Online news channel!

Tag: hindus

No secret talks were held between Modi-Sharif at Kathmandu last year: Sartaj Aziz

Replying to points raised by other members, Aziz said “India changed its hostile attitude towards Pakistan because of our constructive diplomacy, international pressure and domestic lobbies in India”.

PTI
Info

<!– 186 –>
186
0
0
182

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
Air India announces two special plans for New Year <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Air India announces two special plans for New Year<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2015 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>
<!– ExpCom CGP –>

Gujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health grounds

The medical report submitted by doctors said Kukrani had a history of “uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension and old cerebrovascular stroke etc.” and he required assistance to carry out the daily activities. The special trial court had in August 2012 convicted 31 persons for involvement in the Naroda Patiya riot case wherein 97 people had been killed a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002.

<!– –>

0
0
0

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
J&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat Alam <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Preliminary work on Kalam memorial begins<!– /.block –>J&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat Alam<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2015 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>
<!– ExpCom CGP –>

‘Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh Joshi

Some 700 delegates from various countries are taking part in the camp, organised by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, a cultural outfit. It will conclude on January 3.

<!– –>

0
0
0

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
Singer Remo Fernandes not against court monitoring investigation against him <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>No interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPT<!– /.block –>Singer Remo Fernandes not against court monitoring investigation against him<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2015 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>
<!– ExpCom CGP –>

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah reiterates commitment over anti-superstition Bill

The draft Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013 was prepared by Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) of National Law School of India University, on the invitation of state government. BJP condemning certain provisions in the Bill had said the government has no right to infringe upon the beliefs of Hindus.

PTI
Info

<!– –>

0
0
0

TOP
<!– /.block –>TOP <!– /.block –>
<</h2>
Hyderabad becomes first airport to offer e-boarding facility to domestic fliers <!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
<!– /.block –>
Also ReadIndiaGirl abducted outside her college in Gurgaon finally rescued after manhuntIndiaSexist comments against Smriti Irani: BJP demands Nilamoni Sendeka’s arrest, protest at Congress HQIndiaChristmas nightmare: When ‘Santa’ threw acid on a mother and child in KeralaIndiaCentre to allow bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’IndiaJourno’s jottings 2015: When politics over beef claimed a life in DadriIndiaSheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till January 11 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Asset allocation funds can provide cushion in volatile markets<!– /.block –>Hyderabad becomes first airport to offer e-boarding facility to domestic fliers<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Desktop_970x90_BTF –><!– /.block –><!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Tablet_728x90_BTF –><!– /.block –> <!– /#bottom_bar –>

<!– footer start –>

Partner site: Zee News
©2015 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

<!– footer end –>

Eying Dalits and backwards, RSS plans campaign for Hindu unity

“We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.

RSS will run a nationwide campaign next year to promote “social harmony” among Hindus apparently with an eye to win over Dalits, tribals and other backward classes, communities which are key to BJP’s hopes of wresting power in Uttar Pradesh where elections are due in 2017.The move also assumes significance in the wake of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s suggestion that the reservation policy needs to be reviewed – a statement that had boomeranged as it was blamed by many for BJP’s drubbing in the recent Assembly polls of caste-ridden Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.”The members (volunteers) of the shakhas will spread the Sangh’s viewpoint on ‘samrasta’ in the society thereafter,” he said.Besides, on Makar Sankranti (January 14), the RSS will organise lunches in which food stuff of ’til’ (sesame seeds) made by different families will be served, he said referring to an apparent symbolic gesture of breaking traditional caste-related restriction that have plagued the society.”People of different castes including Dalits, creed and languages will sit together and take lunch. By doing so we want to promote samajik samrasta in the Hindu society,” he said.”We will also hold several ‘samajik samrasta yajnas’ on February 7 in which people of different castes, including Dalits, across the Madhya Bharat Pranth, will participate,” he said.The RSS functionary, however, stressed that “nothing deeper” should be read into this move. It is primarily aimed at Hindu ‘samrasta’, he said adding that RSS has been promoting harmony among Hindus since decades.”We are doing this exercise following a decision of our central body. Such functions are going to be organised in our 11 ‘kshetras’ spread across the country. The different pranths of the kshetras will chart out their functions,” Pimplikar said.Meanwhile, the RSS is circulating a Hindi booklet titled ‘Sabhi Hindu Sahodar Hai’ (all Hindus are siblings), containing its views on ‘Hindu samrasta’ in Bhopal, Gwalior, Chambal and Narmadapuram revenue divisions of MP which it refers as Madhya Bharat Pranth.The 32-page booklet praises Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, and contains lectures of former RSS chiefs late Balasaheb Deoras and late M S Golwalkar vehemently opposing untouchability.The BJP too has been stressing on the legacy of Dalit icon Ambedkar with the Narendra Modi Government marking Constitution Day on November 26 which saw a special two-day discussion in both Houses of Parliament as a tribute to Ambedkar.In a stunning comeback in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state, which was mainly attributed to the consolidation of Dalit votes, and the party has been hoping to continue the trend in the 2017 Assembly polls in the politically crucial state.However, the recent debacle in Bihar Assembly polls despite the fact that it won a major chunk of Lok Sabha seats in the state jolted the party.

Babri mosque anniversary: ‘Day of victory’ vs ‘day of sorrow’

Meanwhile in Delhi, members of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad today pleged to work for early construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya as they marked the day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’.

Muslim groups observed ‘day of sorrow’ while Hindu outfits celebrated ‘shaurya divas’ on the 23rd anniversary of Babri mosque demolition today, which passed off peacefully amid tight security in Ayodhya, as well as in other parts of the country. Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) observed the day as ‘Yaum-e-Gham’ (day of sorrow) while VHP observed ‘shaurya divas’ (day of victory). On the occasion, Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Advocate General Zafaryab Jilani, who is also a BMAC member, said that the battle for Babri mosque is being supported and fought by Hindus. “The case of Babri mosque is being pleaded in Supreme Court by a group of eminent lawyers who are members of Hindu community,” Jilani said in Ayodhya.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are fighting the legal and political battle of Babri mosque on the support of 90 per cent of secular Hindus of the country,” he said. Muslims in the twin town of Ayodhya-Faizabad observed black Sunday today. Incidentally, the mosque was razed on a Sunday on December 6, 1992. People of the Muslim community did not open their shops and hoisted black flags to protest against the demolition of Babri mosque. Indian Union Muslim League observed a ‘dharna’ outside SSP office in Faizabad.Meanwhile in Delhi, members of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad today pleged to work for early construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya as they marked the day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’. VHP Delhi President Rampal Singh said the temple should be build through an act of Parliament. “Trusting the judicial system, Hindus waited for 60 years from 1950 till 2010. But now the Hindu community wants the temple to be built throgh an act of Parliament on the lines of Somnath Temple,” Singh said.In Punjab, activists of Shiv Sena observed the anniversary as ‘Shourya Divas’ by holding a function in a local temple in Phagwara. In Hyderabad, a bandh called by All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul Muslimeen and other local outfits passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported in the city, police said.

ISIS threatens Narendra Modi and India, rakes up Dadri lynching

The organisation claims that Modi is a ‘right-wing Hindu nationalist who worships weapons and is preparing his people for a future war against Muslims’. It goes on to claim that they ‘have a political wing for the propaganda to get more recruits, and armed militias who can start a terror campaign against their number 1 enemy—the Muslims’.

File Photo

The Islamic State has vowed to expand its war against India, citing religious prophecies which talks about a global war that will precede Mahdi (redeemer), promising to free the world of evil and pave way for the day of judgement. A e-book released online on jihadist platforms called Black Flags from the ISIS said: “The Islamic State would now expand beyond Iraq and Syria”, Black Flags states. “It would now expand into… India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan [and several other countries]”.The publication offers analysis on the beef controversy in India. It notes, “A movement of Hindus is growing who kill Muslims who eat beef. The people who fund these organisations want to grow a huge following of Islam-haters who can turn into potential recruits for future wars in their countries”. The organisation claims that Modi is a ‘right-wing Hindu nationalist who worships weapons and is preparing his people for a future war against Muslims’. It goes on to claim that they ‘have a political wing for the propaganda to get more recruits, and armed militias who can start a terror campaign against their number 1 enemy—the Muslims’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the first time that the ISIS has directly talked about events in India, particularly the Dadri incident. The book also claims that the Paris attacks was based on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. A chapter says: “”In the centre of Paris, some Mujahideen holding AK-47s copied the (2008) Mumbai attacks’ style of shooting through the window of a Cafe bar (where alcohol and food was served), then the people fell on the floor, so they threw a grenade into the building.”

Firstpost Salon: India is in a unique position to broker world peace, stop Third World War, says Tarek Fatah

India should realise her potential, play global peacemaker and stop going after Aamir Khan, advised Tarek Fatah, who identifies himself as an Indian born in Pakistan; a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness.

The Canadian writer, broadcaster, and liberal activist was at his sharpest as a guest on Thursday evening at Firstpost Salon, educating and entertaining the audience with his erudition shorn of all political correctness.

Tarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. FirstpostTarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. Firstpost

Tarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. Firstpost

During the course of the conversation with former founder-CEO at Natgrid and senior fellow at Observer Research Foundation Raghu Raman, Fatah expressed surprise that no one in India seems to have registered the fact that a global crisis is at hand and India is uniquely placed as the only country to stop an imminent Third World War.

“It seems that no one in India knows that Turkey and Russia have a problem. First time since the Second World War, a Nato western aircraft has shot down a Russian jet. That’s not the end of it.

“Then, it’s inside Syria. Not just that, they sent jihadis in to kill the parachuting pilots. That’s a war crime. And then a helicopter sent there to rescue the pilots is shot down! India in the meantime is discussing what Aamir Khan has said and what Kiran has replied,” he said.

“Either the Indians are so introverted that they don’t know what’s happening around them or they are busy looking for coals in a goldmine.”

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Fatah said he should focus his energies in brokering world peace instead of going around the world speaking to fellow Indians.

“India is very close to Russia. Quite friendly with Turkey. India has no obligations, no ally. Nothing against any country. She is uniquely positioned. Instead of going to Singapore and talking about food and trains, Prime Minister Modi should call the ambassadors of both countries and hold a conference, asking them to cool it,” Fatah said.

“Remember these are nuclear powers in the Balkans and should anything go awry, millions of people in Europe would be affected.

“India is letting Turkey trigger a war between Russia and USA so that ISIS may stay alive!”

And in the bargain, India would legitimately stake a claim in the Security Council, felt Fatah.

“India should broker peace between the US and China. You need to create the claim where people say of course India should be at the Security Council. India has pulled millions out of poverty, moved ahead of famines which were a regular feature in 60s and 70s.

“So many people including cab drivers have mobile phones. In their own humble way, India should make its presence felt as global peacemaker,” felt Fatah.

On the question of rigidity in religion, Fatah opined that Hinduism is naturally pluralistic with its multiplicity of religious texts whereas Christianity or Islam are monolithic.

“If there is one book, and that’s the word of god, can you imagine someone criticising it and staying alive?”

“You can do a PK in India which becomes a multi-crore blockbuster due to Hindus’ tolerance and self-deprecating humour but it’s impossible to do such a movie in Pakistan.”

“If I were to attempt making even an ‘OK’ instead of ‘PK’ in Pakistan, I wouldn’t stay alive to watch that movie.”

On being a true Muslim, Fatah said: “A Muslim is essentially a Jew who has adapted Judaism to Arab pagan culture.”

Calling for a return to the Muslim ethos, Fatah said a “true Muslim cannot lie. And he doesn’t believe in hijab, naqab, jihad or other such un-Islamic practices.”

On ISIS gaining a foothold in the subcontinent, Fatah, true to his form, had an unconventional take:”ISIS mentality is already here. Wiping out an ethnicity (Hindus from Kashmir) is ISIS mentality. You have wiped out the original inhabitants of Kashmir and made them refugees in their own country.”

Fatah also weighed in on the ‘intolerance’ debate, saying “the present intolerance debate is political, but in India everything is.”

“Real intolerance is not religious intolerance but the fact that nobody would share their dinner on the same table with their driver or chauffer. That’s always been there in India.”

When it comes to calling spade a spade, there is no one better than Fatah.

No one can claim trademark right on holy books: Supreme Court

It also said that allowing names of gods or holy books to be trademarked could offend “people’s sensibilities”.

File Photo
No one can claim the names of holy books and scriptures like Ramayana or Quran and use them as trademarks for selling goods and services, the Supreme Court has ruled. “There are many holy and religious books like Quran, Bible, Guru Granth Sahib, Ramayan, etc. The answer to the question as to whether any person can claim the name of a holy or religious book as a trademark for goods or services marketed by him is clearly ‘No’,” a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R K Agrawal said.It also said that allowing names of gods or holy books to be trademarked could offend “people’s sensibilities”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court ruling came on an appeal filed by Bihar- based Lal Babu Priyadarshi, who had sought to trademark the word ‘Ramayan’ to sell incense sticks and perfumes, against the order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). “The word ‘Ramayan’ represents the title of a book written by Maharishi Valmiki and is considered a religious book of the Hindus in our country. Thus, using exclusive name of the book ‘Ramayan’, for getting it registered as a trademark for any commodity cannot be permissible under the (Trade and Merchandise Marks) Act,” the apex court observed in its 16-page judgement.The court also objected to pictures used by him on the incense stick packets and said “…the photographs of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman are also shown on the label, which is a clear indication that he is taking advantage of Gods and Goddesses, which is otherwise not permitted.” Priyadarshi had submitted before the court that through extensive use, wide advertisement and the excellent quality of the products, the trademark ‘Ramayan’ and the carton in which the products are sold had become distinctive in such a manner that use of a similar trademark by any other person would cause confusion and deception in the trade and amongst the public. He claimed prior use, averring that he was using the Trademark since 1981.The court, however, observed that “if any other word is added as suffix or prefix to the word ‘Ramayan’ and the alphabets or design or length of the words are same as of the word ‘Ramayan’, then the word ‘Ramayan’ may lose its significance as a religious book and it may be considered for registration as a trade mark.”

Is India tolerant? It doesn’t matter because reactions to Aamir Khan’s statement justify his fears

‘Go and live in Pakistan; I will buy you the ticket if you want to take the first flight out of India; how dare you criticise the country that has given you so much; why do stupid Hindus let Muslim actors bark like this…’ For disturbing evidence of our growing intolerance to criticism and freedom of expression, you need to look no further than the acerbic, volatile reactions to actor Aamir Khan’s statement that his wife Kiran Rao suggested leaving India.

“Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet,” he said at an Indian Express awards function on Sunday.

Predictably, the India-is-so-tolerant-and-how-dare-a-Khan-criticise-it army is out on Twitter and TV, ready to run down the actor and his family for talking about their private fears in public. Their panoply of rage, the violent words and metaphors his critics have used must have convinced Aamir Khan that his wife’s fears are justified.

