IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 23rd, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 23rd, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

‘Don’t wait for govt to establish Hindu nation’ (Jun 21, 2014, Times of India)

The third All India Hindu Convention currently under way at Ramnathi in Ponda taluka expressed disappointment over the present political situation in the nation and appealed to Hindus not to depend on political will to establish ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation). After the ‘shankhnaad’ (recital of conch), Swami Pradiptanand Maharaj, east India chief of Bharat Sevashram Sangh inaugurated the convention by lighting a traditional lamp in the presence of Ishwarbuva Ramdasi, chief of Samarth Ramdas swami Sampraday in Maharshtra; Suresh Chawhanke, director of Sudarshan channel; Charudatta Pingale, national guide of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and others at the Ramnathi temple hall on Friday morning.

The week-long convention organized by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) between June 20 and 26 will express the problems of Hindus across the world. The first day of the convention was attended by over 325 delegates from 125 organizations working for the Hindu cause in Sri Lanka, Bangaladesh, Nepal and in 20 states of India, claimed the HJS. Pingale said it is dangerous to believe that the Hindu nation would be established by a change in political party at the Centre. “The BJP government has diverted itself from the ideologies of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Savarkar. The BJP flag is also just half saffron,” he said.

Quoting Swami Vivekananda’s work, Swami Pradiptanand Maharaj appealed to Hindus to ignite Kshatratej with the Brahmatej to fight ill treatment of Hindus. Neel Madhav Das claimed that post liberation governments are more dangerous than the British, Portuguese or Mughals. These foreign rulers demolished Hindu temples to establish their empires in India but the people’s elected governments enact laws to take money from Hindu temples and distribute it to other religious organizations.



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No relief to Nanavati Commission on Sanjeev Bhatt’s demand for records (Jun 19, 2014, Economic Times)

The Gujarat High Court today disposed of the review petition filed by Justice G T Nanavati Commission, which is probing the 2002 riots, against a court’s order allowing the suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt to inspect the state intelligence records. A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala said the Commission refused to allow Bhatt to inspect the records without being aware of the High Court’s October 2012 order, hence it won’t entertain the review petition.

On October 12, 2012, the Advocate General had assured the HC that all the documents demanded by Bhatt would be provided and on the basis of this statement the court had directed the Commission to allow Bhatt to inspect the documents. Bhatt later moved the HC again, saying the Commission had not allowed him to inspect the documents. Three days ago, the HC directed the Commission to allow Bhatt to inspect the records, irrespective of whether they are classified. But the Commission still denied Bhatt access, it also filed a review petition against the High Court’s order.

The review petition said access was denied because of the state government’s letter. In the letter dated October 18, 2012 Gujarat government told the Commission that some of the documents are secret, prohibited from disclosure to any person other than those in the office of the concerned CID, IB and protected under the Official Secrets Act. Bhatt and People’s Union for Civil Liberties had filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking access to riots-related intelligence records from Gujarat government. Bhatt has alleged in his affidavit before the Supreme Court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister, asked the police to go soft on rioters when violence had broken out across Gujarat following the Godhra train burning incident in 2002.



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Pune Violence Was Well Planned And Part Of A “Conspiracy”, Says Report (Jun 23, 2014, The Citizen)

Terror gripped Pune for days before the communal frenzy came to light with the murder of a young Muslim youth by a mob with the state government and the administration witness to violence that began on May 31 and continued unabated until June 2 when Sheikh Mohsin was bludgeoned to death, according to a fact finding team of prominent organisations that visited the city.

The team comprised Reny Ayline, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, New Delhi, Prof A.Marx, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Chennai, Prof G.K.Ramaswamy, Peoples Democratic Forum, Bangalore, Advocate Babita Kesharwani, Mumbai, Sudhir Dhawale, Editor ‘Virodhi, Mumbai and Rupali Jadhav, Kabir Kala Manch, Pune.

