In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- ‘Sabko nipta do’: Senior police official heard giving orders to kill 8 SIMI operatives on audio recording
- Bhopal encounter: Bullets hit SIMI suspects in chest, abdomen, reveals post-mortem report
- 1,654 shot dead in encounters between 2004-2014
- 2 RSS Men Arrested For Murder Of Left Worker In Kerala’s Kannur
- ‘Sangh Parivar creating war hysteria’
- Sr journalist Akshaya Mukul refuses to receive Ramnath Goenka award from Modi
- Govt splurging crores on RSS-sponsored programmes
- Choose your enemy, Hindu or Muslim migrants: Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
- Bajrang Dal activist, two others held for transporting cattle
- Greater social responsibility needed to avoid caste violence: Madras HC
Opinions & Editorials
- Rakesh Sharma Demolishes The Script of M.P Police on Bhopal Encounter – By Rakesh Sharma
- Did Indian police just gun down 8 prison fugitives in cold blood? The government would prefer you didn’t ask. – By Rama Lakshmi
- Bhopal Killings Are a Reminder of India’s Failure to Act on Extrajudicial Executions – By Ravi Nair
- Economic Emergency In India And What Does That Mean For The Common People – By Binu Mathew
- “I Cannot Live With The Idea Of Modi And Me In The Same Frame”: Akshaya Mukul Boycotts The Ramnath Goenka Awards – By Sandeep Bhushan
- Why Even After 32 Years Of 1984 Sikh Massacre Perpetrators Roam Free? – By Shamsul Islam
‘Sabko nipta do’: Senior police official heard giving orders to kill 8 SIMI operatives on audio recording (Nov 3, 2016, DNA India)
In what could be the most revealing piece of information, with regards to the shootout of the eight suspected SIMI operatives, audio clips believed to be from Madhya Pradesh Police’s control room suggest that the cops had no intention of arresting the now deceased men, who had allegedly escaped Bhopal Central Jail on Monday morning.
A senior police officer can be heard on the radio ordering his subordinates engaged in action to kill all eight men, ‘Sabko nipta do.’ It is imperative to mention that the order to allegedly kill the men comes before the police control room is informed that the men have fired upon the cops in action.
The audio clip not only contradicts claims of the MP police that the alleged encounter lasted an hour, officials heard during the recording also seem to be resistant to the idea of calling ambulances to the encounter site. The argument for resisting calling ambulances is that authorities would have to spend money on the treatment of accused men in case anyone survives the shootout.…
- ‘Kill Them All’: Bhopal Encounter Audio Recording Provides a Chilling Account (Nov 3, 2016, News18.com)
- ‘Finish Them All’: Hear Chilling Audio of ‘Farzi’ Bhopal Encounter (Nov 4, 2016, The Quint)
- ‘He’s alive, kill him’: New video of SIMI encounter emerges on social media (Nov 2, 2016, Asian Age)
- Bhopal encounter: Another purported video of event shows men willing to surrender (Nov 1, 2016, Scroll.in)
1, 2016, Scroll.in) http://video.scroll.in/820442/bhopal-encounter-another-purported-video-of-event-shows-men-willing-to-surrender
Bhopal encounter: Bullets hit SIMI suspects in chest, abdomen, reveals post-mortem report (Nov 2, 2016, India Today)
Suspicions around Monday’s alleged encounter near Bhopal deepened further after the doctor who performed autopsies of the eight slain SIMI suspects revealed that the men died from gunshot wounds mostly in the abdomen and the chest.
“They died from gunshots,” said Ashok Sharma, who heads the medico-legal department of Bhopal’s Gandhi Medical College. Most of the bullets, he told India Today, were fired into the chest and the abdomen of the fugitive SIMI suspects.
Some shots pierced through them while some remained lodged inside, he explained. A bullet also hit the head of one of the men, Sharma said while the hospital authorities prepared their autopsy report.…
- ATS chief contradicts Bhopal inspector general, says SIMI men were unarmed (Nov 2, 2016, Hindustan Times)
- We were taken, told to confess, allege relatives of SIMI activist (Nov 3, 2016, Indian Express)
- Concerned after encounter: SIMI activists in Central Jail launch hunger strike (Nov 3, 2016, Free Press Journal)
- Top human rights organizations object to Madhya Pradesh govt awarding cops involved in claimed SIMI encounter (Nov 5, 2016, Counterview)
While the police killing of eight undertrials who had escaped from Bhopal Central Jail on Tuesday has been surrounded by a fog of claims, counterclaims and feints, the incident continues a long established trend of encounter killings in India.