File image of Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. Reuters

File image of Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. Reuters

When convincing Khan of the core liberal and tolerant ethos of India, assuaging his doubts and fears would have been the more civilised response, the rabid, hate-filled, personalised attack on the actor’s statement has only undermined the debate and deepened the existing divisions.

Let there be no doubt about this: Every individual in this country has the right to express his opinion. And his thoughts can’t be dictated by the mob that feels slighted by every word of dissent and sees in every divergent expression a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country. What a person feels and fears is determined by his personal experience and environment; these emotions are lived, not borrowed from the lives of others and are not subservient to their needs. Even though he is part of it, an individual is a distinct unit of a society. Only the puerile and the pernicious would argue that an individual exists to strengthen the collective dogmas even when they are contrary to his beliefs and experiences. As Howard Roark says in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, “no individual should recognise anyone’s right to one minute of his life. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.”

So, Aamir Khan has every right to express his fears, to share his concerns. Frankly, any Indian would have battled with private demons after being treated the way Aamir Khan was after the release of PK, a brilliant send-up of the superstitions, myths and evils that plague Hinduism.

PK was an interesting — or trite if you have seen films on similar theme — take on the misconceptions and myths that are part of our daily life. But opponents of the film wanted it banned not because it looked at the odd and the hilarious in our lives; they wanted PK to be pulled out of theatres because the director had ‘targeted only the Hindus’ and couldn’t muster the courage to laugh at other religions.

Just because Aamir Khan starred in a film that looked at India’s Baba-culture, blind faith, myths and the culture of exploitation in shrines, the poster-burning cabals went after him, calling him a traitor, pointing at his religion and mocking at Khan’s perceived reluctance to act in similar films on Islam, when a similar film starring Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal had barely created a whimper. PK went on to collect Rs 620-crore, a resounding rejoinder to those who thought the audiences should reject it because it was anti-Hindu. But, by then, the looney brigade must have given adequate proof of their bigotry for Aamir Khan and his family to reconsider their future in India.

If Aamir Khan fears India’s growing intolerance, he has valid reasons for it. Those mocking and trolling him from behind the anonymity of twitter handles, accusing him of being part of a politically-motivated campaign — wonder, what then is their take on Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal’s criticism of the actor? —  should remember this: Aamir has every right to feel hurt and angry because of the actions and vitriol of the India’s lunatic fringe, even if he is an actor and his name is Khan.

Bring law in Parliament for building Ram temple: Pravin? Togadia

Pravin Togadia

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary Pravin Togadia on Monday called for building of Ram Temple at Ayodhya by passing a law in Parliament.”Ashok Singhal was synonymous to Ram Temple Movement. The real ‘shrandhanjali’ (tribute) to him will be to build Ram Temple,” Togadia said at the condolence meeting for Singhal held here. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Governor O P Kohli were also present at the meeting. “We demand that to build the temple, way of Sardar Patel should be used. For building Somnath Temple, Sardar Patel did not go to talk to people, nor did he wait for court order, but he brought a resolution in the Parliament,” Togadia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the same way, present Parliament should bring in a law for building of Ram Temple,” Togadia said. The Ram temple issue is presently before the Supreme Court. “Following western culture there was an attempt before and after independence to separate religion from social and political life of India contrary to its age old tradition. However, Singhal’s main contribution was he succeeded to bring religion back to social and political life of the country,” Togadia said.Togadia went on to describe Singhal as one of the “tallest” Hindu leaders of the time and listed many movements started by him. Kohli said, “Before Singhal, Hindus were feeling ashamed to assert their identity but after his various agitations now Hindus proudly assert themselves.”The Chief Minister heaped praise on work carried out by Singhal to revive Hinduism in the country and remembered how he was instrumental in imparting training to thousands of Sangh Parivar workers.Many saints who had come from various parts of state also offered condolence to Singhal.89-year-old Singhal passed away on November 17 following cardio-vascular failure and septicaemia after he was admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon with complaints of acute breathlessness and pneumonia.

Bihar results show majority of Hindus still believe in peace, says Dalai Lama

Jalandhar: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said India is a nation of non -violence and noted that the Bihar election results show that a majority of the Hindus believes in peace and amity.

“India has a long tradition of peace and amity. The people of Bihar in the recent Assembly polls have proved that a large section of the Hindu community still believes in peace and amity,” the 14th Dalai Lama said without naming any political party or leader.

Tenzin Gyatso. AFPTenzin Gyatso. AFP

Tenzin Gyatso. AFP

“It is because of this amity that India is known worldwide as a country of religious tolerance. All religions and individuals are given equal respect here,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Jalandhar.

“Religious tolerance not only means respecting all religions but also the people. Buddhism too started in this nation and because of this, India is the guru and all Buddhists are students,” he said.

Asked about terrorism, the Tibetan spiritual leader said, “First we must create an atmosphere of peace and it should be initiated from one’s own home. Encouraging religious tolerance is the need of the hour and should be done through schools and universities.”

Speaking on climate change, the Dalai Lama said, “This is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to work together and give primacy to it. The big nation gives main importance to its own profit while the issue of climate change comes way down its agenda.”

PTI

It is all political: Apology is of little help for Girish Karnad as politicians kick in to milk his ‘Tipu’ remark

By Aravind S Kamal 

It was a suggestion, not a demand by any yardstick. Yet that didn’t stop people from going hammer and tongs against noted playwright and Jnanapith laureate Girish Karnad. He had only observed that it would have been better had Karnataka named Bengaluru International Airport after the erstwhile rule of Mysuru, Tipu Sultan; and that was enough to make him target of threats, even a death threat. Has Karnataka become too prickly about suggestions from well-known personalities?

Within hours of his remarks at the official birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu in Bengaluru, Karnataka witness a wave of outrage. Today, Karnad is living under heavy police security after fringe groups threatened retaliation. Two police complaints have been lodged against him while an unknown person has issued death threat on social media network. Though Karnad has apologised for his statements, the protests haven’t stopped.

The BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and other groups were quick to object to Karnad’s statement two days ago because the same day a VHP activist died in Madikeri while protesting against the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan.

To make matters worse, BJP leader and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka, who has projected himself as the champion of the Vokkaligas (second largest community in Karnataka and a major vote-bank), even gave the issue a communal twist by portraying Karnad as an anti-Vokkaliga (Kempe Gowda, the erstwhile ruler of Bengaluru after whom the international airport has been named – Kempe Gowda International Airport – is a Vokkaliga). It is a different matter that Karnad has always been the target of the Hindu fringe groups, particularly when he supported beef consumption.

Jnanpith laureate Girish Karnad. Image courtesy: IBNLiveJnanpith laureate Girish Karnad. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Jnanpith laureate Girish Karnad. Image courtesy: IBNLive

The Janata Dal (secular) too tried to take political advantage of his statement. It saw a good opportunity to consolidate its position as a defender of the rights of the Vokkaligas. But it is a fact that Karnad nowhere demanded that the Kempe Gowda International Airport be renamed as Tipu Sultan International Airport. He has admitted that he could not imagine making such a demand, as it would not make any sense.

Now, let us get to the source of this controversy. While commenting on Tipu’s exploits, Karnad had said, “In our country, airports have been named after freedom fighters… such as, Subhash Chandra Bose, and in Mumbai it is named after Shivaji Maharaj, but the Bengaluru airport is named after Kempe Gowda. While Kempe Fowda deserves all respect as the founder of Bengaluru, he was not a freedom fighter. It would have been better had the Bengaluru airport been named after Tipu Sultan. Besides, the airport is located in Devanahalli where Tipu was born.”

So was it wrong on the part of Karnad to have made a suggestion that may not be liked by the majority? A situation has been created as if Karnad has committed a blunder by making such a suggestion. The word Tipu has often been used and misused for political gains by various political parties and groups in the past. For instance, the ruling Congress suddenly woke up to realise that Tipu was a great king and hastily organised his birth anniversary celebrations without realising the repercussions.

One of the main reasons for anyone associated with Tipu to receive flak in Karnataka is the controversial ruler’s regime between 1782 and 1799. He is disliked by the Hindus because he is accused of enforcing mass conversions. He is hated by a section of the Kannadigas because he reportedly replaced Kannada with Persian vocabulary as the official language of of his administration. He is disliked by the Kodavas (from the Kodava district in Karnataka) and costal Karnataka Christians (Mangaluru Catholics), as he persecuted them allegedly fearing that they supported the British.

At the same time, Tipu is known for his generosity towards Hindu temples (156 temples received annual grants); he financially supported the Sringeri Mutt set up by the Sankaracharya; he appointed prominent Hindus in his court and moreover made Srirangapatna, a Hindu pilgrimage centre as the capital of his kingdom. All his deeds and misdeeds have been recorded, but the term “religious bigot”, which is often used to describe Tipu, has to be viewed from historical context and the political circumstances prevailing during his rule.

Nevertheless, Girish Karnad has tendered an apology to all those who viewed his suggestion with contempt. So, that should end the matter there. But it looks like the political parties want to keep the issue alive for some more time.

Tipu Sultan row: After Girish Karnad, BJP MP Pratap Simha receives death threat

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been protesting against the Congress government’s decision to honour Tipu Sultan.

BJP MP Pratap Simha

http://pratapsimha.com/
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Kodagu district in Mysuru, Pratap Simha filed a complaint on Thursday alleging that he has received a death threat for opposing the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. Sinha had said earlier that the state government was spreading hatred by celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been protesting against the Congress government’s decision to honour Tipu Sultan, who according to them was a tyrant who persecuted Hindus and Christians.Earlier, playwright Girish Karnad received a death threat for his campaign to rename Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport after 18th century Mysuru king Tipu Sultan. Karnad, who participated in the Congress-led Karnataka Government’s ‘Tipu Jayanti’ celebrations, was threatened that he would ‘meet the same end as murdered writer M M Kalburgi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru Police also confirmed that they had received a complaint against Karnad for ‘insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (to which Kempegowda belonged to) and disrupting social harmony’.”I feel that if Tipu Sultan was a Hindu and not a Muslim he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra,” Karnad had said. He added that it would be apt if the Kempegowda Airport is renamed after Tipu Sultan instead of Kempegowda.Related Read: Tipu Sultan controversy: Girish Karnad gets death threat, told he will ‘face the same end as MM Kalburgi’He also said, “Kempegowda was never a freedom fighter. Still, the Bengaluru International airport has been named against him. Instead, it should have been named against Tipu Sultan.” Protests against the state-sponsored celebrations have led to violence in Karnataka where a VHP activist succumbed to his injuries.Following the controversy, Karnad issued a public apology: “If anybody has been hurt by my remarks, I apologise…. What will I gain by giving such comments?” The VHP has called for a state-wide bandh in Karnataka on Friday. Related Read: Tipu Sultan row: BJP demands Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s resignation

New York Times editorial slams Modi, says ‘end hatemongering’ is Bihar’s message to PM

Washington, DC: Bihar’s electorate has sent Prime Minister Narendra Modi a message: “Put an end to hatemongering”, said The New York Times on Tuesday.

An editorial titled A rebuke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in The New York Times said that during a national election in India last year, Modi promised “development for all”.

Narendra Modi in a file photo. Naresh Sharma/FirstpostNarendra Modi in a file photo. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Narendra Modi in a file photo. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

As prime minister, he has yet to deliver big economic improvements, “but in the meantime, members of his government and political party have shredded his promise of inclusion by inflaming sectarian tensions”.

“Now, voters in the country’s third most populous state have sent Modi a message: Put an end to the hatemongering,” said the daily.

The editorial said that “poisoning politics with religious hatred is bound to squander the country’s economic potential at a time when India should be playing a bigger and more constructive role in South Asia and the world”.

“India’s history is filled with examples of religious and caste-based violence that set the country back. Those conflicts subsided during India’s rapid economic growth, but many Indians now fear a resurgence.”

On Sunday, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost a legislative election in Bihar. A grand alliance of secular parties “united by their antipathy to the Hindu nationalist BJP” won 178 constituencies in the 243-member legislative assembly to the BJP’s 53.

The daily said that many political analysts see the loss as a “repudiation of Modi” because he and his top aides campaigned vigorously in the state and many ads carried his image, rather than photos of local politicians.

In the months leading up to the Bihar election, hardliners in the BJP and organizations affiliated with the party stoked India’s long-simmering sectarian tensions.

“The party’s lawmakers pushed for beef bans around the country ostensibly to protect the cow, which many Hindus consider holy, but really as a ploy to divide Hindus and Muslims, some of whom eat beef.”

Mobs riled by the anti-beef crusade have killed four Muslims suspected of slaughtering, stealing or smuggling cows in the last seven weeks. And in August, unidentified attackers shot and killed Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi, a scholar and vocal critic of Hindu idolatry. Hundreds of writers, filmmakers and academics have protested the growing intolerance by returning awards they received from the government-supported bodies.

NYT went on to say that Modi has “not forcefully condemned the beef-related killings, despite pleas by Muslims and other minorities. He has tolerated hateful and insensitive remarks by his ministers and by BJP officials”.

During a campaign stop in Bihar, Modi “tried to exploit sectarian divisions by telling voters that the secular alliance would reduce affirmative action benefits for lower-caste Hindus and tribes in favour of ‘a particular community’ – an apparent reference to Muslims”.

And BJP president Amit Shah, one of Modi’s closest advisers, told voters that a victory for the alliance would be celebrated in Pakistan, the Muslim-majority neighbour that has fought several wars with India since 1947.

“Voters in Bihar saw through the BJP’s attempts to divide them. They, like most Indians, are looking for leaders who will improve their standard of living. Bihar is one of the poorest states in India but has grown fast in the last 10 years under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is credited for cracking down on crime, building roads and increasing the enrollment of girls in schools.”

The editorial said that Modi and the BJP secured a majority in the lower house of Parliament last year with promises of economic reforms.

“Now, to push through those reforms, the party needs to win the control of the upper house, which is elected by state assemblies. It won’t win those elections unless Modi gets rid of the officials in his government and party who are fueling sectarian culture wars,” it added.

The daily noted that there are things Modi could do administratively to improve the economy, like investing in education and health care and building infrastructure. “Voters in Bihar have sent the BJP a clear message. Modi should heed it.”

IANS

Congress’ potshot at BJP: Yogi Adityanath, Kailash Vijayvargiya are ‘new icons of tolerance’

Randeep Surjewala and Digvijay Singh slammed the BJP leaders in a series of tweets.