The fact finding report said that the build up started in the last week of May “when some fringe Hindu outfits, mainly one Hindu Rashtra Sena led by a maverick Dhananjay Desai protested with road rokos and demonstrations” against the morphed facebook photographs of Shivaji and Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. The agitation turned violent from May 31. The report further added, “the protesters who were initially only targeting government properties such as buses, later started pelting stones, looting and burning shops and religious places of the minority community in and around Pune city.”

Two madrasas and two mosques were attacked in Handewadi on May 31 at a time when children were studying inside the buildings. The mob of slogan shouting youths came on two wheelers armed with “cricket bats, iron bars and talwars. between 9 and 10pm three such attacks took place at half an hour intervals. In the last phase about 50 to 70 armed goons participated in the attack.” In all cases, according to the report, the police arrived after the attackers had left.

According to the report, “more or less at the same time about 35 armed activists of the Hindutva outfit came by motorcycles shouting in the same manner and attacked Rose bakery, Bangalore bakery and Maharashtra bakery in Loni. All of these belong to Muslims.”…



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Orissa: 50 Hindu nationalists attack Christians. Fear of new pogroms (Jun 18, 2014, Asia News)

A new “brutal attack” in Orissa, which responds to a “diabolical plan”: this is how Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), defines the violent assault committed by more than 50 Hindu ultranationalists against Evangelist Baidhare, the pastor of the Pentecostal Fellowship Prayer group, and 12 families of his community. The violence took place in the district of Balasore. According to the GCIC president, the attack “is meant to terrify the Christian minority. They want to repeat what happened in 2008, with the anti-Christian pogroms in the Kandhamal district.” Confirming this hypothesis was the discovery of some handmade explosives in another district of the state.

On June 15, a group of Hindu nationalists attacked and seriously injured the Rev. Baidhar, 50, while he was returning home in the village of Mitrapur after a prayer service. The attackers left the minister on the ground, bleeding. Shortly after, some believers found him and took him to a local hospital to receive the necessary treatment.

When the Hindus found out that Rev. Baidhar had been rescued, about 50 of them attacked 12 Christian families, injuring 20 people, young and old, and attempted to rape a few girls. Not content with that, the attackers looted their homes. Following the attack, many members of these families vanished into thin air, and there has been no news of them since. The suspicion is that they are hiding in the jungle, as happened in 2008 in Kandhamal. Sajan George says that the GCIC in Bhubaneshwar only discovered what had happened on June 16, and immediately denounced the events to the police of Nilgiri.

A few days before, in the district of Puri (Orissa), the local police at Brahmagiri seized more than 50 homemade bombs and 12 charges of dynamite, hidden in a hut in the village of Gambhari. According to police, the explosives found would have been used to organize a new anti-Christian pogrom to take place a short time afterwards, similar to the attacks in Kandhamal in 2008.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu ultranationalists killed 93 people, burned and looted more than 6,500 homes, and destroyed over 350 churches and 45 schools. Because of the pogroms, in 2008 more than 50 thousand people, mostly Christians, were displaced. Today, there are still 10,000 refugees. The Church in Orissa has always initiated assistance and reconstruction programs, aimed at both Christians and Hindus.



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Around 90 MPs of Lok Sabha are facing rioting charges in courts (Jun 16, 2014, India Tomorrow)

In the newly elected 16th Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Indian Parliament, there are 87 Members who are facing rioting charges in different courts of the country. At least 13 of them are facing charges related to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden speech in Parliament this past Wednesday talked about genuine welfare and inclusive growth of minorities, it is a fact that 10 out of the 13 MPs facing charges of communal rioting are from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

As per candidates’ affidavits with the Election Commission, there are 185 MPs (34% of the total strength of Lok Sabha) who have criminal cases pending against them. Some 111 of them have serious criminal cases. Out of 185, there are 87 MPs (16.02% of the total strength of Lok Sabha) who are facing rioting charges under Sections 147, 148, 153A of Indian Penal Code.

