Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India

War over Words: Censorship in India, 1930-1960

Devika Sethi

Asad Ahmed

Cambridge University Press, University Printing House, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8BS, United Kingdom; 2019

Censorship, usually understood as repressive state power, has often been considered a theoretically dull subject even if a politically vital one. Scholars saw their task as ensuring that such activity does not pass without historical accounting and would, therefore, catalogue the instances, discern motivations and assess the implications of censorship.

But, as three recent books on India demonstrate, the state is no longer the sole agent engaged in censorial activity. Demands for censorship, as well as practices of censorship, come from and are practised in all realms of society. Censorship then is often a collaborative venture between the state and society.

This shift in understanding from censorship as a unilateral exercise of coercive and monolithic state power to its more complex, motivated and collaborative dimension has political implications. For, if the traditional liberal concern was to protect the individual from the state, an additional question is now being posed: how does one respond when the clamour for censorship comes from the public – groups that utilise a plethora of laws, and at times resort to vigilante action to achieve their aims?

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Rot that’s destroying India’s TV news came from newspapers – By Kalpana Sharma

If you survey the frontpages of most newspapers, you will find that the pandemic has slipped off their radar. This, at a time when Dr V K Paul of the Niti Aayog has stated, “Our Covid-19 numbers are rising – we haven’t stablised yet. The pandemic is still on…a large population is still vulnerable.”

Apart from the pandemic, the state of the economy is another big story waiting to be investigated and reported. India’s GDP is shrinking and unemployment is growing… but where are these stories?… None of this appears to have any relevance for the majority of TV news channels. They continue to focus obsessively on just one story, that of the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June and the subsequent investigations.

Mainstream media is today interested primarily in catering to its “market”. The idea that it’s the fourth estate, that it is there to speak truth to power has receded into some distant past. Not all have succumbed to this entirely; as always there are honourable exceptions. But the most popular channels, or the most read newspapers by and large defer to profit over relevant content.

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Sudarshan TV’s ‘UPSC Jihad’ Episode is an Assault Not Just on Muslims but on the UPSC Too – By Rais I. Shaikh

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil service examination results of 2019 were announced on August 4. Within a day of the announcement, at least one of the new civil servants became the subject of social media venom and within two weeks, the UPSC itself was attacked. The day after the results were announced, a hate campaign began against the only woman from Jammu & Kashmir to pass the examinations. Fake identities of this woman were created on Twitter where she purportedly criticised the Rafale aircraft that have just been inducted into the Indian Air Force.

What followed was even worse. Sudarshan News, a television channel dropped a teaser (promotional clip) for a news show to be aired on August 28, which claimed that there was a conspiracy among Muslims to ‘infiltrate’ the civil services. The news channel head called this ‘UPSC Jihad’ and said there was a sinister reason for ‘the sudden spike’ in Muslim candidates taking the UPSC exam. The news channel’s argument is wrong on many levels.

The lies being spread by Sudarshan News will unfortunately not only circulate the wrong impression among Muslims but also demoralise young aspirants of other communities who aspire to join the services.

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A big question mark on India’s Supreme Court – By Ashok Swain

The Supreme Court benches have been predominantly Hindu upper-caste old men’s clubs. Hindu superiority is ingrained in their thinking and beliefs. The present Chief Justice is from the Hindutva heartland Nagpur and is proud of his family’s association with Hindutva ideologue Savarkar.

Supreme Court might have made some commendable judgements on constitutional matters in the past, but it had never been tested on the issue of secularism till Narendra Modi came to power.

The Apex Court initiating the process for the Modi government to pass a law to criminalise triple talaq, it guiding the creation of a national register of citizens in Assam which targets Muslim immigrants, and also refused to put hold the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminates Muslim refugees are clear examples of the bias.

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Delhi riots: Chargesheet ignores hate speech by Kapil Mishra and others, makes mockery of justice – By Suhit K Sen

On Wednesday, the Delhi Police filed a chargesheet in the Delhi riots case. It names 15 people. Six others arrested in connection with the riots have not been named in the document. They will, no doubt, be arraigned soon.…the Delhi Police… will have to explain why and how sit-in protests that had proceeded peacefully for two months or so suddenly erupted into violence towards the end of February only after the BJP leader Kapil Mishra made an incendiary speech

The Delhi Police has taken no action against the actual instigators of the riots, most importantly Kapil Mishra. No action has been taken against Union Minister of State Anurag Singh Thakur and Outer Delhi MP Parvesh Varma for making incendiary and actionable speeches, in the former’s case one including incitement to murder, creating a political climate in which riots could be engineered.

…Yet, till now practically none of the people who carried out or instigated these riots have been investigated, forget arrested or charged. Muslim youth and those protesting against the CAA, regardless of faith, have been disproportionately targeted for prosecution. We should actually say persecution.

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Modi government sparks language anxieties in Jammu and Kashmir – and fears of Hindi imposition – By Safwat Zargar

On the agenda of the ongoing monsoon session in Parliament is a bill to introduce Hindi, Kashmiri and Dogri as official languages in Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to English and Urdu.… But the move has opened old and new faultlines in the region. 

Communities that speak Gojri, Pahadi and Punjabi are protesting against their exclusion. Both Gojri and Pahadi were recognised as regional languages in the erstwhile state, which was stripped of its special status in August 2019, and split into two union territories.

In the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, the inclusion of Hindi has renewed fears that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is pursuing an agenda of demographic change through its policies.… the introduction of Hindi showed “a design and seriousness”

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A Year After Rendering Millions Stateless, India Has Yet to Hear a Single Appeal – By Priyali Sur

First prepared as part of independent India’s first census in 1951, the NRC is the official register of Indian citizens in Assam, the northeastern Indian state that shares a 163-mile-long border with Bangladesh. Over the years, the government claimed that the NRC’s main purpose was to identify and deport Bengali immigrants who’d illegally crossed the border from… Bangladesh. The updated list, released on Aug. 31, 2019, was created with a similar intention: It’s excluded 1.9 million people, primarily Bengalis – both Muslim and Hindu – leaving them potentially stateless until proven otherwise.

Yet proving one’s citizenship is not easy, and for the time being, it’s nearly impossible. Even if an individual has the right documents, they’re still stuck in limbo, since the Indian government has delayed the appeals process for anyone excluded by the NRC. 

Human rights activists say that this yearlong period of government inaction is politically motivated, perhaps even a way for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party of India, to lay the groundwork for yet another NRC that will exclude far more people – especially Muslims – than the nearly 2 million already affected.

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Church And A Car Set Ablaze In Andhra Pradesh

Loud screams woke up a Pastor and his family from a deep sleep at the dead of night on the 9th of September 2020. Religious fanatics had set his car and the church on fire in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

“At approximately 12:45 am, my father and sister ran outside after hearing the locals yelling and shouting outside our home. They were shocked to see the vehicle and the church ablaze” said Vijay, the son of Pr.Jesu.…

In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017, and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.

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Karnataka’s Withdrawal of Criminal Cases against Politicians Violates ‘Equality before the Law’

The Government of Karnataka has decided to withdraw 62 criminal cases registered against politicians including sitting MLAs and MPs while going against its own officials. The B. S. Yediyurappa-led government’s move to withdraw the criminal cases went against the advice of the Director-General and the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Prosecution, and officials at the Ministry of Law. 

It is worrisome that these cases include serious offences, such as causing hurt to public servants, deterring public servants from discharging their duties and rioting with dangerous weapons.

There is no legislative intent to confer the power to try or withdraw cases on state governments, as the power has been consciously vested in the prosecutors. Uttar Pradesh has deviated from this scheme by amending Section 321. It requires the prosecutor to seek the state government’s approval, before seeking the court’s permission, to withdraw from prosecuting a case.

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Detention centre in Ghaziabad ‘suggests’ anti-minority, anti-Dalit mindset of UP govt

Several well-known social and political activists from across India fear that the “decision” of the Uttar Pradesh government to convert an Ambedkar hostel in Ghaziabad into a detention centre will be used for detaining those who are declared foreigners after they are unable to prove their citizenship, insisting, this is happening on lines of the detention centres for alleged foreigners set up in Assam.

Pointing out that this is contrary to the claim by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during the last Delhi state assembly polls had said that there are no detention centres in the country, the activists, who include Magsaysay award winning academic and social-political activist Sandeep Pandey and  environmentalist Prafulla Samantara, winner of ‘green Nobel’, said, “Foreigners staying illegally in India and persons who will be left out of National Register for Citizens (NRC) will be detained here.”

The statement, also signed by Rajeev Yadav, Shreekumar and Anish Lukose of the People’s Politics Front; Ajit Singh Yadav of Lok Morcha; Lubna Sarwath of the Socialist Party (India); and ID Khajuria of the J&K Forum for Territorial Integrity, said, the purpose of the detention centre is to “keep Muslims perpetually under threat and in a state of fear”, adding, it also reflects “anti-Dalit mindset of BJP.

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Purpose Of Sudarshan TV’s ‘UPSC Jihad’ Show Is To Vilify Muslim Community: Justice Chandrachud In SC Order

The Supreme Court on Tuesday told Sudarshan TV on Tuesday that it could not allow it to say “Muslims are infiltrating the civil services” and ordered the channel to stop airing its ‘UPSC Jihad’ series on the Bindass Bol show, pending further orders.

The court was hearing a plea against the series which targeted members of the Muslim community who join India’s civil services. In its order, SC said: “At this stage, prima facie, it appears to the court that the object, intent and purpose of the program is to vilify the Muslim community with an insidious attempt to portray them as part of a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services.

While the channel argued against this in the name of press freedom, Justice Chandrachud said, “This is not a freedom of speech issue. When you say there is a conspiracy by Muslims to flood the civil services,” LiveLaw reported.

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UP creates special force with power to arrest without warrant

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday notified the creation of a special force empowered to search any premises or arrest any person without any warrant or orders of a court, said an official.

The move prompted a strong reaction from the Congress, with its state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu equating it with the 1919 Rowlatt Act or Black Act and saying that the party will explore legal options to challenge it.

The new force, named UP Special Security Force,… has been created under the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Vishesh Surakash Bal Adhiniyam (Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force Act), 2020, said Awasthi, adding the Force has been vested with powers akin to those of the CISF.

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Indian state uses draconian law to detain those accused of killing cows

More than half the arrests this year under a tough national security law in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh have involved suspects in cases of cow slaughter, data showed.

The northern state has used the National Security Act (NSA), which allows for those deemed a threat to national security to be detained without charge for up to a year, almost 140 times in the first eight months of the year.

“The NSA has been invoked in 139 cases across Uttar Pradesh, of which 76 have been against the slaughter of cows,” Awanish Awasthi, a top state official, said in a statement.… Vigilante attacks on those accused of killing the animal for meat, often people belonging to the tiny Muslim minority, are common.

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Ahmedabad’s largest Muslim ghetto excluded from minority-specific development plan

The Union and the state governments have notified 24 minority concentration areas (MCA) of Gujarat for minority-specific development work under the PM’s Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK). Godhra in the Panchmahals district figures in the list of MCA. However, Juhapura – one of the largest Muslim ghettos in Ahmedabad – is not part of the list.

Social activist Dev Desai told Mirror, “Minorities, especially Muslims, face discrimination here. For other minorities like Buddhists or Jains, a lot of developments with technology take place. Juhapura faces major issues of water, drainage and other basic facilities. Since the highway is heavy with traffic, councillors have been writing to the authority to build several bridges so that people can cross it safely. However, nothing has happened on this front.

Maktampura councillor Mirja Hajibhai Asrarbaig said, “These development schemes are to benefit just a few and mostly it is on paper. There is a need for a hospital in Juhapura, gymnasium, playground for children but the government will not focus on that.

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‘Is Being a Muslim Crime in India’: Twitter Stands in Support of Umar Khalid, Question Why ‘Goli Maaro Gang’ is Roaming Free?

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid was arrested late on Sunday night under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his alleged role in the Delhi riots.… Soon after his arrest, a large section of Twitterati stood in support of Khalid, demanding his release. Many called his arrest a ‘witch-hunt’ while questioning why Delhi Police hasn’t taken any action against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Komal Sharma. 

In January, BJP’s Anurag Thakur was seen leading a crowd with the slogan “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko,” a chant inciting listeners to shoot “traitors to the country”, with an expletive thrown in.

One user wrote, “Umar Khalid is arrested who talked about responding to hate with love. BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur don’t even have an FIR against them who openly talked about responding to anti-CAA protests with Goli.

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14 US Senators want India listed as worst offenders of religious freedom

The “Coalition to Stop Genocide in India”, a broad coalition of Indian American and US-based civil rights organizations and activists, today welcomed a letter written by fourteen US Senators to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressing that US law requires the US Government to consider a federal commission’s recommendations that some countries be designated as a Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), which is the US Government’s official term for countries that are the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom.

In April this year, the USCIRF recommended adding nine more countries, including India, to this list. CSGI has repeatedly called for the inclusion of India in the list of countries of particular concern, and has urged the State Department to accept USCIRF’s recommendations in this regard, given the escalating levels of persecution against religious minorities in India.

“We are encouraged to see the pressure from Congress to designate India a Country of Particular Concern. The US should always lead with its values and hold our friends accountable when they miss the mark on religious freedom,” said Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director, International Christian Concern.

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India is still trampling on civil liberties in Kashmir – Editorial

Saifuddin Soz is not under house arrest; he is just not allowed to leave his home. Now 82 years old, Since August 5th, 2019, the police have forced Mr Soz to remain in his home. “You are under house arrest,” they told him. His family petitioned the courts for his release, since he has not been charged with any crime, much less convicted. But the Supreme Court dismissed the request, since the authorities had informed the honourable justices that Mr Soz was “never detained nor under house arrest”.

The government’s blatant lying to the court (which is otherwise prickly about what it considers contempt) gives a sense of how far it is willing to go to have its way in Kashmir and how little it cares about abusing the rights of even the great and the good in the process.… Mr Modi’s decision a year ago to rescind that autonomy and split the state into two territories… was always going to enrage Kashmiris, who were not consulted, even though the constitution demanded it.

To all these tribulations Kashmiris add an extra concern—that an influx of migrants from the rest of India will turn them into a minority in their homeland. The revoked autonomy included restrictions on who could own land in the state. Yet new criteria have made many more Indians eligible for “domicile certificates”. Instead of seeking to allay such fears, Mr Modi chose to celebrate the anniversary of the abolition of Kashmir’s autonomy by laying the foundation stone of a new temple, to be built on the site of a demolished mosque.

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29 Years In RSS, 8 In BJP, This Man Quit Both Because Of Their Trolls – By Piyasree Dasgupta

A few days before Krishanu Mitra, a BJP spokesperson and head of the media cell in West Bengal quit the party, he tweeted about the credibility of the party’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh’s accomplices. 45-year-old Mitra had been a part of RSS for 29 years and had joined BJP in 2009. He contested the Assembly elections in 2016, but lost. He quit the party in 2017.

With Ghosh’ rise, Mitra voiced the concerns that a lot of BJP old-timers had about the ‘new’ path and ideologies, BJP had embraced in the state. “MLA Dilip Babu, How come Amartya Sen is evil but criminal conspiracy, fraud and cheating young job aspirants is not? Admitting rogue CPIM elements in the party is not? Child trafficking is not? Having fake degree is not? Using different identities for government jobs and party is not?” he asked in a tweet. Mitra was responding to Ghosh’s comment that Nobel Laureate Sen was ‘spineless’ and can be ‘bought or sold’.…

During the interview, he traced the decline for the space for dissent within his own party which prompted him to quit for BJP and RSS.… The people who have been joining BJP in Bengal, they are not joining because they want a change in economic conditions or something, they just want political power. They are using BJP’s platform for that power. Only shrewd politicians who want to further their own political careers are joining. Now, they may want to do that, it’s fine – but why should BJP allow that? I had brought this up several times within the party, I had brought this up in RSS too – since I was sent to join BJP from RSS.

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It’s not a newsroom, it’s a durbar’: Inside the Republic of Arnab Goswami – By Manisha Pande

On August 27, Tejinder Singh Sodhi took to Twitter to announce his resignation as Republic TV’s bureau chief in Jammu and Kashmir. “After writing an apology to Journalism for killing its soul for three and a half years, I have resigned from Republic TV,” he wrote.… The “details” were subsequently published on September 1 by PGurus, with a blurb declaring that the “no-holds-barred letter” speaks of the journalist’s “horrid experience working for Republic TV”.

Several of the people we spoke to have worked closely with Arnab. One person remarked that Tejinder’s email illustrated precisely why there were few experienced professionals in the business who’d like to work for Arnab. “What he’s built with Republic TV is not a newsroom, it’s a durbar. Usually, you have juniors, mid-level and senior managers in an organisation. He’s filled the newsroom with young kids who cannot stand up to him, even as most experienced hands at Republic TV have left.”

The person noted a distinct change in Arnab after the 2019 Lok Sabha election. “He has become increasingly vicious as have his panellists.… A former senior anchor argued that when experienced professionals and the cream of the organisation are leaving one by one, you have to pause and think. The anchor said the environment at Republic TV was “toxic and negative”.

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Will Facebook Ban Hate Speech From India’s Ruling Party? – By Sadanand Dhume

Last month the Journal reported that Ankhi Das… had intervened to prevent the platform from banning a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator flagged internally by Facebook employees for his incendiary posts and public appearances. The legislator, T. Raja Singh, has called Muslims traitors, said Rohingya immigrants should be shot, and threatened to raze mosques.

Ms. Das reportedly argued that banning Mr. Singh as a “dangerous individual” and punishing BJP politicians more generally would hurt the platform’s business prospects in India.… In India, the revelations have sparked a political firestorm. Sharing screenshots of the Journal story on Twitter, opposition leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the “BJP & RSS control Facebook & WhatsApp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate.”…

…Ms. Das’s recommendations reflected an accurate assessment of Indian political reality. Still, the company may have no choice but to be more aggressive in policing incendiary content by ruling-party politicians in India. Calls for migrants to be shot and places of worship to be razed would be beyond the pale in most democracies. On Thursday Facebook banned Mr. Singh. Earlier this year, in response to a question about Donald Trump’s posts, Mr. Zuckerberg said “there are lines and we will enforce them.” The question for Facebook: Will it enforce its lines in India too?

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With Freedom at Stake, Courts Are Collapsing – By Madhav Khosla

Along with the rise of executive power, there has been a corresponding but less studied phenomenon: the decline in judicial power. The courts were once seen as shields against the tyranny of majority and autocratic drifts within the state, and as the defenders of liberty and enforcers of accountability. Sadly, courts today have become silent bystanders and complicit actors.

Yet nowhere has the collapse of judicial power been more extreme than in India. Over the past six years, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has taken India away from the liberal, democratic and secular principles that it has long endorsed.

India’s once powerful judiciary has been largely silent or approving. On questions such as the biometric project or the building of a Hindu temple on disputed land where a mosque once stood, it has offered its stamp of approval. On a great many matters, it has been missing in action.… The Indian judicial approach of not only approving the government’s actions… but also being absent, remaining silent while the state acts, raises a genuine puzzle.

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‘I’m in Trouble Because I Dared to Speak the Truth’: Indian Doctor Arrested Under Anti-Terror Law Speaks Out After Release – By Valay Singh

Late on the night of Wednesday, September 2, Dr. Kafeel Khan, a child care specialist, stepped out of jail “These seven months were like hell for me, my old mother, my wife and my two children,” Khan told VICE News. “I was kept without food and water for five days in the beginning.” In these seven months, Khan has become virtually unrecognisable. His usually clean-shaven face with just a soul patch goatee now has an unkempt beard.

While Khan’s release comes as a reprieve for many, questions are being raised on the state’s use of stringent laws, like the NSA, to curtail freedom of speech. “One is, of course, relieved that Dr. Khan has been released, but is this justice?” Manisha Sethi, faculty at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in Hyderabad, told VICE News. “His case illustrates well the maxim that the process is the punishment.”

Hours before his suspension, he had been hailed as a hero in the media for trying to save infants’ lives by arranging oxygen through his personal efforts. It was only after he wrote a tell-all letter describing the sequence of events that he was granted bail after 8 months in April 2018. “I only spoke the truth in that letter. I tried to help the infants by arranging oxygen, but the government persecuted me instead of going after the real culprits,” Khan told VICE News.

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Caught On Camera: Dalit Man Beaten To Death Over Rumour That He Sold His Daughter

A 45-year-old Dalit man died in a Uttar Pradesh hospital on Sunday after he was beaten by a group of five men at his home in Mainpuri, allegedly over rumours. The brutal incident was caught on camera.

A video shared by Samajwadi Party on its Twitter handle shows a group of five men assaulting Sarvesh Diwakar on the terrace of his rented house. Even though Diwakar pleads for mercy, the attackers beat him till he falls on the ground, unconscious. 

While the Samajwadi Party in the tweet said the attackers belonged to right-wing group Bajrang Dal, the police refuted the claim and said those arrested do not have any political affiliation.

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Government suspends FCRA clearance of 4 Christian groups

Of the six NGOs whose license under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) was suspended by the Union Home Ministry this year, four are Christian associations. An FCRA licence is mandatory for a non-profit organisation to receive foreign funds.

At least two U.S.-based Christian donors are also under the Ministry’s scanner for funding NGOs and groups here, a senior government official said. “Concerns have been raised regarding the impact of U.S.-based evangelical donors including Seventh Day Adventist Church and Baptist Church in regard to Indian associations; a probe is on,” the official said.

The four Christian groups whose FCRA was suspended are Ecreosoculis North Western Gossner Evangelical in Jharkhand, the Evangelical Churches Association (ECA) in Manipur, Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jharkhand and New Life Fellowship Association (NLFA) in Mumbai. The reasons for the suspension or violation were not specified.

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India: Stop Using Pellet-Firing Shotguns in Kashmir

The Indian authorities should prohibit security forces in Jammu and Kashmir from using shotguns firing metal pellets to disperse crowds, Human Rights Watch said today. Indian police and paramilitary forces fired shotguns as well as tear gas at a Shia Muslim procession in Srinagar on August 29, 2020, injuring dozens of people.

“Time and again, Indian law enforcement’s use of shotguns in Kashmir has resulted in shocking, grievous injuries of protesters and bystanders,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Indian authorities need to recognize that this weapon fired into crowds, even with violent demonstrators, will invariably cause indiscriminate and excessive injury in violation of international standards.”

Pellets fired from shotguns have caused thousands of injuries, including loss of eyesight… Security forces typically use 12-gauge pump action guns to fire cartridges that are filled with dozens or hundreds of small metal pellets, which are sometimes referred to as “birdshot” or “dove shot” to reflect their role in hunting.

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Right wing groups film minors, give false ‘love Jihad’ angle to birthday parties held in Bhopal

Since September 3, several Twitter and Facebook users have posted multiple videos where members of right-wing fringe groups Sanskriti Bachao Manch and Bajrang Dal are moral policing children. They can be seen harassing minors on camera for celebrating birthdays at a hookah lounge in Bhopal. Saffron-clad men ambush the children claiming they are involved in a ‘love Jihad’ racket.

A keyword search took Alt News to multiple media reports. The Times of India and The Hindu reported that members of right-wing outfits agonized children at a birthday party in a Bhopal hotel. As per both reports, minors were handed over to the NGO Childline and a special juvenile police unit for counselling.

Right-wing groups Sanskriti Bachao Manch and Bajrang Dal falsely gave the celebration of two birthdays at a restaurant in Bhopal a false communal shade. The members of the groups not only harassed children but also recorded their videos that found a way to social media. The clips are now being amplified with the bogus ‘love Jihad’ claim.

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Modi Govt Contradicts Itself On PMNRF Like It Did On PM CARES, Documents Show

In an internal note, the Narendra Modi government’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs described the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund (PMNRF) as a “central government fund” to confirm that it could receive money set aside by companies to fulfill their corporate social responsibility obligations. 

But in the Delhi High Court, the PMNRF described itself as a “private fund” that is “divested of any government character” and “not a business of the Central Government” to justify refusing to share information about the fund’s finances under the Right to Information (RTI) act, according to a review of official documents accessed by HuffPost India.

What’s notable here is that the Modi government’s contradictory stand on the PMNRF is strikingly similar to its contrasting position about the PM CARES fund. the corporate affairs ministry explicitly wrote in an official communication that the PM CARES is set up by the central government and thus eligible for receiving corporate social responsibility funds. But in the Supreme Court, the Modi government argued and the court agreed, that the PM CARES is a ‘public charitable trust’ to avoid scrutiny of its finances by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

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More Than 2,500 Sitting MLAs and MPs Face Criminal Cases, Supreme Court Informed

A submission made to the Supreme Court has revealed the startling number of sitting legislators who face criminal cases, with the data showing that a whopping 2,556 MLAs and MPs from 22 states are accused in cases. If former MPs and MLAs from these states are also included, the number rises to 4,442.

The submission was made by senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is the amicus curiae in a PIL filed by Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay seeking speedy disposal of criminal cases against elected representatives of the parliament and state legislatures. In recent years, with the number of candidates and elected representatives who face criminal cases rising steadily, there has been an increasing outcry against the criminalisation of politics.

Uttar Pradesh has the most number of legislators (current and former) who are facing criminal cases. There are 1,217 pending cases, in which 446 cases sitting legislators are accused. Further, 35 sitting legislators and 81 former legislators are accused of heinous crimes which are punishable with a life term.

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Akhara Parishad Announces Campaign for Kashi and Mathura Mosques

After Bhoomipujan for a Ram temple on the ruins of Babri Masjid last month, Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), an apex body of saints and seers, has announced that it would launch a campaign to ‘free’ the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and the Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura.

According to IANS, a formal resolution to this effect was passed on Monday at a meeting of the Akhara Parishad in Prayagraj. It was decided that efforts should be first made to resolve these issues through dialogue and if that fails, the saints will seek legal redressal.

The Akhara Parishad has also sought the cooperation of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamevak Sangh (RSS) in this campaign. This is the second attempt of the Akhara Parishad to rake up the issue.

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Facebook’s India policy chief should step down, say civil rights groups

A coalition of civil rights groups are calling for Ankhi Das, Facebook’s public policy chief in India, to step down in the face of growing sectarian conflict in India. The 41 groups sent an open letter expressing their objections to Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, citing an escalating potential for Facebook-fueled violence in the country.

“Facebook should not be complicit in more offline violence, much less another genocide, but the pattern of inaction displayed by the company is reckless to the point of complicity,” the groups write. “[We] write to urge you to take decisive action to address Facebook India’s bias and failure to address dangerous content in India.”

A longtime policy figure with ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ankhi Das’… position is particularly concerning given the escalation of sectarian religious conflicts in India, which the signatories say “show the potential for genocide.” The letter references the North East Delhi Pogrom, in which a violent mob of Hindu nationalists left more than 40 dead.

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Noida: Cab driver killed, son says told to chant Jai Shri Ram by accused

A 45-year-old cab driver was killed, allegedly by two men who boarded his vehicle, with his family alleging they forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram before his death – a claim denied by Noida Police.

The victim’s son alleged that he recorded his father’s last call, made minutes before his death, in which the accused can be heard asking Aftab to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

“We had received information on Monday night about possible criminal activity in a cab travelling from Bulandshahr. By 9.30 pm, Dadri Police had been alerted and they located the Swift Dzire within their jurisdiction. The driver was found with head injuries while the accused had escaped. A clip is going viral in which the accused can be heard asking someone to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

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“Policemen sat on their chests, burnt their genitals with lighter,” lawyer recounts horrific custodial torture by Palakkad police of 2 Muslim youth

On the evening of 24 August, Palakkad North Division police turned up at the house of two brothers, Abdurrahman (18) and Bilal (20), to question them in connection with a physical assault attempt on an RSS worker. Soon, they were taken into custody and tortured. “They were unaware of this assault incident and continuously asserted their innocence to the police”, said their lawyer Advocate Mohammad Rashid.

Adv. Rashid conveyed to what Abdurrahman recounted of his trauma when he was finally released after 24 hours. “A group of ten police officers started by beating both the youths on their feet. They were tied up and 150-200 lashes were inflicted on them. They stood on his thighs and beat them on the head,” he said.

He continued to describe how the violence escalated. “Then, two police officers sat on their chests while the others used a cigarette lighter to burn their genitals. They even sprayed their private parts with pepper spray,” he said. Equally condemnable was the motive behind torturing them, especially harming their genitals. SI Sudheesh Kumar revealed it himself. “Now, you will not be able to give birth to any more Muslims”, he is reported to have said while in the act.

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Five Muslim friends perform final rites of a Hindu man

In an example of communal harmony and humanity, Muslim neighbours of a Hindu man helped perform his last rites in Kamareddy district of Telangana. An elderly Hindu man died after suffering from COVID-19 and was in his home quarantine period. After his death, none of his relatives or neighbors has come forward to perform his final rites. Even worse, was that his family members were helpless as all them were home quarantine.

When this news has reached a group of five Muslim friends, they have come forward to help perform the funeral. From gathering wood for the funeral to carrying the body to the crematorium, the boys helped to perform all rituals.

Amir-bin; Fahad bin Yahiya; Qadeer; Kabeer and Ghouse have collectively taken it as their communal responsibility. The entire work was done with PPE kits and all safety measures.

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Indian Americans welcome release of Muslim doctor in India, demand freedom for other prisoners of conscience

Indian Americans denounce the Indian government for filing false cases against Muslims, rights activists as vendetta

September 4, 2020

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group committed to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today welcomed the release from prison of Dr. Kafeel Khan, a whistleblower Indian Muslim doctor who has been repeatedly imprisoned by the government in Uttar Pradesh state on false criminal charges. IAMC also welcomes the release of Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita and former AMU student leaders Sharjeel Usmani and Farhan Zuberi.

IAMC lauded the High Court in Uttar Pradesh, which ordered his release this week, for rejecting the government’s claim that the 39-year-old pediatrician had tried to “increase hatred, enmity and disharmony towards Hindus” in a speech last December. The government had booked Dr. Khan under the draconian National Security Act.

That the High Court unequivocally ruled that Dr. Khan “did not promote hatred or violence” but, in fact, gave a call for “unity among citizens” in his speech exposed that the state government’s true intent behind incarcerating Dr. Khan is to persecute India’s Muslims for protesting India’s new anti-Muslim citizenship law said IAMC.

“In his speech from December that caused his arrest, Dr. Kafeel Khan had blamed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for its economic failures and rising unemployment, and criticized it for bringing the citizenship law with the sole aim of rendering millions of Muslims illegal migrants in their country of birth,” said Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “As the high court said, he broke no law but actually performed his duty as a law-abiding citizen in a democracy, but was punished nonetheless,” added Mr. Khan.

It is appalling that the Uttar Pradesh government has repeatedly filed false criminal cases against Dr. Khan over the last three years. He was jailed for seven months in 2017 on the false accusation that his negligence had caused the death of 70 minor patients at a government hospital when several investigations revealed that Dr. Khan had, in fact, worked day and night to save hundreds of children from certain death by arranging oxygen for them with his own money.

“The Uttar Pradesh government, which is also run by Mr. Modi’s political party, the BJP, has viciously attacked, killed and imprisoned hundreds of Muslims over the last seven months in a bid to terrorize India’s largest religious minority and to browbeat it into submission to the new citizenship law,” said Syed Ali Vice President of IAMC.

The Indian Government must immediately set free hundreds of other Muslim activists and human rights defenders such as Ishrat Jahan, Natasha Narwal, Meeran Haider, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, Akhil Gogoi, Dhairjya Konwar, Bittu Sonowal, Manash Konwar, who were arrested during the anti-CAA protests. IAMC has also demanded the release of former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, poet-activist Varavara Rao, Ex-DU professor GN Saibaba, social activists and intellectuals Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, who were arrested in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.

“Mr. Modi’s government is adamant at sabotaging the right to protest and the freedom of expression, which have long been the cornerstone of the Indian democracy,” Mr. Ahsan Khan of IAMC said. “As Dr. Khan said in his December speech, no matter how severe the repression, India’s Muslims will not flinch in fighting such persecution and will eventually defeat the repression.”

IAMC is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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Javadekar Warns Against Fake News, But Forgets to Mention the Role of His Party’s IT Cell – By Shaheen Nazar

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has warned against fake news. Speaking at a virtual event on Thursday he said it was more dangerous than paid news.… It would have been better if Javadekar had also identified the culprits. Everyone knows who they are. He also knows. The prime source of lies and propaganda in India is none other than his own Bharatiya Janata Party.

In 2018, Home Minister Amit Shah, who then was BJP president, had famously boasted that his party workers are capable of delivering any message to the public. The BJP’s WhatsApp group has over 32 lakh subscribers. He recounted how an IT cell worker had once pushed a fake news about Akhilesh Yadav slapping his father Mulayam Singh, which went viral.

What a great thing it would have been if Javadekar had named Amit Shah as the prime offender. He should also have named Amit Malviya-led IT Cell that his party runs. Both Malviya and his IT Cell have become synonymous with fake news.… Ironically, Javadekar’s statement has come at a time when his party is facing the heat following a discloser that Facebook has allegedly been ignoring hate-mongering by BJP leaders.

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Narendra Modi has left India’s economy a shattered mess – By Ritesh Kumar Singh

Despite his pro-business image, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is proving increasingly inept at managing India’s economy, with his dream of building a $5 trillion behemoth by 2025 now looking increasingly unachievable. six years after riding a wave of optimism into office, India’s economy is a shattered mess, with gross domestic product expected to contract for the first time in four decades and unemployment at an all-time high. None of the major growth engines – consumption, private investment, or exports – are firing. Worse, the government doesn’t have the capacity to try and spend its way out of the downturn.

Managing the economy hasn’t been Modi’s only fumble. After promising to rein in corruption, Modi approved a disastrous banknote demonetization scheme aimed at eradicating the black market economy and clamping down on tax evasion. In addition to the chaos it created, the scheme ruined the prospects of hundreds of thousands of farmers and small to medium enterprise owners, the two sectors which relied most on cash transactions.

Given the inherent limitations of India’s first-past-the-post voting system, it’s easier to win an election by relying on cash handouts and polarizing voters along communal lines rather than implementing much-needed but politically unpopular reform measures. Better economic management may not necessarily lead to electoral wins. That sums up Modinomics.

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Justice Arun Mishra’s tenure reflects deep systemic problems in the Supreme Court – By Sruthisagar Yamunan

Elevated to the Supreme Court in July 2014, just over a month after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, Arun Mishra’s term was marked by consistent controversy. Allegations swirled that he was the “go-to judge” for sensitive political cases, even though at that time he was not one of the senior judges in the court.

As Mishra leaves the Supreme Court, his tenure is being examined thread-bare. But fundamental to all the controversies surrounding his tenure is a systemic problem in the way the Supreme Court functions: the accumulation of power in the office of the Chief Justice, especially in the role as master of the roster. It is this problem that deserves greater public attention.

As far as commercial matters go, in an analysis by Newsclick, it was found that Arun Mishra had handled seven different matters involving the Adani group. On Tuesday, a day before Mishra retired, he ordered discoms based in Rajasthan to pay compensatory tariff to the Adani group. Mishra was also open in his praise for Prime Minister Modi, drawing flak during an international conference organised by the Supreme Court in February for his comments that Modi was a “versatile genius who thinks globally and acts locally”.… What the tenure of Arun Mishra reflects are serious systemic problems in the Supreme Court.

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What Ad Spending Data Reveals About BJP And Its Ties To Facebook – By Meryl Sebastian

Facebook’s ad spending tracker data reveals that BJP is the largest advertiser on the social media platform in India in the “social issues, elections and politics” category, spending over Rs 4.61 crore between February 2019 and August 24, 2020.

The advertisements included in this category were not just posted on Facebook, but also on the platform’s other properties such as Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger. Article 14 on Wednesday published a report by journalist Kunal Purohit on the Modi government’s ties to Facebook India and how these links served the platform’s commercial interests. 

Facebook’s ad spending tracker shows that apart from BJP, four others in the top 10 advertisers were linked to the party, with three sharing the same address as the party’s national headquarters in Delhi. Of the four advertisers, two were community pages – ‘My First Vote for Modi’ (which spent Rs 1.39 crore) and ‘Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat’ (which spent Rs 2.24 crore) – while one was called ‘Nation With Namo’ which categorised itself as a news and media website (and spent Rs 1.28 crore on ads). All three pages post content related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP without mentioning their links to the party.

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Talk of ‘UPSC Jihad’ a Baseless Attempt to Delegitimise Muslim Participation in Governance – By N.C. Asthana

The TV channel Sudarshan News (shared via the Twitter handle of its editor, @SureshChavhanke) had posted a 45-second-long promo of their programme titled Bindas Bol scheduled for daily relay from August 28 at 8 pm on Twitter. It is On Friday, the Delhi high court stayed the transmission of the episode. The promo claimed that Muslim candidates, in a conspiracy against the nation, had ‘infiltrated’ (ghuspaith) into the civil services in ‘large numbers with very high marks’, labelling it ‘UPSC jihad’ or ‘bureaucracy jihad’.

Today, an allegation has been made in respect of the civil services. Theoretically, nothing prevents such people from raising similar allegations, for example, in respect of selections for medical and engineering education. Today they are speaking of ‘bureaucracy jihad’ or UPSC jihad; tomorrow, they could speak of ‘medical jihad’ and ‘engineering jihad’ also and add them to their hate-filled list which already comprises such fictions as ‘love jihad’, ‘land jihad’, ‘Corona jihad’, etc.

The hate-mongers seem to have realised that as long as Muslims are represented in important positions and sectors in howsoever-small numbers, at least some of them could constitute a voice that may be heard. Their desire is to crumble the Muslim society from within – that is, reduce it to a stage where they do not have any voice at all. It is against such a danger to the very idea of India as envisaged in our constitution that legal action is warranted. The Indian police would be failing the country if they fail to act on this.

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Talk of ‘UPSC Jihad’ a Baseless Attempt to Delegitimise Muslim Participation in Governance – By N.C. Asthana

The TV channel Sudarshan News (shared via the Twitter handle of its editor, @SureshChavhanke) had posted a 45-second-long promo of their programme titled Bindas Bol scheduled for daily relay from August 28 at 8 pm on Twitter. It is On Friday, the Delhi high court stayed the transmission of the episode. The promo claimed that Muslim candidates, in a conspiracy against the nation, had ‘infiltrated’ (ghuspaith) into the civil services in ‘large numbers with very high marks’, labelling it ‘UPSC jihad’ or ‘bureaucracy jihad’.

Today, an allegation has been made in respect of the civil services. Theoretically, nothing prevents such people from raising similar allegations, for example, in respect of selections for medical and engineering education. Today they are speaking of ‘bureaucracy jihad’ or UPSC jihad; tomorrow, they could speak of ‘medical jihad’ and ‘engineering jihad’ also and add them to their hate-filled list which already comprises such fictions as ‘love jihad’, ‘land jihad’, ‘Corona jihad’, etc.

The hate-mongers seem to have realised that as long as Muslims are represented in important positions and sectors in howsoever-small numbers, at least some of them could constitute a voice that may be heard. Their desire is to crumble the Muslim society from within – that is, reduce it to a stage where they do not have any voice at all. It is against such a danger to the very idea of India as envisaged in our constitution that legal action is warranted. The Indian police would be failing the country if they fail to act on this.

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Kafeel Khan: National threat or symbol of repression? – By Soutik Biswas

The allegations against 38-year-old paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan arose from his speech at a student meeting last December criticising a controversial new citizenship law that is seen as discriminating against Muslims and which has roiled India.

Dr Khan’s supporters say he was targeted because he shone a light on government negligence. His life as a low-profile doctor at Gorakhpur’s busy 1,000-bed Baba Raghav Das Hospital had changed irrevocably that night.

His supporters say he’s a living symbol of “state and religious oppression” under Mr Modi’s rule.… “He’s a fighter to the finish, and a very ambitious man now,” said one former associate.… Dr Khan is now in a government guest house in Jaipur in Rajasthan state.

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After Mann Ki Baat address, Modi fails youth test

A blizzard of “dislikes” continued to dog the BJP’s video upload of Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat radio address on YouTube, with users tearing into the Prime Minister over burning issues such as rising unemployment and the government’s decision to go ahead with competitive exams amid the pandemic.

By 8pm on Monday, over 24 hours after the video had been uploaded on the BJP’s YouTube channel, it had garnered 7.07 lakh “dislikes”, compared to 1.14 lakh “likes”.

YouTube user Abdul Qadir said: “They are removing dislikes. This is the real face of our beloved government.” Sekar Pandia wrote: “12.59am 1.9 lakh dislikes and 1.08am it came to 1.7 lakh dislikes. How can this happen. Manipulation cannot change the mood of people.” Wrote Suprava Dutta: “…How many comments will they delete? I’m against this inhumanity. It’s time to show the power of the young generation.

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In a Changed Kashmir, Moderates Feel Betrayed by India

For more than two decades, Peerzada Lateef Shah risked his life in a high-wire political process to bring peace to Kashmir,… Now, a little more than a year after India revoked Kashmir’s statehood and upended years of policies that granted Kashmiris some autonomy, Mr. Shah is among a growing group of political moderates who feel betrayed, disillusioned and disenfranchised.… “We used to tell the world that Kashmir belongs to India,” Mr. Shah said, “and then we were crushed under its jackboots.”

India fully brought Kashmir… under its authority a year ago when it stripped away the region’s special semiautonomous status. Prime Minister Narendra Modi justified it by saying that Kashmir’s status had impeded development and encouraged separatism.… Of the dozens of moderate political leaders and thousands of other Kashmiris arrested last August, more than 400 still remain in jail. To get released, some had to post bond and sign agreements stipulating that they would not “make any comment, issue statements or make public speech,” according to documents they showed The New York Times.

Men and women who had worked in the state government and cooperated with India say Kashmir is now run like an occupied territory by police officers and government functionaries, the majority of whom are not Kashmiri. In an April meeting held to discuss developmental projects, out of 19 officials, only one was a Kashmiri Muslim.

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NCRB data: Higher share of Dalits, tribals, Muslims in prison than numbers outside

The latest data on prisons released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that Dalits, tribals and Muslims continue to be jailed in numbers disproportionate to their share in the population, unlike OBCs and those belonging to the general category or upper castes.

The data, for the year 2019, also show that among the marginalised groups, Muslims are the one community which has more undertrials than convicts. At the end of 2019, Dalits made up 21.7% of all convicts in jails across the country. The share of Scheduled Castes among undertrials languishing in jails stood at 21%. The 2011 Census put their share in the population at 16.6%.

In the case of tribals, the gap was equally big. While the Scheduled Tribes made up 13.6% of the convict population, and 10.5% of all undertrials in jails, the Census put their numbers at 8.6% of the population.

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Assam: Future of 19 lakh people excluded from NRC uncertain

Fate of over 19 lakh people whose names were excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam continues to hang in balance with the process of issuing rejection slips to those left out yet to start and Assam government reiterating its stand for 10-20 per cent re-verification of names included in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) published last year.

Assam agriculture minister Chandra Mohan Patowary while responding to a question in the state assembly on status of NRC said, “We had given an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that there should be re-verification of 20 per cent included names in the districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in the rest of the districts.”…

It is significant that about 19 lakh applicants were left out of the NRC. The NRC process has hit a stonewall as the rejection orders to the 19 lakh excluded persons which will allow them to appeal against the exclusion in the Foreigners’ Tribunals is yet to be issued.… The Supreme Court, which proactively supervised the process of NRC preparation from 2013, has not heard the matter since January 6.

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62 criminal cases against Karnataka BJP leaders revoked, law minister claims it ‘routine’: Report

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Karnataka government has decided to rescind 62 criminal cases against several of its party’s leaders, including sitting MPs and MLAs, reported News18 on Thursday.… However, the state’s director general and inspector general of police, the director of prosecution and government litigation and the law department had recommended against the withdrawal of the cases.

The cases being withdrawn include one against the state’s Law Minister JC Madhuswamy and Tourism Minister CT Ravi, charged under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code. The case is related to a scuffle that broke out between students of two communities in Mysuru district’s Hunsur city in November 2015.

A separate case from 2017 that was withdrawn against Hospete MLA Anand Singh pertains to blocking of the taluk office by 300 locals after stone-pelting and vandalism. The incident had caused property damage of Rs 3 lakh. The politician, who was then with the Congress, was accused of criminal intimidation, assault on a government official and obstruction of duty.

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‘Muted’ at Justice Mishra’s farewell, SC Bar head Dushyant Dave complains to CJI

Alleging that he was “kept on mute” during the online farewell ceremony for Justice Arun Mishra, who retired on Wednesday, Senior Advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave has said “the Supreme Court has come to such levels where the Judges are afraid of the Bar”.

Expressing his “strong disappointment and condemnation”, Dave, in a letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, said the “whole attempt was to prevent me from addressing on behalf of the SCBA and its EC (Executive Committee), after having invited, and invitation having been accepted”. Saying that he was “deeply saddened by this event”, he said he would “keep away from SC-organised events” till his term ends in December.

“I must confess, the Supreme Court has come to such levels where the Judges are afraid of the Bar. Please do remember, Judges come and go but we, the Bar, remain constant. We are the real strength of this great institution because we are permanent,” Dave said in his letter. Dave defended Advocate Prashant Bhushan in the criminal contempt case, which was heard by a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

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Delhi 2020 religious riots: Amnesty International accuses police of rights abuses

Indian police “committed serious human rights violations” during deadly religious riots in Delhi earlier this year, Amnesty International alleges. It said police beat protesters, tortured detainees and at times took part in riots with Hindu mobs.

More than 40 people died when clashes broke out between Hindus and Muslims over a controversial citizenship law. Muslims bore the brunt, Amnesty said.…

The investigation corroborates the BBC’s reporting on incidents of police brutality and complicity during the riots in February, the deadliest in the city for decades.

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Group of Mothers Protests Teaching of Modi Biography in US Schools

Mothers of young American students have been greatly disturbed to find out that their children are being taught Stalinist propaganda glorifying Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asma Azeem, the Florida state coordinator of Mothers Against Teaching Hate in Schools (Project-MATHS) wrote to the members of ASPAIRE (Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists), “My fourth-grader casually mentioned to me today that the Epic reading app, which the public schools all over the US have in their curriculum, features the book on Narendra Modi by the same title! I was baffled as to why little elementary school level American kids are reading a book on Narendra Modi.”

Azeem also pointed out that the book repeats the false claim by Modi that he went to a university to obtain a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree. It also regurgitates Modi’s attacks on the opposition Congress Party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

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On BJP’s Request, Facebook Pulled Down 14 of 44 Flagged Pages, Reinstated 17 Deleted Pages

The BJP had flagged a list of 44 pages opposed to the party to Facebook India ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, claiming they were “in violation of expected standards” and carried posts “not in line with facts”. Of the 44 pages, 14 are no longer on Facebook’s platform, according to a report in the Indian Express.

The pages that have been taken down by Facebook include pages in support of journalists Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua while those that had been flagged but continue to be on the platform include the official account of the Bhim Army, satire site “We Hate BJP”, unofficial Congress-supporting pages and a page called “The Truth of Gujarat”.

Additionally, 17 deleted pages that the BJP had asked Facebook India to reinstate are all back on the platform. Last year in November, the BJP had asked Facebook India to reinstate 17 deleted pages and “monetise” or allow two right-wing news websites – The Chaupal and OpIndia – to receive ad revenue for their content.

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140 Organisations Unite to Expose Indian-American Group APPWW for its Racist, Islamophobic Campaigns

We are especially troubled when organisations that claim to stand for justice and for the oppressed instead engage in action that promotes injustice and persecution. For these reasons, we write this letter to oppose, condemn, and expose the Alliance for Persecuted Peoples Worldwide (APPWW). Making Islamophobic statements like:  “India and US have to come together against Islam . It’s abt time educated ppl realise the horror of Islam.”

As a broad, diverse coalition of community organizations in Washington State and nationally, we want to ensure that our friends, allies, partners, leaders, funders, elected officials, and the general public know the truth about APPWW.  This group’s values clearly do not align with values of justice and equity.

APPWW’s claims that it advocates for the oppressed are undermined by its engagement in harmful conduct that perpetuates hate, religious intolerance, and Islamophobia, and the leaders of APPWW are not credible representatives of the local Indian-American diaspora or South Asian communities. We stand united in condemning the hateful rhetoric and behavior of APPWW and its leaders.

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Giridih villages where Hindus observe Muharram

On the occasion of Muharram, two villages in Giridih stand out as examples of religious tolerance with Hindu families taking part in tajia processions. While in Purannagar under Birni block, descendants of Tikait Raja Dashrath participate in the processions along with their Muslim neighbours, the Yadavs of Nawada (in the same block) take out their own tajia. 

Interestingly, Nawada has no Muslim family, but the custom of erecting a flag and taking out a tajia has never been stopped. In fact, nobody in the village remembers when was the last time when a Muslim family lived in the village or who passed on the custom to the Hindu families. 

Birni block development officer Santosh Kumar Gupta said, “For the villagers it is not a surprising event. Both the communities share close cultural bonds. Though this year due to the pandemic there is a restriction on processions, we have allowed them to carry out the rituals while observing social distancing norms.”

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Delhi Riots 2020: How A Muslim Youth Helped Disabled Hindu Couple Get Life Back On Track

It is a much-needed gesture of communal harmony in North-East Delhi that had witnessed a devastating riot just six months ago between two religious communities leaving over 50 dead, hundreds injured and large-scale destruction of properties and livelihoods.

Last week a Muslim youth, Syed Mashkur Hussain, who was out for a walk, stopped at a kiosk in the riot-hit Chand Bagh area to buy a packet of biscuit. He was little surprised to see that the kiosk was almost empty with a very few items up for sale. However, its owners, – a wheel-chair-bound woman and a man with a crutch, put up a brave face.

“When I told Hussain about my plight, he immediately asked me to make a list of items that I used to sell in my shop. He arranged everything within a couple of days,” Suresh Chand, 58, said. Chand further said that Hussain might have spent about 8 to 10 thousand to buy all the products but “his gesture was priceless for me.”

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Bombay High Court: Tablighi participants were made scapegoats

Bombay High Court has said the government made scapegoats of the foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi in March by accusing them of spreading Covid-19, and that there was a “smell of malice” in the action taken against them.

“A political government tries to find a scapegoat when there is a pandemic or a calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat,” the court’s Aurangabad bench said on Friday, quashing FIRs against 29 foreigners.…

A division bench of Justices T.V. Nalawade and M.G. Sewlikar noted that while Maharashtra police had acted mechanically in the case, the state government had taken steps under “political compulsion”.

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‘Artists in Kashmir Are Unable to Express Freely’

Meet Shiekh Zameer Ahmad (40), a painting artist from Old Town Baramulla, Kashmir. He has been painting since his childhood and believes that he inherited it from his father. In a cross-firing between militants and the army in the early 1990s, His father was killed outside his home when Zameer was only seven years old. 

Zameer has won various national level painting competitions and has exhibited his work in several other countries including Dubai and Turkey. He had planned to hold an exhibition in France last year, but could not do it due to months-long lockdown in Kashmir after the removal of Article 370.

conflict in Kashmir has influenced his mind and that is why his paintings in Kashmir mostly show pain and sufferings of people. He says artists in Kashmir… are under limitations and their freedoms have been curtailed that is why they are unable to express freely.

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I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS

‘I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS’ review: The scourge of casteism

Title: I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS

Author: Bhanwar Meghwanshi

Tr.:  Nivedita Menon

Reviewer: Suraj Yengde

Navayana Publishing Pvt Ltd, 155, Second Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi 110049; Phone: +91-11-26494795 ₹399. Email: 

Bhanwar Meghwanshi was a devoted bhakt of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and joined the organisation at the tender age of 13 lured by the promises of equality.… Thus, began the journey of Meghwanshi, a Rajasthani Dalit, who hoped to hoist a saffron flag atop the unattended mosque in Ayodhya. Luckily, Meghwanshi nearly escaped death while on his way to tear down the symbol of Muslim rule. 

His survival offered him a preview into his beloved organisation’s terror-filled, hypocritical actions. As a Dalit, Meghwanshi couldn’t escape his caste identity in the Hindu brotherhood of the RSS… one incident shook his belief. His senior functionaries in the organisation and religious sadhus refused to consume food in his house. Undeterred, he packed the food to be eaten on their way. He discovered next day that his home-cooked food was thrown on the streets left for animals to consume.

Hurt and betrayed Meghwanshi appealed to his organisation. Surprisingly, no one heard his plea from the local level right up to Nagpur, the headquarters of the RSS. And so, armed with Ambedkar, Osho and other progressive thought began the anger-filled revenge of Meghwanshi to expose the organisation.

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The World Is Watching, India – By Chandan Reddy

As India entered its 74th year of Independence,… the mood was, if not entirely grim, unusually somber. Across the world, there were resolute expressions of solidarity at the rising intolerance and authoritarianism of the Indian state against constitutional and human rights defenders at home.

From New York to San Francisco, from Boston to Seattle, major American cities witnessed a diverse series of actions expressing anger and concern at the burgeoning roster of India’s state repression, and focusing attention on the growing plight of those being arrested under false charges and draconian laws. Voices that were raised across the world, from UK to South Africa, Malaysia and Australia.

In Seattle, at 3 pm on the eve of August 15, a bunch of us – Indians, South Asians, and activists for global justice – gathered outside the office of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and handed her a petition, which asked for the reinstatement of the earlier ban on the entry of Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the country.

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YouTube Hatemongers Are India’s New Stars – By Kunal Purohit

India has banned TikTok, along with a spate of other Chinese apps. But its social media problems are homegrown – and go far beyond any one program. The country, with more than 500 million active Internet users, is the largest single market for popular applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook. …Now a new genre of video rants threatens to stoke further hate and anger. In July, four Indian YouTubers were arrested for threatening to violently rape a female comedian, Agrima Joshua

The arrests shone light on a new genre of social media content: selfie videos shot by nationalistic social media influencers, usually young men, often in their cars, delivering rants laced with expletives and violent threats. They have followings ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions, and a list of targets that ranges from influencers in Pakistan to rival right-wingers to critics of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But their favorite targets are women, and their abuse-filled rants are full of threats of harassment and sexual violence.

