Peace, Pluralism and Justice
In this issue of IAMC News Digest
Opinions & Editorials
The mahapanchayat at Nagla Mandaur in Muzaffarnagar on September 7, 2013, is seen as the trigger that pushed Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas into the communal fire. Three years later, TOI takes a look at the career graph of five BJP leaders - Sanjeev Balyan, Kunwar Bhartendra, Suresh Rana, Sangeet Som, Hukum Singh - who were accused of instigating masses through their inciting speeches during the mahapanchayat.
Today, the leaders stand tall in their political careers so much so that three of them - Sanjeev Balyan, Hukum Singh and Kunwar Bhartendra - even got Lok Sabha tickets in 2014 General Elections. All of them won and one of them even got an MoS berth in the Union government (though Sanjeev Balyan was only part of the mahapanchayat that was held on August 31 after which he was arrested).
Suresh Rana, MLA from Thana Bhawan, is UP BJP vice-president, while Sangeet Som shot to 'fame' as BJP's firebrand leader. Besides, he also got a Z-category security cover. However, the most meteoritic rise is that of Sanjeev Balyan. In just three years of joining BJP in 2011, Balyan became the second youngest minister in the Modi government at 41, despite the fact that he spent two weeks in jail as an accused in Muzaffarnagar riots. For many in BJP circles, his appointment as a minister came as a shock while insiders say he was rewarded handsomely for setting the field for riots in August 31, 2013 speech at Nagla Mandaur.
Haryana beef row: Opposition parties accuse Khattar government of creating communal conflict for electoral gain (Sep 10, 2016, India Today)
Political opponents of the Manohar Lal government have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conducting beef raids in Mewat to stoke anti-Muslim sentiments across India, from Kashmir to Haryana, to influence the UP assembly elections in 2017.
Congress national spokesperson Meem Afzal alleged that the Haryana government was indulging in a campaign that was even against the spirit of the Prime Minister's contention when he declared that most of the gaurakshaks were antisocial elements. "The Haryana government thinks it is even bigger than the PM who did the nation much service to declare that gaurakahs was a front for criminal activities in most cases.
On the other hand, the BJP is trying to create an atmosphere where it culminates into a communal riot on the occasion of Eid so that they can reap the electoral harvest in UP elections. Due to its crass failure, the state government is trying to hide its face behind cow."
Haryana double murder and gang rape : One accused RSS man another Modi Bhakt (Sep 7, 2016, Muslim Mirror)
The politics of hate is flourishing and the seeds of hatred sown by right wing groups belonging to RSS are sprouting forth their fruits across the nation. The latest example of this hate politics and extreme communal hatred is the brutal double murder of a couple and rape of his two cousins in Dinger Heri village of district Mewat in Haryana during the night of 24th August.
Four persons have been arrested so far in connection to this shocking incident . The arrested men have no criminal history but were known to extort money from animal traders in name of Cow Protection. MuslimMirror.com in the previous report covering the incident has indicated the involvement of right wing Hindutva group in this double murder and rape case. Now the Facebook handle of two accused have confirmed that they are associated with RSS and BJP.
According to the Facebook page of accused Rahul Verma he is an RSS volunteer. Apparently he had joined RSS after attending a RSS camp which was held at Saini Pura village in April. Another accused Rao Amarjeet is an unabashed Muslim hater and Modi bhakt. A picture of Narendra Modi was posted by him on 21st February with a self explanatory comment: 'Muslim To Gye'. Add to it the rape survivor's statement that while committing the heinous deed the culprits had repeatedly said that 'you will not be able to slaughter cow this Bakrid'.
Una Dalit flogging: CID says cops turned skinning of dead cow into case of 'beef being found' (Sep 8, 2016, India Today)
The Gujarat CID accused four policemen of dereliction of duty and fudging facts in the Una Dalit flogging incident, in a chargesheet on Wednesday.
Authorities chargesheeted 34 people, including the four cops, two months after seven Dalit youths were flogged by self-styled cow vigilantes in Una, Gujarat. A separate chargesheet was also filed against three minors before the Juvenile Justice Board at Junagadh.
The four policemen - including Una police inspector at the time of the flogging - were arrested for failing to stop the crime, conniving with the perpetrators and forging FIR related documents to help the accused.
BJP chief Amit Shah on stage, Patidars chant 'Hardik', disrupt function in Surat (Sep 9, 2016, Indian Express)
Pandemonium broke out after protesting Patidars stormed the venue of a programme organised here Thursday by the businessmen-led Patidar Abhivadan Samiti (PAS) to felicitate prominent Patidar BJP leaders and party president Amit Shah as part of the party's run-up to state elections next year. Shouting "Hardik, Hardik," - a reference to Hardik Patel who is in Udaipur serving a bail condition - and "Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar," they disrupted proceedings and countered the "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" slogans from the stage.
Besides Shah, those on the dais included Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his predecessor Anandiben Patel, BJP state president Jitu Vaghani, Union Ministers Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya and 44 Patidar MLAs of the BJP. Chairs were thrown at the police who tried to stop them as members of the Hardik Patel-founded Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) shouted anti-BJP slogans and rooted for Hardik. People began leaving the venue after clashes broke out between PAAS and police which had staked out the venue since Wednesday.
