|In this issue of IAMC News Digest
Opinions & Editorials
Welcoming the sentencing of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today hoped other “big leaders” involved would also be punished. He also said he hoped that those who perpetrated communal violence in Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar would also get punished.
Mr Kejriwal said ordinary people are peace-loving and wish to live in harmony, but such riots are “incited politically”. “I welcome Delhi High Court verdict convicting Sajjan Kumar in 1984 riots case. It took a lot of time. It was delayed, but it finally came,” he said on the sidelines of an event in Delhi.…
Calling for strengthening of the legal system to ensure perpetrators of mass crimes are made answerable, the court said neither ‘crimes against humanity’ nor ‘genocide’ is part of the domestic law of crime and this loophole needs to be addressed urgently. It also named 2002 post-Godhra Gujarat riots and Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh in 2013 among other mass killings since 1947 where minorities were targeted.
As soon as a policeman sees a woman in a burqa or a hijab, he refuses to entertain her, and asks her to sit and wait. Her turn never comes. In fact, the waiting period turns into an hour, then two hours and so on, said one of the respondents of a survey titled ‘Muslim Voices: Perceptions of Policing in India’.
The survey report was released by The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Quill Foundation on Friday and documents the perceptions and experiences of Muslims regarding policing in India across eight cities. The study behind the report focused on the central question of how the Muslim community perceives policing, as well as bias and discrimination by the police.…
“There is a unanimous perception that the police targets and victimises Muslims, resulting in feelings that the community is often criminalised without basis, and kept in cycles of fear, intimidation, and the constant threat of being detained and abused,” stated the report.…
Bulandshahr Mob Violence: In Open Letter, 83 Civil Servants Seek Adityanath’s Resignation (Dec 18, 2018, News Click)
Over 80 top retired civil servants have written an open letter to the public, expressing their dismay at “complete collapse of constitutional values” following the “instigated and engineered with malicious intent violence” in Bulandshahr that led to the killing of a Uttar Pradesh police officer and a civilian, and have called for the resignation of Chief Minister Adityanath.
The incident, says the letter, shows that in “India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, fundamental principles of governance, of constitutional ethics and of humane social conduct stand perverted. The Chief Minister of the state acts as a high priest of the agenda of bigotry and majoritarian supremacy – an agenda which now seems to take precedence over everything else.”
“Much as the Chief Minister may try to mislead by calling it an accident, this was murder with intent. It was murder most foul,” the former civil servants said on the killing of police officer Subodh Kumar Singh on December 3, by a Right-wing violent mob.…
After a painfully long process, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court has acquitted the remaining 22 accused persons in the Sohrabuddin encounter case yesterday, December 21. Special CBI Judge SJ Sharma expressed his disappointment with the prosecution’s case in the light of the fact that out of 210 witnesses, 92 had turned hostile. Judge Sharma apologised to the families of the deceased stating that due to the evidence presented by the prosecution, the case against the accused could not be substantiated.
The 22 persons acquitted are all junior police officers. The seniors involved were all acquitted or discharged between 2014 and 2017. Some of the big names involved in the case are: the former Home Minister of Gujarat and now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, Amit Shah; former Rajasthan Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria; former DIG (Deputy Inspector General) of the ATS (Anti-Terror Squad) in Ahmedabad, D G Vanzara; the former SP (Superintendent of Police) of Udaipur, Dinesh MN and former SP of the ATS in Ahmedabad, Rajkumar Pandian.…
Despite the Supreme Court passing an Order that the Sohrabuddin case should be heard from the beginning to the end by the same judge, the case was heard by several judges. The second judge to hear the case was Judge BH Loya who died of a heart attack in Nagpur on December 1, 2014. In 2017, the Caravan magazine published a series of reports that Judge Loya did not die of natural causes and cited statements from his family as well as physicians. This gained prominence as on December 30, and Amit Shah was discharged by the next judge to handle the case.…
Naseeruddin Shah’s comments spark row: ‘Cow more significant than a cop; I fear for my kids in India’ (Dec 20, 2018, Times Now)
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has sparked a controversy by saying that he is worried about the safety of his children in today’s India. In an apparent reference to the recent violence sparked by the discovery of cattle carcasses in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, Shah said: “We have already witnessed that the death of a cow has more significance (in today’s India) than that of a police officer.”…
In a YouTube video, Shah is seen as saying: “I am worried for my kids…if tomorrow, a mob surrounds them and asks which religion they belong to, they will have no answer,” said Shah… Shah further said that “poison” has spread in the Indian society and it will be very difficult to “capture this djinn back into the bottle”. He added that there is a full exemption from punishment for those who take the law into their own hands.