These videos are circulated on a range of platforms, but it’s YouTube that encourages this content most and has handed out accolades to the creators of violent rants. One of the two YouTubers arrested for the threats, a 26-year-old man named Shubham Mishra with close to 300,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, was awarded a Silver Creator Award last year by YouTube.

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Deep Fault lines In The Indian Judiciary – By Prashant Bhushan and Anjali Bhardwaj

Recent developments have exposed deep fault lines in the Indian judiciary. In January 2018, a press conference was addressed by four senior judges of the Supreme Court. The trigger for the unprecedented step was apparently the arbitrary allocation of benches by the chief justices, with cases being ‘selectively’ assigned to particular judges to obtain particular outcomes.

A critical power that can be wielded by the CJI is to be a prime mover in the appointment of judges. Unfortunately, several chief justices have not pushed the matter with the government by issuing a mandamus on the judicial side or hauling up the government for contempt. Perhaps this reluctance is a result of pressure exerted by the executive on judges through the use of investigative agencies or due to the lure of post-retirement jobs.

The role of the judiciary is critical for the realization of all rights since the judiciary is ultimately the institution where people can seek redress for injustices they have suffered, particularly if other channels of seeking such redress have failed. The lack of transparency and accountability in the functioning of the judiciary erodes public trust in the institution and ultimately hampers its ability to uphold democratic principles and deliver justice.

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A Lawyer’s Tweets Put India’s Supreme Court on Trial and Him at Risk of Imprisonment – By Karan Deep Singh and Hari Kumar

The possibility that Mr. Bhushan, one of India’s most celebrated lawyers, could be sent to jail for a pair of social media posts has sent shock waves through India’s legal community, with activists calling the case a setback for India’s democracy and the independence of its once vaunted judiciary.…

“I feel that democracy has been destroyed in the last six years,” Mr. Bhushan said in an interview about the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a nationalist and populist, has been in office.

Mr. Bhushan’s case has effectively put the court on trial. Many lawyers say the Supreme Court has been steadily losing its independence and too often reflexively sides with the government.

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Bloomsbury is not the issue. The real free speech violation is people jailed for protesting CAA – By Shoaib Daniyal

Bloomsbury India on Saturday announced that it had withdrawn the publication of a book called Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story. The decision was a reaction to the storm of outrage that hit the publisher on Friday as it emerged that one of the people invited to attend an event to launch the book was Kapil Mishra. 

Only in February, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader had delivered an ultimatum to the Delhi police to clear out people protesting against India’s new citizenship act or else his supporters would have to take action themselves. The Delhi riots started just a few hours later, with numerous instances of rioters directly – and positively – citing Mishra’s threat as their inspiration.

That Bloomsbury decided to withdraw publication of this book is not the real problem. But given that this is happening against the backdrop of people being jailed by the state for their political views, this debate has assumed a near-surreal quality.

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For Facebook, weakening India’s democracy is just the cost of business – By Rana Ayyub

On Aug. 14, the Wall Street Journal published a damning story about Facebook’s complicity in aiding and abetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hate-filled nationalism in India, The exhaustive report examines the role of Ankhi Das, Facebook’s public-policy executive in India, and the social media giant’s refusal to take down the page of T. Raja Singh, a member of Modi’s BJP party who has asked for Rohingya Muslim immigrants to be shot, labeled Muslims as traitors and threatened to destroy mosques.

…Modi’s campaign leading up to his 2014 victory brazenly relied on fake news and propaganda attacking India’s 200 million Muslims. Back in 2013 I wrote a cover story titled “Modi’s Operandi” for Tehelka magazine that examined the crucial role Facebook – along with policymakers and think tanks – was playing in empowering Hindu nationalists and their divisive narrative.

For years now, verified Facebook pages of BJP leaders such as Kapil Mishra have routinely published hate speeches against Muslims and dissenting voices. The hate then translates into deadly violence, such as the anti-Muslim attacks in Delhi that left many people dead in February in some of the worst communal violence India’s capital had seen in decades.

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Oprah Winfrey sent a book on caste to 100 US CEOs but Indians still won’t talk about it

Oprah Winfrey’s book clubs are legendary. So, when Oprah sent out a new book to 100 American CEOs and 400 leaders soon after the transformative #BlackLivesMatters protest and called it the most important book club selection ever, the world had to pay attention. And when that book mentions ‘India’ 136 times, it becomes mandatory reading for us. 

And yet Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American author Isabel Wilkerson, a book that The New York Times calls an ‘Instant American Classic’ is not stirring up Indian public debate or hitting our bookshelves.

Wilkerson is not the first Western scholar to focus on India’s caste system. She is the latest entrant in the list of Célestin Bouglé, Max Weber, Louis Dumont, Émile Senart, McKim Marriott, Nicholas Dirk, Gail Omvedt, Rosalind O’Hanlon, Susan Bayly, Joan P. Mencher, the Rudolfs and many more. But what sets Wilkerson apart is that she brings her lived Black identity to the understanding of caste as a pathology.

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Priest arrested for his attempt to sexually assault American woman

In the temple town of Lord Shiva, Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, a priest identified as Manikandan on August 23 allegedly attempted to sexually assault an American woman, who had come to the town for a spiritual tour. He was beaten by the woman and handed over by local residents to the police.…

According to media reports, a 32-year-old woman named Asiali from the United States of America had  rented an apartment in Arunachaleshwarar Nagar, Thiruvannamalai for the past 8 months. Similarly, Manikandan, 34, of Thirumalaipatti village in Namakkal district Tamil Nadu was one of the preachers in Girvalapathai (spiritual path). As he wanders around the gorge, he peeped at Asiali living in an apartment in Arunachaleshwarar Nagar.

Manikandan had been monitoring Asiali for the last 1 month. It is in this context that Manikandan, who came to know that Asiali was alone this morning, went home and tried to commit sexual assault. The priest was severely beaten in a defensive attempt by Asiali at the time and severely injured. Manikandan was given a ‘big blow’ and handed over to the Thiruvannamalai Rural Police Station.

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UP Journalist Shot Dead, Family Denies Property Dispute Claim By Cops

Ratan Singh, a local journalist who contributed stories for a private news channel, was shot dead at around 9 PM on Monday near his home in eastern UP’s Ballia, about 260 km from state capital Lucknow. He was 42 years old.

Mr Singh’s father, however, has disputed the claim by police. “There was no property dispute. Please go to the spot and see for yourself. The police is spinning the story,” Binod Singh told the journalists in a late-night statement.…

All three men allegedly involved in the attack have been arrested.

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Yogi Government Seeks Cancellation of Bail of Anti-CAA Protesters

The Uttar Pradesh government moved to local court in Lucknow, seeking to cancel the bail of three anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protestors accused of vandalism during the protest against the Act in December 19, 2019.

A sessions judge issued summons to Congress leader and activist Sadaf Jafar, stage artist Deepak Kabir and advocate Mohammad Shoaib. 

The court listed the matter for next hearing on September 5.

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IPS Association Condemns Sudarshan News Video Targeting Muslims In UPSC

The Indian Police Service (Central) Association on Thursday condemned a promotional video posted by Sudarshan News Editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke which targeted members of the Muslim community joining India’s civil services.

Sudarshan News and Chavhanke have a long history of broadcasting Islamophobic and communal misinformation. The IPS Association on Thursday called the video a “communal and irresponsible piece of journalism”.

The Indian Police Foundation, a think tank, called it “pure venom” and asked the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, the police and government authorities to take action against it. Several people on Twitter, including IAS and IPS offices, have been asking for the video to be taken down saying it amounted to hate speech.

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Court Dismisses Plea Seeking FIR Against Anurag Thakur For ‘Goli Maro’ Slogan

Even as several activists continue to be in jail for reportedly inciting the Delhi riots, a Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking an FIR against Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma for their speeches leading up to the riots. The speeches were related to the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh.…

CPI (M) leaders CPM leaders Brinda Karat and KM Tewari had filed the complaint seeking a direction to the Parliament Street Police Station to register an FIR against Thakur and Verma, reported PTI.…

Thakur had encouraged incendiary slogans at an election rally in Delhi where he chanted ‘desh ke gaddaron ko’ and the crowd and responded ‘goli maron salo ko’. Meanwhile, BJP MP Parvesh Verma had told the people of Delhi that Shaheen Bagh protesters would “rape and kill your sisters”.

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Muslim Man Who Adopted His Hindu Sisters As Orphans Gets Them Married In A Hindu Ceremony

No matter how much our society tries to divide us in the name of religion, instances of humanity and kindness always find a way to unite us. One such heartwarming gesture was carried out by Bababhai Pathan, a Muslim man from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra who is being praised for his doings. 

Pathan adopted two orphaned Hindu sisters, took care of them and when it was time, he wedded them from his own expenses and savings. Furthermore, he respected the sister’s religious beliefs and as a Muslim man, carried out all the Hindu rituals that were needed for the ceremonies. 

Netizens are lauding Bababhai Pathan’s humanitarian gestures and his ability to respect and coexist with beliefs of another religion.

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Telangana: Muslim volunteers cremate Hindu man after family refuses to perform last rites

In a display of communal harmony, a group of six Muslim men carried out the last rites of a Hindu man after his own family refused to cremate him over Covid-19 fears.

The family of the 65-year-old, who died on Monday, allegedly refused to cremate him over fears that he could have succumbed to novel coronavirus.

As social stigma shrouds the bodies of Covid-19 patients, many such incidents have come to the fore. Though the local police and councilors tried convincing the family, but their efforts failed. It is then that seven men, identified as Abdul Rabh, Munir, Ishaq, Nasir Ali, Shoaib, Imran, came forward and cremated the man.

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Hyderabad mosque turns clinic, treats 5 lakh slum dwellers for free

In a first, a mosque in the Old City has opened an exclusive women and child clinic. People of all religions will be provided free medical treatment including laboratory tests. The mosque will also provide free mid-day meal to children below 10 years across religious lines. 

The clinic offers facilities like nebulisation, intravenous fluid replacement, wound dressing and free lab facilities. It caters to the needs of people from as many as 31 slums around Wadi-al-Mahmood in Rajendranagar mandal. 

It will also focus on pregnant women offering them nutritious diet and medicines for normal delivery. It is being run by a city-based NGO, Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), in collaboration with SEED, USA. The clinic is located on the first floor of the mosque.

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Two Years Since SC Judgment, the Spectre of Mob Violence Continues To Loom Large – By Ankita Ramgopal and Swati Singh

It has been over a year since Tabrez Ansari was lynched by a mob in Jharkhand’s Saraikela-Kharsawan district and over two years since the July 2018 judgment in Tehseen S. Poonawalla, where the Supreme Court condemned the ‘sweeping phenomenon’ of lynchings and mob violence in India. 

The court had issued several directions to the Central and state governments to curb such violence and was monitoring their compliance with its order. However, in the last two years, the Supreme Court’s sense of urgency in dealing with the issue of lynching seems to have fizzled out, while cases of mob violence continue to take place unchecked.

Jharkhand has seen one of the highest number of deaths due to lynching in India, some of which could have been prevented but for the inaction or complicity of the police. Yet, on June 26, 2020, the Jharkhand high court dismissed a petition filed by Harsh Mander seeking responses from the state government on the implementation of the Tehseen S. Poonawalla guidelines to tackle the rising instances of mob violence in the state.

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Bar and Bench Must Come Together to Preserve the Judiciary’s Independence – By Satvik Varma

In 1978, Prashant Bhushan first published a book titled The Case That Shook India. A narrative of how, for the first time in independent India, the election of a prime minister was set-aside by a high court, the publisher describes it as a “watershed case… which acted as the catalyst for the imposition of the Emergency”.

When a young Prashant, who was still to obtain a law degree, picked the title, he could not have imagined that four decades later a Supreme Court verdict holding him guilty of criminal contempt would itself shake up a large section of the legal fraternity and civil society more generally, raising many questions. Foremost amongst them, does not the judgment strike at the very root of the independence of our judiciary? And does not the judgment curtail the right to free speech?

The day after the judgment, the nation celebrated its 74th Independence Day and front pages of most English dailies reported the landmark verdict and their editorials discussed the decision. The Indian Express stated that “the Supreme Court has broad shoulders. By convicting Prashant Bhushan for contempt, it diminishes itself”.… Other publications termed the judgment as a “blow to the rule of law” and a “dark day for Indian democracy.”

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The withering ‘idea of India’ – By George Abraham

As we celebrate the 74th anniversary of independence from Britain, the history is being rewritten by the Modi Sarkar and their ardent defenders.… the Modi administration with the blessings from RSS is busy tearing apart the institutional foundations that have kept India a free and democratic nation with individual rights and equal justice. 

Their actions are reverberating even across the continents as the Hindutva organizations in the United States were celebrating with pomp and ceremony, the laying of the foundation stone for the Temple in Ayodhya. Notwithstanding the role a secular country should play in a religious ceremony, it begs the question as to why the Times Square digital boards must be lit up for a holy ceremony that should have been conducted with piety and devoutness?

To an independent observer, it is not Hinduism or Hindu culture that was celebrated in Times Square, but instead, a message was sent to the Muslims and possibly other minorities that they do not matter in the scheme of things in India anymore. And they are stripped of their place in history and relegated to a second-class status and permanent subjugation. Since August 5 also happened to be the first anniversary of the suspension of the civil liberties in Kashmir, Modi and his acolytes are defiantly conveying to the world that India as a pluralistic democracy has been done and is over with.

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Increasing Influence of Hindutva in Local American Politics – By Pieter Friedrich

In context of American politics, it’s notable that the RSS has not confined itself to India. There are international counterparts for the RSS (called the HSS), the VHP (called VHP-America), and the BJP (called the Overseas Friends of BJP). These groups all espouse the same ideology of Hindutva – a religious nationalist political ideology that believes that India is a Hindu nation for Hindu people only and wants to eliminate all Muslims and Christians as well as assimilate all Buddhists and Sikhs.

The leadership of these American Hindutva groups – the HSS, VHPA, and OFBJP – are all intertwined, and many of the executives of one group hold or have held an executive position in one or more of the other groups. The OFBJP was launched in America in 1992 to counter negative press surrounding the Hindu nationalist project to destroy the Babri Masjid…. The former head of the group, Indian politician Vijay Jolly, said, “We need to touch base with as many among the diaspora as possible and to indoctrinate them with the BJP ideology.” 

As Americans remain deeply concerned about the possibility of foreign interference in our elections by Russia or China, perhaps it’s time – or rather, well past time – that we begin considering the issue of RSS interference on behalf of a Hindutva regime in India.

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Manufacturing Evidence: How the Police is Framing and Arresting Constitutional Rights Defenders – By Simeen Anjum

This report documents the role played by the Police in Old Delhi in the investigations and arrests related to popular protests and the violence that erupted in February 2020 in Delhi.… The report levies several evidence-based charges (documents, words and actions) against the Delhi Police related to the violence.…

Many of the police chargesheets presume, without evidence, that the anti-CAA protestors were the cause, the planners and instigators of the violence… Further, “these defenders, many of them students, appear to have been arrested simply because they exercised their right to denounce and protest against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), and their arrest seems clearly designed to send a chilling message to India’s vibrant civil society that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated,” the experts said.…

This report demonstrates fundamental dereliction of duty by the Delhi Police. It also documents how the Delhi Police is complicit in repeated violations of fundamental constitutional rights in their practices. Both these serious charges illustrate the lack of independence on the part of Delhi Police, and their complicity with the ruling political party, the BJP.

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Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics – By Newley Purnell and Jeff Horwitz

In Facebook posts and public appearances, Indian politician T. Raja Singh has said Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques. Facebook Inc. employees charged with policing the platform were watching. By March of this year, they concluded Mr. Singh not only had violated the company’s hate-speech rules but qualified as dangerous

Yet… The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to Mr. Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence, said the current and former employees.

Ms. Das, whose job also includes lobbying India’s government on Facebook’s behalf, told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country, Facebook’s biggest global market by number of users, the current and former employees said.

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‘They killed him as they couldn’t stand a Dalit man saying no’

On Friday evening, Satyamev, a first-time pradhan of Bansgaon, was shot dead, allegedly by the upper castes. A day later, there is heavy police presence in the village, with the upper caste houses locked, and the Dalits alleging Satyamev was killed for refusing to kow-tow to the Thakurs.

Lincoln, who says he used to assist Satyamev in his work, claims several incidents of altercation between the pradhan and the Thakurs in the recent past. “They were jealous of Satyamev’s stature and the fact that he walked around with his head held high. They murdered him because they could not stand a Dalit man saying no to them,” says Lincoln, 32.

Lincoln specifically blames Suryansh Kumar Dubey, saying he had been pressuring Satyamev to give him a letter attesting he stayed in the village. “Dubey had come over thrice in the past few weeks… My uncle had refused… On the surface, they made it seem like they had no issue with us, but the Thakurs hated the fact that Dalits had a voice and could stand up to them. This was done to show us our place.”

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Centre halts probe in over 10,500 allegations of human rights violations against security forces in Kashmir

The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have halted the investigation in tens of thousands of cases alleging human rights violation against the government and security forces before the region was converted into a Union Territory (UT) last year August. The government had abolished the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on 5 August last year after the central government abrogated Article 370 in the region.

While over 10,500 cases were lodged with the SHRC till last year August, there were at least 2,500 to 2,600 cases which were being heard on daily basis, said former secretary of JKSHRC, Nazir Ahmad Thokar. He said that a large number of cases were also not actively pursued by the complainants.

The forces in Kashmir have been accused of custodial killing, as well as, fake encounters. Human Rights groups have blamed Indian forces for custodial disappearances.

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Journalists’ Bodies Condemn Attacks on Scribes in Delhi and Bengaluru

Journalists’ bodies have condemned the attacks on scribes in Delhi and Bengaluru. While three journalists from a national news magazine were attacked by a mob while reporting on the riots in Delhi on August 11, reporters from multiple organisations were attacked by the city’s police the same day.

In a statement released on Thursday, August 13, The Editors Guild of India condemned the attacks in Delhi and Bengaluru, calling them “reprehensible”. The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) also condemned the “selective targeting” of those covering the riots in North-East Delhi in a statement.

On Tuesday, three journalists with Caravan magazine – Shahid Tantray, Prabhjit Singh and a woman journalist – were attacked by a mob in North-East Delhi. They were said to be taking pictures of saffron flags which had been put up in the area when a mob asked them to refrain from doing on. On realising that one of the journalists was Muslim, they attacked the trio over the next hour and a half, threatening them with murder.

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TN BJP leader arrested for Drug trafficking in “Prasad” bottles

Five persons including a BJP leader were arrested in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu in a case of drug trafficking on August 11. The accused were allegedly smuggling opium through Prasad bottles, used in temples, to make it hard for police to identify the opium drug.

Police have seized 1.800 kg opium worth of 10 lakh rupees from them. The OCIU (Integrated Crime Prevention) directed that all those involved in the case be arrested.…

Adaikkalraj, who was arrested in the drug trafficking case, was not only the Perambalur district vice-president of the BJP but he is currently a member of the state executive committee of the party’s backward class team too.

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New Diktat For Manipur College Teachers: ‘Seek Approval Before Expressing Views On Govt Policies

The Manipur government has asked teachers of all state-run colleges and employees of the higher education department to take necessary approvals from competent authorities before expressing any opinion on government policies or programmes in the media.

In a memorandum issued recently, Director of University and Higher Education K Diana Devi said non- compliance of the order might lead to disciplinary action.

Several members of the Federation of Government College Teachers’ Association (FEGOCTA) and All Manipur College Teacher Association (AMCTA) had been criticising the state government for its failure to implement the recommendations of the seventh pay commission. Many of them have also aired their views on the issue on news channels and social media.

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CAA Movement: Recent reports on Delhi violence indicate ‘criminal role of Delhi Police

A recent report by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) states that as many as 45 people were sexually assaulted by the Delhi police during a confrontation at Jamia Nagar on 10 February during protests against CAA, NRC and NPR. 

“Women were molested by male policemen, who attempted to tear their clothes, punched their breasts or stomped on them with their boots, as well as tried to insert their batons into their vaginas. At least 15 women were stomped on in their private parts, and they suffered injuries in their vaginas,” the report says.… The Delhi Minority Commission’s fact-finding report also alleged sexual violence cases against Delhi Police.

Erstwhile ‘saviours’ including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is loquacious on ‘saving’ Muslim women were mute spectators on large scale sexual violence against Muslim women in northeast Delhi. It is outrageous that no FIR has been filed to date regarding the injuries suffered in these barbarous acts.

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Hundreds of Police Killings in India, but No Mass Protests

For decades, India has absorbed case after case of police brutality, torture and extrajudicial killings. Every year, scores of Indians are killed in what activists call “fake encounters,” and many more, activists say, are tortured to death in police custody.

Many of these killings have been extensively covered in the Indian news media, and some have set off a few strikes and demonstrations. But rarely have they provoked widespread protests calling for change.… For many Indians, day-to-day crime is the more pressing issue, and they often side with the police, even when there is voluminous evidence that they have abused their power. There is also a fear of speaking against the police.

According to a lengthy report by the National Campaign Against Torture, an Indian rights group based in New Delhi, the capital, at least 1,731 people were killed in custody last year. The majority of the victims, the report said, were the usual victims of abuse: Muslims and lower-caste Hindus.

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1,500 lawyers to SC: Stop miscarriage of justice in Prashant Bhushan case

Expressing “dismay” over the conviction of advocate Prashant Bhushan by the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case, over 1,500 lawyers from across the country, including senior members of the Bar, urged the top court Monday to “take corrective steps to prevent miscarriage of justice”.

In a statement, the lawyers said a Bar “silenced under the threat of contempt” will “undermine the independence and ultimately the strength” of the Supreme Court.

“This judgment does not restore the authority of the court in the eyes of the public. Rather, it will discourage lawyers from being outspoken. From the days of the supersession of judges and the events thereafter, it has been the Bar that has been the first to stand in defence of the independence of the judiciary,” the statement said, adding that a “silenced” Bar “cannot lead to a strong court”.

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US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal resolves to stand with minorities in India at Independence Day event

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)… marked India’s 74th Independence Day on Saturday, August 15, 2020, with an online celebration featuring Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), as the keynote speaker and prominent human rights activists from India and the US. The online event titled, “Solidarity in Times of COVID-19,” intended to… uphold India’s pluralistic democracy.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first South Asian American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives called for India’s Independence Day to be “a time to reaffirm the democratic, pluralistic principles on which our countries were founded.” 

Bemoaning that “hate crimes are threatening Muslims in India”, she took pride in “speaking out for the rights of minorities in India” since she took office. “If there is anything I have found as an immigrant, advocate and woman of color, it is that nothing is stronger than committed and passionate people working together to do good and deliver justice….I will not stop fighting for justice for Muslims here and in India and I know you won’t either.”

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Probe role of Facebook in violence against minorities: Coalition to Stop Genocide in India to US House of Representatives

Indian American network of civil rights organizations and activists, The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, has urged the US House of Representatives on Monday to probe the role of Facebook in amplifying hate speech across the world.

Citing the Delhi Minorities Commission Fact-Finding Report on the February 2020 Delhi pogrom, the Coalition quoted that “many of the killings were coordinated over WhatsApp,” which is owned by Facebook. It also stated that “a hair-raising news report by online magazine Quint documented how Facebook live sessions were used to make open calls to target Muslims and Dalits.

“Outrage and calls for a public accountability process of Facebook’s role in knowingly enabling the incitement of mass violence in India have grown,” the Coalition said. As an urgent act of remedial, it has demanded that Ankhi Das, Facebook’s Policy Chief in India be fired. “By blocking punitive action against some Facebook accounts belonging to high ranking politicians from the ruling BJP party, Ms Das has allowed the accounts to continue their hateful and violent rhetoric.”

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Three Nagpur Islamic Bodies Help in Burial, Cremation of COVID-19 Victims

Three Islamic organisations in Nagpur have been helping the civic body and hospitals by transferring bodies of victims of Covid-19 from rural Kamptee and completing the final rites at a graveyard and even a crematorium.

The volunteers of the three organisations have been working over the past few months since the outbreak of Covid-19 and have coordinated closely with hospitals and relatives of the dead.

“All three organisations have been working in close coordination and have so far transferred 40 bodies from hospitals to the burial or cremation sites and completed the process,” Masood Ahmed, president of the Nagpur unit of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, told Clarion India on Tuesday. “We take the bodies of Muslims to the graveyard and of Hindus to the crematorium.”

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Godhra mosque is now a 50-bed Covid Care Centre

The ground floor of Masjid-e-Adam in Godhra is now a 50-bed Covid care centre, under the care of Godhra Civil Hospital. The facility was set up following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the district collector of Panchmahals and the trust of Masjid-e Adam. 

Out of total medical staffers at the Centre, fifty percent staff is from Godhra civil hospital, while local medical professionals from the community also pitch in.

The facility has a separate ward for women. At present, there are 50 patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms at the centre, with authorities saying that patients are taken in irrespective of their caste or religion

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Bengaluru violence: Local Muslim youth saved me, says instigator’s mother

“Had local Muslim youths not come to my rescue, I don’t think I would have been alive today,” Jayanthi R, mother of Naveen P who is accused of posting a derogatory post on Facebook, said on Wednesday.

“At 10.30pm, four-five local Muslim youths came to my house and told me that the situation would worsen. They said I should immediately go with them. By then, the mob entered our compound. 

One person told the youths escorting me that they were doing injustice to their religion by protecting Naveen’s mother. The locals warned the mob that no woman or child should be touched,” she said.

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New Education Policy Will Deprive Muslim Students of Job Opportunities – By Mirza Mosaraf Hossain

The Central government’s new education policy (NEP) for 2020 has already faced a lot of criticism across the country. While some have been vocal about the imposition of a linguistically- exclusive Hindi language, others see the Centre’s ‘One Country, One Education Policy’ effort as the saffronisation of education by the BJP/RSS.

A cursory analysis of this impact on the Muslim community in West Bengal in terms of various data shows the overall impact of this policy on the country’s minorities. Sanskrit is also being kept at every level from primary to higher education. In other words, everyone has to read Sanskrit, irrespective of caste, religion, and caste.… in the previous 10 + 2 system, Muslim children were employed in various government or private posts, military, police, security guards, Anganwadi workers, or as ASHA workers after matriculation and thus stood by their families to eradicate poverty. But there’s no room of scopes for Muslim children in the proposed education policy. Since the majority of Bengali Muslims are socio-economically backward and the majority of Muslims live in the rural areas where there are no alternative employment opportunities, Muslim families will not be able to continue his education till the age of 18. They will be forced to drop out of school in the middle of the term and migrate to Chennai, Kerala, and Delhi as migrant workers to tackle the poverty of their families.

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In Bhushan Contempt Hearing, the Unsaid is Finally Said to SC – By Vakasha Sachdev

Over the last few years, there has been a growing realisation that something is amiss with the judiciary of the country. Some of this relates to longstanding problems with the institution and how it operates – the delays or lack of transparency in the appointments process, for instance. Some of it comes from a greater awareness of how the courts operate… These include the assignment of sensitive cases to particular judges, the disregard for habeas corpus petitions, the propriety of judges sitting in their own causes, and the unwillingness to assess the government’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir, to name a few.

While these concerns have been aired from time to time in the media by eminent jurists, even retired Supreme Court justices, it’s not been possible to raise them in court with the judges themselves, what with the danger of being held in contempt, and the inability to tie them to proceedings in the courtroom. Until now. On 5 August, during a hearing in the contempt case against Prashant Bhushan for his tweets about the judiciary, ironically, the unsaid was finally said, in open court (such as it is in these times), to a bench of Supreme Court judges. And it wasn’t pretty.

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Rise in Indian nationalism obstacle for regional peace – By Raashid Wali Janjua

The Indian government under Modi has adopted Hindu nationalism, and specifically, the narrow Hindutva variety which advocates absolute supremacy of the elite Brahmin caste over all other castes and creeds.… Wide acceptance of “cultural otherness” has resulted so deftly as to nearly asphyxiate Indian values of pluralism. Concurrently, the party’s push for “integration” of the cultural and religious others now functions as justification for a ruthless assimilation process for the autonomous region of Jammu and Kashmir into Modi’s India.

Today, the Indian minorities that together constitute only 20 percent of India’s total population continue to suffer discrimination in access to decent work, healthcare and education. Minorities in nearly every state of India score lowest on Human Development Index metrics because of an institutionalized deprivation.… It is time that the international community took cognizance of the perils stalking the land of the Buddha and Gandhi, both of whom suffered in their attempts to shield the hapless populations of their times from the strangulating grip of cultural violence.

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Delhi riots: Young residents share the trauma of profound loss, betrayal and injustice – By Harsh Mander

Each episode of communal violence creates formidable challenges for the possibility of justice, because of a long almost unbroken tradition of impunity for perpetrators of hate crime in India. There are highly fraught moments when the prospects for justice become even more remote, such as during the anti-Sikh violence of 1984, Bhagalpur communal violence of 1989 and the Gujarat communal massacre of 2002. But the outlook for justice is even more distant after the Delhi communal conflagration of February 2020.

This is because in 2002 (as in 1984) although the highest executive was allegedly complicit and culpable in enabling the violence, other institutions of the state rose to the defence of justice.… All of these are completely missing in action in the India of 2020.… An analysis of the affidavit of the Delhi Police by The Wire shows that 77% of civilians killed were Muslim. Women also report sexualised violence, with attackers taunting them by displaying their genitals, and sometimes attacking them.… the next two days “began to look like a pogrom, as the police watched attacks on the Muslims and was either unable to intervene, or unwilling to do so, while some cops clearly abetted the violence”. During these two days, revenge was wreaked on the Muslim community where life and property was destroyed with impunity, ostensibly to punish them for their participation in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. A number of citizen and media investigations reveal the partisan role of the police. In the Delhi High Court, in a petition seeking immediate filing of FIRs against senior leaders like Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur filed by this writer and Farah Naqvi, Justice S Murlidhar expressed “constitutional anguish” at the delay in filing these FIRs. The police responded that it did not think the time was fit for filing these FIRs.… even during the lockdown, they found it fit to arrest several hundred others, mostly young student and youth leaders who had been active in protesting the citizenship law amendments.

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Modi’s Textbook Manipulations – By Tish Sanghera

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India’s largest education board, announced in July that it had cut this year’s syllabus by 30 percent.… The move has fueled controversy over the fact that government-run schools no longer have to teach chapters on democratic rights, secularism, federalism, and citizenship, among other topics. These concepts lie at the core of the Indian Constitution but have at times come into conflict with the Hindu-majoritarian ideology of the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

After a victory in last year’s general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP began rolling out a set of controversial citizenship policies that critics have called unconstitutional and anti-Muslim and that have been condemned for promoting an ethno religious idea of India. The country has since witnessed a series of large-scale national protests against the measures, including the Citizenship Amendment Act and a new National Register of Citizens. When combined, the two measures could end up disenfranchising large numbers of India’s Muslim population.… When chapters like “Popular Struggles and Movements” and “Democracy and Diversity” were removed from the Class 10 political science syllabus, stakeholders and opposition groups were quick to frame the cuts as being in line with the other steps for which Modi has been  criticized. The move advances the vision of an “exclusivist, theocratic, intolerant, fascistic nation,” Sitaram Yechury, the leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist), wrote on Facebook in July. His party later called for the cuts to be rescinded, saying they hurt “secular democratic India’s future.”

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What is at Stake in Ayodhya? – By Kristen Miller

Hindu nationalists are celebrating the end of what they consider to be a centuries-long fight, and hailing the beginning of Hindu revival – at the expense of India’s Muslim population. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the ceremonial cornerstone of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.…

Modi’s actions were considered highly controversial due to the long historical legacy at the site. Ayodhya is the former home of Babri Masjid, also known as Babur’s Mosque, an architectural testament to India’s protracted Mughal history. On December 6, 1992, Hindu activists dismantled the more than 400-year-old mosque bit by bit until nothing remained.

Modi uses Islamophobic rhetoric to gain political traction and defeat his more moderate opponents. For example, when Modi was the chief minister of the province of Gujarat in 2002, he inflamed Hindu anger toward Muslims, which many observers have claimed contributed to the deadly Gujarat riots that followed shortly after his remarks.… The issue of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya goes beyond Indian domestic political maneuvering. It has concrete implications for India’s nearly 200,000 Muslims.… The Ram Temple is not a restoration of a long-lost past, but an overwriting of history and an erasure of Muslim rights.

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Patanjali Ayurved fined Rs 10 lakh by Madras HC for chasing profits by claiming COVID-19 ‘cure’

The Madras High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Patanjali Ayurved for ‘chasing profits’ by claiming to have a cure for COVID-19. The court refused to vacate the interim stay restraining Patanjali from using the term Coronil to market its immunity booster tablets against COVID-19.

The injunction was granted by the Madras High Court on a trademark infringement suit filed by Chennai-based Arudra Engineers Private Limited, which was using the registered trademarks Coronil-213SPL and Coronil-92B for its industrial cleaning chemicals for nearly three decades. In a 104-page order, Justice CV Karthikeyan observed, “Patanjali and Divya Yog Mandir Trust repeatedly projected that they are a Rs 10,000 crore company. However, they are still chasing further profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for COVID-19 when in reality their Coronil tablet is not a cure but rather an immunity booster for cough, cold and fever.

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Assam BJP MLA booked for calling scholar & Padma Bhushan awardee ‘intellectual jihadi’

Multiple FIRs have been lodged against Assam’s Hojai MLA Shiladitya Dev for his alleged derogatory remarks against Syed Abdul Malik, a noted scholar and former president of the Assam Sahitya Sabha.

Dev had, last week, allegedly said that Malik was an “intellectual jihadi” after a visit to the Haragouri Devalaya, a renowned Hindu temple in the state. Malik, who died in 2000, was a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan. On Sunday, the Assam Congress’ minority wing filed an FIR against Dev for fanning communal tensions. Separate FIRs were subsequently filed by the All Assam Goria-Moria-Deshi Jatiya Parishad, All Assam Goria Yuva-Chatra Parishad and Asom Songrami Yuva Manch. The All Assam Students’ Union and the Assam Sahitya Sabha have also slammed the legislator for his comments.

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9 RSS workers in Kerala sentenced to life for murder of another RSS worker

Nine Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers in Kerala have been sentenced to life by a Kollam court for the murder of Kadavoor Jayan, another RSS worker, eight years ago. Kollam Principal Sessions Court judge Suresh Kumar C, announced the verdict over video conferencing, since two of the convicts contracted COVID-19.

All the nine convicts are also fined with an amount of Rs 71,500 each, failing to pay which will cost them four more years in prison. From the fine, Rs 2 lakh shall be given to Jayan’s mother and Rs 25,000 to Raghunatha Pillai, who also got attacked with Jayan. The seventh, eighth and ninth accused will not get punishment under Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) since they had not used weapons. The nine convicts are Vinod, Gopakumar, Subrahmanyan, Priyaraj, Pranav, Arun, Rajineesh, Dinaraj and Shiju. Eight of them are from Kadavoor .

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Babri demolition: Justice Liberhan says RSS chief’s presence at Ayodhya event confirms group’s role

Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan, who headed the commission set up to investigate the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, said on Thursday that the presence of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya vindicated his stand that a team of RSS cadre was involved in the demolition of the mosque, The Times of India reported.

The Liberhan Commission, set up days after the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992, submitted its report to the Centre after 17 years, in 2009. The panel indicted RSS cadres for their alleged involvement in destroying the mosque. It also named several senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Kalyan Singh, Pramod Mahajan and others. Justice Liberhan, who retired as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, told The Times of India that the Supreme Court verdict in the case did not represent the sentiments of all communities. “The Supreme Court has decided the title only,” he said. “My views about the judgement are different. Yes, it does not represent the sentiments of all communities but something has to be relied on at some level .

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Cops Drag Sikh Man By Hair, Thrash Him In Madhya Pradesh, Probe Ordered

A video showing a man being dragged by policemen in full public view in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district has triggered a controversy. In the 50-second-long video, the man identified as Prem Singh is seen at the feet of the policeman, who then pulls him by his hair. The same video also shows another policeman push a turbaned man, who comes to save Mr Singh.

Mr Singh is heard shouting in Hindi, “They are beating us, they are killing us, the police are pulling us by our hair… They are not allowing us to set up our stall.” He appeals to the crowd to save them.

State Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja tweeted the video and criticised the police Mr Singh alleged the policemen assaulted him after he refused to pay them bribe. Home Minister Dr Narrottam Mishra said two policemen have been suspended.

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3 Missing Labourers Killed in Alleged Staged Encounter in Kashmir’s Shopian

Family of three missing labourers from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir have alleged that the missing trio were killed in a staged encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on July 18.

Saleem Ahmad, cousin of one of the missing civilians Ibrar Ahmad, told News18 that he identified his cousin and two other relatives through circulated photographs of militants killed in an encounter on July 18 in Amshipora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who is detention since August 2019 reacted on Twitter to the news saying that she is shocked to hear that they have been killed in a staged encounter.

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‘They raised obscene slogans’: On the night of Bhoomi Pujan, Northeast Delhi’s fragile calm shatters

It’s been six months since the February carnage in Delhi’s Northeast district… the tremors of the riots are still being felt. The Muslim women of Subhash Mohalla in North Ghonda felt it first hand, when saffron flags came up on the gate of their locality shortly after the midnight of August 5, purportedly accompanied by incendiary sloganeering.

The local Hindus in the neighbourhood were celebrating the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and the celebration extended late into the night. It was a sleepless night for the families living in lane 2 of the Subhash Mohalla. “Between 1 and 2 am on August 6, eight to 10 men were sloganeering ‘Jai Shri Ram’ outside our lane,” says Shaheen, 38, who runs a small shop here. “Then they raised obscene slogans like ‘Mullo bahar jao’, ‘Suaron bahar jao’.” Muslims, get out. Pigs, get out. A green thread hangs loosely on the gate. Shaheen says it is a firecracker that the men hung from the gate last night and set off to ‘terrorise’ the Muslim residents.

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As Modi Calls Ram Mandir Symbol Of Unity, Muslim Man Attacked Over ‘Jai Shree Ram’ Chant

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the gathering at Ayodhya on August 5, the day of the Ram Mandir bhumi pujan, he made a case for the temple becoming a symbol of unity in a country as diverse as India.

It’s unlikely – the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the subsequent riots and communal divide, the weaponisation of the religious chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters and the attacks on and other-isation of Muslims have all left deep scars on the national psyche. 

At the ceremony, Modi used the milder ‘Jai Siya Ram’, as if to symbolise that the war was now over, and spoke of harmony and inclusivity. But his words seem to have had no effect on his own supporters. On Friday, just two days after Modi’s speech on unity, a Muslim auto rickshaw driver was brutally beaten up for allegedly not chanting ‘Modi zindabad’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

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Muslims Allege Biased Police Action in Communal Clashes in UP’s Sultanpur

Trouble-torn Hunumanganj area of Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday was limping back to normalcy after remaining gripped in tension for three days due to communal clashes between groups of people of two communities.

Tension erupted at around 8: 30 PM on 5 August when a group of Hindus gathered outside a mosque and raised slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’, while sharing sweets to celebrate the foundation stone-laying of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The ecstatic crowd also burst fire-crackers, a complaint by Muslim residents addressed to the Police Superintendent said. When Muslims objected to holding the celebrations outside the mosque, it did not go well with the Hindus who ganged up and started hurling abuses at protesters. They even barged into the houses of Muslims and thrashed them. The Muslims called up the police but the uniformed men also gate-crashed into Muslim homes and beat up the occupants. “Hindu goons and the police thrashed even women and children,” said Ahmad while speaking with Clarion India on phone.

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Bengaluru: 3 Killed In Police Firing, 100 Arrested After Facebook Post Triggers Violence

Three people were killed in police firing after violence broke out in East Bengaluru on Tuesday in protest against a social media post by a Congress MLA’s relative allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad, NDTV said. More than 100 people were arrested from the area, The NewsMinute said.

A crowd had gathered outside KG Halli police station on Friday night demanding that MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy’s relative be arrested, The NewsMinute reported. … Police said the crowd targeted the police station and damaged vehicles believing that the police had kept the accused detained there.… Ameer ae shariyat, #karnataka Maulana Sagheer Ahmed saheb appeals for peace. Requests people not to take law into their hands

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Divisive, communal politics? Community kitchens reveal social fabric ‘still intact’

…Since 2009, there have been at least 254 incidents of hate crimes motivated by religious hatred, as per data by the Citizen’s Religious Hate Crime Watch, an India Spend’s initiative. This has resulted in the death of over 90 people and around 600 injuries. What is striking about this data is that 90% of these hate crimes have occurred since 2014, when Modi led Bhartiya Janata Party government has been at the Centre.

The novel coronavirus knows no religion, caste, class, gender, ethnicity or any other kind of sect. It treats the rich and the poor alike. However, India was one of the only countries where covid had a religion. There have been many instances in the beginning covered by mainstream media on violence and discrimination against Muslims, due to many fake videos that were circulated on WhatsApp showing Muslim men intentionally trying to spread the corona virus. However, working for relief during the coronavirus crisis lockdown period was a very reassuring experience from the point of view of communal harmony in society. Communal and divisive politics has not yet damaged the social fabric. We observed that the integration of different caste and religious communities at the ground level is still intact and quite vibrant .

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PFI Members Perform Last Rites Of BJP Leader In Karnataka Who Died Of COVID-19

Somashekar Gowda, a BJP leader in Koppal’s Gangavathi died of coronavirus on Sunday morning. The 54-year-old’s family members were quarantined and his own party members were reportedly not ready to facilitate his last rites due to the fear of the disease.

That’s when a team of PFI members stepped in and performed the last rites of the deceased BJP leader as per Lingayat traditions. Speaking to the media, PFI’s district president Zaheer Abbas said… his team of activists followed all the health guidelines and precautions and facilitated the funeral of the late BJP leader according to his religious beliefs and the consent of his family.

Since the breakdown of the coronavirus pandemic, members of PFI have facilitated last rites of hundreds of COVID victims irrespective of their religion across the country.

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‘We live as brothers, sisters’ – Muslims form human chain to save temple amid Bengaluru riots

A viral video showing Muslim youth forming a human chain to guard a temple during the violence that erupted in Bengaluru Tuesday night has emerged on social media. The video shows young men holding hands and ensuring that rioters didn’t attack the temple located in Pulakeshinagar. In the video, one can hear people appealing to the protesters and saying – “For God’s sake Please stay away from here.”…

“We have formed this chain to show how we are here for all, but again we do not accept those who are trying to force RSS ideologies on people,” said one of the men who formed the human chain. We all live as brothers and sisters. We do not have anything against any religion. We are not fighting against any individual or any caste or community. We are only seeking justice as the nephew of MLA Srinivas Murthy has insulted our Nabi (Prophet Mohammed). We cannot tolerate that.

Rizwan Arshad, MLA of Shivajinagar, which is adjacent to Pulakeshinagar, told ThePrint he was proud to see such acts of kindness. “We are so proud of our brothers, who think of such acts of kindness even during such testing times. They told me that they stand for peace and unity, and they will try and ensure such incidents do not recur,” he added.

‘We live as brothers, sisters’ — Muslims form human chain to save temple amid Bengaluru riots

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What Do America’s Racial Problems Have in Common With India and Nazi Germany?

Title: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Author: Isabel Wilkerson

Reviewer: Kwame Anthony Appiah

Penguin Random House India,, $32. 476 pp. ,

Conversations about race in America have reached fever pitch. We hear talk of white privilege and fragility, of implicit bias, of racism in structural and systemic varieties. There are loud and urgent calls for racial justice, and many Americans of all races seem to agree that what W. E. B. Du Bois, more than a century ago, termed “the problem of the color line” remains a troubling feature of this country now.

Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of a marvelous chronicle of the Great Migration titled “The Warmth of Other Suns,” is an elegant and persuasive writer.… She wants us to see America’s enduring resistance to Black equality through the prism of the caste system of India. In a secondary line of analysis, she notes that the Nazis’ anti-Semitic regime borrowed ideas and practices from the legal structures created in the Jim Crow South and invites us to see, in some of the horrors of the Holocaust, echoes of America’s caste order.

…”Caste” will spur readers to think and to feel in equal measure. Its vivid stories about the mistreatment of Black Americans by government and law and in everyday social life – from the violence of the slave plantation to the terror of lynchings to the routines of discourtesy and worse that are still a common experience for so many – retain their ability to appall and unsettle, to prompt flashes of indignation and moments of sorrow. The result is a book that is at once beautifully written and painful to read.

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Young Indians are asking the Modi government not to imperil their future. It must listen to them – By Supriya Sharma

Last week, India’s environment minister got the police to block a website that was spamming his inbox with appeals not to dilute crucial environmental protections. The website’s name features the word “future” – for a reason. It is part of a global youth movement that wants political leaders to stop taking short-sighted decisions that lead to long-term ecological devastation that young people and unborn generations inherit. The Modi government might want to block the future, but the future is here.

India, like the rest of the world, is currently battling the worst pandemic in a century that experts believe is closely connected to an environmental crisis.… Against this ominous backdrop, the Modi government is walking back on environmental protection. It is introducing a new Environmental Impact Assessment law which makes it mandatory for industrial projects to be evaluated for their ecological impact before they are greenlighted. If the draft law is passed, projects would be able to come up even before they have environmental clearances, undermining a legal regime built over three decades.

The Modi government had, in fact, already pushed through a notification to this effect in 2017, using it to grant ex post facto clearances to several projects which were in violation of the law. By rewriting the law, it wants to make this the standard practice. Strikingly, in April this year, the Supreme Court had expressed its disapproval of such ex post facto clearances. It said they were “detrimental to the environment and could lead to irreparable degradation”.

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Storming Libraries, ‘Achhe Din’ and the New Education Policy – By N Sukumar and Shailaja Menon

The NEP 2020 has been rolled out amidst the Corona pandemic with the grandiose dreams of unleashing India’s potential as a world teacher (Vishwaguru). Ironically, a few months back police stormed the library of Jamia Millia Islamia, thrashed students and vandalized the reading space. No one knows when the culprits will be brought to justice, if at all. 

The NEP states that it wants to set up libraries in every district and inculcate the reading habit among the children. In a climate, when students are anxious about appearing for a range of examinations, entrance tests to end semester exams, coupled with the fear of dropping out of classes due to the monetary crisis wrought by Covid 19 why is the state in a hurry to push through reforms in the education sector?

The absence of any mention on reservations makes one wonder as to how the goal of equity and inclusion in education will be achieved. The private institutions are reluctant to accept any idea of affirmative action. Financing their education has become a major source of exploitation especially for the marginalized groups. The NEP document has failed to provide any financial outlays to address this issue given the fact that in the coming days, student enrolment will be affected by the pandemic and the economic crisis.

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Delhi Riots: LG’s Order on Appointment of Prosecutors Smacks of Bad Faith, Immorality – By Ashish Khetan

The wounds of the Delhi riots are still open. Not only the murderous mobs who killed and injured innocent people are in the dock, the Delhi Police is itself a suspect. By first failing miserably in preventing the riots and now by carrying out one-sided investigations, the police have lost the trust of large sections of the people of Delhi. 

Unfortunately, the Lieutenant-Governor, who is to expected to act with constitutional objectivity keeping in view the high degree of constitutional trust reposed in him, has used his special powers to pass a blatantly unreasonable and prejudiced order. The Delhi government must challenge its legality in higher courts.

Recently Justice Suresh Kumar Kait of the Delhi high court, while dismissing a petition filed by Delhi police in a riot case, said that the police was “misusing the judicial system” and taking the “system for a ride”.… While on one hand the police have not registered a case against the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who incited the mobs, ad nauseum, through inflammatory speeches and communal sloganeering, it has arrested student leaders and activists leading the ant-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests on charges of conspiracy.

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Handmaidens of Hindutva – By Manisha Sethi

…Study after study has shown that for religious minorities, Adivasis, and so-called lower caste groups, law and its enforcers are a source of terror. Overrepresented in prisons, Muslims remain vulnerable to custodial assault and risk humiliating brutalization for seeking their rights. Muslim representation in police hovers below 4 percent even as they make up 14 percent of the Indian population. Since 2014, when the present regime first came to power, the National Crime Records Bureau has discontinued even the practice of publishing these figures.

Yeh andar ki baat hai / police hamaare saath hai, “it is an open secret that the police sides with us,” was the taunt that roving Hindu mobs raised when plundering, raping, and burning their way through Muslim neighborhoods in Gujarat in 2002. The most charitable accusation that one could make against the Indian police would be laxity or dereliction of duty. In truth, it is difficult to ignore their criminal complicity with the rioters.

A former police commissioner of Mumbai, confronted on television about the existence of Hindutva terror groups, flatly responded, that “[terrorism] just does not exist in the Hindu pantheon.” It should hardly be a surprise, then, that when a series of bomb blasts were carried out between 2006–2008 – in the Maharashtrian town of Malegaon on the Muslim holy day of Shab-e-Baraat, at a mosque in Hyderabad, and at a sufi shrine in Ajmer – investigators arrested and even extracted confessions out of Muslim men. One can well imagine the techniques that might have persuaded innocent men to incriminate themselves when the evidence all along pointed toward Hindutva groups.

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Modi’s brutal treatment of Kashmir exposes his tactics – and their flaws – By Arundhati Roy

It would be easy to look at the 365 days between last August and now – the final “integration” of Kashmir into India, the passing of the CAA and NRC, and the inauguration of the Ram Mandir – as the defining period in which India under Modi has formally declared itself a Hindu nation, the dawning of a new era. But declarations can contain unacknowledged defeats. And showy beginnings can contain unforeseen ends. It’s worth remembering that despite Modi’s larger-than-life presence and the BJP’s massive majority in parliament, only 17.2% of India’s population voted for them.

Think a little. Why did Modi decide to inaugurate the Ram Mandir now? After all it’s not the festivals of Dussehra or Diwali, and the date has no particular relevance in the Ramayana or the Hindu calendar. And there’s a partial lockdown in most parts of India – many of the priests and policemen preparing and securing the site have already tested positive for Covid. So why now? Is it to rub salt into Kashmir’s wounds, or is it to put balm on India’s?

Could it be that this August anniversary is not actually what it’s being cracked up to be? Could it be instead the little limpet of shame clamped to the soaring cliff of glory?

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Demolition Men Do Not Build Nations, They Destroy Them – By Siddharth Varadarajan

August 5 – the date chosen consciously by baleful men to humiliate the people of India whose independence on August 15 they never fought for – will go down in history as a day that celebrates the triumph of vandalism and destruction over renewal and regeneration, crime and illegality over law and justice, fiction and fabrication over reality and truth.

On the appointed day, when India slept, the people of Kashmir awoke to curfew and unfreedom. On the appointed day, a group of criminals – who should be in prison for having planned and orchestrated the demolition of a 450-year-old mosque – basked in the freedom they have to build a temple at the same spot. Their temple, and not Rama’s and certainly not India’s.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi supervising the obsequies, the wreckage of what remains of the Indian constitution has been interred in the foundations of the temple that his organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is building with the full backing of the ‘secular’ Indian state.

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After Cisco, HCL’s US unit faces lawsuit for sacking employee based on caste

A former employee has filed a lawsuit against HCL America, the US unit of the Indian IT major HCL Technologies, for unlawful termination based on his caste by his superior.

The case, which was filed on March 25 in a superior court in California, has now emerged after the much-publicised Cisco lawsuit that kick-started debates around caste bias in Silicon Valley companies. Ironically, the Cisco case was filed three months later, on June 30.

The lawsuit filed by Vikram against HCL America is similar in the sense that it alleges that his superior Srinivas Chakravarty, a Kamma Naidu by caste, harboured animosity against Vikram, who is a Kapu Naidu. The two groups have a history of rivalry that could date back to the riots in 1980s in the Vijayawada region of Andhra Pradesh, the lawsuit said.

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Persecution of Christians continues to rise in India

Hate crimes against Christians in India, including instances of murder, rape, and arson, have risen by 40 per cent in the first half of 2020, according to a new report. The report, by campaigning group, Persecution Relief, noted that the “disconcerting” rise has taken place in spite of a three-month national lockdown. 

…Watchdog Open Doors has ranked the subcontinent number 10 on their list of persecution hotspots, with several charities identifying state cooperation with extremists as a key problem. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, won the general election in 2014, Christian commentators have claimed the government, particularly at a local level, has been unwilling to clamp down on extremist Hindus.  

According to Persecution Relief, between January 2016 and June 2020, there have been 2,067 crimes inspired by religious intolerance against Christians in India. In April, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom requested that the U.S. State Department name India as a “country of particular concern” because of attacks on religious minorities.

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‘Conditions in Kashmir Not Normal’: US Foreign Affairs Committee Raises Concern With India

The foreign affairs committee of the United States Congress has expressed concern over conditions in Kashmir in a bipartisan letter issued on the day that marked the first year of abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

“We note with concern that conditions in Jammu and Kashmir have not normalised one year after India’s repeal of Article 370 and the establishment of Jammu and Kashmir as Union Territory,” Chairman of the Committee Eliot L. Engel and ranking member Michael T. McCaul wrote in a letter.

The letter addressed to Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishakar acknowledges the security concerns in the region. The letter says that the committee looks forward to working with the Indian government “to address these concerns.

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“Rafale judgment, Ayodhya judgment, CBI judgment. You get Rajya Sabha seat and Z plus security. What impression does it give?”: Dushyant Dave makes explosive arguments for Prashant Bhushan in contempt case

Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave on Wednesday made explosive arguments while appearing for Prashant Bhushan in the contempt case. He raised the issue of widespread perception about the lack of integrity of the judiciary under certain judges including the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. 

Dave drew the court’s attention to several high-profile politically sensitive judgments where the judiciary had seemingly let itself down. Referring to Gogoi, he asked what impression the former CJI had created for the judiciary by accepting a Rajya Sabha nomination and Z plus security cover after his judgments favoured the central government in several cases such as Rafale, Ayodhya and the CBI.