The three to five-minute speeches of Rupani and Shah at the event held in the P P Sawani school run by PAS leader Mahesh Sawani, a diamond businessman, in the Abrahma area of Mota Varachha, a Patidar neighbourhood, was in stark contrast to Shah's earlier speech at a meeting of booth karyakartas in Tapi some 80 km away where he spoke about the BJP's "model" of uprooting the Congress in every state.
Britain's charities watchdog on Friday asked a UK-based Hindu charity to maintain its distance from the RSS as it was found in a sting operation that a speaker having formal links with the right-wing group had made remarks against Muslims and Christians at a camp.
The Charity Commission issued the warning as part of its inquiry report into the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS-UK) after an undercover television investigation showed a speaker making anti-Muslim and Christian remarks to some students during one of its camps.
The commission concluded there was "mismanagement" in the administration of the charity by failing to effectively monitor the speaker seen in the TV programme but said there was "insufficient evidence to show that the views of concern expressed by the speaker were endemic or systematic in the charity".
Acharya Balkrishna, Billionaire Patanjali CEO, Forged Degrees And Passport: Report (Sep 15, 2016, Huffington Post)
While Baba Ramdev's Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Ashram has described Balkrishna as a "great scholar of ayurveda, Sanskrit language and Vedas" and claims that he is "credited with rediscovering the Sanjivani buti," the 43-year old CEO reportedly furnished a fake graduate degree in Sanskrit as well as a forged high school degree in order to acquire a passport.
The Indian Express reported today that Balkrishna's 'Purv Madhyma' high school degree and 'Shastri', a Sanskrit degree from Sampurna Nand Sanskrit University do not exist on the university records, and that he was charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy for producing fake documents in 2012.
The CBI said that his passport was issued based on forged high school and graduation certificates, India Times reported. The Indian Express reported that two cases, one dealing with forgery and another one involving money laundering, were dropped when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
'No illegality in Zakir Naik NGO's donation to Rajiv Gandhi Charitible Trust' (Sep 10, 2016, The Hindu)
The Home Ministry has found no 'illegality' in the donation given by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's NGO to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitible Trust (RGCT).
The Trust, run by Congress president Sonia Gandhi received Rs. 50 lakh by Mr. Naik's foundation in 2011. "Prima facie, there was no illegality found," a senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu.
The RGCT is registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA), which mandates donation from one FCRA registered to another. Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) is also an FCRA registered NGO, and in 2011, there was no enquiry against it.
Deep terror and fear stalks Mewat in Haryana, the only district where there is a sizeable Muslim community in the state. The police under the BJP led government has taken over the work of the cow vigilantes, and has been officially charged to sniff beef from the biryani being cooked for Eid in homes and at street stalls.
In the midst of this has come reports of a brutal attack on Muslims, in a village in Mewat where they were brutally beaten and killed, and the girls raped by a gang of youth. Local workers insist that at least two of the assailants were recognised as members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, with activists naming them at a press conference held in Delhi by Anhad yesterday.
Although the house was looted, the modus operandi of the assailants according to Advocate Ramzan Chaudhry suggested a planned attack. The Haryana government is following the larger agenda of driving the poorer Muslims at this stage out of business, and ensuring that their freedoms are curtailed through the threat of arrests and mob attacks. The Haryana government has enforced what it has labelled the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gau Samvardhan Act 2015. The police teams that have been regularly driving in and swooping down on hapless vendors, are abusive, threatening and in characteristic style throw the utensils and break the poor Muslim stall owners meagre belongings.
With the government stoutly defending the role of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency-hit Manipur, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was more concerned about human rights violations happening in the heart of capital cities like Imphal.
"It is not the Line of Control (LoC) but the heart of the cities like Imphal, is what we are concerned. Public order needs to be followed," a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit said after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that security forces at LoC or during insurgent operations have to act in a particular way.
Referring to an earlier constitution bench judgement in the Naga People's Movement of Human Rights case, the bench said law in this regard has already been settled, as it has ruled that though an internal disturbance is a cause for concern, it does not threaten the security of the country.
Opinions and Editorials
Shridhar Damle, the co-author of The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, along with Walter K Andersen, is one of the leading authorities on the RSS. In this interview with Kaveree Bamzai, he answers some questions on the relationship between Nathuram Godse and the RSS, as well as the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha,
Nathuram Godse was in the RSS till the Hyderabad satyagraha was launched against the Nizam state in 1938-39. Like other Hindu Mahasabhaites, he wanted RSS' participation in large numbers. The Sangh refused to join the agitation as well as the Jungle satyagraha (counterpart of the Salt satyagraha in Vidarbha).
He followed Savarkar's advice (according to Savarkar papers at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library) and, in May 1943, with help from other young Hindu Mahasabhaites, especially Narayan Apte (who was also hanged for Mahatma Gandhi's murder), formed the Hindu Rashtra Dal, which was active till January 1948.