“These matters do not scare me, but make me angry. And I want that every right-thinking person should feel angry, not scared. This is our home. Who dares to evict us from here.”…
In this Bihar school, separate class rooms for Hindu, Muslim and dalit students (Dec 20, 2018, The Week)
A shocking report has emerged from Bihar, which claims that a government-run school in Vaishali district divided students on the basis of their caste and religion, and made them sit in separate classrooms.
Following the allegations of discrimination, the state government had ordered to constitute a team led by the district education officer to probe the matter. The team on Thursday concluded that the system was prevailing at the GA Higher Secondary School in Lalganj and held the principal responsible for it.
The team also recommended strong action against the principal, Meena Kumari. On Wednesday, Bihar Education Minister Krishnandan Prasad Verma had termed the reports unfortunate and promised strict action against those responsible for it.…
Mumbai Police to examine contents of Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide’s speech (Dec 18, 2018, New Indian Express)
The Mumbai Police Monday said they will examine the contents of a speech given by controversial Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide at a BMC school at Sewree in Central Mumbai.
Bhide, who is accused of inciting caste violence near Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district earlier this year, was in the city Sunday.
“We will examine the contents of Bhide’s speech, which was recorded by the Police and if we found anything inflammatory, action will be taken accordingly,” an official said.…
The BJP approached the Supreme Court today against an order of the Calcutta High Court that told the party to defer its “Save Democracy” yatras in West Bengal. The party has sought an urgent hearing of its special leave petition.
The BJP had planned to launch “Save Democracy” yatras from three different locations in the state, crisscrossing it before converging in Kolkata. BJP president Amit Shah was supposed to flag them off. The state administration had earlier denied permission for the political rallies, saying it would lead to law and order problem in the state.…
The BJP filed a plea, following which the party received the green signal from a single-judge bench of the same court on Thursday.… The Mamata Banerjee government, however, appealed against the single-bench order before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar. The division bench found the next day that Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had not taken inputs from state intelligence agencies into account, and sent the case back with instructions that it study all the material submitted before arriving at a verdict.…
Manipur Journalist Sentenced To One Year In Jail For Targeting PM Modi On Social Media (Dec 19, 2018, Outlook)
Manipur Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, who was detained under the National Security Act last month, has been sentenced to one year in jail under the law for targeting PM Modi in a social media post. Wangkhem’s lawyer told news website Scroll that his family will challenge his sentencing on Wednesday.
Wangkhem was detained on November 27. About a week before his detention, he was arrested by the Manipur Police for posting a video critical of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Facebook, Scroll reported.…
On December 17, members of the Manipur Students Association, Delhi and Manipur Muslim Students Union staged a protest outside the Manipur Bhavan in Delhi opposing the detention of Kishorechandra, The Wire reported. The Indian Journalists Union and the Press Council of India condemned Kishorechandra’s detention and demanded his release, the report said.
A 24-year-old was barred from sitting for her National Eligibility Test (NET) after she refused to take off her hijab. Aspirant Safina Khan was asked to take off her hijab as she stood in the queue to enter her examination hall on Tuesday in Goa.
Speaking to News18, Safina said she was asked by the inspecting officials at the Centre to take off her hijab for a photograph. “When I told them I couldn’t do that, they insisted I had to show my ears for a photograph. After much debating, I said I would re-adjust my hijab so that my ears were visible and requested them to direct me to a washroom to do the same,” she further said.