Dave told the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, “You get Rajya Sabha seat and Z plus security. What impression does it give. Rafale judgment, Ayodhya judgment, CBI judgment. You give these judgments and have these benefits. These are all serious issues that strike at the core of the judiciary.

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Man Accused Of Carrying Beef Attacked With Hammer In Gurgaon, Cops Watch

With impunity and a hammer, an unarmed man is savagely beaten and kicked to pulp while the police and dozens of people do little more than watch, shows the video, demonstrating the horrific collapse of law near the country’s capital.

Around 9 am on Friday, not too far away from Gurgaon’s glistening towers that house the offices of multinational software companies, a group of cow vigilantes chasing a pick-up truck for about 8 km managed to flag it down.

The driver, identified as Lukman, was pulled out and brutally assaulted on the suspicion that he was smuggling cow meat… After being beating to an inch of his life, Lukman was bundled into the pick-up truck and taken back to Gurgaon’s Badshahpur village where the men started thrashing him again.… Lukman was taken to a hospital and the police filed a complaint against “unidentified individuals”. The owner of the vehicles said that the meat was buffalo and he has been in the business for 50 years.

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Assam: Anti-CAA stir returns after 5-month hiatus

After a gap of 5 months, anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests were once again back on the streets of Dibrugarh with hundreds of activists of the All Assam Students’ Union (Aasu) taking out a motorcycle rally. Since the beginning of March, anti-CAA rallies were put on hold across the state owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Aasu members started the rally from Chowkidinghee and passed through all the major roads of the town before proceeding towards the residence of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Lakhi Nagar area of Dibrugarh beside the Mancotta road. All the motorcycles stopped just beside the chief minister’s residence and the Aasu members started raising slogans against the Citizenship Act.

Slogans including “aami namanu” (We won’t accept CAA), “Sarbananda Sonowal murdabad”, “Narendra Modi murdabad”, “BJP Go Back” and “Jai Aai Asom” (Glory to Mother Assam) went on for a good 20 minutes. The protesters later proceeded all the way to Tingkhong. “Our protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act is back.…,” Aasu Dibrugarh district general secretary Sankor Jyoti Baruah said.

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‘Caravan’ Expose Reveals How Delhi Police Actively Incited Hindu Rioters

The role of the police in northeast Delhi riots has remained questionable since the anti-Muslim communal violence broke out in Jafferabad in the last week of February.

Various evidences have come to fore which point to the complicit role of the police in the incidents of bloody brutality. The latest one is the confession of a rioter who said that the police not only supported the hooligans but also encouraged them to carry out violence against Muslims.

In a report published on the website of Caravan magazine, a 22-year-old resident of Karawal Nagar, admitted he had participated in killing Muslims and burning their properties and revealed how the uniformed men were in cahoots with the violent anarchists. The man said that the Delhi Police gave Hindu rioters a free rein to target Muslims.

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India arrests dozens of journalists in clampdown on critics of Covid-19 response

Facing a continuing upward trajectory in Covid-19 cases, the Indian government is clamping down on media coverage critical of its handling of the pandemic. More than 50 Indian journalists have been arrested or had police complaints registered against them, or been physically assaulted. The majority of those facing action are independent journalists working in rural India, home to more than 60% of the 1.35 billion population.

“The indirect message is that we cannot show the government in poor light. It does not matter if we have to turn a blind eye to issues we witness,” said Om Sharma, a journalist with a Hindi daily in Himachal Pradesh, a mountain state in north India. Police had charged him over a Facebook live report that showed stranded workers in need of food during the lockdown.…

Geeta Seshu, of the Free Speech Collective, said the restrictions were having an impact on reporting. “During the pandemic, the government has taken some crucial policy decisions regarding environment and railways. Most of the media organisations played safe by not reviewing these decisions,” she said. India has now dropped two places to be ranked 142 out of 180 countries on the global press freedom index.

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Hindu Bigots Now Wish to Take up Kashi, Mathura Mosques

Emboldened by the event at Ayodhya where on Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a Ram temple on the ruins of Babri Mosque, now Hindutva fanatics have set their sights on Kashi and Mathura mosques.

Akhara Parishad head Narendra Giri told IANS news agency: “We are happy. Ram Rajya has been established in India. Under the leadership of Modi, even Lord Krishna would be freed. As would be Kashi Vishwanath. We just have to wait.” Giri said that the Hindus wished to take up the issues of Kashi and Mathura as per the set processes.

In Varanasi, Gyanvapi mosque shares a boundary wall with the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The mosque is said to have been built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669. Hindu leaders have been demanding the removal of the mosque and handover of the entire land to their community. In Mathura, Shahi Idgah mosque stands next to a temple which Hindus claim to be Krishna Janmabhoomi (birth place of Krishna). Vaishnav Parishad Mahant Phool Dol Bihari Das claimed: “Kashi Viswanath temple is our next destination. Every issue will be taken up with the passage of time.

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At New York’s Times Square, Both Celebrations of and Protests Against Ram Mandir

South Asian diaspora groups converged in New York’s Times Square on Wednesday, some to celebrate the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and others to protest it and draw attention to the situation in India. Both raised slogans, trying to drown out the other, and vocally declared their support and opposition to the bhoomi pujan ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the spot where the Babri Masjid was brought down in 1992.

While ambitious plans by the American India Public Affairs Committee, said to be a pro-Bharatiya Janata Party group, to project an image of the proposed temple on the prestigious Nasdaq screen in Times Square did not materialise, one digital board of the temple aired over the Hershey’s store for a limited part of the day.

…Those protesting the Ram Temple at Times Square included a whole range of groups, including civil rights activists, Kashmiris protesting the year-long lockdown and Sikh groups.… A truck with images of the Babri Masjid on the sides went around Times Square. Protestors meanwhile held up banners with slogans like “Stand Against Hate” and “Join the Struggle Against Fascism”.… Prominent protestors at Times Square included Zohran Mamdani, housing counsellor and Democratic nominee for New York’s 36th assembly district. He had urged New Yorkers to stand up to fascism in a series of tweets on Wednesday morning.

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Hope from the field – Amicable Hindu Muslim Collaboration

Since 2009, there have been at least 254 incidents of hate crimes motivated by religious hatred, as per data by the Citizen’s Religious Hate Crime Watch, an India Spend’s initiative. This has resulted in the death of over 90 people and around 600 injuries. What is striking about this data is that 90% of these hate crimes have occurred since 2014, when Modi led Bhartiya Janata Party government has been at the Centre.… There have been… many fake videos that were circulated on WhatsApp showing Muslim men intentionally trying to spread the corona virus.

However, working for relief during the coronavirus crisis lockdown period was a very reassuring experience from the point of view of communal harmony in society. Communal and divisive politics has not yet damaged the social fabric. We observed that the integration of different caste and religious communities at the ground level is still intact and quite vibrant. Socialist Party (India) ran 23 community kitchens in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, about half of them being in Lucknow.

Uzma was the kitchen coordinator in Dubagga, Lucknow and when she needed somebody to make rotis, a youth named Sandeep came forward. Similarly, another Muslim woman Gudiya was coordinating a kitchen in Madiyaon area of Lucknow. She received help in cooking from Ram Janki and her sons who used to live in front of her house.… The corona pandemic has made it crystal clear that the only way humanity can be saved is by overcoming our differences as a society in terms of caste, religion or colour.

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Muslim woman takes care of Hindu Covid-19 positive mother’s newborn twins

Responding to an appeal, a Muslim woman travelled 40 km and reached a stranger Hindu family’s house in Kolkata to take care of two newborn twins whose mother was sent to a quarantine centre for 14 days after she tested positive for Covid-19.

The family with an ailing member was in deep trouble after all the professional centres which provide domestic helps refused to send anyone to their house. One of the family members then uploaded an appeal on a social media platform seeking help for taking care of the twins. Responding to the post, Firdous Moon, the 36-year-old teacher of a private school, turned up as a messiah for the family residing in Dum Dum.…

Firdous Moon, a resident of Pailan in South 24-Parganas district, had no experience of handling infants but she managed everything within three days she took them on her lap. Now she is feeding them after every three hours, cleaning them and playing with them when they are awake.… the grandmother of the twins… expressed her hope that Firdous’ act would encourage others to stand beside the families who have Covid-19 patients at home. “None of our neighbours came forward,” she lamented.

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The Evidence Is Clear, Caste Hurts Corporations In India And Abroad – By Christina Dhanaraj and Hari Bapuji

Recent analyses on the State of California’s lawsuit against Cisco have indicated widespread, yet unrecognized casteism among companies in the Silicon valley. The discourse so far has only focused on how caste operates within South Asian-dominated workplaces in the United States, but there is reason to believe that this is a global phenomenon.

Recent arguments have focused on pointing out that caste-based discrimination, in any form, is morally wrong. This is not incorrect. People from caste-affected communities are constantly at risk of being discriminated against.

These perceptions have real-life consequences for Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi (DBA) employees, such as being passed over for opportunities, appraisals, and promotions. This has led to a severe lack of DBA representation in C-suites, board appointments, and leadership teams. Despite upper castes constituting only 14% in India’s overall population share, they occupy over 94% of corporate positions in India.

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India’s Rape Problem and Legislator Impunity – By Dr. Arshad M. Khan

India’s largest quarantine center for mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid-19 patients is in the capital, Delhi.… it was here in this teeming mass of people that a 14-year old girl was raped on July 15.… The girl told her parents, and the police arrested the two men. That they did not flee following the incident might have some bearing on Indian culture.

India’s National Crime Records Bureau reported 33,356 rape cases across the country in 2018. It is the 4th most common crime against women and in 93.9 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim. The number of cases work out to a rape somewhere in the country every 15 minutes.  Only the most egregious stories make international news like the BBC, and some beggar belief.

Kuldeep Sengar is a member of the state legislative assembly in Uttar Pradesh (Wikipedia). A 17-year old girl came to him looking for a job.  His response was to confine her, where for a week she was raped repeatedly by Mr. Sengar and his accomplices.… Mr. Sengar is not alone:  More than 40 percent of the members of India’s parliament face criminal charges, including murder and rape, reports the Straits Times.

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Editors in Modi’s India have two choices – speak up or give in to intellectual slavery – By Patricia Mukhim

Can the press speak? If it does not speak, then is it still the press? But what does it speak? To whom does it speak? These were questions debated at a webinar organised recently by Newslaundry – that audacious news portal that dares call out the most imperious editors of our times. 

As the editor of The Shillong Times, I have to confess that for the first time in my dozen years of service to this 75-year-old newspaper, I feel a sense of bondage; of not being able to breathe the air of freedom guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution that is destined to secure our freedoms for us.

Am I the only one who feels that I have to correct a phrase here and a sentence there lest it offends someone?… Why is the press, which is the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, not given the same status as the other three pillars – the legislature, executive and judiciary?… Are we doing something we have not done before? Will someone point out our transgressions? And by someone, I mean a neutral third party with no vested interest in any of the four pillars.

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Editors in Modi’s India have two choices – speak up or give in to intellectual slavery – By Patricia Mukhim

Can the press speak? If it does not speak, then is it still the press? But what does it speak? To whom does it speak? These were questions debated at a webinar organised recently by Newslaundry – that audacious news portal that dares call out the most imperious editors of our times. 

As the editor of The Shillong Times, I have to confess that for the first time in my dozen years of service to this 75-year-old newspaper, I feel a sense of bondage; of not being able to breathe the air of freedom guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution that is destined to secure our freedoms for us.

Am I the only one who feels that I have to correct a phrase here and a sentence there lest it offends someone?… Why is the press, which is the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, not given the same status as the other three pillars – the legislature, executive and judiciary?… Are we doing something we have not done before? Will someone point out our transgressions? And by someone, I mean a neutral third party with no vested interest in any of the four pillars.

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Editors in Modi’s India have two choices – speak up or give in to intellectual slavery – By Patricia Mukhim

Can the press speak? If it does not speak, then is it still the press? But what does it speak? To whom does it speak? These were questions debated at a webinar organised recently by Newslaundry – that audacious news portal that dares call out the most imperious editors of our times. 

As the editor of The Shillong Times, I have to confess that for the first time in my dozen years of service to this 75-year-old newspaper, I feel a sense of bondage; of not being able to breathe the air of freedom guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution that is destined to secure our freedoms for us.

Am I the only one who feels that I have to correct a phrase here and a sentence there lest it offends someone?… Why is the press, which is the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, not given the same status as the other three pillars – the legislature, executive and judiciary?… Are we doing something we have not done before? Will someone point out our transgressions? And by someone, I mean a neutral third party with no vested interest in any of the four pillars.

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A Sad Day When a Public Servant Smears One of India’s Tallest Figures of Religious Unity – By Syeda Hameed

M. Nageswara Rao, former director of CBI, declared in his tweets that Azad was a communalist, one who “whitewashed” Islamic rule to the detriment of Hinduism.

In my books on Maulana Azad, there are one thousand arguments to nail this lie. Azad’s speeches and writings, his translation and explication of the Quran, his epistolary collections, all show the tweeter’s considered plan to distort the truth and feed venom to the innocent, susceptible and credulous public.

I have a few simple questions to ask. Has he read a single word of Maulana’s writings? Urdu may not be his forte, but Azad’s translations are available in Hindi and English. Students are still working on his corpus in many Indian languages because there is so much to learn and imbibe from him.

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A non-existent signature, bogus ‘wanted’ story: How Parvej Khan spent 4.5 years in jail on fake terror charges – By Amit Kumar

Lockdown, quarantine and a total restriction on movement amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has now become part of our lives. For Parvej Khan, a 45-year-old resident of Jalgaon, however, the current restrictions mean nothing. He is not breaking the lockdown rules of his region. He is happy to accept them because, until July 13, he was being made to pay for a crime that he did not commit. 

He was serving the fourth year of his 10-year jail stint for crimes under Section 120b of the Indian Penal Code. The story of Khan is a great reminder of how Islamophobia runs rife in our system, where often the only ‘mistake’ that you can commit is that of being a Muslim.

To understand the story of Khan, we must go back to 2001, in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, when a few local Muslim youths allegedly joined militancy in Kashmir. Twelve people were named in the FIR… On investigation of the said crime, a charge-sheet was filed against 16 accused persons. Interestingly, Khan’s name did not appear in the FIR, but it did in the charge sheet. Two of the sixteen: Parvej Khan and Asif Khan, were said to be ‘wanted accused’. But here is the interesting part: Parvej Khan was never missing.

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Delhi Police’s ‘Hindu resentment’ order is yet another glimpse of bias guiding riots investigation – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

“Misusing the judicial system.” “In a state of inscrutable indolence.” “Hardly any connection between CCTV footage and FIR.” “Completely devoid of material.” Those are just some of the words that courts in Delhi have used over the last month with reference to the police’s investigations and legal applications in connection with the cases related to the communal violence in February, which left at least 53 dead and hundreds more injured.

The scattered reports reveal major problems with the way the Delhi Police has been approaching investigation of the violence, which is not a surprise since the authorities have been accused of acting in a partisan manner since the very beginning.

One report in the Indian Express offered a clear view of just how this state bias is playing out. According to the report, the Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) wrote an order to senior officers heading investigation teams, with the aim of guiding them. This order claimed that the arrests of “some Hindu youth” had led to a “degree of resentment among the Hindu community”, which the Special Commissioner said was cause for the police to take “due care and precaution” in how it proceeds.

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22 years on, justice eludes Dalit victims of Bathani Tola massacre

On 11 July 1996, Bathani Tola was painted red with the blood of Dalits and poor farmers which included women, children, and aged people. Swords and axes were used to chop the heads of Dalits, their wives and daughters were raped and their breasts were chopped and children were killed in cold blood. 

The assailants did not even spare a pregnant lady who was raped and her womb slit open and killed. A total of 21 Dalits died in what came to be known as the Bathani Tola massacre. The attackers were members of an upper-caste armed group called Ranvir Sena.

Even after more than two decades, Ranvir Sena still roams with pride and maintains the hegemony on the land. The Dalits still fear their suppression and the victims of Bathani Tola still await justice.

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Agra Police Bust Sex-Trafficking Racket Operating From BJP Leader’s Farmhouse

A sex-trafficking racket operating from the farmhouse of a former BJP district president has been busted by Agra Police. Local police have launched a probe into the matter. However, the BJP leader has denied any involvement in it. 

…”Women were first brought to the farmhouse and then sent to various hotels to meet clients,” SSP Kumar said.

Nine people, including three women, are being interrogated. Investigators have hinted that some high profile individuals may be involved in the matter, and they are being probed for their roles in the trade.

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Cops jab keys into man’s forehead for not wearing helmet, hosp conducts surgery to remove them, 3 policemen suspended

Three policemen in Uttarakhand have been suspended for allegedly jabbing keys into the forehead of a man after a heated argument over not wearing a helmet in Rudrapur. 

The 25-year-old man had to undergo a minor surgery to remove the keys from his forehead. A video of the bike rider, identified as Deepak Koli, that showed the keys sticking out from his bleeding temple has gone viral on social media. 

The incident occurred on Monday when Koli, who was riding the bike as his friend sat pillion, was stopped by the City Patrol Unit team at Indira Chowk for not wearing a helmet. An argument ensued and one of the policemen allegedly jabbed Koli’s forehead with the keys of the bike.

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Cops jab keys into man’s forehead for not wearing helmet, hosp conducts surgery to remove them, 3 policemen suspended

Three policemen in Uttarakhand have been suspended for allegedly jabbing keys into the forehead of a man after a heated argument over not wearing a helmet in Rudrapur. 

The 25-year-old man had to undergo a minor surgery to remove the keys from his forehead. A video of the bike rider, identified as Deepak Koli, that showed the keys sticking out from his bleeding temple has gone viral on social media. 

The incident occurred on Monday when Koli, who was riding the bike as his friend sat pillion, was stopped by the City Patrol Unit team at Indira Chowk for not wearing a helmet. An argument ensued and one of the policemen allegedly jabbed Koli’s forehead with the keys of the bike.

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Mushawarat Chief Questions Amit Shah Meeting Babri Demolition Accused Advani Ahead of Court Hearing

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat president Navaid Hamid has questioned the propriety of Home Minister Amit Shah meeting Lal Krishna Advani, one of 32 accused in the criminal conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid in 1992. The meeting took place at Advani’s residence in New Delhi on July 22, just two days ahead of his appearance before a special CBI court set up to try the conspirators.

India Today, quoting sources, reported that Amit Shah and BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav met Advani and they discussed the statement the veteran politician was expected to deliver before the CBI court. Advani’s statement in the case has been pending for the past 28 years.

“It is an irony that the Home Minister of the country goes to one of the accused with a battery of lawyers to take briefs and to brief the lawyers of the accused for the upcoming deposition in the court,” said Hamid in an interview with Clarion India. By doing so, Hamid charged, the government of the day gave a “loud and clear message to all where it matters.”

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“RSS-BJP want Jammu to be Muslim free,” says Gujjar leader after authorities demolish 5 Gujjar houses

Stating that BJP and RSS is hell-bent on dislocating Muslims in Jammu, the Gujjar Muslims are anguished over “selective” demolition in Bandi area of Jammu city.

According to reports, on 18 July the Finance and Forest Department demolished houses belonging to the Gujjar and Bakarwal community as a part of the demolition drive to root out people “living illegally”.

the demolition drive has raised eyebrows, with people questioning the selective nature of the demolition. Gujar leader Chowdari Nazakat Kathana told that over five residential houses were demolished in a short notice forcing the inhabitants to live under an open sky amid COVID-19 and scorching heat.

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UP Activist, Who Filed Case Against Yogi Adityanath for ‘Inciting’ Gorakhpur Riots, Gets Life Term for Rape

Sixty-five-year-old Parwez Parvaz, who had moved the Allahabad High Court seeking registration of an FIR against Yogi Adityanath, has been convicted in a 2018 gangrape case. The district sessions court of Gorakhpur sentenced him to life imprisonment along with another co-accused.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Parvaz had in 2017 moved the HC against Yogi, who was then an MP from Gorakhpur, alleging that he gave a hate speech.… In his complaint, Parvaz had named the then Gorakhpur MP Adityanath, the then MLC YD Singh, the then mayor of the city Anju Chaudhary and now state minister Shiv Pratap Shukla for having incited the Gorakhpur communal riots of 2007.

A report in The Wire had quoted Parvaz as saying that ever since he pressed charges against Adityanath, he has faced multiple threats, including false criminal charges on him. Two cases in which he is then accused were of rioting and rape. He had been lodged in jail in the rape case.

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Covid-19: Police officer who complained about CM detained in Imphal for allegedly flouting lockdown

The Imphal West Police on Tuesday alleged that police officer Thonaujam Brinda and two others had flouted lockdown norms put in place to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, reported Imphal Free Press. Brinda and her companions were temporarily detained for violating lockdown restrictions at Sangaiprou Lamkhai on Monday night.

Brinda, who has often been in the crosshairs of the state government, courted fresh controversy earlier this month when she accused Manipur chief minister of foiling an investigation against a former BJP functionary alleged to be involved in drug smuggling. The police officer made these allegations in an affidavit to the court which had initiated contempt proceedings.

The contempt charges were related to Brinda’s Facebook post, where she had allegedly questioned a special court’s decision to grant bail to the BJP functionary.

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Ad agency with BJP connection handles social media for Maharashtra Election Commission

Activist Saket Gokhale posted a tweet thread on July 23 alleging that the Election Commission of India “hired” the IT cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to manage their social media in Maharashtra ahead of the 2019 assembly elections.

Gokhale pointed out that advertiser details on the Facebook page of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maharashtra carry the address “202 Pressman House” in Vile Parle, Mumbai. This is also the address mentioned by pro-BJP Facebook page ‘The Fearless Indian’. Mumbai-based advertising agencies Signpost India and Social Central use that address as well.…

Devang Dave is the managing director at Social Central and the founder of Facebook pages ‘The Fearless Indian’ and ‘I Support Narendra Modi.’ He is the social media head of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP. Dave’s profile picture on Twitter is with Prime Minister Modi. The address used on CEO Maharashtra’s advertiser details appears on Devang Dave’s website. It is noteworthy that Dave changed the address on his website after Gokhale’s tweets.

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BJP MLA From UP’s Loni Stokes Controversy, Asks Muslims To Sacrifice Children Not Animals On Eid

Days ahead of Eid-ul-Adha, Nand Kishore Gurjar, a BJP MLA from Loni assembly constituency in Ghaziabad, has stoked controversy as he asked people celebrating the festival to “sacrifice their children instead of animals” on the occasion. 

He also claimed that “meat spreads coronavirus” so people should not be allowed to sacrifice innocent animals.

“People who want to sacrifice on Eid should sacrifice their children. I will not let people consume meat and alcohol in Loni. We will not let people sacrifice innocent animals because meat spreads coronavirus,” the BJP legislator said while speaking to reporters.

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Delhi Riots: Delhi HC Directs Delhi Police to Not Name Any Accused or Witness in Any Communication Till Trial Begins

In a significant decision, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi Police not to issue any further communication naming any accused or any witness till the charges, if any, are framed and the trial is commenced in the North East Delhi riots case.

“The cases concerning communal riots are undoubtedly sensitive cases. This Court is also informed that FIRs filed in such cases are not being publicly disclosed”, Justice Vibhu Bakhru observed. The High Court said it did not consider it apposite to restrain the Delhi Police from issuing statements at trial stage since a trial must be conducted in open courts.

This followed a petition filed by Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita who is one of the accused in Delhi riots and is presently in judicial custody. Kalita sought directions to the Delhi Police to not leak any allegations pertaining to her to the media while the investigation is pending.

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When Government, Media Hounded Out Tablighis; Bengaluru Hospital, Muslims Served Humanity

At a time when the Narendra Modi-led regime was hounding Tablighi Jamaat and spreading canards about the pan-international Muslim religious movement, a unique work for humanity by constructing a hospital was being silently done for the people of the country by Muslims in Bengaluru.

This everlasting and eternal contribution to mankind makes me and every conscious human being to prostrate before Islam and the ideals cherished by its everlasting principles for humanity. During the coronavirus outbreak, instead of understanding the main reasons behind the spread of the outbreak in all its seriousness, the government was busy spreading poisonous lies about Tablighi Jamaat through fake propaganda and witch-hunting of its followers.

It was a depressing time when the community was being repressed by goons with saffron flags trying to foist them on the handcarts, demanding Aadhar from the Muslims, banging plates and lighting lamps. Vis-a-vis the humiliation, the Muslim community in Bengaluru lightened up the entire humanity by constructing a hospital, providing food to the hungry and oxygen cylinders to the terminally ill patients.;-bengaluru-hospital-muslims-served-humanity

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Mosques in Ayodhya spreading message of communal harmony ahead of Ram temple’s ‘bhoomi pujan’

With days to go for the August 5 “bhoomi pujan” ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the mosques adjacent to the Ram Janmabhoomi premises are spreading the message of a peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims.

The two mausoleums are Khanqaahe Muzaariya and Imambara. “It is the greatness of Ayodhya that the mosques surrounding the Ram temple are giving a strong message of communal harmony to the rest of the world,” Haji Asad Ahmad, the corporator of the Ram Kot ward, told PTI. 

The Ram Janmabhoomi premises is situated in Ahmad’s ward. “Muslims take out the ‘juloos’ of Barawafaat that goes through the periphery of Ram Janmabhoomi. All religious functions and rituals of Muslims are respected by their fellow citizens,” the corporator said.

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Doctor working for ‘Sikh-Muslim Affinity’ explains how Muslims donated foodgrains to the Golden Temple

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Golden Temple had issued an appeal for grains. The Golden Temple runs a huge Langar (free kitchen) where food is served to everyone irrespective of their religion. I felt that we should also contribute. While it was possible to collect grains from a few wealthy people, we decided to collect five Kgs of grains from each household in Muslim majority villages. It took us 35 days and we received a huge response. It has had a positive impact on the brotherly relations between the two communities.

Whenever we reached a village where Sikhs and Muslims lived together, Sikh women would break down, cry and pray for us. They would offer us cold water to drink and insisted on serving us meals in their home. The elderly Sikhs blessed us. Sometimes we would reach a village and find that Sikhs were also collecting foodgrains from Sikh homes for the langar. Sometimes they would turn up after us and both the groups moved together to collect foodgrains, they from Sikh households and we from Muslim households.

A few of us went to Amritsar to deliver the grains contributed. Sikhs in Sangrur, who knew about the drive, felicitated us and enlisted the help of a local Gurudwara to assist us. When 10 of us reached the Golden Temple, we were received warmly. Muslims of Punjab and Malerkotla have been offering Kar Seva at the Golden Temple for years. But this was possibly the first time that Muslims went from door to door to collect food grains for the Golden Temple. It generated a lot of goodwill.

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Why Journalists Are Worried About the New Media Policy in Jammu and Kashmir – By Irfan Amin Malik

“In university, my professor would often say, ‘If tomorrow I become a journalist, the moment I follow media ethics I will be shown the door’,” said a Srinagar-based journalist who works with an English weekly. He was talking about the Jammu and Kashmir government’s the Media Policy 2020.

As The Wire has reported, the policy authorises government officers to decide on what is “fake news” and take action against journalists and media organisations. It also emphasises on verifying the antecedents of newspaper publishers, editors and key staff members before empanelling newspapers and online portals for advertisements.

On June 2, 2020, when the UT administration unveiled the new policy to examine the content of print, electronic and other forms of media for “fake news, plagiarism and unethical or anti-national content”, local journalists largely remained silent. About a month later, on July 6, a group of journalists assembled inside the Press Colony in Lal Chowk and staged a protest against the policy, which is valid for the next five years.… The protesters were demanding an immediate rollback of the policy and said they don’t want to be a mouthpiece of the government.

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Modi Govt Can’t Shut Babri Demolition Case Even As Mandir Firms Up – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

The recent prod by maverick politicians Subramanian Swamy and Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena to the Centre to wind up criminal proceedings in the Ayodhya demolition case may have given voice to a latent sentiment within Hindutva votaries. However, it is legally untenable and politically mischievous.

Swamy tweeted earlier this week, that the case of criminal conspiracy and other offences against a galaxy of Bharatiya Janata Party and sangh parivar veterans, including Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Kalyan Singh, Sadhvi Rithambara, Brij Bhushan Singh and Sakshi Maharaj, is “silly”. Likewise, Raut asked what “stopped the Modi government from quickly initiating procedures to shut down the Babri Masjid demolition case”.

The thrust of contentions was that since the Supreme Court awarded the disputed site to Hindus and construction of the temple was underway, the criminal case was a small matter.… Yet, it would be poetic justice if one charge or another, at least against a few accused, is proven and they are pronounced guilty. This is another case on which rests the autonomy and impartiality of Indian judiciary. Besides, of course, the integrity of investigative agencies.

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India Forced Dissidents Into Jail Despite the Pandemic. Now They’re Getting Infected. – By Pallavi Pundir

Indian writer-activist Varavara Rao, who was accused and arrested for allegedly inciting caste violence, had been languishing in the Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, in western peninsular state of Maharashtra, since 2018. The 80-year-old just tested positive for COVID-19, and is also showing signs of dementia along with multiple health issues.

The charges against him stem from the Elgaar Parishad case, wherein high-profile activists and lawyers allegedly made anti-communal speeches in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. The city police, however, charged them for allegedly instigating violence and even conspiring to assassinate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rao has denied all allegations. Despite having no charges formally brought against him, Rao remains in prison and is one of the many political prisoners contracting COVID-19 as outbreaks intensify in Indian prisons.

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Delhi Riots: Is the Centre Importing the ‘Gujarat Model’ to Subvert Prosecution? – By Ashish Khetan

It’s curious to see the Central government so keen to appoint advocates of its choice as special public prosecutors for cases related to the Delhi riots and the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. Does the Centre want to appoint lawyers of integrity and impartiality to dispense justice? One hopes so. Because when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, abuse of the office of public prosecutors was key to subverting justice in riot cases.

In 2007, I went undercover in Gujarat, in search of the truth of the Gujarat riots. Over six months, I secretly recorded the extra-judicial confessions of many rioters and key conspirators who narrated before me how they killed, lynched, burnt men, women and children. They told me they could kill such a large number of people only because of the support of the police. The 60 hours of sting tapes later proved to be critical in convicting the accused… In the Naroda Patiya case, the trial court called the sting operation ‘cogent, reliable and trustworthy evidence’.

But there was one set of revelations in the tapes that the SIT didn’t find as “prosecutable evidence”. These were the admissions of key public prosecutors appointed by the state of Gujarat who talked of the larger plot to systematically weaken the riot cases by appointing public prosecutors who were either members of Sangh parivar groups such as the VHP or RSS or Hindutva sympathisers.… With the Centre pushing for special public prosecutors of its choice for the Delhi riot cases, one hopes that it is to ensure that justice is served to all victims and not to let the history of subversion of justice in the Gujarat riot cases be repeated.

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India’s home minister is an unlikely champion of police reform – By Banyan

India’s police are generally better known for spit than polish. Yet even for a public inured to police violence, a slew of recent scandals has proved shocking. To punish a low-caste shopkeeper for staying open a few minutes after a local covid-19 curfew, for instance, officers in the southern state of Tamil Nadu spent a night torturing him and his son to death, in part by jamming nightsticks up the son’s anus.

Such extra-judicial murders are common, and celebrated by some as rightful vengeance.… In a Delhi courtroom, meanwhile, police have just as shamelessly been insisting they can find no proof that police or ruling-party politicians played any role in an ugly pogrom that shook the national capital in February.

In a tidier democracy, any one of these things might have cost the job not only of local police chiefs, but of their bosses’ bosses. Yet despite much talk about the need for a better police force, hardly a squeak has been uttered against the man who is ostensibly responsible for internal security, the home minister.… Since arriving in Delhi, and particularly since his appointment as home minister last year, the tireless Mr Shah has been seen as the hidden hand turning virtually every agency of the state into a tool for keeping the government’s opponents in check.

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The Mythical Nationalism of Trump and Modi Has Failed. Now They’re Waging War on their Own Citizens – By CJ Werleman

The trajectories of the United States, the world’s most powerful democracy, and India, the world’s largest, have in recent years followed an almost identical path downwards, towards economic and social ruin.…

The economies of both countries have now fallen of a cliff, with the Indian economy contracting for the first time since 1979, and the US facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with 50 million people suddenly unemployed and consumer demand and confidence at all-time lows. It is important to note that COVID-19 is not the sole cause of economic catastrophe in both the US and India.

In India, Modi is rounding up critics who organised and participated in the nationwide protests against his Government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) – two laws designed to give legal rights to migrants who have suffered religious persecution, excluding Muslims.

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Dalit Man Beaten, Head Shaved Allegedly By Andhra Cops On MLA’s Prodding

A Dalit man in Andhra Pradesh was beaten and his head and moustache shaved allegedly by two policemen acting on behalf of an MLA of the state’s ruling YSR Congress Party. The incident took place inside a police station in East Godavari district, 271 km from Hyderabad on Monday.

According to Mr Prasad, trouble started when he and two others stopped the movement of sand trucks for the last rites of someone in their locality. This angered a local politician who allegedly hit Mr Prasad with his car, resulting in an angry exchange of words, sources said. This was when the local YSRCP MLA allegedly got involved.

According to sources, the legislator called an under-training sub-inspector from the police station and told him to “teach Prasad a lesson”, promising to help confirm his job. “The next day, the sub-inspector and two constables came to our village and took me and two others for investigation. The inspector beat me indiscriminately with a belt and kicked me. He called a barber who shaved off my hair and chopped my moustache even as I pleaded with them to spare me,” Mr Prasad told reporters.

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They abused us, asked us to worship their idols: Christians attacked in UP

Vikash Kumar Gupta, who hails from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh,… says… the small church he was at, in a village at Dasmada in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh was attacked on July 4.… on that day as Vikash prayed with four others, he says a mob broke in, vandalised the place and beat them up. 

The 21-year-old managed to escape and hide nearby even as the mob continued their attack. “I quietly filmed the attack from my hiding place, and sent the clip to other pastors in nearby areas telling them to alert the police. I tried calling the police myself too, but the phone call did not connect,” he remembers the fear he felt everytime he recalls the incident.

The mob returned and forced all the Christian believers out of the house and into a bus. Sunita told Persecution Relief, that they were all “harassed, threatened and verbally abused,” in the bus. “I can’t even repeat those disgusting words,” said Vikash, adding “they took us to their temple and forced us to bow down to the idols and ‘worship’.

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43% Children With Disabilities Planning To Drop Out Due To Difficulties In Online Classes: Survey

About 43 per cent of children with disabilities are planning to drop out of studies due to difficulties faced by them in online education, according to a survey conducted with 3,627 respondents.… A total of 3,627 people, including students, parents and teachers, participated in the survey.

According to the survey, 56.5 per cent of children with disabilities were struggling yet attending classes irregularly, while 77 per cent of students said they would not be able to cope and would fall behind in learning due to their inability to access distance learning methods.

The survey found that 56.48 per cent students are continuing their study, while the rest 43.52 per cent are planning to drop out. Thirty-nine per cent visually impaired students were unable to understand lessons with many students talking simultaneously, it said.

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Loans to minorities in Delhi have seen 33 per cent year-on-year decrease, says panel

The Delhi Minorities Commission has cited several problems being faced by minorities in getting loans from government institutions in Delhi and according to the panel, the loans to minorities have seen a sharp 33% year-on-year decrease.

The percentage share of advances to the six religious minorities has also shrunk from 6.92 % in the quarter ending on December 31, 2019 to 6.73 % in the quarter ending on March 31, 20120.

The panel described as “pittance” the amount of loans being offered to minorities and said the procedure of procuring loans is made more difficult due to required conditions.

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BJP left red-faced after photos of Bulandshahr violence accused being felicitated goes viral

Shikhar Agarwal, the key accused in the Bulandshahr violence case that killed Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, has recently been photographed with a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Uttar Pradesh. Agarwal and five others are accused in the Bulanshahr violence case of 2018, where inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked by a mob wielding firearms and sharp weapons.

The accused, who is currently out on bail, was allegedly felicitated by Bulandshahr BJP president Anil Sisodia at an event on July 14. He was awarded the key responsibility of overseeing the Prime Minister’s welfare scheme in the western UP district.…

The letter announcing the appointment of the accused BJP youth wing leader as the District General Secretary of the PM Jankalyankari Yojna Jagrukta Abhiyan and pictures of the event have gone viral on social media.

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“Milking their misery”: Indian state makes returning migrants pay for quarantine

India in May began a drive to repatriate nearly a million citizens from around the world as the pandemic left many jobless and struggling to survive. The arrivals are quarantined in hotels, college hostels or empty houses for about a week.

Most have returned from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, government data shows. The southern state of Telangana is charging at least 8,000 rupees ($US107) to put its returning citizens in quaranatine at hotels for a week, raising concern among former Gulf workers who have large debts, little savings and few job prospects at home.

Kerala has received the most arrivals of all Indian states… yet the state has not imposed a quarantine fee on its returnees.… Labour unions… are urging the local government to follow Kerala’s example. “The government should think about the poor in these times, but they are asking for money,” said Guggilla Ravi Goud, convener of the Telangana Gulf Workers Joint Action Committee. “This is milking their misery for business,” he added.

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36 Years On, 1984 Anti-Sikh Riot Survivors’ Economic Struggle Continues: Delhi Minorities Commission Report

Even after 36 years the 1984 anti-Sikh riots survivors continue to struggle to make ends meet, a survey conducted by the Delhi Minorities Commission has found.

The report titled, ‘Socio-Economic & Educational Status of Survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi’, was released by the panel on Thursday. The team sampled 3,668 families and their new generation, from eight locations in Delhi, including areas like Tilak Vihar (Widows Colony), Raja Garden, Punjabi Bagh, Chander Vihar, Hari Nagar, Rohini, Khayala and Vishnu Garden.

The study has highlighted three major challenges faced by the survivors- meagre incomes, unemployment and inability to receive a quality education. According to the report, 96% of the surveyed families have availed specific assistance from the government, while 3.5% are under the poverty line.

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‘I Thought I Wouldn’t Survive’: African Students Recall Dehradun Campus Assault

Black Lives Matter is the other big news after Coronavirus to have moved the global big media. On July 16, anti-blackness reared its head again in India when a group of men in security uniform assaulted two African students in the presence of college staff at the Roorkee Institute of Technology, Dehradun.

One of the survivors’ friends said that college administration officials were seen directing the attack on these students, who were accused of having left the campus without an ‘outpass’.

A viral video of the assault shows a number of men in uniform brutally beating the two African students. Ibrahim Mohamed, a second-year B.Tech student from Nigeria and Guinea, and Benjamin Djartey, a second-year MBA student from Ghana, were both severely injured in the attack. Both students are currently at the Aarogam Hospital in Roorkee.

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In 8 Delhi Riots Cases, Complaints Naming BJP Leaders Buried

The Delhi Police – criticized for not taking action against BJP leaders who gave inflammatory speeches in the run-up to the February riots – have also ignored complaints that accused BJP leaders.  

No action has been taken in at least eight complaints, accusing BJP leaders of inciting mobs and rioting, NDTV has found. No First Information Repot has been filed in four complaints. The rest have been linked to cases that have no connection with the complaints.

The complaints mention leaders, MLAs, a councillor and a parliamentarian of the BJP. Those named in the complaints include BJP leader Kapil Mishra, Karawal Nagar MLA Mohan Singh Bisht, former Mustafabad MLA Jagdish Pradhan, Baghpat MP Satya Pal Singh, and  councillor from Johripur Kanhaiya Lal.

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San Francisco becomes sixth US city to denounce the CAA-NRC human rights crisis in India

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States, in coordination with the local San Francisco community, today welcomed the resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors denouncing India’s draconian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

The resolution, passed by a unanimous vote at the Board’s meeting today, categorically opposes the CAA, NRC and NPR as “discriminatory to Muslims, caste oppressed, women, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQ community.” Given these actions are part of a larger effort by the India’s Hindu nationalist government to persecute and marginalize entire sections of India’s population the resolution also denounces “any other efforts that render vulnerable populations anywhere to become stateless, scapegoated, and targeted for discrimination, violence, and the abrogation of human rights that are universal to one and all.”

“Thousands of organizers across the country have called, e-mailed, and organized to amplify this Resolution, and it sets an example to cities across the United States – that we do not stand on the side of genocide,” added Ms. Hossain.  “India is creating a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. It will impact civil society in many parts of the world including the United States,” said Mr. Nazeer Ahmed of the American Institute of Islamic History and Culture.

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Malappuram model of humanity: The story behind Kerala’s first plasma therapy

It was a rainy morning in June. Vineeth Ravi, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was at home after finishing the 14-day quarantine period post his recovery from the coronavirus infection. His phone rang. On the other end, was a doctor from the Medical College Hospital in Manjeri where he had been treated. 

He was asked if he could come in immediately to donate plasma for the treatment of a Covid-19 patient who was in a critical condition. Despite the pouring rain, Vineeth’s mother prodded him to leave immediately for the hospital, 60 km away.

“I didn’t think twice. The doctor was calling me for help and I knew it had to be something serious,” said Vineeth, who biked to the hospital that day to donate plasma.

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Gujarat: Godhra mosque a Covid centre now

For so long, since the time of the pandemic outbreak, this mosque in Godhra, the second biggest in town had been offering prayers for Covid-19 patients. However, it has now taken its services a step ahead and turned the place of worship into a care centre for all positive patients. 

What’s more, its healing touch does not discriminate against patients by their religion or social status! Opened last week, this facility is now facilitating treatment to nine positive patients from different communities.

The ground floor of Aadam mosque on Sheikh Majaawar Road, which was designed to accommodate female haj pilgrims, has now been converted into a designated Covid-19 care centre. The decision by the mosque’s managing trust was inspired by the rise in the number of cases in the region.

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After recovering from Covid, Surat-based businessman sets up hospital for the poor

Kader Shaikh, 63, tested positive for Covid-19 a month ago. The treatment at a private hospital that cost lakhs of rupees, made the real estate businessman think of those who cannot afford such treatment. Soon after he was discharged, Shaikh started work to convert his 30,000 square feet office space at Shreyam complex into an 85 beds Covid-19 facility with oxygen facilities to provide free treatment for the poor.

Shaikh signed an agreement with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to supply medical staff and equipment at the facility with 15 ICU beds in Surat’s Adajan area. Surat Municipal Commissioner BN Pani and SMC Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Ashish Naik visited the premises and approved the proposal.

Talking to The Indian Express, Shaikh said, “This hospital is for everyone, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. I was not born with a silver spoon in spoon in my mouth… I also faced financial problems in earlier days and I worked hard… now I am financially sound. So I thought of lending a helping hand to the needy during this global pandemic… My three sons and I have always helped poor people… Now I felt I should do something more… Hence the hospital.

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After recovering from Covid, Surat-based businessman sets up hospital for the poor

Kader Shaikh, 63, tested positive for Covid-19 a month ago. The treatment at a private hospital that cost lakhs of rupees, made the real estate businessman think of those who cannot afford such treatment. Soon after he was discharged, Shaikh started work to convert his 30,000 square feet office space at Shreyam complex into an 85 beds Covid-19 facility with oxygen facilities to provide free treatment for the poor.

Shaikh signed an agreement with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to supply medical staff and equipment at the facility with 15 ICU beds in Surat’s Adajan area. Surat Municipal Commissioner BN Pani and SMC Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Ashish Naik visited the premises and approved the proposal.

Talking to The Indian Express, Shaikh said, “This hospital is for everyone, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. I was not born with a silver spoon in spoon in my mouth… I also faced financial problems in earlier days and I worked hard… now I am financially sound. So I thought of lending a helping hand to the needy during this global pandemic… My three sons and I have always helped poor people… Now I felt I should do something more… Hence the hospital.

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India: Modi’s War on Science – By Pittamber Kaushik

2019 was a mixed year for Indian Science and Technology. The bittersweet Chandrayaan-2 Mission was a partial failure in the absolute sense, but a success in the relative sense. The PSLV-C44, Kalam SAT, Microsat-R, CARTOSAT and Mission Shakti were major leaps in aerospace engineering. India also became the world’s third-largest producer of Scientific articles, according to NSF statistics. However, there were several steps back as far as the scientific temperament of the Political circles is concerned.

The incumbent regime of India helmed by the majority BJP Party has long cherished the idea of Hindu resurgence, mocked modernisation as ‘westernisation’, and accused the West of robbing India of its heritage, wealth and intellectual capital. Since its inception, the BJP has championed the cause of Hindutva, a quasi-martial Hindu-nationalist ideology disregarding and unfounded in the core tenets of Hinduism but claiming to be based in it.…

With the assumption of its reins by Narendra Modi however, rationality has waned further, as patronisation runs rampant, threatening to drive India to a post-truth society and redirecting the mainstream narrative to suit its ideological mould. In order to serve its partisan interests, the BJP has attempted to rewrite history, belittle and trivialise scientific progress, and take alternative epistemic narratives to the forefront.

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Devoid of morality Indian media crawling before rulers – By Arun Srivastava

Integrity and credibility of the media has degenerated to such an extent that now the police, not the judiciary, will issue its firman (diktat) whether it has the right and enjoys the privilege guaranteed by the constitution to criticise the government and question its action.

Gone are the days when media was revered and taken seriously by the people of the country. Even the ruling elite would find it difficult to ignore its comments and observations in the matter of national importance. Earlier the editorials of the leading newspapers were supposed to be the guiding principles for the government of the day. Now it is no more. Now media has ceased to be a serious observer, instead it loves to perform the task of a court jester. Naturally a king or his police would not like him to scrutiny their actions.

The situation has denigrated to such an extent that any journalist mustering courage to assert his fundamental right and tell the police on its face “It’s my right. I’m not obliged to answer you” invites the charges of sedition. What is really shocking is the helplessness of the judiciary to act decisively and show the police its right place. The Supreme Court on Tuesday told Vinod Dua not to answer a second questionnaire sent to him by Himachal Pradesh police in a sedition case linked to comments on Modi and made it clear that it would quash the FIR if there was merit in Dua’s contention that he was being harassed.

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The extra-judicial punishment of jailing ailing activists during COVID-19 – By Indira Jaisingh

The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly held that imprisonment does not deprive a prisoner of other fundamental rights that can be exercised consistently with detention. This logic should apply with more force to undertrials and doubly during a pandemic.

The presumption of innocence operates in their favour. Undue delays in trials without bail for the incarcerated are a blatant denial of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21. The question, who would be responsible if an undertrial dies in prison due to neglect or of being infected with COVID-19, is hanging in the air.

The absence of the ability to physically appear in court has meant that there is no possibility to ask for an early hearing or getting one. Unfortunately, the High Courts and the Supreme Court have not clearly articulated that bail applications in the time of COVID-19 needs clear priority over all other matters, as the right to life and liberty is so precious. When this denial is in the reaction of 80-year-olds and people with comorbidity the questions of accountability of the courts become apparent.

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Did Covid-19 become another excuse to rewrite textbooks? – By Asmita Bakshi

This week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) reduced the syllabus for classes IX-XII by up to 30%, given the time lost with the Covid-19 lockdown. With chapters on secularism, citizenship, nationalism, federalism, demonetization, goods and services tax and India’s foreign relations with neighbouring countries getting the axe, the move is contentious.

One of the chapters that has been removed, for instance, is “Understanding Partition”. As a former teacher of history, Jairam thinks this is significant, since prior to the 2005 NCERT edition, the students were never given a nuanced understanding of Partition.

“In the present textbook, Partition was humanized, it brought in the everyday struggles and fears of ordinary people—Hindu, Muslim, Sikh—and also introduced the horrific nature of violence against women, in particular,” adds Jairam. “A chapter like this, virus or no virus, needs to be mandatory reading for students, for it showcases the violent nature of human beings, where in any cycle of violence, women bear the brunt of societal violence,” he adds.

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Thoki Raj: Creating order by trampling on law is one of the elements of Adityanath’s ideological success – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The killing of Vikas Dubey and the chain of events leading up to it throw a spotlight on governance in Uttar Pradesh and police reform more generally. The Adityanath political dispensation in UP is unique. Many Indian states tolerate acts of impunity and selectively suspend the rule of law. The Adityanath regime is explicitly ideologically committed to what is colloquially known as “thoki raj,” named after a statement attributed to the chief minister, “agar apradh karenge toh thok diye jayenge.”

This was evidenced in the way the cases against the CM himself were withdrawn. It was even more frighteningly in evidence in the way in which the government sought to quell the anti-CAA protests, by arbitrarily attaching people’s properties in ways that had no legal backing and prejudged guilt. 

Independent journalist Neha Dixit’s brave reporting on police violence in UP has been showing that, by the government’s own admission, even as early as February 2018, UP police was conducting four encounters a day, killing up to 40 people. The UP government seems to deploy the National Security Act against a variety of offences, as if using this Act were imposing a minor fine. Nowhere has a use of state violence been elevated to such an ideological raison d’etre. Creating order by trampling on law is one of the elements of Adityanath’s ideological success.

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Modi’s Slide Toward Autocracy – By Azeem Ibrahim

In the six years since Modi won his first election, it has become clear that his style of leadership poses an existential threat to the world’s largest democracy. Through his wildly successful promotion of Hindutva ideology, Modi is poised to remake India into a Russian-style “managed democracy” – one retaining all the trappings of democracy while operating as a de facto autocracy.

To understand how far Modi has bent the system, it’s critical to trace its origins as a reaction against British colonialism and an attempt to create a new, unified nation.… Less than half a year after India won its independence from the British, Gandhi was assassinated by a member of the RSS who was angry that the constitution of the Indian state was to be inclusive of Muslims and Anglo-Indians.

Today, the RSS is more powerful than ever. Modi cut his teeth in sectarian politics as a member of the RSS, and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one of a number of RSS offshoot organizations. Ideology is critical to its success. When the BJP stands for elections, it does not merely stand against other parties on policy grounds. It stands to challenge the secular constitutional order on which the Indian Republic was founded.

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UP ashram horror: ‘Godman’ drugged kids with ‘Covid medicine’, sodomised them

Every evening, after the day’s work was done, children at an ashram in Shukratal, 30km from Muzaffarnagar, would wait in dread. The manager, they knew, would force them to drink alcohol calling it “coronavirus medicine”, watch porn and then sexually abuse them. If they refused, they would be beaten up. 

…”Maharaj would make us drink coronavirus medicine. Then he’d get naked and lie down, show us dirty films and do bad things to us,” said a 10-yearold from Mizoram in a statement to the Child Welfare Committee, which TOI has gained access to. The children are from Tripura and Mizoram – nine between seven and 16, and one 18. Medical examination confirmed four of them had been sexually assaulted, an FIR at the Bhopa police station said. 

“I was brought here in October 2017 by the ashram’s cook. I lived like a slave, was asked to massage Maharaj and bring him alcohol and bidis,” said a 13-year-old from Tripura. “He would sodomise me.” Refusal to submit had consequences

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UN Special Rapporteurs concerned with criminal proceedings against 4 Kashmiri journalists

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner (OHCHR) has expressed strong concern at the criminal proceedings and investigations initiated” against the four well-known Kashmiri journalists. This was revealed through the letter directed to the Government of India, which was made public by OHCHR recently.

David Kaye, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion, in a detailed letter has expressed concern over the police action against four Kashmiri journalists Naseer Ganai, Gowhar Geelani, Peerzada Ashiq and Masrat Zehra. The letter condemns the alleged harassment meted out to these journalists.

The letter has detailed legal actions initiated by Indian authorities against the four Kashmiri journalists, stating that such allegations and harassment of reporters reveal “a pattern of silencing independent reporting on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir through the threat of criminal sanction.” Further, slapping UAPA on the journalists makes up for a “broad scope making them easily amenable to abuse,” as in these cases.

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Indian pastor and Christian families terrorised by radical Hindutva mobs in Uttar Pradesh

Hindutva radicals forced an Indian pastor to bow in front of an idol and terrorised two Christian families into fleeing their homes in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh. The extremists attacked the prayer house in Dassmora, breaking down walls, windows and doors, during three days of violence that began on 2 July.

The mob dragged village Pastor Vikas Gupta inside a Hindu temple where he was forced to bow to a temple idol before being subjected to a humiliating parade through the local market.

The following day, another mob ransacked Pastor Vikas’ home. His and two other Christian families were threatened that, if they did not leave the village, the women would be raped, the men killed and their homes set on fire.

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EIA 2020: Modi Govt Blocks Website Campaigning Against Controversial Draft Green Law

The website of was blocked weeks after a sample letter criticising the new draft of India’s main law for environment clearance, posted on this site, was emailed over a thousand times to the union environment ministry, according to documents accessed by HuffPost India.

LetindiaBreathe is a collective campaigning on environmental issues. The website was blocked by the National Internet Exchange of India (NiXi), a public sector company controlled by the Narendra Modi-led government. Two more websites involved in similar campaigns have been blocked as well. NiXI further blocked access to – the India chapter of the international movement led by climate change activist Greta Thunberg—and, according to the Internet Freedom Foundation. 

…Previously, HuffPost India has reported how environment minister Prakash Javadekar tried to give a very narrow window of time for public feedback on the proposed law even as a strict coronavirus lockdown was in place nationally.… NiXI is the official entity for routing domestic internet traffic within India and while it describes itself as a non-profit company “managed and operated on a neutral basis”, it is administratively under the centre’s ministry of electronics and information technology.

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Centre Asks PTI to Pay Rs 84 Crore for Alleged Land Lease Breach or Face Eviction

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sent a letter to the news agency Press Trust of India asking it to cough up more than Rs 84 crore within a month’s time. The ministry’s demand letter to PTI for Rs 84,48,23,281 has come barely two weeks after the Centre’s broadcasting arm Prasar Bharti called the independent news agency “anti-national” and threatened to withdraw its subscription. The government was reportedly miffed at PTI’s interview of the Chinese ambassador and a news alert it issued on its interview with the Indian ambassador in Beijing, that contradicted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that there had been no Chinese intrusion across the line of actual control on Ladakh.