Amit Shah Now Knows First-hand What Patel Anger in Gujarat Might Cost the BJP - By Darshan Desai (Sep 10, 2016, The Wire)
Like his mentor Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah goes for his targets like a rhino and is seldom known to cajole rivals or even supporters to get things done. More so in Gujarat, where anything goes in the name of the BJP. The big news however, is that this may no longer be so.
This man and his party got a shock on Thursday evening in of all places Surat - the state's diamond capital where money and support has long flown for the BJP like the Tapi. This time round, however, Shah and his colleagues were greeted with slogans such as 'General Dyer Go Back' - a reference to the murderous British commander at Jallianwalla Bagh. As plastic chairs were thrown in the air, the BJP leaders were forced to beat a hasty and embarrassed retreat.
But the grand event, which was intended to demonstrate that at least one lakh Patidars stood firm with the BJP, witnessed ugly scenes in the presence of a galaxy of BJP leaders Protestors resorted to relentless slogan-shouting and tossed chairs in the air at the specially erected dome at the sprawling PP Savani Ground in Abrama area, forcing speakers to cut short their speeches. Chants such as 'Jai Sardar', 'Jai Patidar' and 'Jai Hardik' drowned out Amit Shah Besides Shah, a shaken Vaghani - who said "Patels don't behave like this" - and Rupani had to wrap up their speeches within three to five minutes all told.
We all know 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas', but what most of us missed out on, thanks to a pro-establishment media, overly self-conscious civil society and lazy, opportunistic political class was 'How the BJP and Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana stole Bakra Eid' or Eid-ul-Adha,
But this year, the BJP-run Haryana government decided - contrary to its empty slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and in contravention of the various impotent guarantees of equality before law and freedom of religion within the Constitution, bestowed upon every citizen of this country - that it would steal away this little moment of joy and income from its minority Muslim populace, which continues to be subjected to religious-based violence, discrimination and second-class treatment in their own homeland.
It succeeded in sending out a loud and clear message to all minorities in general and Indian Muslims in particular, that there is no space for them in its narrow Idea of India, that they have no rights - economic, legal or political - and that there is no recourse against the majoritarian bullying they will indulge in, often in connivance with the various institutions of democracy, including the self-serving media, barring a few exceptions of journalists such as Ravish Kumar or Rajdeep Sardesai.
The Supreme Court order dismissing Common Cause's writ petition seeking directions against the misuse of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a monumental abdication of the judicial function. In choosing to summarily dismiss the concerns raised by the petitioner over the abuse of the sedition law, the Court has shut its eyes and ears to the events that are taking place just outside its gates.
It has chosen to continue to live in a make-believe world where a precedent laid down in 1962 interpreting the sedition law continues to be understood andapplied by the police in good faith, with no pressure from the state or central governments. The honourable judges seem to be in a fantasy land where dissent faces no retribution in the form of abuse of process by a vengeful government.
Whether it is the first information reports (FIRs) againstprotestors at Koodankulam or the recent complaints against Kanhaiya Kumar or Amnesty International, Section 124A has been used by governments of all shades to stifle dissent. The relatively small number of cases should not hide the intention of the government - to have a chilling effect on dissenting speech.
Apparently it is impossible to continue to exist without righteous indignation at the present. There are more than enough reasons to exercise your anger. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to continue to contain ones anger. Everyday debilitating news brings us close and closer towards breaking our own vows of resistance and restraint at social indifference and rampant callousness.
This one takes the cake: A man waited too long for an ambulance to transport his wife's body, and finally gave up. He had to wrap the body in a bed sheet and carry it slung over his shoulder in plain day light over the street! In this country where each undeserving political autocrat is given undue security from God knows what and has a whole retinue of cars and jeeps to accompany him or her wherever they go it has come to such a state that an ordinary citizen cannot avail of an ambulance to shift a dead body! Cry my beloved country!…
Life these days is not without its own share of horrors and dreadfulness. "The horror, the horror!" This phrase occurs in Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Many have discussed the meaning of this in terms of the horrendous experiences that Mr Kurtz undergoes in the wake of colonialism and imperialism in deep Africa; this has also been linked to the profound state of the protagonist's sanity that as in a process of onion peeling just comes off layer after layer! But perhaps taken out of context this could fit quite well with our own present day situation. The horror the horror!
For close to two months, men, women and children, the old and the young, the disabled and the ailing, have been locked up in a giant prison. After more than 54 days of curfew, that is precisely how one can describe conditions in the Kashmir Valley. The response of the Indian state, after parts of the Valley erupted in protests against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July, has been to use unconscionable force to curb popular anger. To date, 71 people are dead, more than 8,000 injured, including over 200 blinded by pellet injuries.
While the horrific cost on the lives of especially young people through pellet injuries has been reported by the media, the story that remains to be told is the price an entire population has had to pay to live through more than 54 days of curfew. What this means is not just a partial restriction of movement, but a total lockdown from dawn to dusk.
No one can step outside without risking being shot on sight. Even curfew passes are no guarantee for safe movement as journalists confirm.… If the authorities hope this kind of punishment will wear out the protestors, they are clearly mistaken. By locking a whole population, all you are doing is literally pushing them into a pressure cooker that is waiting to explode.…