In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Malegaon 2006 case: NIA names four right wing terror suspects
- Agencies tinkered with evidence in terror cases, claims scribe
- Amnesty urges Indian Govt to take urgent steps to end unlawful killings
- Hindutwadi Lawyers attack Khalid Mujahid’s lawyer
- Ishrat case: CBI zeroes in on Narendra Modi, Amit Shah
- Bijapur encounter: Those killed may have been innocent villagers not Naxals; forces may apologise
- Cops say no to rally at Azad Maidan, but Muslim group firm
- Maoists kill Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma among other Congress leaders
- Sex scandal hits ashram; 3 held, one at large
- DSP gives clean chit to dalit atrocity accused, inspector lodges protest
Opinions & Editorials
- Killing of Khalid Mujahid and creeping police state – By Aijaz Zaka Syed
- Muslim youths: India’s most wanted! – By M. Reyaz
- “Let 99 Muslims be hanged to death rather than a Hindu be accused of terrorism” – By Mustafa Khan
- Is Modi responsible for the death of farmers of Gujarat? – By NA Ansari
- Hindutva In Karnataka: Experiments In Terror – By Subhash Gatade
- Maoist Violence A Threat To Secular Democratic Forces In India – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
The NIA Wednesday filed a chargesheet against four people – Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Rajender Chaudhary and Manohar Narwariya – suspected to be members of a right wing extremist group in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blasts case. According to the chargesheet, which runs into six volumes and over 3,000 pages, the four men from Indore planned the blasts as a “revenge attack” following the attacks on the Raghunath temple in Jammu in 2002, Shramjeevi Express in 2005 and Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi in 2006.
The four, who are all in custody, have been charged with conspiring and executing the four blasts in Malegaon on September 8, 2006 which claimed 37 lives. They have been booked under several sections of the IPC, MCOCA, Explosive Substances Act, Passport Act and Criminal Law Amendment Act for carrying out terror activities, conspiracy and murder. The NIA has said investigations against Ramji Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange, Amit Chauhan and Swami Aseemanand are still underway and it will file a supplementary chargesheet later. While the first three are absconding, Aseemanand is in custody.
Interestingly, the NIA has not exonerated the 13 Muslim men named as accused in the case by the ATS and CBI in 2006. NIA prosecutor Geeta Golambe told the court that today’s chargesheet was filed against accused number 14-17. She, however, did not brief the court about the first 13 named in the case. No application was moved to discharge them either. Nine of the 13 accused named earlier were arrested. While seven were granted bail in 2011 following Aseemanand’s confessional statement that the Malegaon blasts were executed by a Hindu group, two remain in jail in connection with a different case.
In its chargesheet today, the NIA said the four bombs were made in Indore by Chauhan, Dange and Kalsangra, with slain RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi in charge of the logistics. The cycles for the blasts were reportedly purchased by Chaudhary and Narwariya. The duo, along with Kalsangra and Dhan Singh are reported to have planted the bombs. The men were highly inspired by Joshi’s “Hindutva ideology” and wanted to “help the cause of Hindu brothers who were suffering atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir”, said the NIA.
The accused are alleged to have assembled at a Dewas camp at Bagli village, where a few Marathi-speaking men with Joshi and Kalsangra demonstrated how to make bombs. According to officials, it was Kalsangra who zeroed in on Malegaon, and the first conspiracy meeting was held in August 2006, in the same Indore room where the bomb was later assembled. While each of the four accused are reported to have confessed their roles in the recce and execution, it has emerged that Kalsangra identified the spots and gave the final instructions. The NIA has also claimed to have established links between the 2006 Malegaon blasts, 2007 Samjhauta train blasts, Ajmer Sharif and Mecca Masjid blasts.
- Big jolt for CBI and ATS as NIA rejects their theory involving Muslims in Malegaon blasts; 4 Hindus charged (May 24, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- ’06 Malegaon blasts: NIA to name Aseemanand, others (May 21, 2013, Indian Express)
- ATS, CBI officers may be probed in Malegaon case (May 25, 2013, Times of India)
- Relieved Malegaonians demand action against guilty policemen (May 22, 2013, Ummid.com)
In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, investigative reporter Ashish Khetan has stated that different investigating agencies across India produced different versions of same terror cases and altered the evidence to suit their version. At least in 3 cases prosecuted by ATS Maharashtra-July 11, 2006 Mumbai local train blasts, 2006 Malegaon blasts and Pune German Bakery case of February 2010-ATS deliberately created bogus evidence, extracted false confessions, planted explosives in the houses of the accused and implicated innocent youth, read the letter.
Khetan has uploaded the interaction he had with some of accused in the 7/11 blast case on his website, www.gulail. com. Interestingly, these interviews were conducted in the court premises. Khetan said the ATS officials often tried to bribe the accused. “The interview was conducted in the court premises with a spy camera. Accused Ehtasham Siddiqui, Majid Mohammed, Kamal Ansari and Naved Khan have alleged that they were lured by ATS officials to become approvers. They were offered Rs 25 lakh,” said Khetan.
In the interview, the accused claimed that the cops offered them jobs but they declined. Khetan was also informed that the then ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi asked the accused to help police convict others. “The accused signed the confession when they were threatened of dire consequences,” he said. On the website, he has also categorically pointed out various loopholes in the investigation. Meanwhile, in the letter to the CJI, Khetan has stated that in the 7/11 case, a chargesheet was filed against 13 suspects belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). As many as 15 others were named as absconding on December 1, 2006. The accused included various professionals.
In 2008, however, fresh arrests were made and Indian Mujahideen (IM) claimed responsibility for all attacks between 2005 and 2008. It led to the arrest of Sadiq Sheikh by Crime Branch, the letter stated. The confessions by Sheikh and others clearly show that the people earlier prosecuted by the ATS had no connection with the local train bombings of 2006. “These confessions contain a meticulously detailed description of more than eight terror strikes that Sheikh and his accomplices had allegedly plotted and executed since 2003. But curiously, Sheikh and his accomplices were chargesheeted in only those blast cases in which the investigation was still not completed. Hyderabad blasts of 2007, Ahmedabad and Surat blasts of 2008 and Delhi blasts of 2008 were some of the cases in which the IM members were chargesheeted,” said the letter.
“Revelations regarding any blast before 2007 were ignored because those cases were claimed to have been solved. Sheikh and a few others were discharged in 2009, as ATS claimed they did not have enough evidence against them,” said Khetan.
- From stenography to journalism – Ashish Khetan (May 22, 2013, The Hindu)
- ‘Bangalore blast accused falsely implicated’ (May 26, 2013, New Indian Express)
- Malleswaram blast: RSS man not questioned? (May 27, 2013, Deccan Chronicle)
- NIA team at AMU for details of Joshi’s 1999 visit (May 25, 2013, Indian Express)
Amnesty International on Tuesday urged the Indian government to take practical and immediate steps to address unlawful killings and excessive use of force by security forces. Welcoming the final report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Amnesty called upon India to implement the recommendations to establish a “credible commission of inquiry” into extrajudicial executions. “The Indian authorities should constructively engage with the Special Rapporteur’s findings … and pay … heed to his … recommendations intended to help India uphold its international human rights commitments,” said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director of Amnesty International in India.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur put most of the unlawful killings in India down to the excessive use of force by security forces, attacks by armed groups, and killings of vulnerable persons. He also expressed concern at “fake encounters” or extrajudicial killings and said he had received several submissions accusing the Central armed police forces of engaging in such a practice. He said a commission of inquiry should also facilitate transitional justice to guarantee justice for victims, accountability and punishment for perpetrators. Calling for repeal, or at least radical amendment to, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Special Rapporteur urged the government to revisit the legislation on the use of force by armed forces so that they respected the principles of proportionality and necessity in all instances as stipulated under international human rights law.