Party-wise, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has the largest share of such MPs who are facing rioting charges. Out of 87 such MPs, 41 are from BJP, 8 from its ally Shiv Sena, 5 from Trinamool Congress and 3 from Congress party. As for states, Maharashtra leads with 18 such MPs. With 15 MPs, Uttar Pradesh is at No. 2 followed by Andhra Pradesh and Bihar each with 8 MPs.



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“Muslim women’s group” calls for abolishing oral divorce, polygamy (Jun 18, 2014, Indian Express)

In a move aimed at improving the conditions of Muslim women across the country, the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has finalised a draft Muslim family law which does away with oral divorce, polygamy and also stipulates the mehr amount paid to a woman at her wedding.…

For the past seven years, the BMMA has been working on the draft law in which for the first time Islamic laws pertaining to marriage, divorce and maintenance have been codified. The BMMA is hoping the government uses this draft law to improve the condition of Muslim women in the country.

The draft stipulates that the bride should at least be 18 years of age while the bridegroom should be at least 21 years of age and neither of the two should have a living spouse, thus ensuring that polygamy is stopped. The Islamic laws allow a Muslim man to have upto four wives.

The draft also states that the minimum amount of mehr, which is the paid by the groom to the bride during the wedding, shall not be less than one full annual income of the groom. It further states that if the stipulated mehr is not paid within six months of marriage, then the groom will have to pay double the amount. Presently some grooms give an amount as less as Rs 786 as mehr.

The draft law virtually abolishes oral divorce and triple talaq. It states that only the Talaq-e-Ahsan method should be followed. In this method once the divorce is pronounced the couple waits for three months in what is seen as a period to sort out differences. This keeps the option of a reunion open and the husband can reverse the process of divorce if both parties agree. …



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5 policemen suspended for youth’s death in custody (Jun 19, 2014, Times of India)

Two months after the custodial death of a youth in the Borivli general lock-up, the Mumbai police recently suspended a sub-inspector and four constables. The suspension order was issued on Tuesday, pending an inquiry against the five personnel by the crime branch.

On April 22, the victim, Akash Kharade, a Kandivli resident, was waiting his turn to use the lavatory in the lock-up, when he “suddenly collapsed”. He had sustained head injuries. He was taken to Shatabdi Hospital, where he was declared dead. “Samta Nagar PSI Santosh Borade and four constables have been suspended,” said DCP Pravinkumar Patil.

Kharade’s family had alleged foul play in the case. The crime branch arrested Kharade and three aides in a murder case on April 18 and handed them over to the Samta Nagar police the next day.



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Special court denies homemade food in Ramzan to Muslim accused; Mumbai prison restrict another accused from carrying Quran pages (Jun 22, 2014, Twocircles.net)

In an unsympathetic occurrence the Special MCOCA court established inside Mumbai Central Prison, commonly known as Arthur Road Jail, turned down the application filed by 20 odd accused persons in a case of ‘sending of threatening email before Gujarat and Delhi blasts in 2008’ for allowing homemade food delivered by relatives inside prison during the month of Ramzan.

Advocates of the Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra), who are providing legal aid to these accused, are determined to approach the Bombay High Court for the special order granting home-food to accused persons during the month of Ramzan.

The accused argued through Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra) advocates that as an obligations accused persons have to fast 30 days of Ramzan and urged the Court to homemade foods, including dates, fruits, snacks and fried items. The advocates also argued that every year preceding special court judges allowed such applications on the humanity ground and therefore this year too the said facility may be extended to the accused person. …



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‘Minister Nihalchand sent men to threaten me, offered me job’ (Jun 18, 2014, Indian Express)

The 20-year-old woman at the centre of the sexual exploitation case against union minister Nihalchand Meghwal on Tuesday alleged that the minister sent his men to threaten her and also offered her a job if she withdrew the case. She sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation and said she wanted to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to narrate her experience in person.