According to figures made available in Parliament and collected by the National Human Rights Commission, in the decade between 2004-05 and 2013-14, a staggering 1,654 persons were gunned down in such encounters. That is, approximately, one death in an encounter every second day. Such data for 2014-15 and 2015-16 is not yet available, although one Lok Sabha question says that 8 persons were killed in alleged fake encounters between April and June 2014.
A parallel trend of custodial deaths – when a prisoner dies in police custody – shows a similar continuity. Data from 2013-14 till June 2016 shows that while 470 persons died in police custody, another 1,358 filed complaints of torture by police personnel.…
- PUCL Demands Judicial Enquiry Into Malkangiri Encounter Killings (Nov 1, 2016, Countercurrents)
- Encounter killings: 1 death every second day in India (Nov 3, 2016, Times of India) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/55221606.cms
- At least four tribals killed in Andhra-Odisha Maoist encounter, activists allege (Nov 6, 2016, News Minute)
- HRF demands CBI inquiry into Bejjangi encounter (Nov 6, 2016, Times of India)
Two activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS have been arrested in Kerala’s Kannur for the murder of a local CPM leader, the police said.
Mohanan K, was hacked to death on October 10 by a gang of 6 men in Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijan’s hometown, Pinarayi. His murder led to a revenge killing of a 19-year-old BJP worker Remith, for which three CPM activists have already been arrested.
The police said four country-made bombs and swords have been recovered from the arrested RSS men. One of the accused, in his early 20s, has had a police case against him previously too for political violence in Kannur. According to the police, they were directly involved in the murder of the CPM leader.…
- No link between Baig and RSS worker Rudresh’s murder: Parameshwara (Nov 6, 2016, Times of India)
- Karnataka: Cops to invoke UAPA in RSS leader murder case (Nov 7, 2016, Indian Express)
- Ban on PFI? Karnataka CM questions free hand to saffron terrorists (Nov 1, 2016, Siasat)
- Sohrabuddin brother hospitalised after assault by VHP man (Nov 3, 2016, Indian Express)
The BJP-RSS-Sangh Parivar front at the Centre is trying to create a “war hysteria” in the country with an eye on the coming assembly elections, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Addressing a rally organized to mark the end of the three-day state conference of the CITU at Fort Maidan here on Monday the CM said that the ” BJP and its government at the Centre are trying to destroy the diversity of the Indian society by creating communal and caste divide among the people.”
Earlier the meeting elected Anathalavattam Anandan and Elamaram Kareem as the president and general secretary, respectively of CITU state unit.
- Communal clashes, overnight curfew in Khambhat (Nov 2, 2016, The Hindu)
- Prohibitory orders imposed in Aligarh after communal clash in Babri Mandi (Nov 1, 2016, Times of India)
- 32 yrs of anti-Sikh riots: Experts, Sikh forum cry for justice (Nov 2, 2016, Free Press Journal)
- Akalis, AAP protest in Punjab over 1984 riots (Nov 3, 2016, Business Standard)
Sr journalist Akshaya Mukul refuses to receive Ramnath Goenka award from Modi (Nov 3, 2016, Catch News)
Senior journalist Akshaya Mukul has reportedly refused to accept the Ramnath Goenka Award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking to Catch, Mukul said, “I am extremely honoured to get the award. But I have problem in receiving the award from Modi.”
The publishers of Mukul’s book, Krishan Chopra e, publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India, received the award on his behalf. Mukul, a journalist with The Times of India, was awarded Ramnath Goenka Award for his book Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India.…
News of Mukul boycotting the award ceremony started doing rounds early in the day. Speaking to The Caravan, the senior journalist said, “I cannot live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame, smiling at the camera even as he hands over the award to me.”…
- “I Cannot Live With The Idea Of Modi And Me In The Same Frame”: Akshaya Mukul Boycotts The Ramnath Goenka Awards (Nov 2, 2016, Caravan Magazine)
- Lokayukta lawyer quits after Karnataka HC acquits former BJP minister (Nov 5, 2016, Indian Express)
- Govt of India decision to ban NDTV “untenable”, continuation of efforts to muzzle dissent, NGOs: PUCL (Nov 5, 2016, Counterview)
- Missing JNU student: After police detain Najeeb’s mother, Kejriwal accuses Modi of adopting ‘dictatorship’ (Nov 6, 2016, DNA India)
Madhya Pradesh has become a pasture for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). It is regularly holding programmes to promote its ideology at government expense in the state. Preparations are underway for ‘Lok Manthan’, to be organised from November 12-14, after Vaicharik Mahakumbh and Dharma-Dhamma convention in the recent past.