He wanted the government to sign the two optional protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the optional protocol to the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and the two optional protocols to the Geneva Conventions. He urged the government to swiftly enact the Prevention of Torture Bill and ensure that it complied with the Convention against Torture.
The Special Rapporteur urged all sides involved in armed activities to immediately cease attacking civilians, human rights defenders and journalists. He suggested that the authorities put in place a mechanism to review and monitor the implementation of the Supreme Court’s directives and the National Human Rights Commission’s guidelines on arrest, encounter killings, and custodial violence and death.
“Amnesty International is greatly concerned by the general absence of accountability and a broader culture of impunity prevailing in India in relation to extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations. We hope that the Indian authorities will implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations without delay and continue engaging with U.N. Special Procedures,” Mr. Ananthapadmanabhan said.
- 9 cops accompanying Khalid Mujahid suspended (May 21, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Discrepancy in post-mortem report, actual injuries, alleges Khalid’s lawyer (May 21, 2013, Indian Express)
- Akhilesh unsuccessfully tries to buy leader of Khalid Mujahid movement (May 25, 2013, Muslim Mirror)
- On 6th day of dharna Rihai Manch lambasts clerics for ‘brokering’ deal with UP CM (May 27, 2013, Twocircles.net)
Hindutwadi lawyers here attacked and seriously injured a lawyer defending Khalid Mujahid who was murdered in police custody on 19 May while being transported from Faizabad to Lucknow. A large march was organised yesterday, Monday, at Faizabad from the Eidgah to the Commissioner’s office to protest against the custodial murder of Khalid Mujahid, a terror-accused who, alongwith the co-accused Tariq Qasmi, was found innocent by the Nimesh Commission.
Yesterday’s march of around 700 people included some lawyers who had been defending the terror-accused despite opposition by Hindutwadi lawyers who had in the past attacked such lawyers in the court premises. In yesterday’s march slogans were raised against such lawyers and the Faizabad bar association which has been opposing lawyers defending persons accused in terror cases.
This morning the Faizabad bar association passed a resolution condemning lawyers defending the terror-accused. Thereafter, the Hindutwadi lawyers attacked and seriously injured advocate Mohammad Saleem who was assisting Advocate Jamal Ahmad, the lawyer for Khalid Mujahid. The attack took place around noon today in the courts premises. Police admitted Advocate Mohammad Saleem in the Faizabad district hospital in serious condition.
The photograph shows the seriousness of the attack by the Hindutwadi lawyers. The Hindutwadi lawyers were also on the look out for a number of advocates who defend the terror-accused but could find only Advocate Mohammad Saleem. Meanwhile, the authorities have converted the whole city of Faizabad into a cantonment area with security forces fanning all over the city. On the other hand, the Lucknow-based Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism popularly known as “RIHAI MANCH”, said today in a statement that the attack on Advocates in Faizabad is conspiracy hatched by SP and communal forces. …
- Advocate defending UP blast accused beaten up by 50 other lawyers (May 22, 2013, IBN)
- Khalid Mujahid’s lawyer assaulted by colleagues; removed from Bar assn. (May 22, 2013, The Hindu)
- Khalid’s lawyer’s office ransacked after protest march (May 22, 2013, Indian Express)
- Ayodhya priest condemns attack on Mujahid lawyer (May 21, 2013, Muslim Mirror)
The CBI has suspiciously gone soft on the cops accused in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, with an eye on information which may implicate their political bosses – former minister of state for home Amit Shah and chief minister Narendra Modi. Sources said both Modi and Shah may be summoned for questioning by the agency shortly. The CBI did not file chargesheet within 90 days of arrest, thereby opening doors for jailed IPS officer G L Singhal to get default bail. The same relaxation may be extended to his subordinate cops too in the near future. This has raised eyebrows, particularly because five IPS officers, including DIG D G Vanzara, have been incarcerated for six years now in other encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
The CBI may file chargesheet in this case only in the first week of June, thereby allowing four other accused cops – Tarun Barot, J G Parmar, Bharat Patel and Anaju Chaudhary – to get default bail. All of them were arrested in the last week of February. The delay in filing the chargesheet is suspected to be a trade-off for inside information on who actually ordered the killings of Ishrat and three of her aides who were dubbed as Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists. If CBI is letting the cops walk free, it is suspected that it has been assured of cooperation by Singhal and his team in investigations.
Sources revealed that the deal was struck in March during the visit of CBI’s joint director V V Lakshmi Narayana to Sabarmati Central Jail to meet these cops. Singhal reportedly made it clear that he would not turn an approver in this case, as it would spell doom for his subordinates who have firmly stood by him. Instead, in exchange of freedom, he would lead the CBI probe in the right direction.
The rift between the accused cops and the state government appeared first in May 2011, when the suspects moved the Supreme Court demanding a CBI probe in the case. This happened when the government was out in full force to resist demand for an independent investigation.
Another jolt came for the state government when Singhal tendered his resignation from the IPS soon after his arrest. Instead of falling back on support from establishment, the accused maintained a distance from the government. They hired independent lawyers and, unlike the accused cops in Sohrabuddin case, they did not demand special facilities in and out of jail.
- Gujarat: IPS PP Pandey declared fugitive in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case (May 26, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- Ishrat case: CBI interrogates chief public prosecutor (May 28, 2013, Times of India)
- Police agencies join hunt for PP Pandey (May 22, 2013, DNA India)
- Ishrat encounter: Two more police officers apply for default bail (May 26, 2013, Indian Express)
Bijapur encounter: Those killed may have been innocent villagers not Naxals; forces may apologise (May 21, 2013, IBN)
Over 48 hours since the Bijapur encounter in Chhatisgarh, government sources now concedes that those killed could have been innocent villagers. One CRPF Cobra jawan and seven villagers, including three children, were killed in the encounter at Ehadsameta village of Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh late Friday night.
CRPF and state police involved in the operation had initially claimed that the encounter was genuine but now sources in the Home Ministry suggest that the villagers might have been caught in the cross fire and killed by mistake. Meanwhile, villagers claim they had gathered for the seed festival when CRPF indiscriminately fired at them.
CRPF on its part argues that if it was a fake encounter their jawan would not have died and that it’s possible that Naxals fired at the forces and escaped in the dark while villagers were mistaken to be ultras. While Raman Singh government has announced a judicial enquiry and a compensation of 8 lakh to the families of those killed, central government sources suggest forces might apologise to the families for the mistake.
