In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Indian Americans Express Alarm at Breivik’s Hindutva Nexus
- Spread the Word and Spread the Tweet .. IAMC Updates Available Via Twitter
- Narendra Modi under cloud again as amicus differs with SIT, SC to take final call
- Narendra Modi destroying evidence, says Bhatt; SC issues notice
- US civil liberties group cautions Harvard on action against Subramanian Swamy
- Yeddyuruppa, others indicted in illegal mining
- Alarming illegal mining in Bellary, only 10% is legal: Supreme Court panel
- Don’t bring in CBI sting CD, court tells Amit Shah
- CBI witness: Churu SP made my life hell
- Mosque in Madhapur was demolished, Police supporting land grabbers
- ‘RTE Act attack on rights of madrasas, we will oppose it’
- Maoists kill 5 villagers in Bihar’s Rohtas dist
Opinions & Editorials
- Norwegian mass killer’s manifesto hails Hindutva – By Praveen Swami
- Norway massacre: Breivik manifesto attempts to woo India’s Hindu nationalists – By Ben Arnoldy
- BJP faces rocky ride in Karnataka – Editorial
- A proven case – By V. Venkatesan
- Twist in 2G Tale – Editorial
- Making a difference: Born to fight – By Soma Basu
- Name of the Book: Hindutva and Dalits — Perspectives for Understanding Communal Praxis – By Anand Teltumbde, Ed.
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed its shock and horror at the senseless and vicious massacre in Oslo, Norway, by Anders Behring Breivik, a right wing extremist.
“The Indian American Muslim Council, and the Indian Muslims of America extend our condolences and sympathies to the families of the innocent victims of this great tragedy, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the great people of Norway in this time of crisis,” said Shaheen Khateeb, President, IAMC.
The IAMC is also deeply concerned about the claimed ideological connections between Norway’s and India’s fascist right wing parties. Brevik devoted 102 pages of his manifesto hailing India’s rightwing Hindu groups, and claimed that the fascist Hindutva groups were identical to those of his own Justiciar Knights. Breivik considers the Hindutva groups as a critical partner in a universal struggle to end democratically elected governments all over the world. “It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical,” wrote Brevik.
Members of the Hindutva terror groups like Abhinav Bharat were arrested earlier in India for their involvement in a series of bombings throughout India. These bombings have included the Samjhouta Express bombing, the Ajmer bombings, the Malegaon bombings, and the Hyderabad bombings, all of which targeted innocent minority Muslim community.
“IAMC is deeply disturbed at the emerging nexus between European, and Indian fascist groups. We urge Law Enforcement agencies in India, Norway, and all democratic nations be allowed to infiltrate and contain this scourge of racist and anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Khateeb.
IAMC is the largest advocacy group of Indian Americans in the US with chapters in ten US States.
Norwegian mass killer’s manifesto hails Hindutva
Breivik manifesto attempts to woo India’s Hindu nationalists
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
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July 27, 2011
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has announced that it will actively use Twitter to ensure that its updates, press releases and action alerts will be available via the popular online social networking medium.
IAMC’s Twitter account is @iamcouncil. Individuals as well as media organizations are called upon to sign up to follow “IAMCouncil” through Twitter to stay abreast of the latest developments at IAMC. IAMC supporters are encouraged to RT (retweet) the IAMC tweets and mentions IAMC by @iamcouncil in your tweets to ensure a wider reach of its message.
The Twitter account is a continuation of IAMC’s efforts to use mass media in order to reach a wider audience. As an advocacy organization, working on issues in which millions of people have a stake, twitter’s ability to disseminate information to a very large online audience provides a natural extension to the earlier successful launch of IAMC blog’s availability via Amazon Kindle.
Indian American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at www.iamc.com.
IAMC Blog is now on Amazon Kindle Store. Check it out!
IAMC National President
Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Friday presented the ‘National Communal Harmony Award’ to Mohammad Hanif Khan Shastri, Acharya Lokesh Muni and the Centre for Human Rights and Social Welfare for their outstanding work in the field of communal harmony and national integration.
Shastri, who works with Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, has endeavoured to promote communal harmony by highlighting similarities between Hindu and Muslim religions through his unique literary contributions in Hindi and Sanskrit. He was conferred the award for the year 2009. Through his works, Shastri has tried to show similarities between the Quran and Hindu mythology.
Acharya Muni is the founder president of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati, a Delhi-based voluntary organisation, which aims to promote non-violence, peace, communal harmony and works against female foeticide and drug addiction and provides help during natural calamities. He was given the award for 2010. The Centre for Human Rights and Social Welfare, which was conferred the award for 2009, is a Jaipur-based social organisation which has been working for human rights, communal harmony and national integration apart from working for the homeless, welfare of women, footpath dwellers, rehabilitation of the needy and deprived persons. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram were among those who attended the award giving function.
Addressing the gathering, Ansari said, “The state has no choice but to intervene in instances of communal disharmony. Such interventions can either be preventive or corrective in nature. The general focus has remained on corrective steps due to the intense interest in the wake of incidents of communal disharmony.” He maintained that while this was necessary, it was not sufficient. “We need a pervasive preventive approach to communal disharmony and a conscious programme of fostering communal harmony.”
Narendra Modi under cloud again as amicus differs with SIT, SC to take final call (Jul 29, 2011, Times of India)
The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will issue some directions in the petition filed by Zakia Jafri after the amicus curiae outlined certain points of probe against Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who had got a reprieve from the Special Investigation Team (SIT). A three-judge bench of Justice D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam perused amicus and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran’s detailed views on the SIT’s report and said, “We have read reports by the SIT and the amicus. We will soon issue certain directions.”
Ramachandran visited Gujarat at his own expense to discharge the duty cast on him by the court to verify certain findings of the SIT, headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan. The amicus has differed with the SIT report on some points and disagreed with its finding that there was “no prosecutable evidence” against Modi, sources told TOI. These points of disagreement between the amicus and SIT could be further probed, the bench said. The Supreme Court’s order on the two reports will decide whether or not Modi would be out of the sphere of accusation that he did not act promptly to quell the mob that went on a rampage immediately after the Godhra train burning incident.
Dealing with the SIT’s investigation report on a complaint by Jafri, who had accused Modi and 62 other politicians, bureaucrats and policemen of abandoning their constitutional duty to protect lives and allowing the post-Godhra riots to go on, the amicus on March 15 had pointed to mismatch between the conclusion and the evidence recorded by the SIT. Importantly, Ramachandran was also asked to give his views on the affidavit of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had accused Modi of refusing to rein in the violent mob during a high-level meeting on February 27, 2002, immediately after the Godhra incident. In its report to the apex court, the R K Raghavan-headed SIT had disbelieved Bhatt’s claim and said the officer was not present at Modi’s residence when the meeting took place.
Ramachandran visited Gujarat and interacted with several witnesses and people connected with the matter before giving his report to the court. He also dealt with an affidavit filed by a journalist supporting Bhatt’s claim that the IPS officer was present during the meeting. On Thursday, the SIT also presented to the court two status reports on the nine sensitive riot cases it had investigated. Senior advocate Harish Salve told the bench that the trial was progressing satisfactorily. In seven cases, the trial was nearing completion while the trial court was recording statements of witnesses in two Naroda cases, he said.