The RSS is behind Lok Manthan as ‘Pragya Pravaha’, associated with the saffron outfit is organising this programme in collaboration with culture department and Bharat Bhawan. All expenses will be borne by the government. Crores were spent on Vaicharik Mahakumbh by the government and the same is being done for Lok Manthan too.
RSS was behind the Dharma-Dhamma Sammelan, which was organised at MPCST. Ram Madhav, who entered the BJP via the RSS, was instrumental in organising this event. The first Dharma-Dhamma Sammelan was organised four years back and now it has become a regular feature. A sum of Rs 25 crore was spent on organising Vaicharik Mahakumbh in Ujjain. Several seminars were held.…
- Modi govt under RSS control is intensifying its Hindutva agenda: CPI(M) (Nov 8, 2016, First Post)
- Hindutva hotbed: RSS imprint on Khattar government runs deep in Haryana (Nov 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)
- RSS affiliate wing to brainstorm scholars on ‘Indianising’ social sciences (Nov 8, 2016, New Indian Express)
- It’s BJP vs Muslims: Amit Shah calls Muslim politicians ‘Goondas of UP’ (Nov 6, 2016, Siasat)
Choose your enemy, Hindu or Muslim migrants: Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Nov 2, 2016, Indian Express)
Stating that it is his party’s policy to differentiate between Hindu and Muslim migrants, Assam Minister and convenor of the BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday asked the people of the state to choose their enemy – “the 1-1.5 lakh people or the 55 lakh people?”
While he did not elaborate on the figures, Sarma seemed to be referring to Hindu and Muslim migrants as he was replying to queries on the opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam.
Although there are no official figures of Hindu or Muslim migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, political groups often claim that the state has about 55 lakh Bangladeshi migrants. The reference to “1-1.5 lakh” people, however, does not match any known figure.…
- ‘It is BJP’s policy to differentiate between Hindu, Muslim migrants’: Assam minister (Nov 2, 2016, India Samvad)
- Minority status to 21 crore Muslims in India wrong: Union Minister Giriraj Singh (Nov 3, 2016, Ummid.com)
- Don’t insult Hijab; Hindu girls too can observe ‘burqa’: Karnataka Education Minister (Nov 4, 2016, Siasat)
- Karnataka HC Dismisses PIL Challenging Celebration Of Tipu Sultan Jayanti (Nov 3, 2016, Scoopwhoop.com)
A Bajrang Dal activist and two of his associates were caught transporting cattle in two vehicles near Alduru in Chikkamagaluru taluk recently. The arrested includes K.N. Vijayendra, a member of the Koppa Rural Gram Panchayat, and convener of Koppa taluk unit of the Bajrang Dal.
The incident occurred on October 26 and the police have taken the three men into custody and seized vehicles. Mr. Vijayendra, Uday Kumar, a resident of Yelahanka in Bengaluru, and Pavan Kumar, a resident of Indira Nagar in Koppa, were transporting seven heads of cattle in two vehicles – five in a pick-up van and two calves in a car – from Koppa to Bengaluru.
The local people, who saw cattle being transported in an inhumane manner, stopped the vehicles and informed the Alduru police.… They have been booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964.…
- On patrol with the Hindu vigilantes who would kill to protect India’s cows (Oct 27, 2016, The Guardian)
- SC asks Centre, six states to reply to PILs on cow vigilantism in 4 weeks (Nov 7, 2016, Indian Express)
- ID cards for cow vigilantes, funding: Hindutva high on Haryana govt agenda (Nov 8, 2016, Hindustan Times)
- Veteran RSS leader Govindacharya pitches for overarching legislation to ban cow slaughter (Nov 3, 2016, Indian Express)
Greater social responsibility needed to avoid caste violence: Madras HC (Nov 3, 2016, Indian Express)
Madras High Court on Wednesday underscored the need for greater social responsibility by the citizens, more so on the part of political parties, to avoid caste violence.