The ministry’s letter, issued by the Land and Development Office on July 7 which has come to the notice of the agency on July 13, termed the said amount as a penalty for PTI’s alleged “breaches” of the land lease of its office on New Delhi’s Parliament Street. The letter said the lessor (the government) would regularise the “breaches in the premises temporarily up to July 14” and withdraw its “right of the re-entry of the premises” – i.e. its right to evict PTI –  if it agrees to pay up the said amount within 30 days.

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CM pressured me to let off arrested drug lord: Manipur lady cop to High Court

Thounaojam Brinda, a decorated lady officer of Manipur Police, alleged that the Chief Minister N Biren Singh and the police top brass had “pressured” her to let off an arrested drug lord. In an affidavit, Brinda narrated how she was pressured by the authorities to release Lhukhosei Zhou, the alleged drug lord who was then serving as chairman of the Autonomous District Council (ADC), Chandel, and withdraw the chargesheet filed against him and others in court.

Elaborating Zhou’s arrest, Brinda said on the intervening night of June 19, 2018, the sleuths of Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB), led by her, had arrested the man along with seven others and seized 4.595 kg of heroin, 2,80,200 “World is Yours” tablet, Rs 57.18 lakh in cash, another Rs 95,000 old currency notes, and several other incriminating articles.

Soon after the seizure was made, Brinda had received a WhatsApp call from one Moirangthem Asnikumar, a vice-president of the BJP in the state, who made her speak to the CM over the phone.… She said even as the operation was on, Zhou had repeatedly requested her to come to a compromise and settle the issue but she refused. “After the drugs were found at his quarters, he asked me to allow him to call the Director General of Police (DGP) and the CM which I did not permit.

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BJP Blocks Parliament Panel Review Of PM CARES Fund, Coronavirus Response

The Public Accounts Committee or PAC, one of the most important parliamentary panels which scrutinises key reports by the auditor general and has taken up issues like the 2G spectrum scandal in the past, failed to arrive at a consensus on Friday on examining the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic or the new PM CARES fund set up to tackle the crisis.

The chairman of the committee, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is also the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, appealed to members to think of the nation and act with their conscience and find a consensus on the important subject.…

Some opposition leaders claimed that the reason for denying the scrutiny of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response is because the BJP is afraid of a closer look into the PM CARES fund which is not under the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India or CAG.

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‘It’s Frightening’: Judges, UN Experts on Targeting CAA Protesters

Retired judges and United Nations experts raised concerns on Monday, 13 July, about the way in which the government has responded to the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in recent months, including the implication of many of the protesters in criminal cases.

Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice (retired) AP Shah of the Delhi High Court, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor, and Aida Martirous Nejad (India desk of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), were all speaking during a side event to the current session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The event, moderated by journalist Saba Naqvi and co-organised by the International Commission of Jurists along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organisations, focused on the way in which opposition to the CAA and NRC has been attacked by the Centre and state governments, and how the justice system is failing to protect the civil rights of dissenters.

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Yogi’s SIT Probing Vikas Dubey Killing Has Officer Chargesheeted by CBI for Fake Encounter

One of the members of the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe last week’s controversial killing of notorious gangster Vikas Dubey has himself been chargesheeted for the crime of killing an innocent man in a fake encounter 13 years ago. The officer in question is DIG J. Ravinder Goud, who, along with additional chief secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy additional DG of police Hariram Sharma is part of the three-member SIT.

The Allahabad high court ordered a CBI probe into the 2007 encounter in which a young medicine dealer in Bareilly was killed. Though the CBI chargesheeted Goud, the Samajwadi Party government of Akhilesh Yadav withheld permission to prosecute. Nor has Yogi Adityanath’ BJP government given sanction, which is why he continues to go scot free even today.…

Why such an officer should be included in the three-member high-level SIT could be anybody’s guess. Meanwhile, prominent jurists here believe that the officer’s inclusion in the team was obviously aimed at giving a clean chit to all those engaged in the shoddily carried out encounter of the mafia don.

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Fact finding report names BJP leaders, Delhi Police in Delhi riots: Delhi Minorities Commission

Five months after the horrific riots of North East Delhi, the Delhi Minorities Commission today released its Fact-finding report which is completely contradictory to the conspiracy theory mentioned by the Delhi Police in their Chargesheets. The fact-finding committee constituted by DMC was headed by Supreme Court lawyer MR Shamshad. 

The 130-page report names close to 10 BJP leaders responsible for Inflammatory speeches and for fanning communal sentiments in Delhi before the riots. The FFT names Somashekhar Reddy, Amit Shah, Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Parvesh Verma, Tarun Chugh, Tajinder Pal Bagga, Tejasvi Surya, Yogi Adityanath and Kapil Mishra for their provocative speeches which lead to the riots. While the Delhi Police is yet to implicate Kapil Mishra, the report mentions that the speech of Kapil Mishra at Maujpur in the presence of DCP North East Ved Prakash Surya sparked the riots that engulfed the Northeast region of Delhi.

The report reveals that the violence was not spontaneous like riots, but was pre-planned and organised. Mobs armed with Lathis, rods and firearm were called from outside. Mobs were heard chanting religious and provocative slogans while attacking Houses, Shops and Vehicle and properties of the Muslim community.

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In Tamil Nadu, Muslim volunteers performed last rights of 220 Covid-19 victims including 162 of other religions

As COVID-19 fear drives relatives of victims away, Muslim volunteers are doing a yeoman service of providing dignified burial or last rites of dead bodies. At a time when even close blood-relatives abandoning bodies of their dearest ones, Muslim volunteers have a set a new example and shown a path to the humanity.

For example, in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Vishnupriya, renowned gynecologist and wife of surgeon Dr Ramamurthy of Kumbakonam, was admitted to a private hospital in Thanjavur due to Corona infection and she died later without responding to the treatment.

At the request of his family members a group of volunteers of Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) packed the body according to government guidance, and took the body to Kumbakonam in TMMK ambulance and cremated it at the Kumbakonam Perumandi cemetery.… TMMK- MMK volunteers have performed last rites of 10 percent of the victims throughout the state.

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The Last Line Of Defence: Dr Zahid Abdul Majeed Performs A Miracle

He is going to die, Dr Zahid Abdul Majeed thought as he looked down at the critically ill COVID-19 patient lying on the gurney, struggling to breathe through a dislodged ventilator tube, which had separated in the ambulance during a routine patient transfer from the emergency ward to the designated All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) treatment centre in Delhi.… time was running out. As a senior resident in critical-care medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi, emergency situations are par for the course for Majeed.… I believe I’m made for it.

Majeed was faced with a similar challenge, that day in May. Crouched in the dimly lit, cramped ambulance, the N95 mask caused his goggles and face shield to fog up, badly compromising his vision. In a split-second decision, he removed the goggles and shield, and with only his mask on, leaned forward to reinsert the ventilator tube. 

…”The patient was in more danger of dying from lack of air than from infection. At my age and with no health problems, I could fight off the disease even if I was infected,” he explains.… “Many factors played a part in a moment like this… I can’t say it was a sound course of action scientifically, but I couldn’t live with the fact that a man would die in front of me and I did nothing about it,” he says. Thanks to Majeed, the patient got a second chance at life and is currently recovering in the ICU. Majeed himself is now back to work.

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‘Together in Crisis’: Muslims Win Netizens’ Hearts as They Donate 330 Quintal Wheat For Golden Temple Langar in Amritsar

Painting a picture of brotherhood to take us through the coming week, a group of Muslims from Malerkotla donated 330 quintal wheat for Golden Temple langar in Amritsar. The gurudwara authorities were reportedly grappling with the problem of ration to run the community kitchen when the gesture by the Muslim community left all smitten. 

Sikh Muslim Sanjha Foundation president Dr Nasir Akhtar shared with media persons that a donation of around Rs. 1.5 lakh was received in 22 days after the foundation came to know about the problem and decided to help the temple authorities. While more such donations are expected in the coming days, the foundation sent two trucks full of wheat bags.

Nasir Akhtar shared with HT, “Cooperation between Sikhs and Muslims has prevailed since the times of Gurus. There is a dire need of enhancing the same.” Thanking the delegation that also paid obeisance at Darbar Sahib, met acting Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and partook of langar at the community kitchen, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal said, “The Muslim community of Malerkotla has set a rare example and such efforts promote communal harmony.

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Missing from headlines: How the Adityanath regime is going after local journalists – By Akanksha Kumar & Martand Singh

Last month, the Uttar Pradesh police registered an FIR against Supriya Sharma, executive editor of Scroll, for reporting on the misery India’s coronavirus lockdown had caused in a Varanasi village adopted by prime minister Narendra Modi. In April, Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of the Wire, was booked for erroneously attributing a remark to chief minister Adityanath. A year ago, Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist based in Delhi, was arrested for defaming Adityanath on Twitter.

While the hounding of these prominent journalists justifiably sparked outrage, the plight of local journalists who have been suffering at the hands of Uttar Pradesh’s BJP government has gone largely unreported. On April 12, Sachin Rawat reported on the death of an elderly man who was home quarantined at Barnapur in Barabanki. He reported that it was only after neighbours had complained of foul smell emanating from the hut of the 82-year-old man, who had recently returned from Gujarat and was staying alone, that the authorities noticed his death.

On April 15, Rawat got a notice from Barabanki’s sub divisional magistrate denouncing his story as “completely wrong” and “baseless without any evidence”.… Since Rawat had asked “leading questions” to “corona warriors”, in this case the ASHA worker, the notice alleged, his report was “rumour mongering”.… Asked about this, Rawat told Newslaundry, “The administration took action against me as the story exposed the authorities and highlighted their carelessness.”

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‘India’s George Floyds’ spur calls for end to police brutality – By Anuradha Nagaraj

The rare arrest of six police officers on murder charges over the death of two men in custody has emboldened victims to speak up against targeted police brutality in India, and demand an end to impunity. Shopkeeper J Jayaraj, 59, and his son Bennicks Immanuel, 31, were beaten so badly that they died in hospital last month.

Their deaths caused outrage in a country where human rights groups say minorities have long been subject to police brutality, and inspired comparisons to George Floyd, a Black American man whose death has inspired mass anti-racism protests.

Nine people die in judicial or police custody every 24 hours in India, according to the latest annual report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The report for the year 2017/18 said some custodial deaths were reported after considerable delay or not reported at all, and violence in custody was so rampant “that it has become almost routine”.

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Threat and censorship are the price for questioning narratives about Kashmir – By Rana Ayyub

On Saturday, I spent five hours at a local police station in New Delhi with my brother filing a complaint of criminal intimidation after I was flooded with rape and death threats online. Users on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – with bios that described them as “nationalists” and “proud Indians” – threatened to burn me alive, rape me in the presence of my family and cut me into pieces. One Instagram message invoked what happened to my friend and fellow journalist, Gauri Lankesh, a critic of Hindu nationalist organizations who was shot dead outside her house in Bangalore in 2017.

The abuse came after I shared my opinion about the killing of a civilian in Kashmir. In a tweet, I wrote: “When it comes to Kashmir, there are no humanists, just convenient nationalists.” That was enough to stoke ultranationalist rage, which sees Kashmir not through the prism of humanity but through dangerous, misguided and blind patriotism. On July 1, Bashir Ahmed Khan, a 65-year-old resident of Srinagar, was shot and killed outside in an alleged crossfire between militants and paramilitary forces in Kashmir’s Sopore region.

Speaking the truth about Kashmir comes with a heavy price. The threats against me are part of the broader strategy that is also seeking to silence Kashmiri journalists. But we have an obligation to tell the world what’s happening without fear of offending the government and nationalist partisans or losing access to high-level officials. A child lost his grandfather – he knows a truth impossible for him to express and communicate. That’s why we must step up.

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Coronavirus Rumors Spark Communal Violence in India – By Shaikh Azizur Rahman

While all of India was under strict coronavirus lockdown, a rumor spread in the town of Telinipara, 45 km north of Kolkata, that “hundreds of Muslims” had been infected with COVID-19 and were infecting members of the town’s Hindu majority.

“BJP leaders spread a rumor that hundreds of Muslims had been infected with COVID-19 in the town and they were spreading the infection among Hindus,” said rights activist Malay Tewari, a member of the fact-finding team. “The fake news whipped up a strong anti-Muslim sentiment and sparked the communal violence.”

Anti-Muslim passion spread quickly after Arjun Singh, a BJP parliamentarian, posted a photo of a bloodied Muslim man on Facebook and claimed that he was a Hindu who had been beaten up by Muslims.… Another local BJP MP, Locket Chatterjee, said on national TV that Muslims in Telinipara were flouting coronavirus quarantines.…The next day, 300 Hindu youths, armed with guns, bombs, Molotov cocktails, cleavers, crowbars, gas cylinders and other makeshift weapons, attacked dozens of Muslim households in the town.

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From planning murder to praising Modi: WhatsApp chats offer a window into the minds of Delhi rioters – By Vijayta Lalwani & Shoaib Daniyal

On February 25, 11.21 pm, a person who identified himself Lokesh Solanki allegedly typed out a message on a WhatsApp group: “The whole of last night, I roamed around Bhagirathi Vihar, Ganga Vihar, Gokul Puri, Johripur. And smashed open the heads of 23 mullahs.”

The areas listed were epicentres of the communal violence that engulfed North East Delhi between February 24 and 26. The message appears in transcripts submitted by Delhi Police as part of a chargesheet filed in court on June 4. The police claim these transcripts are verbatim records of the conversations in two WhatsApp groups called “Kattar Hindut Ekta” (extremist Hindu unity) and “Hindu Ekta Group” (Hindu unity) both created on February 25 and used by a group of Hindu men to coordinate attacks on Muslims.

The frequent mentions of the police and Hindu nationalist organisations illustrate that the riot is a unique crime in India since…The transcripts of the purported WhatsApp groups submitted by the Delhi Police in court allow us direct insight into the outlook of a rioter. As has reported, the most prominent political personality for the rioter was Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra. On February 23, Mishra issued a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police…: if the police did not clear out the protestors against the Citizenship Act, Mishra would take the law in his hands. Violence began on the very same night of Mishra’s threats

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The Coronavirus Is Hastening Modi’s Transformation of India – By Kapil Komireddi

Fifteen weeks ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed his country under probably the most stringent coronavirus lockdown in the world. The misery that has washed over the country over the past three months is inseparable from the authoritarian and self-mythologizing personality of the prime minister. He used the pandemic to solicit more than a billion dollars from Indians into a secretive fund that is beyond public scrutiny… After subjecting people to the most invasive abridgement of liberty in this century, the government is now striking a libertarian pose.

India under Modi had already traveled a considerable distance in the direction of authoritarianism before the coronavirus seeped into the country. If the pandemic assisted the prime minister by derailing the nationwide protests against his amendment to India’s citizenship law, it also debunked the myth of Modi as a competent administrator: The dire state in which India finds itself today is the direct consequence of his ineptitude.…

A healthy democracy can find the means to countervail executive incompetence. Indian democracy, however, is sick. And it is this sickness, manifesting itself in the culture war waged over the past six years by the government machinery in which skeptics of the Modi dispensation have persistently been branded as “anti-national,” that sustains the cult of the prime minister. The coronavirus has exposed Modi’s staggering shortcomings. It has also, tragically, created the conditions for him to quicken the conversion of the world’s largest democracy into something akin to a plebiscitary autocracy.

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Raped in Chitrakoot: Minor girls forced to trade bodies for Rs 150-200 daily during lockdown

In independent India, rampant poverty is one of the worst forms of tortures and living in poverty is a curse. Just toiling hard to make ends meet is not enough.… About 700 km from the national capital in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region is Chitrakoot. Poverty here is so entrenched that at an age when children ideally spend their time playing merrily and attending school, these girls have to shoulder their family’s responsibilities and contribute to the household income.

Aged 12-14 years, these girls work in illegal mines where their contractors and middlemen force them to sell their bodies for a meagre daily wage of Rs 200-Rs 300. India Today TV visited Chitrakoot to unearth the unholy nexus of money and sexual torture.

Soumya (name changed), a resident of Karvi village says when they go to the mines seeking work, the contractors agree to employ them on the condition that they will also have to sell their bodies. “We are helpless, we agree to it. They give us a job, exploit us and then don’t pay us our wages in full. When we refuse their sexual advances, they threaten they will not employ us any longer. What will we eat if we don’t work? We eventually agree to their terms.

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Christian Family Brutally Attacked in Chhattisgarh

On July 1, an Indian Christian family was brutally attacked by radical Hindu Nationalists for refusing to deny their Christian faith in Mohanbeda village (Chhattisgarh State). Laxman (18 years old) and his older sister (21 years old) were seriously injured during the attack. Their house was ransacked, and their land taken away by Hindu radicals.

Tunaviram Markham, a Christian from the same congregation, told International Christian Concern (ICC) how the entire village surrounded Laxman’s house and started throwing stones until they broke in and beat the family members.…

As religious attacks against Christians increase in the region since the COVID-19 lockdown, three dozen police are patrolling the village. They are not allowing the Christian victims to meet or talk to outsiders. The police have even confiscated their cellphones.

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PMCARES Ventilator Maker AgVa Fudged Software To Hide Poor Performance, Ex-Employees Say

Two former employees at controversial medical startup AgVa Healthcare told HuffPost India that the company manipulated the software running its low-cost ventilators to make the devices show they were pumping more oxygen into patients’ lungs than they actually were.

These startling revelations come after doctors at Mumbai’s prestigious JJ Hospital observed a variance between the actual performance of AgVa ventilators, and the performance registered on the device display.…

The JJ Hospital report, written by a panel of five experienced doctors and reviewed by HuffPost India, said, “Maximum level of displayed FiO2 did not indicate actual delivered FiO2 as patient showed signs of desaturation upto 86% on multipara monitor.

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SC Failed The Constitution By Succumbing To Majoritarianism In Ayodhya Case : Sr Adv Dinesh Dwivedi

The Supreme Court failed to uphold the spirit of anti-majoritarianism in the Ayodhya case, said Dinesh Dwivedi, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court.

“By and large, the Supreme Court has been upholding the Constitution and anti-majoritarianism. My strong feeling is the only time Supreme Court failed in upholding anti-majoritarianism was when they utilized the power of Article 142 in the Masjid matter and decided in favour of the Hindu-majority. This is where I feel they failed”, said Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India, Dinesh Dwivedi, at a webinar conducted by LiveLaw on the topic “The Courts and Constitutional Values”.

Commenting on the Ayodhya verdict, he said that there could be two reasons which could have played at the back of the mind of the judges. “One, either the judges were themselves going with the flow of majoritarianism. Or, perhaps they might have felt that unless they give it to the Hindu majority, the dispute will never be solved. That was totally incorrect thinking. SC has to abide by the Constitution and law. I certainly feel SC failed the Constitution by succumbing to majoritarianism”, he added.

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Journalist Rana Ayyub complains of death and rape threats on social media; Navi Mumbai police take cognisance

Indian journalist and writer Rana Ayyub shared pictures of her social media timeline and inbox that has been flooded with death and rape threats for speaking on Kashmir issue. …the image of a three-year-old siting on his dead grandfather’s body hit the viral note on social media. Detailing the sequence of events to the media, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said two LeT militants fired at the CRPF ‘naka’ party… A statement made by next to kin suggested that the CRPF killed the man and not a militant. 

Rana shared a bunch of news articles questioning who clicked the picture when no journalist was present at the scene. She also tweeted, “For celebrity activists in India, Black Lives Matter, Kashmiri lives dont matter.” “The truth is, we just care about that piece of land, we have no place in our heart for Kashmiri lives, no remorse for the innocent blood that is shed across the valley. My apologies as an Indian citizen, we have let you down,” she added in another tweet.

However, her opinion resulted in threats of rape and death on social media platforms. She shared the screenshots of the messages, after which Navi Mumbai Police took cognisance of the same.… Rana Ayyub recently won the ‘2020 McGill medal for journalist courage’. She is the author of the investigative book Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up. The book is based on her undercover investigations on the post-2002 Gujarat riots and Police encounter killings.

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Anti-CAA protests: Kin of Darapuri, Jafar say officials threatened to seize their properties

The families of retired IPS officer and activist S R Darapuri (77), and Congress worker and activist Sadaf Jafar (44) have alleged that Lucknow administration officials visited their houses and allegedly threatened to seize their properties if they fail to pay for damages to public properties which occurred during an anti-CAA protest on December 19.…

The activists are among 57 people in Lucknow accused of vandalism during protests and asked to pay Rs 1.55 crore in damages, failing which their properties will be seized. Jafar was arrested on December 19 and Darapuri on December 20. They were later released on bail.…

In an order in February, the Lucknow administration had asked 28 people to pay for damages worth Rs 63,37,637 in Hazratganj area during an anti-CAA protest on December 19. A total of 57 people are supposed to pay Rs 1.55 crore for alleged vandalism, failing which their properties will be seized, the administration had said.

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Family, lawyer of Muslim inmate who died in Tihar jail, suspect “police conspiracy in his death”

The family of thirty-year-old Tihar jail inmate Mahtab, who died inside the jail on 29 June, suspect police conspiracy in his murder. Mahtab died in Tihar jail (number 8) on Monday, 29 June. In the FIR filed by the police, a jail inmate named Zakir murdered him around 5:50 in the morning. Speaking to, Mahtab’s family said they don’t believe the police version. The family alleged that Mahtab was murdered in a conspiracy by the police.

…Mahtab was facing harassment by the police officers after he complained against them on 4 March. In his application, he mentioned that he was facing difficulties in the jail. Abdul Salam continued that earlier too Mahtab had raised complaints before the court against the police personnel in jail.

“They used to ask him for money. We would send 10,000 every month which would go to the superintendent. After the ongoing lockdown, we started sending money online. There was a guy. We transferred money to his account,” Abdul Salam told In March, after Mahtab filed a complaint against them there was some tension between Mahtab and police personnel.

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Daya Shankar Agnihotri, main aide of Kanpur terrorist Vikas Dubey, arrested after encounter; car has ‘Sangh Parivar’ on number plate

Police in Uttar Pradesh have arrested one Daya Shankar Agnihotri, a close associate of Kanpur terrorist Vikas Dubey, who is accused of killing eight police personnel including one Deputy SP rank officer. 

The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Agnihotri after the latter was injured in an encounter in the early hours of Sunday morning. Shockingly, Agnihotri’s car bore ‘Sangh Parivar’ number plate, raising questions on his links with the RSS, the ruling BJP’s ideological parent.…

Agnihotri was travelling in Ford car bearing ‘Sangh Parivar’ number plate. Congress leader Pawan Khera asked, “Which organisation’s name is written on the number plate? Which organisations are providing patronage to these terrorists and their associates? This truth must also come out.

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AMU student Sharjeel Usmani arrested, family says charges not clear yet

An Aligarh Muslim University student was arrested from his home at Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday evening, reported The Quint. Sharjeel Usmani was actively involved in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December, but it is not yet clear on what charges he was arrested.

Usmani was produced before a local court in Aligarh later in the day, and sent to 14-day judicial custody, The Indian Express reported.… The Azamgarh Police has made no formal statement about the arrest.…

Usmani’s brother said five men in civilian clothes, claiming to be from the crime branch, came to their house on Wednesday evening. Usmani was already with them, with his hands tied and head down, said his brother Areeb. He was arrested when he was out drinking tea. “They confiscated his laptop, all his books, and a solitary set of clothes,” Areeb told The Wire.

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WhatsApp group with 125 members used to push hate, mobilise rioters in Northeast Delhi

A WhatsApp group with at least 125 members where members bragged about “killing Muslims” and “dumping their bodies in the sewer”, and offering manpower and guns when necessary, has been named in three chargesheets filed in connection with killing of three men during the riots in Northeast Delhi in February.

The chargesheets detail how the group, called ‘Kattar Hindut Ekta’, was used to mobilise and coordinate between rioters, and how armed men stopped passersby, asked them their name, address, ID proof and told them to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Police plan to use the WhatsApp conversations as “extrajudicial confessions”.

The nine men accused of murder and rioting in the three chargesheets are Lokesh Solanki (19), Pankaj Sharma (31), Ankit Chaudary (23), Prince (22), Jatin Sharma (19), Himanshu Thakur (19), Vivek Panchal (20), Rishab Chaudary (20) and Sumit Chaudhary (23).

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Humanity comes first! Muslim burial ground staff cremates 250 Hindus for free

Setting an example for the rest of the country, staff members of a burial ground in Marine Lines, Mumbai performed the last rites of as many as 250 Hindus in the last three months. The staff members performed the last rites free of cost. 

Baba Qabrastan, located in Mumbai has been providing free ambulance service to patients as well as people who need them for funerals. Among those cremated are also unclaimed bodies. 

Iqbal Mamdani, a task force member said that people of all faiths are afraid and they refrain from handling bodies due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In some cases, even ambulance drivers were afraid to carry bodies of coronavirus patients. In view of the pandemic, the staff of the Baba Qabarastan decided to do their bit.

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For 40 yrs, Sikh vendor performing sewa at mosque in Amritsar

A mosque in Amritsar has a rare ally. Baljinder Singh (60) has been doing ‘sewa’ at Khairuddin Mosque located in the narrow lanes of the walled city in Amritsar known as Jama Masjid. Baljinder has been doing selfless service of taking care of ‘jodas’ (footwear) of Muslim devotees during every Friday prayers held in the mosque.

“I am a Sikh by birth and secular by nature. For me humanity is above any religion. Choosing to serve in a mosque was my way of propagating Guru Nanak’s universal message of brotherhood and harmony,” he said. Popularly addressed as “Bha ji” and “Sardar ji”, Baljinder Singh said the service at the mosque has been a routine for him since 1980s. He said, “I take care of their shoes, while they offer prayers inside with a carefree mind.”

He said his ancestors had performed ‘joda’ sewa at Chaurian Paudian Jodha Ghar at the Golden Temple from Atta Mandi for 90 years. “Doing sewa is actually in my blood. I also do joda sewa occasionally at Baba Shayam Singh Dera at Atta Mandi Chowk during sangrand and at a temple at Majith Mandi during Krishan Leela programme,” he said.

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Muslim Family Shelters a Hindu Woman for 43 Years in MP’s Damoh

The visuals in the video prove that there is no difference between Hindus and Muslims in India. People of both religions can live together harmoniously. In Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh, a Muslim family sheltered a Hindu woman for 43 years. And now, as she leaves, the entire village is sad to see her go.

A Maharashtrian woman, Panchubai aka ‘Mausi’, had been living in MP’s Kotatala village for over 40 years. She ended up in Damoh a long time ago. Israar Khan’s father let her stay with them in the Muslim-dominated village. A few days back, Panchubai’s photos were circulated on social media. Her grandson Prithviraj Shinde found the pictures and went along with his wife to find his grandmother.

On noticing how emotional the residents of the village were to see Panchubai go, her grandson said it was difficult for him to ask her to return.… The fact that a Muslim family has sheltered a Hindu woman from Nagpur for the last 43 years is a learning lesson for the country where communal problems have largely been normalised

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Ved Marwah’s Abiding Legacy as Police Chief is His Failure to Punish the Guilty of Nov 1984 – By Basant Rath

Ved Marwah’s death earlier this month has led to an outpouring of praise from fellow police officers.… This is ironic, since his stint as police commissioner ought to have marred his reputation beyond repair in any society that cares about professional policing, not to speak about democracy and the rule of law. Marwah knew the enormity of his professional responsibilities and the political climate of Delhi when he took the baton as Delhi police chief.… an officially estimated 2,733 Sikhs – in reality many, many more – were murdered by rampaging mobs over four days in November 1984. The butchery took place with the direct or indirect connivance of the police.…

IPS officers can keep celebrating Marwah’s legacy for his anti-terrorism domain expertise and academic credentials. But they would do well to remember these questions. Why did he fail to put his foot down and make his presence count in the legal-organisational scheme of things in those three years? Bad police officers who helped the politicians and their goons kill around 3,000 people went unpunished. FIRs were never registered. Investigations were never conducted. Overlooking this troubling legacy in the name of hero worship highlights the extent of the democratic deficit that has afflicted India’s police since Independence. 

Accountability is non-negotiable in a democracy. The 2002 Gujarat riots happened because police leaders like Ved Marwah couldn’t and wouldn’t make Delhi’s big political players and their loyal stooges in uniform pay a price for their crimes. Because politicians in power – irrespective of their party affiliations – know there is no dearth of pliant and pliable officers like him in the IPS.

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With India changing domicile law, Kashmir’s indigenous population faces risk of dispossession, possible war crime – By Mirza Saaib Bég

…Navin Choudhary, a civil services officer, became the first Indian in a batch of 25,000 people to be certified as a “domicile” of the disputed region of India-administered Kashmir. Born in the Indian state of Bihar and officially now identified as a domicile of the “union territory,” Choudhary has worked in the Jammu and Kashmir government for many years. It was a much expected development after a string of illegal and unconstitutional changes imposed by the Indian state upon what was until last year a semi-autonomous state.…

Last month Kashmir’s unelected, bureaucratic government notified the procedural rules for grant of Kashmiri domicile certificates with provisions to grant these to Indian citizens. Now, the replacement of the Kashmiri people has begun. Creating new classes of “legally recognised Kashmiris” – naya Kashmiris, if one may. Under the new rules, the children of these “Kashmiris” can be recognised as Kashmiri domiciles even if they have never lived in Kashmir. At the same time, ethnic Kashmiris who fled Kashmir to escape massacres have no right of return anymore since the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Permit for Resettlement Act, 1982 stands repealed.

Taking their cue from Modi, India’s Hindu supremacists have renewed their call for “one nation, one people, one culture.” The new domicile rules in Kashmir are part of this project of homogeneity aimed at eventually yielding a singular, homogeneous group of people, with singular grievances and aspirations. Those who do not share these grievances and aspirations are not part of this homogenous group and are therefore the “others” who do not belong. Over the last 72 years, Kashmiris have been regularly reminded of their collective otherness.

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Stifling Democracy Sans Emergency – By Adovate Prashant Bhushan

We frequently say that the Emergency of 1975-1977 was the worst period for India’s democracy.… However,… The last six years have been a watershed in the functioning of our democracy, the protection of fundamental rights as well as the health of institutions. These years have witnessed an unprecedented assault on various elements of democracy, on rights and institutions.

During these years we have seen an unprecedented assault on the freedom of speech and the right to dissent.…False information or fake news which is designed to generate hate against Muslims in particular, is being generated and spread on a mammoth scale by the social media organisation affiliated with the BJP and its assorted lapdog media. This has created a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness among large sections of minorities in particular, as well as dalits, especially when they see the administration including the judicial administration being reduced to bystanders. The use of draconian laws like UAPA and NSA particularly on hapless sections of minorities including dalits have accentuated the injustice and the climate of fear among them.…

Thus, taking an overview of the present situation, it cannot be safely maintained that democracy and its institutions today are better and more robust than they were during the Emergency. The gains made in the 40 years after the emergency have been rapidly eroded by the assault on institutions and rights that we have seen, particularly, in the last six years.

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Journalism in India Has Placed Itself On Deputation to the Government – By Anand K. Sahay

By and large, journalism in India has been a mirror image of its rickety – and tawdry – democracy in the Modi years, and has probably hit its lowest point after the commencement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term in office in May, 2019, with a bigger mandate than previously.

With notable exceptions, in nearly every choice the media made when the State confronted its own citizens, it has been on the side of the State, which is regarded widely in India as the principal perpetrator of many forms of injustice.

Journalism in India in this period is not likely to be judged kindly, for it has discarded pretences to objectivity and fair play in its chronicler role, and has appeared to regard its object as being on deputation to the government.–has-placed-itself-on-deputation-to-the-government

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Every Custodial Death a Reminder of Why India  Ratify the Convention Against Torture – By Som Thomas

In the same week that the world marked International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26), a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu who kept a shop open after COVID-19 curfew hours died in custody, allegedly after being tortured at the hands of the Thoothukudi district police.

According to reports, a baton was inserted into the anus of one man. The Chinese army’s use of iron rods and nail-studded clubs in 2020 will be remembered by a generation. But we will soon forget what happened in Thoothukudi, as if it was a momentary aberration rather than part of systemic police violence in India.…

The persistence of inhuman treatment makes it apparent that the India is determined to protect violence by the police. India is one of only five countries that have yet to ratify the 1987 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

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Every Custodial Death a Reminder of Why India  Ratify the Convention Against Torture – By Som Thomas

In the same week that the world marked International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26), a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu who kept a shop open after COVID-19 curfew hours died in custody, allegedly after being tortured at the hands of the Thoothukudi district police.

According to reports, a baton was inserted into the anus of one man. The Chinese army’s use of iron rods and nail-studded clubs in 2020 will be remembered by a generation. But we will soon forget what happened in Thoothukudi, as if it was a momentary aberration rather than part of systemic police violence in India.…

The persistence of inhuman treatment makes it apparent that the India is determined to protect violence by the police. India is one of only five countries that have yet to ratify the 1987 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

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Four months later, Delhi communal violence FIRs are still not public. Here’s why this is troubling – By Nitika Khaitan

Chargesheets have begun to be filed in cases related to the February communal violence in Delhi, but the 751 first information reports registered in its aftermath remain unavailable. While FIRs are ordinarily supposed to be uploaded on the police website, certain FIRs are exempt from public scrutiny if the police think their contents are sensitive. Some FIRs may indeed prejudice investigation, if revealed fully. But the blanket withholding of all FIRs related to the Delhi communal violence invites concerns about whether the ‘sensitive’ exception is being applied correctly.

Even as more information about the investigation becomes public, without the FIRs, crucial questions remain unanswered: which crimes have been recognised by the state? Of the violence witnessed and documented in the week starting February 24, what made its way into the official record?

Past episodes of mass violence teach us to be particularly mindful of these questions. For instance, after the anti-Sikh violence of 1984, hundreds of FIRs were not registered till commissions of inquiry directed the police to do so in 1987, 1991 and as late as 1993. After the Bhagalpur communal violence of 1989, FIRs were not recorded for 628 of 982 deaths, many of which were deaths in police firings. Similar issues with the non-recording of FIRs were prevalent after Bombay 1993 and Gujarat 2002, particularly with cases of sexual assault and cases where the allegations were against influential leaders or the police themselves.

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Dalit activist Arvind Bansod was murdered, not a suicide: Lawyer

On 27 May, Arvind Bansod, a Dalit social activist and a resident of Pimpaldhara village in Maharasthra’s Nagpur district died amid suspicious circumstances. According to Soniya Gajbhiye, a Nagpur based lawyer who is representing his family, Bansod was murdered by a group of men after they abused him with casteist slurs. The incident took place under the jurisdiction of the police station in Jalalkheda, a town in the Nagpur district.…

Gajanan Raut, Bansod’s friend who was with him shortly before his death… recounted the events of 27 May.… According to Raut, Mithilesh then began to address Bansod using casteist slurs. “He told Arvind bhaiya, ‘You are from Mahar caste. Do you want to become a leader? Let me see how. You don’t have the status,'” Raut said. 

…According to Raut, Mithilesh subsequently asked three friends, who were present in the office, to beat up the two of them. Raut said the abuses and beating continued for over half an hour.… Raut, along with two of Bansod’s brothers, went to the Jalalkheda primary health centre. However, they learnt that that Bansod had been referred to another hospital.… He was declared dead on the morning of 29 May.

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Dalit activist Arvind Bansod was murdered, not a suicide: Lawyer

On 27 May, Arvind Bansod, a Dalit social activist and a resident of Pimpaldhara village in Maharasthra’s Nagpur district died amid suspicious circumstances. According to Soniya Gajbhiye, a Nagpur based lawyer who is representing his family, Bansod was murdered by a group of men after they abused him with casteist slurs. The incident took place under the jurisdiction of the police station in Jalalkheda, a town in the Nagpur district.…

Gajanan Raut, Bansod’s friend who was with him shortly before his death… recounted the events of 27 May.… According to Raut, Mithilesh then began to address Bansod using casteist slurs. “He told Arvind bhaiya, ‘You are from Mahar caste. Do you want to become a leader? Let me see how. You don’t have the status,'” Raut said. 

…According to Raut, Mithilesh subsequently asked three friends, who were present in the office, to beat up the two of them. Raut said the abuses and beating continued for over half an hour.… Raut, along with two of Bansod’s brothers, went to the Jalalkheda primary health centre. However, they learnt that that Bansod had been referred to another hospital.… He was declared dead on the morning of 29 May.

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Sacked cop arrested for minor’s gang rape in Odisha

Ananda Majhi, former inspector in-charge (IIC) of Biramitrapur police station in Sundargarh district, was arrested on Wednesday for the alleged gang rape of a minor inside the police station. He was allegedly hiding in a mango orchard in Angul district when he was arrested.…

Six persons, including Majhi, were accused of raping the tribal girl inside the police station for several weeks and forcing her to go for an abortion. A government doctor had allegedly conducted the abortion, and is also one of those booked. 

The Crime Branch said it was a tough task to arrest the former IIC. “Majhi was on the run after a gang rape case was registered against him and five other persons on June 22. He used his police brain to evade arrest, but was outwitted. He was traced to a mango forest in the Handapa police area of Angul,” a Crime Branch officer said.

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PM CARES Fund received huge donations from Chinese firms just ahead of conflict at LAC

Set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to collect funds for fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, the PM CARES Fund received huge donations from several Chinese companies just ahead of the conflict at the LAC between China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian armed forces.

According to an analysis of news reports published in sections of the media, these donations range from Rs 1 crore to Rs 30 crore. For example, Tik Tok – a Chinese video-sharing social networking service that has been at the receiving end of the call to boycott Chinese goods and services – has donated Rs 30 crore to the PM CARES Fund. Similarly, Xiaomi, a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer which commands nearly 29 percent of the Indian mobile market, donated Rs 10 crore to the fund.…

It is important to note here that as per media reports, PLA began to strengthen its positions along the LAC by digging bunkers and erecting concrete posts in Ladakh in April, around the same time when PM Modi announced the first phase of the lockdown. Interestingly, Chinese tech giants decided to donate to the PM CARES Fund around the same time.… Incidentally, there has been total opacity in the functioning and purpose of the PM CARES Fund, with the PMO refusing to divulging information about it under the RTI Act 2005.

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Church Vandalised in Jharkhand, USCIRF Raises Alarm

United States Commission for Religious Freedom (USCIRF) raised alarm over attacks on churches in India. The USCIRF reaction came in the wake of a report that a Christian church was vandalised by a mob on Monday in Belagadia township of Dhanbad district in Jharkhand following an accusation that the church was involved in religious conversion.…

The report that appeared in UCA News said that the vandals destroyed the holy cross, a symbol of Christianity, and damaged the under-construction Protestant church of the town. It added that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Indrajit Mahota, and his party workers and some leaders of the far right Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) joined the crowd in the vandalism.

…a Christian leader in the state, Father Augustine Topno, former administrator of Jamshedpur Diocese, termed the allegation of conversion “baseless”. “There is no truth about religious conversion in the area as the Church does not believe in or practice religious conversion. Allegations by the legislator and locals are baseless,” he told UCA News.

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After Beating Lawyer for Looking ‘Muslim’, MP Police Now Charge Him With Assault

On the evening of March 23… a Betul-based lawyer Deepak Bundele was beaten up brutally by some Madhya Pradesh police officials for pointing out the constitutional limits of police action. He was on his way to a government hospital to stock medicines for his chronic diabetes and hypertension, when one police official slapped him for not wearing a mask.… Subsequently, when Bundele decided to fight it out against the police highhandedness, colleagues of the accused police officials put him under pressure to withdraw the complaint. 

The incident garnered national attention when one police official, B.S. Patel… in the audio clip, admitted that the accused police official, Kapil Saurashtriya, mistook him to be a Muslim because of the beard. Saurashtriya is a “staunch Hindu” and “tortured” any Muslim men who are in his custody, Patel proclaimed. While requesting Bundele to withdraw his case, the official admitted that the state police always favour Hindus during communal riots.

A month after Bundele’s plight caught attention, the Madhya Pradesh police has now registered a case against him. The complainant Mohit Kumar Dubey, a sub-inspector at the Betul Kotwali police station, has alleged that despite his repeated requests to Bundele to wear a mask and return home, the latter abused and manhandled police officials on March 23.

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Jeyaraj and Fenix: Outrage mounts over deaths in Indian police custody

P Jeyaraj, 58, and his son Fenix, 38, were arrested for allegedly keeping their stores open past permitted hours – Tamil Nadu is still observing a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid. Both men were kept in police custody an entire night and died within hours of each other two days later. Relatives of the two men say the men were subjected to brutal torture.

As details of the alleged torture emerged, people began demanding action. State opposition lawmakers have taken to the streets in protest, a traders body has condemned the actions of police, and a local court has taken up the issue for hearing.…

Initially, many questioned why there is little to no outrage over the deaths of the two men… But in recent days, the issue has begun gaining traction as furious discussion began on various social media platforms. In a video which has had more than a million views, one user… proceeded to give a graphic account of the alleged torture of the two men. There is also massive outrage that the policemen believed to be responsible for the men’s deaths are not being charged with murder and have been merely transferred.

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Anti-CAA protests: Two shops sealed as UP govt starts to recover damages

In a first, the Lucknow administration on Tuesday sealed two shops as part of its drive to recover damages for destruction of public and private properties during the protests held on December 19 against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens.

Lucknow (Sadar) Tehsildar Shambhu Sharan Singh said a garment store called NY Fashion Centre and a junk shop in the Hasanganj police station area were sealed “in view of the order passed ADM (Transgomti) Vishwa Bhushan Mishra on February 13, 2020”.

The junk shop’s owner, Maahenoor Choudhary, and the garment shop’s assistant store manager Dharamveer Singh are among the 13 whom Mishra had ordered to pay Rs 21.76 lakh within 30 days for the destruction of properties in the Hasanganj police station area. Failure to pay would result in the attachment of properties, the order had warned.

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Indian Americans in Chicago protest against CAA, say “law discriminates against religious minority group”

Indian diaspora in USA’s Chicago has recently come out on streets to show support to Indian Muslims over the passage of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed in the Parliament in December 2019. The US which has already been witnessing #BlackLivesMatter movement over the murder of George Floyd, saw Indians marching on the streets of Chicago against the CAA, resonating that it “discriminates against the religious minority group.” …

Bodhi Vani, a student at the University of Chicago, said that it was important for Indians in Chicago to voice their protests against such oppressive measures. She discussed that Indians in the US had also taken out a rally against CAA at the Indian consulate on January 26, adding that due to COVID-19 lockdown, the momentum that was slowed down has been picked up again due to the efforts of human rights groups that organized this campaign.

The organizers have said that while the country fights against racial discrimination it must also join the fight against all kinds of discrimination and the CAA in India is nothing but “the ruling BJP – Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, acting on its anti-Muslim agenda.

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Delhi Riots: Hospital Owner In Letter Alleges Police Threatened Him For Telling Truth

Dr Muhammad Ehtesham Anwar, who treated victims of the Northeast Delhi riots in his Al Hind hospital, has been named by Delhi Police in a chargesheet for alleged involvement in a murder case during the communal violence that erupted on February 24 and 25. Dr Anwar had written a letter on May 15… to senior officials of the Special Cell and Crime Branch (Delhi Police)… The four-page letter written in Hindi… has levelled serious allegations against the officials of Special Cell and Crime Branch of Delhi Police. 

Dr Anwar alleged in his letter that the Delhi Police was upset with him because he spoke to Justice S Muralidhar, the then Delhi HC judge, late in the night on February 25 and apprised him of the ground reality of the riot’s impact.… He writes, “Police constables who used to come with the ambulance to collect injured persons, threatened me several times that I shouldn’t have told the truth to the judge. They told me that it was because of me that the issue got highlighted; otherwise, nobody would have come to know anything about this.”

Dr Anwar also alleged that after the riots, he was called several times by the officials of Special Cell and Crime Branch of Delhi Police who threatened him and said, “Since you spoke to the judge, the whole plan got failed. You have to compensate by doing some work which we will tell you when the right time comes

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India Now the World’s Largest Illiberal Democracy, Says Financial Times US Editor

One of the western world’s most highly regarded journalists, Edward Luce, the US national editor of the Financial Times, says India is now “the world’s largest illiberal democracy” and, comparing Narendra Modi to Viktor Orbán, the illiberal right-wing prime minister of Hungary, says, “Modi is Orbanizing India.”

In a 33-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Luce, a former South Asia bureau chief of the Financial Times and author of In Spite of the Gods, a highly acclaimed study of India, says the India-China crisis is presently not at the top of the US agenda. “Any sign of an actual war between India and China would be catastrophic to any hope of stabilising the global economy amidst this pandemic. At that point, there will be a lot more serious attention paid to the India-China situation,” he said.

A few days ago, Biden issued a statement criticising the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, two measures that the Modi government is closely identified with. It’s likely that a Biden presidency would be critical of these and they could be points of friction between the Indian government and a Biden administration.

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14-year-old Mumbai girl wins hearts with help to migrants and crowdfunding heart surgery of a poor child

While most students of her age use WhatsApp to chat mundane things, Rida Khan, 14, used it to mobilise support for the underprivileged children and their parents during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. After coordinating for the NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation to help volunteers reach out to 7000 families with ration kits and crowd funding Rs 3 lakh for the heart surgery of a 10-year-old child of a migrant worker, Khan has emerged as one of the youngest “angels”, one who makes difference in the city. 

…Khan, a 9th standard student at the elite Bombay Scottish School in Mahim,… initially joined Chhoti Si Asha, an NGO that works for the sustainable livelihood of underprivileged women and children.… Salam Bombay Foundation which has a track record of working with the underprivileged made her a coordinator between the organization and its volunteers.…

A couple of months ago, at the chamber of cardiolgolist Dr Zainulabeden Hamdulay (she had gone there with her grandfather) she met 10-year-old Wajid Ali, son of a migrant worker, who needed urgent operation for a congenital heart disease. She pooled in money from relatives and friends and crowd funded Rs 3 lakh to pay for the successful heart surgery of the boy.

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For Dantewada’s Adivasis, jail is only a false allegation away – By Prateek Goyal

March 17, 2020.… At around 3 am, he and his family were woken up by a commotion. As Deva opened his eyes, he saw armed men looming over him.… The armed, uniformed men who tried to grab Deva were from the District Reserve Guard, or DRG, a police unit made up almost entirely of local Adivasis and surrendered Maoists. By morning, the village was surrounded by the DRG. A few policemen again went to Deva’s home, and threatened his disabled mother Mandavi Lakkhe, 60.…

She alleged the policemen stole Rs 10,000 from her home, money saved from selling their goat and the entire family labouring for a month.… The police allegedly looted several other homes in Mallapara and the neighbouring Gurrepara village that day.

The police have been a menacingly constant presence in Mallapara and Gurrepara since early this year. They have arrested four villagers, including three minors, accusing them of being involved in Maoist activities. The villagers believe the lootings and the arrests are retaliation for the killing of Mohan Bhaskar, from Patelpara village in Neelwaya, by suspected Maoists.

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No Documents, No Benefits: How India’s Invisible Workforce Is Left To Fend For Itself – By Sadhika Tiwari

Almost half of India’s regular-wage workers would not have hit rock-bottom amid the COVID-19 lockdown if security nets were in place, data show. Lack of documentation and registration kept many workers from accessing government relief and allowed employers to evade their obligations towards their workers during the COVID-19 lockdown, which left millions of workers without jobs and stranded away from their homes.

Complicated self-registration processes and several incentives for employers to under-report their workers’ numbers are two primary reasons why a vast majority of workers lack proper documentation. Going forward, the informal nature of jobs must change to formal if workers are to be protected from economic shocks, say labour rights activists and experts.…

Nearly half the regular-wage workers in India, 49.6%, had no social security net, and 71% had no written job contract in 2017-18, according to the most-recent Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). When the COVID-19 crisis hit, workers across the country lost their jobs, but the worst hit were informal workers – who comprise up to 92% of India’s workforce – who received little support from their employers and many of whom did not receive any cash transfers from the government either, the survey found.

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OpIndia: Hate speech, vanishing advertisers, and an undisclosed BJP connection – By Ayush Tiwari

As of June 2020, about two dozen companies have withdrawn advertisements from OpIndia, citing “insidious content” and “hateful views”, as part of a campaign by Stop Funding Hate, an advocacy group based in the United Kingdom. Moreover, despite its complaints about dishonesty and distortion in the India media, OpIndia has never disclosed that the director of the company which owns it, and its holding company, has had ties to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

In a 2014 interview with Swarajya, Rahul Raj, one of the three founders of OpIndia, explained the website’s raison d’être in greater detail. “… OpIndia, in his words, was started to explore the gap between “what is being reported and what the facts are”. Six years down the line, OpIndia has morphed from a “media commentary” blog tilting towards the governing BJP into a website promoting and defending Hindu supremacy and chauvinism, and a vibrant source of misinformation targeting Muslims, liberals, leftists, “the establishment”, and critics and political opponents of the BJP. A dataset prepared by Newslaundry shows that in the last two years alone, fact-checkers and news outlets have reported at least 25 instances of false news and no less than 14 instances of misreporting on OpIndia. In 2019, Rahul Raj, no longer associated with the website, tweeted that he had “distanced” himself from the website because it became a “blind mouthpiece of BJP

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Indian Journalists Are Being Targeted for Questioning Governments’ Handling of the Pandemic – By Pallavi Pundir

On June 13, a journalist was charged with various offences by the police of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) for a story filed from within Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. The First Information Report (FIR) lodged with the UP Police accused Supriya Sharma, the executive editor of Indian news website, of defamation and “attempting to spread infection.”… On June 18, Sharma released a statement saying she, along with, stood by the story.…

On June 15, a report by Delhi-based human rights think-tank Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) listed 55 Indian journalists facing criminal charges and other forms of intimidations. There are cases of arrest, first information reports with the police, physical assaults, destruction of properties and threats for reporting COVID-19 stories between March 25 and May 31.…

“The point of lodging these FIRs is not whether [these charges] will hold up to judicial scrutiny, or a case can be made out. There is good reason for me to say that these cases will collapse before court,” said Grover. “The end goal is very different. It’s to silence any journalist asking critical questions inconvenient to the state, and to send a chilling effect so that no other journalist dares to present a version inconsistent with State speak.”

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Dead and Buried: Delhi Police ignored complaints against Kapil Mishra, other BJP leaders for leading mobs in Delhi violence – By Prabhjit Singh

Just hours after Kapil Mishra delivered a speech near the Jaffrabad metro station in northeast Delhi, threatening to clear protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader led a rampage by an armed mob less than two kilometres away, in Kardampuri, according to two complaints lodged with the Delhi Police.

The complaints noted that on the afternoon of 23 February, Mishra gave an incendiary speech in Kardampuri, calling upon a mob to attack Muslim and Dalit protesters in the area. One of the complainants accused Mishra of brandishing a gun as he instigated the crowd.

A third complaint stated that on the morning after Mishra’s speech, police officials attacked protesters in Chand Bagh on his instructions. The complainant wrote that just before the police began their attack, she heard an assistant commissioner of police assure Mishra over the phone, “Don’t worry, we will strew the streets with their dead bodies such that it will be remembered for generations.

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Modi’s India should be on the US’s religious freedom blacklist – By Sarah C Anderson-Rajarigam & Sunita Viswanath

On June 10, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the 2019 International Religious Freedom Report which documents major instances of violations of religious freedom across the world. The report’s 27-page chapter on India is a scathing indictment of the sharp decline in religious freedom in the South Asian country under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s watch.

Noting that there have been reports of “religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice and speak about their religious beliefs”, the report heavily criticises the Indian government’s policies and actions that result in the erosion of religious freedoms of India’s minority communities.…

It is not easy for the authors of this article – who are Indian-born US citizens – to recommend India to be designated as a CPC. But we support the USCIRF’s recommendation for such a harsh measure precisely because we love India deeply. We believe only strong pressure from the US, and the wider global community, could save India from the dire consequences of its government’s divisive policies, and guarantee that it remains a secular democracy.

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U.S. protests spur calls for India to wake up to anti-Dalit discrimination

Spurred on by U.S. anti-racism protests, lower-caste Dalits on Wednesday called on India to acknowledge centuries of oppression they have endured and recognise that “every life matters”.

Dalits are at the bottom of India’s ancient caste hierarchy, whose membership was determined at birth, and have historically faced violence, segregation and been barred from even having their shadows touch those of people from higher castes.

Dalit campaigners said they supported the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the death of African-American George Floyd after he was knelt on by a white police officer, and hoped it would ignite a similar conversation in India.

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In Pulwama, an 8-Year-Old Pellet Victim Awaits Eye Surgery

Sitting near the window of their one-room home in Karimabad, Pulwama, around 27 km from Srinagar, eight-year-old Owais Ahmad looks tired and helpless. His bloodshot right eye is swollen. His family alleges that security forces shot him with pellet guns on May 22 after a clash erupted in the area between the youth and security forces.…

It has been more than three weeks since Ahmad’s family has been waiting for surgery so that they can get to know whether there is a chance he could regain his eyesight. “I asked doctor if my son will regain his eyesight, he was silent,” Ameena says.…

After a long struggle amid financial issues, the family had admitted Ahmad in a school in Karimabad a few years back. Ahmad, currently a Class 3 student, is worried about his studies.… His father told The Wire that the police claim that their son was part of the protest that day. “But he is just eight year old, he is too young to do that,” said Mir.

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BJP IT Cell Head Amit Malviya Peddles 2017 Pic As Gandhis’ 2008 China Visit

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell head Amit Malviya tried to pass off a photo from 2017 taken during a food festival organised by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and which was attended by several politicians including politicians from the BJP, as a photo showing Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s visit to China in 2008.

The image was tweeted in the backdrop of a major escalation of border tensions between the Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan valley, Ladakh on June 15, 2020, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers. Beijing has remained silent on the number of causalities it has incurred.…

A reverse image search using Google Images showed that the photograph tweeted by Amit Malviya is from April 2017 and was taken at Delhi’s Hotel Taj Palace.… BOOM has debunked misinformation shared by Amit Malviya in the past.