- Guj riots: SC to pass order on Jafri murder case (Jul 28, 2011, Rediff)
- SC won’t share Gulberg report with Gujarat, SIT (Jul 29, 2011, Indian Express)
- 2002 riots: HC seeks details of compensation paid (Jul 26, 2011, Times of India)
- Trial court to examine ex-British envoys (Aug 1, 2011, Indian Express)
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Gujarat government on IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s petition seeking transfer of investigation of a case in which he was accused of intimidating a constable to give evidence against chief minister Narendra Modi. The police had registered an FIR against Bhatt soon after a constable, who had supported his statement about his presence during a crucial meeting in February 27, 2002, at Modi’s residence, resiled from it and accused the IPS officer of coercing the statement.
Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the SC alleging that he had witnessed Modi asking the police to go slow against the mob which was targeting Muslims in the aftermath of Godhra train burning incident. A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha wondered what was happening in the state where a constable first gives a statement and then has a memory loss. “Is it because he is subjected to political intimidation,” asked the bench.
Bhatt said, “Narendra Modi, in a systematic and planned manner, is misusing the official machinery at his disposal to destroy incriminating evidence and intimidating material witnesses in order to ensure that no person including the petitioner would be willing to speak out the truth in the course of inquiries, investigations and trials pertaining to 2002 Gujarat riots.” That was the reason for the state police to lodge a frivolous FIR, he said.
- Rebel cop gives SC emails to show how SIT ‘leaked’ probe details to Gujarat govt officer (Jul 30, 2011, Indian Express)
- Supreme Court notice to Gujarat government on Sanjiv Bhatt plea (Jul 30, 2011, Economics Times)
- SC stays proceedings against Teesta (Jul 29, 2011, Hindustan Times)
- Cops send Teesta another missive (Jul 28, 2011, Times of India)
US civil liberties group cautions Harvard on action against Subramanian Swamy (Jul 30, 2011, Time of India)
As the controversy over an article written by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy snowballed, a US civil liberties group cautioned Harvard University on taking action against its Summer School instructor.Swamy, who earned his PhD from Harvard in 1965, penned an op-ed published July 16 in Mumbai’s DNA newspaper that advocated denial of voting rights to non-Hindus with the goal of stemming terrorist attacks in India.
Following the publication of the article, several Harvard affiliates circulated a petition calling on the university to end its ties with Swamy. The petition has gathered 312 signatures to date and in a statement, the dean of the Summer School said that the school “will give this matter our serious attention”. But in a letter to university president Drew G. Faust, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil liberties group with a focus on academia, said the group is “concerned about the threat to freedom of expression” that may come about from that attention.
“The threat of a disciplinary investigation of Swamy stands in sharp and unflattering contrast to this admirable and appropriate understanding of the importance of freedom of expression in the academic community,” Adam H. Kissel ’94, vice president of programmes at FIRE, wrote in the letter as cited by Harvard Crimson, the university newsletter.Harvard has not explicitly said that it is investigating Swamy or that it has considered such an investigation.Kissel wrote that an investigation of Swamy’s article would go against Harvard’s commitment to free speech, as outlined in the “Free Speech Guidelines” adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1990.
“If members of the Harvard community are given to understand that Harvard might begin an investigation-with possible disciplinary consequences-of the views they express, they likely will self-censor,” he wrote. “This is precisely the result that a university dedicated to intellectual freedom must seek to avoid.” “Harvard must honour its own promises,” he told the Crimson in a phone interview.”Students have every right to protest for or against ideas in article, as does Harvard, but Harvard may not investigate or punish the expression.”
- Students urge Harvard to sever ties with Subramanian Swamy (Jul 27, 2011, MSN)
- Subramanian Swamy’s article draws criticism, rights body wants him arrested (Jul 30, 2011, Time of India)
- Delhi police refuses to register FIR against Swamy (Jul 29, 2011, Twocircles.net)
- Minorities’ panel to decide on Swamy’s article (Jul 30, 2011, The Hindu)
Yeddyuruppa, others indicted in illegal mining (Jul 27, 2011, Rediff)
Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining in Karnataka is out. The report strongly indicted Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyruappa, Reddy brothers and various others and recommended their prosecution under Prevention of Corruption Act and other laws. Briefing media persons at a press conference after submitting the report to the Chief Secretary, Jutice Hegde said: “Our officials have gone through 4 lakh files, 50 lakh entries and these officials have worked very hard. The report runs into 25,228 pages, including annexures.”
The report found that a mining company had donated Rs 10 crore to a trust managed by his family members. “While probing the case, we found that certain amount was paid to the chief minister’s family through cheque as donation. CM’s family sold land worth Rs 20 crore far above the guidance value of Rs 1.4 crore to a mining company. Hence this comes under the prevention of corruptiopn act.”
“The acts of the CM’s family getting money from mining companies falls under the prevention of corruption act and hence action needs to be taken. There are irregularities and illegalities right from mining ore to export,” the Lokayukta added.
- CM Yeddy’s family trust took money from mining firm: Hegde (Jul 27, 2011, Express India)
- How K’taka govt IGNORED Lokayukta’s first report (Jul 26, 2011, Rediff)
- Lokayukta’s report on illegal mining: Main points (Jul 27, 2011, Hindustan Times)
- Lokayukta report: Hegde not hopeful of Govt. action (Jul 27, 2011, The Hindu)
Alarming illegal mining in Bellary, only 10% is legal: Supreme Court panel (Jul 29, 2011, The Hindu)
Ninety per cent mining in Bellary district of Karnataka is illegal which has converted the area of green scenic into a ‘war-ravaged’ zone with huge ugly scars, says the Supreme Court-appointed committee. Placing its report before the apex court, the expert body said a majority of companies are involved in illegal mining and recommended the State government be directed to cancel their lease.
“It is estimated that the production of mines which are not found to be involved in substantial illegalities and which are eligible to continue mining operations may not be more than 10 per cent of the total production of the iron ore in the district,” the panel said in its 23-page report. There are 148 iron ore mining leases sanctioned in Bellary district, out of which 124 now exist and it is estimated that about 90 percent of the production is from the forest area.
“The situation at present is alarming and calls for immediate radical remedial measures,” senior advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing for the panel, said. “As a result of mining and associated activities, today many areas present a barren dismal picture akin to a war-ravaged zone with huge ugly scars,” he said adding a “majority of mines are involved in illegal mining outside the sanctioned lease area”.
“In large number of cases, the permission for increasing the production of iron ore manifold has been granted recklessly without apparently taking into consideration the already alarming situation in the area,” the report said.
- How the Bellary mining industry operates (Jul 21, 2011, Rediff)
- Supreme Court suspends mining operations in Bellary district (Jul 29, 2011, The Hindu)
- Land allotment scam: Raids on Karunanidhi top aides’ premises (Jul 27, 2011, Indian Express)
- Court refuses to defreeze Adarsh bank accounts (Jul 28, 2011, Express India)
Don’t bring in CBI sting CD, court tells Amit Shah (Jul 26, 2011, The Hindu)
Even as the former Gujarat Minister, Amit Shah, accused the Central Bureau of Investigation of falsely implicating him in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday made it clear that it would not take on record any material arising out of the sting operation, in which the CBI was shown to have obtained statements from witnesses. A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha expressed reservations about considering the fresh material produced as evidence from the sting operation. (Sohrabuddin Shaikh, an extortionist, was killed in a fake encounter near Ahmedabad on November 26, 2005. Three days earlier, the police whisked away Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi, who had been travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra. Two days after the encounter, Kausar Bi was also killed.)