- 48hrs after Bijapur encounter, cops realise they killed innocent villagers not Naxals (May 22, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- Chhattisgarh: Cong seeks CBI probe into ‘fake’ encounter in Bijapur (May 22, 2013, IBN)
- HC denies bail to police officers in Dara encounter case (May 22, 2013, Times of India)
- Sohrabuddin Sheikh case: CBI should interrogate Vasundhara Raje, says Meena (May 21, 2013, Indian Express)
Although the police denied members of the Muslim Reservation Federation permission to hold a morcha at Azad Maidan to demand reservation, activists and some senior federation members said they will march to Azad Maidan on May 27, as planned. Around 2,000 members of the federation left Malegaon for Mumbai on May 17 on foot. Their application for permission was rejected by the CP’s office on May 23. ACP Q Khalid (east region) told organizers they could hold the morcha at Somaiya Ground instead. It is believed that the decision has been taken in light of the violence at Azad Maidan on August 11, 2012.
A section of the rally, organized by Muslim groups to protest killings in Assam and Myanmar, had turned violent. Two people died and several, including many police personnel, were injured in the violence. “That incident cannot be an alibi for refusing permission to another Muslim group to hold a peaceful rally at Azad Maidan,” said a defiant Advocate Neyaz Lodhi, a leader of the Muslim Reservation Federation. Although The police have denied permission to hold morcha at Azad Maidan to the members of Muslim Reservation Federation, the activists are adamant on holding the morcha to press for the demand of Muslim reservation on May 27.
Around 2000 members of Muslim Reservation Federation left Malegaon on May 17 for 300 km “long march” to Mumbai on foot. They are scheduled to enter the city on May 27 and had applied to the commissioner of police for permission to hold a morcha at Azad Maidan. However, the CP’s office, through its letter on May 23, informed the morcha organizers that the permission had been denied. Since the rally is expected to enter the city through Mulund check naka on the city’s east side, Additional Commissioner of Police (east region) Quaisar Khalid called leaders of the Federation to his office on Friday and told them that they could apply for permission to hold morcha at Somaiya Ground instead. The Federation applied and permission was granted.
Yet some senior members of the Federation said on Saturday that they would continue with their original plan to march to Azad Maidan and hold a morcha there on May 27. “Why can’t we hold morcha or dharna at Azad Maidan? The cops allowed the Maratha community to hold a massive rally at the same venue on May 4, but the Muslims have been refused permission. We want to know why?,” asked senior Malegaon-based cleric Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari.
Though the cops have not cited any reason for refusing permission to hold morcha at Azad Maidan, it is believed that the decision has been taken in the light of August 11, 2012 rally at the same venue. A section of the rally, organized by Muslim groups to protest killings in Assam and Myanmar, had turned violent. Two people died and several, including many police personnel, were injured in the violence. “That incident cannot be an alibi for refusing permission to another Muslim group to hold a peaceful rally at Azad Maidan,” said a defiant Advocate Neyaz Lodhi, a leader of the Muslim Reservation Federation.
- CIC orders probe into withholding of info on minorities fund (May 27, 2013, DNA India)
- Time to get minorities panel back on track (May 26, 2013, Times of India)
- Govt postpones mandatory requirement of AADHAR card for minority scholarship (May 27, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Helpline for minorities to be launched soon (May 26, 2013, Times of India)
Maoists kill Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma among other Congress leaders (May 26, 2013, Times of India)
In the most lethal attack so far in Chhattisgarh, Maoists on Saturday hit a Congress party convoy in Bastar, killing top party leader Mahendra Karma, the man who started the anti-Naxal campaign called Salwa Judum, as police counted 17 dead, many among them well-known state Congress leaders, and several injured. Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nandkumar Patel’s body recovered from Darbha Ghat. Nandkumar’s son body also found near site of ambush. Former Union minister and ex-Madhya Pradesh CM Vidya Charan Shukla was seriously injured with three bullet wounds. TV images showed Shukla on the ground, his face blood-splattered and huge blotches of blood on his abdomen. He was first taken to a hospital in Jagdalpur and later flown to Raipur where doctors described his condition as “very critical”. Local leaders said party vice-president Rahul Gandhi was expected to reach Raipur late Saturday night before Shukla is shifted to Delhi by an air ambulance.
State Congress President chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh went missing from the spot after the attack and were suspected to have been abducted by the Maoists, sources said. They were travelling with Sukma Congress legislator Kawasai Lakma, who was injured in the attack. Nand Kumar and Dinesh jumped out of the car and were not seen thereafter. The group of Congress leaders and party workers were ambushed at Darba Ghati valley around 5.30pm as they were driving out of the rebel stronghold of Sukma in Bastar district towards Jagdalpur after attending a rally as part of Parivartan Yatra to kick off party’s campaign for the assembly polls. Police said that some cars leading the convoy hit land mines and then the entire convoy came under a hail of gunfire as more than 150 combatants ringed them.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviewed the situation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders. The PM called up chief minister Raman Singh to offer para-military reinforcements. The CM had returned to Raipur, cancelling his Vikas Yatra, to hold an emergency meeting of the state cabinet. Karmaji is no more. We don’t have any more details”, a close relative told TOI over telephone while police officers and government officials tried to get details on learning about the massacre. Sources said Karma was dragged out of his vehicle along with his PSO and shot dead. A local television correspondent Naresh Mishra, who was at the remote ambush spot, said he saw bullet ridden bodies of Karma, former Congress legislator Uday Mudaliyar and more than 10 other bodies. It took security reinforcements several hours to reach the spot as they had to walk for fear that land mines had been planted on the road leading to the area. It standard procedure for Maoists to plant mines in and around such spot of attacks to target security forces rushing for rescue and relief operations. Former MLA and prominent tribal leader Phulo Devi Netam werer among the wounded.
The attack on opposition Congress leaders came a day before the bandh called by the Maoists to protest against the May 17 killings of eight tribals, including three children, by the security forces during an anti-Naxalite operation. Mahendra Karma, who had spearheaded the controversial anti-Naxalite movement Salwa Judum since 2005, was on Maoist hit-list and survived several attempts on his life. Few months ago, Karma escaped unhurt when Maoists triggered a powerful landmine blast targeting his vehicle. Meanwhile, opposition Congress blamed the state government for the incident alleging that it did not provide adequate security to the ‘Parivartan Yatra’, despite having specific information that the Maoists could target mainstream political parties and its leaders’ political campaigns ahead of the next assembly elections.
Former CM Ajit Jogi called for a statewide bandh after meeting the governor along with party leaders. Central leadership of Congress desisted from pointing fingers, but there were indications that the restraint may not hold. Emerging from meeting with the PM, Sonia said that CM Raman Singh who had promised to get back to the PM was yet to do so. Party general secretary in -charge of the state, B K Hariprasad, said that the Congress leaders were not provided ” enough security”. “Police was well aware about a possible Maoist threat to both Vikas Yatra by chief minister Raman Singh and Parivartan Yatra by the Congress leaders. Yet it did not provide adequate security to the opposition leaders,” senior Congress leader and former minister Satyanarayan Sharma said.
