 2000, from 21st May to 9th July a series of minor gelatin stick blasts were stroked in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. In a span of just 50 days, 12 churches and one mosque became the target. No one was killed but five persons had suffered minor injuries. In the initial period, Hindutva groups were in the radar but subsequently SIT arrested 52 Muslim youths belonging to organization Deendar Anjuman in Hyderabad. The organization was immediately banned under UAPA act, all of the 53 accused faced trail in Hyderabad TADA court under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), Section 121 (waging war against the nation), Section 121A (conspiracy to wage war), Section 124A (sedition) and other different sections of Indian Explosives Act and Explosives Substances Act.

In November 2004, TADA court acquitted 31 from all charges, 21 of them got four year imprisonment for possessing inflammatory literature, a book called ‘Imam-ul-Jihad’ written by founder of Anjuman Maulana Deendar Siddiqui in 1936. Twenty three accused were immediately shifted to Karnataka to face trail in special court formed to hear five church blast cases. In November 2008, on the very same charges they were acquitted from TADA court, special court found them guilty and awarded death sentence to 11 Muslim youths on 2 counts and life sentence to 12 other youths for 10 counts. …

Sajjida Begum mother of Izhar Baig, sitting in her humble house was wondering, “We can’t understand why Congress is doing this to us,” she said, adding, “When Rehman Khan was the Minister he made big promises to release innocent Muslim youths, now when Muslims are getting acquitted from the High Court, his own party, his own Government, in his own state is running to Supreme Court to stop their release.” Skeletonised with obscurity of life Raheemunnisa mother of Akheel Ahmed jumps in to vent her anger, “Now I think all of them (politicians) are hypocrites, no one care for Muslims.”

Almost all of the families of the accused are economically weak. Many of the relatives of the accused TCN spoke to express their helplessness in arranging lawyer on their behalf in Supreme Court. One of the brothers of the accused who doesn’t want to be named told that they sold their only property to arrange for the cost of fighting in lower court and High Court and with Supreme Court appeal becoming another hurdle, he said it seems to be the end of the tunnel for poor families and the dozens of accused perishing their youth in prison on trivial terror charges.



[Back to Top]

Moradabad SSP holds BJP’s call for Mahapanchayat responsible for Kanth violence (Jul 5, 2014, DNA India)

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dharamvir told media here on Saturday that the situation in Kanth got tense only after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a Mahapanchayat. Dharamvir said that Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) called for a Mahapanchayat despite denial of permission from the administration. He also blamed BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Sarvesh Singh for polarizing the situation as assembly by-elections are round the corner.

“The incident happened on the issue of a temple in which, according to the tradition, loudspeakers are placed only on Mahashivrati and then taken off. But this time on June 16 MP Sarvesh Singh went there and forcefully got the mike placed due to which there were tensions. Both communities were called for the discussion but Sarvesh refused to remove the mike,” said Dharamvir.

He also told the media that the police had arrested 62 people among the protesters and had lodged an FIR against them. They will now be presented in the court today. “We were fully alert with full force and we prevented communal violence. Tensions were created purposely to win up coming by-elections. Nobody from Kanth was involved in yesterday’s incident,” he added.

Yesterday, BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Sangeet Som and five others were released from police custody after being detained earlier for heading a Mahapanchayat in Kanth near Moradabad to protest against the administration’s decision to remove loudspeaker from a temple. Som was one of the legislators booked and later released for inciting the last year’s bloody religious clashes in Muzaffarnagar that killed about 60 people, according to reports. …



[Back to Top]

Three BJP MPs, MLA detained for defying ban on mahapanchayat (Jul 4, 2014, The Hindu)

Four BJP legislators, including Muzaffarnagar riots-accused Sangeet Som, were on Friday detained here after they tried to defy a ban on the party from holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Kanth area here. The ‘mahapanchayat’ or gathering was called by the state BJP on Friday after a recent dispute in Kanth, over a loudspeaker installed at a temple, which led to communal tension in the area.