Justice Lodha told senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Mr. Shah: “I have strong reservations about taking it on record. Why are you bringing new material? You have enough material to argue the case. In a politically sensitive case like this, these things would keep coming. If we adjourn the matter for another 10 days, then again new material would come out.”
Mr. Jethmalani said the sting operation, done when Mr. Shah was in jail, exposed the CBI, whose charge sheet would have no basis had the contents of the sting operation been taken on record. He wanted the court to scrutinise the material. The Bench, however, refused to take the CD of the sting operation and its transcript on record but gave counsel the liberty to make submissions. The sting operation showed Sohrabuddin’s brother Nayimuddin as saying that the CBI wrote his statements as per its will, wrote things which the agency was not told, and that he was threatened at the behest of Mr. Shah.
It was pointed out that from Nayimuddin’s talks some “mysteries” were revealed, viz., the CBI, on its own, wrote some portion of his statements and that he was threatened by Shah. Senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani appeared for the State. The Bench, while requesting senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who recently resigned as Solicitor-General, to continue to assist the court as amicus curiae, asked senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi, appearing for the CBI to withdraw from the case. For, he had appeared for Gujarat in the Sohrabuddin case in an earlier round.
Justice Alam told Mr. Tulsi: “To be very honest with you, I do not think it is proper for you to appear in the case. You are a very senior member of the Bar. The State government might not have objected to your appearance but it is not proper for you.” Mr. Tulsi agreed to withdraw from the case and said alternative arrangements would be made. Further hearing is posted to August 17.
- BJP uses sting op to defend Amit Shah (Jul 27, 2011, Times of India)
- SC asks Tulsi to withdraw from Sohrabuddin case (Jul 27, 2011, Indian Express)
- CBI counsel recuses from Sohrabuddin encounter case (Jul 27, 2011, Times of India)
- Sohrabuddin: Gujarat seeks fresh SIT probe (Jul 26, 2011, The Hindu)
CBI witness: Churu SP made my life hell (Jul 27, 2011, Times of India)
Debilal alias Debua – a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s prosecution witness in Dara Singh encounter case – has accused Churu police, especially the district’s superintendent of police (SP) of intimidating his wife on instructions from former PWD minister Rajendra Singh Rathore. He has alleged that the SP has made his life ‘hell’ and issued threats that he also would meet the fate of Dara Singh.
The politician has been mentioned as a key conspirator of the fake encounter in charge-sheet filed recently, but the CBI has so far not made him an accused on account of pending investigation against him. Debilal, a resident of Somali village in Churu district who has a criminal background, recorded his statement under Section 164 of CrPC in Metropolitan Magistrate Court No – 2 in New Delhi on February 4.
The statements reads that till the date he was recording his statement, cops in uniform came to his house twice or thrice every day and threatened his wife. “The policemen would say that he should immediately meet the SP.And if he would not, then he would be sent to the place where Dara Singh is,” Debilal claimed in the statement.
He said, out of fear he sent his friend Dilbaag to meet the SP. “He was kept in illegal detention for three days without any official charges against him. Debilal’s brother-in-law paid Rs 1 lakh to get him released from illegal detention,” Debilal claimed. When contacted, SP, Churu SN Khinchi, who is posted in the district since former Churu SP, Nisar Ahmed, was transferred in December, told TOI that he was not aware of the allegations.
- Dara encounter: CBI ‘seeks protection’ for probe team (Jul 27, 2011, Indian Express)
- Minor ‘gain’ for defence in fake encounter case (Jul 27, 2011, Times of India)
- I did not trust police initially: Gupta (Jul 29, 2011, IBN)
- Victim’s brother presents mobile phone footage of encounter spot (Jul 29, 2011, Hindustan Times)
Mosque in Madhapur was demolished, Police supporting land grabbers (Jul 31, 2011, Siasat)
A mosque was demolished with the help of a bulldozer. The people were not given an opportunity even to take out the Quran and other valuables from the mosque. It was not known who is demolishing the mosque. On enquiry, the police said that it is being done under the court orders but they didn’t have any such orders.
It was evident that the land grabbers were demolishing the mosque with the connivance of police. On receiving information, Minister of Minorities welfare along with the Chairman Wakf Board visited the place and met Mr. Dwaraka Thirumala Rao, Commissioner of Police Cyberabad and recorded protest. It is to be noted that a day before, the Minister had informed the police commissioner about it. Despite this, the demolition was affected with the help of the police.
An old Muslim woman named Ms. Rameeza Bee had donated 359 Sq. yards of land for the construction of a mosque. A temporary shed was constructed on it to provide facilities for the Muslim employees working in corporate companies in and around Madhapur for offering prayers. The legal heirs of Ms. Rameeza Bee wanted to sell the adjacent land to the mosque committee but the local Congress leaders wanted to grab this land by force.
A person named Mr. Surender Reddy was claiming that he is the owner of the piece of land. The State Govt. may take immediate action to stop the Police from supporting the land grabbers and to allow the construction of the mosque at that place.
- Communalism, terror big challenges for India: PM (Jul 29, 2011, Rediff)
- Thrashed at Tihar for being Muslim? (Aug 1, 2011, Siasat)
- Call for a movement if Moradabad Muslims not released before Ramazan (Jul 28, 2011, Twocircles.net)
- 2008 Ahmedabad blasts: 4 accused seek bail (Jul 27, 2011, IBN)
‘RTE Act attack on rights of madrasas, we will oppose it’ (Jul 29, 2011, Indian Express)
Terming the Right to Education (RTE) Act as an “attack” on the sovereignty of madrasas and other minority institutions, Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on Thursday said it will oppose it. “The seminary will strongly protest the move to snatch rights of madrasas through RTE, and it is with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) which is already opposing it,” newly-appointed vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, told PTI. He said the Act posed a threat to the independence of madarsas and their education system. “If minority institutions are not excluded from the Act, then Deoband will lodge protest either on its own or under the banner of the AIMPLB,” Nomani said.
He said during a programme organised by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind in Delhi an year back, when apprehension were raised in this regard, Union Human Resource Minister Kapil Sibal had assured them that such educational institutions would be kept out of the ambit of the act. “But this has not been done,” he said. UP has around 6,000 madarsas and 6,500 minority schools. The AIMPLB held a meeting to protest against RTE last Sunday, in which it was decided that if the Centre does not exclude madarsas and other minority institutions from the ambit of the Act then a nation-wide agitation would be launched after the month of Ramzan.
Member of the Board Zafaryab Jilani said that last year in April, the Central government issued an order regarding the RTE Act, after which the Uttar Pradesh government also issued a similar order in this regard on May 19, 2010. He alleged that the notices were being issued to madarsas directing them to change their system in accordance with the law. As per the law, if madarsas and schools do not follow the rules and regulations within three years then there is a provision of imposing a penalty and shutting them down, Jilani said.