- Chhattisgarh attack: Maoists danced on Karma’s body after killing him, say survivors (May 25, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- ‘Where land reforms have taken place, there are no Maoists’ (May 27, 2013, Rediff)
- May 25 Chhattisgarh attack was a revenge for ‘atrocities done by Salwa Judum’: Naxals (May 28, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- NIA probes Naxal massacre in Jagdalpur, role of Katakam Sudarshan (May 28, 2013, IBN)
The alleged sex CD of a monk from the Swaminarayan Gurukul Trust shook the Sawminarayan sect in the state on Sunday even as the Gandhinagar police arrested three persons who had allegedly caught one of the sect’s monks in compromising positions with women on camera. The Swaminarayan Gurukul ashram of Kalol lodged a complaint with the Kalol city police on Saturday night, alleging that a group of men from Mehsana and Gandhinagar were “blackmailing” them to pay Rs 50 lakh to destroy the sex tapes.
Based on the complaint of the chief of the Kalol Swaminarayan Gurukul, the Kalol city police arranged a trap late on Saturday night to arrest the accused. The police arrested three persons who have been identified as Bhavesh Patel, Kamlesh Patel, Govind Chaudhary of Mansa taluka of Gandhinagar District. Dhruv Patel, a resident of Ahmedabad, fled from the spot.
The Gandhinagar police said the main accused of the case had been identified as Chandrakant Shah, alleged to be the pimp behind the sex racket . Investigating Officer, Inspector B N Dave of Kalol police, said, “One of the monks of the ashram has been caught in the ‘act’ in this CD that the accused produced before us. The monk is seen having sex with women. The accused, who had the sex tape, were asking for extortion money. However, we are yet to verify this.”
The Gandhinagar police said that Shah, who belongs to Unjha in Mehsana, is a pimp who provides girls to run sex rackets in the state. The police said Shah supplied women to the ashram and later “trapped” them to extort money. Jayendrasingh Jadeja, SP (in-charge) of Gandhinagar, said, “The trust claims they were being blackmailed since last one month. We have recovered the CD that would be forensically examined to get more evidences about the sex racket.”
According to police, the sex tape was shot inside the Gurukul’s residential rooms for monks. One of the monk was found with more than one women, allegedly provided by Shah, in his room. The police seized a laptop and a pen drive from the accused, along with the CD that contains the sex tape and handed them over to the FSL in Gandhinagar for a detailed report. The police have registered a case of extortion against the accused. The hunt for the absconding accused is on.
- Girls used to frequent ashram: Self-styled godman Mahavir’s wife committed suicide two decades ago (May 16, 2013, The Tribune)
- Rohtak: Arya Samaj members boycott ashram followers (May 27, 2013, Indian Express)
- Women using rape laws for vengeance, Delhi high court says (May 26, 2013, Times of India)
- Sonepat rape: One gets 10-yr RI, 3 walk free (May 25, 2013, Indian Express)
DSP gives clean chit to dalit atrocity accused, inspector lodges protest (May 28, 2013, Times of India)
In what appears to be a classic case of brazen misuse of power, a DSP-rank officer of Bihar police supervised a case pertaining to atrocity on a dalit and gave clean chit to one of the named accused even as he was not authorized by his superior to supervise the case. The police inspector reportedly lodged his protest before the SP alleging misuse of power by his superior. Also, a police personnel of ASI-rank put his signature on behalf of Rohtas SP Vikas Verman. The SP, when contacted, said he would look into the matter and final order in the case would be passed by him.
Sources said that on the complaint of a dalit, Dharmendra Dom, of Semaria Chhalaka under Karahgar police station of the district, a named FIR was lodged against two persons, Paras Chaudhary andRamesh Chaudhary, for torching his hut and thrashing him on April 27. The case was put in category of non-special report by Rohtas SP. The very next day, the police inspector of Muffasil circle, G Pandey, supervised the case on the spot and found the allegation against the two named accused true.
The inspector also issued show cause notice on the SHO for his failure to add Dalit Atrocity Act in the case. The copies of the supervision report were sent to officials concerned right from SHO to Rohtas SP who received the same on May 5. In the meanwhile, Sasaram DSP Ashish Anand, without any instruction from the higher-ups on May 11, supervised the case and gave clean chit to one of the accused, Paras Chaudhary. The supervision report of the DSP claimed that the case was supervised in the presence of the Karahgar SHO. But the station diary of the police station revealed that the SHO was not present in the district on the supervision date.
In a bid to cover up the misuse of chair, there was manipulation in the case record. The record of the DSP office revealed that the supervision report of the inspector was received on May 15, and the inspector’s office, which is adjacent to the DSP office, said the supervision report was delivered on May 5. Sasaram DSP was in such a hurry to give clean chit to the named accused that he, instead of asking the IO to inquire into the truthfulness of the statement of the witness, gave clean chit to one of the accused directly.
The instance of misuse of power does not end here. The reader of the Rohtas SP, an ASI-rank officer, put his signature on behalf of the SP and sent the same to officials concerned and Patna High Court. Also, there is manipulation in the hard copy of the supervision report of the SP.
- NHRC issues notice to Haryana over assault of Dalit boy (May 22, 2013, IBN)
- Caste stigma: Dalit groom rides on horseback under police protection (May 26, 2013, Indian Express)
- Dalit headmistress alleges caste discrimination (May 27, 2013, The Hindu)
- ‘3,125 dalit students not given scholarships’ (May 24, 2013, Indian Express)
Opinions and Editorials
Killing of Khalid Mujahid and creeping police state – By Aijaz Zaka Syed (May 25, 2013, Twocircles.net)
India’s greatest strength is its democracy. If the country has been on the march of progress in the face of a million mutinies and boasts stability and functioning institutions, it is chiefly because of its vibrant democracy. If the idea of India has worked defying its mindboggling religious, linguistic and cultural diversity, you know where the credit belongs. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that while Pakistan lost its architects soon after its birth and paid a heavy price for it, India has had the opportunity to be shaped in its formative years by the first line of leadership that had steered the freedom struggle. Whatever the explanation, India’s worst detractors would concede that it is thanks to the blessings of a democratic polity that the nation’s ship sailed through savage seas and storms to safety.
And now this democracy is under attack from a creeping police state and the same fascist mindset that proved the undoing of Europe in the last century. Increasingly, you see events and trends that challenge the idea of a democratic and plural India. Something has terribly gone wrong somewhere. Things fall apart and the centre cannot hold, in the words of Yeats. Every passing day adds to questions marks hanging over the state of the nation and future of its vulnerable groups and communities. The death of Khalid Mujahid this past week in police custody may look like just another tragedy that routinely happen in the length and breadth of the great republic. It was anything but routine. The coldblooded fashion in which Mujahid was eliminated by the Uttar Pradesh police after six years in detention has an already insecure community totally shaken.