The officials, however, refused to allow her to go to a washroom and asked her to re-adjust her hijab right there. “I was shocked. It didn’t end there, they further told me that I will have to sit for the exam without my hijab or I would not be allowed. I debated and argued as much as I could, but in vain. My refusal to remove my hijab cost me my exam,” she added. Her exam centre was at the Patto EDC complex in Panaji.…
Opinions and Editorials
There is a whole gang enjoying political patronage, escaping trial in Gujarat riots, Isn’t judiciary aware? – By Aleem Faizee (Dec 17, 2018, Ummid.com)
Sajjan Kumar deserves even stricter punishment if he was indeed involved in the killing of innocent Sikhs whose only fault was that the bodyguards of Indira Gandhi who assassinated her belonged to their community.… The observations made in the Delhi High Court judgement are very important and the judges must be applauded. However, isn’t the courts aware that there is a whole gang roaming free, some even in power, enjoying political patronage and escaping trial in Gujarat riots?
Political patronage for the riot accused is a trend in India. In fact, in most cases, riots were staged – cleverly planned for political mileage and under the patronage of politicians enjoying unlimited power. Worst, in various cases, communal riots were staged on fabricated grounds when the victims of riots had to bear double brunt – first at the hands of rioters and later at the hands of security forces framing them in false cases.
Take a pause and compare anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002. Assuming that some misguided Muslims were behind the Godhra train tragedy, what was the fault of Muslims living in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat, who were forced to pay a price for a sin they were not responsible of? Nothing, just like the Sikhs killed by violent mob avenging the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. So, why not apply the same yardstick in 2002 Gujarat riots so that victims like Zaki Jafri and others get justice, and at the same time, the perpetrators are brought to book so that a stringent warning is sent to others?…
The December 11 electoral verdict is a watershed event with multiple impacts on the national polity. The results of the Assembly elections held in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram in November/December have hit diverse aspects of politics and society in one fell swoop. The impact ranges from the organisational dynamics of the two mainstream political parties – the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the principal opposition Congress – to concerns and questions of policy orientation and overall ideological direction that the country will have in the days to come.…
Notwithstanding the arguments put forward by the BJP leadership to underscore Modi’s significance, the fact remains that the aura of invincibility that was built around Modi since 2014, especially in the Hindi heartland, has been smashed, just ahead of the 2019 election. There is little doubt that in spite of official justifications, this factor is getting embedded into the political and organisational structure of the BJP. But, as Rahul Gandhi himself observed after the results, this is only the beginning of a long fight that the opposition, and the Congress as its principal force, will have to take up in the days to come.
It will indeed be a daunting task managing the various alliances in different States and building a strong anti-BJP front, without which even the Congress will not be able to enhance its reach and influence at the national level.… Equally importantly, the Congress will need to nuance its policy orientation to real concerns of the people, especially the marginalised and distressed sections. An objective reading of the current watershed verdict should help the resurgent and newly confident Congress president to address this larger social and political message.
When a Hindu got caught in the Bulandshahr cow slaughter crossfire – By Ram Puniyani (Dec 18, 2018, Sabrang India)
Violence continues to be instigated and orchestrated in the name of religious sentiments and emotions in India. Be it after the demolition of Babri Masjid (1992,) Godhra train burning and subsequent riots (Gujarat carnage 2002,) Kandhamal in 2008 or love jihad (Muzzafarnagar 2013,) violence catches both minorities and majorities its trap. It always begins with spreading hatred making everyone consume the communal poison before triggering it to unleash violence.
In the last few years, violence has been related to a clear case of cow politics. Be it consumption, rearing, transporting or grazing, communities involved in animal husbandry, especially cows, have been targeted and tortured. Beginning with Mohammad Akhlaq, whose mob lynching left the country shocked, to Junaid, a young teenager who was stabbed, cow and beef have become weapons of mass destruction. Most recently, cow slaughter was at the centre of Bulandshahr violence which claimed the lives of two men, one a Hindu law abiding police officer.