Jilani added that as per the Constitution, a minority community can either teach their curriculum or make the required changes as per the curriculum fixed by the government. “But under section eight and nine of the RTE, this power has been given to the Centre and local bodies,” he said. He alleged that under the law, the right of the minority unit setting up the school to appoint a member of the community in the management committee has been withdrawn. Besides, the power to fix educational qualifications of the teachers has also been given to an authority set up by the Centre, the AIMPLB member said.
He added that implementation of the legislation in madrasas would badly affect the system of imparting religious education. The All India Shia Personal Law Board has also opposed the RTE, saying that it would support the AIMPLB in its campaign. President of the board Mirza Mohammad Athar said his organisation opposes the law, and if requested by AIMPLB, it will support the campaign.
- Madrasas exempted from RTE Act: Centre (Jul 30, 2011, The Hindu)
- Minority Ministry included in Governing Council of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Jul 28, 2011, Twocircles.net)
- No interest scheme for madrasa welfare fund, says Minister (Jul 30, 2011, The Hindu)
- Muslim body opposes Waqf Amendment Bill, 2010 (Aug 1, 2011, Siasat)
Maoists kill 5 villagers in Bihar’s Rohtas dist (Aug 1, 2011, Indian Express)
The CPI (Maoist) killed five people at a Rohtas village on Saturday night in an apparent retaliation to the recent killing of their zonal commander by a splinter group of ultras. Over 100 ultras swooped on Nohatta’s Banda village, about 280 km from here, and attacked the family of former mukhiya Sugriva Kharbar, who heads an anti-Naxal group called Kaimuranchal Vikas Morcha.
Naxals suspected that Kharbar had helped a splinter group of Naxals kill zonal commander Virendra Rana last month. Naxals also looked at Kharbar as their enemy ever since he helped the district administration initiate eco-tourism in the area by helping train over 100 tribal youths as guides, said Superintendent of Police, Rohtas, Manu Maharaj. The SP said the Naxals first set Kharbar’s house on fire and when his family members rushed out, they rained bullets on them, killing five on the spot.
Three of the five victims were Kharbar’s relatives and have been identified as Sriram Kharbar, Awadhesh Kharbar and Shyam Bihari Kharbar. While the fourth victim, Ram Pravesh Kharbar, was a guest from Palamau, the fifth has not been identified so far. Kharbar was not present in the house at the time of the attack.
Maharaj said a CRPF battalion is camping in the area that is surrounded by Naxal-hit hilly terrains. IG (Operations) KS Dwivedi has also left for the spot. The Naxals and villagers are into conflict ever since the police unfurled a flag at Rohtas Fort on Independence Day in 2008. The holding of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were also a jolt to the Naxals, said the police.
- Maoists blast mobile tower in Bihar (Jul 27, 2011, Hindustan Times)
- Naxals abduct over 100 villagers (Jul 31, 2011, New Kerala)
- Eight Naxals arrested in Chhattisgarh (Aug 1, 2011, The Hindu)
- SC order on Salwa Judum will impact anti-Naxal operations: PC (Jul 27, 2011, Express India)
Opinions and Editorials
Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik hailed India’s Hindu nationalist movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world. ‘2080: A European declaration of independence’ lays out a road map for a future organisation, the Justiciar Knights, to wage a campaign that will graduate from acts of terrorism to a global war involving weapons of mass destruction – aimed at bringing down what Breivik calls the “cultural Marxist” order. India figures in a remarkable 102 pages of the sprawling 1,518-page manifesto. Breivik’s manifesto says his Justiciar Knights “support the Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.” In section 3.158 of the manifesto, he explains that Hindu nationalists “are suffering from the same persecution by the Indian cultural Marxists as their European cousins.”
The United Progressive Alliance government, he goes on, “relies on appeasing Muslims and, very sadly, proselytising Christian missionaries who illegally convert low caste Hindus with lies and fear, alongside Communists who want total destruction of the Hindu faith and culture.” Even though Hindus who are living abroad “get an eagle’s view of what’s happening in India, Indian Hindu residents don’t see it being in the scene.” Breivik’s manifesto applauds Hindu groups who “do not tolerate the current injustice and often riot and attack Muslims when things get out of control,” but says, “this behaviour is nonetheless counterproductive.” “Instead of attacking the Muslims, they should target the category A and B traitors in India and consolidate military cells and actively seek the overthrow of the cultural Marxist government.” “It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible,” he concludes. “Our goals are more or less identical.”
Breivik lists the websites of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Volunteers’ Organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as resources for further information. The manifesto pledges military support “to the nationalists in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India.” This is part of a larger campaign to “overthrow of all western European multiculturalist governments” and evict “U.S. military personnel on European soil.” India is one of several countries – including Russia, the Philippines, China and Thailand – where Breivik hopes his successors will fight. He uses the work of historians K.S. Lal and Shrinandan Vyas to point to the threat posed by Islam to Europe, saying their work has established that millions of Hindus were killed in a genocide during 1000-1525 AD. N.S. Rajaram, another historian, is quoted as saying India’s “political class have been so debilitating that they continue to live in a state of constant fear.”
Breivik’s manifesto envisages that this future organisation would hand out a “multi-cultural force medal,” which would be awarded for “military cooperation with nationalist Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and/or atheist forces (non-European) on Hindu, Buddhist or Jewish territory. These efforts must be directed against Jihadi or cultural Marxist forces, personnel or interests.” The medals would include a “Liberation of India Service Medal,” which would be awarded for “assisting Indian nationalist forces to drive out Islam from Indian territory.” Breivik’s Indian-made combat badges, revealed by The Hindu as having been contracted to a workshop in Varanasi, were the first in this series of battle decorations. His manifesto acknowledges that lives will be lost in the war, and calls for the organisation to “provide and subsidise a standard edition of the Justiciar Knight tombstone” for those who fell in battle.Since a “European tombstone carver, preferably specialised in traditional tombstone architecture, is likely to charge more than 5000-10000 Euro in order to create the stone,” Breivik suggested that “producers in low-cost countries should be contacted for the task of creating one or multiple stones in the future.”
He acknowledged that this “might sound hypocritical considering the fact that cultural conservatives in general oppose Indian or Chinese membership in [the] WTO and the fact that we generally prefer in-sourcing as many industries as possible. However, conserving our funds is a central part of our struggle.” Even though Breivik’s Knights would fight shoulder to shoulder with Hindu nationalists, his vision for their rights in a post-revolutionary Europe is limited. The manifesto envisages the creation of a “servant class,” made up of non-Muslim individuals from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.”During their stay,” the manifesto envisages, “they will work 12 hours a day for the duration of their contracts (6 or 12 months) and are then flown back to their homelands.” “These individuals,” it goes on, “will live in segregated communities in pre-defined areas of each major city.”