Mr. Som, a Sardhana MLA, Amroha MP Kunwar Singh Tanwar, Sambhal MP Satyapal Saini from and Rampur MP Nepal Singh have been detained and sent to police lines, Moradabad Commissioner, Shiv Shankar Singh said. Apart from these legislators, members of RSS and Hindu Maha Sabha along with their supporters were also present who wanted to hold the mahapanchayat, he said.

Section 144 has been imposed in the area. All roads have been sealed. And, we will take all measures to stop the party from holding this gathering, Mr. Singh said. “Rail traffic route has been disturbed due to the agitation. Train services in both the lines were also affected,” ADRM Moradabad Division, Hitendra Mehrotra said.

BJP agitators sat on the tracks and disrupted rail services. They also resorted to stone-pelting there. Moradabad District Magistrate Chandra Kant was injured during the incident, SP, Rural Area, Anil Kumar Mr. Singh said.



[Back to Top]

Sena, Christian evangelist’s followers clash in UP village (Jul 8, 2014, Indian Express)

Three persons were injured in a clash that broke out between Shiv Sena members and a Christian evangelist and his supporters in Saraiyya village in Jaunpur district, police said Monday. The clash took place on Sunday when Shiv Sainiks reached the spot to protest against alleged religious conversions.

Police have registered counter cases in this connection and arrested 10 people, including the evangelist, Lalchandra Rajbhar, and the district head of Shiv Sena, Achhey Lal Tiwari, on charges of rioting. Police said the place was being used for offering prayers and there have been no reports of any religious conversions as alleged. Shiv Sainiks had earlier given a letter to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate seeking permission to stage protest at the site. However, the administration denied it.

According to police, the incident occurred when Lalchandra Rajbhar, a resident of Saraiyya village, was holding a prayer meeting in an enclosure on Sunday morning. Around 10.30 am, Shiv Sainiks, led by Tiwari, reached the spot and began protesting. Some policemen deployed at the spot tried to resolve the issue. However, soon arguments led to fisticuffs and stone pelting. Apart from Tiwari, another Shiv Sainik Manoj Tiwari and Pramod Rajbhar, one of Lalchandra’s followers, were injured.

Senior officials rushed to the spot with additional reinforcements and PAC was also deployed. Police used force to disperse the crowd. Around the same time, former district BJP convenor, Harendra Prasad Singh, also reached the spot. He, too, was detained but later released.

“Both the sides have given complaints and we have lodged FIRs accordingly. At least 10 people have been arrested. A few others are absconding,” said police. Superintendent of Police (Jaunpur), Pramod Kumar, said: “The fight was between the Shiv Sainiks and those offering prayers. The BJP leader had nothing to do with it. We are keeping a watch. Further investigations are on.”



[Back to Top]

Chief Justice Lodha breaks his silence, calls decision on Gopal Subramanium unilateral (Jul 2, 2014, Indian Express)

Breaking his silence on the issue, Chief Justice of India R M Lodha on Tuesday disapproved of the NDA government’s move to “unilaterally” segregate former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium from the panel of four names recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges by the collegium and said it was “not proper”.

“The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the executive. It is not proper,” said the CJI. “I, as the CJI, and four senior colleagues in the collegium spotted the best talent, who in our opinion would be good judges. We forwarded four names to the executive for appointment on May 6,” he said.

“On my return from abroad on June 28, a file was placed before me by the Ministry of Law and Justice, indicating that out of the four names, three proposals had been approved and the name of Gopal Subramanium was segregated. It was done unilaterally… without my knowledge and consent,” said the CJI at a farewell function for Justice B S Chauhan who retired on Tuesday. …

While Subramanium’s withdrawal averted a possible face-off with the executive, the issue produced a test case for the judiciary, wherein a government with a powerful mandate flagged a “negative” report against a candidate recommended by the collegium for elevation as a Supreme Court judge.