Mujahid wasn’t a typical terror suspect. Both Mujahid and Tariq Qasimi, who was picked up with him as executors of the 2007 serial blasts in UP, were religious scholars and went by the honorific of Maulana. The case against the two had fallen apart after the Justice Nimesh commission gave them a clean chit and confirmed the complicity of top cops in framing the duo who had graduated from Darul Uloom Deoband, Asia’s most respected Islamic university. Police claim that Mujahid, in his early 30s and good health, ‘died’ following a heart attack—they first blamed it on the heat! – on the way back from Faizabad court to Lucknow jail, a distance of just 79 miles. His family and lawyer, who was brutally attacked a day later in the court compound by fellow lawyers for defending ‘the terrorists’, say his neck was broken and he was bleeding from his nose and ear. There were bruises all over his face and body. On the way back from the court, the deceased had also managed to change from his traditional white attire into a T-shirt and shorts!
Of course, Mujahid isn’t the first young Muslim to die in detention and this reign of state terror is unlikely to end with his death. Last year, another innocent man, Qateel Siddiqui, was killed in Pune’s high security prison a day before he was to be moved to Delhi. From Ishrat Jahan to Maulana Mujahid, there’s a long list of the usual suspects ending up dead in detention or in staged police encounters. There have been others like the Mumbai lawyer Shahid Azmi, another defender of the indefensible, whose killing remains a permanent mystery. If Ishrat, her three friends, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife were killed in Modi’s Vibrant Gujarat, Mujahid met his fate on the watch of the secular Samajwadi government. It is the same government that recently bent over backwards to bail out Varun Gandhi in the infamous hate speech case.
As many as 88 witnesses, including journalists and officials, were silenced to kill the case against Nehru’s great-grandson, who vowed to chop off the Katuwas’ (a derogatory word for Muslims) hands and heads. He has been made general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which hopes to replace the Congress in power in next year’s elections. This killing has reinforced the Muslims’ fears that they are facing a calibrated terror campaign at the hands of police and security-intelligence establishment. Like the military industrial complex in the United States, it has become so powerful that it is its own master and calls the shots no matter who is in power. …
- Khalid Mujahid: War on terror continues to terrorize – By Saeed Naqvi (May 24, 2013, Business Standard)
- A callous justice – Editorial (May 21, 2013, Indian Express)
- A difficult conundrum – Editorial (May 22, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- Fast-track terror cases – Editorial (May 20, 2013, The Hindu)
The mysterious death of Khalid Mujahid on Saturday on his way to jail from the court in police security has once again brought to light the vulnerability of hundreds of Muslim youths arrested across country on dubious charges of terrorism and declaring war against the nation. Although there is no known data on those behind bars specifically on terror charges, hundreds of youths are believed to be as under-trails in connection with alleged terror attacks or terror plots. Muslims anyways have disproportionately high representation in jails, according to a recently released report of ‘Prisons Statistics – 2011′ by the National Crime Bureau. 56.7% of convicts belong to Muslim community were lodged in four states alone namely Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In Gujarat, for example, Muslims comprise of 10% of population, but 22% of jail inmates are Muslims. In West Bengal Muslim population is 25%, but Muslim prisoners under trials and convicts in jail are 46%, while in Uttar Pradesh it 21%.
Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA), a group of teachers, from Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU and DU, who came together in the wake of the Batla House encounter to fight for human rights and ‘illegal’ detention last year released a report “Framed, Damned, Acquitted : Dossiers of a ‘Very’ Special Cell,” in which it had documented 16 cases where ‘innocent’ Muslim youths were “arrested, in main by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, were accused of being operatives and agents of various terrorist organizations (Al Badr, HUJI , Lashkar), and charged with the most heinous of crimes: sedition; war against the state; criminal conspiracy, planning and causing bomb blasts; training of terrorists; collection of arms, ammunition and explosives and the transfer of funds for terrorist activities.” At the end, however, they were acquitted by court. Sometimes the duration of detention, as in the case of Md Amir, has been as long as 14 years. Khalid Mujahid’s custodial death has once again reminded the grim reality of what a leading national daily wrote in its editorial, “Khalid Mujahid’s death raises vital questions about justice delivery in terror cases.”
Those accused of terror cases are prone to abuses, torture, attacks from jail inmates as well as security agencies. Several accused are out on bail, or those acquitted have complained how during interrogations they were asked questions about their faith, why do you read Quran, why do you have sympathy for Pakistan, or their patriotism is questioned. Often confessional statements are extracted by using forms of third degree torture that includes canning, hanging upside down, pouring petrol on genitals, extracting nails, etc making them psychologically and/or physically crippled for life. They are not safe even after they are sent to judicial custody, as in the case of Khalid. There were 1,332 deaths in prison in 2011 alone, of which 88 were “unnatural” deaths, according to the latest data available from the National Crime Bureau. In July, last year 27 year old Qateel Siddiqi, arrested in November 2011 by the Special Cell for his alleged links with Indian Mujahedeen, was killed in Yerwada Central jail in Pune by fellow inmates.
Investigative journalist Ashish Khetan has now revealed on his newly found website gulail.com, “Secret files prove what Muslims have suspected all along: the State is knowingly prosecuting the innocent on terror charges.” It has unearthed “internal documents from more than half a dozen anti-terror agencies that show that the State has been knowingly prosecuting innocent Muslims for terror cases and keeping the evidence of their innocence from the courts.” Khetan adds, “In the Pune German Bakery Case the accused Himayat Baig has even been sentenced to death. And another accused, Qatil Siddiqui, whose testimony could have proved his innocence was murdered in a high security prison. In the 2006 Malegaon Blasts case, even after the arrestof a set of Hindutava radicals, the NIA has still not exonerated the original set of innocent Muslims nor has it taken any action against those police officers who had planted explosives in the premises of the innocent accused. The Maharashtra Government has persisted with prosecuting thirteen innocent Muslims for the 2006 train blasts even after evidence surfaced of their innocence.”
The biggest faux pas for security agencies were arrests in connection with terror attacks on Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Malegaon blast and Samjhauta Express blast, where several Muslim youths were arrested in connection, but later it was found that those blasts were handiwork of extremist Hindutva outfits. Senior police officials, however, claim that if someone is acquitted by court it is not that the concerned person was innocent, but that there were not enough evidences to prove him guilty in court. In case of Khalid, they have gone a step further. Vikram Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, under whose direction Khalid was arrested and he is one of the 42 police officials whose name finds in an FIR filed by his uncle Zahir Alam Falahi, is adamant. He told media that he is proud of the fact that under his direction Khalid was arrested, against whom there are evidences of involvement in acts of terror. Security agency is questioning government’s motive and arguing that it would be difficult for them to work in this kind of environment. In fact, after the 2010 Batla House encounter, when civil rights groups demanded probe into the matter, the government turned it down saying the moral of the police would be affected. To be fair, it’s not just Muslims who appear to be at the receiving end of the biased system, 65% of total jail inmates are Dalits, tirbals or other backward community members according to the National Crime Bureau. …
- The other suspects, Once charged, forever Changed – By Sukanya Shantha, Zeeshan Shaikh, Smita Nair (May 23, 2013, Indian Express)
- Justice denied, now waiting for judgment: Sheikh Hashim Ali’s 13 years’ incarceration – By By Mohd. Ismail Khan (May 25, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Stereotyping of community for terror should stop – By Mir Ayoob Ali Khan (May 19, 2013, Times of India)
- Two terror attacks, four sets of accused, two names in common – By Muzamil Jaleel (May 13, 2013, Indian Express)
“Let 99 Muslims be hanged to death rather than a Hindu be accused of terrorism” – By Mustafa Khan (May 22, 2013, Milli Gazette)
There is logic of sorts among the Hindutva votaries for their goal of the Hindu Nation. The accused in 2008 attack in Malegaon had their conspiracy meeting recorded by Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Dwedi aka Dyanand Pandey on their laptops. Hemant Karkare and his team collected evidence from these laptops to prove their complicity in many terror crimes. In one such audio tape they discuss how to proceed with their goal. Their ultimate aim is the Hindu Rashtra, “to achieve that [there are] two options. Option 1: we wait till we achieve — we don’t do anything; Second: till we achieve the Government in Exile… we work within the system.” Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhya then elaborated that they have the advantage of the BJP as it has the hidden agenda of the same, Hindu Rashtra, camouflaged as “cultural nationalism.” At this juncture in the meeting of the Abhinav Bharat, Lt Col Prasad intervenes to say that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has given the best principles to achieve the same. “No Hindu can be wrong. A Hindu is Hindu. If he is a Hindu, he cannot be wrong ever.” They hearken back to Savarkar and Golwalkar that a fetus in the womb of a Hindu woman is predestined to be a Hindu and after birth grows into a Hindu.