- Terror Attack Hits Norway: United Colors Of Fundamentalisms – By Ram Puniyani (Jul 31, 2011, Countercurrents)
- Hitting home – Editorial (Jul 28, 2011, Indian Express)
- From Oslo, To Nagpur – By Saba Naqvi (Aug 8, 2011, Outlook)
- Lesson from Utoeya – Editorial (Jul 30, 2011, Economic & Political Weekly)
Norway massacre: Breivik manifesto attempts to woo India’s Hindu nationalists – By Ben Arnoldy (Jul 25, 2011, Christian Science Monitor)
The Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik writes in a manifesto that he acquired some 8,000 e-mail addresses of “cultural conservatives” not just across Europe but North America, Australia, South Africa, Armenia, Israel, and India – ensuring scrutiny of anti-Muslim groups far beyond Europe. Mr. Breivik’s primary goal is to remove Muslims from Europe. But his manifesto invites the possibility for cooperation with Jewish groups in Israel, Buddhists in China, and Hindu nationalist groups in India to contain Islam. “It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical,” he wrote. In the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue.
“Like Europe’s mainstream right-wing parties, [India’s] BJP has condemned the terrorism of the right – but not the thought system which drives it. Its refusal to engage in serious introspection, or even to unequivocally condemn Hindutva violence, has been nothing short of disgraceful,” writes senior journalist Praveen Swami in today’s edition of The Hindu. “Liberal parties, including the Congress, have been equally evasive in their critique of both Hindutva and Islamist terrorism,” he adds. Last week, Breivik detonated a bomb in downtown Oslo and opened fire at a youth camp of the ruling political party, killing at least 76 people. He reportedly said in court today that the rampage was “marketing” for his manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.”
Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto calls preserving traditional European culture by cutting it off from immigration from the Muslim world. While he is against setting up a Christian theocracy, he envisions a revival of Christendom, where the church helps unify Europeans around a shared cultural identity. In the manifesto, Breivik references India dozens of times. He included a five-page paper written by a man named Shrinandan Vyas that argues the Muslim invaders committed a “genocide” of Hindus in the Hindu Kush region of present-day Afghanistan. Efforts to track down Mr. Vyas have failed. Invasions by Muslims into South Asia did include bloodshed, but use of the term “genocide” is highly controversial. But for B.P. Singhal, a retired BJP member of Parliament and noted Hindutva writer: “There was a wholesale massacre.” He goes on to cite dramatic drops in the Hindu populations in Pakistan and Bangladesh since Partition of British India – figures that Breivik also gives in his manifesto. Mr. Singhal and Breivik share a critical belief: Muslim majorities always subjugate religious minorities. “I was with the shooter in his objective, but not in his method,” says Singhal of Breivik. “If you want to attract the nation’s attention, surely you need to do something drastic and dramatic, but not killing people.”
But Singhal goes on to say that sometimes violence must be fought with violence. He says people upset by violent responses to Islam must “go one step more to find why [Breivik’s] violence came in. Why was that western Christian talking in bad terms about Islam?” He says it’s because of violent verses in the Koran that continue to be preached in an intolerant way. Singhal said India and Norway should deny voting rights to foreigners or “foreign religionists,” meaning Muslims. That would solve the “bane of democracy,” says Singhal, where politicians who are strict with groups like Muslims are voted out. Breivik also proposed curbing voting rights within democracy, and both men view their ideological opponents in the media and universities as communists. Singhal has not corresponded with Breivik, nor does he see much need for alliances to counter Islam’s spread: “Every country will have to find its own solutions,” he says. It’s unclear as of yet who Breivik reached out to in India and what the depth of the interactions was. His manifesto says he is among 12 “knights” fighting within a dozen regions in Europe and the US, but not India. It’s not known yet whether this group, which he calls the Knights Templar Europe, actually exists.
Breivik describes months of tedious work farming “high quality” e-mail addresses off the Internet by friending networks “representing all spheres of cultural conservative thought” on Facebook, then acquiring members’ e-mail addresses. The goal appeared to be to generate a list to send his manifesto to just prior to his rampage. Officials in India’s Home Ministry would not comment on whether they are tracking down Breivik’s e-mails to India. Mr. Swami, who has sources inside India’s intelligence community, told the Monitor that India does not have the capacity to do those traces easily until Norway provides information from Breivik’s computers. “I’ve been trying to ask around if anyone knows about a substantial correspondence of any kind and haven’t come up with anything,” says Swami. The Internet has made it easier for extremists to follow one another internationally, he points out. But, historically, European and Indian far right groups have not worked with each other – nor do they have much practical reason to cooperate now. “I think irrespective of the Norwegian [attacks], the government needs to keep a much closer eye on the activities of the Hindu fundamentalist groups … and crack down on hate speech whether it’s Hindu, Muslim, or otherwise,” says Swami.
- Norway Massacre: The Strange and Enduring Link Between European Fascists and Hindu Nationalists – By Palash R. Ghosh (Jul 25, 2011, International Business Times)
- Norway Gunman Fascinated by Hindu Nationalism – By Tripti Lahiri (Jul 26, 2011, Wall Street Journal)
- What we know about the Norway shooter – By Peter Finocchiaro (Jul 25, 2011, Salon)
- Norway Massacre: Should it be labelled as Christian Terrorism? – By Soroor Ahmed (Jul 29, 2011, Twocircles.net)
BJP faces rocky ride in Karnataka – Editorial (Jul 29, 2011, The Hindu)
That B.S. Yeddyurappa agreed to step down as Chief Minister of Karnataka after a succession of scams and controversies is not on account of some sudden, inexplicable change of heart or personality. What brought this about is the rapid change in the national public mood — from helpless resignation in the face of corruption in high places to active opposition to all forms of political corruption. A string of scams, starting with the biggest of them all, the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, triggered the process of change. The involvement of charismatic sections of civil society in the campaign for an effective Lokpal Bill also captured the public imagination.
The principal national opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, sleepwalked its way into the thick of the action against corruption in the United Progressive Alliance government. Now, as one of the lead campaigners, the party seems to have realised that it cannot afford to lose the plot in this national revolt against sleaze and fraud. Mr. Yeddyurappa, at the head of its government in Karnataka, was the antithesis of everything the BJP spoke up for: accountability, transparency, and good governance. Once the Lokayukta submitted its report indicting Mr. Yeddyurappa and some of his Ministers in the illegal mining scam, the party was left with no choice.
Although Mr. Yeddyurappa has agreed to resign, terms and conditions apply. He not only wants his nominee, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, to succeed him but is also asking to be nominated the president of the BJP State unit. Along with the Reddy brothers, who are at the centre of the mining operations, he claims the support of a majority of the BJP MLAs. Together, they seem determined to thwart the formation of any government that is inclined to act on the Lokayukta report. Understandably, the BJP would want to save its first and only government in south India. But to give in to the key demands of Mr. Yeddyurappa and the Reddy brothers will be to nullify any good that might come of the change at the helm.
The Lokayukta report gives a detailed account of the illegal mining in Bellary, the fiefdom of the Reddy brothers, which is described as the ‘Republic of Bellary.’ The report specifically recommends the removal of one of the Reddy brothers, Janardhan Reddy, from the Cabinet in view of his “misconduct.” The BJP’s national leadership, a section of which is clearly in nexus with the mining lobby, will need to facilitate the formation of a government that will be able to act on the Lokayukta recommendations. Providing protection and political rehabilitation for Mr. Yeddyurappa and the Reddy brothers might prolong the BJP’s hold on power for some more time, but it would have adverse consequences for Karnataka and its people in the long term.