[Back to Top]

Sharia courts not legal, can’t enforce fatwas, says SC (Jul 7, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Shariat courts have no legal authority and their decisions are not legally binding, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, saying fatwas must not violate rights of individuals guaranteed by law. The court, however, refused to declare Dar-ul-Qazas (Islamic courts) or practice of issuing fatwas as illegal, saying it was informal justice delivery system for bringing amicable settlement and it was for the persons concerned to accept, ignore or reject it.

“Dar-ul-Qaza is neither created nor sanctioned by any law made by the competent legislature. Therefore, the opinion or the fatwa issued by Dar-ul-Qaza or for that matter anybody is not adjudication of dispute by an authority under a judicial system sanctioned by law,” a bench headed by Justice CK Prasad said. …

AIMPLB said the judgment vindicated its stand that Dar-ul-Qazas were not running “parallel judiciary”. Board spokesman Qasim Rasool Ilyas said “in the absence of any legal backing, Shariat courts role was of arbitrator.

Abul Qasim Nomani of Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband, an influential Islamic seminary, said the verdict did not restrain clerics from issuing advisories of a legal nature. Any interference in personal law of Muslims would not be “acceptable”, Nomani, who objected to Salman Rushdie’s presence at Jaipur literary festival two years ago, said. …



[Back to Top]

Fate of 800 kids hangs in balance as Urdu school in Kurla slum faces demolition (Jul 1, 2014, Times of India)

The fate of about 800 students of the Maharashtra Urdu High School in Kurla is at stake as their 16-year-old educational institute faces closure. The school in the sprawling Kranti Nagar slum may be demolished as it falls within 10 metres of a water pipe. A Supreme Court order says structures within 10 metres of a water pipe should be cleared.

The school has now pinned its hopes on civic authorities allotting it an alternative plot and says its closure will deprive the impoverished people of the area of the only school in the locality. The BMC has already surveyed and marked the distance up to which it plans to clear the area.

Last week trustees of the school discussed the issue with a select group of media-persons. The plea by the school management for an alternative plot near Kalpana theatre, just a half-kilometre away, has reached municipal commissioner Sitraram Kunte’s office. …



[Back to Top]

My husband wanted power, that’s why he brought men from both Congress and BJP to me: Rajasthan rape victim (Jun 29, 2014, Indian Express)

There are two things that set the 20-year-old apart from the rest of the girls in her village. Her height – she stands tall at 5’8″ – and her courage. “Woh to bahut himmatwali hai,” says 60-year-old Hanuman Shroff Ranjit, one of the elders in Abubshahar, a village in Sirsa district that sits on the cusp of Haryana and Rajasthan. It’s this “himmat”, they say, that got her to lodge a complaint of sexual exploitation against her husband Om Prakash Godara and 16 others, including BJP MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers in the Narendra Modi Cabinet Nihal Chand Meghwal.

She was married off at the age of 16. “Because she is so tall, people in the village kept telling us to get her married. We were under a lot of pressure. She was independent even as a child and would cycle five kilometres to go to school. But in our villages, girls need to be married off and with her height, we were worried we wouldn’t find a match. Her father’s brother told us about Om Prakash, who was from Pilibanga in Rajasthan. Om Prakash told us he was a property developer and seemed very well-off. We were taken in. He seemed like a big man. We thought our daughter’s future was made, we thought this alliance would make her happy,” says her mother.

These days, she shuttles between her parents’ home in Abubshahar and her maternal uncle’s home in Sadulshahar that’s across the border in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district. “This is to ensure that she is safe. She spends three days here and three days with her maternal uncle. We have received threats from Om Prakash that he will abduct her and our other three daughters as well,” says her mother.