The tragedy exposed the underbelly of communal violence, which not just swallows religious minorities into its orbit but also the majorities. The violence that minorities face doesn’t evoke such a reaction because majorities don’t become a big collateral damage. In Bulandshahr, the victim was an upper caste Hindu man and an officer of the state police. Although the SIT probe report is not out yet, chilling details compiled from news reports is frightening enough.…
Truth Today Is Intolerant: The Comment of Naseeruddin Shah – By Kabir Deb (Dec 23, 2018, Countercurrents)
…In a country where a simple protest against the government can lead to death of five journalists within a month and can frame a whole university which protests against the barbarism happening over Adivasis and Kashmiris (minority) as anti-nationals in the name of nationalism, there we cannot expect tolerance to survive and what Shah said is the reality.
For me in the present time, India is intolerant because today if we stand for the Muslims to protest against the government and its vigilantes then we may be killed or arrested or framed as an anti-national. Today food is the biggest concern to prove nationalism. Now a mythical God is the most prominent way to gather votes and to be a brave citizen to protect it from the minority.
It’s intolerant because a simple comment sparks a matter as anti-national even after being a clear-cut lie. One comment with truth as its content can send us to Pakistan and lastly, it’s intolerant because the intolerant mass of an intolerant nation goes intolerant if they are called as intolerant.
Is the Modi Govt Snooping on You? Here Are Five Questions You Should Be Asking – By Anuj Srivas (Dec 21, 2018, The Wire)
The Narendra Modi government’s quiet notification on Thursday night, authorising ten central agencies to snoop and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”, has raised a storm over a debate that has never really taken place in India.…
In India, major intelligence agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research Analysis Wing (RAW) operate without legislative or parliamentary oversight. The system as a whole churns out tens of thousands of tapping orders every month, and in states like Uttar Pradesh, local police resort to thumbing through thousands of call data records to track minor crimes.
The lack of a data protection framework only worsens the delicate balance between fundamental rights and the need for government surveillance.…
…The present Government has not only vanished the concept of Bapu (Gandhi) regarding secular and tolerant India but has also surpassed all the records of state sponsored atrocities upon religious as well as social minorities.…
Although constitution of India protects freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on one’s faith, instances of violence against religious minorities have been increasing in recent years.
Religious minority groups in India are consistently subjected to inhuman and intolerant treatment at the hands of growing violent and extremists. Violence and denial of constitutional rights are the usual tools with which Indian minorities are preyed by extremists.…
Author: Revati Laul
Has unease finally begun creeping into the majoritarian psyche, which got swayed under the powerful Hindutva wave that followed the 2002 Gujarat riots? It would seem so, if journalist and film-maker Revati Laul’s just released book, “The Anatomy of Hate”, is any indication. The book does not say so in so many words, yet suggests that disconcerting traits for the Sangh Parivar have even sneaked into those who directly or indirectly participated in the violence which engulfed the state 16 years ago.
The book, written in a narrative form, tells the story of the riots and their aftermath through three random but vulnerable individuals, two of whom, Suresh and Dungar, actually participated in the riots, in which more than 1,000 people, majority of them Muslims, were killed. While Suresh was served a 31-year jail sentence in 2012 for murder and rape in the Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad, Dungar, a Bhil adivasi from a village in Godhra district, has sent to prison on “charges of burning down the houses of Muslims”, and now is a local block-level politician, having uneasy relationship with BJP-VHP, which he represented for long.…
Yet, things appear to have changed for Dungar, suggests Laul. He appears to feel that the riots seemed to be have been pre-planned. She quotes Dungar as saying, while they didn’t know a train was going to be burnt on February 27, which triggered the riots the next day, he nevertheless admitted, “But our leaders were preparing for the election that was going to take place later in the year. So people’s minds had to be stuffed with something”. Clearly, “everything was building up to move the BJP – an ally of the VHP – towards a win.” Wonders Dungar, “Otherwise why were VHP people being taken in trains from Gujarat, for what?”