- Saffron crossroad – Editorial (Jul 27, 2011, Indian Express)
- A Rich Vein Of Dissent – By Sugata Srinivasaraju (Aug 8, 2011, Outlook)
- Endgame for BSY – Editorial (Jul 29, 2011, Deccan Herald)
- “You Know Nothing About Karnataka” – By Prarthana Gahilote (Aug 8, 2011, Outlook)
A proven case – By V. Venkatesan (Jul 30, 2011, Frontline)
The case Nandini Sundar vs State of Chhattisgarh arose out of a writ petition (civil) filed in 2007 in the Supreme Court by Nandini Sundar, a Professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics; Ramachandra Guha, a historian; and E.A.S. Sarma, former Secretary to Government of India and former Commissioner, Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh. The petitioners had alleged that the State of Chhattisgarh was actively encouraging a group called Salwa Judum, a civil vigilante structure, to counter Maoist insurgency, and that had resulted in violation of human rights. The State government created Salwa Judum in June 2005, projecting it as a spontaneous people’s movement to take care of the law and order situation in the naxalite-prone Dantewada district. It comprised about 6,500 Special Police Officers (SPOs), or Koya commanders, appointed by the State government. The force was substantially financed by the Central government. Its members started out with meetings in and around Kutru village of Dantewada district under the aegis of the Jan Jagran Abhiyan. The Jan Jagran Abhiyan was subsequently renamed Salwa Judum. In May 2006, Nandini Sundar, Guha and Sarma undertook a fact-finding mission to Chhattisgarh as part of the Independent Citizens’ Initiative and heard complaints against the activities of Salwa Judum. They then approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister, and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, among others, and alerted them about the human rights violations by Salwa Judum. Failing to elicit an effective response from them, the civil rights activists approached the Supreme Court with a writ petition.
The Salwa Judum case was one of those rare cases heard by the Supreme Court; it was heard for 26 days spread over five years. Eleven judges, belonging to different Benches comprising two or three judges, heard the matter at different times. When Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar delivered the judgment in the case on July 5, they did so after hearing the case for 16 days during 2010-11. According to Nandini Sundar, all the judges who heard the case were sympathetic towards the concerns raised in the petition. The hearings in the case could have concluded much earlier had the Chhattisgarh government not sought frequent and unnecessary adjournments. The Reddy-Nijjar Bench held that the formation of Salwa Judum on a temporary basis was an abdication of the state of its constitutional responsibility to provide appropriate security to citizens by having an appropriately trained professional police force, of sufficient numbers and with proper equipment on a permanent basis. The Bench also held that the Salwa Judum policy violated both Articles 14 (equality before law) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of those employed as SPOs as well as of the citizens living in those areas. Therefore, the Bench ordered the State government to disarm the SPOs, desist from using them to counter Maoist activities, and protect their lives. The Bench also directed the State government to prevent the operation of Salwa Judum or any other such group that seeks to take the law into its own hands or violates the human rights of any person. The Bench held that the appointment of SPOs to perform any of the duties of regular police officers was unconstitutional.
Nandini Sundar was also an unusual case in that the court undertook to examine the issues of evidence very much like a trial court and yet did not compromise on the standards to be adopted while evaluating evidentiary issues. The court found its task easy to carry out primarily because most of the allegations made in the petition stood proven in terms of admissions by the State and Central governments and their corroboration by a number of independent fact-finding reports. The state sponsorship of Salwa Judum was clear and could not be denied. The petitioners showed to the court that Salwa Judum activists, accompanied by security forces and the district police, went into villages, burnt houses, looted grain, livestock and money, and even raped women and killed individuals. Reports by Human Rights Watch, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and the NHRC corroborated these allegations. In addition to this, the petitioners had annexed testimonies by victims. A documentary film produced by Channel 4 of Britain was included as Annexure F-3 in the evidence provided by the NHRC. Forcible evacuation of villagers into Salwa Judum camps, which the State government euphemistically referred to as relief camps, was proved. Such villagers were made to abandon their fields and prevented from returning to their homes. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh denied that minors were appointed as SPOs. However, the petitioners proved that minors were appointed as SPOs by producing their photographs and also the police memorials to SPOs Sujeet Kumar Mandavi and Manglu Ram showing that they were 17 and 18 years old respectively when they were killed in a naxalite attack on the Rani Bodli outpost.
A picture of mass violation of fundamental constitutional rights emerged from the testimonies of residents of 110 villages, given at an open rally organised by the Adivasi Mahasabha in June 2007 in Cherla in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. The translations of these testimonies (with originals in Gondi and Hindi) were given to the court as annexures to the writ petition. The lists of people killed or raped, and the number of houses burnt were also annexed to the petition. Independent reports corroborated these testimonies. In the first two years of Salwa Judum (2005-07), the number of people forcibly removed from 644 naxalite-affected villages to Salwa Judum camps was 47,238. There were 20 such camps. These data, taken from an official memorandum of the State government, were annexed to the petition. Considering the facts of the recruitment of SPOs, the court expressed its dismay at the violation of law. It found that the State government recruited the SPOs first under Section 17 of the Indian Police Act, 1861 (IPA), and later under Sections 9(1) or 9(2) of the Chhattisgarh Police Act, 2007 (CPA). Section 9(1) or 9(2) of the CPA does not specify the conditions under which the Superintendent of Police may appoint “any person” as an SPO. The court felt that that would be a grant of discretion without any indicia or specification of limits, on the number of SPOs who could be appointed, their qualifications, their training or their duties. Conferment of such unguided and unchannelised power, by itself, would clearly be in the teeth of Article 14, it said. In contrast, Section 17 of the IPA sets forth the circumstances under which such appointments could be made and the conditions to be fulfilled. The court, therefore, held the appointment of SPOs to perform any of the duties of regular police officers other than those specified in Sections 23(1)(a)(h) and 23(1)(a)(i) of the CPA (dealing with disasters and movement of people and vehicles) unconstitutional.
It was also dissatisfied with the State government’s New Regulatory Procedures governing the recruitment of SPOs, which made it clear that the SPOs were to be used for counter-insurgency activities. The court agreed with the petitioners that the lives of thousands of tribal youth appointed as SPOs were placed in grave danger because they were employed in counter-insurgency activities. The State government cynically claimed in its affidavit that 173 of the SPOs “sacrificed their lives” in this bloody battle, thus proving the petitioner’s contention, the court observed. It also noted that the SPOs suffered a higher rate of deaths, as opposed to what the formal security forces suffered, and this only implied that the SPOs were involved in front-line battles or that they were placed in much more dangerous circumstances without adequate safety of numbers and strength that formal security forces would possess. The court noted that the SPOs had become cannon fodder in the killing fields of Dantewada and other districts of the State and that the training they received was clearly insufficient. It was shocked that the SPOs, with little or no education, were expected to learn the requisite range of analytical skills and legal concepts and familiarise themselves with other sophisticated aspects of knowledge within a span of two months. Although the State government claimed that it had preferred candidates who had passed the fifth standard for recruitment as SPOs, it implied that some, or many, who had been recruited might not have passed the grade. As the SPOs had such limited schooling, the court found the State government’s claim that they had learnt legal subjects in 42 hours astounding. While the State government stated that the SPOs were provided firearms only for self-defence, the court felt that they were being placed in volatile situations in which the distinction between self-defence and unwarranted firing might be very thin. It would require a high level of discretionary judgment, which the young SPOs were incapable of exercising, the court said. …
- Barefoot: Injustice, resistance and violence – By Harsh Mander (Jul 30, 2011, The Hindu)
Twist in 2G Tale – Editorial (Jul 26, 2011, Nav Hind Times)
The former telecom minister, A Raja has dropped a bombshell. By exposing more details of the 2G scam, which only he would know since he was at the centre of it, he has shaken up the establishment. In his defence in a CBI court, Raja’s lawyer said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and then finance minister, Mr P Chidambaram were in the know of what was happening with the 2G licences. He further alleged that during a meeting Mr P Chidambaram told the PM that dilution of equity did not amount to sale of licence under corporate law. Raja also alleged that he had sent all the files to the PM and if there was any wrong doing he should have constituted a group of ministers to study the case. Raja has not spared the opposition BJP either. He said he was merely following a policy laid down by telecom ministers since 1993 and named the late Pramod Mahajan, Mr Arun Shourie and Mr D Maran. Mr Raja also took on Mr Ratan Tata when he alleged that Tata Teleservices which was granted 2G licences also sold 27 per cent equity to raise 13,973 crore. His question: why were the Tatas left off the hook.