Congress on Wednesday took a dig at BJP in the wake of controversial remarks by some of its senior leaders against Shah Rukh Khan, terming Yogi Adityanath and Kailash Vijayvargiya the “new icons of tolerance” of the ruling party.Randeep Surjewala and Digvijay Singh slammed the BJP leaders in a series of tweets.At a Congress briefing, senior spokesman Anand Sharma said that Vijayvargiya’s remarks needed to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”Whoever is with the government is right and is a citizen of the country. But those who don’t fall in line are targeted,” he said as he referred to Vijayvargiya’s remark that Shah Rukh lives in India but his soul was in Pakistan.The Madhya Pradesh MLA had later withdrawn his controversial tweets but asserted that, had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh would not have been the most popular actor after Amitabh Bachchan. At the Congress briefing, Sharma said that a large number of Hindus do not believe in the policies of RSS and that it should stop claiming that it represents the entire community.Controversial BJP MP Yogi Adityanath today compared Shah Rukh to Pakistani terrorist and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed after the actor’s “extreme intolerance” comment, sparking condemnation. Adityanath alleged that Shah Rukh and Saeed are speaking the same language of terror and said he did not see any difference in their language.BJP later strongly disapproved of Hindutva leader Adityanath’s controversial comments, terming them “uncalled for” and stating that they did not reflect in any way the core belief of the party or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BJP defends advertisement slamming Nitish Kumar’s ‘silence’ on beef issue

The BJP advertisement had questioned the Chief Minister’s “silence” on “repeated insult” to cows by grand alliance leaders as the animal is revered by the countrymen and asked Kumar to come clean on the issue and stop playing votebank politics on cow

Sushil Modi

BJP stoutly defended its advertisement on beef on Wednesday, a day ahead of the last phase of assembly polls in Bihar saying it has rightly questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s silence on the controversial remarks made by his allies on the issue.”There is nothing wrong in our advertisement on beef issue and asking the chief minister to break his silence on controversial remarks made by the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, his colleague Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters here. “As far as the timing goes, it is our prerogative as to when we should put out any advertisement,” he said. His defiant stand on the issue came after the grand alliance criticised BJP for putting out the advertisement in vernacular dailies in areas going to polls on Thursday in the last phase, including Seemanchal, and said it will knock the Election Commission’s doors on the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP advertisement had questioned the Chief Minister’s “silence” on “repeated insult” to cows by grand alliance leaders as the animal is revered by the countrymen and asked Kumar to come clean on the issue and stop playing votebank politics on cow. The advertisement also asked the Chief Minister whether he agreed with the remarks on beef eating by his friends from alliance partners. Questioned by reporters about BJP’s motive behind releasing the advertisement on beef in vernacular dailies in four districts, Sushil Modi said it was not his party that had raked up the beef issue during polls but RJD chief Lalu Prasad who had controversially said that the Hindus too eat beef.Prasad’s colleague Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had repeatedly said consumption of beef was permissible during ancient times as mentioned in Veda and related documents. Congress leader and Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah stoked the controversy further by saying that if he wanted to eat beef no body could stop him, he said.”Tell us who started the beef row? It was certainly not the BJP leaders, but those of the grand alliance. We have every right to respond and that is what we are doing,” he said. He denied the charge that the advertisement was aimed at reaping electoral advantage of communal polarisation and said there was nothing inflammatory in it as what the grand alliance leaders had said on the beef issue has been quoted for the consumption of the people.

BJP’s SN Channabasappa arrested for wanting to behead K’taka CM Siddaramaiah

Shivamogga (Karnataka): A BJP member was arrested in Shivamogga on Tuesday for allegedly threatening to behead Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah if he ate beef in the city centre, police said.

SN Channabasappa, 55, was arrested on a police complaint filed by a Congress worker named Kashi under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, detering public servant from discharge of his duty, and criminal intimidation, Shivamogga Superintendent of Police Ravi D Channannavar told IANS.

SN Channabasappa in a file photo.SN Channabasappa in a file photo.

SN Channabasappa in a file photo.

Shivamogga is 260 km from Bengaluru in the state’s central Malnad region.

“We will produce him in a local court on Wednesday for police custody and interrogation and action after viewing and listening to a video in which his brief speech was recorded,” Channannavar said.

Addressing about 30 cadres at a protest meeting organised by the party’s state unit on Monday against Siddaramaiah who claimed that he would beef “anytime and anywhere” and nobody could stop him, accused Channabasappa said the chief minister would be “beheaded” if he ate beef at Gopi Circle in Shivamogga.

“Siddaramaiah is behaving like a dictator. He has stated he would eat beef if he chooses to do so and nobody could stop him. Let him eat beef at Gopi Circle in Shivamogga. If he does so, he will be beheaded. We won’t think twice about that,” Channabassappa said in Kannada in a brief speech.

The party’s other members also condemned the chief minister’s statement.

Accusing Siddaramaiah of behaving arrogantly, the city civic council’s former president said that by making such an irresponsible statement, the chief minister hurt the sentiments of Hindus who have all grown up drinking cow’s milk.

The BJP’s state unit, however, disowned Channabassappa’s threat and said it was not responsible for such statements made by an ordinary member.

“We do not endorse such irresponsible statements and will seek clarification from him (Channabasappa),” BJP spokesman S Prakash told IANS from Bengaluru.

Playing down the threat, Prakash said the accused member was not even an office bearer of the BJP’s district unit.

IANS

BJP leader threatens to behead Karnataka CM over beef remark, arrested

S N Channabasappa, a former president of the erstwhile Shivamogga City Municipal Council, had held out the threat last evening during a protest organised by the local party unit against Siddaramaiah’s reported comment on eating beef made last week

Getty Images
A Karnataka BJP leader stirred a row when he publicly threatened to behead Chief Minister Siddaramaiah if he dared to consume cow meat after which he was on Tuesday arrested for his “provocative” and “intimidatory” remarks.S N Channabasappa, a former president of the erstwhile Shivamogga City Municipal Council, had held out the threat last evening during a protest organised by the local party unit against Siddaramaiah’s reported comment on eating beef made last week. “How dare you lay your hands on the neck of Gomata? You are openly saying with a dictatorial attitude that you will eat cow meat… If you have the guts, you come here and eat at Gopi Circle (in Shivamogga), then, let there be no doubt that on that day, you will be beheaded,” Channabasappa said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”… Are you playing with the emotions of Hindus? Don’t do it…,” warned Channabasappa, who was arrested today for his remarks which were described by the Chief Minister as “a provocative statement.” Channabasappa has been booked under IPC Sections 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), Superintendent of Police Ravi Channannavar said. “It is a provocative statement. I will ask the police to inquire into it. If it is true, they will definitely take action,” Siddarmaiah had said earlier.Asked about state BJP leaders not reacting to such statements, saying those were being made by “fringe elements”, he said, “BJP people are known for it. That is why we are opposing them.” “If I say I will eat, how will it harm majority community? Don’t we eat other kinds of meat?,” the CM said. “…food habit is an individual’s choice and should be left to them; no one should interfere with it. Interfering and attacking one’s rights is not correct. It is against the Constitution. It is against individual liberty, it should not be done…”At a general body meeting of the Karnataka Youth Congress last week, Siddaramaiah had reportedly said, “Till date I have never eaten cow meat. But if it suits my palate and if I want to eat beef, I will eat it. Nobody can stop me.” Slamming the controversy over beef eating, he had raked up the Dadri lynching incident, and spoken about “growing intolerance” in the country, blaming right wing outfits for it.Siddaramaiah’s remarks had come under attack from BJP, with its state unit president Prahlad Joshi saying that cow is revered and worshipped by a majority of the people of the state and the Chief Minister had made the comments just to gain votes of a particular community.

BJP leader says will behead Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah if he eats beef

Last week, Siddaramaiah added more fuel to the fire by saying that no one could stop him from eating beef.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

A local BJP leader has warned Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of beheading if he eats beef.Local leader SN Channabasappa said that Siddaramaiah was behaving like a dictator. The Deccan Chronicle quoted him as saying, “Let him eat beef at Gopi Circle in Shivamogga. If he does so, he will be beheaded. We won’t think twice about that.”He further added, “By making such a statement, the Congress leader has hurt the sentiments of Hindus. We have all grown up drinking cow’s milk.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Channabasappa is a former president of the erstwhile Shivamogga City Municipal Council.Last week, Siddaramaiah added more fuel to the fire by saying that no one could stop him from eating beef.At the Karnataka Youth Congress General Body meeting, he ridiculed the government’s anti-beef policy and was quoted saying: “Till date I have never eaten cow meat. But if it suits my palette and if I want to eat beef, I will eat it. Nobody can stop me.”On September 29, Mohmad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and stoned to death on a village street after a public announcement from the local temple that the family had slaughtered a calf and eaten its meat.

Jharkhand tribes up in arms, say no difference between RSS and Christian missionaries

The reactions came a day after members of Sarna tribe took to the streets against the RSS, burnt effigies of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and leader Krishna Gopal.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

PTI
Tribal gurus from Jharkhand have claimed that there is ‘no difference’ between Christian missionaries and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), says a report in the Hindustan Times.Bandhan Tigga, Sarna dharmguru from Oraon clan, told HT that “They (RSS and missionaries) are the same. One tries to lure us, the other forces its ideologies on us”. The tribes, who have been protesting against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, say that while the missionaries want to convert them to Christianity, RSS wants to impose Hinduism on them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tribes have also alleged that the RSS preaches casteism. “They (Hindus) are divided into Rajputs, Brahmins, Shudras, Kayastas and more. We, on the other hand, are all equal,” said Laskar Soren, a Santhali tribe leader.The reactions came a day after Sarna followers in Jharkhand took to the streets against the RSS, burnt effigies of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and leader Krishna Gopal, demanding an apology from the organisation, says HT.The controversy began when RSS sah sarkaryavah Krishna Gopal claimed on the last day of RSS’s executive committee meeting in Ranchi on Sunday, that all tribes were actually Hindus and ‘fall under the Hindu code’.Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram openly backed the RSS on Saturday, adding fuel to the fire. Krishna Gopal went on to add that Oram was absolutely right.

Bombay HC upholds life sentence of four for murdering Muslim couple during 1992 riots

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction and life sentence awarded to four persons for murdering a Muslim couple during the 1992 communal riots in Mumbai, while observing that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice AS Gadkari on 27 October dismissed the appeals filed by the four convicts – Suhas Panchal, Sanjay Mandavkar, Sunil Mandavkar and Chandan Lokhande – challenging a sessions court order of February 2011 convicting them for murder and imposing life sentence on them.

Bombay High Court. Reuters

Bombay High Court. Reuters

According to the prosecution, the accused, soon after the communal riots in Mumbai in December 1992, had asked Gani Shaikh and his wife Rabiya Shaikh to vacate the room he and his family were staying in at suburban Chembur or else face dire consequences.

On the night of 11 January, 1993, the accused persons allegedly pelted stones at the house of the Shaikhs and dragged Rabiya out of the house and stabbed her with a sword and also attacked Gani.

While Rabiya died on the spot, Gani succumbed to his injuries in the hospital later. The couple’s four children managed to escape from the spot.

Senior counsel SR Chitnis, appearing for the accused, argued that the prosecution has not been able to prove that the accused were present at the spot at the time of the incident.

He further argued that the prosecution case relies on the evidence of the couple’s children who were eye-witness to the incident, but they have not mentioned names of the accused in their statement.

Prosecutor HJ Dedhia argued that the accused were angered with the assault on one of their brothers during the 1992 riots and hence, had a grudge against the Muslim community. A fortnight before the incident, one of the accused had threatened Shaikh to vacate the house, he said.

The court, after perusing the evidence and facts of the case, dismissed the appeals and upheld the conviction.

“We are of the considered opinion that the appellants in pursuance of conspiracy have acted in concert and while exhibiting the common intention they committed the crime in question. The appellants are the perpetrators of the said crime and are guilty of the offence for which they are charged with,” the court said.

PTI

Bihar Elections 2015: Election Commission slaps notice on Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav

evm-rna

The Election Commission on Sunday issued notice to various party leaders for allegedly breaching the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the ongoing Bihar elections. The notice has been sent to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) president Amit Shah, and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. The notice says, “The commission gives you an opportunity to explain your position before 3 pm of November 4, failing which it would take a decision without any further reference to them.”Election Commission issued a showcause notice to BJP President Amit Shah for his remarks that if his party loses Bihar elections, crackers will go off in Pakistan and said prima facie he has violated the model code in force in the state. “…the Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the… statement which has the potential of disturbing harmony and aggravating the existing differences between social and religious communities, you have violated … provision of the Model Code of Conduct,” the notice said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The poll panel reminded Shah that a provision of the model code provides that no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities or religious and linguistic communities.Shah had told an election rally at Raxual on Indo-Nepal border in East Champaran district on Thursday that if BJP loses in Bihar, Diwali will be celebrated in Pakistan. He is said to have repeated the same in another rally at Bettiah, headquarters of West Champaran district on Thursday itself. “Friends, remembers if by mistake BJP loses here and Nitish-Lalu win, the results will be announced in Patna but firecrackers will go off in Pakistan,” the EC notice said quoting from Shah’s speech. The Commission has given him time till 3.00 pm of November four to explain his stand “failing which the EC shall take a decision without any further reference to you.” Rahul Gandhi was issued show-cause notice for his remarks that BJP makes Hindus and Muslims fight each other and said prima facie the Congress vice president has violated the provisions of the model code of conduct in force for Bihar polls. The poll panel has also issued a showcause notice to RJD Chief Lalu Prasad for his reported remarks dubbing BJP chief Amit Shah as “cannibal” and that he has also “gone mad”. The EC also referred to Lalu’s reported remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he was described as a “vampire”.Holding that prima facie the RJD chief has violated the model code, EC gave him time till 3 PM of November 4 to file his reply else it will take action without further reference to him. The EC also “cautioned” JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav for his reported remarks to influence voters in the name of divine displeasure and said he should follow the provisions of the model code as he is a senior politician.In its order, the EC rejected Yadav’s contention that the statement was made as an “emotive appeal” using a “hyperbole and metaphor”. The Commission has given Gandhi time till 3 pm on November 4 to explain his stand “failing which the EC shall take a decision without any further reference to you.” Quoting from his election speech made on October 29 in Benipatti in Madhubani district, the Commission recalled that Rahul had said: “What is their plan B…make Indian fight another Indian. Wherever they go — UP, Maharashtra, Haryana — wherever there is an election, their army goes and they make Hindus fight the Muslims.”The poll watchdog reminded Gandhi that the model code does not provide for criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations. It also said “distortion” of any kind must be “avoided”.