Given this as base of Hindutva strategy, Hindus cannot be terrorists but Muslims can. So an act of terror can be performed only by non-Hindus like Muslims. Even if there is involvement in terror, it is reaction of the Hindu but not a terror action because they are not terrorists. This strategy works at the sectarian level but at the political level there is another strategy. The RSS is a cultural organization which can decide political matters because politics is also an aspect of culture according to their sophistry. Therefore, if a member of RSS commits an act of terror he cannot be a member but he is a sympathizer who becomes a former pracharak. The archetypal figure was Nathuram Godse. He never left RSS, asserted his brother and co-accused Gopal Godse in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, but LK Advani defended RSS saying that Godse had left the organization. That archetypal pattern has been the standard ploy in all subsequent terror acts. On April 5, 2013 Dileep Kumar riding his motor bike was killed and his friend injured at Maruthayil near Mattannur in Kannur distirct of Kerala. He was identified as “AV Dileep Kumar,” 27, son of Ambiloth Sankaran, a worker of RSS. Such powerful was the explosion at the wee hour of 5.30 am that it not only destroyed the vehicle but badly damaged three buildings within a radius of 50 metres. The bomb squad, Kannur Range IG Jose George and Kannur SP Rahul Nair visited the spot. A member of the bomb squad said Dileep was carrying 3 kg explosives. The leader of the RSS Valsan Thillenkeri remarked that Dileep was a sympathizer and not a member. The point to ponder in the reports is that it begins calling Dileep as RSS worker and ends with the claim that he was member of a family of traditional firecracker-makers and he was returning from a temple after prayer.
Thus no sooner does an act of terror take place than the police and the media whittle down the gravity of the crime because the person involved is a Hindu. This has happened in the Nanded blasts of 6 April, 2006 and again in Nanded February 2007. First, they said it was an accident, and then they said it was firecrackers in the first incident and in the second a short circuit in a biscuit factory. In both the incidents, Bajrang Dal, RSS and Shiv Sena activists were killed because the bombs blew up accidentally. In the case of Dwender Gupta, he not only was a pracharak who got the bomb assembled in the RSS office in Mithijam, Jamtara (Jharkhand), but he also lived in the same office. When caught, the RSS said he was no more a pracharak. On the other hand, even if an innocent Muslim is killed he is glossed over as a “terrorist” or a member of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). On 26 March, 2012 the police in Aurangabad killed Azhar Quershi as he was a “terrorist” and a member of SIMI in the eyes of ATS (Inquilab, 30 March, 2012). They identified him as Khalil Qureshi, a member of a “dreaded terrorist” outfit called “Mal-e-Ghanimat” of the Fazal group of now-defunct SIMI at Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. Their professed aim was to loot “kafirs.” The police said that the group justified their acts as sanctioned in Islam. This flies in the face of reason because Islam does not have any such injunction. There has never been any such group and if their aim was only looting, they must be bandits or dacoits. Madhya Pradesh abounds in these characters. A bandit is a bandit. Phoolan Devi was just Phoolan Devi.
A bandit would not enter a house and first check whether the inmates read Quran or Gita. The ATS seems to be doing that. It did so well in Malegaon 2006. But in Aurangabad, they chose to go through some more macabre farce. First, the ATS called Azhar Qureshi as Khalil Qureshi. But the MP police denied that the killed person was Khalil Qureshi whom they wanted for terrorist acts. Next the ATS took a somersault and began to say that the dead was Khalik Khilji. Again the MP police gave away the lie when it published the photo of Khalil Khilji which was quite different from Azhar Qureshi’s. Now the ATS had a third act in the dark comedy. One of the two injured in the encounter was Shakeel Ahmad who was wanted for the murder of a BJP leader in UP. The second injured person, according to ATS, was Mohammad Shakir. They said that Mohammad Shakir had an alias and it was Mohammad Shakir alias Khalil and hence he was Khalik Khilji. The father of Azhar Qureshi went to Aurangabad and saw the dead body of his son. He told mediapersons that his son was SSC pass and had done a course in computer. As Azhar was selling chocolates, biscuits and peppermints and wanted a job for his future, he travelled to Aurangabad after he saw an ad in a newspaper. His father Mohammad Wakil Qureshi says that his son had no record of any criminal behavior in any police station of MP.
In the encounter, Azhar was killed but the head of the group Abrar alias Asif alias Baba Khan was arrested. Till his arrest, there was no charge against him and then suddenly the ATS charged him for 35 offenses (Inquilab November 26, 2012). Abrar was made an accused in the 2008 Ahmadabad serial bomb blasts and Khalil Qureshi was shown as his accomplice. Therefore, the question arose: how to frame them and to which group they should be put in. The Commissioner of Police Ahmadabad PC Pande had a very automatic answer because framing is the object irrespective of the bona fides of the accused as they are invariably only “Muslims” to the Police. (This would remind you of the senior police officer in Dhule who said during the 2008 riots all the masterminds are generally Muslims. Pande smirked as he said, “You remove S and I from SIMI and it becomes IM, that’s all.” This is a very cogent and eloquent illustration of what journalist Mathiur Rehman Siddiqui calls “institutional bias” against the Muslims in the police force. …
- Stop targeting a community – Editorial (May 25, 2013, DNA India)
Is Modi responsible for the death of farmers of Gujarat? – By NA Ansari (May 22, 2013, Milli Gazette)
ANHAD’s Shabnam Hashmi and her team members from Gujarat exposed the white lies of Gujarat’s chief minister Modi who, by presenting or rather propagating the model of Gujarat’s development before the country is dreaming to become the prime minister of India. Gujarati members of her team Madan Trivedi, Tanvi Soni and Dev Desai said while speaking to media persons here on 14 April that during the regime of Narendra Modi more than 5 thousand farmers have committed suicide so far in Gujarat, the record of which has come to light through the information obtained by one Bharat Jhala under RTI. Most of the cases of suicides were because lands of farmers were grabbed and given to corporate houses. They said that the bill regarding agriculture introduced recently by the Modi government is very dangerous, seeing that this bill has virtually taken away almost all rights of farmers of Gujarat, so much so that they cannot even dig a well in their own fields, even if they want to do so whereas industrialists or those who want to set up industries enjoy full freedom to get as much water as they want. They said that they have worked among them (farmers) in Saurashtra where conditions are worse than before and they (farmers) are finding it difficult to survive. Water and electricity are lacking greatly and the condition of roads is very bad. They further said that during Modi’s regime the whole of Gujarat is in debt and at present every Gujarati is in debt four times as much as compared to earlier days.