“Nihalchand had sent his men to threaten and coax me into withdrawing the case. They offered me a job if I agreed to drop the charges against him but I will not budge. He must resign from his post immediately,” the woman said at a press conference in Ganganagar. “I want to meet PM Modi and narrate the entire story in detail so that he understands the authenticity of my statements. I demand a CBI inquiry into the case so that it is not influenced like it was done earlier in 2011,” she said.

The woman was a minor when she was allegedly sexually exploited repeatedly by her husband, Om Prakash Godara and 16 others, including Meghwal, in Jaipur. She has claimed that Godara drugged her food and forced her to engage with other men. She also alleged that Godara, a BJP worker and member of Yuva Morcha in the state, installed CCTV cameras in the house and made CDs of the encounters.…



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Amrut Prajapati, witness against Asaram, succumbs to bullet wounds (Jun 11, 2014, Times of India)

Amrut Prajapati, a former aide of Asaram, succumbed to his bullet injuries on Tuesday at a private bungalow in Madhavpark society of Odhav. His family members said that the truth would emerge only if investigation was handed to a neutral agency. …

Rajkot police had earlier registered a case of attempt-to-murder against unknown assailants. “However, after Prajapati’s death, Rajkot police has added IPC section 302 (murder) against the accused,” said Rajkot police commissioner Mohan Jha.

Rajkot police sources said a sub-inspector had been rushed to Ahmedabad. “He will record the statements of doctors who treated Prajapati. We are also awaiting the postmortem report,” one source said. “If needed we could question Asaram and Narayan Sai,” a Rajkot Police source added.



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Opinions and Editorials

Modi Sarkar And The Threat To Constitution Of India – By Mukul Dube (Jun 23, 2014, Countercurrents)

“‘The next government may adopt a muscular and hawkish approach to internal security…,’ said a senior official [of the Ministry of Home Affairs]” ( Hindu , 20 May 2014, page 10). As bureaucrats tend to be overly cautious, the fact that this statement was made should tell us something. The catch-phrase “internal security” is a catch-all. It can include anything and everything. It cannot be defined, neither precisely nor even vaguely. The Intelligence Bureau’s report on NGOs and foreign funds must be seen in this light. …

What of the Constitution of India, under which Modi was chief minister of Gujarat and under which he is now prime minister of India? Let us first recall that this man was associated with the RSS since the age of eight, becoming a full-time pracharak in 1970, and that he has not renounced this association. Here is what the chief of the RSS said in August 2013. “‘Modi is the only person who has remained rooted in the RSS ideology,’ Bhagwat told the group” (http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/rss-30 ).

The “sting” by Tehelka brought out with clarity the support that the gangs of marauders in Gujarat in 2002 had from the very top of that state’s leadership. Babu Bajrangi said that he “felt like Rana Pratap” after killing many Muslims at Naroda Patiya, including women and children. Having done his work, he said, he told the Home Minister of the state over the telephone of the bodies to be collected. He described at length how Narendra Modi first found a safe refuge for him and later kept changing judges until one was found who co-operated.

Much is so clearly understood in these situations that words are unnecessary. Babu Bajrangi, Ramesh Dave and other stars of the Tehelka tapes say that Modi could not be explicit owing to his position – but also that they venerate him because he gave them three days to wreak bloody havoc. In 2002, Modi ruled over Gujarat: and a dozen years later, he rules over India. There is reason to think that many more Bajrangis will be born or will come out into the open in places other than Gujarat. Indeed, some of those very monsters killed young Mohsin Shaikh in Pune. …

Modi said to his party people, in the Central Hall of Parliament after his electoral victory this year, “I salute … [the] makers of the Constitution of our country” ( Hindu , 21 May 2014). He also said, “Various governments in the past tried to do some good work in their own way for which they deserve appreciation”. What prevents Modi from saying, at any time now that he is in office, that as the previous governments were all right for their times, so the Constitution of India was all right for the past but now must be changed? It takes no genius to predict that soon enough this is what will happen. We have no reason to believe that the RSS has changed its view of the Constitution. It has been patient for long, and the time has now come for it to strike. …