She was married off at the age of 16. “Because she is so tall, people in the village kept telling us to get her married. We were under a lot of pressure. She was independent even as a child and would cycle five kilometres to go to school. But in our villages, girls need to be married off and with her height, we were worried we wouldn’t find a match. Her father’s brother told us about Om Prakash, who was from Pilibanga in Rajasthan. Om Prakash told us he was a property developer and seemed very well-off. We were taken in. He seemed like a big man. We thought our daughter’s future was made, we thought this alliance would make her happy,” says her mother.

These days, she shuttles between her parents’ home in Abubshahar and her maternal uncle’s home in Sadulshahar that’s across the border in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district. “This is to ensure that she is safe. She spends three days here and three days with her maternal uncle. We have received threats from Om Prakash that he will abduct her and our other three daughters as well,” says her mother.



[Back to Top]

Opinions and Editorials

Modi Back to his Agenda – By Kuldip Nayar (Jun 28, 2014, Mainstream)

When Narendra Modi broke down in Parliament at his party MPs’ meeting while hailing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a pro-Hindu outfit, as his mother, I thought it was an emotional outburst. And I felt assured when he said after becoming India’s Prime Minister that he would take along with him all the 125 crore Indians on the path to development.

But as the party unfolds its programme, I find that it is only a cover-up of the divisive strategy that the RSS has formulated. Modi projects an image of an unbiased person while the BJP-cum-RSS takes steps to dilute pluralism. The RSS is already posting its trusted men as members of different commissions or at key positions. The youth from its cadres are being recruited for lower assignments. Since the bureaucracy tilts in the direction in which the wind blows, the BJP and RSS are finding no resistance in implementing their agenda.

Sharad Pawar, the former Union Agriculture Minister, who was also the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, is justified in his remark that after the BJP’s victory communalism is beginning to be visible all over. And this is only in the first fortnight of Modi’s government. It is yet to run the full course of a five-year term. What happened in Pune, the most liberal city in Maharashtra, indicates the forces which have run amuck. An extremist Hindu group killed Mohsin Sheikh, a 28-year-old IT manager, following the posting of derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Bal Thackerey, the founder of the extremist Shiv Sena. Mohsin was a suspect, with no evidence and proof.

True, the BJP condemned the murder. But this was an ideal opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to assure the Muslims, feeling insecure, that his government would see to it that the perpetrators were brought to book quickly. Even when specifically requested for a word of sympathy for the victim’s families, Modi kept quiet.

This attitude should not come as a surprise. As the Gujarat Chief Minister in 2002 when more than 2000 Muslims were killed with the complicity of the administration, including the police, he never expressed regret. In fact, Modi threw at the face of criticism a clean chit he got from a Magistrate’s Court at home. Till today he has not said sorry. His regret at the murder in Pune would have gone a long way to assuage the feelings of Muslims and strengthen the idea of India based on the concept of pluralism. …



[Back to Top]

Hindu nationalist organisations take root in the United States – By Hakeem Irfan (Jul 7, 2014, DNA India)

Hindu nationalist organisations have established a strong network in the United States, with around 140 Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh shakhas across the country and over $55 million dollars in aid, largely sent to groups in India in the last 10 years.

Major US-based tax-exempt non-profit Hindu nationalist organisations include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party – USA (OFBJP) is quite active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

The report was published on the South Asia Citizens Wire (SACW), a website mostly run by Indian diaspora based in the US and Europe. However, according to Harsh Kapoor of SACW, authors of the report have “categorically opposed to doing any interviews now or in the near future” and just used the initials ‘JM’ in the report.

The data in the report has been extensively referenced and compiled from publicly available tax records, newspaper articles, and other materials on non-profit groups in the United States affiliated with the Sangh Parivar (family of Hindu nationalist groups) from 2001-2014. …

“The findings of the report should be taken seriously as it has raised some critical questions. It needs to be investigated,” said US-based Dr Raja Swamy of the Coalition Against Genocide, who is also associated with SACW.