They said that Modi is being invited to present the model of Gujarat’s progress whereas the fact is that he is misleading the people by telling lies about the state’s progress. Giving an example they said that he (Modi) claims that electricity is available in Gujarat for all the 24 hours whereas the fact is that even these days people spend their days in darkness for upto 12 hours. As regards the promotion of tourism in Gujarat, in this also his claim is false, they said, adding that whatever amount is being spent on Amitabh Bachchan (as the state’s brand ambassador), the state has not received the corresponding benefits.
Shabnam Hashmi said that it would not be wrong if it is said that in (last year’s) Gujarat elections Narendra Modi has lost because the percentage of his (or rather his party’s) votes has greatly decreased which is not being mentioned in the media and elsewhere. She said that if electronic voting machines would not have been tampered, his party (BJP) would have lost at least in 30 assembly constituencies. She said that it is being repeatedly claimed by the BJP that there were no communal riots in Gujarat during the past 10 years whereas the fact is that even today Gujarat is burning in communal ritos. She said that there have been many communal riots like Baroda Dargah riot in 2006, Surat riots in 2007, Chhota Udaipur riots in this year (2013) and many other riots on a small or large scale. Hence it is wrong to say that after 2002 there have been no communal riots in Gujarat. She said that when every thing was destroyed in a single riot (in 2002) where is the need for another riot?
She said that on ANHAD’s completion of 10 years of its life a national convention will be held on 17 and 18 April in Delhi’s Mavlankar Hall in which separate sessions will be held on the topic of ‘How to protect India against the clutches of Fascist powers’ in which many important persons will express their views. She said that there will also be a separate session in which political leaders like Congress general secretary Dig Vijay Singh, LJP’s head Ram Vilas Paswan, Mahesh Bhat and other personalities will express their views. She said that the most important session will be on the RSS and its communal and terrorist activities in which its hidden terrorist plans and activities will be exposed.
Speaking before media persons from ANHAD’s new office in Nizamuddin (earlier its office was in the garage of Planning Commission Member Mrs Sayeda Saiyyadain Hamid’s official residence but probably because of BJP’s objection it shifted its office to Nizamuddin) she said that in this convention ANHAD’s social and humanitarian activities and achievements etc will be highlighted. In this press conference ANHAD’s other members Madan Trivedi, Tanvi Soni, Dev Desai etc were also present. She said that her organisation has been working for the common people and trying to raise its voice against injustices and excesses against helpless people and its struggle against such injustices etc will continue. It may be added in this connection that ANHAD was created in 2003, almost a year after Gujarat’s anti-Muslim massacre to work for the oppressed and helpless people and to expose the perpetrators of such crimes. It also works in other fields also like strengthening democracy and secularism, communal harmony, struggle against sexual inequality, empowerment of women, protection of human rights etc. Among its founders, in addition to Shabnam Hashmi are Mrs Shubha Mudgal, Harsh Mander, Ram Punayani, Kamla Bhasin, Sayeed Akhtar Mirza etc. Her husband Safdar Hashmi, a social worker with progressive ideas was killed by some criminal elements about a decade ago while performing in a road-side drama near Delhi.
- Gujarat Growth Story: Myth and Reality – By Balchandra Mungekar (May 19, 2013, Peoples Democracy)
Violence and terror are an integral part of any exclucivist organisation professing allegiance to a particular faith. In fact, violence or fact of violence and its domineering presence pervading all spheres of social-political life is a guarantee to consolidate the ‘faithful’, discipline the dissenter and further marginalise the ‘other.’ This part of South Asia where the unfolding project of democratisation – undertaken after the exit of the colonialists – has faced many hiccups, seems to be a fertile ground for proliferation of such formations.
One is witness to the emergence/further consolidation of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist groups – trying to further bulldoze Tamil aspirations – in Sri Lanka, or the likes of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad exerting influence cutting across boundary lines or the likes of HuJi, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh – who were once synonyms of terror few years back – trying to regroup their forces in neighbouring Bangladesh. India, which never forgets to pat its back for ‘successful democratic transition’ has had its own share of violent groups engaged in furthering their own exclucivist agenda. While not much is heard of the Khalistani (Sikh nationalist) groups these days, who had created furore in eighties and nineties; activities and actions of Islamist groups get regular coverage. Hindutva supremacist groups are also found engaged in similar terror acts which are no less deadly or barbaric.
It has been more than a decade that this phenomenon of Hindutva terror – much bigger phenomenon than previously envisaged with- has raised its head again which saw many avoidable deaths. Here we witness activists, workers, Pracharaks of the ’cause’ collecting arms, storing explosives, engaging themselves in arms training and making elaborate plans to put it at crowded places to have maximum impact. As noted in a statement by human rights activists, another disturbing aspect of this phenomenon, is that “[f]or long prejudice has ruled investigations, obscuring the role of organizations and their multiple affiliates in planning and executing of attacks and bombings in the country… The agencies, showing their abject bias, instead chose to pursue the beaten track of investigating Islamic terrorist organizations such—despite clear evidence pointing in the opposite direction.”
The aim of the present write-up is neither to take a broad overview of this spectrum of fanaticisms – who are a threat to humanity itself – nor to provide a detailed summary of the phenomenon of Hindutva terror. The aim is also not to go into its genesis or its long history – their role in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi – or stockpiling of bombs in the Karachi head office of RSS (Ref. RSS in Sindh, Economic and Political Weekly, 8 July 2006) or the way they had made elaborate plans to attack minority dominated areas by turning RSS offices into storehouses of weapons in the immediate aftermath of partition (Ref. Rajeshwar Dayal, A Life of Our Times, Orient Longman, Delhi, 1990, pp 93f) – but one would like to focus oneself on its recent resurgence. After making few general comments on the various aspects of this terror turn in Hindutva politics one would like to focus one’s attention on their activities in Karnataka. As a caveat it would be opportune here to make two clarifications in the beginning itself. All sorts of terrorisms may it be by state actors or non-state actors need to be questioned, challenged and ultimately eliminated. One should see to it that law of the land is applied equally in all cases — whether s/he belongs to a ‘majority’ religion or to a ‘minority’ religion.