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State Intolerance Must Be Stopped – By Devika Mittal (Jun 18, 2014, Countercurrents)

The ruling Government of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power on the mandate of the people. After 30 years, a single party has managed to win with a clear majority. While the reasons for this clear mandate of the people is certainly debatable, the fact is that for whatever reasons, a large section of people of India did give its mandate to BJP and as believers of democracy, even those who disagree with the ideology of BJP respected the decision. However, while they respected the mandate, the government doesn’t seem to respect the spirit of democracy.

This refers to the increasing cases of witch hunting of individuals and organizations who are against the ideology of the ruling Government. On the target are NGOs, students’ organizations and campaigns that have been working to voice the need for a more inclusive and sustainable development. Recently, IB has released a list of NGOs that are accused of receiving foreign funding to oppose development projects in India. A look on the name of the NGOs, their issues and demands will be sufficient to tell what exactly is going on. …

Instead of understanding the cause of their dissent, the Government is trying to silence all dissent. Unlike the Government, they are not even resorting to force. While their protests are often suppressed with force, they continue to adopt peaceful measures. They believe in democracy which allows freedom of expression. In a democracy, people have the right to accountability. They have the right to protest against injustice. How can this right be taken? The Government far from hearing their rightful demand for a more inclusive development is targeting them. They are trying to silence all opposition.

Similarly, there are increasing cases of individuals being arrested for anti-government opinions. Individuals have been booked for anti-Modi views. This is unheard of in any democracy. A democracy is supposed to accommodate difference of opinion. We have the right to freedom of expression. It is on us to decide who is a good leader and who is not. It is the people who decide the able government. This is the essence of democracy. We have every right to criticize a political ideology and the person who represents it.

As about the posts that are capable of “provoking communal disharmony” and “inciting riots”, the cyber crime cell that has become hyper-active must share their definition of what is “offensive”. It seems to find only the posts that are against Modi as “offensive”, “grossly offensive” and amounting to “incite riots”. Instead of working to curb this culture of intolerance which leads to enmity and riots, the government is only encouraging it. The state is becoming intolerant of dissent and in doing so, it is challenging the very spirit of democracy.



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The Right Kind – By Pragya Singh and Abhijit Mazumdar (Jun 30, 2014, Outlook)

…The RSS itself, however, is an unregistered body and submits neither income tax returns nor does it have a licence to receive money from abroad. But many of the NGOs affiliated to it are among the 13,000-odd NGOs in India that received some Rs 11,546 crore in 2011-12, as per the information furnished by the ministry of home affairs (the share of Greenpeace India, which has been in the eye of a storm after the ‘destabilising’ IB report against it, was a paltry Rs 60 crore). Several activists associated with different NGOs allege that the lion’s share of foreign funds go to the religious organisations, including the RSS-affiliated ones.

Indeed, the growth of the RSS provoked a group of US intellectuals in 2002 to ask around about its funding. They published a detailed account of how the American charity, India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), donated much of its basket to the RSS, VHP and other Sangh-affiliated NGOs in India. The report wanted the IDRF to stop “funding hate” and challenged its claim of aiding India’s development. They demanded an independent examination of its activities and the affiliation of the NGOs it funded. The IDRF did not respond to an e-mail from Outlook this week. Its website does not have updated information either. However, information in the public domain shows that between 1994 and 2000, most of IDRF’s $5 million fund poured into Sangh-affiliated NGOs. In those years, when a donor asked IDRF to pick an NGO on their behalf, 83 per cent of the donation wound up in a “Sangh-affiliated” one, the study discovered. …

“The RSS doesn’t call its affiliated organisations NGOs, they mostly call them samajik sangathans. In the IB’s point of view, these are just fringe groups. So they get excluded,” says Prof Badri Narayan of G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad. Coming to the double standards over foreign funding, Prof Narayan recalls that former finance minister P. Chidambaram and ex-PM Manmohan Singh were the ones who first questioned the foreign funding of Koodankulam protesters—even as both Congress and the BJP admit receiving donations from foreign companies, most notably Vedanta.