BJP, RSS have ‘pre-planned strategy’ to divide India, says Tripura CM Manik Sarkar

‘The RSS is the heart of the BJP… The government at the Centre is run by the RSS. The ministers are not accountable to the citizens of India rather they are accountable to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and other leaders,’ he said.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has called the current atmosphere of intolerance in the country a ‘pre-planned strategy’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to divide the nation.Addressing a gathering in Agartala during the distribution of free housing among the urban slum dwellers, Sarkar alleged that the Centre was accountable to the RSS more than the people of the nation.’The RSS is the heart of the BJP… The government at the Centre is run by the RSS. The ministers are not accountable to the citizens of India rather they are accountable to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and other leaders,’ he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’You are watching what is happening after the new government has come into power. An unruly state of affairs has started in our country,’ he added. Sarkar expressed his disappointment over the RSS questioning the lifestyle of the people of the nation. “Sports, music, writing and in every aspect we can see that the people with communal ideology are targeting the weak… What is happening” he asked the gathering. “Actually, these are pre-planned strategy to divide us and break our unity. India’s specialty is unity among diversity where we shall find Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians but we shall be united in spite of religious differences. Our cultural heritage is an outcome of various religious beliefs, but they are trying to attack this ideology,” he added. Sarkar alleged that the BJP and RSS are hell bent on dividing the country by talking of amendments in the reservation policy and demanded a clarification in this regard.

Kerala civic body elections: this time, it does feel different with BJP in the box with Cong & LDF

Local body elections in Kerala are due on 2 November, and as I write this, campaigning is in full swing. Even though we have had a damp month or two – normally, after Onam, there is bright sunshine, but this year September and October have been rainy – there is a lot of energy on the streets. Every corner, it seems, hosts a small election meeting when I drive home after work, and you have loud, earnest-looking men (and a few women) proclaiming loudly that their party is the one you must vote for.

Kerala is obviously highly politicised and highly polarised. In years past, it has generally alternated between the Congress and the Marxists in the Assembly elections (which are due shortly), and it votes contrary to national trends. But the next Assembly election might be a watershed, and the local body elections will give the best predictions — this is truly a semi-final, and therefore observers are keenly watching what happens.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. PTICongress leader Shashi Tharoor. PTI

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. PTI

Shashi Tharoor, MP, who has been busy campaigning for Congress candidates in Thiruvananthapuram and vicinity, feels his party is going to win in a landslide. He thinks that the BJP will be a damp squib.

Of course, Tharoor is a good observer of the political scene and has his ear to the ground. He may well be right. But the key is in his observation about the BJP. For, after having been an also-ran, and never having won a single seat in the Kerala Assembly ever, the BJP is now on the verge of becoming a force to reckon with in Kerala. They cannot be written off any more.

When the dust settles, it may remain a duopoly between the Congress’ UDF and the Marxists’ LDF, and these two parties may well remain the ones in power. But the fact is that the BJP is making both of them rethink the electoral calculus. And the BJP may or may not be satisfied with being the swing bloc that decides which of these two alliances forms the next government. They may ask for their pound of flesh.

Despite much talk about the political maturity of the Kerala voter, my sense is that the place remains mired in considerations of religion and jati. It is quite possibly the most communal part of the country, but people are clever enough to hide it in conversations, especially with observers. Covert communalism, on the other hand, is widespread.

It is a peculiar setup, where, according to the 2011 Census, 54 percent are Hindus, 27 percent Muslims, and 18 percent Christians, although the reality is that a lot of the Hindus are Communists, and there is over-counting of Hindus due to large-scale conversions, so the actual Hindu vote is lower. Among the Hindus, there are several groups: Ezhava (OBC) 20 percent, Nair (FC) 13 percent, Pulaya (SC) 2 percent, and so forth.

Almost all these groups tend to vote in blocs. Thus the Congress has traditional voters concentrated among Christians and Nairs; the Muslim League, Muslims; and the Marxist vote has been dominated by Ezhavas. This pattern has been stable for a long time and may account for the razor-thin margins by which candidates win.

There are also regional imbalances. Northern Kerala (Malabar) is dominated by Muslims; Central Kerala by Christians, and Southern Kerala by Hindus in terms of numbers and influence.

This stable equilibrium has been disrupted by two things this year: a Hindu consolidation contemporaneous with the arrival of Narendra Modi on the national stage and the estrangement of the Ezhavas from the Marxists.

There has traditionally been bad blood between the numerically dominant Hindu groups, the Ezhavas and the Nairs – and they generally have not voted for or with each other. The result has been that a consolidated Hindu vote never emerged, whereas there are dependable Christian and Muslim votebanks.

This year, two things happened: the BJP’s Kerala cadres are working towards a united Hindu vote. In fact, most of their collateral seemed to have a triumvirate of 19th century leaders, thus symbolising a pan-Hindu movement. From the Ezhavas, Sree Narayana Guru; from the Nairs, Chattampi Swamikal, and from the Pulayas, Ayyankali. It is widely believed that such a positioning will bear fruit for the BJP.

The Ezhava organisation, Sree Narayana Darma Paripalana Yogam, has been in the forefront of this consolidation, with its leader Vellappally Natesan hobnobbing with the BJP. This will hurt the Marxists and there is a non-trivial possibility they will be routed.

The Nair Service Society demurs, and prefers the Congress, but it appears individual Nairs are being attracted to the BJP, thus hurting the Congress.

The Pulaya Mahasabha has also been openly supportive of the BJP, reasoning perhaps that as an OBC, Modi is more sympathetic to their needs.

Thus the situation is fluid. Tharoor may be right: the Congress, with its trusty Christian votebank, may not be affected very much. But they will face anti-incumbency, especially because of big scams. Just today as I write this, a Vigilance Court startled them by declaring their sitting Finance Minister would be investigated in a large and contentious alcohol-related scam. (This is important, because Keralites are the biggest consumers of alcohol on a per capita basis, alas.)

The Marxists are also vulnerable. That is partly because of pure demographics and partly because of their own missteps. Marxists hurt Ezhava sentiments by taking them for granted, and also through insensitivity. They created, in a parade, a tableau of Sree Narayana Guru being lassoed and then crucified by upper caste Hindus. The idea was that OBCs were being oppressed by upper jatis, but it came across as arrogant and sacrilegious. Besides, a series of bloody murders of RSS activists by Marxists (and vice versa) has tarnished their image.

The BJP has a problem with name recognition: few of its top echelons are household names, but the general trend supports them. The award-return circus and Kerala House beef circus may help or hinder the BJP, it is hard to tell. Encouragingly for them, the most recent by-election, in Aruvikkara showed them gaining a number of new voters.

Thus, the overall situation in Kerala remains murky, but chances are that the Congress and the Marxists will lose some of their support, the Muslim League will retain its, and the BJP will gain.

RSS likely to pass resolution on population ‘imbalance’

The recent census showed that the Muslim community had registered a moderate 0.8 per cent growth to touch 17.22 crore in the 10 year period between 2001 and 2011, up from 13.8 crore, while Hindus population showed a decline by 0.7 per cent at 96.63 crore during the period.

“There would be extensive deliberations on the subject during the meeting and a resolution in this context may be taken up,” he said.

With the recent census figures recording the Muslim population count at over 17 crores, the three-day RSS executive beginning tomorrow is expected to adopt a resolution calling for a check in the “imbalance” of population growth. Addressing the media on the eve of the meet, RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya said the recent census which had just come showed an imbalance in the growth of population. “There would be extensive deliberations on the subject during the meeting and a resolution in this context may be taken up,” he said. Entire top brass of the RSS, including its chief Mohan Bhagwat, will attend the meet. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recent census showed that the Muslim community had registered a moderate 0.8 per cent growth to touch 17.22 crore in the 10 year period between 2001 and 2011, up from 13.8 crore, while Hindus population showed a decline by 0.7 per cent at 96.63 crore during the period.In his Vijya Dashmi address last week, Bhagwat had said that facts and figures of the last two census reports and the imbalances that had come to notice as a result were being widely discussed. “Our present and future is getting impacted by it. We need to rise above vote bank politics to formulate a holistic approach, equally applicable to all citizens, towards the population policy. “Such a population policy be enforced by our governments or laws alone. Considerable efforts are required to tune society’s psyche to the same. It would be prudent to think about it during policy-making exercise,” he had said.Vaidya also sought a countrywide debate over the Upamanyu Hazarika Commission’s report that illegal migration from Bangladesh is threatening to reduce the indigenous population of Assam to a minority by the year 2047. “Recently, the Hazarika Commission report has given a startling information about changing demographic situation in Assam and Bengal. If the trend continues then population of Indians would be reduced and foreigners would be increased,” he said.

Reservation not an issue for Sangh Parivar: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

Bhagwat had attracted strong criticism a few days ago after he asked for a review of the country’s current reservation policy.

Mohan Bhagwat

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday said that the Sangh Parivar supports the development of all the sections in the society and that reservation is not an issue for them.Bhagwat had attracted strong criticism a few days ago after he asked for a review of the country’s current reservation policy and said that it was being used to meet political ends.The RSS chief, speaking during the meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahasabha said that RSS is always in favour of the development of the Hindus and encourages the attempts and efforts employed to curb untouchability and disparity within the community, an English daily reported. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhagwat had pitched for a review of the reservation policy, contending it has been used for political ends and suggesting setting up of an apolitical committee to examine who needs the facility and for how long. He said though “interest groups” do get formed in democracy, aspirations of one section should not be met at the cost of others.”Interest groups are formed because we have certain aspirations in democracy. At the same time, we should remember that through interest groups we should not strive to address those aspirations at the cost of others. We should have integral approach of welfare for all. It is sensible to realise that my interest lies in larger national interest. Government also has to be sensitive to these issues that there should not be any agitations for them,” Bhagwat told Sangh mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ and ‘Panchjanya’ in an interview.Also Read: People in Kenya drink cow blood but don’t kill it: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

Shiv Sena Dussehra rally: Why support Pak if they continue to reject friendly gestures? Uddhav Thackeray on Ghulam Ali concert

He hit out at the BJP led Centre over price rise. “Government that can’t stop price rise is useless, remember it can fall due to it.”

File Photo
Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday spoke at the Shivaji Park ground at Dadar, Mumbai for the party’s Dussehra rally.Thackeray taunted the BJP about the recent controversies and violence around cow slaughter and beef ban even as the pulse price escalated. “Why ‘Gai Pe Charcha’, there should ‘Mahagai Pe Charcha’. Our bond is with people, not with power,” he said. “Talk about inflation, not beef,” he said.He also said he wanted good power connection in Maharashtra. “I want to bring electricity in villages covered with darkness.” he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thackeray also spoke about the issue of renaming of Aurangzeb Road. He said that renaming of the road bothers people but conversion of Hindus does not. “Aurangabad’s name must be changed to Sambhajinagar.” the Sena chief added.He also brought up Yakub Memon’s hanging. “Why so much ruckus abt Yakub’s hanging? Just because he is a Muslim, then why not the same feeling about Hindus? No charges levied yet on Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pradnya?He said that Sanatan must be banned, but only if they are found guilty. “Ban Sanatan, but first prove they are guilty. If Sameer Gaikwad is guilty, punish him, but prove his guilt first. Hang Pansare, Dabholkar killers if they are guilty but first prove charges against them.” He hit out at the BJP led Centre over price rise. “Government that can’t stop price rise is useless, remember it can fall due to it.”He also lashed out at Sharad Pawar, saying that he should not teach us Swabhimaan.”I like Ghulam Ali’s songs. But Pakistan is rejecting our Id sweets and we should continue supporting them?” Uddhav said about the recent protest against the singer’s concert. “To those who preach us, why don’t you play Ghulam Ali ghazals on January 26 and August 15 from Red Fort instead of Lata’s patriotic songs,” he said.

Muslims celebrate Durga Puja in Tripura

At Durgapur village in this sub-division where Muslims constitute 90 per cent of the population, the community actively participated in the puja.

Durga Puja

Setting an example of harmony amid the country’s communal tension, several Durga pujas in Tripura are being organised by the Muslim community. The big budget puja of the ‘Blood Drop’ club in the Sonamura sub-division of Sipahijala district was held under the guidance of a Muslim president of the puja committee. “In this Hindu majority area, they have elected me as President of the Puja Committee for the past three consecutive years. From my childhood I have been involved with the Durga puja because I have never felt that it is for the Hindus only.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> We organise the puja, eat and share the joy jointly,” said Basirudding Bhuyan, President of the Puja Committee. “Even your question comes unusual to me, because I have never faced such query in my locality that how a Muslim could be a puja committee president,” he said. Bijoy Roy, a member of the club said, “you would find many Durga pujas are being funded or organised by the Muslims in this sub-division, because we take the puja as sarbajanin, (for all) and not for the Hindus only.” Muslims constitute eight per cent of the total population in the state and they mostly live in this sub-division. At Durgapur village in this sub-division where Muslims constitute 90 per cent of the population, the community actively participated in the puja in making idols, building pandals, besides funding, said Subodh Nama, a puja organiser. “In Durga puja we do not make any communal or religious division,” said Jalillur Rehaman, a local advocate. Member of the Sipahijala Zilla Parshad, Shamshul Haque said, “who is Muslim or who is Hindu is not an issue to us in organising Durga Puja. We have been witnessing since long that Hindus and Muslims are jointly organising the Puja here.” The situation is similar in other parts of the state too. “From Saptami to Dashami we stay and eat together. Our puja committee secretary is a Dalit and vice-president and joint secretary are Muslims and we do all works for the puja together,” said Netaji Sangha Puja committee President Anup Roy in Kailashahar sub-division of Unakoti district. To a question, he said, “we are against all kinds of communal or cast conflict and also condemn the recent communal flare-ups in parts of the country.”

Dussehrawale bhai brings a ray of hope in Jammu and Kashmir

Muslim and Hindu artists from Meerut make effigies of Ravana to fulfil their creative urge

A team of 40 artists have been working day and night to make effigies in Jammu and Kashmir

When competitive communalism is overshaded by the democratic values, a group of Muslims and Hindus have joined hands to make Dussehra festival a symbol of communal harmony in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir.For the last one month Muslim and Hindu artists from Meerut have been making the effigies of Ravana and Kumbkaran for Dussehra festival in Jammu city symbolising the triumph of truth over the evil.From a traditional physiotherapist, to a farmer to a factory worker, the group members have taken a break from their professions to fulfil their creative urge by designing effigies and earning some additional bucks in the festive season.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have been making the effigies for the last 35 years. Every year we come here and make effigies. It is an art which we profess. There is no discrimination on the basis of religion. For the people we are just Dussehra Wale Bhai,” Mohammad Gayas-ud-din, head of the artists designing the effigies, told dna.Gayas-ud-din, a traditional Indian System of Medicine physiotherapist by profession, is among 40- member group consisting of Hindu and Muslim artists from Meerut who are working overtime to ensure that the Hindu brothers celebrate Dussehra with traditional gaiety.”Our group is a living example of mini-India. We eat together and we live together. There is no discrimination. In fact our cook is a Hindu and all of us eat what he dishes out. Since we are busy in making effigies Muslim brothers could not go home to celebrate Bakra Eid with their family. So, we here ensured that they do not miss on the family, as we are also like a family,” said Gayas-ud-din.For the artists, the communal tension in the country is just immature, foolish and childish. “People should learn from us. We are brothers not enemies. Those who are doing such things (whipping up communal frenzy) are immature people. Look at us. We are from same village and we concentrate on our work,” he said.Take Rajiv Kumar, a master craftsman, the art of making effigies and sharing artistic space with Muslims is a great experience. “There is nothing to worry for any of us. In fact we are living like a family,” he said.What has been the icing on the cake is that the artists are being invited by the local Hindu groups for felicitation. “Shri Santhan Sabha is also meeting us. The underlining message of Dussehra is victory of truth over evil. We all should spread this message on this festival. Let us unite and not divide,” said Gayas-ud-din.