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Lucknow: BJP MLA Surendra’ Singh’s son, nephew booked for rioting

A BJP MLA’s son and nephew were booked along with seven others for rioting and under provisions of the SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act, police said here on Wednesday.

According to the police, Bairia MLA Surendra Singh’s son Vidya Bhushan Singh, nephew Chandra Bhushan Singh and seven others were booked on a complaint of Anil Kumar Rathore, who alleged that he was thrashed and abused by them on Monday. Rathore alleged that he had gone to the Bairia tehsil office to lodge a complaint against illicit liquor when the incident took place. Anil said his family members were also there at the tehsil office gate for some other work. The MLA’s son allegedly made casteist remarks against them and beat them up, they said.

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Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal alleges violence in Tihar

A woman member of the Pinjra Tod group, who was arrested in a case related to the communal violence in North East Delhi, alleged on Wednesday in the Delhi High Court that there was a “large scale violence” inside Tihar Jail here on June 16 and inmates were prohibited from getting in touch with anyone, including via video conferencing, outside the prison.

The submission was made before Justice C Hari Shankar by the lawyer appearing for Pinjra Tod group member Natasha Narwal, that there was a violence and some inmates’ limbs were allegedly broken by the jail staff.

The lawyer said prisoners, including Narwal, were also intimidated by the jail staff.… Narwal’s lawyer said that the person operating the video conference facility in the jail had informed him that due to violence in the prison, there was a lockdown.… It also asked Mehra to look into the woman’s grievance that the daily five minute call to family members, allowed to prisoners under the rules, was not being made available to her.

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‘No one came to his rescue’: Muslim carpenter lynched in Saharanpur, leaves behind pregnant wife, 3 children

On Thursday 18 June around 5:30 pm, thirty-year-old Israr left his village Imliya, which lies 4 kilometres from Deoband, on his motorcycle towards nearby Kutesra village.

A carpenter by profession, Israr was going to measure furniture at a customer’s place. While on his way to Kutsera, his close relatives told that Israr was, “beaten up mercilessly with sticks and rods in Dehra and no one came to his rescue”. … “They are saying that he injured a child (while riding his motorcycle) . I met that child and he is fine but they have destroyed our peace,” Gulfam, younger brother of Israr, told… “I wish if they had lodged a complaint or kept him captive but they turned into demons and killed him,” he adds.

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8 Hospitals in 15 Hours: A Pregnant Woman’s Crisis in the Pandemic

Neelam Kumari Gautam woke up at 5 a.m. with shooting labor pains. Her husband put her gently in the back of a rickshaw and motored with her to a hospital. Then another. Then another. Her pain was so intense she could barely breathe, but none would take her.

It wasn’t simply that the doctors couldn’t help her, Mr. Singh said. It was as if they didn’t want to help her. “They didn’t care if she was dead or alive,” he said.  More than eight hours had passed since Ms. Gautam and her husband had set off from their home, eager to meet their new baby soon. But the Max hospital – their eighth that day – gave them the same heartbreaking answer: no beds. Mr. Singh told the ambulance to rush back to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences. As they finally pulled into the hospital, she stopped breathing. Her neck slumped. Mr. Singh jumped out of the ambulance, grabbed a wheelchair and frantically wheeled her into the emergency room. At 8:05 p.m., after 8 different hospitals and 15 hours, Neelam Kumari Gautam was pronounced dead. The baby also

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India: Journalist killed after exposing controversial sand-mining deals

Tripathi, a 25-year old journalist with Kampu Mail, was covering controversial land mine disputes prior to his death. He actively posted online and petitioned local authorities to stop a member of ‘land mafias’, from claiming large sections of government land.… Tripathi received several threats online from locals following his investigation into the illegal actions of the ‘land mafia’ and had expressed fears on his Facebook page that there would be harsh retaliation for his work.

On June 19, he was shot multiple times by assailants while riding home and died from his injuries.… The protections for Indian journalists have long been lacking and impunity persists as justice has rarely been brought for any journalists who are killed for their work. Nine journalists were killed in India in 2019. The NUJ (I) said it was suspected that the culprits are associated with “influential people” in Uttar Pradesh and similar incidents involving the sand-mining mafia have taken place over recent years

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Delhi Riots Exclusive: RSS Members Arrested for Murder, Rioting

“I am scared that these people will kill me and my family like they killed my father. I am mustering all my strength to register this complaint. I request you that legal action be taken against the accused and me and my family be given protection,” Sahil Parvez wrote on 19 March in a complaint at the Idgah relief camp set up in the aftermath of the northeast Delhi riots.

At the time of his father’s death on 25 February, the FIR only had section 302 of the IPC (murder) attached, however after Sahil’s detailed complaint, which he claims were not paid heed to earlier, relevant sections were added to the existing FIR. Consequently, over twenty men were questioned and 16 arrested from North Ghonda. The Quint has confirmed these sixteen accused were either active members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), post-holders (zimmedaar), or had visited the local shakha on and off. They were all arrested on charges of murder (Section 302), rioting (Section 147), rioting armed with deadly weapon (Section 148), being part of an unlawful assembly (Section 149) and criminal conspiracy (Section 120 B) on 9 April, the relatives of the accused and the lawyer of the victim confirmed to The Quint

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Delhi police accused of filing false charges over February riots

Delhi police have been accused of filing false and politically motivated charges against pro-democracy activists to blame them for the Delhi riots – while not arresting any ruling party figures and police officers for their role in the violence. More than 80 charge sheets have been filed naming those allegedly responsible for inciting the riots, which broke out in February in some of the worst religious violence in India for decadesm.

Hindu mobs, armed with guns, metal rods and gas canisters, set fire to Muslim homes, shops and mosques and Muslims were beaten and killed in the street. Thousands of Muslim families lost their homes and more than 40 of the 53 who died in the riots were Muslim.

Accounts given to the Guardian in the aftermath, backed up by CCTV footage, accused officers of not only ignoring the violence carried out by Hindu mobs but in some cases enabling it and even taking part.

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Malad man sells SUV, gives oxygen cylinders to 250 families

Thirty-one-year old Shahnawaz Shaikh’s Ford Endeavour was his prized possession.… During the lockdown, he had been using it as a makeshift ambulance. But on May 28, the sister of his business partner – who was six months pregnant – died of Covid-19 in an autorickshaw, outside a hospital, after being turned away from five others.

On learning that her life could have been saved if she had received oxygen in time, Shaikh decided to sell his SUV, use the money to buy oxygen cylinders and give them for free to others in need. Since he began distributing them on June 5, he has given oxygen cylinders to more than 250 families of Covid-19 patients.… Once he acquired them, he and his friends spread the word, along with his phone number, on social media. “There are just two simple things we ask from people calling to say they need oxygen cylinders – one, a doctor’s recommendation, and two, that they come pick it up themselves,” he said. In exceptional cases, like when the entire family is in quarantine, a team of volunteers in protective gear travels across the city with oxygen cylinders

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Malappuram: Target Of Right-Wing Propaganda, South India’s Only Muslim Majority District Is Example Of Secularism

For the Muslim residents of Moonnakkal village located on the outskirts of Valanchery town in Kerala’s Malappuram district, there is nothing extraordinary about hundreds of women with different religious identities forming long queues in the premises of the local Juma Masjid at least thrice a month.

These women are representing over 28,000 poor families settled in 171 mahals (localities) spread across 21 Gram Panchayats located around Valanchery, and they all are beneficiaries of a unique food security mechanism centred around the mosque for several decades.

“More than half of our beneficiaries are Hindus and Christians. For us, religion has never been a criterion in enrolling people. For the beneficiary families, there is no need of spending money on food grains,” said N Rahmatulla, secretary of masjid administrative committee.

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Rights groups, activists ask US to designate India as CPC for religious violence, impose sanctions

Washington, D.C., June 23, 2020

More than a thousand civil rights organizations, academicians and activists have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), which is the US Government’s list of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, and impose sanctions on the perpetrators in India.

In an open letter submitted to the Department of State this week, they urged Secretary Pompeo to implement these recommendations that have been made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal body that advises US Congress and President, in regards to India in its Annual Report 2020.

Implementing the recommendations “will send a clear message that the US believes religious freedom and peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths are the lynchpin of global stability.” Imposing “targeted sanctions” on Indian agencies and officials, including freezing of their assets and barring their entry into the US, would be “an effective measure against the State-backed assaults on religious minorities,” the letter said.

Increased violence against India’s religious minorities, which include 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians, is a “grave threat not only to its secular and pluralist polity but also to regional stability in South Asia, with implications for global peace and security and India’s ability to be an effective strategic partner for the US,” it added.

“India’s failure to uphold its commitment to religious freedom negates its Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights that India has signed,” the letter said. “It also contradicts the ideals of freedom and justice that the US and India share.”

The organizations signing the letter included Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, International Christian Concern, Emgage Action, Genocide Watch, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations, The Sikh Coalition, Council on American-Islamic Relations, The Boston Coalition, Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSIA), American Muslim Institution, and Aligarh Alumni Association DFW.

Representatives from Save the Persecuted Christians, Jubilee Campaign USA, Church of Scientology, Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, Boat People SOS, American Humanist Association, Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Christian Freedom International, Institute on Religion and Democracy, The Interfaith Center of New York, Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (UCSJ), New York Theological Seminary, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, Sikh National Center Inc., Law and Liberty International, Dallas Peace and Justice Center, Federation of Telugu Churches, among others, also signed the letter.

The USCIRF report, released in April, called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations” by way of instituting “national level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims,” engaging in “hate speech and incitement to violence,” and allowing the violence to “continue with impunity.”

The letter also urged Secretary Pompeo to ask India to “repeal” the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which excludes Muslim migrants from expedited citizenship available to followers of other faiths.

“India’s real motive in bringing this law last December was to combine it with a proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) that purports to identify illegals on the basis of documents such as birth certificates that millions of bona fide citizens do not possess,” the letter said.

The signatories also asked Mr. Pompeo to convey to India that its discriminatory treatment of Christians was “unacceptable.”

“Since Mr. Modi took power in 2014, attacks on Christians have increased as has their harassment and targeting through layers of persecution. Church services are disrupted regularly and Christians brutalized and arrested on false evidence. Local, regional and national administrations work with political leaderships to systematically target Christians,” the letter said.


Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270



Twitter: <a href=””>@IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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The ambiguity of the RSS and its complex worldview

In recent years, as the Sangh Parivar moved to the centrestage of politics in India, there have been several new tomes. Dinesh Narayanan’s The RSS and the Making of the Deep Nation steers clear of predictable courses.&hellip; this book captures various facets of the Sangh in a rather dispassionate manner&hellip;. The author is wary of conclusive statements, while he curiously examines the RSS’ vacillations, contradictions, and its unwavering and patient march towards turning India into a Hindu rashtra.

Acting through numerous fronts and speaking in multiple tongues, the RSS grew immensely powerful over nearly a century but it ferociously preserved a certain insularity from public inquiry.&hellip; Despite its recent, tentative transparency, the RSS’ genetic code still retains a lot of mystery. the RSS has a mechanism to train civil service aspirants, and at least 4,000 currently serving civil servants came through it. This constitutes a permanent influence of the Sangh within the instruments of the state, but when the BJP is in power, they are also the preferred ones for staffing crucial positions.

Founding RSS sarsanghachalak or chief B.G. Hegdewar believed that calling Muslims traitors would imply that they were part of the nation and preferred to refer to them as enemies. There has been a spectrum of understandings within the Sangh on Muslims. This book is a valuable and readable addition to the literature on the RSS.

<a href=””></a>

Book: The RSS and the Making of the Deep Nation

Author: Dinesh Narayanan

Reviewer: Varghese K. George

Available at: Penguin Random House, <a href=””>Email</a>

; 344 Pages, ISBN13 9780670089970 Rs. 599.00

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How can Indians Support Cows when they can’t Support Humans, Is Cow an Agenda to Capture 80% Votes Using Emotional Sentiments – By Priyadharshini Varadharajan

Religious discrimination is a very crippling issue for a democratic and diverse nation like India. And we have been observing that happening over the past few years. Hinduism has been getting a lot of attention with the Bhartiya Janata Party in power.  BJP has been abolishing laws they deem unnecessary, for example, the removal of Article 30 resulted in many communities being pushed to minority status in India and this has been causing a lot of trouble to the general lives of people. 

The banning of cattle slaughter and the export of aged cattle out of the state resulted in the abandonment of many cattle causing them to become feral. The BJP government has been enforcing laws for the protection of cows and cattle in order to save the sacred animal of the Hindus. This rule has plunged meat and leather exporters into losses and broke the supply chain between these industries and dairy farmers.&hellip; The economy is not the only victim of this cattle protection program.

The BJP has introduced a law to impose life imprisonment for slaughtering a cow in Gujarat.&hellip; A 55-year old dairy farmer was brutally thrashed and killed because he was seen transporting cattle. The UP government recently approved a draft ordinance issued to prevent crimes against cows and their slaughter. It held 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 5 lakhs. But a lot of the citizens consider this cow protection to be a means of political technique to bring in divisions.

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Genealogy of Islamophobia and Construction of Muslims as Enemy in India – By Mohammad Saif

Being a Muslim in India is one of the biggest threats since the last few years, particularly in the reign of the BJP. I think the prevailing narrative has its base in the predecessors of radical Hindu ideologue. The consequential series of pity narrative and villainizing Muslims in the eye of Indians got manifested as terrorists, anti-nationals, cow murderers, inequity towards women in Islam, beef issue, Islamophobic cartoons, appropriation in the newspapers, systematic targeting of Muslims regarding anti-CAA protest by linking these Muslim students cum activists to Delhi riots and very incapacitated apprehension of Islam as the threat to Hinduism.

In this article, an effort is made to explore Islamophobia in the thoughts and writings of Hindu Nationalist ideologoes which was later transformed in the speeches, interviews and the podcasts of BJP leaders which provided a base to its increase in our day to day lives. 

After providing a background to this, my focus will be on the strategy and propaganda adopted by ultra-nationalist organizations of Hindutva and the political leaders of the BJP – who are working in the various dimensions of characterizing Muslims as Islamophobic. The BJP and RSS act out the Islamophobic chronicle at the lowest level in the country.

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The accelerating rise of a dangerous new nationalism in India – By Emily Tamkin

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will give citizenship to migrants fleeing persecution, provided that those migrants are not Muslim. This stands in opposition to the Indian constitution&hellip; although India’s governing party, the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has denied that there is any connection between the CAA and the NRC, many have connected the dots. They envisage a future in which a NRC is implemented and then the CAA is introduced&hellip; The group most affected by this is, obviously, India’s Muslims.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted US President Donald Trump and violence broke out in north-east Delhi. Though perhaps “broke out” is too passive: over 50 people were killed; the majority of the dead were Muslim, and it was their fellow Indian citizens who killed them.&hellip; Some asked why the police, under the control of Shah and the Home Ministry, did not step in to stop the massacre; others said that they did not precisely because the Delhi police are controlled by the Home Ministry.

A month later, the country was in lockdown in the face of coronavirus.&hellip; the pressure on those speaking out against the government increased in its wake.&hellip; a colonial-era law meant to control the spread of diseases appeared to be used against someone who dissented&hellip; And all the while, life became more dangerous for India’s Muslims, who are being used as a scapegoat for the advance of Covid-19.&hellip; Alongside this are concerns that measures put in place for public health reasons could be used instead to surveil citizens.&hellip;  The app&hellip; has been criticised for its lack of data protection, and activists have noted that the government could exploit it by extracting data on its foes.

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The Paralysis of Justice in India – By Sambhav Sharma

The political weaponisation and a narrow definition of religion is the appalling reality of India today. Minorities, especially Muslims, are made to face the brunt of discrimination on all fronts, thereby taking away their rights on multiple counts. We have harboured an arbitrary prejudice against particular communities in India which somehow appears to have institutional backing.

The advertent correlation of nationality and religion is poisonous to say the least, and the idea of a ‘Hindu Rajya’ serves directly against the constitutional guarantee of secularism. Consequently, the instilled Islamophobia is brought to the surface by pitting the communities against each other.

Coming to the fundamental question of whether the ideals enshrined in our Constitution regarding equality and freedom have been met with. A simple comprehension of the political and social environment in India gives us an answer in the negative. Where Muslims and other minorities are forced to live in a constant fear of subjugation, the scope of justice seems to be bleak.

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India’s Migrant Labor Pains – By Neeta Lal

An exodus of migrant laborers have fled India’s cities – the old and the frail, walking with sticks; couples struggling with infants and luggage, sobbing children trailing behind, trudging hundreds of kilometers on highways back to their native villages.

The pandemic exposed precarious living conditions for the nation’s poor in overcrowded shanties where social distancing and handwashing sound like a cruel joke. More than 85 percent of the country’s workforce toil in the informal economy, reports the International Labor Organization, and as many as a third of the country’s population are internal migrants.

Experts fear the humanitarian crisis will push this segment further into penury, as noted by the International Labor Organization in a report on Covid-19 and migration, warning of “catastrophic consequences” for about 400 million people working in India’s informal economy. A World Bank study on the same topic is equally grim:  “Lockdowns, loss of employment, and social distancing prompted a chaotic and painful process of mass return for internal migrants in India.

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Delhi violence: How India’s human rights defenders have been silenced – By Ashish Khetan

Justice for the victims of the Gujarat carnage and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was pursued by such coalitions, comprising human rights activists and lawyers, NGOs, journalists, and police and judicial officers. They forged on, unceasingly and doggedly against institutional indifference, inaction and state complicity for years – sometimes decades. It was due to the relentless efforts of these groups that justice was secured, at least partially, in Gujarat and in some cases in the 1984 riots.

The Delhi riots that broke out earlier this year are different – for no such coalition has so far coalesced or has been allowed to form around the cause. Recently, a few chargesheets were filed against members of both the Hindu and Muslim communities. But no offences have been registered against politicians who gave the inflammatory speeches that instigated the riots.

There is also no judicial or public pressure to act against them. There has been no monitoring of police investigations by the judiciary, no journalistic interventions in the form of investigative reports. Rights activists, who in the past were the prime catalysts for action, have been silenced. Worse, some have been put in the dock by a blatantly-biased state.&hellip; India has a long, shameful history of communal riots. But the Delhi riots and its aftermath shows that the moral challenge to the ascent of the malevolence and the retreat of righteousness has been vanquished.

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UN chief expresses concern over child casualties in J&K, asks govt to end use of pellet guns

UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over child casualties in Jammu and Kashmir and urged the government to take preventive measures to protect the children.

The Secretary-General’s report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’ said that the UN had&hellip; “verified” the killing of eight children and maiming of seven (13 boys, 2 girls), between the ages of 1 and 17, “by or during joint operations of the Central Reserve Police Force, the Indian Army (Rashtriya Rifles) and the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Lashkar-e-Toiba, unidentified armed elements, or during shelling across the Line of Control.”

The UN also verified attacks on nine schools in Jammu and Kashmir by “unidentified elements”, the report said.&hellip; “I remain concerned by child casualties in Jammu and Kashmir and call upon the Government to take preventive measures to protect children, including by ending the use of pellets against children.

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UP villagers launch attack on Sikh youth; Throw his turban in sewerage

A painful video has emerged over social media in which a mob of Hindu residents 

could be seen attacking an innocent Sikh youth while disrespectfully pulling his hairs. The incident occurred in village Sherpur of Uttar Pradesh on June 14.

Sources have informed that two Sikh youths were passing through village Sherpur on June 14 when their car suddenly touched the car of another youth who is learned to be a resident of the same village. Following this, heated exchange of arguments occurred between the duo sides after which the local village youth called his clan members to dominate over Sikh youths.

At this, one of these Sikh youths took out his Kirpan to defend himself, but the locals called up police cops. When police cops reached there, another Sikh youth went for verbal talk to settle down the quarrel, but the villagers launched attack on him in the presence of cops. The attackers removed his turban and threw it in nearby open sewerage. They also pulled hairs of Sikh youth during this attack. After this incident, a wave of outrage spread across the Sikh community living in nearby areas.

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Muslim Driver Transporting Cattle Brutally Thrashed in Mangalore by Cow Vigilantes

After a brief pause in cases of mob violence in the name of cow, a Muslim driver has been brutally thrashed allegedly by some Bajrang Dal goons in this Karnataka city when he was transporting cattle in his vehicle.

The driver identified as Mohd Hanif was tied with the tempo on which he was carrying the cattle and brutally beaten him up by a mob of cow vigilantes on the roadside.

CCTV footage of the incident surfaced on social media which showed the mob stopping the vehicle and snapping at the driver. The footage graphically shows how the mob dragged the driver out of the vehicle and took him to somewhere after damaging the vehicle.

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CBI files case against BJP leader, others for defrauding Bank of India

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against BJP’s Mumbai unit general secretary Mohit Kamboj and others for allegedly cheating the state-run Bank of India to the tune of Rs 67.22 crore.&hellip; the case pertains to alleged fraudulent transactions done by Avyaan Overseas Pvt Ltd (now Bagla Overseas), a gold jewellery exporter, between 2013 to 2018. Kamboj was the managing director at Avyaan Overseas and had also given a personal guarantee to the bank.

The CBI said it has conducted searches at five places in Mumbai at the residential and official premises of the directors of the company, including Kamboj, which has led to “recovery of certain incriminating documents including property, loan, various bank account details and locker keys”.

Last year, Kamboj was declared a wilful defaulter by Bank of Baroda for non-payment of loans by his firm Avyaan Ornaments.&hellip; and was the party’s MLA candidate from Dindoshi Vidhansabha in 2014. He had also changed his last name to Bhartiya in January 2019.

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Dalit-Muslim Clash in Jaunpur: Chandrashekhar Azad Warns Against Hidden Agenda of RSS

A clash between Dalits and Muslims in a village in UP’s Jaunpur district last week has left the area communally polarised, thanks to the extra-ordinary interest shown in the case by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. It has also given a new opportunity to the Hindutva forces and a section of media to corner Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad who has been trying to bring his community and Muslims closer and form some sort of an alliance.

An altercation between Dalit and Muslim boys escalated into a full-fledged clash that resulted in injuries on both sides and burning of 10 huts of Dalit families at Batheti village in the district on the night of June 9. Dalits have blamed it on Muslims but Muslims deny their involvement. Police arrested 37 people, all Muslims, after filing an FIR against 57 named and up to 25 unnamed persons.&hellip; the police refused to listen the complaints of the Muslim community. Fearing arrests Muslim youths have fled the village. Police have announced Rs 5,000 each on their heads and deployed force in the village.

But the promptness shown by Adityanath and his administration did not please the Dalit leadership. Azad, who heads Bhim Army, an Ambedkarite and Dalit rights organisation, saw in it an ulterior motive. “After every atrocity you have to come on the street to press for action against the culprits. But here, the state machinery has become proactive. A strict action has been taken because it fits into the hidden agenda of RSS,” Azad said in a video message to his people.

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55 Indian Journalists Arrested, Booked, Threatened For Reporting on COVID-19: Report

Ashwini Saini&hellip; filed a video report on April 8. The report highlighted the failure of the district administration in supplying rations to migrant workers stranded in the district’s Sundernagar sub-division. the Sundernagar sub-divisional magistrate Rahul Chauhan filed an FIR against Saini under the Disaster Management Act, accusing him of spreading ‘fake news’.&hellip; His car, which he had been using to report, was seized. In total, Saini has five FIRs against him, filed by police of the BJP-ruled state, through the month of April, for his journalism.

These are among several instances of law enforcement’s action against media personnel, spanning various states that found place in a report – India: Media’s Crackdown During Covid-19 Lockdown – published this week. Collated by Delhi-based Rights and Risk Analysis Group (RRAG), the report states that as many as 55 journalists “faced arrest, registration of FIRs, summons or show cause notices, physical assaults, alleged destruction of properties and threats” for reporting on COVID-19 or “exercising freedom of opinion and expression during the national lockdown between March 25 and May 31, 2020.”

RRAG director Suhas Chakma said, “Even though the Supreme Court on March 31 refused to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic, the repression (by the government) on journalists who acted as messengers by risking their lives to convey the news on (about) various mismanagement, deficiencies, corruption, hunger of migrant workers/impoverished citizens, lack of adequate PPE (personal protection kits) for doctors at hospitals, etc. began in earnest.

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Telangana high court: Why mostly Muslims booked during lockdown?

Telangana high court on Wednesday asked Hyderabad police officials why it had booked a disproportionally high number of Muslims for violating lockdown rules. “Does it mean that there are no violators from other communities?” a bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy asked while hearing a PIL on alleged police excesses during the national lockdown. 

The judges also said, “Look at what is happening in the US where an African-American was killed by the cops and the entire country is now burning.” The bench felt that the approach of the police towards minorities was high-handed. Social activist Sheela Sarah Mathews, who filed the PIL, narrated a series of incidents where the police have been accused of treating Muslims badly which resulted in severe injuries. 

Her counsel Dipak Misra cited the case of Junaid, who had to undergo got 35 stitches on his face after cops beat him up. Junaid was supplying food to migrant workers and some cops when he was stopped by a constable. &hellip;”Why are the victims in all these cases are Muslims?” the bench wondered. Asking the DGP to take action, it said: “Deal with delinquent cops in a stern manner and file a fresh affidavit by June 29.”

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British Muslims held for two months in India claim religious persecution

Eight British Muslims detained in India for more than two months face criminal charges after getting caught up in a court case in which thousands of foreign Muslims are accused of violating the coronavirus lockdown. The men allege they are victims of religious persecution by the Indian government, which is led by the rightwing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), known for its anti-Muslim agenda.&hellip;

The men were held for over 50 days with no charges. It was only after a court petition was filed on 20 May, challenging the government for keeping 1,000 foreigners in “illegal detention”, that charge sheets were filed. In court, Delhi police denied the foreigners were even in custody. The case has since been expanded to blanket-charge more than 2,500 foreign Muslims.

“It’s targeting one religious group,” said Ashima Mandla, a lawyer representing the accused foreigners collectively. “Why were they held for two months with no charge, even after they tested negative for coronavirus? It is quite clear that was illegal detention and a clear violation of the constitution and the fabric of liberty.

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India: Human Rights Defenders Targeted by a Coordinated Spyware Operation

The arrest of the eleven HRDs is an egregious example of how Indian authorities are clamping down on dissent and activism. These activists have been charged under various penal provisions and the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), an anti-terror law that violates several international human rights standards and circumvents fair trial guarantees. 

It is also routinely used to intimidate HRDs, journalists, activists and students through arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention. These 11 activists are currently imprisoned and rights groups, including Amnesty International India, have demanded their release.

The attempts at unlawful surveillance outlined in this blog are not the first time that activists and HRDs have been targeted with malware in India. In October 2019, Facebook’s WhatsApp revealed that NSO Group, a surveillance tool vendor, had exploited a zero-day vulnerability on their platform to target 1400 individuals earlier in the year.&hellip; NSO Group says that it sells its products only to “government intelligence and law enforcement agencies”.

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Denied visa by Indian govt, US Congress advisory body says why no confidence to allow visit

Its teams denied visa by the Indian government following reports critical of the state of religious freedom in India, an advisory body to the US Congress has said Delhi should have “the confidence to allow our visit”.

In an email response to queries by The Indian Express, the spokesperson of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Danielle Saroyan Ashbahian, said: “We want to have a constructive discussion and dialogue with the Indian government. That is why we have long wanted to travel to India and continue to be interested in traveling there.&hellip; At least twice earlier, in 2009 and 2016, India is known to have denied visas to USCIRF teams.

On Friday, the USCIRF also welcomed the release of the US State Department’s 2019 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, which had a detailed account of protests against the Indian government’s decisions regarding Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The report, released by US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo on Thursday, also talks about “religiously inspired mob violence, lynching and communal violence”, and says that “some officials of Hindu-majority parties, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made inflammatory public remarks or social media posts against minority communities”

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Irfan Pathan wins hearts by providing monetary cash-strapped cobbler who sits inside Chennai’s Chepauk

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has continued with his humble donations amid the coronavirus pandemic. From donating masks to food packets and Vitamin C tablets Irfan Pathan, along with his elder brother Yusuf Pathan has left no stone unturned to show that humanity is still alive in this world.

But this time around his latest donation to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) official cobbler is winning hearts. The Baroda-born cricketer-turned-commentator literally followed the cobbler for few days and reached out to him finally to donate approximately the same amount of money which Bhaskaran makes during an IPL season.

Irfan Pathan came to know about the plight of Bhaskaran after reading an article in ESPNcricinfo and from there on he called the cobbler himself after arranging his number. Initially, Irfan failed to reach out to him but he did not give up and succeeded finally.

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Despite risks, Muslim doctors in worst-hit Gujarat offer timely care, support to COVID-19 patients

Muslim medicos in worst-hit Gujarat have been going an extra mile to fulfil their medical-course pledge for helping and curing run-down patients and have proved that not all white-coats are money-grubbing pill-pushers and bone-benders.&hellip; Even during the holy month of Ramadan and after, Muslim interns and resident doctors of the overcrowded state-run hospitals or physicians of private clinics not only sacrificed their comforts and academic studies but also risked their own lives to save precious lives with the situation worsening day every passing day – as one infected person expired every hour.

Mona Desai, president of the Ahmedabad Medical Association, said that Muslim doctors like Dr Didar Kapadia, Dr Murtza and Dr Iftekhar and others are doing a yeoman’s service in these tough times but wondered why cases of assaults on doctors by patients’ relatives were on the rise.

Mujahid Nafees, convener of the Minorities Coordination Committee, Gujarat sums up and says, that, “The sacrifices made by Muslim doctors fighting the pandemic are greater than even those of a soldier battling the enemy troops on the border. A soldier can see the enemies but for doctors, the coronavirus is not visible.”

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Lockdown Brings out the Humane Face of Indian Muslims

Braving hate, discrimination and murderous attacks, uncounted Muslim groups and NGOs came forward to help large population of needy and poor fellow Indians in a gesture to serve the nation. The focus of these Muslim groups while carrying out their respective “Covid-19 Relief Campaigns” was not just distribution of food and dry ration kits but also helping people through helpline, monetary assistance, providing medical assistance such as telemedicine, distribution of PPE kits, sanitisers, masks, setting up quarantine centers and organising blood donation and medical camps and even online career counselling sessions.

Several Muslim groups fanned out across the country to expand their relief and rehabilitation work at pan India level taking a cue from the holy month of Ramzan that promotes charity. As a joint collective, Foundation for Poverty Alleviation along with Qasid Foundation, Basti Suraksha Manch, Bhartiye Navedeep Samiti and Citizens Initiative launched “Project UMEED” to run food drive in Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) also worked at pan India level. The student body started 1,000 helpline centres especially for student community and migrant labourers. “With thousands of volunteers at its disposal, the organisation helped around 10,000 students and one lakh homeless people and daily wagers with food and basic needs. The SIO also distributed around two lakh Ramzan and Eid kits,” Labeed Aliya, national president of SIO said.

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Religious Freedom, Equality and justice Under Threat: US Dept. of State releases 2019 India Report

Religious Persecution and Minority Crimes – Bare Facts

June 12, 2020

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, an advocacy group committed to preserving and promoting India’s secular and tolerant values, today welcomed the comprehensive and systematic reporting on Indian minorities by the office of International Religious Freedom, United States Dept. of State, in its href=””2019 report released on June 10. The report has provided an in-depth coverage and analysis of challenges faced by religious minorities, especially Muslims, Christians and lower caste Hindus (Dalit) in India.

The State Department has highlighted rampant religiously motivated killings, assaults, discrimination, and vandalism. In addition it has referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs data, which reports 7,484 incidents of communal violence during 2008-2017 in which more than 1,100 people were killed. “We welcome the State Department report and its affirmation of what is widely known about unprecedented levels of persecution of India’s minorities,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.

“However, the report can make a meaningful difference only if it is followed by definitive action on the part of the US government in holding the present administration in India accountable for escalating levels of violence and hate targeting Muslims and Dalits,” added Mr. Khan.

The report cites specific examples of horrific lynchings of Muslims, Christians and Dalits. “While the lynchings are atrocious in and of themselves, what should alarm and galvanize the international community to action is the continuing incendiary rhetoric that is now part of mainstream discourse,” said Mr. Syed Afzal Ali, Vice President of IAMC.

“The environment of hate and violence it has created lends support to the perpetrators and explains why the vicious cycle of violence and social boycott continues to get worse,” added Mr. Ali. The report emphasizes the urgent need to put an end to the sectarian hate, and ensure full protection of minorities as guaranteed under the Indian constitution.

It also notes with concern that 9 of the 28 states have laws restricting religious conversion, which does not comply with the secular character of India. The Indian Parliament’s passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has rightly come in for heavy criticism by the State Department.

The CAA which amends the 1955 Citizenship Act to provide an expedited path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014, while similarly-situated Muslims, Jews, atheists from these three countries were excluded.

The report recognized use of excessive force by police against protesters, particularly against Muslim university students in the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. It also highlights that CAA was part of an ongoing BJP effort to marginalize Muslim communities and does not rule out sinister designs of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah.

The revocation of Article 370 and continuing violations of human rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, open legal and social biases against the minorities, and brutal clamp down on peaceful civil dissent, have all rightfully been highlighted in the report.

It is noteworthy that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and another RSS affiliate called Hindu Maha Sabha have been named as being among the proponents of hate crimes against minorities.

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Exclusion, affect, and violence in the many sites of Indian history – By Audrey Truschke

Over the last several months, India has been rocked by widespread protests that seek to pushback against the BJP’s set of bigoted laws and policies– the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). These three policies are designed, when working together, to strip many Indian Muslims of citizenship.

I want to emphasise the stakes of history outside wood-paneled rooms, in terms of human rights, modern identities, and even lives. I also want to argue that more scholars should walk outside the confines of universities and say what they have to say in other, more public contexts.&hellip; Hindutva proponents aim to bring into being the Hindu Rashtra (a Hindu nation), a project that involves significant restrictions on and violence against the twenty percent of modern-day Indians who are non-Hindu, mainly Muslims but also Christians, Sikhs, and others. Some look at maps of the visionary Hindu Rashtra and see lofty unity,&hellip; But I see the exclusion and even violent erasure it would take to achieve a saffron-suffused dystopian India.

By “Indian,” they mean Hindu, a vocabulary substitution that collapses Hindu and Indian into a single identity.&hellip; Hindutva advocates want to erase Muslims from the history of the Indian subcontinent, or at least efface any positive role Muslims might have had. Sometimes, they literally take Muslim rulers, like the Mughals, out of school textbooks. In 2017, Maharashtra reduced discussion of Akbar in history textbooks for classes VII and IX to a mere three lines. In Akbar’s place, they substituted a bigger-than-life imagination of Shivaji. The textbook’s cover shows saffron flags conquering the subcontinent – including Delhi’s Red Fort – in a remarkable display of the counterfactual.

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India’s migrant exodus foreshadows an economic crisis – By Murali Krishnan

The crisis caused by the lockdown, and the lack of preparation, are a stark reminder that the poorest in India are often missing from the national debate. It has also revealed just how dependent India has become on an underappreciated and underserved population. “The government &hellip; failed to imagine that there would be a point that migrants will start walking home,” said Rahul Verma, a fellow at the Center for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank.

The lockdown, and a global downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are likely to erode the economic gains of the past three decades of which India has been proud. Opening the economy and embracing global markets has helped to pull millions of people out of poverty. But over the same period, inequality has widened “beyond imagination,” said Gautam Mody, general secretary of the New Trade Union Initiative, a coalition of independent trade unions.

“The so-called economic boom has not created, and cannot create, that many rich people who can either pull the economy up, or even create the economic activity you need to pull so many people out of poverty. After all, how many Antilias can you build, or how many Rolls-Royces can you buy?” Mody said, referring to the 27-story, billion-dollar Mumbai home of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

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Mysterious ‘Ghost Informer’ Behind Delhi Riot FIRs; Truth Obviously The Casualty – By Mehmood Pracha

The role of the Delhi Police, during the anti-CAA protests, the Northeast Delhi Riots and the coronavirus-induced lockdown, is enough to send shivers down any law abiding citizen’s spine. The objective of the anti-CAA protests – writ large on posters, street art, social media posts, etc – was to ‘Save the Constitution of India’. There was nothing anti-national about the protests or the protestors (mostly students and Muslim women). It is these students and women, fighting as they were, to preserve the spirit of India’s Constitution and our democratic traditions, who have now been tagged as ‘anti-national’ and ‘gaddar’ – not under the law of the land, but by the whims of those in power.

For any discussion on the ongoing spate of arrests of students and activists accused by the Delhi Police of instigating and participating in the Northeast Delhi riots of January this year, there’s a chronology that needs to be made clear. As the anti-CAA protests raged, first came brutal police action against the protestors – the tear-gassing of peaceful protestors and the beating and manhandling of students and women. Then came the arson, looting and massacre of Muslims in Northeast Delhi – the worst-ever pogrom Delhi has witnessed since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.  

The attack was goaded on by the slogan of ‘Desh ke Gaddaron ko, Goli Maaron Saalon ko’ given in full public view by BJP’s Kapil Mishra and broadcast on TV news channels and social media platforms for days before the rioting actually began.&hellip; &hellip;The CAA 2019, followed by an announcement for the process of a pan-India National Register for Citizens (NRC) is clearly meant to serve political motives. These peaceful protests were crushed with a heavy hand after falsely charging the protestors of indulging in violence, especially in BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam or in Delhi where the police is under administrative control of the Union home ministry.

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‘India is witnessing the fastest dismantling of its democracy. Emergency was nothing in comparison’ – By P. Sainath

COVID has presented us with a complete, total, thorough, unsparing autopsy of our development in the last 30 years. We could look away after #Demonetisation. Now the fire is at our door step. We are watching the fastest dismantling of parliamentary democracy in our history and the Emergency was nothing in comparison.

If COVID gave us an autopsy of Indian society, it also gave us a brain scan of elite thinking, and a brain scan of media thinking. A prominent editor on his own online TV thing says “never waste a good crisis”. That this is the time to ram through labour reforms. What does it say about the Indian elite and their cruelty and absolute rapaciousness and ruthlessness toward the less privileged sections of society?

The newspapers that have woken up to COVID are the ones which are shedding journalists like confetti. The biggest media owner in the country is also the richest Indian in the world. We are the only country in the world which has TV channels which cover the neighbouring country more than their own. When the solicitor-general took off the media, I was wondering which media was he talking about? 95% of the media are with him.”

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Indian Muslims facing ‘genocidal climate’ amid pandemic – Arundhati Roy with Daniela Bezzi

The cases are rocketing up, and now number 280,000. As the graph climbs the lockdown has been lifted. Having broken everything, the government has now absolved itself of all responsibility, and is telling us that we have to learn to live with the virus.&hellip; It is only Modi’s hubris, his unchallenged power and his complete lack of understanding of the country he rules that could have resulted in such a mighty disaster. He is cunning, but unintelligent. That is a dangerous combination. 

Add to all this, the Modi Government’s overt Islamophobia, amplified by a shameless, irresponsible mainstream media – that overtly blamed Muslims for being spreaders of disease. You have whole TV shows dedicated to “COVID jihad” etc&hellip; Young Muslims, students and activists are being arrested every day for being “conspirators” in the massacre. While ruling party politicians who actually came out on the streets calling for “traitors” to be shot, remain in positions of power and high visibility.

Over the last couple of years we have had so many instances of mob lynchings and George Floyd-type killings – the difference in India being that Hindu vigilante mobs do the killing and the police, the legal system and the political climate help them to get away with it.&hellip; Think of the pogrom that continued for months in 2002 in Gujarat, when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of that State. Muslims were slaughtered in broad daylight. Modi looked away and has never expressed regret. Quite the contrary. He has ridden to power on that legacy. He and his ministers are members of the Hindu supremacist RSS, the most powerful organisation in India whose founding ideologues were inspired by Mussolini and Italian fascism.

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Indian Muslims facing ‘genocidal climate’ amid pandemic – Arundhati Roy with Daniela Bezzi

The cases are rocketing up, and now number 280,000. As the graph climbs the lockdown has been lifted. Having broken everything, the government has now absolved itself of all responsibility, and is telling us that we have to learn to live with the virus.&hellip; It is only Modi’s hubris, his unchallenged power and his complete lack of understanding of the country he rules that could have resulted in such a mighty disaster. He is cunning, but unintelligent. That is a dangerous combination. 

Add to all this, the Modi Government’s overt Islamophobia, amplified by a shameless, irresponsible mainstream media – that overtly blamed Muslims for being spreaders of disease. You have whole TV shows dedicated to “COVID jihad” etc&hellip; Young Muslims, students and activists are being arrested every day for being “conspirators” in the massacre. While ruling party politicians who actually came out on the streets calling for “traitors” to be shot, remain in positions of power and high visibility.

Over the last couple of years we have had so many instances of mob lynchings and George Floyd-type killings – the difference in India being that Hindu vigilante mobs do the killing and the police, the legal system and the political climate help them to get away with it.&hellip; Think of the pogrom that continued for months in 2002 in Gujarat, when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of that State. Muslims were slaughtered in broad daylight. Modi looked away and has never expressed regret. Quite the contrary. He has ridden to power on that legacy. He and his ministers are members of the Hindu supremacist RSS, the most powerful organisation in India whose founding ideologues were inspired by Mussolini and Italian fascism.

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Indians Are Supporting George Floyd – and Ignoring Police Brutality in Their Own Country – By Raksha Kumar

As tens of thousands of Americans continue to protest the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last week, the world’s attention has focused on the problems of racism and police brutality in the United States. Thousands of miles away, in India, prominent public figures and Bollywood stars such as Priyanka Chopra have taken to social media to express their sadness at the way in which Floyd died.

But the U.S. protests also raise an uncomfortable question in the world’s largest democracy: Why are there no mass demonstrations over the frequent cases of police brutality in India?&hellip; In the weeks following India’s strict coronavirus lockdown that began on March 25, a gush of media reports told a story of unfettered police aggression.&hellip; Some recent police activity seems vengeful. In the past six weeks, Delhi’s police have arrested several student union leaders and other dissidents who legally protested anti-Muslim government laws in January and February – demonstrations that came to a halt primarily because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Delhi’s police force, which reports directly to the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, faced blame in February when religious violence ripped apart neighborhoods in the city’s northeast. A clash between demonstrators for and against the government’s controversial citizenship laws flared into riots after police threw stones at Muslim protesters and beat young Muslim men to death, according to the BBC. One video caught cops smashing closed-circuit TV cameras, while another showed them helping men gather stones to throw. Several reports showed that policemen stood by while the attackers went about their business, leading expert observers to describe the rioting as a state-backed pogrom. Not a single policeman has been arrested for the documented excesses during the riots.

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Dalit Men Beaten, Paraded With Shoes Hung Around Their Neck in UP

In a grim reminder of the 2016 Una flogging incident, three other oppressed caste men were tied up, beaten, forcefully tonsured and paraded around with shoes hung around their necks in Lucknow-s Barauli Khalilabad village.

The incident happened on 4 June after the three men – one belonging to the OBC and the other two belonging to Scheduled Castes – were allegedly caught stealing a fan from a house of a ‘Brahmin man’, the local police told The Quint.

“After the family caught the three men, other villagers also gathered and soon the mob started thrashing them. To humiliate them further, they shaved their heads abruptly and paraded them around the village with shoes hung around their neck,” said PGI police station in-charge KK Mishra.

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Odisha: Hindu Group Murders Christian Boy

In another instance of Hindutva violence, a 14 year old converted Christian boy was crushed to death by a Hindu group in Odisha’s Malkangiri. &hellip; According to the First information Report, the boy and his family including his father had adopted Christianity three years ago. Since then, a group of people who are associated with Hindutva groups has been harassing them.

The victim’s family members alleged that few villagers identified as Deba Madkami, Budra Muchaki, Aaita Kabasi, Rabu Madi and others picked up the minor and his two other relatives on the pretext to attend a meeting in the jungle at 11.00 pm on June 4.

On June 5, a missing complaint was filed in Malkangiri Police station by the victim’s brother. The father of the victim had filed an FIR after his son went missing. &hellip; The minor’s body was allegedly chopped into pieces by the accused and later they buried the body parts before fleeing from the spot.

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Sikh Alleges Assault & Communal Slur by UP Police, Inquiry Ordered

A Sikh student Gursimar Setia has alleged that he was assaulted, verbally abused and his articles of faith attacked by Uttar Pradesh Police personnel in Agra on the evening of 6 June. Setia, who studies at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, claimed that the incident took place at 7.40 PM at Sanjay Place in Agra where had come with his friend to withdraw cash.

“Seeing two men, the police began harassing us&hellip;.ASP Saurabh Dixit started verbally abusing me after seeing that I had long hair tied in a bun,” Setia claimed on Twitter.&hellip; Setia alleges that Dixit asked for his ID and after seeing that he was Sikh, began abusing him and “proceeded to physically assault” him and even pulled his hair. He claims that even his friend was assaulted by the police.

Now, uncut hair is an article of faith for Sikhs and attack on it is considered sacrilege. “When I told him that he had outraged my religious sentiments and that I had taken note of his name from the badge he was wearing, he told me he is IPS and there is nothing I can do about it,” Setia wrote on Twitter.

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UP: Muslim Families Put up ‘For Sale’ Signs Outside Homes in Shamli, Some Flee, Citing Police Brutality

In a development reminiscent of the Kairana exodus, over two hundred Muslim families of Taprana village in Shamli town in Muzzafarnagar district, Uttar Pradesh, have alleged that they were being persecuted for being a religious minority by the local police at the behest of the Yogi Adityanath government. They have threatened to leave the area where they were born, grew up and built their homes.

Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government in the state in 2017, and Yogi Adityanath assumed the office of Chief Minister, there has been a history of allegations of police discrimination. This is not the first time when Muslims have threatened an exodus due to alleged police persecution in the state.

According to local Muslim residents, Shamli has seen repeated incidents of harassment and alleged one-sided action by the police, inciting communal tensions, in clashes between Hindus and Muslims. The local Muslims have put up ‘for sale’ signs outside their houses, requesting people to buy the properties so that they could vacate them.

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‘I will not see COVID-19 positive Muslim patients’: Alleged WhatsApp chat of Rajasthan doctors go viral

In recent times, there has been several reports pertaining to religious bias and now, screenshots of a purported conversation between the staff of a Rajasthan hospital has come under the police scanner.&hellip; According to an Indian Express report, the staff of a private hospital in Churu district had had a WhatsApp conversation about not treating Muslim patients. Allegedly, the individuals are associated with the Srichand Baradiya Rog Nidan Kendra in the Sardarshahar area of Rajasthan.

One of the members of the group called ‘BARDIA RISE’ had vowed to not do X-rays for Muslim patients from the next day. The same individual had also urged others to stop attending to Muslim patients. The members also opined that since that only Muslims had tested positive in the Sardarshahar area, they should be attended to by a Muslim doctor.

“We should not say this, but they are terrorists. And we are providing them VIP treatment, providing them food&hellip; exhausting our resources on them,” Dr Aarti Lalchandani was heard saying in the clip

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Delhi Riot: Chronology in Charge Sheet Omits Kapil Mishra’s Speech

In the charge sheets it has filed in connection with the Delhi riots, the Delhi Police has attached as much focus on the “chronology” that allegedly led to the riots, as to the communal violence that took place in February 2020.&hellip; The interesting part is that the police’s “chronology” entirely omits BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech at Maujpur on 23 February, in which he gave an ultimatum to the Delhi Police to “clear the streets” in three days or he would get it done on his own.

Kapil Mishra’s speech hasn’t been mentioned in the charge sheet at all. This despite the fact that the DCP was present when Mishra gave his ultimatum to the police.&hellip; The onus of violence is put entirely on the anti-CAA protesters. This is surprising as according to the police’s own charge sheet, the major clashes broke out on 24 February precisely at Maujpur, the area where Mishra made his speech.

There have been media reports such as this one in Outlook that quote eyewitnesses who claim that Mishra said, “Yahi sahi mauka hai. Isse bhuna lo. Ab chook gaye to dubaara mauka nahi milega. (This is the right time. Exploit it. If you miss it, you won’t get another opportunity). Strangely, the police considers protests in Jamia Millia Islamia – separated from the riots by a period of two months and a distance of over 20 kilometers – more relevant than a provocative speech delivered on the exact area where violence broke out 24 hours later.

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How lives were destroyed under cover of lockdown in a small Indian town

Under the cover of lockdown, they came. Armed with petrol bombs, acid bombs, gas cylinders, molotov cocktails and explosives, the men, numbering around 100, piled stealthily into small boats to cross over the Ganges river. Reaching their target, the banks of the small town of Telinipara, they climbed ashore. And then, they pounced. Over three days in this small town in West Bengal, which, like the rest of India was under a strict nationwide coronavirus lockdown that confined everyone to their homes, Hindu attackers burned and decimated Muslim homes and shops and vandalised two mosques and a Muslim shrine.

Since Narendra Modi’s far-right Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) took power in India in 2014, with an agenda to make India a Hindu rather than secular nation, India’s Muslims – who make up 14% of the country – have faced increasing persecution, often state-sponsored. Already socio-economically disadvantaged, Muslims have faced discrimination, boycotts and fatal lynchings and a recent amendment to the citizenship law, introduced in December, ruled that refugees from all religions except Islam could have Indian citizenship.

Modi’s landslide re-election win in May last year marked an escalation in the Hindu nationalist agenda, and with that came more brazenly anti-Muslim rhetoric from BJP leaders and politicians. It was the provocative comments of a BJP leader that are widely acknowledged to have sparked the communal riots in Delhi in February. And as coronavirus began to take hold across India in March, it was the comments of BJP politicians and public figures that helped fuel the widely-adopted conspiracy theory that it was a “Muslim virus” and that Muslims across the country were on a mission of “corona jihad” to infect innocent Hindus.

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India’s George Floyd moment caught on cam: Cop assaults man while kneeling on his neck

In a horrific incident, a Jodhpur police officer kneeled on the neck of a man and thrashed him brutally for not wearing a mask in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur on Thursday. The man got into a fistfight with the two policemen after they tried to challan him for not putting on a mask amid the viral pandemic.

In the video, a policeman can be seen raining punches on the man, identified as Somkaran, while pinning him down on the ground with a knee on his neck, something that happened with George Floyd in the US.&hellip; The two police constables, who are seen in the video, are attached to the Devkaran Police Station.

While Somakaran has been arrested for attacking on-duty police officers, no action has been taken against the two cops so far.&hellip; Former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Vikram Singh said&hellip; that the policemen should not have behaved in this irresponsible, callous and insensitive manner. He added that the police leadership should suspend the cop immediately and if he is found prima facie guilty, then he should be dismissed from service.

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“You Be Careful,” Ram Madhav Tells BBC Journalist After Being Grilled On Subramanian Swamy’s Comments On Muslims

Talking to Stephen Sackur on BBC HARDtalk, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav faced a flurry of questions that he seemed uncomfortable answering to. He faced intense grilling by the BBC journalist who questioned him on various issues including Subramanian Swamy’s ‘Muslims not equal’ comments, Kapil Mishra’s communal tweets, and Home Minister Amit Shah’s ‘termites’ jibe aimed at Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. Madhav, however, tried to provide justification to these statements by his party leaders.

The journalist told Madhav that he was living in a parallel universe of his own after Madhav rejected the allegations that the BJP government led by Narendra Modi has used the coronavirus pandemic lockdown to go after the Muslim community.

Countering the refusal by Madhav on Muslim discrimination, Sackur said, “Are you not aware that just last month the BJP MP, Subramanian Swamy, said, ‘Muslims if they become anything like 30% of our population, they will be a danger to the country.’ Muslims, he said, are not in an equal category. This is the language of pure discrimination and coming from senior figures in your party.

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US State Department releases scathing report on Religious persecution of minorities in India

In August the central government revoked the semiautonomous status of the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The revocation sparked protests, criticism from Muslim leaders, and challenges filed in the Supreme Court from opposition politicians, human rights activists, and others.&hellip; Seventeen civilians and three security personnel were killed during the protests. In December parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which accelerates citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who entered the country on or before December 31, 2014, but not for similarly-situated migrants who are Muslims, Jews, atheists, or members of other faiths.

Issues of religiously inspired mob violence, lynching, and communal violence were sometimes denied or ignored by lawmakers, according to a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and media outlets. There were reports by NGOs that the government sometimes failed to act to prevent or stop mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government. Some officials of Hindu-majority parties, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made inflammatory public remarks or social media posts against minority communities.

In their engagement with government officials, media, interfaith harmony organizations and NGOs, U.S. officials emphasized the need to address the legitimate concerns of the country’s religious minorities, condemn communal rhetoric, and ensure full protection of minorities as guaranteed under the constitution. In March the embassy organized a speaking tour by a U.S. religious harmony expert to the northern cities of Lucknow, Allahabad, and Varanasi.

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Aurangabad: Landlord waives of Rs 7.5 lakh rent of tenants

A city-based landlord Yusuf Mukati, who owns commercials shops in Gulmandi area has waived off a whopping Rs 7.5 lakh rent from his tenants amid the country-wide lockdown. A total of 13 tenants belonging to different religion and community said they were relieved from the major financial burden as their income was completely frozen during the lockdown. 

Shekhar Chandekar, one of the tenants, said that he would never ever forget the noble gesture shown by his landlord. “I run a garment shop, which was closed for more than two months.&hellip;,” he said, who pays Rs 15,000 as a monthly rental. Another tenant Avinash Rathod said that the timely help offered by Mukati would really give him much needed relief. “&hellip;The relief from paying rent of the shop helped in a big way,” he said adding that he pays a monthly rental of Rs 20,000.

Mukati, who also runs ‘Roti-bank’ also offers free food to needy and poor among other charity ventures in Aurangabad. He said that other landlords should also follow him in waiving off the lockdown rent.