The investigating agencies suspect involvement of Hindutva activists in as many as 16 explosions across the country.For laypersons, it may appear that such terror attacks organised in different parts of the country is the handiwork of some disgruntled, rogue elements belonging to RSS, Sanatan Sanstha, Sri Ram Sene, little known Arya Sena or similar organisation who yearn to make India a Hindu Rashtra. Nothing can be farther from the truth. A careful look at the unfolding dynamic makes it clear that this ‘terror turn’ is a very carefully drafted strategy by the Hindutva formations which had decided to slowly to move from their prime strategy of ‘terror of riot’ to ‘terror of bomb’. They discovered that the older strategy was no longer paying rich dividends at the pan-India level, and the new strategy was more appropriate …
- The Defeat of Saffron in Karnataka – By Shivasundar (Jun 1, 2013, Economic & Political Weekly)
- Southern shock – By Ravi Sharma (May 31, 2013, Frontline)
- 2014 In Sight, Siddaramaiah Wins First Round – By Imran Khan (Jun 1, 2013, Tehelka)
Maoist Violence A Threat To Secular Democratic Forces In India – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat (May 26, 2013, Countercurrents)
The top leadership of Congress party in Chhattishgarh came under a well-coordinated attack from the Maoists in Darba Ghati in Sukma in the southern part of Bastar district. The Congress leadership had been campaigning in the state as part of their ‘Parivartan Yatra’ as Chhattishgarh goes for polls during the year end with many other states. Those who were killed are leader of opposition and a well-known Aadivasi leader Mahendra Karma, president of Chhattishgarh Congress Committee Mr Nand Kumar Patel as well as his son, some other senior leaders of the party. Former Union Minister Mr Vidya Charan Shukla suffered from four bullets and is battling for life in a hospital in Delhi while Ajit Jogi too survived as he flew from Sukma to Raipur. The leaders after finishing their rally at Sukma were going to Jagdalpur when the Maoists ambushed their caravan resulting in killing of over 29 party workers including senior leaders of Congress Party. Let me explain here that when we condemn the attack on the political workers does not mean we condone all their acts of using the state administration to intimidate people. Many of these leaders were highly unpopular because of their action but they had their huge followers too.
The audacity of this attack has rightfully shocked the nation. The enormity of the assault on the political structure was so high that the top leadership of the Congress Party had to discuss the issue in an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence and their Vice President Rahul Gandhi reached Raipur in the late night and met those injured. The Prime Minister and Congress President has just visited the state capital and expressed solidarity with their party workers. Now, there are two important aspects in the entire incident. One that those who were targeted were political people and not the paramilitary forces or the local police and hence it is an important issue of deliberation and must be discussed with candid way as why the Maoist did so and whether they want the same reaction from the security agencies to eliminate their top leadership? What Chhattishgarh and Baster in particular lacked was the politicization process in which aadivasis must be made part of the democratic structure. The state apparatus remained contemptuous towards the aadivasis and hence they went to Naxals for basic support like getting their issues resolved through the ‘Jan Adalaits’ . The government of Chhattishgarh remained in Raipur with read beacons and politicians using mining to fill their pockets and here Maoists were engaged in their propaganda of ‘state’ as people’s ‘enemy’. The fact is that Maoists have people’s support in those regions but whether this support is due to fear or love reamains to be seen. It only reflects that our governance structure is completely collapsed in Chhattishgarh and it needs special treatment. It need serious thought while violence must be handled with great caution, it is important that innocent people do not become victim of this ‘collateral damage’ as military ‘experts’ always claim.
It needs to be understood that Chhattishgarh still has high investment and mining giants are still functioning in the state in spite of the Naxals. Then we have religious gurus who have big ashrams in Chhattishgarh and no attempt have been made to respect the aadivasi identity. In fact the whole project of Hindutva is to ensure that Aadivasis remain as part of the Hindu system and there has been no efforts by the Maoists or Naxals against the oppression of aadivasis by both the religious thugs as well as economically powerful people. Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand today are dominated by outsiders. They have procured land and there is no stoppage to it. It is also a well-known fact that aadivasi areas have been without any road links, hospitals, schools and other basic facilities. Our system has not reached them and there is no participation in administration and political structure. Bastar’s issues cannot be resolved from Raipur and it is important that an independent Bastar Zone should be created with assurance of aadivasi control over mining and other natural resources. If the government had taken proper care and helped aadivasis to acquire space and not strengthened aadivasi middlemen in the region, they would have not faced this scenario. Today, there is so much of mistrust that any action of the government is taken as an attempt to intrude in aadivasi zone. It was time for sincere thinking from the government and should have sought to talk with aadivasi leadership in the region. Who are the aadivasi leaders with whom government can start a dialogue? Did the government ever call for a meeting of Aadivasi social activists, academics, leaders, panchayat leaders from different part of the country including Chhattishgarh to discuss their issues? You do not do and the result is today aadivasi leadership in all these ‘revolutionary’ Zones is in the hands of non aadivasis and if we see their track record they have systematically eliminated all those leaders who differ with them and were a challenge to them.
Why the Maoists want to stop my choice to vote to politicians of our choice. If they were true to their beliefs, we should have seen the best politicians in Telangana, Andhra, Odisha, and Chhattishgarh but some of the most corrupted politicians who are hand in glove with business and corporates, who exploit poor, who amassed huge land and other natural resources, still hail from these regions. Why in these regions most of the people remain highly apolitical and no independent Dalit aadivasi leadership is allowed to develop so that it could contest elections. So, terming anyone who differ with you, stand in front of you become a state agent. And I have a simple question that in India extra state actors are more powerful. India is run through the constitution of Manu in reality. Here we see how the right wing Hindutva brigade targets the Dalits, Aadivasis and Muslims through administration, media images and social oppression. In 2002 Gujarat massacre happened and the murderers came to power and became ruthless in isolating the minorities particularly the Muslims. They got the benefit of communalization and nationalization through the Ayodhya movement too. Today the same leaders are having free time in Chhattishgarh, Maharastra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh. It became their laboratory and we could not stop them. Big companies have come there and exploited people and we are witnessing the lethal cocktail of capitalism and brahmanism. Where are the revolutionaries? How many times they took on the right wing Hindutva nationalism which is a big threat to the country and today our corporate and business are ready to thrust those forces on us and such incidents only strengthen them.
No, they won’t speak against communalism as it is not their issue. They will call for poll boycott and what is the result of these poll boycotts. Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh are gone to non aadivasis and Hindutva forces? What have they done to put an end to this ? How can the top leadership of the Maoist speak against migrants’ leadership when their top leadership itself is exported from Andhra Pradesh? Speaking against Indian state is easier than challenging the brahmanical system which is the ‘extra state actor’ in India and root cause of our evils but then when the top echelon of the Maoist leadership hail from the brahmanical customs then what to expect from them. If over 200 districts of India are under Maoist influence then who stops them to form a political party and contest elections. If they think they have the people’s support without the intimidation of their AK 47 then why not influence the political process. But once you pick up guns don’t expect the state to respond to you with roses. And this is the most troublesome part. In that they have killed a generation of tribals who should have grown to participate. Yes, the government is responsible, our political parties are responsible and like the tribals of Bastar we all are victim of this system and need to clean it. We need to do so but what way? …
- Two Roads Parted In The Woods – By Himanshu Kumar (May 26, 2013, Tehelka)
- Inviting repression – Editorial (May 27, 2013, The Hindu)