RSS mouthpiece lashes out against ‘seculars’ and liberals for showing ‘Bharat’ in poor light

“They will create a fear psychosis and frighten minorities and others to claim that nothing is going right. They will not mind Bharat being seen in poor light across the globe. It seems they are winning the propaganda battle for now, but they will lose the ideological war, no doubt,” it said.

RSS cadre

Taunting ‘liberals’ for using cow slaughter as a “protein for their secular politics”, RSS organ ‘Organiser’ has accused them of using the Dadri lynching as an opportunity to attack Hindu beliefs as it termed the killing as “not something unprecedented” or “unheard of”.Citing the “killings” of Sikhs and kar sevaks in Godhra, it questioned those protesting against the Dadri incident saying why those incidents did not evoke their conscience earlier. “One fails to understand how a ban on slaughter of cows and calves would deprive people of a cheap source of protein. Were Constitution makers less protein-conscious than present liberals who of-late have shown almost athletic interest in the matters of Hindu sentiments. “But, as usual, liberals have got this one wrong as well. Beef is not the cheapest source of protein,” an article in the ‘Organiser’ said sarcastically to those protesting the Dadri incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: RSS mouthpiece defends Dadri lynching, calls it a ‘natural reaction’ to ‘sin’ of cow slaughterWhile ruing that the body of Dadri victim had become a site of politics, it said, “Dadri’s incident is a cruel reminder of how a dead body can become a site of political maneuvering and out maneuvering.””Every murder is unfortunate, and cruel… and calls for strict action by law enforcing agencies. But what is different about Dadri’s case is that here a murder is being used by the media and self-proclaimed seculars and liberals as an opportunity to put the beliefs of Hinduism in dock,” it added.Another article in the ‘Organiser’ said, “Dadri killing is not something unprecedented, unheard of in the history of Independent Bharat. So about Kalburgi murder. The conscience of over two dozen eminent persons of literature got so severely pricked by these two incidents that they returned their awards in protest.”It, however, cited incidents when thousands of Sikhs were killed in 1984, 59 kar sevaks were burnt alive at Godhra railway station sparking the Gujarat riots and 16 policemen involved in killing of 42 innocent Muslims acquitted after 28 years a few months ago. The article while taking on RJD chief Lalu Yadav for saying Hindus also eat beef and used to eat it in Vedic times, remarks, “This is bogus.” On SP leader Azam Khan’s comparison of Indian Muslims with those in Iraq, the article says, “Azam Khan, a secular leader of a secular outfit, compared Muslims’ situation in Bharat to that of Muslims in Iraq. Phonetic similarity between Dadri and Babri provided him a poetic concern over their impact. Azam Khan, in past, has justified the acts of terrorism.” “I wonder, why no one has ever asked him and other liberals with same views why Hindus have not become terrorists in Pakistan and Bangladesh where their temples are demolished almost every month and why they haven’t become suicide bombers?” the article in RSS organ said.It goes on to question former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s recent remarks that while Islam prohibited pork eating, he wouldn’t beat up anyone eating pork, and asks, “Does he (Omar) wish to suggest that pigs have the same holy significance for him as cows have for Hindus?” Calling for a probe into Dadri death, it taunts “liberals” protesting the incident, asking what exactly is their idea of India.”So, what exactly is liberals’ idea of Bharat? Is it the idea of a Bharat, where cows are slaughtered publicly, beef festivals are organized regularly, Mahisasur Day is celebrated with fanfare and concepts like ‘Qaafir’, Dar-ul-ulum and Dar-ul-harb are ingrained in the minds of adolescent, on state subsidy.Related Read: Writers renouncing honours suffer from ‘disease of secularism’, says RSS”Is this their vision of a liberal Bharat, where terrorists like Yakub Memon’s cremation is attended by hundreds and books in favour of Afzal Guru are sold in the heart of the capital? And where beef becomes the singular source of protein?” the article questions.It accuses protesters of Dadri incident of creating a false sense of growing intolerance in India and says, “Ever since the unfortunate killing of Mohammad Akhlaq at Dadri, propaganda has preponderated policies and unsubstantiated allegations have replaced reasoning. And in the eye of storm lies once again the Hindus and their core beliefs. Self proclaimed seculars are worried that the idea of Bharat is under threat from fascists.” Another article in the RSS organ said the writers and protesters are trying to create a fear psychosis and do not mind presenting India in poor light across the world.”They will create a fear psychosis and frighten minorities and others to claim that nothing is going right. They will not mind Bharat being seen in poor light across the globe. It seems they are winning the propaganda battle for now, but they will lose the ideological war, no doubt,” it said.Yet another article said, “The present award returning spree in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘secularism’ depict the symptoms of selective amnesia of Left liberal intellectuals and literary figures. These double standards demean the individuals, awards and the institutions they represent.” It also said, “Left secular lobby with the help of electronic media has succeeded in creating an atmosphere in the country and also outside since last a few weeks as if all the Hindus are out on the street killing ‘minorities’ read Muslims to save ‘mother cow’ and stop beef eating. It seems Bharat is in a time warp for more than 15 days.”All TV channels seem to have plumbed to pessimistic depth. There has been outrage all round as if Bharat is up in flames with one person’s reprehensible killing; as if before that Bharat was living in blissful harmony for earlier 67 years. ‘Sahitya Akademi’ awardees’ drama has added fuel to fire.”

Blacked! Alleged Hindu Sena members attack J&K MLA Engineer Rashid over beef party

In the latest in the series of such acts by fringe Hindutva groups across the country, members of Hindu Sena attacked an independent MLA from Jammu & Kashmir, Engineer Rashid, at the Press Club of India in New Delhi and smeared black ink all over his face. The incident took place on Monday afternoon.

Eye-witnesses claimed that while thrashing Rashid and throwing black ink and engine oil on him, the members of the outfit shouted, “Gau Mata Ki Jai” and said “it was a befitting punishment for hosting a beef party in Kashmir and again trying to do that in Delhi.”

The lawmaker was addressing the media on the issue of death of one of the three persons attacked in Udhampur over beef rumours earlier this month.

Ink attack on J&K MLA Rashid. PTI

Ink attack on J&K MLA Rashid. PTI

According to news channels, Vishnu Gupta-led Hindu Sena has claimed responsibility for the ink attack on the MLA. Two people allegedly involved in the attack have been detained by the police.

After the incident, Rashid told reporters present at the Press Club, “This is Talibanization of India. It’s not only happening in Pakistan, but also in India. This is what they do to Kashmiris in Modi’s India.”

He further claimed, “I do not eat beef, mutton, or chicken but that was a form of protest to tell the authorities that do not interfere in anyone’s religion. If the UP government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, the BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP.”

This is the second attack on Rashid after he hosted a party in Srinagar earlier this month on the lawns of his government residence where beef was served. The first attack was by BJP MLAs on 9 October inside the J&K Assembly.

He was detained on 10 October with his supporters after he staged a sit-in demonstration at the entrance to the Assembly and accused Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of deliberately sabotaging the anti-beef ban bill.

However, Sayeed condemned Monday’s incident in Delhi and said “In a vibrant democracy like India, we need to have courage to respect dissent and provide space to different points of view. The spate of unpleasant incidents such as this is most disturbing.”

But there are many within the BJP and beyond, who haven’t taken Rashid’s Srinagar party kindly.

Ashwini Upadhyay, Delhi BJP spokesperson told Firstpost, “It’s unfortunate that the lawmaker himself doesn’t have any respect for the law of the nation, and he has broken it shamelessly. Some politicians for their vested interested and ulterior motives resort to such acts like Rashid did by publicly hosting a beef party. This act of his will end the faith of the common man in our democratic system. By hosting a beef party, the MLA has also violated the J&K Representation Act, which clearly lays down certain codes of conduct for the state’s lawmakers.”

“Personal Muslim law has nowhere mentioned about consuming beef. In fact, in many places, it has prohibited eating of beef. Moreover, there’s a court’s ban order on the sale of beef in J&K, though a temporary stay has been granted, but that doesn’t absolve the MLA from his act. If Rashid had to do it, he should have done it at home or at a private space, and not in a public space. By doing so, he has not only hurt the Hindu sentiments, but that of the Muslims as well,” added Upadhyay.

Former J&K chief Omar Abdullah tweeted on the micro-blogging site Twitter: [Attack on Eng. Rashid is unacceptable & condemned in the strongest possible terms. This climate of intolerance & violence is very worrying.]

BJP leader from J&K, Hina Bhat said, “I condemn what happened to Rashid. Such incidents are heart-breaking”.

“Since, I haven’t seen the incident, I can’t comment right now,” said Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed.

The party hosted by Rashid had angered the Hindus in J&K, including the Kashmiri pandits.

Raj Nehru, secretary, All India Kashmiri Samaj, told Firstpost, “This irresponsible act of MLA Rashid has not only hurt the sentiments of Kashmiri pandits, but millions of Hindus in J&K and across India. It’s his deliberate attempt to polarise the people of the state. He used the party, where he had served beef as a tool to foment religious sentiments in Kashmir. It’s a tactic of majoritarian suppressing the minority in Kashmir. Under the garb of radicalization, the legislator tried to incite communal fire. He’s a trouble-maker and must be behind the bars for his criminal act of violating a court’s order.”

Taslima Nasreen hits out at protesting writers, says most seculars are pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu

The writer said to the daily that not only did the Indian authors keep mum when she had to fight for living in India

File Photo
Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen on Saturday spoke about her remark on secularists being biased towards Muslims to a leading daily.Nasreen had said a few days ago on micro-blogging site that majority of the Indian intellectuals were hypocritical as they do speak up when Muslim fanatics attack her. She added that she always stood up. “But I stand by them when they’re attacked. Because I’m not a hypocrite.” This was against the backdrop of several Sahitya Akademi winning authors giving back the honour against rising communal violence and intolerance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The writer said to the daily that not only did the Indian authors keep mum when she had to fight for living in India and for her right to freedom of expression, but many also supported the ban on her book. “Many writers are guilty of double standards when it comes to dissent,” she said. Also read: Ex-servicemen raise Dadri killing, seek grievance redressal mechanism”Most secular people are pro-Muslims and anti-Hindu. They protest against the acts of Hindu fundamentalists and defend the heinous acts of Muslim fundamentalists,” she added.Nasreen also defended the right of the authors to return their awards and disagreed with the government’s claim that the protest was manufactured. She also said that Indian politicians appease Muslims which leads to anger in Hindus.Also read: Raveena Tandon backs Taslima Nasreen’s views about the selective outrage of dissenting writer​

Goa CM Parsekar says beef eaten by comunities part of cuisine, not to offend others

He also said that there can be no controversy created in Goa on the issue of beef consumption and that people in Goa are known to respect all kinds of religions.

Laxmikant Parsekar

The Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday said that in Goa beef was eaten by certain communities because it was part of their cuisine without intending to offend other people. Parsekar, during an interview, said, “I don’t feel the people of a community eat or use beef to hurt sentiments of others. It is part of their cuisine or preparation and we also accept the fact,” Indian Express reported. He also said that there can be no controversy created in Goa on the issue of beef consumption and that people in Goa are known to respect all kinds of religions. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parsekar’s comments came after Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that if Muslims want to stay in India they must stop eating beef. He also commented on Dadri killing and said that both sides committed mistakes in Dadri.Parsekar said, “This maybe a tiny state, but our speciality is that Hindus, Catholics and Muslims can live together in harmony and peace. We know the importance of respecting each others’ feelings. Therefore, such issues are never blown out of proportion as in other states, ” the report stated.

Rajdeep’s loaded question and Naseeruddin’s answer are 2 sides of same coin: Inability to see beyond religious identities

“Et tu, Naseeruddin Shah?” many of his liberal admirers are asking after he invoked his religious identity as the reason for being trolled on social media over his allegedly “pro-Pakistani” and “anti-national” remarks at the launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai.

With a touch of dramatic flourish, borrowing the title of Shah Rukh Khan’s film on the post-9/11 Islamophobia in America, “My name is Khan…”, Shah said in a TV interview that he reckoned he was being “picked on” because “my name is Naseeruddin Shah”.

“My name is Naseeruddin Shah and I believe that’s why I was targeted,’’ he has been quoted as saying.
To put it in perspective, however, he didn’t quite put it this way. What has been reported is partly the result of a little creative editing by news agencies though that doesn’t alter the fact that he did end up sounding a bit like a victim of an anti-Muslim witch-hunt.

Naseeruddin Shah in a file photo. ReutersNaseeruddin Shah in a file photo. Reuters

Naseeruddin Shah in a file photo. Reuters

But first let’s see what he actually said.
I watched the footage of the interview after reading about it. Asked by the interviewer, Rajdeep Sardesai, why did he think he was being “targeted”, Shah’s initial reply was that he didn’t understand why he had been singled out when others such as AS Noorani and  had made similar or rather “far more relevant” points than he did but had been “ignored”.

This is what he said, “I was quite astounded at the way what I said was reported in a certain news channel where everything I stated was interpreted as being anti-Indian and there was nothing of the sort that I actually said… I’m very dejected at the way it has been reported. There were mis-statements… I don’t understand why I am being picked on.”

At this point Sardesai rather sarcastically says, ”You don’t understand why you were picked on . Do you believe there’s this climate of hate today, there are many hate mongers who think a Naseeruddin Shah becomes a soft target because over the years you have promoted the idea of India-Pak friendship?”
To which Shah responds, “Absolutely. On top of that my name is Naseeruddin Shah. If it had been something else perhaps what I said wouldn’t have made so much news.”

Wrong, Shah sahib. You were picked on not because of your name, but because you’re a famous film star. Which makes you more newsworthy for ratings-chasing TV channels and attention-seeking trolls than Noorani and Padgaonkar. A celebrity by any name is a sitting duck for those fishing for controversies. So, even if your name was Shatrughan Sinha, you would have targeted by the “mob”.

Coming back to Shah’s TV interview. At one level, it was Sardesai who egged him on, hoping he would fall into the trap. Which Shah promptly did. In an ideal world, one would have expected a liberal and secular Muslim like Shah to retort, “What nonsense! Why should it have anything to do with my name? The hate-mongers you’re talking about would go after anyone who doesn’t agree with their viewpoint. So, if you’re looking for a sexy headline, sorry, mate, you won’t get it from me.”