The observation was made while closing a PIL by PMK seeking a judicial inquiry into the violence in Marakkanam during a party-sponsored annual meet in 2013 and subsequent events leading to “illegal arrests and misuse of powers” by invoking preventive detention laws against its leaders and workers.…
The court directed Tamil Nadu Home Secretary to circulate, if not already done, the November 20, 1999 National Human Rights Commission Guidelines on arrest, which are in turn based on the legal pronouncements of the Supreme Court and the National Police Commission recommendations.…
- Dalit youth paraded naked in Tarn Taran (Nov 3, 2016, The Tribune)
- TN temple temporarily sealed as caste hindus insist on Dalit ban (Nov 5, 2016, New Indian Express)
- When caste outdoes a medical degree: Dalit doctors face discrimination in TN (Nov 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)
- Dalits stage protest as man “attacked” by caste Hindus dies (Nov 2, 2016, The Hindu)
Opinions and Editorials
Rakesh Sharma Demolishes The Script of M.P Police on Bhopal Encounter – By Rakesh Sharma (Nov 2, 2016, Countercurrent)
…even in our highly Bollywoodized country, dear BJPfolk and MP Police, your story, script, screenplay & dialogues are really terrible! And people in real life don’t embrace disbelief readily, unless they’re your cadres or blind Bhakts. The citizens (or rather as Amartya Sen says “argumentative Indians”) will ask questions, challenge your narratives, reject your ‘spins’ and even criticize you! They enjoy many fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution, but also exercise their fundamental duties…
After several incriminating videos of the so-called ‘encounter’ (a classic Indian euphemism for cold-blooded, execution-style murder by cops), now come some damning stills! (See pic above). Surely, it is just a coincidence that the killer and the killed are wearing the same sports shoes, same make and colour. Not fishy at all, no?
But the big question is: Since jails don’t allow belts/shoes/watches, how/where did the #SIMI men find these? While walking to the jungle? In one of the shoe closets at the three usually heavily-guarded gates they crossed? Or in the shoe rack on top of the jail’s watch tower? Or did they first walk from the jail to the ATS squad office, raid their sports shoes supplies, then quietly marched to the jungle, huddled together atop a hill, waiting to be killed?…
- Bhopal fake encounter: tenets of aggressive Hindutva ideology – By Mustafa Khan (Nov 5, 2016, Milli Gazette)
- Videos have blown holes in the Bhopal encounter. Why has an independent probe not been ordered? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Nov 3, 2016, Scroll.in)
- In India, an Extrajudicial ‘Encounter’ Stirs Up a Political Storm – By Padmapriya Govindarajan (Nov 4, 2016, Milli Gazette)
- SIMI activists’ encounter: Disturbing mindset in India of justifying killing of terror suspects – By Monobina Gupta (Nov 3, 2016, First Post)
Did Indian police just gun down 8 prison fugitives in cold blood? The government would prefer you didn’t ask. – By Rama Lakshmi (Nov 1, 2016, The Washington Post)
Eight suspects awaiting trial on terrorism charges slit the throat of a guard, scaled high walls and escaped from a central Indian prison before dawn on Monday. Within hours, the police found them at a village a few miles away and killed them in a gun battle. But now the number of questions about what really happened is growing. How did they manage to scale the high walls of the prison with just bedspreads? Did they want to surrender to the police later? Were they armed? Was it cold-blooded murder?
An amateur cellphone video captured by an onlooker in the central state of Madhya Pradesh – broadcast on television channels here – showed some of the men standing on a hilltop with raised hands. One policemen is heard saying, “Wait, they are trying talk to us.” In another video, a policeman looks at the bodies of the men lying on the ground: “He is alive, kill him!” he says, and an officer shoots the inert body.