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Aurangabad: Landlord waives of Rs 7.5 lakh rent of tenants

A city-based landlord Yusuf Mukati, who owns commercials shops in Gulmandi area has waived off a whopping Rs 7.5 lakh rent from his tenants amid the country-wide lockdown. A total of 13 tenants belonging to different religion and community said they were relieved from the major financial burden as their income was completely frozen during the lockdown. 

Shekhar Chandekar, one of the tenants, said that he would never ever forget the noble gesture shown by his landlord. “I run a garment shop, which was closed for more than two months.&hellip;,” he said, who pays Rs 15,000 as a monthly rental. Another tenant Avinash Rathod said that the timely help offered by Mukati would really give him much needed relief. “&hellip;The relief from paying rent of the shop helped in a big way,” he said adding that he pays a monthly rental of Rs 20,000.

Mukati, who also runs ‘Roti-bank’ also offers free food to needy and poor among other charity ventures in Aurangabad. He said that other landlords should also follow him in waiving off the lockdown rent.

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Aurangabad: Landlord waives of Rs 7.5 lakh rent of tenants

A city-based landlord Yusuf Mukati, who owns commercials shops in Gulmandi area has waived off a whopping Rs 7.5 lakh rent from his tenants amid the country-wide lockdown. A total of 13 tenants belonging to different religion and community said they were relieved from the major financial burden as their income was completely frozen during the lockdown. 

Shekhar Chandekar, one of the tenants, said that he would never ever forget the noble gesture shown by his landlord. “I run a garment shop, which was closed for more than two months.&hellip;,” he said, who pays Rs 15,000 as a monthly rental. Another tenant Avinash Rathod said that the timely help offered by Mukati would really give him much needed relief. “&hellip;The relief from paying rent of the shop helped in a big way,” he said adding that he pays a monthly rental of Rs 20,000.

Mukati, who also runs ‘Roti-bank’ also offers free food to needy and poor among other charity ventures in Aurangabad. He said that other landlords should also follow him in waiving off the lockdown rent.

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As the First Year of Modi 2.0 Ends, It’s Clear that Democracy Has Been Quarantined – By Siddharth Varadarajan

To understand what Narendra Modi has done to India in the first year of his second term as prime minister, I want you to consider the contrasting fate of two young people, Amulya Leona and Anurag Thakur. Leona, still in her teens, has been in jail for three months now, charged with sedition and other serious crimes for simply shouting ‘Long Live Pakistan’ and ‘Long Live India’ from the stage of a public event in Bangalore.

If Leona spoke about living, Thakur, who is junior minister of finance in Modi’s government, spoke about killing. From the stage of a public event in Delhi, he exhorted a crowd of Bharatiya Janata Party supporters to shout “Shoot the Traitors”. The ‘traitors’ were not an abstraction but the women and men of Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere who had been protesting the government’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

A few days later, in fact, someone actually fired on the protestors at Jamia Millia. However, the police has yet to file a case against Thakur, let alone seek to take him into custody. “The time is not right”, a top law officer of the government told the Delhi high court when asked whether the police intended to register an FIR against the minister. Leona and Thakur are not alone.

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‘They treat us like stray dogs’: Migrant workers flee India’s cities – By Nilanjana Bhowmick

Since the end of March, when the government closed borders and halted public transportation, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have left cities despite fears that they’d encounter the police, run out of food or water, or succumb to the searing heat. “It was a very practical strategy to walk home,” said Benoy Peter, executive director of the Kerala-based Center for Migration and Inclusive Development. “They needed to go home because it means a roof over their heads, food, and the comfort of a community.”

But conditions on the journey home are often unsafe. Every day brings reports of migrant workers dying on the road. On May 8, 19 people were run over by a freight train; observers said they were so exhausted from walking that they had slept on the tracks and did not hear the train whistle. Just over a week later in Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh, two trucks carrying migrant workers had collided, killing 27.

Faced with migrants thronging bus stations and crowded quarantine centers, the government started transporting workers home on special trains on May 1&hellip; Textile worker Krishna Mohan Kumar said he paid $11 – more than a day’s salary – to return from Kolhapur in Maharashtra to Patna via a government train. But during that journey, workers were left to scramble for food and find their own water, Mohan said. &hellip; “The rural crisis has not yet unfolded,” Peter said. “It is due in the next few weeks, and it might be catastrophic.”

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India must stop spreading Hindu nationalism to its global diaspora – By Ashok Swain

In recent months, as India was witnessing protests against the Modi government’s citizenship law which discriminates against Muslims from neighboring countries, there were regular demonstrations and even occasional clashes between opposing Indian diaspora groups in Western capitals.

The aggressive and successful lobbying of minority diaspora groups to have their countries oppose Hindu nationalism has brought many diplomatic challenges for the Indian government, like the debate over Modi’s clampdown on Kashmir in the European Parliament and scathing remarks over deteriorating minority rights from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

&hellip; The new trend of host countries noticing and taking action against Islamophobic social media activism by the Hindu diaspora has further added to this concern. Several powerful voices from the Gulf have already come out against the Hindu diaspora’s social media activism, raising fears over the future of India’s friendly bilateral relations with these host countries. The political mobilization of the Indian diaspora along religious lines threatens to turn the community from a powerful asset into a difficult liability for India’s foreign policy.

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Dissent is contagious – and arrests of Delhi activists will not stop the quest for justice – By Anirban Bhattacharya

In the fog of a pandemic, it already seems distant. But only a months ago, there were women on the streets beating the winter chill with slogans and placards. There were songs, poetry, paintings, graffiti,&hellip; and warmth as tens of thousands of people across India staged protests against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act and planned National Register of Citizens in venues that came to be known as Shaheen Baghs – after the ghetto on the banks of the Yamuna in Delhi where the movement started in December 2019.

The largest non-violent civil disobedience movement that India has witnessed since 1947, “Shaheen Bagh” has come to describe a repertoire of resistance adopted largely by Muslims but not exclusively by them. It was both unapologetic about their identity as well as avowedly secular in their demands as equal citizens of this country. It did not just redefine the contours of politics in India: it also set in motion a process that unsettled well-settled paradigms of “managing” minority politics that had been used over the decades, even by the so-called secular forces.

It is ironic that so many Muslim activists involved in the protests against the BJP’s citizenship initiatives are being linked to an episode of violence in which two-third of those killed were in fact Muslim, and which saw the destruction of 15 Muslim places of worship. So much so that in the hearing on the custody of Asif Iqbal Tanha on May 27, even the Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana was moved to note, “Perusal of the case diary reveals a disturbing fact. The investigation seems to be targeted only towards one end.

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Why Indians Pissed off With Racism and Police Brutality in the US Don’t Care About the Same Issues in Their Own Country – By Shamani Joshi

This outpouring of support resonating with a movement so geographically far away would have ordinarily been touching. Except, a lot of people are also kinda pissed off that some individuals who now claim to be infuriated by police brutality, systematic oppression and murder on the basis of arbitrary factors like skin colour, were the same ones practising blissful silence when similar shit went down in our own country.

They’re the ones who feigned ignorance and apathy when critics pointed out that police forces in India target university students and Dalit rights activists. They stand in solidarity with an American-born movement against oppression while choosing to overlook the all too frequent religion-based violence and riots that have taken place in India.

Enraged citizens were quick to call out this selective outrage and call the influencers and celebrities expressing outrage as being “performative woke” and “hypocritical”. These accusations were then immediately met with justifications that dismissively shrugged off the internalised issues by simply saying, “You can’t tell me what to care about”. But it begs the question: Why don’t we care about the same struggles so many of our countrymen are facing? Why do Indians who are infuriated with racism and police brutality in the US not feel that kind of rage for the same issues in their own country?

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Rising Islamophobia In India: Exploiting The Pandemic? – By Nazneen Mohsina and Joseph Franco

The aspersion of Muslims in light of the COVID-19 pandemic plays into the majoritarian politics and anti-Muslim narrative that has been on the rise since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) accession to power in 2014 and re-election in 2019.

The ‘othering’ of Muslims – portraying them as different – is an integral part of the BJP’s strategy to stay in power and push its agenda of creating a unitarian nation based on a religio-cultural identity. The current hate-campaign against Muslims could also be a tactic to deflect public anger from the government’s failings in managing the COVID-19 crisis.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pursued Hindu primacy and ultra-nationalism, shifting the country away from its founding ideals of secularism and equality. Since the re-emergence of Hindu nationalism, right-wing hardliners have become increasingly emboldened in promoting Hindu dominance and the marginalisation of Indian Muslims.

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4 Dalits Killed in 4 Days in Tamil Nadu, Activists Say Upper Castes Using Lockdown as Opportunity for Assaults

Covid lockdown has manifolded the distress of the oppressed Dalits in Tamil Nadu. Since first phase of lokdown, which began on mrach 25, more than 30 major incidents of caste-based violence occured in the state, as claimed by Madurai-based NGO Evidence.

As reported by News 18, in last four days only four dalits were killed. Caste-based violence has also incresed and the culprits are roaming free as court has ruled that the accused need not to attend the hearing due to coronavirus lockdown.

In Nilakottai the upper-caste people have boycotted the Dalits community saying they are not hygienic people. These people are in severe misery since most of them don’t have bathrooms in their houses. Government latrines are not useable. They are forced to defecate in open space. The Central government’s allowance to open liquor shops has further marginalising the poor Dalit communities.

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‘He Was Like a Flower’: Kashmir Shootout Costs Mother Her Pre-Teen Son

On the evening of May 19, Kousar Jan called her 12-year-old son, Basim Aijaz, just as she would every time her only child went out, to ask if he was safe. Basim replied that he would be back in 30 minutes. Basim had gone to see the site of a shootout at Nawakadal in old Srinagar. Hours earlier, two militants had been killed in the gunfight, which left at least 12 residential houses destroyed. It’s routine for Kashmir’s residents to visit sites of shootouts

At home, a worried Jan was still waiting for Basim to return as 30 minutes had past. Her phone rang, and a stranger told her that her son had been taken to a hospital. Basim had suffered severe burn injuries after “an unexploded shell went off” at the site as he stood on the rubble with dozens of other people, the family said. “I talked to him (in hospital); he told me, ‘Mama, I will come back quickly,'” Jan recalled. 

A day later, Basim succumbed to his injuries at Shri Mahraja Hari Singh Hospital, leaving his parents devastated. Basim was born after Jan prayed for six years to conceive a child. “He was a pampered kid. He was my whole world,” she said. “I would have spent my life just looking at him&hellip; I don’t know what to do; I have no purpose to live now,” Jan said.

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Christian Pastor Brutally Attacked In Uttar Pradesh, Admitted In ICU

A brutal attack by unidentified religious fanatics on May 27, in Mau district in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the Madhuban police station area has confined Pastor Dinesh to the ICU with severe injuries, including 16 stitches on his head and 7 stitches on his arm.

After praying at a church member’s home, it had only been a few minutes of riding away before he stopped by the wayside to relieve himself. Hearing some noise behind him, he glanced behind only to be hit by a wooden rod on his head. Falling to the road in pain, he saw 4 raging men wielding wooden rods and knives. 

Before he could comprehend the situation, the fanatics began to mercilessly thrash him. His fight to fend for himself weakened when one of the fanatics swung a wooden rod with great strength against the back of his head. The Pastor found himself in a daze as he watched his assailants flee from the scene.&hellip; From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India. In the 1st Quarter of 2020, we recorded 187 cases.

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Bajrang leader, 3 others booked for ‘assaulting’ boy, forcing him to chant “Jai Sriram” in Karnataka

A 25-year-old local Bajrang Dal leader and three minor boys have been booked on charges of threatening and assaulting a boy and forcing him to chant ‘Jai Sriram’ in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, police said on Friday.

The incident occurred in communally sensitive Bantwal taluk a few days ago, but a video of it went viral on the social media, after which the boy filed a complaint with the police on Thursday.

Based on the complaint, a case was registered at Vittal police station against Bajrang Dal leader Dinesh of Kanyana and three minor boys. The four had allegedly accosted the boy, hailing from Kudtamugeru village, at a school ground and threatened to kill him, police said.

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Days after it pulled up Gujarat govt over Covid situation, HC bench changed

Following a scathing order of May 22 where a division bench headed by Justice J B Pardiwala of Gujarat High Court compared the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to a dungeon and a subsequent order of May 25 where the same bench said it would pay a visit to the hospital, refusing to give the state government a clean chit, the bench was shuffled for Friday listing of matters. The new bench, as notified on Thursday, will now be headed by the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath, while Justice Pardiwala will be the junior judge in the bench.

The change in the judges’ roster comes abruptly on the last working day of the week when it is due to hear the public interest litigation (PIL) on all issues pertaining to Covid-19. The PIL was being heard by a division bench headed by Justice Pardiwala, along with Justice Ilesh Vora, since May 11. Prior to May 11, the PIL was taken up seven times by the bench headed by the Chief Justice, since March 13, when the PIL came to be registered following the court’s suo motu cognisance of WHO’s declaration of Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic.

Hours after the reshuffled division bench was notified, several concerned citizens, including several advocates, wrote to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat HC, to express their “disappointment and serious concern” regarding the Chief Justice’s decision to change the bench, citing that the change may break the continuity of the hearings and the significant directions that the court had issued to the government earlier.

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta quotes false WhatsApp forward in Supreme Court

On May 28, the Supreme Court heard the Suo Moto case regarding the plight of migrant labourers stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown. During the hearing, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta presented the steps that the government had taken so far to tackle the issue. He argued that the Centre is doing a lot but there are “Prophets of Doom” who spread negativity.

The SG then went on to narrate the story of the vulture and the child photographed by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Kevin Carter during the famine in Sudan&hellip; It turns out that the story narrated by the Solicitor General was doing the rounds on WhatsApp among supporters of Prime Minister Modi since at least a week before. In an attempt to silence any criticism of the government, the message draws parallels with Kevin Carter’s story and compares those highlighting the misery of the migrant workers to vultures.

It is shocking that Solicitor General of India quoted word to word from a viral WhatsApp message in the top court of the country. &hellip; Based on a WhatsApp forward, the Solicitor General blamed Carter for the child’s death and claimed that during a conversation with another journalist he was called a vulture. There is no record of any such conversation and moreover, Carter had chased away the bird when he shot the photograph and the child had survived.

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Railway Protection Force reports 80 deaths on Shramik trains

There have been almost 80 deaths on board the Shramik Special trains (for stranded migrant workers) between May 9 and May 27, according to data from the Railway Protection Force reviewed by Hindustan Times. The trains were launched on May 1, and till May 27, 3,840 have been run, transporting around five million migrant workers back home.

According to the data reviewed by HT, the deaths were recorded from May 9 till May 27 across several zones including the East Central Railway zone, North Eastern Railway zone, Northern Railway Zone and North Central Railway zone; and the ages of the dead ranged from 4 to 85.&hellip;  Nearly 80% of total Shramik trains are destined for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and ply on these zones.

“Heat, exhaustion and thirst are among the primary issues faced by the passengers on board these trains. We have seen several of such cases over the past month,” a zonal railway officer said, requesting anonymity, referring to the 80 deaths reported across the country.

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Delhi Police Detains Students, Journalist For Protesting Arrest Of Anti-CAA Activists

Reports suggest that the Delhi police on Wednesday detained 10 students in the national capital even as students hit the streets for symbolic protests against the arrests of Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and several others who participated in anti-CAA protests earlier this year.  

Student bodies across India held virtual protests against the arrests of activist, while some held symbolic protests, maintaining social distance, in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). 

India Today reported that 10 students from JNU and Delhi University and a journalist were detained by the Delhi police and later released.&hellip; Apart from Kalita and Narwal, several other anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and anti-National Register of Citizens protesters like Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Khatoon, Iqbal Tanha and others have been arrested over the last few months.

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US’s Anti-Racism Protests Fuel #MuslimLivesMatter Campaign in India

Brutal killing of an African American George Floyd by a white police officer in US’s Minneapolis last Monday raked nationwide protests across the US.&hellip; The brutal treatment of a black man by a white officer fueled massive anti-racism protests which in some American cities, including in Washington in front of White House, took a violent form with the protesters clashing with riot police.

The heat of the protest also reached India where people started a campaign #MuslimLivesMatter on social media. The social media users brought out all the incidents of police brutality against Muslims suggesting that India also needs a massive protest against the killing of Muslims by the police forces as also by the mob.

It was pointed out that how the killing of a black man by the white police officer raked up the massive protests and the erring officer charged with the murder but the killing of Faizan in the police custody during Delhi violence neither evoked any reaction nor was the guilty officer punished.

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European Parliament slams Modi govt for silencing activists & portraying protesters as terrorists

In a severe indictment of the Modi government, European Parliament has come down heavily on union home minister Amit Shah over the systematic violation of human rights in India and misuse of anti-terror laws such as the UAPA.

Head of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Maria Arena shot off a letter to Shah on May 28, expressing her concerns over the arrest of activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.

“It is particularly alarming to note that human rights defenders cannot conduct advocacy activities, notably in favor of India’s poorest and most marginalized communities,” said Arena in her letter. Arena slammed the Modi government for portraying anti-CAA protesters as terrorists also.

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Lucknow university graduate sanitises temples and lanes in the city

It is not every day that you see a burqa-clad woman in a temple. It was indeed a rare sight for people residing near Sitaram temple in Faizullahganj area. Wide-eyed they watched Uzma Sayed Parveen, a social worker, sanitising the temple.

Parveen&hellip; has launched her own sanitising drive in Old Lucknow, covering the localities where the sanitising staff rarely reach. Praveen began sanitising in the last week of April after she realised that the fight against Covid-19 needs to the fought collectively.&hellip; Since it is said charity begins at home, I first started from my own lane in the Saadatganj area.

In the almost 15-day-long sanitizing exercise which she carried out fasting, she covered almost 20 lanes and used up around 60 litres of disinfectant.&hellip; When asked about the funds, she said, “Allah bahot bada hai (Allah is great). I have spent around Rs 95,000 from my savings. After doing it, I realise that there could be no better way of utilising my savings”.

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Quarantine space in mosque

A Nadia village has thrown open its madarsa hostel and the adjoining mosque as a quarantine centre for all its returning migrant labourers, regardless of religion, saying “religion teaches brotherhood”.

The gesture by Muslim-majority Bhaga village in Kaliganj block, and its Darul Uloom Madarsa, comes at a time efforts have been made by vested interests to stigmatise the minority community in the name of the coronavirus.&hellip; “We have so far accommodated 21 youths who have returned from Covid-hit states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Rajasthan. We didn’t ask their religion,” Abdul Hannan Mandal said.&hellip;

Sources said the village committee, which has both Muslim and Hindu members, had dipped into its own pocket to provide the quarantined youths with three meals and two snacks a day, the food including egg, fish and chicken. It’s also providing personal protection equipment and sanitisers.

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Telangana: How Hindus & Muslims Are Fighting Both Hate & COVID-19

Ellamma, a 65-year-old woman from Nirmal in northern Telangana, breathed her last on 27 April when India was under lockdown due to COVID-19. She and her husband Kishan were homeless and stayed at a roadside shelter. Their neighbors refused to cremate Ellamma, suspecting that she died of coronavirus.

Shaik Irshan, a local activist who had come to check on the elderly couple for ration, was met by a sobbing Kishan. Irshan then called up his friends and organised the last rites of Ellamma after securing permission from the police.

The northern part of Telangana&hellip; has witnessed severe clashes in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened this problem of communal disharmony across India, including Telangana state.&hellip; However, there is also reason for hope and optimism as at the grassroots level, many people in Telangana have responded to the pandemic with a show of communal solidarity.

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George Floyd murder sign of systemic racism say Indian Americans

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC -(, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, is shocked and outraged at the ruthless murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. IAMC condemns the police brutality and extends it’s deepest condolences to the family, friends, and to all the well wishers who are impacted by this loss.

The treatment of minorities, especially blacks by police officers in the United States of America is a systemic problem that should not be tolerated or normalized. We demand that the officers responsible for the death of George Floyd be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We call for immediate reforms and training of police officers by installing a just system of law enforcement by creating structural changes through the lens of restorative justice (instead of punitive justice) and community-based models of policing in an effort to address deeper systemic issues that led to this and similar killings.

As Indian Americans who are advocating for the human rights and religious freedom of minorities and other marginalized communities in India, the systemic prejudice that led to the cruel death of George Floyd is a painful reminder of the state sponsored hate that is responsible for the mass persecution of Muslims, Christians and Dalits in India.

The brazen mob lynchings, the mass arrests under false charges, the suppression of dissent and the merciless brutality of police and other arms of the state represent horrific violations of human rights and religious freedom in India at a magnitude that is unprecedented in the country’s history.

The cause of all people seeking justice is the same and we strongly oppose the discrimination and repression by law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion. We stand in solidarity with those who are striving for equal rights and the fair treatment of minorities and the marginalized.

We must strive to bring about institutional changes and demand better for the sake of our shared humanity and for the sake of justice. IAMC also condemns the incidents of arson, looting and violence by those seeking justice and equality. IAMC urges them to stand firmly but with patience and without resorting to violence.

IAMC is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.


Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email: “

Facebook: “ /IndianAmericanMuslimCouncil

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Islamophobic disinformation, hate speech swamps social media during pandemic – By Burhan Wazir

A series of Twitter hashtags falsely accusing Muslims around the world of deliberately spreading the novel coronavirus has pushed Islamophobic disinformation and hate speech to 170 million users since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to new research.

The report is published by Equality Labs, a New York-based South Asian community advocacy group. It shows that the hashtag #Coronajihad has run rampant on Twitter since late March. Posts featuring the hashtag and a range of anti-Muslim rhetoric have also been shared widely on platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

The organization calculates that more than 293,000 conversations pushing Islamophobic Covid-19 content have taken place on Twitter, where they have generated more than 700,000 points of engagement, including likes, clicks, shares and comments. It has also found that the majority of users creating and sharing such content are young men between the ages of 18 and 34, based in India or the United States.

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Supreme Court Fails Once Again During (Covid) Emergency – By Yogesh Pratap Singh & Lokendra Malik

The 1975 National Emergency which suspended the constitutional guaranty of life and liberty, tested the credibility of Supreme Court (SC) and it failed miserably by ruling that habeas corpus, stood suspended in times of Emergency. This decision encouraged the government to illegally detain thousands of people. The New York Times named it Indian Supreme Court’s “utter surrender” to an absolutist government. Democracy survived. Judges apologized. To wipe out this dark spot on its face, SC composed a new phase of “judicial activism” and did an incredible good work for underprivileged, disadvantaged and illiterate sections of the society.

But, adversity has struck once again. A situation nothing less than emergency has knocked the doors of the SC but it once again failed and allowed the government to violate fundamental rights in the name of un-declared emergency. The recent judicial trend has created a general perception that the Supreme Court in the recent past has helped the Government in all cases involving high-stake such as Ram Temple, Rafael Case, Judge Loya death etc to name a few. It also refrained from examining legal and constitutional challenges posed to the Centre’s decision on Article 370 that changed the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The worst was yet to come. The SC Bench consisting Justices L Nageswara Rao, Justice Kaul and Justice Gavai dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Centre to ask all District Magistrates to identify stranded migrant workers and provide shelter, food to them before ensuring their free transportation to native places. The hearing came a day after fourteen migrant workers were killed in two separate accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and more than 60 people were injured.

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In Delhi violence investigation, a disturbing pattern: Victims end up being prosecuted by police – By Vijayta Lalwani

On February 24, communal violence engulfed North East Delhi, leaving at least 53 people dead over the next three days, most of whom were Muslim. Exactly a month later, India went under a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Normal life came to a halt – but not Delhi Police’s investigation into the violence.

By April 13, the police had made more than 800 arrests, the Indian Express reported. An unidentified official was quoted in the report saying that the Union Home Ministry “insisted that police must continue making arrests under any circumstances”.&hellip; Based on an analysis of around 40 FIRs, it accused the police of displaying communal bias against Muslims, by diluting charges against Hindu accused. “It is imperative, for the sake of justice that all FIRs pertaining to the riots be opened to public scrutiny,” the activists said.

“The maximum loss of life and the loss of property was of this minority community, as has happened in virtually every major episode of communal violence after Partition, barring very few exceptions,” he said. Three months after the worst violence in India’s capital in three decades, information about the police investigation remains limited, making it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. But examined a few cases closely to find a troubling pattern: often victims of the violence were being prosecuted by the police.

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Modi the fanatic is using the coronavirus crisis to destroy India’s heritage – By Anish Kapoor

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” Winston Churchill once declared … Crisis offers, of course, an opportunity for draconian governments to hide their deeper purpose. Just such deeper purpose is hidden in India’s fascist government’s decision to push forward now in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis with the redevelopment of the so-called central vista in Delhi.

The high court of India has been coerced into giving the go ahead to this hair-brained scheme in the last few weeks without consultation or due process. The central vista is Edwin Lutyens’ design for the parliament buildings and the grand avenue of Janpath (People’s Road) which were built between 1912 and 1931. Lutyens’ buildings are laid out in grand style with great wide avenues befitting the late British fantasy of imperial colonial power.

Modi and his fascist government have commissioned architect Bimal Patel to redesign this central vista. This without consultation or any understanding or regard to the importance of Lutyens design. One would have at least hoped for due process in Mr Patel’s appointment to such an important task. Mr Patel’s talent is not up to the task. Mr Patel has destroyed the city of Ahmedabad by cementing over the banks of the Sabarmati river that runs through it, he is in the process of ruining Varanasi by building roads through it and covering it in concrete with no regard to its people or its history. All this of course under Modi’s BJP government’s direction.

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“Diarrhea, Dehydration, Hunger, Exhaustion”: India’s Rural Poor Suffer Most Under Lockdown – P. Sainath with Amy Goodman

You saw that long march of the migrants, right? The government of India passed an order for a nationwide curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.&hellip; It means that they can only now march hundreds, thousands, I mean, anywhere – they’re marching anywhere between 300 and 1,000 miles, Amy. And these people now can only march between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in temperatures ranging – you know, in temperatures ranging from 103 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Look at how it’s thinking on hunger. We have not, in living memory, seen this kind of immediate, urgent hunger on the streets as has been happening here. This country&hellip; has 77 million tons of buffer stock. You know what it’s doing with that stock? It’s given permission – the government has issued permission last month to convert large portions of rice – I don’t know how many million tons – into ethanol, so that you can create large quantities of hand sanitizer. OK? You’re destroying food grain to create hand sanitizer, which also involves large-scale use of water.

The other thing they’ve done – oh, what’s the great thing that the states have done in response to this hunger and chaos and marches? We have reopened. You know what’s one of the first things to reopen, even before the so-called relaxation of the lockdown? Thousands and thousands of liquor shops. Maybe, you know, we’re being advised that you go on a liquid diet. I don’t know. But you have opened thousands of liquor shops. And the queues for those can be up to two kilometers, making a mockery of all the physical distancing stuff. But this is the way we are thinking. This is the way we are behaving.

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How Modi Failed the Pandemic Test – By Hartosh Singh Bal

India has been under a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus for two months. The most significant question now is whether the government has made adequate use of the time the long lockdown bought it to prepare for the problems that lie ahead. The number of cases is rising steadily and is expected to continue to rise as the lockdown is now being lifted in the face of increasing pressure on the economy.

The starkest failure of Mr. Modi’s coronavirus strategy has been the devastation and misery it imposed on India’s informal sector workers, mostly people from impoverished villages, who work in Indian cities, without a safety net.&hellip; With the public transport suspended, the workers set out on foot, walking hundreds of miles in temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In May alone more than 150 migrant workers walking back home have been killed in road or train accidents.

Mr. Modi has a history of announcing sweeping measures with great fanfare and little administrative preparation or follow-up. He and his government will have to move beyond their focus on managing public perception.

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‘Let Your Mother Die’, Kashmir Football Star Mehrajuddin Wadoo Recalls Police Encounter

An ace footballer of Kashmir, Mehrajuddin Wadoo today accused the police for detaining him when he was going to see his ailing mother. “This morning I received a call about my mother’s illness. I rushed to see her,” Wadoo told Outlook. 

He revealed that at the Budshah Chowk Nakka, he was stopped by a constable, who allowed him to go ahead when informed about his mother’s illness and her critical condition. However, he said, he was stopped by the police officer in-charge. 

“I told the officer, my mother is very ill and I wanted to see her. Whatever he said was shocking. He told me if your mother is dying let her die. These were the words from the officer in-charge there. I was shocked. He took my vehicle to the police station. Another constable there started abusing me without any reason and took me to the police station in his vehicle,” he said.

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Hindu right wing groups destroy church film set of Tovino movie in Kalady

Members of right wing Hindu organisations in Kerala demolished a church set erected for the shoot of a Malayalam film in Kalady, Ernakulam, on Sunday. The set was erected to shoot the climax scene of the super hero film Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph and starring Tovino Thomas and newcomer actor Femina.

Members of the Antharashtra Hindu Parishad claimed that with the help of their sister outfit Antarashtra Bajrang Dal, they demolished the church set, erected on an island on the Periyar river in Kalady. Hari Palode, the General Secretary of AHP, an organisation founded by Praveen Togadia, boasted on Facebook that they were not used to pleading to anyone, and decided to demolish the church set that was constructed near the Adi Sankaracharya mutt.

According to the AHP, the set was constructed without permission, but this claim has been refuted by the panchayat. Speaking to TNM, Mini Biju, member of Kalady Town panchayat confirmed that the film unit had indeed secured permission from the department before going ahead with the construction of the set.

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‘Hospital as Good as Dungeon’: Gujarat HC Pulls Up Rupani Government for COVID-19 Response

The Gujarat high court severely criticised the Vijay Rupani-led BJP state government for trying to “artificially control” the COVID-19 epidemic&hellip; Gujarat has so far shown one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the country, with the civil hospital accounting for 377 deaths – almost 45% of the total deaths in the state. 

A bench of Justices J.N. Pardiwala and Ilesh Vora, while hearing a PIL on a range of issues relating to COVID-19 response in the state, gave out multiple directions to the state government to improve treatment and facilities.

“As we said earlier, the Civil Hospital is meant to treat patients. However, it appears that as on date, it is as good as a dungeon. May be even worse than a dungeon,” the bench said, while likening the poor state infrastructure to the “sinking of the Titanic

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‘State cannot use defamation to throttle democracy’, says Madras HC, quashes 28 cases against media

The Madras High Court on Thursday quashed 28 criminal defamation proceedings filed against various media organisations by the erstwhile Jayalalithaa government, saying public servants and constitutional functionaries cannot be allowed to misuse the law to settle political scores with adversaries, LiveLaw reported.

The court was hearing a set of petitions filed by the media houses to quash the proceedings against them for news reports published between 2011-’13. Those who filed the petitions include The Hindu, The Times of India and Tamil newspapers Dinakaran, Dinamalar, Tamil Murasu and Murasoli.

Justice Abdul Quddhose made pertinent observations about state-sanctioned defamation cases and said public servants and constitutional functionaries must be able to face criticism since they owed a solemn duty to the people. “The state cannot use criminal defamation cases to throttle democracy”, the court said in its 152-page judgement.

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Foreign investors continue to flee even after Modi’s Rs 21 lakh cr economic package

Even as the Narendra Modi government aims to attract more foreign investors to India by liberalising the policies and laws, it has not helped to lift sentiments across foreign portfolio investors. The FPI investors have been pulling out their investments from the Indian market every day even after PM Modi announced an economic stimulus package as big as Rs 20 lakh crore on May 12. 

Immediately the next day of the announcement, Rs 6,066 crore was pulled out from the Indian market, according to the data provided by the National Securities and Exchange Limited (NSDL).

In fact, in the last six working days, the foreign portfolio investors have withdrawn a total of Rs 21,308 crore from the Indian market. The flight of foreign investors has been continued since the month of March when coronavirus cases started to show in India. The month saw a net pull out of over Rs 1 lakh crore, which was a record-high.

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12 Crore Indians Lost Jobs Last Month Amid Virus Lockdown: Think Tank

Some 122 million Indians were forced out of jobs last month alone, according to estimates from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private sector think tank. Daily wage workers and those employed by small businesses have taken the worst hit. These include hawkers, roadside vendors, workers employed in the construction industry and many who eke out a living by pushing handcarts and rickshaws.

“Much of the Indian government’s efforts to mitigate poverty over the years could be negated in a matter of just a few months,” said Ashwajit Singh, managing director of IPE Global, a development sector consultancy that advises several multinational aid agencies. Noting that he did not expect unemployment rates to improve this year, Singh said: “More people could die from hunger than the virus.”

Mr Singh points to a United Nations University study estimating 104 million Indians could fall below the World Bank-determined poverty line of $3.2 a day for lower-middle-income countries. This will take the proportion of people living in poverty from 60% – or 812 million currently, to 68% or 920 million – a situation last seen in the country more than a decade ago, he said.

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Video shows boy trying to wake up dead mother at train station, highlighting India’s migrant crisis

A viral video of a toddler trying to wake up his dead mother at a railway station in eastern India has caused widespread outrage and highlighted one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the country right now.

The images show the body of a 23-year-old woman on the platform of Muzaffarpur railway station in Bihar state on Monday. Her young son can be seen repeatedly tugging at a piece of cloth placed on her body. Officials said the woman had died moments before on one of the special trains the Indian government is running for hundreds of thousands of poor migrant laborers stuck in big cities due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

The woman had taken the train from Ahmedabad city in Gujarat on Saturday, along with her two children, sister, and sister’s husband, heading for her hometown of Katihar, in Bihar state. But she died of “extreme heat, hunger and dehydration” on Monday as the train reached Muzaffarpur station, about 200 miles short of her hometown, Indian news outlets reported, quoting the victim’s family.

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‘Delhi Riot Probe Directed Towards One End’: Court Pulls Up Police

A lower court has pulled up the Delhi Police on its probe into the communal violence that took place in February 2020. “Perusal of the case diary reveals a disturbing fact. The investigation seems to be targetted only towards one end. Upon enquiry from Inspector Lokesh and Anil, they have failed to point out what investigation has been carried out so far regarding the involvement of the rival faction,” Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana observed on Wednesday 27 May.

“This is an extremely important observation as far as the entire probe into the Delhi riots is concerned,” Tanha’s lawyer Sowjhanya Shankaran told The Quint. Since a majority of the arrests made by the police in connection with the riots, are those who were part of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, it appears that this is what the court is referring to this when it says “one direction only”.

The “rival faction” therefore would be pro-CAA or right wing elements who may have taken part in the communal violence. Therefore the court may have indirectly vindicated what many activists have been alleging for some time now – that the police is going soft on the right wingers and targetting mainly the anti-CAA protesters.

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St. Paul City Council passes resolution opposing CAA, declares BJP as Islamophobic

City of Saint Paul, the state capital of Minnesota in the USA, has passed a resolution declaring Bhartiya Janta Party led Indian government as Islamophobic. The resolution opposes India’s National Registry of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act.

Saint Paul city became the fourth city to pass the Resolution. The resolution was passed with a 5-0 vote. “The City Council opposes the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act in India.” The City Council found the policies of these laws to be “discriminatory to Muslims, oppressed castes, women, indigenous peoples known as Adivasi, and the LGBTQ community

It said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is dominated by the exclusionary ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS promotes discrimination against Muslims

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Experts at virtual US Congressional briefing urge US to implement USCIRF recommendations

Expressing concern over the “increased violence against religious minorities” in India, a panel of experts at a virtual Congressional briefing has urged the US government to implement the recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In her keynote address, Nadine Maenza, vice-chair of the USCIRF, noted with alarm “the social and economic boycott of Muslims in some parts of the country as well as discrimination against Muslims in the context of medical treatment during the global pandemic”, the IAMC said in a statement on Friday.

Dr Harrison Akins, South Asia policy analyst with the USCIRF, alleged that the ruling BJP is using “the symbols of Hinduism and policies aimed at their protection as weapons against the minority communities in their quest to further marginalise the religious minorities and shape a Hindu nation.” Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager of Amnesty International USA, expressed concern over activists imprisoned for peaceful dissent, mentioning Safoora Zargar, a pregnant student arrested in connection with an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in New Delhi.

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Maharashtra: After son ‘refuses’, Muslims from local group light 78-yr-old Hindu man’s pyre

After the family of a 78-year-old Hindu man, who died of a heart attack on Saturday, reportedly refused to perform his last rites, some Muslim youths from a local organisation lit his pyre on Sunday. While the man died of a heart attack, his wife is undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Akola Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). 

Prashant Rajurkar, head of the sanitation department of the Akola Municipal Corporation, told The Indian Express, “The man’s son, who lives in Nagpur, refused to accept the body and perform the funeral. So, a local Muslim organisation, Akola Kutchhi Memon Jamaat, took over the responsibility. On Sunday, some Muslim men lit the pyre at the crematorium.

Javed Zakeria, president of the Muslim organisation, said, “After Akola reported its first death, we decided to perform funerals for those whose families are unable to do so. We had permission from the parents for the first one. Since then, we have performed 60 funerals, of which 21 were of Covid patients. Five of these were of Hindus.

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Gujarat: Hindus keep roza to thank those who fed them

If it wouldn’t have been for his benevolent Muslim neighbourhood, 19-year-old driver in Bodeli, Chirag Tadvi, would have faced starvation during the lockdown. But that’s not how the neighbours in Navinagri slums think – here brotherhood thrives above the material wants. And, it was in that community feeling that a kitchen fed 700-odd mouths daily, including 25-odd Hindus like Tadvi. But the feeling’s mutual. 

As a gesture of solidarity and gratitude, Tadvi and his friends also decided to share something precious to their benefactors – the 27th day of Ramzan fast – on May 20, we decided to observe fast on the 27th day to mark our gratitude for our neighbours who did not discriminate while feeding the needy during lockdown. We also prayed together to ward-off coronavirus,” said Tadvi. Arvind Tadvi, a fruit vendor, said that he will remain eternally grateful to his neighbours for feeding them in the critical times. “We wanted to thank them by offering special prayers for them,” said Tadvi,&hellip; “Had they not started the community kitchen, my family would have starved as my work was completely shut due to lockdown,” said Shankar Tadvi, an auto-rickshaw driver, from the slums.

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This Chef Has a Michelin Star and a Mission: Feeding Millions in India’s Lockdown

In the past two months, Vikas Khanna, a Michelin-starred chef, has turned his focus to India’s hungry, providing millions of meals to poor Indians who have suffered greatly under the coronavirus lockdown. &hellip; As parts of India slid into a humanitarian crisis in recent months, with millions of out-of-work people desperate for food, Mr. Khanna watched the news from his apartment in Manhattan and grew despondent.

“We’ve totally failed our people,” he said in an interview last week. “I wanted to show that solidarity still exists.”&hellip; Mr. Khanna, 48, is a Hindu, but growing up in Amritsar, a northern Indian city with many Sikhs, he was inspired by the large community kitchens of the Sikh Gurdwaras. They serve meals to anyone who needs them. As a disabled child with a club foot, he said, “I had no friends, only sympathizers.” So he whiled away the hours in the family kitchen with his grandmother, learning to cook.

In early April, he posted an emotional appeal on Twitter, asking people to send him details of those who were desperate for food. Mr. Khanna has a huge following in India, and within hours, he was flooded with replies. &hellip; Mr. Khanna said his initiative had distributed more than seven million packets of dry food and cooked meals over the past month in more than a hundred cities in India.

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In this time of COVID-19, Kashmir endures a ‘double lockdown’ over India’s warmongering – By Asad Majeed Khan

Kashmir is no stranger to Indian state repression. Since 1947, successive Indian governments have brutalized Kashmiris and denied them their right to self-determination. Yet the level of violence, torture and human rights violations being committed by Indian security forces under the Modi government now is unprecedented – even for Kashmir.

Kashmir had already been under a state of continuous siege for the past nine months. Now, the novel coronavirus pandemic has given India another excuse to impose a lockdown within a lockdown. Kashmir is, in effect, under a “double lockdown.” 

At a time when other countries are facilitating the free flow, exchange and sharing of information to fight the pandemic, India has imprisoned Kashmiris in an information black hole. As if this was not enough, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sneakily introduced a new ordinance to effect demographic change in Kashmir, believing that the world would be too distracted to notice.

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Licensed to beat, abuse and kill – By M.P. Nathanael

On April 16, Mohammed Rizwan, 19, a resident of Chhajjapur village, Uttar Pradesh, ventured out of his home to buy biscuits. He was beaten with rifle butts and lathis by the police, while other residents purchased their groceries from the shop. In a battered condition, he managed to reach home. After some home remedies did not work, he was admitted to the local hospital where he died in the wee hours of April 18.

There was nothing unusual in this incident or similar acts of brutality committed by the police as migrant workers, taking an arduous inter-State journey, attempted to return to their respective villages. In several places, elderly people were ruthlessly beaten.

Taking a serious view of police brutality, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in March issued a set of guidelines for police, in no uncertain terms prohibiting them from using force on persons violating the lockdown regulations.

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Modi’s ‘Stimulus Package’ is a Gigantic Confidence Trick Played on the People of India – By Prem Shankar Jha

In a discussion on NDTV about the contents of the third tranche of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stimulus package for the economy, Yogendra Yadav, one of India’s most respected psephologists, called it ‘entertainment’. Yadav is a gentle human being who goes out of his way to avoid giving offence. Above all on TV.  So “entertainment” was the most civilised word he could think of. I will be a little more blunt. Not just the third tranche, but the entire ‘stimulus package’ advertised by Modi on May 12 is a gigantic confidence trick being played upon a desperate public with money that does not exist.

First, of the Rs 20 lakh crore, Rs 1.7 lakh crore had already been disbursed to the government in the first days of the lockdown. Its salutary effect is therefore long over. Another Rs 5.2 lakh crore was to have been disbursed as loans by the Reserve Bank, which brought the borrowing  rates for doing this down to levels not known since 2010. But there were no borrowers. So the commercial banks were left with no option but to park all of that money in the RBI’s reverse repo account, which swelled from Rs 3 lakh crore on March 27 to Rs 8.4 lakh crore by the end of April.

On every occasion, he has continued to forge ahead with his folly, sustained by an iron, almost manic,  determination to keep going till he snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat. A massive infusion of purchasing power will never happen now because it will be a tacit  admission that he made a mistake. That will not happen, because Narendra Modi believes his appeal depends on the myth of his infallibility.

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Rescripting north-east Delhi riots – and the question of justice – By Vikas Kumar and Radhika Chitkara

Arshad Alam, Amaan Iqbal, Deepak Kumar, Mohammad Hamza and many others were killed in communal riots that convulsed north-east Delhi in late February 2020. Many more were injured, or victims of arson.

The Home Minister stated on March 11 that “over 700 FIRs” had been filed. Yet about 80 days after the riots started, little is known to the public about the status of most cases as the police aggressively and selectively pursue a few FIRs and seek to project a so-called “conspiracy” behind the riots, led by anti-CAA protest organisers.

This has deliberately diverted attention from well-reported facts – BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s role, the fact that no FIR still exists against him or other leaders, incidents of communal violence by mobs, including Hindu aggressors, and many instances of communal bias of the police, including illegal detentions of Muslims and refusal to lodge ‘missing person’ complaints by Muslims. This diversion is quite likely being abetted also by the problems and weaknesses in routine FIRs filed in riot-related cases (in a manner reminiscent of Gujarat in 2002).

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As Supreme Court fails to protect migrant workers’ rights, High Courts show the way – By Sruthisagar Yamunan

In 1952, when India’s Supreme Court upheld the rights of citizens to assemble peacefully, it said the Constitution had assigned it the responsibility of guarding against violations of fundamental rights the way a sentinel protects a fort. Sixty eight years later, the sentinel seems to be letting its guard down. Across India, lakhs of migrant workers, their livelihoods devastated by the nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19, are walking hundreds of kilometers in an attempt to get back to their home villages.

So it has come as no surprise that several activists and lawyers have approached the Supreme Court over the last few weeks, urging it to help the migrant workers. They expected the court to act as the sentinel of the rights of the workers. But it has fared poorly, accepting the government’s submissions almost mechanically, not doing much to alleviate the sufferings of the workers.

If the Supreme Court was looking for models for how it could have acted, there were some that were right under its nose. Last week, two High Courts, through orders that were marked by empathy and concern, held up a mirror to the Supreme Court.

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In India, the otherization of Muslims mines citizenship at the foundations: of exclusion, excesses and abdication – By Aiman Khan and Madhur Bharatiya

The passing of the CAA by the Parliament, and the preceding and consequent actions of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, cannot be observed in isolation. In recent times, executive action (which also includes inaction) and exclusionary legislations have gone largely unchecked by the judiciary. Cumulatively, this has ensured a targeted social reorganizing on the ground to propagate anti-Muslim rhetoric while granting complete impunity to the active participants.

Since 2014, the otherizing of the Muslim body has been carried out to a large extent under the name of cow protection.&hellip; An extensive study carried out by IndiaSpend shows that 84% of the individuals who have died in cow-related violence are Muslims, and that these attacks, which the study refers to as “cow terrorism,” were higher in number in BJP ruled states. The study has also noted that 97% of these attacks were carried out after 2014. During its second term, the strategy of the government under the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has focused on sanctioning exclusion and criminalization of the Muslim community through the law.

In the light of Covid-19 lockdown in India, national media houses and some political leaders have been actively involved in vilification of Muslims and labelling them as the carriers of coronavirus. Over the last few years, fueling Islamophobia in people’s minds has resulted in an otherization that is such that even in a pandemic Muslims in India have been villainized and discriminated against. This discrimination includes the denial of health services and an economic boycott in several places.

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Five-year-old Dalit girl dies of alleged starvation in Jharkhand’s Latehar

Hunger strikes Jharkhand once again as a five-year-old girl Nimani allegedly died of starvation in Latehar district on May 16. Nimani had not eaten for four-five days.

The Dalit family, having no land and ration card, did not have any food grains in the house due to which Nimani fell unconscious of hunger on Saturday evening and died.

Nimani’s mother, Kalawati Devi, was struggling to feed her children for the last two months with no food in the house after her husband Jaglal Bhuiyan was trapped in a brick kiln in Latehar. She received no support from the government except for one installment of Rs 500 in her Jan Dhan Yojana account and small amounts of food or cash from the school and Anganwadi.

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Modi’s plan to rebuild India’s parliament draws fierce criticism

It was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens as the grand imperial heart of India, then reclaimed as the seat of power for an independent republic. Now, government plans to redevelop Delhi’s emblematic central vista and build a new parliament have drawn fierce criticism.

Writing in the Guardian, the acclaimed Indian-born sculptor Anish Kapoor has described the plans to rebuild the nation’s power corridor as an act of “political fanaticism” by Narendra Modi, India’s Hindu-nationalist prime minister.

The “expensive vanity project”, Kapoor writes, is Modi’s “way of placing himself at the centre and cementing his legacy as the ruler-maker-builder of a new Hindu India”. The project, added Kapoor, is going ahead “without an articulated architectural position, public consultation, parliamentary debate or peer consent”.

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India Faces a Major Economic Catastrophe, PMO Can’t Handle By Itself, Says Raghuram Rajan

“I’m very worried about the extent of the catastrophe we’re facing &hellip; the government must consult opposition talent &hellip; it can’t all be done by PMO. we must pull out all stops &hellip; if more is not done, the economy will be a shadow of its former self”, said former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan in an interview to The Wire.

In candid and outspoken remarks, Rajan, who is also a former chief economic advisor to the government of India and former chief economist of the IMF, said the threat to India’s economic prospects was such that the government must consult the best talent in the country and not worry about who is across the political aisle. He said the situation could get very ugly and it cannot all be handled by the PMO.

Rajan told The Wire the challenge was not just to repair the damage done by the coronavirus and the lockdown but the preceding 3-4 years of economic drift. Asked if a government that was responsible for the drift and doesn’t even accept the economy had been drifting could be the one to battle it, the former RBI governor said there was a lot of capable talent in the country and the government should call on it.

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West Bengal: Two BJP MPs booked for inciting violence in Hooghly

Chandannagar Police on Saturday filed a case against BJP’s Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee and Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh for allegedly inciting violence at Telinipara in Hooghly district.&hellip;

Violent clashes broke out between two groups in Telinipara area on last Sunday after members of one community got into a verbal altercation with members of another community on why they were roaming around during lockdown after five of their members tested Covid-19 positive.

Several shops were ransacked and many were injured in the clash. On Monday morning, the two groups also hurled bombs at each other and set shops on fire.

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Madhya Pradesh Police Apologise for Beating Lawyer, ‘We Thought You Were Muslim,’

On March 23, a lawyer Deepak Bundele was beaten up brutally by the state police while he was on his way to a government hospital for treatment. A month later, he is under pressure from the police to withdraw his complaint. Police officials, in their defence, told Bundele that he was beaten up because they had wrongly identified him as a Muslim man.

Since then, he alleged, police have been trying really hard to get him to withdraw the complaint.&hellip; However, Bundele didn’t budge. In his March 24 complaint to the SP he requested the district police to file an FIR against the incident. On that basis, a few police officials came to his house on May 17 to record his version. This is when the police told him that this was a case of mistaken identity, and that the police officials thought he was a Muslim.

An FIR against this case has still not been registered, Bundele said. “I was struck by the way the police officials apologised. Even if I was a Muslim, what gives the police the right to assault them without any cause,” he said. The Wire sent a request to the Betul SP for a comment, but he has not replied.

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A Tale of Harevali Village in India’s National Capital and Forced Conversion of Its Muslims to Hindu Religion

This non-descript village surrounded with green fields from all sides was totally unknown and unsung till recently. It came into limelight after a 22-year-old Dilshad was badly beaten up by a few local youths on April 5&hellip; Dilshad was brutally beaten up for he was suspected to be a carrier of coronavirus as he had returned from a congregation of Tablighi Jamaat.

After Dilshad was tortured by the Jats and Brahmin youths on April 5, the senior male members of all the 12 Muslim families were called by the village Hindu leaders to the village square in the afternoon. All of them were first abused and beaten up with sticks. An old Muslim woman was also beaten up and pushed to the ground when she objected.

All the Muslims were then sent back to their homes. After a few minutes, Hindu youths were sent to the Muslim houses who forcibly brought Muslim elders in batches of twos and threes to the village temple.&hellip; “The next thing they did was that they put drops of “gau mutra”(cow urine) on our palms and asked us to sip it in front of the entire village. They told us that we have all become Hindus now. You are now converted from Islam to Hinduism”&hellip; “The villagers also told us that you can live here only as Hindus otherwise you will have to quit the village”

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Starving migrants head back to villages as unrest grows in India amid lockdown

With the spread of Covid19 and the still continuing lockdown, a large number of migrant workers and daily wagers in India have been left in the lurch without even the basics. Food is scare and hunger is a constant companion as tens of thousands of the migrant workforce, who have seen their incomes collapse, head back to their villages across the country from urban centers.

In their desperation to reach home as the lockdown entered its fourth phase on Monday, unrest and has spread in metropolitan cities with scuffles breaking out as migrants scurry to board bus and train services.

Losing patience, many with their families and meager belongings are walking hundreds of kilometers braving inclement weather and hunger. “It is one of the biggest-ever exodus of people in recent times. Poor laborers are dying from dehydration. They have been killed in road accidents. Kids are suffering from heat and humidity. And almost all of them are battling hunger and have been left penniless,” Pradeep Kumar,  a trade unionist told RFI.

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Anti-Muslim sentiments by some Indians abroad costing them their jobs

Some Indians living abroad have lost their jobs in recent weeks for displaying anti-Muslim bigotry on their social media accounts. In Canada earlier this month, Mr Ravi Hooda was sacked from his real estate job and removed from his position on a local school council in Bolton, Ontario.

The incident was preceded by the sacking of about 10 Indians, including some this month in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait. Their anti-Muslim posts were brought to the attention of their employers by social media users.

While the sackings have given rise to discussions, they have failed to curtail Islamophobia online in India, said Mr Pratik Sinha, founder of Alt News, a fact-checking website.&hellip; Mr Sinha told The Straits Times: “In India, the polity is such that even senior politicians have tweeted stuff that is hateful or discriminatory in nature. I don’t see how the hate being propagated is going to reduce until the politics of the country changes.

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U.S. envoy calls out COVID-19 related harassment of minorities in India

The U.S. envoy for ‘International Religious Freedom’, Sam Brownback, called out COVID-19-related rhetoric and harassment in India — especially against Muslims&hellip;. “In India, we’ve seen reports of unfortunate COVID-related rhetoric and harassment, particularly against the Muslim community. This has been exacerbated by fake news reports and misinformation being shared via social media. There have also been instances of Muslims being attacked for allegedly spreading the coronavirus,” Mr. Brownback said to reporters on Thursday during a telephone briefing about COVID-19’s impact on religious minorities.

Mr. Brownback’s comments come weeks after the U.S. International Commission for Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent bi-partisan commission set up by the U.S. Congress, downgraded India’s religious freedom rating to the lowest grade. Taking note of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register for Citizens, the USCIRD had recommended to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that India be classified as a ” country of particular concern.”

Significantly, the USCIRF also called for the release of those protesting the CAA. “During #COVID19 crisis, there are reports #India govt is arresting Muslim activists protesting the #CAA, including Safoora Zargar who is pregnant,” the Commission tweeted on May 14. “At this time, #India should be releasing prisoners of conscience, not targeting those practising their democratic right to protest.”

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UN official says concerned over ”hate speech and discrimination” against minorities in India

Highlighting India’s long-standing history of promoting inclusive and peaceful societies, a top UN official on Tuesday voiced concern over incidents of “increased hate speech and discrimination” against minority communities in the country following the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Dieng said in a note to the media on Tuesday that he is “concerned over reports of increased hate speech and discrimination against minority communities in India”&hellip; “While the objective of the act, to provide protection to minority communities is commendable, it is concerning that this protection is not extended to all groups, including Muslims. This is contrary to India’s obligations under international human rights law, in particular on non-discrimination,” Dieng said.

Dieng encouraged the Government of India to “continue to abide by this guidance by ensuring that national laws and policies follow international standards related to non-discrimination and to address and counter the rise of hate speech through messages of inclusion, respect for diversity and unity.