Many NGOs fear the IB report merely prepares the ground for their future persecution. “Indian environmental NGOs have consistently been targeted. The NGOs that don’t get into trouble have political protection because of their affiliation or they’re noise-makers like Greenpeace. The unaffiliated, unspectacular NGOs will bear the brunt of the new rules and controls,” says Parth J. Shah, who heads Centre for Civil Society, Delhi. Of course, distributing food to the needy is a noble deed, but it also doesn’t challenge the state’s inefficiencies. Easier to lay that charge against the foreign hand.



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Meet Mr. Hindutva And His Patrons – By Jyoti Punwani (Jun 20, 2014, The Sri Lanka Guardian)

The Maharashtra police are at it again. They have linked the Pune murder of Mohsin Shaikh by Hindu Rashtra Sena goons to the actions of NCP Muslims. The ‘Hindu backlash’ theory is at work again. Shaikh’s murder was a pure and simple hate crime, one would have thought. But not so for the Maharashtra police, who believe in the theory of “action-reaction”. Modi wasn’t the only one to use it. All Hindutvavadis describe their violence as “defensive” or a “reaction” to violence by Muslims. The latter are always the initiators – this is an article of faith for Hindutvavadis. And the reaction is always bound to be more than the action, since Hindus are the majority – this was explained to me by the late Adhik Shirodkar, the Shiv Sena’s senior counsel before the Srikrishna Commission of inquiry into the 92-93 riots. …

When you start taking this ‘action-reaction’ theory to its logical end, some questions arise. Even before Shivaji’s statue was stoned, Hindu Rashtra Sena members were distributing offensive leaflets. Were they still reacting, on the night of June 1, to the offensive FB post? Or were they just following the exhortations of their leader, Dhananjay Desai, now an accused in Shaikh’s murder?

Desai’s speeches are on the Internet, uploaded by his followers. From 2010 to 2013, he has told the latter to hunt out modern day Afzal Khans and do to them what his idol Shivaji did to the original. “Call them Kaka, Mama, then wrench out their entrails … Shaista Khan escaped with his fingers chopped off. This time, it won’t be only fingers that will be chopped off. Take these traitors to their final resting place – near Afzal Khan’s grave.” In one speech (on Shiv Jayanti, March 12, 2010), he even declares that every youngster who kills an Afzal Khan should be given a Bharat Ratna.

Shiv Sena and BJP leaders have often shared the dais with Desai when he has made these speeches. Desai lists Bal Thackeray in a long line of inspiring leaders – Guru Gobind Singh, Rana Pratap, Shivaji. But he goes beyond Thackeray in his tirades against Muslims. The Shiv Sena chief, at least in his editorials in Saamna, would exempt “patriotic” Muslims from his rants against “anti-national landyas”. This distinction got him a clean chit from the Bombay High Court for his inflammatory writings during the 92-93 Mumbai riots. …

This is the kind of poison Dhananjay Desai has been allowed to spread to young men in Maharashtra and Goa over the last five years, by a ‘secular’ Congress-NCP government. The 23 cases pending against him have not stopped him. The message these young men have received is clear – you can flout the law and get away with it; indeed, it is your patriotic and religious duty to do so. This is what they must have thought when they lynched a bearded Muslim at night. Neither Desai nor his followers, nor the police, nor their ‘secular’ political masters, must have expected the nationwide furore that followed. Will this furore be kept alive to ensure that both leader and followers are kept behind bars till their trial? Will the trial be completed before the probable change of guard in November? It is up to us to ensure that this is done.