[Back to Top]

The IB Report: A Potential Threat To The Real National Interest And Security – By Sukumaran C. V. (Jun 30, 2014, countercurrents)

The following is the first paragraph of the notorious IB report (IR/IS No. 002): “A significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands) have been noticed to be using people centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects. These include agitations against nuclear power plants, uranium mines, Coal Fired Power Plants (CFPPs), Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), mega industrial projects (POSCO and Vedanta), hydel projects (at Narmada Sagar; and in Arunachal Pradesh) and extractive industries (oil, limestone) in the North East. The negative impact on GDP growth is assessed to be 2-3% p. a.”

If you peruse the 20 page IB report, you will feel that even if the IB is very poor in its linguistic skills, it is very rich in its unconditional support to the corporate giants that destroy the Environment and the livelihood of the vast majority of common people of this nation and are potential threats to the national security and wellbeing, if national security means the security and wellbeing of the common people.

On the 7th page of the report, the IB says that ‘Greenpeace expanded its activities to oppose Coal Fired Power Plants (CFPP) and coal mining activity… While its efforts to raise obstacles to India’s coal-based energy plans are gathering pace, it has also started spawning mass-based movements against development projects and is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security.’

The IB report is absolutely correct to discern that the mass-based movements are posing a potential threat to ‘national economic security’. But IB should specify whose economic security is dubbed as ‘national’. And IB should develop the intelligence to know that mass-based movements are not ‘spawned’ by NGOs, they are born when the very existence of the people is threatened by the ‘economic security’ of the corporate world. Indian National Movement under the leadership of the Mahatma was a mass-based movement and it was not ‘spawned’ by a foreign funded agency, but by the people of India and the reason was that the colonial rule and exploitation were threatening the very survival of the people.

What the colonial rule had been doing to India and its people is exactly what is being done to the people today by the corporate world with the help of our own rulers and their IBs. … If national interest means the welfare of the vast millions of the poor and the ordinary people of the nation, arguing for nuclear power plants and GDP centric ‘growth’ and the so called economic development does have nothing to do with it.…



[Back to Top]

Is BJP fishing in choppy waters of communally sensitive UP? – By Mohit Dubey (Jul 6, 2014, Yahoo)

Is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fishing in choppy waters for electoral gains in Uttar Pradesh? Activities of the saffron leaders in the last few days suggest that the party’s state unit was not only in overdrive to consolidate its gains in the April-May Lok Sabha elections when it won 71 of the state’s 80 seats. On its part, the Akhilesh Yadav government alleges that BJP leaders were taking “law in their own hands and whipping communal passions.”

The latest instance concerns the small village of Kanth in Moradabad, a predominantly Muslim district, which has been at the centre of all activity for the past week. It began with the police removing loudspeakers from a Shiva temple on the instructions of the district administration. The Hindu residents objected and there were sporadic protests. …

Appeals to BJP leaders and backroom parleys failed to deliver the desired results after which, sources said, both sides decided to stick to their guns. BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai, meanwhile, “took command of the show” and directed senior leaders to reach out to Kanth’s villagers and express their solidarity by their presence at the July 4 “mahapanchayat”. Many say while Rampur, Amroha and Moradabad MPs heading to the village was justified, they question the presence of Sardhana legislator Sangeet Som in the region.

Som, referred to as “Mr Trouble” by officials, was accused of inciting passions in Muzaffarnagar during the riots and was briefly jailed. BJP leaders refused to comment on Som’s presence. BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak, however, told IANS that the party was not playing politics in the issue and was “merely siding with the sentiments of the pople in Kanth”. Asked if these were not pre-meditated attempts to foment trouble, he answered in the negative. …

Rajendra Chowdhary, the state spokesman of the SP and the state’s political pensions minister, however, accuses the BJP of inciting communal passions for electoral gains. “Ever since they have formed a government at the centre, they are running amok, but the SP government will not allow them to destroy the secular fabric of the state at any cost,” he said. Congress and BSP leaders have urged the state government to act strongly against BJP leaders. Uttar Pradesh has had more than 150 small and big communal clashes in the past two years of SP rule.