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Food, milk, sanitary pads: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind turns saviour for migrants passing through Bhopal

Unperturbed by how the word ‘Jamaat’ has been vilified after members of the Tablighi Jamaat were accused of spreading the coronavirus, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has set up a 24-hour helpdesk on the Vidisha Bypass road on the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal where passing migrant labourers are being provided with food and other essentials. 

Jamaat-e-Islami volunteers have ensured food for those who are hungry, milk for children, shoes and slippers for those undertaking long, arduous journeys back home on foot and medicine for those who are sick. India Today TV visited the helpdesk post-midnight on Monday and found a spirited team of Jamaat volunteers rushing towards every bus that passed with migrant labourers. 

“This is not from any politician or any political party, this is not even help, you are us, so please accept these,” the volunteers could be seen appealing to migrant labourers as they offered them food, water, fruits, biscuits and milk. “It is not just food and water, we have even bought sanitary pads for women who need them. These men, women and children are in distress, they just need human help,” a volunteer told India Today TV.

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UP: Seeing his disabled friend struggle with tricycle, man pushes it for 5 days, 350km

Gayoor Ahmad, 40, had met Anirudh Jhare, 28, at a quarantine shelter in Jodhpur recently. Both showed no symptoms of Covid-19, but had to undergo the mandatory isolation as they had entered the district from different states. &hellip; Something clicked and they became friends. 

When they got a chance to move out, on May 8, a bus dropped them 40km away from Bharatpur, near the UP border. After bidding adieu, Gayoor started hand-pedalling his tricycle towards Muzaffarnagar. Anirudh, too, had a long distance to cover.&hellip; Barely had they walked a while when Gayoor’s struggle with his tricycle became apparent to Anirudh. It took a few moments for Anirudh to take a call which perhaps few would.

He decided to change direction, head to Muzaffarnagar instead of Nagpur and accompany Gayoor until his friend reached home safely. Anirudh pushed Gayoor’s tricycle for the next five days as they criss-crossed several districts until they finally reached Muzaffarnagar on May 12.&hellip; “First, we are human beings. We are Hindus and Muslims after that. I am happy I could help Gayoor. I am living with his family now. I will be here for a while. All of them are nice and polite. It’s like I am with my own family.” On his part, Gayoor has a request. He wants the administration to help Anirudh reach Nagpur.

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Migrant worker’s health deteriorates on way home, his friend sticks with him till end

Amrit Kumar was feeling feverish when his friend Mohammed Saiyub and other migrant workers boarded a truck to go home on Thursday in Surat. The two worked in different textile units but shared a room as they belonged to the same village in Basti in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of kilometres away from Gujarat.

The paracetamol tablets they had stocked were of little help as Amrit’s condition did not improve throughout the journey atop the truck in scorching heat. When the vehicle reached Kolaras in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, Amrit’s health deteriorated. Saiyub sought medical help for his friend, but the other migrant workers and the truck driver did not want to wait for it to arrive.

As Amrit’s health continued to sink, Saiyub sat cradling his friend’s head by the roadside – an image that has gone viral on the social media. A half-empty water bottle and a red backpack lay next to the two friends. He used the water to moisten his handkerchief and place it on his friend’s forehead to lower the temperature. When an ambulance arrived a few minutes later, another image showed Saiyub move quickly to shift his friend.

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“Shoved gun barrels in mouths, tied civilians to tree”: A ransacked Budgam village – By Kuwar Singh

Table salt is scattered on the floor, along with broken fragments of a water pipe, a firepot, a wall clock, and utensils in the single-storey house. “They took the salt from the kitchen, and rubbed it in our eyes,” says 50-year-old Atiqa Bano as she sifts through the rubble inside her house in Nasrullah Pora. The village in Budgam district of central Kashmir has a population of roughly 15,000. Right now, however, it is mostly deserted.

As they saw armored vehicles entering the village an hour later, most of the men, including Ms. Bano’s husband and three sons, fled fearing detention.&hellip; The staircase of their house has been dismantled, and is lying in the front yard. Ms. Bano says the forces tore it from the wall to prevent them from escaping to the attic. 

“The men stormed in from the front gate, over the boundary walls, from every direction,” she says. To stop the women from screaming, “they shoved the barrel of their guns in our mouths.”  They ransacked through Ms. Bano’s belongings, and looted her gold jewellery, two power inverters, and their rice stock, she says.

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India is forcing people to use its covid app, unlike any other democracy – By Patrick Howell O’Neill

The world has never seen anything quite like Aarogya Setu. Two months ago, India’s app for coronavirus contact tracing didn’t exist; now it has nearly 100 million users. Prime Minister Narendra Modi boosted it on release by urging every one of the country’s 1.3 billion people to download it, and the result was that within two weeks of launch it became the fastest app ever to reach 50 million downloads.

India is currently the only democratic nation in the world that is making its coronavirus tracking app mandatory for millions of people, according to MIT Technology Review’s Covid Tracing Tracker, a database of global contact tracing apps.

While official policy is that downloading the app is voluntary, the truth is that government employees are required to use it, while major private employers and landlords are mandating it as well. The city of Noida is now reportedly fining and even threatening to arrest anyone who fails to install the app on their phone. It’s a dramatic step generating fierce criticism from civil liberties experts nationally, and from all over the globe.

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The virus of authoritarian strain – By Divya Trivedi

Even as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the right-wing regime in India is working overtime to stifle democratic voices. A strict lockdown, which prevents citizens from gathering, has come in handy for the government to crush dissent against its communal policies, especially the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act. 

According to some reports, as many as 800 people have been detained or arrested since the lockdown began on the charge of rioting in North East Delhi. Some activists against the Act have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which allows the police to detain an accused for up to six months without producing a shred of evidence for crime.

Most of the people arrested during the lockdown were Muslim men and women (one of them pregnant), including university students and riot-affected people.&hellip; Speaking to Frontline, North East Delhi residents said that even some 40 days into the lockdown, the police kept coming in droves of 20 or 30 to arrest young Muslim men. If they could not find the person they were looking for, they picked up his family members and detained them until the person they were after appeared before them.

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The Unprecedented Changes To India’s Labour Laws = Social Chaos? – By Payaswini Upadhyay

The decision by various states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra to amend certain labour law provisions has elicited two diametrically opposing views. On the one hand are those who argue that businesses today largely employ temporary workers. And so, the dilution of labour laws that mostly apply to permanent workers won’t make much of a difference. And that the existence of these laws only served the cause of labour inspectors. 

On the other hand, activists have strongly condemned this assertion saying that presence of stringent laws has proved to be a powerful tool in the hands of workers to negotiate for better wages, work conditions etc. And attributing lack of business activity to stringent labour laws is an over-simplification of the problem.

The intent is to signal to industry that labour laws won’t come in the way of business activity, experts BloombergQuint spoke with said. Perhaps why Madhya Pradesh has amended certain labour laws only for new industries that start production for the first time in the next 1,000 days.

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Enough of the cheap theatrics. We need brains. We need heart. We need accountability – By Arundhati Roy

I’ve been following the elite media’s and the elite establishment’s sudden and heartfelt discovery of the tragedy of the “Faceless migrant worker”.&hellip; Some of the very same people who now appear to be in shock were cheerleaders while labour protection laws were dismantled, and a huge campaign was mounted to violently appropriate the land and resources of the rural poor and push them out of the countryside.

It was not something that just happened. It was a planned policy that was implemented over decades in which the poor were simply airbrushed out of the picture. &hellip; We live in a country in which 63 billionaires hold more wealth than the Union Budget outlay for a year. If you can consider emergency labour laws that make starving, semi-enslaved, traumatised people work a 12-hour day, you can have some emergency laws for the wealthy too. 

And you can put a system in place that makes sure that food and money gets to the millions of people who need it. We need to plan how we are going to live in a future that hardly bears thinking about. We need brains. And we need heart. And we need accountability. Enough of the cheap, stupid theatrics.

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India’s COVID-19 Response: Modi’s masterstrokes are a form of fascist shock therapy – By Manasi Karthik

Modi’s latest ‘masterstroke’ has left many wondering what exactly he was thinking when he put India into the world’s largest lockdown overnight. &hellip; Is this a sign of Modi’s incompetence or foolhardiness, as some have argued? Anyone observing Modi’s policies would be able to tell that masterstrokes like this are not an aberration for the Modi regime, but a norm.

Modi’s politically expedient handouts have done nothing to create real safety nets that India’s poor can fall back on during this time of crisis. Instead, as if to turn tragedy into farce, Modi is now advertising a relief fund called PM CARES to solicit donations from the public even while it uses tax-payers money for beautification projects.

As the death toll increases, economists have argued that the economic collapse the country is about to see is unprecedented. If Naomi Klein’s decades of research tell us anything, it is that in India’s case this crisis will be used to further Modi’s agenda by clamping down on dissent and establishing an increasingly draconian police state.

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4 Dalits Killed in 4 Days, Activists Say Upper Castes in TN Using Lockdown as Opportunity for Assaults

“Tamil Nadu should be declared as an atrocity state. The caste situation here is like in no other state,” says A Kathir, executive director of Madurai-based NGO Evidence.

Caste-based violence has raised its ugly head to new levels in Tamil Nadu during the time of the novel coronavirus pandemic, allege social activists.

Since the first nationwide lockdown began on March 25, there have been at least 30 major incidents of caste-based violence in the state, according to a study by Evidence. Activists allege that in many places, some upper-caste groups are using the lockdown as an opportunity to assault Dalits.

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Another Bank Defaulter Flees Country, SBI Complains To CBI After 4 Years

A company whose owners fled the country with over Rs 400 crore in unpaid loans borrowed from the State Bank of India (SBI) and other banks has emerged as the latest example of a mega defaulter evading action. The owners of Delhi-based Basmati rice exporter Ram Dev International Limited, investigated by the CBI for allegedly defaulting on loans from six banks, have been missing since 2016.

The company was classified as a non-performing asset in 2016. Four years later, after a complaint from SBI on February 25, the CBI filed a case last week, on April 28.

Ram Dev International allegedly borrowed Rs 414 crore – Rs 173.11 crore from SBI, Rs 76.09 crore from Canara Bank, Rs 64.31 crore from Union Bank of India, Rs 51.31 crore from Central Bank of India, Rs 36.91 crore from Corporation Bank and Rs 12.27 crore from IDBI Bank.

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US religious freedom watchdog calls out India for arresting Muslims protesting new citizenship law

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Thursday called out India for unfairly “targeting those practicing their democratic right to protest”, making special mention of the arrest of a pregnant Muslim activist.

“During COVID-19 crisis, there are reports India [government] is arresting Muslim activists protesting the [Citizenship Amendment Act], including Safoora Zargar who is pregnant,” wrote the US federal government entity. Expressing concern, the body said that India should “be releasing prisoners of conscience” instead of arresting those who have the right to peacefully protest.

USCIRF said that in this year’s annual report, it had “recommended India be designated a country of Particular Concern for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom during 2019”.&hellip; Earlier this month, Amnesty International India slammed the country for arresting Safoora Zargar

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129 arrested for violence at Telinipara in Bengal

West Bengal Police has arrested 129 persons in connection with violence at Telinipara in West Bengal’s Hooghly district. Violence between two communities had erupted in the area on Sunday allegedly over a dispute over using a public toilet during lockdown.

The West Bengal Home Department on Thursday said that strong action has been taken against the miscreants. The Department took to social media assuring the people that senior officials along with large number of forces are patrolling the area round the clock.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had blamed the ‘IT-Cell’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for provoking communal passions during the lockdown.

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Ahmedabad Violence: Police fires 71 Teargas Shells, Pregnant Woman Beaten Up, One-and-A Half Year Old Kid Thrown Away by Cops, 27 People Arrested

After a clash between the policemen and the local people under Shahpur police station of Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Friday evening, as many as 29 persons, including a 60- year-old man, were arrested on charges of attempt to murder, conspiracy and rioting as also Section 51(b) of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

police fired 71 teargas shells to disperse the mob. While police claim that one of their personnel sustained injuries in the head, besides small injuries to several others&hellip; According to locals, it was around 6.15 pm, just 15 minutes before the ‘iftar’ or fast breaking time when a woman was going towards her house with a 10 kg bag of ‘aata'(wheat flour) on her head and she was stopped by a police patrolling team. “The policemen not only threw away the flour bag but also made her do sit-ups”, say the locals

In another incident around the same time, another police party beat up a Muslim milk-seller. When some women came to protect the man, they were also beaten by the police”, alleged several local women. “They even threw my one and a half year old kid from my lap and dragged me up to my house while beating me all along”, said a young lady. Another woman said that they beat up a pregnant lady when she tried to prevent the policemen from beating her brother.

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Gujarat shocker: BJP worker charged 3 times for train fare, beat up migrant for objecting, claims Congress

Congress in Gujarat has accused a BJP worker of charging three-times the train fair from migrant workers and beating one of them up for objecting. The incident allegedly took place in Surat. In a video shared by Congress leader Saral Patel on Twitter, shows a man accusing BJP worker Rajesh Verma of charging inflated ticket fares from migrants. 

“I had gone to get the tickets. We have given him Rs 1.16 lakh, but he is saying he will not give our money or tickets. He is selling tickets for Rs 2,000 each, when I tried to object Rajesh Verma and his people hit me with a wooden stick,” the man can be heard saying in the video.

“Rajesh Verma hit me the most, my brain is not working properly from the pain. I have proof that we gave him the money. We all have tokens [for the train ticket], but he refuses to give us tickets,” the bleeding man said.

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Bulk Of Covid-19 Related Fact-Checks In April Related To Communal Rumours, Claims BOOM Live

A bulk of the Covid-19 related fact-checks in April were related to communal rumours, most of which were false allegations that Muslims were spreading the virus on purpose, according to a report by BOOM Live. 

BOOM Live said its study analysed 178 fact-checks on Covid-19 related to misinformation or disinformation elating to the pandemic between January and May. “During April, a new trend observed was that communally charged disinformation targeting Muslims became more frequent,” the report said. By the end of April, a bulk of BOOM Live’s fact-checks were on communal rumours.

&hellip; “Islamophobic rumours around them purposefully spreading the virus became viral on the internet”. Other trends also witnessed in April were a spike in fake news related to politics, misinformation about the lockdown in India and the spread of the virus in Italy, and rumours about the Indian economy.

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Supreme Court sacrificed core principles during lockdown, says CJAR

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) issued a statement on Wednesday criticising the Supreme Court for “sacrificing the core principles of fairness and transparency in justice delivery system” during the COVID-19 lockdown. The NGO has former judges, and lawyers like Prashant Bhushan as members.

The statement said the court has accepted without demur whatever the Union Government has put on affidavit and not carried out its constitutional duty of holding the government to account through powers of judicial review.

CJAR said the manner in which certain cases are being heard at great urgency, while other similar matters are kept pending without a hearing for long, is likely to make the public lose faith in the fairness of the Court’s processes.

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Economic relief package ‘frivolous and gimmicky,’ say MSME bodies

The Modi government’s much-awaited stimulus including collateral free loans of up to Rs 3 lakh crore has failed to impress micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with industry bodies terming it frivolous and gimmicky.

Announcing relief for MSME sector as part of Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus to tide over coronavirus crisis and boost economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman&hellip; also announced Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt for stressed MSMEs which would cover 2 lakh businesses. 

The smaller firms, however, expressed disappointment and said that they were expecting salary support for their workers and staff in the absence of cash flow which is expected to remain minimal as orders have dried up and demands plummeted.

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After Mob Attacks and Trade Boycott, Muslims Being Forced to Convert to Hinduism in Delhi and Haryana Villages

After a hate campaign launched by print, electronic and digital media against Muslims in the wake of the coronavirus spread that resulted in mob attacks on Muslims and their trade boycott, Muslims are now being forced to convert to Hinduism in several villages of Haryana as also in villages in Bawana area of Delhi, bordering Haryana’s Sonepat district.

The latest example of the forced conversion has come from Harevali village in Bawana area where all the 12 Muslim families with about 60 members, were forcibly converted to Hinduism on May 5.

The villager said that they did not oppose the “shuddhikaran” because of fear of atrocities from the Hindu villagers.&hellip; Asked if the Muslims were observing the Ramzan, he said, “We are observing fast and performing ‘namaz’ also inside our houses secretly, without our Hindu neighbours coming to know of it”.  He said that the Muslims would take up the issue with the police after the Ramzan and lockdown were over.

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Corona Warrior In Burqa Helps Sanitise Delhi Temples, Priests Welcome Her

Covered in a burqa from head to toe, 32-year-old Imrana Saifi is not the typical visitor to the Nav Durga Temple in North Delhi’s Nehru Vihar. But the coronavirus crisis has thrown up striking images of communal harmony from the district that saw deadly clashes just over two months ago.

With a disinfectant spray in hand, Imrana Saifi has taken up the responsibility of sanitising several of the temples, mosques and gurdwaras lining the neighbourhood. The mother of three observes the day-long fast for the holy month of Ramzan but does not fail to show up every day with the sanitiser tank provided by the local residential welfare association.

The priests welcome and even help her as she requests permission to spray the disinfectant inside and outside the temples in the north Delhi neighbourhood.

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Telangana doctor drives 60 kms through forest, ensures save delivery of tribal woman

After day-long labor at his Public Health Center (PHC) in Gangaram, Dr. Mukram was getting ready to leave for home.&hellip; That’s when Asha worker, Padmaa, called from Polaram village, which is almost 20 km from the PHC. A young mother had gone into labor and her amniotic fluid was broken.

The sole 108 ambulance had just left to attend another patient in a nearby PHC. Dr. Mukram had no time to waste. Along with two Asha workers, he drove to the village through dense forest in his car for almost 30 minutes and brought the woman to the PHC.

However, the ordeal of the night was not over for the doctor and his staff as yet. The baby girl was not responding. The amniotic fluid had entered her stomach and she had turned blue. The doctors further sucked out secretions from the baby’s lungs and waited for a positive sign. A few minutes later, the baby cried and turned pink.

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Indian American Muslim Council in New Jersey helps first responders

The New Jersey Chapter of the Indian American Muslim Council ( an advocacy group with a mission to safeguard India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, organized an online fund raiser for supporting First Responders of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state of New Jersey.

A group of more than 100 members of the Indian Muslim community in New Jersey, participated in a fundraiser for donating Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs, to the state’s First Responders. The staff and hospital managements greatly appreciated IAMC’s efforts, a May 5, 2020 press release from the organization said.

“This pandemic has brought out the best of humanity, and every life saved is taking us close to saving the mankind” Mudassir Ansari, general secretary of IAMC-NJ, is quoted saying in the press release. “Safeguarding our first responders is our first and foremost duty” he added.

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The Majoritarian Bargaina

The Majoritarian Bargaina (May 2, 2020, India Today)

When the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) held a much-publicised three-day lecture series in New Delhi in September 2018, attendees were greeted &hellip; the occupant of the adjoining panel: Bhimrao Ambedkar, the 20th century’s most formidable and trenchant critic of that very ideology.

If this effort to appropriate Ambedkar, and with him, Dalits, seems incredible, Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s potent insider account of the RSS reveals that attempts like these are but the polished tip of a vast and menacing iceberg. In I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS, Meghwanshi guides the reader into the parallel universe of those RSS schools, shakhas and camps that target the youth of disprivileged castes for indoctrination and training in militant ethnoreligious nationalism.

No other book exposes so viscerally the instrumentalism of the RSS effort to woo the disprivileged castes even while nurturing casteism deep in its savarna heart. In the present moment, when the Faustian bargain that Hindutva extends to Dalits and backward castes has never been more politically salient, the lessons of Meghwanshi’s searing memoir could not be more urgent.

<a href=”></a>

Book: I Could Not Be Hindu : The Story of a Dalit in the RSS

Author: Bhanwar Meghwanshi; Tr. Nivedita Menon

Reviewer: Joel Lee

Publisher: Navayana Publishing Pvt Ltd, 155, Second Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi 110049, Phone: +91-11-26494795 Email:

Online available at:

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Corona, communalism and class conflict – By Mani Shankar Aiyar

As in a time of war, the Covid – 19 pandemic should have united our country. Instead, the one – month lockdown has only aggravated communalism and class conflict.

The media’s premier godiwallah (lapdog) seized on the tragic midnight killing of two sadhus in Palghar, Maharashtra, to thunder, as if it were “breaking news”, that this country was 80 per cent Hindu and how it could tolerate the murder of two Hindu sants. This was despite the state government’s announcement that over a hundred suspected assailants – all Hindus – had been arrested.

Why, one must ask, has this incarnation of communalism not been outraged in similar incendiary terms at the numerous lynchings of Muslims in the last six years? Why, indeed, has his hero – the prime minister – done next to nothing about reining in the sangh parivar’s motormouths and youth gangs who terrify the minorities?

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What Life Is Like Inside the World’s Longest Lockdown – By Ahmer Khan and Billy Perrigo

At the start of the year, before the coronavirus hit, the Indian government had been slowly lifting the restrictions on movement and communication that it had imposed in August 2019, when it stripped Kashmir’s long-held constitutional autonomy and imposed direct rule from Delhi.&hellip; The Hindu nationalist government in Delhi also cut phone lines and Internet connections.

In late January, after nearly six months cut off from the world, the Kashmir Valley regained access to a list of government-approved sites on 2G Internet.&hellip; But soon after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Kashmir later in March, the region was plunged into lockdown once again, with new rules against movement and social gatherings.

As people around the world have moved their lives online in response to lockdowns, that coping mechanism is virtually impossible in Kashmir because 4G Internet remains cut off&hellip; Doctors say the Internet restrictions are having a negative effect on public health, too, as they must rely on slow 2G connections to download the latest medical studies and advice. “Because of COVID-19, everything is about new research,” says one doctor in a district hospital&hellip; the repressive measures are a sign that the Indian government’s priorities in Kashmir have not been changed by the pandemic.

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Where India’s government has failed in the pandemic, its people have stepped in – By Bharati Ramachandran

The highways connecting India’s overcrowded cities to the villages had not seen anything like it since the time of partition 73 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of workers were on the move, walking back to their villages with their possessions bundled on their heads. The lockdown was announced without a clear plan for the consequences and Indian civil society stepped in immediately.

With 92 partner NGOs, Goonj started work in 18 states. By 20 April, field teams had delivered rations to 17,700 families, and 16,600kg of rice, flour, lentils, potatoes and oil and 77,800 ready-to-eat meals to community kitchens. They had also produced 42,800 face masks and 24,900 sanitary pads. Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram-Ekta Parishad is doing the same in 39 districts across 10 states.&hellip; Thousands of workers and volunteers are feeding migrant labourers and maintaining community kitchens, as well as distributing masks and soap and protective equipment for frontline health workers.

NGOs have been demonised, especially those working on human rights issues. Their bank accounts have been frozen, their staff have been harassed, and their intent has been questioned. Now, as the state grapples with a response to Covid-19, the government think-tank NITI Aayog has requested that more than 92,000 NGOs help the government fight the pandemic.&hellip; The sooner this government starts to see civil society as allies in fair and foul weather, the better

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Arbitrary arrests of CAA-NRC protesters point to political vendetta under the cover of Covid – By Shoaib Daniyal

When governments around the world began to invoke emergency powers to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, fears were expressed that lockdowns to contain the spread of the disease could easily be used as an opportunity to crush basic democratic rights. These anxieties have come true in India. 

In recent days, the Union government-controlled Delhi Police has arrested several people who had been protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. These initiatives had been widely condemned for adding a religious element to Indian citizenship law. Many feared they could be used to harass India’s Muslims.

The day before the riot began, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra had threatened protestors with vigilante action. In fact, there is direct evidence that the violence was instigated by Mishra, with eyewitness accounts at the time attesting to the fact that attackers mentioned his name while carrying out the violence. Yet the Delhi Police has not taken any legal action against Mishra. &hellip; The criminalisation of dissent against these initiatives is a significant blow to Indian democracy.

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CoronaJihad is only the latest manifestation: Islamophobia in India has been years in the making – By Jayshree Bajoria

Today, as the world battles coronavirus (COVID-19),&hellip; India is also battling another threat to life – Muslim hate. &hellip;social media and WhatsApp groups have been flooded by calls for social and economic boycotts of Muslims and there have been numerous physical attacks on Muslims, including volunteers distributing relief material, amid falsehoods accusing them of spreading the virus deliberately.

However, coronavirus has simply highlighted what Muslims have been increasingly facing in India since Modi’s BJP government was first elected in 2014. BJP leaders have repeatedly made Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim remarks in their speeches and interviews. These have, at times, encouraged and even incited violent attacks by party supporters who believe they have political protection and approval.&hellip; Mobs affiliated with the BJP have, since 2015, killed and injured scores of members of religious minorities amid rumors that they traded or killed cows for beef.

Government policy has also reflected bias against Muslims. In December 2019, the Modi administration achieved passage of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which for the first time in India makes religion a basis for granting citizenship.&hellip; What was reassuring is that hundreds of thousands of Indians protested against these plans.&hellip; But it was deeply troubling that the police and other officials repeatedly failed to intervene when government supporters attacked Muslims and others protesting against the government’s proposed citizenship policies.&hellip; Several BJP officials mocked and threatened protesters, while some even called for the protesters, whom they described as “traitors,” to be shot, fueling further violence against Muslims.

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Why Gulf States Are Backtracking on India – By Sumit Ganguly, Nicolas Blarel

Over the last several years, especially under the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India had made significant strides in its relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf.&hellip; But the relationships that New Delhi so carefully crafted over the past five years&hellip; are now at substantial risk. Domestic developments targeting its 200 million Muslims are beginning to unravel India’s diplomatic feat.

Despite the relatively low reported numbers of infections and deaths, India’s Muslim community has faced online and physical assaults during the coronavirus crisis—incidents in which members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are also implicated.&hellip;the blatant abuse of India’s Muslim communities now places at risk New Delhi’s carefully tailored diplomatic approach to the Middle East, and especially toward the Gulf states.

In a rare public move, Princess Hend al-Qassimi of the UAE has been expressing her dissatisfaction with a rising Islamophobia among Indians.&hellip; These statements have followed other expressions of concern over the BJP’s treatment of Indian Muslims from across the Islamic world, including from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which urged India to take urgent steps to protect the rights of its Muslim minority.&hellip;One key factor is that India’s approach toward Muslims is no longer simply an internal matter if its citizens based in the Gulf also promote Islamophobic rhetoric.

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India’s Covid-19 app fuels worries over authoritarianism and surveillance

Within hours, the Aarogya Setu app became the fastest downloaded app on record&hellip; India was not the first country to deploy technology for coronavirus contact &hellip; But in a country with no meaningful anti-surveillance, privacy or data protection laws (the 1885 Telegraph Act is still in use) and a nationalist government with unprecedented snooping powers, many fear it has sinister implications.

The app has fuelled concern that the pandemic is being used as a pretext to erode privacy and freedom of speech in the name of “winning the war” against coronavirus. “In this context, the justification for restrictions on civil liberties is a lot more palatable to the public and it is less closely scrutinised,” said Sidharth Deb, counsel at the Internet Freedom Foundation, who wrote a paper on the app.

Privacy violations and unprecedented surveillance have already been rife at the state level&hellip; The app presents similar issues, but on a scale that could affect hundreds of millions of people. All data used to calculate risk of infection, from age and address to travel history&hellip; is sent to an external server under the control of the federal government.

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12 Tablighi Jamaat members, including 9 from Thailand, sent to temporary jail in UP

Twelve Tablighi Jamaat members, including nine from Thailand, were sent to a temporary jail in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district after they completed their quarantine, police said on Friday.

One of the persons from Thailand tested positive and was referred to Bareilly. He was later brought here after his report was negative, Superintendent of Police (City) Dinesh Tripathi told PTI.

After they completed 28 days in quarantine, they were sent to a temporary jail on Thursday. The passports of the foreigners were already seized and the Ministry of External Affairs has been informed, the officer added.

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COVID-19: Rohingya Refugees in India Are Battling Islamophobia and Starvation

Nearly all Rohingya refugees living in various refugee camps across the country have been left to fight the coronavirus pandemic on their own. The strict lockdown for India’s 1.3 billon people to prevent the spread of the virus has turned into a human tragedy for many, particularly the migrant workers, daily wage earners, street vendors and several others whose survival depends on their daily earnings. 

Most of the social protection packages announced by governments to feed and pay the working class daily wagers have no provisions for non-citizens. Even the Delhi government’s alternative livelihood assistance of Rs 5,000 for migrant workers does not include the Rohingya who are seen as ‘illegal migrants’. As a result, 18,000 Rohingya refugees living in India are facing a very uncertain future and situation of starvation.

In recent times, Rohingya refugees have become highly visible due to the vicious campaign launched by the BJP and its Hindu right wing partners calling the Muslims “Corona Bomb”. This started after TV9 Bharatvarsh, a free to air TV news channel, began broadcasting a so-called investigative report linking the Rohingya refugees with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

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Justice Lokur: ‘SC Not Fulfilling Its Constitutional Role Adequately, Needs to Introspect’

In the first outspoken criticism of the Supreme Court to emerge from a highly regarded former judge of the court, Justice Madan B. Lokur said he is “disappointed” by the court’s functioning during the recent COVID-19 lockdown crisis. 

“It is not fulfilling its constitutional functions adequately,” he said, adding, “The Supreme Court of India is capable of doing a good job but I think they need to introspect, they need to sit down, brainstorm and figure out how to go ahead&hellip; Certainly it should be more pro-active than it has been.”&hellip;

In an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire&hellip;, Justice Lokur answered a range of questions covering the court’s inadequate enforcement of the right to life of migrant workers, its prioritisation of cases on the basis of which some are heard immediately and others indefinitely deferred, and the inadequate exercise of its power of judicial review over government policies and action.

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Maharashtra govt accuses Arnab Goswami of interfering with probe, moves SC

The Maharashtra government has accused senior journalist Arnab Goswami of interfering with the probe against him by using his tweets and television debates to browbeat the Mumbai Police.

In an application moved before the top court, the state sought urgent orders to restrain the journalist from engaging in such acts that creates a “fear psychosis” among the force impeding their ability to probe the case without fear or favour.

Goswami faces multiple complaints of inciting hatred among religious groups, which are now being probed under a single complaint at the NM Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai.

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Poster barring entry of Muslim traders in Indore village surfaces, case registered

A poster prohibiting the entry of Muslim traders in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district was&hellip; apparently put up on Saturday.

DIG (Indore) Harinarayanchari Mishra told The Indian Express that the poster was removed as soon as the police learnt about it. He said a case against unknown persons was registered since it was immediately not known who put the poster.

Upping the ante against the state police and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former chief minister and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted, “Is such act not a punishable offence under our law?” “Such a division in the society is not in national interest,” he added.

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Destitute migrant workers in India forced to pay train fares home

Migrant labourers in Indian cities whose incomes have plummeted as a result of anti-coronavirus lockdown measures have been told that they will have to pay to board special trains taking them back to their homes in the countryside.

The decision has prompted derision in India, where most labourers live off what they earn in a day and have been surviving on state handouts. &hellip; Since the lockdown was imposed on 25 March, an estimated 10 million labourers have been trapped in the company of strangers in cities across India, with no work or income and a long way from the comfort of home and family.

Opposition politicians reacted with incredulity to the train fare. The National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah, tweeted: “If you are stuck abroad&hellip; the government will fly you back for free, but if you are a migrant worker stranded in another state, be prepared to cough up the money for the cost of travel.” The Samajwadi party leader, Akhilesh Yadav, called the decision “highly shameful”.

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Delhi Police raid at Minority Commission chief’s house

The Delhi Police Cyber Cell on Wednesday conducted raids on Zafarul-Islam Khan, the Chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission, in connection with a case registered against him over his alleged seditious remarks on social media. “The team was looking for the mobile handset used by him to post content on social media platforms,” sources in the agency said.

Speaking to IANS over the phone, Islam’s counsel Vrinda Grover&hellip; said: “You are informed that Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan is a senior citizen of 72 years age and he suffers from old age related physical illnesses that make him extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 coronavirus.”

Grover further added that the law, as per Section 160 of the CrPC, mandates that the police cannot compel attendance of a person above 65 years age at any place other than their residence for the purpose of investigation and interrogation. “You are required as per law to question/interrogate Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan only in his residence and you cannot compel him to go to any police station

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‘First Muslims, Now Sikhs’: Nanded Pilgrims Face Vilification

The sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases in Punjab has been given a communal spin, with some in the media and social media blaming Sikh pilgrims returning from Nanded. ABP News for instance gave the headline ‘Corona vispot’ (explosion) while talking about the Sikh pilgrims from Nanded who had tested positive. The terror vocabulary being used is similar to how COVID-19 patients from Tablighi Jamaat were labelled as ‘Corona Jihad’.

The vilification campaign against Sikh pilgrims is reported to be underway on social media as well. According to reports, 183 pilgrims who returned from Nanded have tested positive for COVID-19 so far,&hellip; However, there are some unanswered questions. According to details provided by the Maharashtra government, there were only three COVID-19 cases in Nanded district. So how can so many pilgrims coming from Huzur Sahib test positive for COVID-19 after their arrival in Punjab? 

Does it mean that they were not properly screened in Maharashtra? Or did they contract the infection on the way? There are reports that the buses in which the pilgrims were being brought stopped at Indore, a major COVID-19 hotspot, on the way.&hellip; The Jathedar of the Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh has said that this vilification appears to be a conspiracy to malign minority communities.

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South Asian organisations in US accuse BJP of vendetta politics to persecute Muslims

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) on Tuesday condemned the Indian Government for slapping criminal charges against Muslim activists, students, and intellectuals during a nationwide lockdown. AJA is an umbrella group of South Asian organizations in the United States that has condemned sedition charges against renowned Muslim intellectual and Chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan.

AJA stated that “Dr Khan has been charged for exercising his right to free speech in a Facebook post,” accusing BJP of running a full-fledged campaign to curb dissent. The statement said that anyone who raises a voice against the treatment of Muslims is labelled “anti-national.” “Modi’s Government is at the forefront of human rights violations by providing total impunity to their perpetrators,” remarks AJA, speaking against the Centre’s selective prosecution of Muslim activists and victims.

AJA called out against the “massacre of dozens of Muslims in religious violence against Muslims in the Capital,” resonating its support for the US Commission Annual Report that placed India among the top violators of religious freedom. It has urged the U.S. Government to accept USCIRF recommendations and work towards unifying the Indian society by countering “divisive agenda” of the BJP.

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Hindu friend offers shade, as Muslim cop offers namaz

In a touching gesture of humanity and display of communal harmony, Shiv Kumar, a police personnel offered a shade with his towel to his fellow policeman Irfan Khan, when the latter was offering namaz (prayer) near K D Singh Babu Stadium, at Hazratgunj in scorching sun. 

This is the beauty of India and its cosmopolitan culture.

According to Roznama Sahara, Lucknow, both Irfan Khan and Shiv Kumar also do iftar (breaking of fast) together.

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Hindu woman observes Ramadan in India

A Hindu Brahmin woman is observing fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in a bid to promote communal harmony and peace among all faiths. Jayshree Shukla, a 52-year-old honors history graduate, says it is her way to spread love, peace and boost brotherhood.

Multiple visits to one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid, as an observer and photographer, led Shukla to mingle with Muslims. Captivated by the complete sense of inclusiveness and acceptance by the community, led her to fall in love with the culture.

“At the mosque, nobody ever asked me which religion I belonged to. In the evenings, during iftar, people would offer me food they brought from home. This touched me as in those areas, I was the minority, still, I was treated with so much respect and love,” said Shukla, who experienced her first Ramadan in 2019.

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This Hindu-Muslim Duo From A Mumbai Jail Will Warm Your Heart In These Hate-Filled Times

On 31 March, when Durga was released on bail from a prison in Mumbai, her jailer&hellip; took a chance and asked if any of the other inmates being released the next day would take Durga, a destitute mother of two children, to their home until the lockdown was lifted. The only one to offer her shelter was 22-year-old Zeba.

The two women had been incarcerated in the same prison, but didn’t know each other until they were released on bail. When Zeba,&hellip; one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city, arrived home with Durga in tow, her family was surprised, but quickly welcomed her. “We were a bit taken aback that Zeba had got an extra person with her, but her religion doesn’t matter. We have not been raised with this Hindu-Muslim hate you see all around,” said Nadia, Zeba’s elder sister.

While many Indians are occupied in peddling hate – whether it is over the anti-CAA protests, the Tablighi Jamaat incident, the creation of separate wards for Hindus and Muslims in a Ahmedabad hospital, the recent Palghar lynching or the vicious attacks on jailed Jamia student Safoora Zargar – Zeba and Durga’s story stands out by offering hope that ordinary Indians can display humanity even in the most difficult of circumstances.

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India is using the pandemic to intensify its crackdown in Kashmir – By Tariq Mir

As the world remains consumed with containing the coronavirus pandemic and the severe economic fallout, India has spotted an opportunity for another round of repression against the population of Kashmir, which had already been reeling from the harsh aftereffects of last year’s six-month-long military lockdown.

By initiating gunfights with guerrilla fighters, jailing people for going to buy food and medicine, bringing charges against journalists, and beating doctors, paramedics and municipal workers, India is tightening its grip on Kashmir, seizing on pandemic measures to prevent a surge of resistance to its rule.

By changing the status, the Hindu right-wing government enabled Indian citizens to purchase property and settle down in the Himalayan region. The native inhabitants of Kashmir see an insidious plan in the annexation. They fear India seeks to alter the demographic makeup and turn Kashmir from being the Muslim-dominated state to the one where Hinduism could become the predominant faith

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Is Aarogya Setu A Surveillance App? Experts Give Some Answers, Flag Some Concerns – By Govindraj Ethiraj

The Government of India has launched an app, Aarogya Setu, that sits on your smartphone if you download it, then shares data about you via Bluetooth and GPS to a central server&hellip; there is ratification from mobile devices, sharing with the central backend, which is also collecting location data, and not using it for a user to just know what is happening, but the government or rather the public health authorities can look at potential hotspot tracking or location tracking. There is much more data that they collect, perhaps than in many other places. 

Why I am cautious about this is that, one, it does have implications. For example, even currently, it is not just about the data stored on your phone, it is about the data stored centrally at the government’s end, whether it is the NITI Aayog or some other agency. 

This data is currently under the control of the NIC, even though the servers are not in the NIC, the data is being controlled entirely by the NIC – this is a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) app (NIC works under the MeitY).&hellip; the ministry of health is a stakeholder, but the entity responsible for maintaining the app and making sure that it works the way it is supposed to is the NIC, inside the MeitY.

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Method in Modi’s ‘directionless’ economic governance: Manipulating public mind – By Bhabani Shankar Nayak

The world is heading towards worst economic recession in its history. The governments are worried about their citizenry and future of their country. But Narendra Modi cares little as long as his popularity and electoral victory remains intact. Modi fiddles with the future of India and Indians by manipulating the public mind with the help of mass media.

The Modi government spent over Rs 3,800 crore on publicity in print and audio-visual media, according to Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Modi government. According to the Centre for Media Studies, Modi led BJP spent nearly Rs. 27000 crores in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which is about 45% of the total electoral expenditure in India.

This is the cost of maintaining Modi’s image in public with the help of propaganda when the Indian economy is going down in drains. Economists in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are projecting a gloomy economic scenario for India. It is worst economic growth since the 1991 economic crisis and liberalisation.

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Palghar: Hate as ‘Essential Commodity’, Arnab its Supplier – By Valay Singh

The sordid communalising of the Palghar lynching, and the vicious attack on Sonia Gandhi by Arnab Goswami, the co-owner of Republic TV and its prime time anchor, have made it clear that hate is a commodity that continues to be sold like an essential item during the Covid-19 lockdown. On the other hand, peace, amity and the rule of law are becoming non-essential goods. They are being junked because the silent majority is either failing to discern that it is being fed toxic propaganda in the name of news or it is gobbling up hate and spreading it knowingly.

After a spate of FIRs and defamation suits filed against Goswami by Congress workers across the country, he alleged that he had been physically attacked. The Supreme Court intervened in a short span of 12 hours and has provided Goswami protection against arrest for three weeks but allowed the hate-speech probe to continue.

Strange indeed are the ways in which courts work; sometimes the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly and at other times they stun with their speed. The FIRs will take their own course and action is likely to be taken against Goswami sooner or later, but meanwhile, should not the court have taken suo moto notice of his provocative broadcasts and passed strictures.

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Corporate media a serious threat to Indian democracy

India, the world’s largest functioning democracy, seems to be under a severe threat. The threat, one might initially be inclined to think, is only from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, this would be a gross underestimation of another grave threat to Indian democracy: the Indian corporate media, generally speaking, and TV news channels more specifically. 

One might find it ironic that the sword arm of democracy, the very watchdog that protects the public interest is in itself a grave threat to democracy, but in present-day India, this is the bitter truth. Ordinary people may think that free, fair and fearless media are a prerequisite of democracy, and that the Indian media have been true to the democratic onus thrust upon it, but the opposite is true.

In fact, they are consistent cheerleaders of Modi’s communal agenda and always the first to jump wholeheartedly on to every anti-minority, anti-leftist, anti-human-rights, anti-dissent, and anti-opposition bandwagon. They have consistently succeeded in covering up Modi’s failures, weaknesses and wrongdoings.

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Delhi Riot Conspiracy Theory: Aim Is To Make Every Muslim Guilty

The Delhi Police seems to be mocking us all, rebuking us in fact, reminding us that words and phrases like rule of law, justice, victims, fairness shall be defined only in the manner that the government pleases.

For, immediately after offering us these platitudes, the Delhi Police invoked Sections 13, 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against arrested student leaders and activists involved in the anti-CAA protests. Make no mistake, the state has thus deployed the mightiest weapons in its arsenal against dissent.&hellip;

The figure of the anti-CAA protester condenses both a dissident politics and a suspect religious category. A Muslim out on the streets speaking politics and rejecting the communalisation of citizenship – from Sharjeel Imam to Safoora Zargar – is then a threatening, dangerous ‘Other’ par excellence.&hellip; Imagine that sweep.&hellip; In one stroke, the conspiracy is shown to be one in which the entire Muslim community was complicit, women and children included. ‘Instigator’, ‘conspirator’, ‘rioter’: every Muslim is guilt.

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‘Atrocities against dalits continue under lockdown too’

Citing that caste atrocities against dalits continue to be prevalent in the state despite lockdown, Evidence, a Maduraibased NGO has urged the state government to detain all those involved in such incidents under the Goondas Act. 

In a statement, executive director of Evidence, A Kathir said that a survey undertaken by the NGO members has revealed that 25 incidents, including two murders were reported during the past one month. 

&hellip;In another incident, a police constable Eswaran attached to the Puthupalayam police station in Thiruvannamalai district assaulted a dalit, Gowthamapriyan for talking to a girl belonging to his (Eswaran’s) community on March 31.

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Christians in India Face More Than COVID-19

The sudden outbreak of rule-following means that for many Christians, there is a break from the persecution that has escalated since Prime Minister Modi took power in 2014.

Religious freedom shouldn’t be as precarious in India as it has proven to be. While the Preamble to their Constitution declares India a “secular state,” this doesn’t imply the elimination of religion from the public square or even the non-involvement of government in religious matters.&hellip;

Hindutva rejects religious pluralism, aiming instead for India to become a Hindu state. In the view of Hindutva’s founder, a non-Hindu in India should be considered “at best a guest, and at worst the bastard child of foreign invasion.

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TISS Professors Falsely Targeted For ‘Supporting Palghar Accused’

On 16 April an incident of mob lynching took place in Gadchinchle village of Maharashtra’s Palghar district. Three men from Mumbai on their way to Surat, were dragged out of a car and beaten to death by villagers on suspicion of theft. The incident which led to a flare-up in the state’s politics also triggered a series of fake news and misinformation on social media.

In one such case that has come to light, multiple users on Facebook are suggesting names of two individuals – Pradip Prabhu and Shiraz Balsara, affiliated with an organisation called Kashtakari Sangathana – as people supporting the attackers. To add credibility to the claim, a picture of a couple identifying them as the duo is being circulated.

The Quint can confirm that there is no truth to the claim and the two people who can be seen in the picture are not Pradip Prabhu and Shiraz Balsara, but KP Jaishankar and Anjali Monteiro – well known documentary filmmakers and professors of media and communications at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

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Banks technically write off over Rs 68,000 cr loans, Choksi among 50 top wilful defaulters: RTI

Indian banks have technically written off a staggering amount of Rs 68,607 crore due from 50 top wilful defaulters, including absconding diamantaire Mehul Choksi, according to a reply under RTI from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Prominent RTI activist Saket Gokhale had filed an RTI query with the RBI seeking details of the 50 top wilful defaulters and their current loan status till February 16.&hellip;

Disclosing what the government didn’t, the RBI’s Central Public Information Officer Abhay Kumar provided the replies on Saturday (April 24), with several startling revelations in the ‘diamond-studded list’, said Gokhale. The RBI said that this amount (Rs 68,607 crore) comprises outstanding and the amounts technically/prudentially written off till September 30, 2019.

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‘How can court stop this’: SC refuses to entertain PIL against ‘communal’ hashtags trending on Twitter

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a petition seeking direction to stop illegal trending of various hashtags on Twitter, attaching religion to the COVID-19 pandemic and said it was akin to asking MTNL to stop people talking wrong things on phone. A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said: “How can the court stop this? You are saying people are saying wrong things on Twitter.”

A petition was filed by advocate Khaja Aijazuddin seeking directions from the apex court to government to direct Twitter to stop the illegal trending of hashtags on the social network under the name #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #Tablighi jamat, #Nizamuddinidiots, #TablighiJamatVirus.

The petitioner argued that these messages were attaching the religion to pandemic disease, and this was unwarranted, illegal and unconstitutional.&hellip; The court observed that we can’t issue such pre-emptive directions.

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96% migrant workers did not get rations from the government, 90% did not receive wages during lockdown: survey

A survey of 11,159 migrant workers stranded in various States found that between April 8 and April 13, more than 90% did not receive rations from the government. Close to 90% of those surveyed did not get paid by their employers. From March 27 to April 13, 70% of the surveyed workers had only less than ₹200 left with them. The survey was conducted by the Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN). 

The chart shows the % of migrant workers who did not receive rations or cooked food from the government/ other sources, and were not paid by employers, between April 8 and April 13. While in this period, the % of workers who received cooked food from the government/ other sources improved marginally, most of them did not receive rations from the government or wages from their employers.

As a high share of migrants workers received neither rations nor cooked food from the government/NGOs, and were not paid their salaries, the share of workers having less than one day of rations left increased steadily.

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Gulf News editor in Dubai receives threats from BJP’s IT cell for exposing Islamophobes

Mazhar Farooqui, an international award-winning investigative journalist at Gulf News, has been threatened by BJP IT cell member – some of them are also followed by PM Narendra Modi – for exposing the Islamophobic social media posts by Indian expatriates working in UAE and Gulf countries, The National Herald reported.

Recently, Mazhar Farooqui had written a number of reports that led to police action and even some of the Indian expats were expelled from their jobs.

Farooqui claims he has been inundated with abusive and threatening messages forwarded to his mail, on WhatsApp, on Facebook Messenger and on Twitter. According to him, some of these threats were issued from verified accounts and by people followed by PM Narendra Modi.

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‘Don’t Be Seen Here Again’: Another BJP MLA Harasses Muslim Vendor

Another BJP leader launched a communal attack on a Muslim vegetable vendor in Uttar Pradesh, during the COVID-19 lockdown in India. The MLA in question, Brij Bhushan Sharan, is seen harassing the vendor and a young boy outside his residence.

The MLA, from Charkhari in UP’s Mahoba district, was seen coercing the vegetable seller and the young boy to reveal their religious identities, as per ANI.

This comes a few days after another BJP MLA, from Barhaj constituency in Deoria district, Suresh Tewari, was seen in a video clip, telling people not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors.&hellip; The clip was widely shared on social media, triggering a controversy.

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Is the Modi government exploiting the pandemic to silence critics in India?

Under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, India’s far-right government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has slyly launched a crackdown on dissidents. Several civil society activists, journalists and community organisers have been targeted with notorious anti-terror laws at a time when the country is grappling with the pandemic.&hellip; 

With the arrest of Zargar, who’s in the crucial second trimester of her first pregnancy, and the launch of criminal investigations against several other activists, questions have arisen about whether the Modi government is using the cover of Covid-19 pandemic to “execute an alarmingly authoritarian shakeup of [Indian] democracy”. 

Similar draconian measures are being applied to the UN-disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, where India’s far-right government removed political autonomy in August last year by enforcing a military curfew and arresting top politicians, former chief ministers and leaders of anti-India separatist movement.

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Religious Freedom Watchdog Pitches Adding India to Blacklist

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is urging that the State Department add India to its list of nations with uniquely poor records on protecting freedom to worship. 

The bipartisan commission&hellip; proposed designating India as a “country of particular concern” in the annual report it released Tuesday. 

That lower ranking for a long-running U.S. ally amounts to a stark show of disapproval of India’s divisive new citizenship law, which has sparked broad worries about disenfranchisement of Muslims.

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Muslim neighbours arrange last rites of Hindu woman in Ahmedabad

In a heart-warming instance of humanity trumping pandemic apprehensions, Muslim neighbours ensured final rites of a Hindu woman who died in the city. Mandakini Tripathi, 75, who stayed all alone at Usha Kiran building in Khanpur, accidentally fell in her house on Thursday and died within hours. 

Her neighbours got in touch with her nephew in the United States, who said that two of her distant relatives stayed in the city. They then got in touch with the relatives, and together, helped complete the final rites of the woman, setting an example of inter-community goodwill and bonhomie.&hellip;

Among those who helped in arranging Mandakini’s final rites were Sahal Qureshi, Arif Shaikh, Samir Jariwala and others. Rajnikant Trivedi, 64, a distant relative of Mandakini, said that her husband had died several years ago. He acknowledged the love and respect from the neigbours and said, “Humanity is much greater than one’s religion.,” said Trivedi

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West Bengal: Hindu Couple, Stranded In Lockdown, Finds Shelter In Muslim Home

A Hindu couple from Assam, stranded in West Bengal because of the COVID-19 lockdown, found shelter in a Muslim home in the state’s Murshidabad district and has been living with them for the past one month.&hellip; Mithun Das and Moumita Das of Assam’s Goalpara were on their way to Kolkata by road when the sudden enforcement of the lockdown caught them wrong-footed.&hellip;

Since the couple neither had money to check into a hotel nor any relatives in the vicinity, they went to Murshidabad’s Beldanga block where Mithun had some business contacts. The couple has since then found shelter in the house of Farooq Abdullah, the nephew of the local panchayat chief.&hellip;

Meanwhile, the Abdullahs have told Mithun and Moumita not to worry. “It’s only a month. You can stay with us for a year,” they have told the couple. Overwhelmed by the generosity, Moumita is at a loss for words. “What can I say,” she whispered wiping her tears.

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India: Muslim woman breaks her fast to donate blood to Hindu patient

During a time when divisiveness is prevalent in India, an instance from Kheri district, Uttar Pradesh is giving people a message of hope. According to Indian media reports, a Muslim woman broke her fast and donated blood to a Hindu youth and saved his life.

The condition of a resident of Vijay Kumar Rastogi, who lives in the Mishrana community, in Uttar Pradesh’s Pihani town, suddenly worsened. When brought to the district hospital, it was said that he was in dire need of blood. However, finding the blood type he needed proved to be difficult and even the blood bank could not provide it, reported NDTV India-based television news channel.

&hellip;Alisha Khan, a resident of Hidayat nagar in Lakhimpur Kheri District,&hellip; has O-positive blood, the type Rastogi needed. Upon listening to the issue, Khan immediately agreed to help. Breaking her fast, Khan donated her blood to Rastogi whose health has gotten better after receiving it.&hellip;

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Humanity over hate: Religious organizations help out with covid-19 relief

&hellip;While some people on our screens may be discriminating against the Muslim community since the Tablighi Jamaat congregation before the lockdown, a section of citizens and religious organizations on the ground are unmoved by petty hate. Lounge takes a look at some religious communities and organizations working to help the worst affected during this difficult time.

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community in India have been distributing food and medicines to people affected by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, religion no bar. In several cities across Maharashtra and Gujarat – where the community has a sizeable presence – the members have taken it upon themselves to distribute food packets to people living in slums and other underprivileged areas every day.

In Nashik, it has tied up with the local administration for doorstep delivery of medicines to senior citizens and those with disabilities. In Pune, it has also set up helplines for people to call and get food and medicines delivered to their place.&hellip;


Muslim organizations offer buildings for quarantines (Apr 15, 2020, Times of India)

On the frontline: Community comes together to help the needy (Apr 19, 2020, Hindustan Times)

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‘I am so afraid’: India’s poor face world’s largest lockdown – By Tim Sullivan and Sheikh Saaliq

&hellip;As governments around the world try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, India has launched one of the most draconian social experiments in human history, locking down its entire population – including about 176 million people who struggle to survive on $1.90 a day or less.&hellip;

Those near the top can hunker down in gated apartment complexes, watching Bollywood movies on Netflix and ordering food deliveries online. But not Jakhawadiya, who makes a living selling cheap plastic buckets and baskets with her husband on the streets of Mumbai.

For her, the order means 21 days in a 6-by-9-foot room with five people, no work, a couple days of food and the equivalent of about $13 in cash. She looked at Modi speaking on their little television, spattered with stickers left over the years by one child or another. “I am so afraid,” she thought.&hellip;


Lockdown: ‘Suffering of Poor Is Constitutional Concern. But Don’t Look to SC for Answers’ – By Karan Thapar (Apr 16, 2020, The Wire)

Spectre of poverty looms – By The Editorial Board (Apr 14, 2020, The Telegraph)

Preventing a pandemic of hunger along with COVID-19 – Editorial (Apr 21, 2020, New Indian Express)

Already scared by job loss and hunger, working class dreads aftermath of the lockdown – By Nazish Hussain (Apr 18, 2020, TCN)

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Three journalists in Kashmir charged for social media posts and fake news

The move has been criticized as people accuse government of silencing the truth about Kashmir. Masarat Zahra one of the few female photojournalist of Kashmir has been booked under stringent unlawful activities prevention Act (UAPA) for what they call anti-national activities on social media.