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The tragedy of Muzaffarnagar – Editorial (Jun 24, 2014, The Hindu)

There are no signs, so far, of delivery of justice to the riot-affected people in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Nine months after they were uprooted from their homes following communal violence, thousands of people from the Muslim community are still languishing in camps. The Akhilesh Yadav government has been completely apathetic towards them. Not only that, it has shown utter disregard for their safety and any prospect for the future. Last week, the local administration issued a diktat to over 250 families living on government land in the adjoining riot-hit Shamli district, asking them to return to their native villages. Mr. Yadav has failed to realise that the situation is very volatile in the entire area, and there have been instances where the riot-affected people have been roughed up when they as much as dared to pass through the villages they once inhabited.

Most of them are scared and, in the absence of any security, determined not to return to their villages. In many cases their homes have been burnt and their property has been looted. The payment of compensation for such losses has been very haphazard. Conditions in the camps border on the pathetic. Able-bodied men have lost the will to work. Many among the camp-dwellers are skilled workers. But they are so worried about the safety of their families, many refuse to even venture out to find work. Women have been forced to work in brick kilns in the area. Children who should be in school suffer from various illnesses. At least 34 of them perished due to cold during the last winter. Many of them have also been forced to work to supplement family incomes.

As the media and civil rights groups shifted their focus to the hanging of two Dalit girls in Badaun, the riot-affected families do not know what lies ahead of them. In his vision for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that his government will have a policy of zero tolerance towards extremism and riots. He also specified that his government was committed to making all minorities equal partners in India’s progress. But, just a week before that, one of his junior Ministers, who is also an accused in the riots, in a show of triumphalism was busy taking out a victory procession through Muzaffarnagar.

This is where Mr. Modi needs to walk the talk and ensure that there is no impediment to the delivery of justice to the victims. The State government may be dragging its feet, but that should not deter Mr. Modi from taking demonstrative steps to normalise the situation in the area. The immediate priority of his government must be to help the victims get back on their feet and then return to their homes. This conviction needs to flow down from Mr. Modi’s office.



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Annihilation by Caste: Lessons from Budaun and Beyond – By Kalpana Kannabiran (Jun 21, 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 (ital)by (ital) 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 acce-ptance of the necessity) of such violence written into inaction and equivocation at every level. …

Notwithstanding the technical inapplicability of the PoA Act to the Budaun murders, what is telling is the extreme vulnerability of dalit-bahujan communities – in a state with the most powerful political mobilisation that rose to occupy state power. Far from being an indication of the ineffectiveness of dalit-bahujan mobilisation in UP, it is rather a sign of the encrusted power of the dominant castes and an indication of how Sisyphean the struggle is. It is neither inappropriate nor inaccurate to characterise this as an attack on dalit children – in the context of caste atrocity the term dalit encompasses the dalit-bahujan experience of caste discrimination.

And that is really at the heart of the contradictions that Budaun throws up – there is a commonality of experience in disentitlement and vulnerability across dalit-bahujan groups that quotidian separations in administration and law negate. But those are the limits of the law. There are also shifting gradations of status, class and power within this large category, these contestations absorbing the ideology and methods of caste in inter caste relations. Is it methodologically possible to offer protection and legal redress to victims across the ladder of graded inequalities and graded exclusions except through blanket criminal law provisions? And yet, viewing assaults such as these in terms of the Indian Penal Code alone reduces the gravity of the offence by removing the targeted nature of the assault from consideration and defining it outside the purview of caste atrocity.

And finally we come to the rogue state. How many times have we seen this? Karamchedu, Chunduru, Khairlanji, Budaun, Mathura, Rameeza, Bhanwari – different states at different times, different courts of different jurisdictions, and the story is the same. Despite the constitutional ban on untouchability and protections against discrimination based on caste, the patriarchal caste order constitutes the state. Democracy lies trapped in the clutches of the two-headed state – the hibernating constitutional order, and the live and throbbing rogue state that actively participates in the project of annihilating by caste across lines of party and ideology – caste is the unifying ideology and the fundamental logic of governance.

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.



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