[Back to Top]

39th Anniversary of Internal Emergency – Editorial (Jun 29, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

Thirty nine years ago, on this very day in 1975, as we go to press today, ‘Internal Emergency’ was declared by the then Congress party government at the centre headed by late Indira Gandhi. As the sun rose that day, thousands of people were arrested and jailed, thus, heralding the darkest chapter in the history of democracy in independent India. It was only after a relentless struggle by the people of our country that this emergency regime was defeated in an election that Ms Gandhi was forced to call in early 1977.

For the first time in India’s post-independent history, the Congress party was resoundingly defeated and a non-Congress central government was formed. However, this turned out to be transient, given the very nature of the conglomeration of political forces that came together to fight the emergency and some of them who came together to form the government under the ‘Janata Party’.

Apart from all the internal squabbles and infighting that plagued the Janata Party from its very inception, its inability to meet the people’s aspirations as it essentially represented the same class interests as that of the Congress party led to widespread people’s discontent, particularly when people’s aspirations were roused during the anti-emergency struggle.

All this is, of course, important in terms of drawing proper lessons from history. But this, however, is besides the point today. The defeat of emergency after 18 months was an important landmark in the evolution of modern India in the sense that this people’s struggle laid deeper the foundations of democracy in our country – the bulwark that can prevent any future rise of authoritarianism. …

This is important to recollect on today’s 39th anniversary of the imposition of internal emergency when there is this new RSS/BJP government that has assumed the reins of power at the centre. …



[Back to Top]

Annihilation by Caste: Lessons from Budaun and Beyond – By Kalpana Kannabiran (Jun 28, 2014, EPW)

The murder of two children in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh, forces us to re-examine our understanding of aggravated assault, murder, sexual assault, atrocity, annihilation by caste and structural violence that is constitutive of the rogue state – not an exceptional state, but the rogue state as the norm in a caste-ridden society. This is not an isolated story. These children were not victims of exceptional violence and brutality. Rather, routine heightened violence and torture of the worst kind are constitutive of caste society, with the condonation (indeed tacit acceptance of the necessity) of such violence written into inaction and equivocation at every level.

My raging grief is about the loss, the deaths of these children, both girls; but there are accounts of a boy killed here as well not so long ago after being brutalised; it is about the unspeakable torture they were subjected to, of which sexual assault was a part; it is about our collective inability as people committed to the annihilation of caste, to make any difference in a context where caste atrocity is at best a spectacle for consumption and speculation; where images of children who have been brutally assaulted and murdered are traded by the media in unthinkable ways and their experience negated by the rogue state. Where does one begin to roll this back?

Although the writing on the Budaun violence has opened out several discussions – from eliminating open defecation to increasing helplines to castigating the Government of Uttar Pradesh – I think this is an issue that goes far beyond the sexual politics of the Samajwadi Party (SP), or the tasks before the toilet ambassadors of the Ministry of Rural Development. Can we forget that Mathura was sexually assaulted in the toilet of a police station? While unarguably women need access to secure basic facilities, this issue is quite separate from their vulnerability to sexual assault. Days have rolled into years and years into decades with us speaking out about the sexual politics of each of our political parties and their treatment of sexual assault. The only difference perhaps is that the SP has perfected the art and woven it densely into statecraft.…

The road that we leave behind is soaked in the blood of victims and built through generations of servitude, and the road that lies ahead is blocked by caste. This takes me to the heart of Ambedkar’s assertion that the only road to freedom, life and indeed humanity is the annihilation of caste – for us all, because violence and the habit of impunity dehumanises the dominant – not only the perpetrators and their cohorts but also the nonchalant bystanders and the distant, studiously indifferent viewers – and annihilates entire classes of vulnerable peoples in full public view with impunity.



[Back to Top]