That would have been a more accurate description of the prevailing climate of hate in which all liberals, irrespective of their religion, have become fair game for both the Hindu and the Muslim Right. By declaring that he was singled out because his name was Naseeruddin Shah and that if it was “something else” he would have been spared he played into the stereotype of a “typical” Muslim paranoid about his religious identity.

More importantly, his claim flew into the face of the fact that barely hours before the Twitterati got on to his case, a Hindu called Sudheendra Kulkarni was in fact physically attacked and his face was blackened by hate-mongers protesting against Kasuri’s book launch. In comparison, Shah was only trolled: something all of us suffer in some measure almost on a daily basis and have learnt to shrug off.
Shah is right in saying that he doesn’t have to prove his patriotism to anyone and that he is as much an Indian as anybody else, but as one liberal admirer of his pointed out: is it right for a person of his stature “loved and respected for his acting brilliance” and for his secular credentials to link everything that happens to him to his religion?

“By saying that he was picked on by the radicals because is a Muslim, he is not being unfair in broad- brushing all Indians?”

And that’s the nub of the problem. Indian liberals—both Hindus and Muslims—have in recent years become more conscious of their religious identities than they were—a legacy of LK Advani’s notorious “garv se kaho hum Hindu hain” campaign as part of his “Hindutva” project. While Muslims are quick to blame Islamophobia for anything that happens to them even if it is self-inflicted, Hindus see every Muslim as a closet religious bigot.

Shah’s statement that he had “never been aware of my identity until now” will resonate with many liberal Muslims.

Here’s what a young Muslim academic wrote on his Facebook page, “Like Naseeruddin Shah, for so many of us, the awareness of being of a different religion, of having a different image in the eyes of others is a gift of the rise of right-wing politics, especially in the last five years. I too grew us, especially in the last five years. I too grew up with very little sense of being different. My brother and I went to the same schools as everyone else. We had the same friends as everyone else. But today, at 30, I am far more aware of being thought of as different, and usually, negatively so, than I ever was, purely because of my name.”

Right or wrong, this is the reality of modern India. More and more Muslims believe that their religious identity makes them vulnerable to attacks. Rajdeep’s loaded question to Shah suggesting whether he thought he was being picked on because of his name and Shah’s answer are two sides of the same coin. Both the interviewer and the interviewee are known and respected for their secular and liberal worldview; and, yet, both can’t seem to see beyond religious identities. Doesn’t reflect very well on the prevailing intellectual climate in India, to put it mildly.

Accusing a certain unnamed TV channel of misinterpreting his remarks at the book launch and of quoting him out of context, Shah said that it mischievously “juxtaposed” scenes from a film where he played a terrorist-hunter with comments at the launch suggesting that from a terrorist-hunter he had become a “friend of terrorists’’ because of his call for friendship with Pakistan.

I haven’t seen that TV report but I noticed similar comments on Twitter. I would ignore the latter but if what Shah’s version of that TV report is correct it calls into question the role of the media in polarising opinion and whipping up potentially dangerous controversies. For, there’s a difference between a silly tweet and what is reported on an ostensibly responsible TV channel.

I have problems even with Sardesai’s interview which seemed designed to create another controversy by tempting Shah into saying what he did.

Shah clearly over-reacted by allowing himself to be dragged into a divisive terrain. That he did says something about the state of play in India today. I will end with another Facebook post by a Muslim youth Kaif Mahmood, who wrote that it is unfortunate that “70 years after a bloody partition, there is a partition in our hearts that doesn’t leave us’’.

“It keeps us from seeing others as real human beings rather than objects to be slotted into categories to be liked or disliked, to be afraid of or to be embraced. A fact that many people misunderstand is that the sorrow from this is not really about what one goes through as an individual – which one deals with like all sorrows, but about what has happened to one’s nation and one’s culture.”

A good question to ponder.

India witnessed religiously motivated killings, riots and forced conversion: US report on International Religious Freedom 2014

In the India section of the Congressional mandated annual report released by Secretary of State John Kerry today, the State Department said that some government officials made discriminatory statements against religious minorities.

India witnessed religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions and the police in some cases failed to respond effectively to communal violence, according to the US State Department report on International Religious Freedom 2014.In the India section of the Congressional mandated annual report released by Secretary of State John Kerry today, the State Department said that some government officials made discriminatory statements against religious minorities. “There were reports of religiously motivated killings, arrests, coerced religious conversions, religiously motivated riots and actions restricting the right of individuals to change religious beliefs,” said the report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said that in some cases, local police failed to respond effectively to communal violence, including attacks against religious minorities, although local officials used broad authorities to deploy police and security forces to control outbreaks of religiously motivated violence. The local nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Act Now for Harmony and Democracy reported more than 800 religiously- motivated attacks from May through the end of the year 2014.Citing Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Niranjan Jyoti’s remarks at an election rally in Delhi, it said government officials reportedly made discriminatory statements against members of religious minorities. “After her remarks stirred several days of heated national condemnation and disrupted proceedings of parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in parliament that he ‘strongly disapproved of the remarks’ and ‘we should avoid using such language’. Jyoti subsequently expressed regret for her remark,” the report said. The State Department said there is restriction on free expression on basis of religion in India.Authorities continued to enforce laws designed to protect “religious sentiments” which, according to observers, at times had the effect of limiting free expression related to religion, the report said. The State Department rued that hundreds of legal cases remained pending from violence during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots.The Nanavati-Mehta Commission on the 2002 riots ultimately released its Final Report on November 18. Some NGOs called into question the impartiality of the findings. Court cases related to the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Odisha continued, resulting in convictions for persons responsible for the public rape of a nun during the riots. Displaced Kashmiri Hindu Pandits continued to seek redress for crimes committed against them and their houses of worship by Kashmiri insurgents in the 1990s, it said. The State Department said some human rights NGOs and religious minority groups expressed concern over what they perceived as laws and government practises favouring Hinduism over other faiths, while some Hindu groups expressed concern over laws and government practises that they perceived as favouring minority religious communities. Some human rights and religious minority groups said state-level “anti-conversion” laws were designed to impede conversion from Hinduism, while not restricting conversion to Hinduism, according to the report.Police arrested Christians and Muslims for alleged “coerced conversion” of Hindus, the report said, adding that conversion of Hindus to Christianity occasionally resulted in assaults and arrests of Christians.The report mentioned the arrest of five Christians in Madhya Pradesh in March on charges of “coerced conversion” of Hindus to Christianity after they reportedly showed a movie about Jesus to a gathering of persons in their home. It also referred to Agra incident, saying that in December Hindu groups Bajrang Dal and Dharma Jagran Samamvay Vibhag announced that they had converted 57 families (approximately 200-250 people) to Hinduism.Muslims attending the event subsequently stated they were unaware that it was a conversion ceremony, it added. Noting that there are operative “anti-conversion” laws in 6 of the 29 states: Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, it said authorities describe these laws as measures to protect vulnerable individuals from being induced to change their faith.For example, the Gujarat law proscribes religious conversions through “allurement, force, or fraud,” it added. It also noted that during September and October last year certain Hindu groups mounted a propaganda campaign accusing Muslims of engaging in a “love jihad,” which they claimed involved a coordinated strategy by the Islamic community for Muslim men to marry women from other faiths in order to convert them to Islam.”In December Hindu groups, including the VHP, Bajrang Dal, and Hindu Sena, led demonstrations throughout the country against the Bollywood movie PK, due to its ‘objectionable’ portrayal of Hindu gods and goddesses,” the report said. “Protestors burned posters of the movie, burned effigies of the movie’s star, Aamir Khan, smashed windows and ticket booths at theaters, and called for the movie to be banned,” the report added.

Muslim woman of Madhya Pradesh lauded by Hindu neighbours for her devotion to Durga

A 45-year-old Muslim woman’s devotion to Goddess Durga during Navratri festival and her contribution towards building a temple for the deity has earned her applause from Hindus in Mandsaur locality of Madhya Pradesh.

Sitla Mata Mandir was built by her contribution in Indiranagar area of Mandsaur three years back. She visits there everyday during the Navratras. Representational image

A 45-year-old Muslim woman’s devotion to Goddess Durga during Navratri festival and her contribution towards building a temple for the deity has earned her applause from Hindus in Mandsaur locality of Madhya Pradesh.Everyday during the nine-day Navratri festival, Sughra Bi comes to Sitla Mata Mandir, which was built by her contribution in Indiranagar area of Mandsaur three years back.She comes to the temple with folded hands and sings praises of Goddess Durga during Navratri. Sughra keeps fast on ‘Ashtami’, the eighth day of Navratri, Sitla Mata Mandir Samiti president Bherulal Barhat said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the Hindus staying in the locality praise for her zeal and devotion towards the deity, he said.”Her devotion and goddess edification is extraordinary,” Barhat said.”I have been worshipping Goddess Durga since last 10 to 15 years. In the beginning I used to worship the deity of Durga kept on a platform in our locality. But one night, the Goddess came in my dream and asked me to build a temple for her,” said Sughra, a labourer who earns Rs 4,000 monthly.The Durga devotee, who is mother of three children, said she asked for donation from the people to build the temple.Later on, some people chipped in and formed a society to build the temple.Sughra’s husband Ismail Khan, who works as a welder, says he raised money for building the temple.”I raised a total donation of Rs 27,000 for constructing the temple. The local MLA too donated Rs 1 lakh for the temple in which the idol of Goddess was consecrated three years back,” Khan said.

Gujarat: VHP puts up banners asking non-Hindus not to take part in garba

People who don’t believe in idol-worshiping must stay away, said VHP.

“This is in order to stop love jihad, in which a Muslim boys lures and marry Hindu girls,” he said.

With the Navratri festival starting on Tuesday, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has started putting up banners at the entrances of select garba venues across the state, asking non-Hindus not to participate in the dance programmes as it is restricted “only for Hindus”.According to Gujarat VHP leaders, the banners are being put up at over 100 garba venues across Gujarat, which are hosting commercial events during the nine-day festivity. “We put up our first such banner at the entrance gate of Rajpath Club on SG Highway here today. Gradually, we will cover all other venues in the city, which are hosting garba events. VHP will put up such banners at around 100 such commercial venues across the state,” state VHP media coordinator Jay Shah said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These posters carry a common text, which warns non-Hindus from entering the venue. “Navratri is a sacred Hindu festival… People who don’t believe in idol-worshiping must stay away..This festival is for Hindus only,” the banner says. Last week, general secretary of Gujarat VHP, Ranchhod Bharwad, had announced that his organisation would take all necessary steps to stop non-Hindus from entering the garba venues, including residential societies. The right-wing Hindu organisation justified the ban claiming that such steps are necessary to stop incidents of “love jihad, in which a Muslim boys lures and marry Hindu girls”. Apart from barring entry to non-Hindus, VHP is also advocating the extension of time for garba organised in residential societies. At present, the time limit set by city police is 12 am, which is applicable to all. “We demand that residential societies should be kept aside while implementing this rule. Societies organise garba in their own private place and do not disturb others. Therefore, VHP leaders will meet the city Police Commissioner today to demand that the time should be extended till 4 am,” Shah said.

With Muslim population rising in West Bengal, RSS says branches may double in state

As a teenager, Uttam Shaha says he used to watch scornfully from his bedroom window as men in brown shorts performed martial exercises in a car park below. Like many Indians then, he viewed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a fringe group.

Now 43, Shaha is a recent RSS recruit in Kolkata. He joined about 50 volunteers for an indoctrination meeting last year at that same car park near RSS headquarters in Kolkata. As dusk set in, they sat cross-legged on a faded rug before a statue of Bharat Mata, a representation of India in the form of a mother goddess.

Ramapada Pal, the RSS’s chief preacher in the state, espoused a message of Hindu supremacy. Everyone must acknowledge “the superiority of the Hindu kingdom,” he said.

Representative image. AgenciesRepresentative image. Agencies

Representative image. Agencies

“If a Muslim living in India chooses their god before India, then why should he be allowed to live in our country? This country belongs to Hindus first.”

The RSS says its membership is growing. RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale predicted the number of RSS branches in West Bengal would rise to 1,200 next year from 650 in 2013. There is no independent measure of RSS membership.

The group’s message has particular resonance in West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh. An influx of Bangladeshi immigrants has boosted the number of Muslims, who now make up 27 per cent of the population in West Bengal, an interior ministry official said. Hindus remain a majority, but their share of the population declined by 2.2 percentage points between the 2001 and 2011 census.

‘FEASTING ON OUR RESOURCES’

Rahul Sinha, the BJP’s head in the state, said the RSS was the “guiding force in a war to win the ancient Hindu soul of India.”

“Muslims are coming from Bangladesh and feasting on our resources,” he said. “New mosques and madrassas have been set up in every corner.”

Shaha, the new RSS recruit, said he turned to the RSS last July after his niece married a Muslim and converted to Islam, shaming his well-to-do family. “I had to protect my Hindu roots – they had been threatened,” he said.

The RSS talked to him about reconverting his niece, but Shaha said the move was blocked when she threatened to lodge a police complaint against her family if they tried to interfere in her personal life.

Shaha said he campaigned for the BJP in the municipal elections this year and was ready to do the same for the party in next year’s state election.

“My mission is to make India a Hindu nation,” he said.

Reuters

PM’s remarks on Dadri lynching ‘insensitive’, dubs Congress

Mohammad Akhlaq’s family

Congress on Saturday dismissed as “insensitive and non-statement” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on the Dadri lynching incident and alleged that what happened was a “premeditated stratagem” to help BJP gain in assembly poll-bound Bihar.”Mr. Prime Minister, do you think what happened in Dadri was a fight between the Hindus and Muslims? It was a premeditated, meticulously conspired stratagem to create an environment of fear; to divide the polity for BJP to gain political capital in Bihar.” “You should not have waited for 9 days to make a non-statement. Your words were insensitive since they did not take note of the forces of hate behind the Dadri lynching”, senior party leader Kapil Sibal told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He insisted that the manner in which Mohammad Akhlaq was targeted was not a fight between Hindus and Muslims as was sought to be projected. “Gandhiji would have gone on a fast unto death had he witnessed the incident at Dadri. Gandhiji would never make the kind of speeches you are making in Bihar”, he said.Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Sibal told him “your thought process and your mind-set are the same as that of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma. So please don’t pretend to distance yourself from him.”Sharma had come under attack over his controversial statements in the wake of the incident at Dadri which falls in his Lok Sabha constituency.”What is unfortunate is that you too are playing politics. Your strategy ever since you became Prime Minister is to allow your Ministers and BJP functionaries to create an environment of communal tension and violence.” “After polarising the polity for political gain, you then make a wishy-washy statement, talking of ‘akhandata/sadbhavana’ so that you reap both harvests,.” He said.Targeting BJP, he asked the Prime Minister why before every election the communal temperature rises above “boiling point.” “Is it because BJP wishes to polarise the polity to garner votes or is it just a coincidence? “, he said.