The questions have cast an uncomfortable spotlight not only on India’s dodgy record of extrajudicial killings by police but also on the government’s increasing discomfort with public scrutiny of counterterrorism operations.…
- Kangaroo Court In MP – By K.T.S. Tulsi (Nov 14, 2016, Outlook)
- SIMI Men Killed in Bhopal Encounter Could Have Gone to Any Lengths – Former Mumbai Top Cop Sivanandan with Smitha Nair (Nov 4, 2016, News18.com)
- The semantics of lawlessness – By Kishalay Bhattacharjee (Nov 8, 2016, Indian Express)
- Escape from nowhere: Undertrials under fire – By Shiv Sunny (Nov 5, 2016, The Hindu)
Bhopal Killings Are a Reminder of India’s Failure to Act on Extrajudicial Executions – By Ravi Nair (Nov 3, 2016, The Wire)
… The Supreme Court stayed a judgment of a five-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh high court in 2009, and since then the apex court has not been able to take up the matter for further hearing even when the life and liberty of citizens are at stake. The Andhra Pradesh high court had stated that FIRs must be registered against police officers if they cause a death of a person in an encounter. More importantly, the court stated that the police were not authorised to file closure reports without judicial scrutiny.…
Moreover, under Article 2(3)(a) and (b) of the ICCPR, state parties are obliged to ensure that remedies are available to the victims of human rights violations and that those remedies are effective. Extrajudicial killings clearly contravene the right to life.… The government has, however, not demonstrated a commitment towards ensuring that all such complaints are adequately investigated. More importantly, there is no independent body in India that is empowered to investigate such complaints. The NHRC has not proven to be an effective body in combating extrajudicial killings. Its ineffectiveness is further exacerbated by the government’s failure to give adequate consideration and attention to the body’s recommendations in relation to human rights violations generally, including recommendations in relation to extrajudicial killings.…
It is clear that the government has failed to establish effective mechanisms to ensure the accountability of the police, security forces and the army. Moreover, the government steadfastly refuses to change laws that have been rightly condemned as operating to protect those who commit extrajudicial killings. The government must be reminded of its obligations under the national and international law. The right to life is the most fundamental right and its continued abuse in India through the commission of extrajudicial killings must not be tolerated.
- Series Of Terror Arrests That Failed Court Scrutiny – By Ushinor Majumdar (Nov 1, 2016, Outlook)
- Strange, Fake & Controversial ‘Encounters’ That Came Before Bhopal – By Hansa Malhotra (Nov 2, 2016, The Quint)
- Staging an ‘Encounter’: Madhya Pradesh Police Style – By Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (Nov 1, 2016, Milli Gazette)
- A wake-up call for justice in India – By Editorial (Nov 2, 2016, Free Press Journal)
Economic Emergency In India And What Does That Mean For The Common People – By Binu Mathew (Nov 9, 2016, Countercurrents)
… according to the government’s logic the demonitisation is to fight corruption, black money and terrorism. Well and good. Then why the re-introduction of new 500 and even a new Rs 2000 note? Will this not be easier for black money hoarders, corrupt officials and terrorists to handle 2000 note? Then why is this surgical strike on economy?
First thing first. The all important Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections are coming up. Modi came to power promising to bring back black money stashed in overseas banks and deposit into everyone’s bank account 15 lakh rupees each. Two and half years have passed since this promise made. Not a single rupee appeared in anyone’s bank account. He had to show his electorates that he is doing something to tackle black money.…
And to the argument on corruption, here is a fact: The Indian Express reported that “twenty-nine state-owned banks wrote off a total of Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts between financial years 2013 and 2015, much more than they had done in the preceding nine years.” RBI refused to give the names of the beneficiaries. We can’t imagine that that the largesse went small loan holders. If it isn’t corruption, what else is? What about the black money converted into gold and real estate? Well, the corruption, black money, terrorism argument falls flat on its face. Then what must have been the government’s other motive? Scrutinising Modi’s speech closely will give some more clues.…
- How India’s currency ban is hurting the poor – By Soutik Biswas (Nov 12, 2016, BBC)
- Demonetisation – A Rat Being Imagined As A Dinosaur – By P Victor Vijay Kumar (Nov 10, 2016, Countercurrents)
- Economy takes a hit if faith in the paper we called currency is shaken: Arvind Mayaram with Pawan Bali (Nov 13, 2016, Asian Age)
- Banning Of The Notes Or Death Call – By Dr Vivek Kumar Srivastava (Nov 13, 2016, Countercurrents)
“I Cannot Live With The Idea Of Modi And Me In The Same Frame”: Akshaya Mukul Boycotts The Ramnath Goenka Awards – By Sandeep Bhushan (Nov 2, 2016, The Caravan)
On 2 November 2016, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi presides over the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards—instituted by the Indian Express in honour of its founder—at least one recipient is conspicuous by his absence. Akshaya Mukul, a senior journalist from the Times of India, has boycotted the ceremony.…
Mukul, a veteran who has worked as a reporter for close to 20 years, has been conferred the RNG award in the category of Books (non-fiction) for this book, which sheds light on the ideological moorings of Hindutva—ironically, the lynchpin of the prime minister’s politics. Since its release in August 2015, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India has elicited rave reviews and won literary awards such as the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award, and the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize for the best non-fiction work in English.