The police have blamed Zahra of uploading anti national posts on Face book with an intention to induce the youth. UAPA gives government powers to proscribe individuals as terrorists. A person jailed under this law can be jailed up to 7 years.

&hellip;Besides Masarat Zahra, Gowhar Geelani and Peerzada Ashiq two senior journalists have also been booked for their so-called provocative social media posts and stories respectively.&hellip;


‘Prima Facie No Case of Sedition’: K’taka HC on Kashmiri Students (Apr 20, 2020, The Quint)

India using COVID-19 to ‘mow down’ Kashmiris: leader (Apr 20, 2020, Anadolu Agency)

Slow Internet Is Speeding the Spread of the Coronavirus in Kashmir (Apr 13, 2020, Foreign Policy)

Families of Detained Kashmiris Struggle to Get Their Sons Back During Lockdown (Apr 17, 2020, The Wire)

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Police officer sent on leave for arresting Hindutva activist

The police sub-inspector, who attracted the wrath of BJP leaders including Minister for Tourism C.T. Ravi for arresting a Hindutva activist, has been sent on leave. Hassan SP R. Srinivasa Gowda ordered a probe against Arehalli sub-inspector Balu and Belur circle inspector S. Siddarameshwara, following objections by Mr. Ravi for the arrest.&hellip;

Minister for Law J.C. Madhuswamy, who is also Minister in charge of Hassan, on Wednesday, &hellip; maintained that he was not aware of the details of the arrest of Hindutva activist Thej Kumar Shetty of Bikkodu in Belur and would talk to Mr. Ravi on this issue.

Last week, the Belur police arrested Mr. Shetty on charges of posting content that could disturb harmony on social media. Mr. Ravi had raised objections and appealed to Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Twitter to take action against the police officer.&hellip;


Draconian law against PM-critic journalist (Apr 21, 2020, The Telegraph)

BBMB staffer booked for ridiculing PM Modi’s 9pm blackout call (Apr 17, 2020, Indian Express)

India’s Lockdown: RSS Cadres Enforce Checkpoints (Apr 15, 2020, Ofmi)

Justice Kolse Patil lashes out at Modi (Apr 15, 2020, Siasat)

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Most of the accused in Palghar lynching are BJP members: Congress

The ruling Congress in Maharashtra on Monday alleged that majority of the people arrested for the last week’s mob lynching incident in Palghar district were members of the BJP.

State Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant also accused the BJP of playing “communal politics” to derive political mileage from the incident in which three people, including two seers, were killed by a mob apparently on suspicion of being thieves or child-lifters.&hellip;

“The village Divashi Gadchinchale is known as BJP bastion for the last ten years including the post of village head. The current head is also from BJP. Most of the people arrested in the lynching incident are from BJP,” Sawant Tweeted.&hellip;


Man stopped by cops for violating lockdown in Andhra’s Guntur, dies (Apr 20, 2020, Hindustan Times)

Coronavirus lockdown: Youth dies after allegedly being beaten up by police in Uttar Pradesh (Apr 18, 2020, The Hindu)

Mob thrashes Muslim man, calls him corona carrier; he later jumps to death at quarantine facility (Apr 14, 2020, Hindustan Times)

Migrant falls and dies on PM’s turf (Apr 18, 2020, The Telegraph)

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India: Activists Detained for Peaceful Dissent

Indian authorities on April 14, 2020 detained two rights activists who have been critics of government policies, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should immediately drop all charges under a counterterrorism law against Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha for allegedly inciting caste-based violence along with other activists during a demonstration in Maharashtra state in 2017.

“Indian authorities are using draconian counterterrorism laws against activists simply for criticizing the government or raising their voices against injustice,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “The authorities should immediately release Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha and the other activists wrongfully detained in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.”

&hellip;the charges filed by police cite flimsy evidence and raise serious concerns that the investigations were politically motivated. Two retired judges, who say they were the “main organizers and sole funders” of the rally, have said that most of the activists arrested in the case had nothing to do with the event.&hellip;


Govt of India using pandemic as ‘perfect tool’ to curb dissent, establish total control (Apr 16, 2020, Counterview)

‘A tragedy for India’: Author Arundhati Roy on arrests of activists Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha (Apr 15, 2020,

UP FIR against Varadarajan ‘false’, is meant to muzzle, threaten press freedom (Apr 16, 2020, Counterview)

Prashant Bhushan, Kannan Gopinathan booked by Gujarat police (Apr 14, 2020, Hindustan Times)

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Two Muslim students face ‘bogus’ charges of inciting Delhi riots

Delhi police have been accused of slapping two Muslim student activists with “bogus” charges of conspiring to incite the recent riots, the worst religious violence in India’s capital for decades, and in which the police were accused of being complicit.

Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, students at Delhi’s Muslim-majority Jamia Millia Islamia University, were charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which is usually reserved for terrorist activity and means they can be held for six months.

The charges related to an alleged “premeditated conspiracy” to stir up communal hatred through a series of speeches, which police say led to the deadly religious riots in Delhi. The students, who were taken into custody on 1 April, have also been charged with sedition, murder, possession of arms, incitement of violence, attempt to murder, and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and rioting.&hellip;


‘Unending Witch-Hunt of Muslims’: Eminent Citizens Condemn Targeted Arrests of Anti-CAA Protesters (Apr 18, 2020, The Wire)

Delhi riots: ’25-30 arrests from north-east since lockdown’ (Apr 17, 2020, The Hindu)

Delhi violence: Police books Jamia students under UAPA (Apr 21, 2020, Times of India)

Actor Ajaz Khan arrested in Mumbai for backing Muslims (Apr 18, 2020, Siasat)

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How a Muslim family in J&K provided a film crew with a home during the Covid-19 lockdown

A Muslim family in Bhadarwah, J&K opened its home and heart – to a film team from Pune stranded after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25. It’s the true spirit of Kashmiriyat, said Nachiket Guttikar who has been staying at the home of Nazim Malik in Gatha village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district for several weeks and counting.

With him are his team members Shamin Kulkarni and Ninad Datar. The team reached here on March 15 to shoot for a documentary and was scheduled to board a flight from Jammu to Pune on March 25, the very day the lockdown came into effect.&hellip; Seeing that the travellers were in distress, Malik’s family offered them their house.&hellip;

“It has been several weeks since we have been staying with this family. We are feeling at home because of the friendly nature of all the members,” he (Guttikar) said.&hellip; The Malik family members also consider themselves fortunate, saying they have got an opportunity to help distressed strangers amid the unprecedented health crisis.&hellip;


“Only a Muslim helped me during lockdown”, says Dinesh Kumar (Apr 18, 2020, Siasat)

Communal Harmony-3

Humanity over hate: Religious organizations help out with covid-19 relief (Apr 16, 2020, Live Mint)

&hellip;While some people on our screens may be discriminating against the Muslim community since the Tablighi Jamaat congregation before the lockdown, a section of citizens and religious organizations on the ground are unmoved by petty hate. Lounge takes a look at some religious communities and organizations working to help the worst affected during this difficult time.

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community in India have been distributing food and medicines to people affected by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, religion no bar. In several cities across Maharashtra and Gujarat – where the community has a sizeable presence – the members have taken it upon themselves to distribute food packets to people living in slums and other underprivileged areas every day.

In Nashik, it has tied up with the local administration for doorstep delivery of medicines to senior citizens and those with disabilities. In Pune, it has also set up helplines for people to call and get food and medicines delivered to their place.&hellip;


Muslim organizations offer buildings for quarantines (Apr 15, 2020, Times of India)

On the frontline: Community comes together to help the needy (Apr 19, 2020, Hindustan Times)

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No hate, only love: Muslims turn pallbearers for Hindu brother in Bhatta Basti in Jaipur

It was a heartening sight when Muslim neighbours gave shoulder to the bier of a Hindu man who died on Sunday Morning in the Bhatta Basti area of Jaipur. The deceased Rajendra Bagri, a resident of Bajrang Nagar in Bhatta Basti. The area falls under those parts of Jaipur which are currently under curfew due to CoVID19 epidemic.

The area is Muslim dominated and Rajendra’s is the only Hindu family living there. There were no family members or relatives who lived close by. Rajendra had been suffering from cancer for quite some time and died on Monday. He left behind a family comprising a wife and two children who did not even have the money for the funeral.&hellip;

“It was our duty as a human and as a neighbour. The bonds that join all of us are very strong and this should prove to be befitting reply to all those people who are trying to create a communal divide even in the present difficult times,” said Pappu Qureshi, a neighbour who helped organise the funeral.


Hyderabad: Five Muslim men organise last rites of Hindu man shunned by neighbours (Apr 20, 2020, Times of India)

Salman Khan spreads message of communal harmony with social media post (Apr 15, 2020, ANI)

Amid Hate Storm over Coronavirus, TN Muslim Cop’s Selfless Act Wins Hearts (Apr 19, 2020, Clarion India)

Humanity and brotherhood trump communal disputes during outbreak (Apr 16, 2020, Siasat)

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India’s Constitution not only ensures democracy but also teaches what democracy is, says this book

Madhav Khosla’s recent book, India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, examines the commitment and the vision behind the making of the Constitution of the world’s largest democracy. India’s revolution was big because the problem it had to solve was big. However, as Khosla writes, quoting Jawaharlal Nehru, “Indians were yet to grasp the import of their revolution.”

Opting for a democracy was a risk, according to the “warnings” from political theorists and constitutional experts in the West, who considered Indians were considered unfit for democracy by the West. They belonged to a subject race, and had to be subjected, as Edward Said would note in his Orientalism while exploring the Western notions of the East.&hellip;

Nehru was validating Immanuel Kant in some senses: “Freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such freedom is achieved.” India’s founders saw democratisation as a form of education, argues Khosla in his book, a way to responsible politics.&hellip;

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India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy

Author: Madhav Khosla

Reviewed By Aurif Muzafar

Published by Harvard University Press, 240 pp., $45, February 2020

Harvard University Press, 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Telephone: (617) 495-2600, Fax: (617) 495-5898

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Hinduization of ‘Secular’ India – Disintegrating into Theocracy – By Oleena Chaudhuri

The citizenship law&hellip; should be seen as part of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) political agenda – conversion of India into a “Hindu homeland”. 

Legal experts argue that the law singles out Muslims in an officially secular nation constituting 1.3 billion people. 15 percent of the populations are Muslims, who are gripped by a fear that this law is aimed at marginalizing them. Hence it fundamentally alters the civil character of India.&hellip;

The government’s effort to “Hinduize” India, goes against the very idea of Hinduism preaches – the idea of “Vasudeva Kutumbakam” which means “the world is one family”. It is clear that the actual aim of the CAA is not to define “illegal immigrants” and decide who is eligible for citizenship, but to further communalize and sharpen divisions on the basis of religion.&hellip;


Why the ‘Gujarat Model of Development’ Has Seen the Highest COVID-19 Fatality Rates – By Sanjeev Kumar (Apr 9, 2020, The Wire)

Herd mindset? Why is development theology of Hindutva politics resilient during crises – By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak (Apr 8, 2020, Counterview)

Subramanian Swamy’s problem with Indian Muslims – By Sadiq Shaban (Apr 9, 2020, Gulf News)

BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is actually a Kapil Mishra, but with Allah on his lips – By Zainab Sikander (Apr 6, 2020, The Print)

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‘Muslims Are Foreigners’: Inside India’s Campaign to Decide Who Is a Citizen – By Karan Deep Singh and Suhasini Raj

For nearly two years, Mamoni Rajkumari, a lawyer, spent her days deciding who was an Indian citizen and who was not, as part of a tribunal reviewing suspected foreigners in the state of Assam. Then, she says, she was dismissed for not declaring enough Muslims to be noncitizens. “I was punished,” she said.

Ms. Rajkumari, 54, has found herself on the front line of India’s citizenship wars. In addition to the tribunals, which Assam has operated for decades, the state has also recently completed a broader, separate review of every resident’s paperwork to determine if they were citizens.

That review found that nearly two million of Assam’s 33 million residents, many of them desperately poor, were possibly foreigners. Now this group – which is disproportionately Muslim – is potentially stateless.&hellip;


India: Fears of coronavirus outbreak in Assam’s detention centres – By Raqib Hameed Naik & Mahibul Hoque (Apr 8, 2020, Al Jazeera)

Anti-CAA Protests and State Response in Assam: Identity Issues Challenge Hindutva-based Politics – By Chandan Kumar Sarma and Obja Borah Hazarika (Apr 8, 2020, EPW)

‘I cannot eat or sleep’: In Assam, farmers grown anxious as vegetables go unsold amid lockdown – By Harsh Mander & Abdul Kalam Azad (Apr 13, 2020,

Nizamuddin, the Newest Chapter in the Assamese Distrust of the ‘Miya’ – By Rakshanda Deka (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

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When News Suppression Hits Home – By Tunku Varadarajan

India has seen a sharp erosion in civil liberties under the government of the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“Journalists, academics, and others have faced harassment and intimidation when addressing politically sensitive topics,” Freedom House observes in a recent report.

The extent of this intimidation has become personally apparent. My journalist brother, Siddharth Varadarajan, was served notice Friday – coincidentally, his 55th birthday—to appear before the police of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.&hellip;


With FIR against Wire editor, UP is undermining India’s right to be informed during a crisis – By Apoorvanand (Apr 12, 2020,

Indian media is waging a holy war against Muslims. Rahul Kanwal is just one of its hyenas – By Zainab Sikander (Apr 13, 2020, The Print)

Kannada media paints the coronavirus crisis communal – By Kapil Kajal (Apr 8, 2020, News Laundry)

A Planned Narrative in Times of A Pandemic – By Amina Mirza (Apr 8, 2020, Clarion India)

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These Muslims Survived Mob Attacks by Indian Nationalists. Then Coronavirus Hit. – By Fahad Shah

A few days before his daughter’s first birthday, Mohammad Nazir Ansari bought new clothes, gifts, and food for the occasion. But before the March 1 party he had planned, Nazir’s one-room home, with all his carefully-selected supplies, was burned to the ground by a Hindu nationalist mob.

Nazir and his family had fled the right-wing, roving mobs in the densely populated residential neighborhood of Shiv Vihar hours before the attack happened.&hellip; The attacks, followed by riots in both communities, ultimately killed 53 people and injured more than 350. “They turned my home into ashes,” Nazir told VICE News in late March, sitting on a cot in a tent more than two weeks after arriving at the Eidgah relief camp in Mustafabad. “Where will I live now?”&hellip;

“I have no money,” Nazir said. “And everything is shut now, so I’m unable to work. A few friends lent me some money and others help by giving rations sometimes. When I was working, I used to give my parents 5,000 rupees ($65) monthly as support – but now they have to feed my family.” “I feel this lockdown will continue and I won’t be able to work for some time,” Nazir said.


Police ‘terrorising’ north-east Delhi neighbourhoods in name of probe – By Furquan Ameen (Apr 7, 2020, The Telegraph)

Relief camp shut, no home to return to, Delhi’s riot victims shelter with do-gooders – By Fatima Khan (Apr 10, 2020, The Print)

Will victims of Delhi’s communal violence ever get justice? – By Nirupama Sekhri (Apr 6, 2020, News Laundry)

Delhi Pogrom: Court sets new precedents raising questions on criminal justice system  – By Adv. Ameen Hassan (Apr 12, 2020, Maktoob Media)

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Indian Muslims Are Being Scapegoated for the Coronavirus – By Namrata Kolachalam

In the weeks since India announced the world’s largest lockdown to protect its 1.3 billion people from the spread of COVID-19, millions have participated in government-instigated shows of unity and solidarity, from collectively banging on pots and pans to lighting candles.

Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, as criticism of aspects of the lockdown has grown, so has Islamophobia. Across cable television and India’s ubiquitous WhatsApp groups, the country’s 200 million Muslims have become a useful scapegoat for the spread of the virus. As the centerpiece of this campaign, government and media figures have implied sinister intent behind a peaceful religious gathering that was held in the nation’s capital, New Delhi.&hellip;

Joshua Castellino, the executive director of the London-based Minority Rights Group International, says many Indian government leaders appear to be focusing on assigning blame rather than channeling their energy into responding to the crisis. “If your house is on fire, you need to put it out—not figure out if it was the neighbor in house 3 or house 10 that started it.”&hellip;


Islamophobia Is Making the Coronavirus Crisis Worse – By Ravi Agrawal (Apr 7, 2020, Foreign Policy)

Islamophobia taints India’s response to the coronavirus – By Rana Ayyub (Apr 7, 2020, Washington Post)

How Islamophobia Is Hurting India’s Battle Against The Coronavirus – By Betwa Sharma (Apr 6, 2020, HuffPost)

Lockdown may contain Covid-19, but it can’t curb the virus of Islamophobia in India – By Priya Ramani (Apr 10, 2020, The Print)

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India’s Hindu Nationalists Are Inciting Hate By Claiming Muslims Are Spreading Coronavirus – By David Gilbert

Dilshad Muhamud did not have COVID-19&hellip;. Nevertheless, hours later, he took his own life. His family claims the 34-year-old dairy farmer killed himself because his neighbors believed he had the disease and taunted and threatened him for spreading it around the village.&hellip; That meeting and the revelation that members of the group tested positive for coronavirus was the spark that kickstarted a virulent hate speech campaign online that has seen far-right Hindu nationalists weaponize Facebook and Twitter to attack and threaten Muslims in India.

That campaign, baseless and hateful, claims that Muslims are purposely infecting swathes of the Indian population. The campaign uses hashtags like #CoronaJihad, #CrushTablighiSpitters, #MuslimMeaningTerrorist, and #BioJihad on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The posts are being shared with hundreds of millions of people by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his political party.

The police are investigating Muhamud’s death, and say they will “take legal action against those who taunted him.” But activists believe that Muhamud’s death is linked to the much wider campaign of hate against Muslims. The campaign shows how fears about the spread of the coronavirus have merged with longstanding Islamophobia in India, putting the lives of India’s 200 million Muslims at risk.&hellip;


India Could Be on the Brink of a Coronavirus Catastrophe – and Modi Will Be to Blame – By Asif Bukhari (Apr 7, 2020, Jacobin)

Modi promotes Hindutva even in the pandemic – By Bhim Bhurtel (Apr 9, 2020, Asia Times)

In India, Coronavirus Fans Religious Hatred – By Jeffrey Gettleman, Kai Schultz and Suhasini Raj (Apr 12, 2020, New York Times)

How vocabulary was weaponised to target Indian Muslims after the Tablighi Jamat event – By Rizwan Ahmad (Apr 12, 2020,

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Shah Faesal’s 5-year-old son wants him released from detention

Five-year-old Jami Faesal is missing his father, Shah Faesal. And the Shah family is finding it extremely hard to explain to a child when he can hug his father again.

On August 14 last year, Kashmir’s celebrated bureaucrat-turned politician Shah Faesal was detained at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and sent to Srinagar where he was formally arrested and booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

Faesal was about to board a flight to the United States to complete his research study at the prestigious Harvard University when he was denied permission to travel abroad.&hellip; Iram, Faesal’s spouse, demands her husband’s immediate and unconditional release&hellip; She is worried she does not have answers for the many questions her son keeps asking about his father.&hellip;


India: Arbitrarily detained Kashmiri prisoners must be freed (Apr 6, 2020, Fidh)

“I see my dreams vanishing”: Kashmiri researchers during the internet blockade (Apr 5, 2020, The Caravan)

No Crisis Too Big For Kashmir’s Young Volunteers (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

As two more die of Covid-19 in Kashmir, families describe harrowing experiences in state hospitals (Apr 12, 2020,

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International Human Rights Group Urges Parliament to Repeal CAA

International human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW), in its latest report, has recommended that the Indian parliament repeal the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA). As per the report, the CAA is discriminatory and in violation of international human rights law because it applies only to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

“The government has tried to justify the law, saying it seeks to provide sanctuary to religious minorities abroad, fleeing persecution. However, that claim is belied by the exclusion of many other vulnerable groups who have sought refuge in India&hellip;” read the report released on Friday.

Titled ‘Shoot the Traitors’: Discrimination Against Muslims Under India’s New Citizenship Policy, the 82-page report further claims that the police and other officials have repeatedly failed to intervene when government supporters attacked those protesting new citizenship policies.&hellip;


Shoot The Traitors: Human Rights Watch Report on Discrimination Against Muslims Under India’s New Citizenship Policy (Apr 12, 2020, Sikh Siyasat News)

Why this Yale student is uniting the Indian students at top US varsities to fight communal hate in India (Apr 9, 2020, Edex Live)

India’s CAA: Another Move Toward A Hindu-First Nation (Apr 8, 2020, OWP)

The government’s disingenuous defence of the CAA and NRC in the Supreme Court (Apr 11, 2020, The Caravan)

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VHP-Bajrang Dal leader held for making remarks ‘hurting sentiments’

President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal Bhavnagar units, Ashoksinh Gohil, was arrested on Thursday for his alleged remarks “hurting religious sentiments of a community” and sharing them on social media, police said.

A scrap dealer from Bhavanagar city, Abid Pacha, was also arrested for allegedly making comments “prejudicial” to a religious group. Police saying the remarks originated from difference of views over spread of coronavirus infection in the country.&hellip;

Gogha Road police inspector RI Solanki confirmed that Gohil, a resident of Sukhsagar Society in Bhavnagar city and leader of two Hindu rightwing organisations, was arrested. “Gohil is in police custoday and a sub-inspector is investigating the case,” said Solanki.&hellip;


Arrest of Hindutva activist: Probe against two police officers (Apr 12, 2020, The Hindu)

UP Police Register FIR Against Journalist Prashant Kanojia for Tweets on Modi, Yogi (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

Karnataka BJP MLA Throws Mega Birthday Bash Amid COVID-19 Lockdown (Apr 11, 2020, NDTV)

Shiv Sena takes dig at PM Narendra Modi: Claps, thalis and lights, like this we will lose COVID-19 war (Apr 8, 2020, Indian Express)

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Civil rights group condemns ‘arbitrary arrests’ of Jamia students

Twenty six civil rights activists and political leaders have condemned the recent “arbitrary arrests” of Jamia students during the Covid-19 lockdown, and alleged that the police was “abusing” its powers by arresting those critical of government policies under the “cover” of the lockdown. They also demanded “immediate and unconditional” release of the students.

Two Jamia student activists Meeran Haider from the Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal and Safoora Zargar from the Jamia Coordination Committee have been arrested by the Delhi Police.&hellip;

“Instead we see open communalization of this pandemic and targeting of students and activists by agencies of the State. We condemn the witch-hunt by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police against activists & students who were at the forefront of the democratic upsurge against CAA/NRC/NPR,” the statement added.&hellip;


Police arrest four for firing at Gurugram mosque where Tablighi Jamaat members stayed (Apr 6, 2020, The Week)

UP Police Offer Cash Reward For Information On Islamic Sect Members (Apr 12, 2020, NDTV)

SC decision to send activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde to jail ‘disappointing’: Amnesty (Apr 11, 2020, New Indian Express)

Gujarat Police Lodges FIR Against SC Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Two Others (Apr 13, 2020, India Tomorrow)

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Why India’s Muslim truckers and aid workers fighting Covid-19 face attacks

The Indian government reported a surge in coronavirus cases last week and the identified hotspot was a building housing a Muslim missionary group called the Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi, the capital city.

For India’s mainstream media and right-wing parties, the outbreak offered an opportunity to demonise the country’s Muslim minority. Twitter soon exploded with a vile hashtag ‘coronajihad,’ insinuating that the upsurge in Covid-19 positives was a Muslim conspiracy against majority-Hindu India. The impact of such a hostile campaign is now squandering the emergency measures the country is taking to battle the spread of the virus.

Reports about angry mobs attacking Muslim truckers, health professionals and emergency rescue workers, who are playing an essential role from transporting supplies to examining people suspected of contracting the virus, are emerging from different parts of the country.&hellip;


Muslim Truckers ‘Beaten Up’ in Arunachal, Concern Over Supplies of Essential Items (Apr 5, 2020, News18)

Punjab: Muslim Gujjar Families ‘Beaten and Boycotted’ in Hoshiarpur Villages (Apr 7, 2020, The Wire)

One held for beating up Dalit man, spreading virus rumours (Apr 11, 2020, Indian Express)

Untouchability, even in quarantine (Apr 12, 2020, The Telegraph)

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Clip shows vendors harassed over religion in Delhi

A probe has been initiated into a video, allegedly taken in Shastri Nagar of north Delhi, showing a few men stopping street vendors, asking their names to establish their religion and then stopping them from entering a residential colony. 

&hellip;In the video, a man wearing a white and red striped T-shirt is seen stopping two vegetable vendors and asking their names. He claims that a vendor changed his name to enter the colony. He then turns away the vendors asking them to come later. Here he introduces himself as an RWA member. 

Senior police officers said initially they couldn’t establish the exact place or identify the man since the video didn’t show his face clearly. “The person who uploaded the video claimed that he had shot it. We are trying to identify and track him down,” said DCP (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy.&hellip;


Hate video calls for banning Muslims from Delhi colonies (Apr 6, 2020, Sabrang India)

Pune: Poultry farmers ‘refuse to let Muslim drivers enter’, industry faces supply chain disruption (Apr 7, 2020, Indian Express)

Column On “Markaz Masjid” In Delhi COVID-19 Updates “Thoughtless”: Minorities Body (Apr 10, 2020, NDTV)

Punjab: Muslims Families Hide in Riverbed After Being Driven From Hoshiarpur Villages (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

Manipur Muslims apex body accuses local daily of fanning communal flames (Apr 12, 2020, TCN)

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Our COVID aid not for Tablighis, jihadis, write Assam Foreigners’ Tribunals’ members

A letter offering a donation of over Rs 60,000 for COVID-19 relief work, with names of 12 members of Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) listed as contributors, has specified that the money should not be used for providing relief to those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, “jihadis” and “jahil”.

The letter, dated April 7, is addressed to state Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and is signed by Kamalesh Kumar Gupta, member of an FT in Baksa district.&hellip;

“Our only prayer is that the help may not be extended to the members of violators Tablighi Jamaat, Jihadi and Jahil. Kindly accept our donations as above for saving the humanity from the clutches of COVID-19 pandemic infection.” it read.&hellip;


Coronavirus: Sedition Case Against Assam MLA Arrested For Alleged Communal Remarks (Apr 7, 2020, NDTV)

60-Year-Old Woman Passes Away at Assam Detention Centre, 30th Death Since 2016 (Apr 7, 2020, The Wire)

India Covid-19: Government Must Act As Lives At Risk In Overcrowded Detention Centres In Assam  (Apr 6, 2020, Amnesty)

Assam: Activists Arrested Day After Complaining Against Theft of 800 Quintals of PDS Rice (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

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AIIMS doctors assaulted by cop in MP, blamed for spreading Coronavirus

Doctors continue to come under attack in Madhya Pradesh, but this time they haven’t been assaulted by local residents in any coronavirus containment zone. Instead, they came under attack by a man in khakhi.

The shocking incident happened in Bhopal on Wednesday evening, when two resident doctors – Dr Yuvraj Singh and Dr Rituparna Jana – of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS, Bhopal) were returning home after emergency duty at the hospital. “We were returning home from emergency duty, when we were stopped by a police patrol party. Despite showing our identity cards, the cops not only assaulted us, but even abused us and blamed us for spreading coronavirus,” alleged one of the two doctors Dr Rituparna Jana.

With the cops continuing to abuse and assault the two PG resident doctors, both the medicos had no option but to leave their belongings behind and escape from the spot.&hellip; While Dr Yuvraj Singh’s hand was fractured, Dr Rituparna sustained injuries on her leg.&hellip;


2 Doctors Of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, Out To Buy Groceries, Assaulted (Apr 9, 2020, NDTV)

Now, nurse beaten up at Panchkula village (Apr 11, 2020, The Tribune)

Hospital accused of Covid-19 bigotry (Apr 12, 2020, The Telegraph)

Rajasthan: Baby Dies After Doctor Allegedly Refused to Treat Pregnant Muslim Woman (Apr 5, 2020, The Wire)

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‘Daughter did not die of hunger’: Jharkhand couple’s thumb impression taken on paper

Minutes after they buried their 17-year-old daughter at Bokaro’s Tikhara village in Jharkhand this Wednesday, Jiten Marandi and Shanti Devi were asked to put their thumb impression on a paper that stated their daughter did not die of “hunger but of a disease”. 

Panchayat mukhiya and Panchayat samiti member were insistent on thumb impressions of the couple as “pressure was mounted on them from the top” after a video went viral where Marandi had reportedly said his daughter died of hunger.&hellip;

“I was overwhelmed with pain, crying. I did not know what was in the letter. Some people came and took a thumb impression. I got to know the content later,” Marandi told The Indian Express over the phone.&hellip;


Karnataka migrant dies of ‘starvation’ on way home (Apr 9, 2020, Times of India)

400 million Indians at risk of sinking into poverty: UN report (Apr 8, 2020, Indian Express)

90% Workers Lost Livelihood, 94% Ineligible for Govt Relief: Study (Apr 9, 2020, The Quint)

Bizarre Ways Of Sanitising Migrants: Spraying Bleach, Sleeping On Banyan Trees! (Apr 13, 2020, Outlook)

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Refrain from religious profiling of COVID-19 cases: WHO in context of Tabligh

Countries should not profile novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in terms of religion or any other criteria, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended in a press conference on April 6, 2020. A congregation of Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi has been widely panned after several attendees were tested positive of the virus SARS-CoV-2.

The Government of India too weighed in: Union health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal, who has been briefing the media regularly, on April 5 sought to make a case that the outbreak would have spread slower but for the congregation.&hellip;

According to WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan: “This does not help.” Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim. It is very important that we do not profile the cases on the basis of racial, religious and ethnic lines,” Ryan said on April 6 to a India-specific question.&hellip;


USCIRF Condemns the Stigmatization of Religious Minorities during COVID-19 Pandemic (Apr 8, 2020, USCIRF)

UN flags concern to Govt Covid group: Need to fight targeting of certain sects (Apr 10, 2020, Indian Express)

‘Finding a Scapegoat’: 109 Citizens Urge Govt, Media to Stop Communalising COVID-19 (Apr 8, 2020, The Wire)

We strongly condemn any attempt to communalize the pandemic : ISRC (Apr 10, 2020, Muslim Mirror)

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Lockdown Mode: All Religious Affinity Movement with police feeds the needy in Coimbatore

Reaching out to migrant workers mostly from Bihar, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal is Coimbatore based All Religious Affinity Movement (ARAM) state chief Haji J Mohamed Rafi, who alongwith Jagannath Textiles and C3 Saibaba Colony Police Station distributed food packets besides grocery pack containing essential commodities like rice, dhal, cooking oil across Saibaba Colony neighbourhood here.&hellip;

Left in the lurch as to what to do, they started moving hither and thither in search of food, he said adding that he alongwith the Jagannath Textiles management and C3 Saibaba Colony police station personnel decided to cook food, pack them and distribute at strategic locations with the help of police personnel. On the first day, they distributed to over 1500 persons including those left languishing on roadsides.&hellip;

And he makes it a point to lend a hand to people in distress in even far off places. Interestingly, his spouse Fathima is behind in all his service initiatives. All the more, he has earned the goodwill of the people cutting across communal lines for his social activities.&hellip;


‘Hunger has no religion’: Hyderabad man Azhar Maqsusi has fed homeless for 8 years now (Apr 10, 2020, News Minute)

From riot relief to covid-19, spontaneous solidarities are leading the way (Apr 10, 2020, Live Mint)

Coronavirus in India: In 13 states, NGOs fed more people than govt did during lockdown (Apr 9, 2020, India Today)

Sikh Volunteers Are Delivering Thousands Of Meals During The Pandemic (Apr 8, 2020, HuffPost)

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Indian-Americans condemn the killing of Sikhs in Kabul

Indian Americans across the country have unequivocally condemned the killing of Sikh devotees in an attack (claimed by Islamic State), on a Kabul Gurdwara (Sikh temple) last week.&hellip; Rajinder Singh Mago, a Sikh community activist in Chicagoland condemned this heinous and barbaric act killing innocent Sikhs and Nanakpanthi Hindus and observed that it is high time to have this minority community getting a safer place to stay and worship in Afghanistan. &hellip;

“This reprehensible violence violates the basic tenets of Islam and must be condemned in the strongest terms,” said Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a constituent organization of AJA, “The targeting of religious minorities for mass violence must end immediately,” said Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality labs expressing solidarity with the global Sikh community.”

While appreciating the Afghan police for killing the attackers in a standoff lasting hours, the AJA said the attack underscored the challenges of escalating violence will pose in Afghanistan with uncertain times likely to follow the withdrawal of U.S. military. The Alliance for Justice and Accountability is an umbrella coalition of various organizations dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, social justice and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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Muslim Neighbours Cremate Hindu Woman in Indore Amid Lockdown

Muslim youths in Indore’s Ranipura set an example of communal harmony as they came forward to perform the last rites of a Hindu neighbour. Durga, a resident of South Ranipura, died on Monday, 6 April due to prolonged illness.

The deceased is survived by two sons who could only come back home after their mother’s death due to the lockdown restrictions.

Fears of the coronavirus kept the relatives away from attending or participating in the funeral. The Muslim youth in her neighbourhood came forward and performed the last rites as per Hindu rituals. They also carried Durga’s bier.

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Dismantling the World’s Largest Democracy

On Jan. 26, a Sunday but also a national holiday, India celebrated its 70th constitutional anniversary. Looking on, in a saffron turban, was Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with his guest of honor, Jair Bolsonaro. In another part of the capital, the Muslim neighborhood of Shaheen Bagh was also celebrating Republic Day. The guests of honor there were two women wearing simple clothing and somber expressions.

The two celebrations were animated by entirely different ideas of what India is and to whom it belongs. They represented a divide that has been simmering for decades but which only manifested in nationwide protests since last December after a series of government actions proved beyond a doubt that Modi was not guided by the constitution. The speed with which Modi has been able to undermine democracy has frightened many people. Indians now wonder what their constitutional rights really are. Are they absolute? Or can the state revoke them in the so-called national interest?

Seeking answers to these questions has, in recent months, made the Indian Constitution, which happens to be the longest written constitution in the world, a bestseller 70 years after it was first published. readings of the document’s preamble represented an opening ceremony that set the tone of the slogans, protest songs, and the call-and-response shouts of “What do we want? Freedom!” that inevitably followed. The constitutional scholar Madhav Khosla’s new book, India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, therefore couldn’t have been timelier.

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India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy

Author: Madhav Khosla

Reviewed By Sonia Faleiro

Published by Harvard University Press, 240 pp., $45, February 2020

Harvard University Press, 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Telephone: (617) 495-2600, Fax: (617) 495-5898 https://www.hup.harvard

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‘Muslims Are Foreigners’: Inside India’s Campaign to Decide Who Is a Citizen – By Karan Deep Singh and Suhasini Raj

For nearly two years, Mamoni Rajkumari, a lawyer, spent her days deciding who was an Indian citizen and who was not, as part of a tribunal reviewing suspected foreigners in the state of Assam. Then, she says, she was dismissed for not declaring enough Muslims to be noncitizens. “I was punished,” she said.

Ms. Rajkumari, 54, has found herself on the front line of India’s citizenship wars. In addition to the tribunals, which Assam has operated for decades, the state has also recently completed a broader, separate review of every resident’s paperwork to determine if they were citizens.

That review found that nearly two million of Assam’s 33 million residents, many of them desperately poor, were possibly foreigners. Now this group – which is disproportionately Muslim – is potentially stateless.


Waiting for Citizenship – By Harish Wankhede (Mar 28, 2020, EPW)

Shaheen Bagh Protests: ‘Muslim Women Don’t Need Saviours, They Were Saviours of the Idea of India’ – By Eram Agha (Mar 28, 2020, News18)

Police surrounded me, wanted me to wind up; Muslim women became my saviour – By Sandeep Pandey (Apr 1, 2020, The Counterview)

India’s citizenship protests – By Aditi Bhandari and Anand Katakam (Mar 30, 2020, Reuters)

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India Is a Secular Nation, So Why Aren’t Muslims Being Protected? – By Saad Hafiz

The friction between Hindus and Muslims is a permanent feature of Indian life, and periodic bouts of bloody rioting are common. But since the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP party, violence against Muslims has increased. Most recently, it surfaced during President Donald Trump’s visit to India.

In what appears to be a pattern of targeting Muslims, the government has imposed siege-like conditions on the Muslim residents of Indian Kashmir. It has also passed a new citizenship law that could open the door to legal discrimination against Muslims. At the same time, law enforcement agencies have looked the other way on bloody violence directed against Muslims.

There’s little doubt that Modi’s rule has emboldened the proponents of Hindutva, who believe that India should be a Hindu nation. It is a big challenge for Indian Muslims to deal with powerful sections of the Hindu majority, bent on mixing religion with politics and entrenching communalism. Today, many Hindu nationalists seem to see it as their life’s mission to deprive Indian Muslims of equal rights or even expel them. They would also like to introduce Hindu religious writing into Indian law.


The 2020 Delhi Riots: Implications for Southeast Asia – By Jasminder Singh (Apr 3, 2020, The Diplomat)

Delhi carnage: The story of one mob, two drains, and five murders – By Ayush Tiwari & Basant Kumar (Mar 21, 2020, News Laundry)

Diaries of Destruction – By Maya Palit (Apr 1, 2020, The Caravan)

We need to build more bridges, as in Northeast Delhi’s relief camps – By Apoorvanand (Mar 25, 2020, Indian Express)

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Under Modi, India’a Press Is Not So Free Anymore – By Vindu Goel and Jeffrey Gettleman

The Media One anchorman Vinesh Kunhiraman went on air as usual on March 6, ready to tell the station’s five million viewers in India’s Kerala State about the death anniversary of a beloved comedian and the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. The station’s uplink suddenly went dead. Mr. Kunhiraman’s image dissolved into a blue screen. A bland message told viewers there was no signal. “We regret the inconvenience,” it said. But this was no technical difficulty. The station had been cut off by an order from India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Since Mr. Modi came to power in 2014, they say, his government has tried to control the country’s news media, especially the airwaves, like no other prime minister in decades. Mr. Modi has shrewdly cultivated the media to build a cult of personality that portrays him as the nation’s selfless savior.

With the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Modi has gotten more blatant in his attempt to control coverage and, as with other difficult stories, some Indian news executives seem willing to go along.


India’s government wants to censor the media to fight Covid-19 – but transparency is a better weapon – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (Apr 1, 2020,

Covid-19: Independent Media is Antidote to Chaos, Don’t Censor it – By Gautam Navlakha (Apr 3, 2020, News Click)

Indians are fighting against coronavirus and BJP IT cell is fighting against Indians – By Jyoti Yadav (Apr 4, 2020, The Print)

Modi and his politics of messaging – By Shekhar Gupta (Apr 4, 2020, Business Standard)

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It Was Already Dangerous to Be Muslim in India. Then Came the Coronavirus – By Billy Perrigo

Indian authorities had linked dozens of cases of COVID-19 to a Muslim missionary group that held its annual conference in Delhi in early March, and health officials were racing to track down anyone who had contact with the participants. Coronavirus fears and religious tension were already at a fever pitch in India, and it didn’t take long for the two forces to intermingle.

Since March 28, tweets with the hashtag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and potentially seen by 165 million people on Twitter, according to data shared with TIME by Equality Labs, a digital human rights group. Equality Labs activists say that many of the posts are in clear violation of Twitter’s rules on hate speech and coronavirus, but have yet to be taken down.

Coming just weeks after religious pogroms conducted by Hindu nationalists left 36 (sic) Muslims dead in Delhi, the surge in hateful tweets demonstrates how anxieties over the coronavirus have merged with longstanding Islamophobia in India, at a time when the Muslim minority – 200 million people in a nation of 1.3 billion – feels increasingly targeted by the ruling Hindu nationalists.


Already rampant communal virus in India is gleefully piggy-back riding on coronavirus – By Javed Anand (Apr 4, 2020, Indian Express)

Break the pyramid of communal tension – By Vibhuti Narain Rai (Apr 3, 2020, Free Press Journal)

Tablighi Jamaat: News Channels Are Spreading Hate In The Name Of Reporting – By Rohini Chatterji (Apr 2, 2020, HuffPost)

COVID-19 In Nizamuddin: Who’s to Blame – Govt or Tablighi Jamaat? – By Aditya Menon (Mar 31, 2020, The Quint)

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India’s coronavirus lockdown sparks mass migrations, an economic catastrophe and a crisis of faith in Modi – By Mark Mackinnon

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the March 24 order – with just four hours’ notice – for businesses to close and people to remain in their homes for three weeks, it sparked a migration by hundreds of thousands of labourers; Moving with them are fears that they will inadvertently carry COVID-19 into rural parts of the country that lack the medical facilities and supplies to cope with an outbreak.

The world’s largest lockdown has also brought India’s economy to a halt, raising questions about how long Mr. Modi – who has cast himself as part strongman, part champion of the working poor – can keep his supporters onside as hardships mount.

“This is not just the biggest challenge Modi has faced. It’s probably the biggest challenge independent India has faced,” said Nitin Pai. Though Mr. Modi said he had “no choice” but to order the lockdown, some critics argue that he exacerbated an already difficult situation by making the move with so little warning and without any plan in place to handle what came afterward.


How COVID-19 Will Hit India – By Isaac Chotiner (Apr 1, 2020, New Yorker)

India racked by greatest exodus since partition due to coronavirus – By Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Manoj Chaurasia (Mar 30, 2020, The Guardian)

Turning stadiums into jails and treating migrants as criminals: Why Modi’s apology rings hollow – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (Mar 30, 2020,

‘Hunger will kill us before coronavirus’, say Rohingya in India – By Raqib Hameed Naik (Mar 31, 2020, Al Jazeera)

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Modi’s Hasty Coronavirus Lockdown of India Leaves Many Fearful for What Comes Next – By Abhishyant Kidangoor

Modi’s hasty announcement of the unprecedented lockdown gave hundreds of millions of Indians less than four hours to prepare. Modi assured Indians that essential services would continue, but was vague regarding how people would be able to buy food and other necessary items. As a result, people rushed to shops to stock up before the decree took effect. People were seen lining up outside stores late into the night and traffic congestion was reported from across the country.

The lockdown has also triggered a massive exodus of migrant laborers and wage workers from cities back to the rural villages they are from—where many won’t have to pay rent and food is cheaper. Many migrants were seen defying the curfew. Some have told news outlets that they are walking up to 500 miles to get back home. Videos of chaotic scenes at train stations showed people struggling to get on their last train home, some crying uncontrollably as they missed them.

But for the majority of Indians, social distancing is a luxury they can’t afford. Many face hunger and starvation in the absence of daily wages that have been disrupted as the world’s seventh-largest economy grinds to a halt. Most of those who come under the purview of the new scheme belong to India’s massive informal economy, which employs about 424 million Indians&hellip; Auto rickshaw drivers, milkmen, vendors who sell vegetables and snacks from carts are all part of this economy, Most live on daily wages, do not receive any benefits and work jobs that do not exist on paper.


‘I just want to go home’: the desperate millions hit by Modi’s brutal lockdown – By Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Shaikh Azizur Rahman (Apr 4, 2020, The Guardian)

India’s Lockdown Helps Its Rich but Ignores Its Poor – By Ravi Agrawal (Mar 31, 2020, Foreign Policy)

COVID-19 and India’s Nowhere People – By Neeta Lal (Apr 1, 2020, The Diplomat)

India is enforcing the harshest and most extensive Covid-19 lockdown in the world – By Shoaib Daniyal (Mar 31, 2020, Quartz India)

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Gujarat: Probe ordered into ‘police brutality’ on Dalits during lockdown

Botad Superintendent of Police has ordered an inquiry into an episode of alleged police brutality on eight Dalits who were allegedly beaten up by police for alleged violation of police notification banning unlawful assembly during the ongoing lockdown.

A relative of the eight Dalits said on the condition of anonymity that, “On March 25, one of our teenage boys had gone to get some milk from the market. A policeman had told him not to move out because of lockdown. At that time, the boy had told the policeman that he had gone to the market to fetch milk because it was needed in the family. This argument did not go down well with the policeman, who chased the boy to his house and then beat him.”

“Two days later, on March 28 at around 4 pm, around 40-50 policemen suddenly came to our locality and picked up eight male members from inside the houses and took them to Dhhasa police station. Later, they were falsely booked for violation of the police notification. During their police custody, the eight were badly beaten up by police,” he alleged.


Tamil Nadu Man, Who Returned Home After Lockdown, Killed for Marrying Outside His Caste (Apr 3, 2020, The Wire)

136 million jobs at risk in post-corona India (Mar 31, 2020, Live Mint)

Survey shows 42% have no ration left for the day, let alone duration of lockdown (Apr 6, 2020, Indian Express)

India coronavirus cases rise amid fears true figure much higher (Apr 1, 2020, The Guardian)

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Human Rights Watch tells Centre to withdraw Internet curbs in J&K amid COVID-19

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a non-governmental rights group, has called upon India to withdraw restrictions on Internet in J&K and warned that shutting down or restricting access to the Internet could be deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During a health crisis, access to timely and accurate information is crucial. People use the Internet for updates on health measures, movement restrictions, and relevant news to protect themselves and others. Internet shutdowns block people from getting essential information and services,” said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate of HRW.

“During a global pandemic, when people around the world are isolated and access to information can mean life or death, it’s time to impose a moratorium on Internet shutdowns. Governments should ensure immediate access to the fastest and broadest possible service for all. During this global health crisis, shutdowns directly harm people’s health and lives, and undermine efforts to bring the pandemic under control,” Ms. Brown added.


Doctors Write Open Letter to PM Modi on 4G Access for Jammu and Kashmir (Mar 26, 2020, The Wire)

Domicile Legislation Dangerous, Reveals Real Intentions of the BJP: PDP (Apr 4, 2020, Clarion India)

This man is cycling 2,100 km from Mumbai to Jammu and Kashmir to see his ailing father (Apr 3, 2020, The Print)

We want to die in our homes: Stranded Kashmiri students appeal for evacuation (Mar 25, 2020, Deccan Herald)

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Delhi Riots: ‘Vague’ FIR Names Umar Khalid, Police Arrests Jamia Student

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid has been named as the prime accused in a case in which Jamia student Meeran Haider was recently arrested. Haider, a research scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia and a youth leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was arrested by the special cell of Delhi Police in connection with his alleged involvement in violence in North East Delhi in February 2020.&hellip;

In the FIR, it is alleged that the two, along with their friends hatched the conspiracy of the riot which took place in Delhi on February 23, 24 and 25. The police have alleged that, as part of the duo’s conspiracy, women and children were made to protest on the road.

Several Muslim activists have been arrested by Delhi Police in the last few weeks in connection with the violence in North Delhi, which killed at least 53 people and injured close to 200. Several people have recently received notices, similar to the one that Haider got, from the police.


Top Assam rights leader’s ‘repeated’ arrest undemocratic, violates natural justice (Apr 2, 2020, Counterview)

Uttarakhand: Trade Unionist Charged With Sedition for Criticising Police on WhatsApp (Apr 3, 2020, The Wire)

Christians in India’s Karnataka State Endure Spike in Persecution (Apr 4, 2020, Persecution)

Mosque Vandalised in Mukhmelpur Near Delhi, Locals Claim, Police Deny (Apr 5, 2020, The Wire)

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Lockdown Violation: Police Officer Removed from Post for Thrashing Priest Who Organised Puja in MP Temple

The Madhya Pradesh government on Friday removed a station house officer after he was caught thrashing a priest at a temple in Rewa district. The priest had reportedly organised a puja on Ramnavmi despite prohibitive orders in place due to the coronavirus threat.

The police reportedly dispersed the mob from the temple in Dhekha colony. SHO Rajkumar Mishra was seen in a photo thrashing the priest with his stick and also threw away the articles used for prayers.

After the image was circulated on social media, Rewa Inspector General of Police Chanchal Shekhar line-attached the SHO. Senior BJP leader Gopal Bhargav had on Friday posted photos of the police officer beating up the priest with a stick.


Police action on temple priest flouting lockdown in MP falsely communalised (Apr 3, 2020, Alt News)

Lockdown 21: Cops attacked with lathi, iron rods in UP’s Muzaffarnagar (Apr 2, 2020, Times of India)

Bihar: Health workers, police attacked by mob in Munger (Apr 2, 2020, Economic Times)

FIRs in UP against The Wire for remarks against Adityanath; Editor says attack on press freedom (Apr 2, 2020, Indian Express)

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West Bengal Doc Demands Protective Gear For Docs Fighting Coronavirus, Gets Police Harassment Instead

On Wednesday night, Indranil Khan, an oncologist who has embarrassed the West Bengal government over the shortage of protective gear for doctors responding to the coronavirus outbreak, was stuck at a police station in a suburb of Kolkata, pleading with the police to return his mobile phone. 

It had been close to 12 hours since the Kolkata High Court had directed the police to return Khan’s mobile phone to him, and four hours since he had arrived at the Maheshtala police station, but he was still waiting.

Shortly after he had posted on Facebook, Khan tweeted the same images and wrote, “Welcome to India’s #RainCoatDoctors fighting #Covid19 in West Bengal govt hospitals.” While he was detained, Khan said the West Bengal police threatened to arrest him if he did not delete the post, apologise and issue a retraction.


For Days, Samples Tested Were More Than People Tested By Exactly 890 (Apr 5, 2020, IndiaSpend)

India Sends COVID-19 Protective Gear To Serbia Amid Huge Shortage At Home (Apr 1, 2020, NDTV)

Unpaid for 3 Months, No Safety Gear: 19,000 Ambulance Staff Stop Working in UP (Mar 31, 2020, The Wire)

We Lost 5 Weeks Due to Delayed Govt Response: PPE Manufacturers (Apr 3, 2020, The Quint)

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UP: 22-Year-Old Dies by Suicide After Being Thrashed by Cop for Violating Quarantine

A 22-year-old migrant worker who had returned from Gurgaon to his native place in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh died by suicide in a school campus where he was quarantined. Two purported audio clips recorded by Roshan Lal, a Dalit, suggest that he was beaten up by a constable in public for defying the quarantine guidelines, prompting him to end his life.

According to the Indian Express, Roshan Lal claims in the audio clips, which went viral on social media, that the thrashing caused severe injuries to him. He belonged to the Pipariya village under Maigalganj police station area of the district.

In the clip, Lal says that his trousers are stained in blood, which he says happened during the thrashing by the constable. “I don’t want to live now. Action should be taken against constable Anoop Kumar Singh. Because of him, I am killing myself,” he says.&hellip; Since the nationwide lockdown was imposed, there have been many instances of police assaulting violators.


UP: Lockdown closed all roads for me, Shillong youth writes to Delhi ADGP before killing himself (Mar 31, 2020, Times of India)

Lockdown: Student travels several kms on foot, dies in Hyderabad (Apr 3, 2020, Siasat)

Mumbai Civic Body’s “Only Cremation” Order For COVID-19 Deaths Withdrawn (Mar 30, 2020, NDTV)

India: Migrant workers’ plight prompts UN call for ‘domestic solidarity’ in coronavirus battle (Apr 2, 2020, UN News)

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Shocking :1800 Gujarati pilgrims provided luxury buses from Haridwar, while Tablighi members denied travelling permission

In the midst of the lockdown – while all the transport means were suspended – on March 28, a fleet of special luxury buses was arranged to directly ferry to home around 1800 Gujarati pilgrims stranded in Haridwar at the behest of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

In stark contrast, the Delhi authorities denied transport permission to the stuck members of Tablighi Jamaat at its headquarters Markaz Nizamuddin due to lockdown who had even arranged their own vehicles for the journey as early as on 25th March.

&hellip;With the special efforts of Union Minister Mansukhbhai Mandaviya, Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, arrangements were made to evacuate these people to their homes. When the news became public that the buses were departed from Haridwar, people started raising questions that when workers are stranded at different places all over the country due to the lockdown, why are special buses being run only for the people of Gujarat?


Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, 2 Telangana Ministers Celebrate Ram Navmi (Apr 2, 2020, The Quint)

From Kolkata to Shirdi, Temple-Goers Flout Social Distancing Norms on Ram Navami (Apr 3, 2020, The Wire)

Maharashtra: In midst of lockdown, 200 gather to celebrate BJP MLA’s birthday (Apr 6, 2020, Indian Express)

Madhya Pradesh Man Who Threw A Feast For 1,500 Tests Coronavirus+ (Apr 5, 2020, NDTV)

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US calls use of #coronajihad unfortunate, says govt should clear it out

India experienced the biggest community transmission of the coronavirus in the past few days because of the congregation held by the Tablighi Jamaat, an influential Islamic missionary movement.  This led many to start a hashtag on social media against the Muslim community calling it #CoronaJihad. #CoronaJihad – the term has been used to hint or indicate that somehow the coronavirus has been spread by the Muslim community.

The US on Thursday said that use of the term was “unfortunate”. During a briefing by the Samuel D Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Office of International Religious Freedom, he said that the US administration was tracking many instances of blaming of the minority communities for the Covid-19 virus.

To a question on the hashtag trending in India, Brownback said, “We are tracking the blaming of religious minorities for Covid-19 virus, and unfortunately, it is – it’s happening in various places. This is wrong by governments to do this.” He urged governments to clearly state the origin of the virus and ensure that there is no targeting of the minorities.


Uttarakhand BJP MLA gives communal advice to fight coronavirus (Apr 1, 2020, National Herald)

Muslims Are Not Equal to Hindus, Declares BJP Leader Subramanian Swamy (Apr 3, 2020, Clarion India)

‘India’s Ruling Party Leader’s Racist Remarks Against Muslims Must Be Slammed’ (Apr 5, 2020, Scoop)

‘BJP may use Nizamuddin event to push its NRC, civil code agenda’ (Apr 3, 2020, The Tribune)

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