In India, a test for Modi’s economic reforms and Hindu agenda | Reuters

BANKA, India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the campaign trail in a state election that could define the rest of his term, promising jobs and development in one of the country’s most backward areas, while his right-wing party pushes a Hindu agenda.

Braving the scorching sun, thousands of men and women clad in bright shirts and saris trudged miles to Modi’s campaign rally last week in the state of Bihar. Voting to the legislature there will start on Monday and the result will be out on Nov. 8.

Modi’s message to nearly 100,000 people gathered near the banks of the sacred Ganges river was that only his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could make one of India’s poorest regions an industrial powerhouse like his home state of Gujarat.

“A BJP government in Bihar will help us work seamlessly to create jobs for the youth, look after our farmers and ensure overall development, which is the antidote to every single problem,” Modi said, to rapturous applause.

An impressive tally in the election will give the BJP more seats in the upper house of parliament in New Delhi, where it lacks a majority, making it easier to pass legislation to modernise India’s $2 trillion economy.

However, pundits say a drubbing for the BJP may foment dissent in the party against Modi, while strengthening a hardline faction that believes the prime minister’s economic programme loses votes and that he must push Hindu-first policies in Hindu majority, but multi-faith, India.

Eighteen months after the general election that swept him to power, anger in the countryside has already forced Modi to drop a policy to make it easier to take over farmland for industry and infrastructure – key to his economic plans.

And the 65-year-old’s aura of electoral invincibility was dented when the upstart, anti-establishment Aam Aadmi Party crushed the BJP in a state election in the capital New Delhi in February.

“If Modi fails to redeem the lost ground by ensuring his party’s victory in Bihar, his government’s economic reform programme will take a back seat. He’ll simply not have the gall to carry out these measures, especially the politically sensitive ones,” said Saibal Gupta, secretary of the Asian Development Research Institute, a private think tank.

NO CHANCES

An opinion poll published on Wednesday suggested the BJP was widening a narrow lead, but the prime minister is taking no chances.

Modi plans 20 rallies in the next few weeks in Bihar, and the state’s hotels are packed with party workers from all over the country.

While the prime minister takes the high ground promising jobs and growth, his party’s campaign has now turned to religious polarisation, a road-tested method of uniting fractious Hindu castes behind the BJP.

Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior party leader in Bihar who is not related to the prime minister, said if the BJP came to power in the state it would impose a strict ban on killing cows, considered holy by many Hindus. Emotions over the issue have been high after the lynching of a Muslim man in a neighbouring state on rumours he had beef at home.

Since Modi took over as prime minister, several BJP states have tightened laws protecting cows.

Modi’s main rival in the election, Bihar’s current Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was a former ally of the BJP who is respected for cleaning up the state’s crime-ridden politics and building up its infrastructure.

But their personal political differences led to a break up of the alliance between the BJP and Kumar’s Janata Dal-United in 2013.

Kumar, known for his secular, left-of-centre politics, broke the partnership when Modi became the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate because of Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots in which at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. Modi has denied any wrongdoing.

POSSIBLE VIOLENCE

Kumar’s party says the BJP is looking to create religious tensions in the run-up to the election in Bihar, where 17 percent of the population is Muslim, higher than the national figure of 14 percent. The theory is that such tensions and sectarian clashes lead to increased support for the BJP from the majority Hindus.

Kumar’s record of clean governance has taken a hit since he split with the BJP, not least because he has now partnered with a notorious veteran politician who has done prison time for corruption.

But for the state’s religious minorities, Kumar’s message is still preferable to that of Modi.

“We don’t agree with the brand of politics that Modi and his party practice,” said Muhammad Asgar, who lives in Dumrawah village, about 20 km (12 miles) from Banka, where Modi addressed the rally.

The BJP’s message is two-fold.

“We’ve only one agenda for Bihar. And the agenda is development,” said the party’s national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav.

But Sushil Kumar Modi, the senior leader in the party’s Bihar unit, said: “This election is a fight between those who eat beef and those want an effective ban on cow slaughter.”

(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Return of Sahitya Akademi award not a first, Nayantara Sahgal bitterly opposed the Emergency too

Several books indicate Nayantara Sahgal was one of the most bitter opponents of Emergency imposed by her cousin Indira Gandhi.

Image credit: Ramesh Lalwani

Wikimedia Commons
Nayantara Sahgal, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, has returned her Sahitya Akademi award over the Dadri lynching case alleging that ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.”The prevailing situation of the country is very pathetic. The Hindutva ideology which is going on in the country right now is ruining the name of the Hindus and as a Hindu myself, I am very hurt,” Sahgal said. She has been particularly critical about Narendra Modi’s silence over the entire issue where a Muslim man was killed by a raucous Hindu mob for allegedly consuming beef. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sahgal has been widely attacked on Twitter by the right-wing supporters for being silent during many errors of omission and commission during the Congress regime. But as several books indicate, Nayantara Sahgal was one of the most bitter opponents of Emergency imposed by her cousin Indira Gandhi. Sahgal’s appointment as ambassador to Italy was cancelled by Indira Gandhi shortly after she returned to power. 24 Akbar Road: A Short History of the People behind the Fall and Rise of the Congress, a book written by veteran leader Rasheed Kidwai shares some interesting facets about the Sahgal’s protests during the heady days of Emergency. According to Nayantara, her activities were closely monitored and her telephone was tapped. She was asked to show her book A situation in New Delhi to the censor board for permission but she refused to do so. Later, in A Voice for Freedom, Sahgal eloquently wrote that she felt sick seeing so many admired, veteran leaders in jail alongside other political workers.There were apprehensions that Sahgal may be arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act during Emergency but that never happened, though a close Indira aide, then West Bengal CM Sidhartha Shankar Ray, reportedly threatened to do so. A rather interesting anecdote shared in KIdwai’s book suggests that Sahgal was so frustrated with Congress that she found the right wing Jan- Sangh a worthy alternative. The book quotes Sahgal telling Subramanian Swamy, “People need to know that the Jan Sangh does not have three horns and a tail”. From that comment to now, not only has Indian politics undergone a tectonic shift, so has Nayantara Sahgal’s opinion on right-wing forces.

‘Hindutva’ ideology ruining name of Hindus everywhere, says Nayantara Sahgal

Eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching case, said on Wednesday that the rampant ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.

(File Photo, image by Ramesh Lalwani) Wikimedia Commons

Eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching case, said on Wednesday that the rampant ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.”The prevailing situation of the country is very pathetic. The Hindutva ideology which is going on in the country right now is ruining the name of the Hindus and as a Hindu myself, I am very hurt,” Sahgal said.A day ago Sehgal returned the Sahitya Akademi award in protest against increasing intolerance towards right to dissent in the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the “reign of terror”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sahgal, who received a Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for her English novel ‘Rich Like Us (1985)’, said, “The ruling ideology today is a fascist ideology and that is what is worrying me now. We did not have a fascist government until now… I am doing whatever I believe in.”Citing various incidents of killings of writers and rationalists including M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, she alleged, “Rationalists who question superstition, anyone who questions any aspect of the ugly and dangerous distortion of Hinduism known as Hindutva whether in the intellectual or artistic sphere, or whether in terms of food habits and lifestyle are being marginalised, persecuted, or murdered.”Sahgal told PTI that “Modi is a politician who knows how to speak. He has given long speeches. On twitter and other social media he is vocal. He should be responsible for (what is happening) in the country.”The author further added that under Modi’s government, “India is going backwards. It is rejecting our great idea of cultural diversity and debate and it is narrowing down to an invention called Hindutva.”

Won’t allow Muslims at Garba to prevent love jihad: Right-wing group in Gujarat

Ahmedabad: A right-wing group on Monday said it had issued a “diktat” barring entry of Muslims at Garba events during the upcoming Navratri festival at Mandvi town in Gujarat’s Kutch district to prevent “love jihad” incidents.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“We have issued a diktat barring the entry of Muslims at Garba events in Mandvi,” said president of Hindu Yuva Sangthan, Raghuvirsinh Jadeja, who is also chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of the Mandvi tehsil unit.

“Incidents of love jihad where Muslim boys lure and marry our Hindu girls happen at Garba. Our only aim is to protect our girls,” Jadeja told PTI.

“We are getting a good response from the people and if the people from other regions respond to this movement, then we will spread it to their regions as well,” he said.

The organisation will ensure that any person entering the Garba pandal has a tilak on his forehead, and ‘Gaumutra'(cow-urine) will be sprayed on him, he said.

“If a person does not apply tilak and hesitates to be sprayed with Gaumutra, he will not be allowed to go inside.

“My people would do patrolling outside and inside Garba events and if they find any non-Hindus, they would exclude them,” he said.

When asked how will they identify non-Hindus, he said, “We can identify such elements.”

PTI

Lalu accuses BJP of using ‘beef ban’ to communalise nation

Lalu’s comment came in the wake of a man being lynched in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, by a mob following a rumour that he and his family were consuming beef.

Lalu Prasad Yadav
File Photo

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said on Saturday that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using the ‘beef ban’ issue as a weapon to communalise the nation. “This issue is being used solely for communalising the nation. Hindus eat beef, so do Indians living abroad. For someone who consumes meat on a regular basis, it does not matter if it is beef or mutton,” Lalu said. However, he added, that one must not eat meat as it is a source for many ‘diseases’. Lalu’s comment came in the wake of a man being lynched in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, by a mob following a rumour that he and his family were consuming beef.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had earlier branded the incident as an outcome of the divisive politics in the country, is expected to visit the victim’s family on Saturday.

Outrageous Navratri garba rules: Muslims banned, Hindus to sprinkle cow urine

The ban is one of the many imposed on people by a local saffron outfit known as the Hindu Sangathan Yuva Morcha and other garba organisers.

Representational Image

Muslims have been banned from entering the garba premises this Navratri in Mandvi taluka of Kutch, according to reports.The ban is one of the many imposed on people by a local saffron outfit known as the Hindu Sangathan Yuva Morcha and other garba organisers. Not just Muslims, entry for Hindus is also restricted unless they agree to sprinkle cow urine on themselves and apply tilak on their forehead. Talking about the ban, one of the members Raghuvirsinh Jadeja said, “We had banned the entry of people from other religions last year itself and framed these strict rules. But these are being more pronounced this year.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said, “Navratri is a religious festival in which devotees worship the deity of strength for nine days. We are also concerned over the rising number of cases of love jihad,” a leading daily reported.Commenting on the ban imposed by the saffron outfit, local Muslim leader Azam Angadia and vice-president of Kutch Vahanvata Association, said, “We are going to meet in a day or two to decide on our stand regarding such a decree. There are some elements who are making deliberate attempts at vitiating the atmosphere.”

Dadri killing: It’s become ‘fashion’ for some people to abuse Hindus, says VHP

Rai made the statement on the sidelines of an event where a book on senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s life was released

Victim Akhlaq

Amid mounting criticism of right-wing outfits over Dadri lynching incident, VHP on Thursday hit back and said it has become ‘fashion’ for ‘some people’ to abuse Hindus or else they contract ‘diarrhoea’.”Several people have levelled allegations against Hindus and those working for the awakening of Hindus. My view is clear, some people contract diarrhoea if they don’t abuse Hindus. “Their diarrhoea gets treated when they abuse Hindus. I don’t object to such people. But it is fashionable for them to abuse (Hindus). There is no substance in it,” VHP general secretary Champat Rai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Dadri beef murder: Centre seeks report from Uttar Pradesh govtRai made the statement on the sidelines of an event where a book on senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s life was released. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were also present at the event.

Dadri murder: I can’t be at peace, we will leave our village, says son of victim

Saifi was in was in Chennai when he had received the call that would change his life forever. Rumours of his family eating cow meat had surfaced and an announcement was made in a temple to gather outside his home in Dadri’s Bisara village.

Sartaj joined Indian Air Force in 2007

When doctors treating 22-year-old Danish Saifi on Thursday morning told his elder brother Sartaj that his sibling had shown signs of improvement, it was not only the fresh memory of his father’s killing that stopped him to rejoice the good news. An engineer in the Indian Air Force, Sartaj told dna how the thought of that ‘one phone call’, made by his younger sister Shaista on the night his family was attacked, continues to haunt.Saifi, passed the entrance examination to join the Indian Air Force as a technician right after he completed his higher secondary education in 2007. During his first posting in Hyderabad, he decided to pursue part-time graduation in Geography from Osmania University and soon after completing the degree, he was posted in Chennai where he now is pursuing a post-graduation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While speaking to dna, Saifi said that his village had never seen a Hindu-Muslim riot and it was hard to believe that the communities would ever fight. But Saifi did admit that he had become concerned after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 which he says had made him bit wary of the situation back home. “It is hard to accept that my father was killed because people thought he had meat. How does one get away from this fact,” Saifi remarked.Saifi was in was in Chennai when he had received the call that would change his life forever. Rumours of his family eating cow meat had surfaced and an announcement was made in a temple to gather outside his home in Dadri’s Bisara village.”It was around 10.45 pm and I was about to got to sleep when my sister called me. She was crying on the phone and told me that my father has been dragged away by a mob of around 100 people. I asked her where my younger brother was and she told me that he was beaten up mercilessly and at that moment was not moving,” said the 27-year-old.”I called up my commanding officer and he assured me that he will do whatever he can to get my family to safety. In the meantime I started checking internet to find phone numbers of nearby hospitals so that they could send an ambulance. I found many numbers but every hospital told me that they can’t help. I told them that my father and brother were injured but they kept on saying that they had no ambulances,” said Saifi.”It was a horrible night, I can’t even imagine how my family must be feeling. My wife and two-year-old daughter were scared seeing me panicking and asking for help,” Saifi added. What Saifi did not know at that moment was that his father had already been beaten to death by a mob using stones, hockey sticks and batons.”I called up my sister few minutes later and told her to call the police immediately. By the time police had arrived, they had killed my father and my brother was left there to die,”said Sartaj.Now at Kailash Hospital in Noida’s sector 27 where he waits for his brother to recover, Saifi, does not even want to think of the hard choices he will have to make over the next few months. But he has made up his mind. “We will leave the village. I can’t be at peace with my family living in fear. My grandmother, my sisters, brother and my mother, they are all my responsibility. We will leave our home,” he said. Fear of communal riotsSaifi said that his village had never seen a Hindu-Muslim riot and it was hard to believe that the communities would ever fight. But Saifi did admit that he had become concerned after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 which he says had made him bit wary of the situation back home. “It is hard to accept that my father was killed because people thought he had meat. How does one get away from this fact,” Saifi remarked. Heptulla condemns lynchingUnion minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla on Thursday condemned the Dadri lynching in Uttar Pradesh and said that the Centre’s aim was to instill ‘confidence in the minorities’ and empower them. “It is indeed a very condemnable incident. The (Union) Home Ministry has now taken up the matter and sought a report from the UP government. Let the inquiry be over..,” she said. Heptulla said that the Modi government’s aim has been to instill ‘confidence in the minorities’ and empower them.”Time and again (Narendra) Modiji has said that people are free to practise their religion in the country. And me and my department will look towards instilling that confidence in the people,” Heptulla said.A 50-year-old man was allegedly lynched by a mob following rumours that his family was involved in the slaughter of a cow in Dadri area of Gautam Buddha Nagar district on September 30. It’s become ‘fashion’ for some people to abuse Hindus : VHP Amid mounting criticism of right wing outfits over Dadri lynching incident, VHP on Thursday hit back and said it has become ‘fashion’ for ‘some people’ to abuse Hindus or else they contract ‘diarrhoea’.”Several people have levelled allegations against Hindus and those working for awakening of Hindus. My view is clear, some people contract diarrhoea if they don’t abuse Hindus. “Their diarrhoea gets treated when they abuse Hindus. I don’t object to such people. But it is fashionable for them to abuse (Hindus). There is no substance in it,” VHP general secretary Champat Rai said. Rai made the statement on the sidelines of an event where a book on senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s life was released. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were also present at the event.