One might dismiss the allegations of Raja as the last-ditch effort to make his sins look small. By accusing the PM, Home Minister, the Tatas and the CBI of selective targeting, Raja seeks to turn the case against him on its head. One theory has it that Raja’s strategy is to widen the scope of the investigation in the hope that if bigger fish in the UPA are drawn in, attempts will be made to dilute the entire case. Theories apart, one thing is clear: Raja is not going down without a fight and will drag a few more big names with him by the time this case reaches its logical conclusion. On the other hand, Raja has raised some interesting points, much to the discomfiture of the UPA government and provided the Opposition with more fuel for the monsoon session. The case against Raja and the UPA government is that the 122 licences were not auctioned by the ministry thereby causing a huge loss. (The role played by him in routing a ‘bribe’ of 200 crore to Kalaignar TV is a charge he is yet to defend.) The CBI has presently focused its energies on two telecom companies – Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless. How the game was played is something like this: The licences were sold to nine companies for 1,658 crore. Swan then sold 45 per cent of its stake for 4,500 crore to UAE’s Etisalat. Similarly, Unitech sold 67 per cent equity to Norway’s Talenor for 6,120 crore. Raja’s argument is: why single out these two companies alone when Tata also sold 27 per cent equity for 13,973 crore? Besides, two other firms sold equity to raise funds. The thrust of the Opposition’s campaign is that if the licences had to be auctioned then the money used by big overseas firms to buy equity could have been earned as revenue to the government. This is the basis for calculation of the loss caused to the exchequer. The problem is, this was realised only after the auction of 3G licences.
If the advice tendered by Mr Chidambaram that sale of equity did not amount to sale of the licence under corporate law, then the bigger case against Raja falls flat and all that remains is whether he skewed the rules to favour certain firms for a cost. In that sense Raja’s defence is interesting and well thought out. It opens out new areas for investigation and seeks to change the thrust of the probe. Although Raja appears to be dragging the PM and Mr Chidambaram into the vortex, in reality he is attacking the backbone of the case, which is huge loss caused to the exchequer. His leitmotif is that this was an error flowing from a policy decision taken in 1993 and followed through, until the 3G auction threw up new figures. If his approach proves successful it might even dent or dissolve the whole crusade against the UPA government of causing loss of 1.70 lakh crore as claimed by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
- Conference Call, Was It? – By Arindam Mukherjee (Aug 8, 2011, Outlook)
Making a difference: Born to fight – By Soma Basu (Jul 27, 2011, The Hindu)
I am a self-made man and second to none,” declared Rev. Dr. P. Antony Raj recently during a seminar in the city. “You may call it cultivated arrogance but I have learnt the hard way.” His assertion is only natural, considering that life – which only handed him misfortune, isolation, abandonment, poverty, discrimination and humiliation – has been a battlefield for him for 67 years. Even today, on occasions, he is forced to ask himself, “So what if I am a Dalit?” But he soldiers on. As a boy, born in a poor family of coolies in remote Meendully village in Tirunelveli district, when he failed in Class 8 exam, he thought “everything is over.” Fortunately, his elder brother put him in an orphanage, where he renewed his love for academics and went on to complete his Ph.D on “The social bases of untouchables in Tamil Nadu” from Chicago. Yet, when he returned to his village to share the happy news in 1987, caustic remarks from villagers about his caste hurt him no end. “But to give up hope is suicidal,” he says.
The bitter thought – “Am I not human?” – constantly nagged him and marked the starting point of his quest for personal freedom. Using Dr. B.R.Ambedkar’s book “Annihilation of Caste” as a manifesto for liberation of Dalits, he decided to take on life the same way – “educate, agitate and organise”. A study assigned to him by the Society of Jesus busted the myth that there is no caste in the church. His data showed that the Church of Christ, which preached equality for all, segregated and discriminates against Dalit Christians, literally from the cradle to the graveyard. Yet another research on atrocities against Dalits in Tamil Nadu indicated that as long as Dalits accepted their ‘lowly’ status, they were allowed to live in peace, but if they questioned the unjust practices, they became victims of vandalism.
The findings made Father Antony realise that the caste divide was deeply rooted in society and launch the Dalit Christian Liberation Movement in 1989, with the objective of getting justice for Dalit Christians from the churches and state governments. His role, however, was misconstrued as creating law and order problem within the church and he soon stepped down, only to form the Dalit Integration Federation with the aim of forging unity among Dalit leaders and masses. An avid reader of Leftist literature, Father Antony realised how social reformers across the globe strengthened their movements by relying on institutional support. With the intention of giving an organisational support to his efforts, Father Antony formed a trust and by the year 2000 built a campus called Mandela Nagar, where today stand two institutions of great significance – Dr. Ambedkar Cultural Academy and Ceyrac Medical Foundation – spread over 20 acres. The latter provides medical care to the poor in villages while the academy runs evening study centres, summer camps, a teacher training institute, and provides for higher education for Dalit girls. In the past ten years, the campus has helped hundreds of poor Dalit girls – many of them orphans – from the seven districts of Madurai, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga, Ramnad, Tirunelveli, Thoothookudi and Dindigul overcome the social, cultural and psychological barriers, which Father Anthony describes as “a step towards Dalit liberation.” “Total liberation is possible if we quicken the process and bolster the Dalit movements,” he says. It is his dream to start a university exclusively for Dalit girls and expose them to higher education in arts and science, engineering, law, agriculture, business administration and IT. “Only if they get an opportunity will they reach the promised land where there is no bondage or servitude. They will be the fearless children of modern society, who will be able to assert themselves,” he says.
- Mirchpur: Assertion and Retaliation – By Bhupendra Yadav (Jul 30, 2011, Economic & Political Weekly)
Name of the Book: Hindutva and Dalits — Perspectives for Understanding Communal Praxis
Author: Anand Teltumbde, Ed.
Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand
Available at: Stree and Samya, 16 Southern Avenue, Kolkata 700026 West Bengal, India, Pages: 312, ISBN: 81-85604-75-4, Year: 2005, Price: Rs. 500. http://www.easternbookcorporation.com/
Hindutva And Dalits—Perspectives For Understanding Communal Praxis (Jul 29, 2011, Countercurrents)
The rise of Hindutva as an ideology and political force in recent decades is a major challenge to the project of Indian democracy, secularism and social justice. Being based on Brahminical supremacism, Hindutva, as numerous scholars and activists have correctly argued, is as much, or even more, of a danger to the historical victims of Hinduism-Dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed caste groups arbitrarily included within the rubric of ‘Hinduism’-as it is to non-Muslims, such as Christians and Muslims. How, then, does one account for the alarming spread of Hindutva among the oppressed castes, whose interests it is viscerally opposed to at the same time as it rhetorically claims them as fellow ‘Hindus’? What factors have facilitated the large-scale participation of Dalits, Adivasis and other such groups, who have for centuries been oppressed by ‘upper’ caste Hindus in the name of Hinduism, in the Hindutva project? This incisive book seeks to provide some clues to these troubling questions while, at the same time, urging for a radical resistance to Hindutva, not simply on the basis of the threat that it poses to secularism and to religious minorities but also because of the enormous challenge it poses to the emancipation of the oppressed castes and their quest for liberation from caste/class oppression sanctified by Hinduism.
In his foreword to the book, noted social scientist KN Pannikar contends that Hindutva forces are committed to preserving the hegemony of the ‘upper’ caste Hindus, this being the core of their agenda. Hence, their claim of representing all ‘Hindus’, including the oppressed castes (who form the majority of the ‘Hindu’ population) is, to put it simply, bogus. An analysis of the agenda and policies of Hindutva clearly reveals, Pannikar writes, its inherent opposition to the material interests and cultural autonomy of the subaltern castes/classes. However, political compulsions have led Hindutva forces to project themselves as supposedly committed to Dalits, Adivasis and other such groups, whose votes are a significant factor in determining outcomes in elections. In order to maintain ‘upper’ caste Hindu hegemony intact, protest against this hegemony increasingly being articulated by the marginalized castes is sought to be snuffed out by deliberately mobilizing these caste groups against what Hindutva forces project as the menacing enemies of the ‘Hindu nation’ – Muslims, Christians and Communists. In this way, these groups are used as foot-soldiers of the Hindutva brigade, unwittingly working against their own interests and in the service of their real oppressors, who consistently use them against vulnerable religious minorities, who, being mostly impoverished ‘low’ caste converts, are, objectively speaking, actually their class allies.
In his Introduction, the noted activist-intellectual Anand Teltumde argues that Hindutva is best characterized as ultra-right Brahminical fascism. Dalits, he notes, have historically been victims of Brahminism/Hinduism and of Hindu society, and Hindutva is premised on the continued oppression of the Dalits, legitimacy for which is provided in the Hindu scriptures. Analysing texts produced by key Hindutva ideologues, including the RSS top-brass, Teltumbde shows that their concept of the ideal society is one that is based on the four varnas, an inherently discriminatory and oppressive system that is sanctified as supposedly divinely ordained in the Hindu scriptures. Not surprisingly, therefore, he continues, Hindutva forces never speak of the annihilation of caste, but, rather, of the supposed ‘unity’ of castes-a seemingly alluring but deceptive slogan that actually aims at preserving ‘upper’ caste hegemony and ‘low’ caste subordination. In pursuance of this agenda, Teltumbde notes, Hindutva forces have been active throughout India seeking to promote Brahminical Hinduism among the oppressed castes through religious outfits and supposed social service organizations, in this way destroying the distinct religious cultures of these castes, co-opting them under Brahminical supremacy, and countering radical Dalit movements that seek to challenge Brahminism and ‘upper’ caste oppression. Hinduising the Dalits makes them much more amenable to ‘upper’ caste Hindu control. This development is being accelerated by two linked processes: what sociologists call ‘Sanskritisation’, through which oppressed castes seek to rise up in the caste ladder by adopting the values, beliefs, customs and norms of the ‘upper’ castes; and the deliberate Hinduisation by Hindutva forces of the unchallengeable hero of the Dalits, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Viscerally opposed to Ambedkar for his critique of Hinduism, his championing of Dalit liberation and the effective challenge that he mounted to ‘upper’ caste hegemony, Hindutva forces are, Teltumbde tells us, engaged in seeking to tame and domesticate the challenge he represented by falsely presenting him as a Hindu hero and as allegedly vociferously anti-Muslim. This is no novel development, though, for absorption and cooptation of ideological rivals in order to maintain Brahminical supremacy has historically been integral to Hinduism as we know it. Hindutva fascism’s undeniable opposition to the emancipation of the oppressed castes, who form the majority of the Indian population, is well-illustrated, Teltumbe reminds us, in its vehement opposition to the partial implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission Report, to scuttle which Hindutva forces unleashed the so-called Ram Janmabhoomi movement, whipping up anti-Muslim hatred across the country in order to seek to draw the oppressed castes behind the ‘upper’ caste Hindus and thus stave off the threat to the hegemony of the latter than Mandal represented. Teltumbe laments that many Dalits have been deceived by Hindutva rhetoric against untouchability and caste discrimination, and have failed to see through the Hindutva game-plan of pitting them against Muslims in order to maintain ‘upper’ caste supremacy and to advance what he considers as the very real prospect of a fascist take-over of India by Hindutva forces, with all the devastating consequences that this would have for prospects of democracy and social justice.
In his essay, Shamsul Islam highlights the commitment of Hindutva forces to a sternly Brahminical ideology and political programme as represented by the Manusmriti, the Bible of Brahminism. He provides ample evidence to substantiate his argument that Hindutva forces have no respect for the Indian Constitution’s commitment to social justice and democracy, which, in any case, are simply anathema from the perspective of the Manusmriti or indeed of the Brahminical Hindu tradition as such. As early as 1949, when the Constituent Assembly of India was finalizing the Constitution, the RSS condemned the move, and, Shamsul Islam notes, an editorial in its official organ, the Organiser, even claimed that there was nothing ‘Bharatiya’ about the Constitution, lamenting that it contained no trace of the Manusmriti, a scripture which it bombastically claimed ‘excite[s] the admiration of the world and elicit[s] spontaneous obedience and conformity’. Presumably, therefore, social justice and democracy, which are central pillars of the Constitution and are integral to the struggle for Dalit emancipation, were thus seen as ‘un-Indian’ by the RSS. (Of the Constitution of India, RSS supremo Golwalkar infamously declared: ‘It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No!’). This is yet further proof, one might argue, of the Hindutva forces’ vociferous opposition to the legacy of the unparalleled hero of the Dalits and other oppressed groups, Babasaheb Ambedkar, ‘father’ of the Indian Constitution. In 1950, Shamsul Islam goes on, adducing further evidence of Hindutva’s Manu-vadi vision, on the eve of India being declared a Republic, a certain Sankar Subba Aiyar, a retired high court judge, penned an article revealingly titled ‘Manu Rules Our Hearts’ in the Organiser, demanding on behalf of the RSS the immediate promulgation of the Manusmriti as the law of the land. This clearly indicates, Shamsul Islam suggests, that Hindutva, as an ideology and political programme, is committed to ‘upper’ caste supremacy and the continued degradation of the oppressed castes, in line with the supposedly divine commandments of the Manusmriti. …