Mukul had no bone to pick with the RNG awards. He told me that it was an “honour” to have won one. His problem lay in receiving the award from the prime minister. “I cannot live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame, smiling at the camera even as he hands over the award to me,” Mukul said.… The management’s decision to invite Modi to the ceremony has reportedly irked some of the senior editors of the Indian Express as well. A journalist from the publication told me that these editors have raised questions over whether “journalism awards should be given by the prime minister at all, especially somebody as polarising as Modi.…
- Arnab Goswami: Cross Breed Of Economic And Political Rightwing In India – By N Srinivasa Rao (Nov 4, 2016, Countercurrents)
- Ominous curb on media freedom – Editorial (Nov 5, 2016, The Hindu)
- NDTV India ban: There’s a rise in number of cases where media is the target – By Sandeep Bhushan (Nov 4, 2016, Hindustan Times)
- NDTV India ban: Modi govt’s decision indefensible; media must look beyond TRPs – By Arihant Panagariya (Nov 6, 2016, First Post)
Why Even After 32 Years Of 1984 Sikh Massacre Perpetrators Roam Free? – By Shamsul Islam (Nov 1, 2016, Countercurrents)
32 years back in the first week of 1984, thousands of Sikhs; children, women and men, all Indian citizens, were butchered, burnt alive or killed in the most sadistic manner in different parts of the country. There is no count of properties of Sikhs destroyed and seized. This massacre of Sikhs in independent India is often justified as a reaction of common Indians who were hurt by the killing of PM Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by two of his bodyguards who happen to be Sikhs.
But as India is governed by ‘RULE OF LAW’ cases were filed against the perpetrators and as normal in cases of violence against minorities and Dalits, countless commissions of inquiry were established and more are being established. But except few culprits being tried most of the perpetrators remain unidentified and naturally roam free.
The 3 major carnages of minorities are living examples of this reality. On February 18, 1983, at Nellie (Naogaon District of Assam) thousands of Bengali speaking persons who all happened to be Muslims and included women and children were butchered on a single day. On May 22, 1987, a platoon of Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary picked up 42 Muslim youth from Hashimpura locality of Meerut (UP). All of them were shot dead and their bodies were dumped in the river. In November 1984, it was the turn of the Sikh minority.…
- A Journey to a Past that Will Not Pass – By Sidharth Bhatia (Nov 1, 2016, The Wire)
Author: Anto Akkara
Reviewed by: Cynthia Stephen
Available at: Veritas India Books, 108. Ambakad, Puzhakkal P O, Thrissur, Kerala 680 553, India. http://shop.ucanindia.in/
“Who Killed Swamy Laxmananda?” (Nov 5, 2016, Countercurrents)
The events in Kandhamal in 2008 shook the entire country. The large number of tribal and Dalit Christians in this remote district of the then Orissa (now Odisha) state were subjected to months, even years of displacement, dispossession , death for a few and ‘forced conversion’ for those who remained, by the saffron forces which termed it ‘ghar wapsi’ or homecoming.
For Anto Akkara, a veteran journalist, writing on Kandhamal it has been a passion bordering on obsession for a number of years.… But as Akkara points out, these attacks were not the same as the communal conflagrations seen earlier in India, for instance, in Nellie, Assam 1983, Delhi 1984, or Mumbai 1992 or Gujarat 2002. There, the victims were targeted for killing based on their religious or ethnic identity. Here, the objective of the mobs was not killing. It was to force the Christians on pain of death and rape ‘to give up your faith so that you can live in this Hindu country.’…
In Part 3 of the book, Akkara makes startling connections between the violence and the national-level plans of the BJP and sangh Parivar. He claims that the real reason for the violence against Christians was to force the hand of the Congress-led UPA government, with Sonia Gandhi as Congress President, to dismiss the state government as a response to the violence, and for the BJP to ride to power in Orissa in subsequent state elections on a sympathy wave.…