Decoding UP’s beef murder: From political mileage ahead of Bihar polls, to strange thoughts and boiling blood

This is a village of Thakurs and they express their sentiments in a very strong way When religious sentiments of people are hurt, they get agitated and this sudden anger leads to such incidents,” former BJP MLA from Dadri, Nawab Singh Nagar told The Indian Express in the aftermath of the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq on Tuesday.

This rationalisation of a 58-year-old man allegedly being bludgeoned to death for what he was eating is a discomforting insight into the sort of issues surrounding what is being dubbed the ‘beef murder’.

The nationwide outrage is apparently misplaced, because episodes like this are not out of the ordinary. At least that’s what the BJP western UP unit’s vice-president Shrichand Sharma seemed to think, when he told The Indian Express that ‘this happens every day’.

This was not a communal riot. The Hindu community worships cows. Whose blood won’t boil if they see cow slaughter?” asked Sharma.

Relatives mourn the death of farmer Mohammad Akhlaq at his home in Bisara village. PTI

Relatives mourn the death of farmer Mohammad Akhlaq at his home in Bisara village. PTI

What’s also clear is that some blood being spilt is apparently fine, if the other’s blood boils.

According to The Times of India, a priest made the announcement that Akhlaq’s family had beef in their house. The priest later proceeded to defend himself, and told the police that he was ‘forced’ to make the announcement by two youths from Akhlaq’s village of Bisara.

The Times of India report points out that while the Akhilesh Yadav government wants the six arrested for Akhlaq’s murder to be tried under the National Security Act, the BJP’s beef appears to be with the meat in Akhlaq’s kitchen.

Thakur Harish Singh, the BJP district president is quoted as saying, “The locals gave samples of meat to the police but they (the cops) did not take it seriously. Then some people got agitated.”

The Uttar Pradesh government, The Hindu reports, has ordered a probe into the incident, even as the samples of the meat procured from the family’s kitchen have been sent for forensic analysis. The question here is: Should the quantum of punishment for the perpetrators will vary depending on the type of meat?

Meanwhile, with the Bihar Assembly election around the corner, the Congress weighed in with its own take. Referring to a ‘growing ambience and climate of hate’, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told The Asian Age, “Such politics (need) to be condemned… Politics of poison and hatred is bound to grow in the run up to the Bihar elections.”

The report also quotes Singh as saying that ‘peace committees to restore communal harmony’ have been assembled.

It is fervently hoped that these committees bear little resemblance to the Samadhan Sena that popped up in the vicinity of village around four months ago. The Indian Express reports on the story of the little-known group that has been fanning the flames of communal unrest in villages across Dadri.

According to the report, Virpura village-resident Govind Chaudhary set up the Sena in June and has held meetings where groups comprising youths between 16 and 20 years of age would listen to “issues that had never bothered them before — like cow slaughter and the ‘declining’ population of Hindus”.

The father of one such youth expressed to The Indian Express his bewilderment at where this ‘strange radical thought process’ has come from. “One day, he was talking about movie stars and item numbers. The next day he began saying the population of Hindus in the country has dipped. I have asked him not to attend these meetings, but do young boys listen these days?”

Maybe they do, but only when their blood boils.

Dadri murder: Attackers came armed with hockey sticks, batons and even swords, says victim’s daughter

Family recounts how mercilessly Mohamad Akhlaq was dragged out of his house and beaten to death

Shaista, daughter of Mohamad Akhlaq, being consoled by her relatives
Azaan Javaid
dna
On Wednesday afternoon, 18-year-old Shaista, daughter of Mohamad Akhlaq (50) who was beaten to death by a mob that accused him of eating cow meat, refused to even have a simple plate of dal rice, prepared by her cousin Heena Saifi. “My father lost his life because of one meal. Whenever I try to eat, the same thought comes to my mind,” Shaista said, while a group of her relatives consoled her.Her two-storey house in Dadrí’s Bisara village is now littered with belongings that were merely two days ago owned by the family. These inclue utensils, refrigerator and even the sewing machine used by Shaista with which she is said to have stitched clothes for the families of those accused of the attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We had finished dinner after which my father and brother Danish were upstairs. An announcement was made in the temple and moments later a mob started banging on our door while abusing us. They threatened to kill us and when they finally entered our home, both my father and brother were attacked with hockey sticks, batons and even swords,” Shaista told dna.”It happened so fast. I saw my father being dragged down the stairs and along the road. Danish (Shaista’s brother) was being beaten mercilessly but he kept on begging to spare our father,” Shaista said before breaking down, not the first time since her father’s murder.The women of the house – Akhlaq’s two daughters, wife and mother — were shoved into the kitchen while the mob went upstairs where Dansh and his father were trying to make sense of what was happening. As this correspondent was speaking with Shaista, Asgara Begum, Akhlaq’s 80-year-old mother, walks into the room. She uses the support of its broken doors to enter.”Shaista has been crying ever since the horrible night. My grandson Danish is in hospital and his elder brother Sartaj had to rush from Chennai where he is training in the Indian Air force. My daughter-law has not spoken to us since that night,” Asgara said. “They have destroyed my family”.Asgara too was not spared when she tried to intervene. Her face is now full of injury marks that were inflicted on her. “They punched me in the eye and places which I am too ashamed to mention. My child was unconscious when they were dragging him. I saw his bloodied face and that’s when I fainted,” said Asgara.Police told dna that Akhlaq died as a result of injuries that were inflicted on his head and neck. Danish is currently in a hospital and his condition is stated to be critical.Heena, Shaista’s cousin, interjects. “We are even afraid to use the toilets at night,” she said pointing to the bathroom which lies a few feet away from the main residential portion of the house.In her statement to the police, Akhlaq’s wife Ekraman, mentions names of the accused who have known the family for years. “When we tried to run to call for help, the attackers were waiting for us with batons and had surrounded our house,” read the FIR. Police have so far arrested six of the 15 people mentioned in the FIR while the priest of the temple from where the announcement was made was questioned and let off. Those living near the temple claimed to have not heard anything, but Garima, sister of two of the accused, said that an announcement was made that Akhlaq’s family had slaughtered a cow and all the Hindus in the village must gather near his house. “My brothers are innocent,” she said.

Forget bans on porn, alcohol: We need to take the infants’ plea in SC for ban on crackers seriously

In a season of insane bans inspired by bigotry and intolerance, the most sane idea has come from infants.

Three Delhi-based infants have moved the Supreme Court through their father for a ban on bursting of crackers this Dusshera and Diwali. Arguing that the pollution created by crackers harms their under-developed lungs, the infants have sought a series of remedies for improving air quality.

Supreme Court of India. ReutersSupreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Unless you are naive enough to link crackers with Indian culture and traditions, or find some convoluted argument to see the plea as part of a conspiracy against Hindu festivals, there is very little to disagree with the concerns of the infants and their parents.

In Delhi, the emission levels are highest in the world. In September, the National Air Quality Index in September continuously registered levels above 300 for particulate matters that pollute the air. Such high levels — between 301 and 400 — mean the air quality is poor and continuous exposure can lead to a variety of illnesses.

With the onset of winter, when the air turns cool and moist, pollutants hang low and become stagnant. During this period the some of the particulate matter exceeds 1500 micrograms per cubic metre, nearly 15 times more than the standard limit for healthy conditions.

It is a no-brainer that crackers laden with hazardous chemicals that emit poisonous gases turn Delhi into a gas chamber. Add to this the noise pollution, environmental waste, risk of burn injuries and major fires, and exploitation of child labour in the industry, we should have been proactively debating a stringent ban on crackers by now. Unfortunately, we have made a habit of ignoring real issues that affect our lives — pollution, epidemics, inflation, failure of the health and education system–and wasting time on unproductive debates and campaigns.

Bursting crackers was never part of the tradition. Deepavali (Deep: lamps; Avali: rows) was always meant to be a festival of lights on the dark amavasya night of Kartika month of Indian calendar. While most of us believe the lamps are lit to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from exile (or the killing of demon Narkasura by Krishna), there is also some scientific logic behind it.

Indians believe that since the Diwali season is preceded by the monsoon, the fire element in the environment diminishes due to the cloud cover. The lighting of lamps was traditionally meant to compensate for the lower level of tej tattva. Crackers were a late addition to the celebration, initially perhaps just as sources of more light. Their controlled use may have helped the environment by killing monsoon insects and flies. But, now it has all gone out of hand with bursting of hazardous crackers turning into a mindless show of ostentation.

In the petition on behalf of the infants, their parents have rightly argued that the pollutants from crackers violate their right to clean air guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and lead to asthma attacks, diminished lung capacity and various other diseases.

In the past, various governments have tried to curb the menace of post-Diwali pollution. There have been efforts to create awareness through campaigns in schools and curb the use of crackers by imposing a time limit. Some years ago the Supreme Court had stepped and imposed a complete ban between 10 pm and 6 am. But, several studies have shown none of this has worked because both the government and citizens have been blasé about implementing the measures.

The latest petition by Delhi infants gives us another opportunity to look at crackers for what they are: a health hazard. Puerile debates on banning meat, eggs, alcohol, porn sites, books, films and other forms of expression can wait. We can start showing some maturity by listening to what the children of Delhi are saying: the air around us is killing everybody, without differentiating between the lungs of Hindus, Muslims, Jains, vegetarians and beef-eaters.

BJP backs Eknath Khadse, opposition criticises his views on Sanatan Sanstha

While Sanatan does not believe in democracy but in violence, AIMIM, instead of being banned, should be forced to give up its politics of communalism, says Congress

“What Khadseji meant by comparison is that the AIMIM works for Muslims while Sanatan Sanstha works for Hindus,” he said.

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Eknath Khadse’s comparison of the Asaduddin Owaisi-led Majlis- e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) with Sanatan Sanstha has drawn sharp reaction from political outfits, but his party BJP continued to back the senior leader. “What Khadseji meant by comparison is that the AIMIM works for Muslims while Sanatan Sanstha works for Hindus. There have been demands to ban the AIMIM as well. But just because some organisation demands a ban on a political outfit, the Government cannot enforce a ban,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said. There are processes and requirements which are to be followed before a ban is enforced on an organisation, he said. “His (Khadse’s) statement simply meant that as there are demands for banning Sanatan, there are demands to ban the AIMIM as well. But we cannot ban both until there are concrete evidences (to prove they are engaged in illegal activities) before the Government,” Bhandari said. Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam dubbed AIMIM as a “communal” party and said instead of banning, the outfit must be forced to give up politics of communalism. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The state government should immediately ban Sanatan. While Sanatan does not believe in democracy but in violence, AIMIM, instead of being banned, should be forced to give up its politics of communalism. AIMIM is not killing people, but this fanatical organisation (Sanatan) is killing people,” Nirupam said. NCP was vocal in support of the Hyderabad-based AIMIM and said both Owaisi brothers (its senior leaders) have never caused violence with their speeches. “Today he (Khadse) is comparing AIMIM with this radical outfit, tomorrow it can be any other secular party. You cannot compare terrorists with a political organisation. Owaisi and his brother have never caused violence with their speeches. The BJP is once again using a religious outfit for cheap political gains,” NCP Mumbai President Sachin Ahir claimed.Khadse had yesterday stoked a controversy by comparing AIMIM with Sanatan Sanstha, a Goa-headquartered right-wing outfit, and its activist Samir Gaikwad has been arrested in connection with the murder of Communist leader Govind Pansare. AIMIM is known for making provocative statements. If organisations could be outlawed without concrete evidence, then AIMIM would have to be banned as well, he had said.

Sacrifice your sons instead of goats on Eid al-Adha, says BJP MLA Usha Thakur to Muslims

She said as per a tale, Muslims were supposed to sacrifice their sons but he changed into a goat. So Muslims should sacrifice their sons instead of killing innocent animals, she said.

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Usha Thakur on Friday said that Muslims courted controversy by questioning the Eid al-Adha rituals and implied that Muslim community should either sacrifice their sons instead of goats, reports India Today.She said as per a tale, Muslims were supposed to sacrifice their sons but he changed into a goat. So Muslims should sacrifice their sons instead of killing innocent animals, she said. The Indore MLA had also said that true Muslims should not visit any Durga pandal as the Quran prohibits idol worship.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Quran says that the worshipping of idols is prohibited. Therefore, any true Muslim should not go to any Durga pandal,” Thakur told media here. Thakur said Durga Puja and Garba are not sources of entertainment, but a reflection of the faith Hindus have on their goddess.With agency inputs

You can’t make up this shit: RSS’ Muslim branch claims that cow dung can make atom bombs ineffective!

The booklet says that the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti brought back life to a poor woman’s dead cow, and that the Hindus reverence of cow was a sign of “intellectual development”.

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an offshoot of the RSS, are urging Indian Muslims to give up beef. In one of their pamphlets titled Cow and Islam, they have claimed that cow dung can render hydrogen and atom bombs ineffective, reports The Hindu.The booklet also asks Muslims to abstain from beef, and points out various examples in history to show that Muslims shunned beef. The booklet quotes Indresh Kumar a senior RSS functionary who says avoiding the consumption of beef could prevent diseases. He said: “Common Muslims will enjoy good health. Children and the aged will be saved from diseases. Strength of mind, intellect and character will increase.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The booklet says that the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti brought back life to a poor woman’s dead cow, and that the Hindus reverence of cow was a sign of “intellectual development”.Meat, particularly beef bans, have been in the news in recent months with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai exchanging open letters on the topic.