IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 5th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Horrific lynching in India a planned uptick in Hindu supremacist violence against minorities say Indian Americans

Brutal killing over mere suspicion of eating beef intended to terrorize local Muslims and polarize communities along religious lines

October 03, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned the latest episode of anti-minority violence in India, in the form of a mob lynching of a Muslim man and his son in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, over mere suspicion of having eaten beef. Although the incident was made to appear like a spontaneous act of violence by an unruly crowd, there are strong indications that this was a planned act, intended to terrorize the Muslim population of the district and suppress dissent across India over the beef ban implemented in some states.

News reports indicate the son of a local politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) instigated the mob of over 200 people, to attack Mohammad Akhlaq and his son. They beat Akhlaq to death, while his 22 year-old son Danish was injured and is in critical condition. Another son of Mohammed Akhlaq is a serving corporal in the Indian Air Force.

Beyond the mob’s inhuman behavior, it is alarming to note that the police have sent the meat from the victim’s refrigerator to a forensic lab to be tested, out of apparent respect for the mob’s feelings. This effectively turns the victim into the accused, despite the fact that even if the family were in possession of beef, they were not in violation of the Hindi media has joined hands in labeling the victim, Mohammed Akhlaq as a cow-killer. Journalists from major media outlets attempting to visit the village in order to cover the story have been attacked by locals.

In a brazen act of state complicity with the killers, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate hasthreatened the family of the victim with “dire consequences” if they speak out. The fact that the local BJP leader Srichand Sharma announced a “mahapanchayat” (grand village gathering) to protest the arrests made in the case, is an indication of how Hindu nationalist forces are rallying behind the killers.

BJP and other Sangh-affiliated organizations have sought to make beef a deeply contentious issue across India. Although cow slaughter has traditionally been restricted, some BJP ruled states have banned the sale of all beef. India ranks 5th in the world in beef production, 7th in domestic consumption, and 1st in exporting. In 2014 India surpassed Brazil as the world’s top beef exporter. In the run-up to the last Parliamentary elections Mr. Modi had decried the “pink revolution,” lamenting India’s position as a major exporter of meat, although the industry is a source of livelihood for millions of Indians.

“Both the BJP, as well as Prime Minister Modi bear responsibility for the poison being spread through a twisted form of cultural nationalism,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It involves the PM wooing global audiences over promises of development, while giving a free hand to Hindu militias to terrorize and uproot hapless minorities,” added Mr. Malick.

The fact that this has happened in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the Samajwadi Party (SP), is not a coincidence. The Sahay Committee, constituted to investigate the anti-Muslim pogrom in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, found both SP and BJP responsible for the mass violence that claimed over a 100 lives and resulted in the displacement of over 50,000 people.

IAMC has called on the national media to brave the attacks from local Hindu supremacist goons, and to expose the larger design behind the Dadri lynchings. Civil society must resist the increasingly fascist positions adopted by the Sangh and its affiliates. IAMC has also urged world leaders and technology titans that PM Modi has been courting since he came to office, to condemn Hindu nationalist fanaticism and diminishing religious freedom in India.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. A mob in India just dragged a man from his home and beat him to death – for eating beef
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/09/30/a-mob-in-india-just-dragged-a-man-from-his-home-and-beat-him-to-death-for-eating-beef/

2. Dadri lynching: Local BJP member’s son instigated crowd to attack Mohammed Iqlakh
http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttar-pradesh/dadri-lynching-local-bjp-members-son-instigated-crowd-to-attack-mohammed-iqlakh_1805461.html

3. Dadri lynching reminds us how PM Modi bears responsibility for the poison being spread
http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-party-and-its-poison/

4. UP ‘beef lynching’: How the police have turned the victims into the accused
http://scroll.in/article/759030/by-seizing-meat-from-fridge-uttar-pradesh-police-is-blaming-murdered-man-for-mobs-crime

5. India: World’s Top Beef Exporter
http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/livestock_poultry.pdf

6. Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Dadri threaten’s victim’s family from speaking out
http://twocircles.net/2015oct03/1443833030.html

7. New York Times: A ban on beef in India is not the answer
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/18/opinion/sunday/manil-suri-a-ban-on-beef-in-india-is-not-the-answer.html

8. UP Beef Lynching: Indian Air Force mulls moving victim’s kin to its area
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49207307.cms

9. How Hindi press reported the lynching
http://scroll.in/article/758934/man-accused-of-killing-an-animal-is-dead-how-hindi-press-reported-lynching-of-a-man-near-delhi

10. “The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674030596

11. Sahay Committee finds SP, BJP hand in Muzaffernagar riots
http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/sahay-committee-finds-sp-bjp-hand-in-muzaffarnagar-riots-115092400237_1.html

12. Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act
http://vidhibharti.org/view_gos.php?c=164

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Dadri lynching: Eight of 11 named, detained are relatives of BJP worker (Oct 5, 2015, Indian Express)

Seven of the 10 youths named in the FIR into the mob attack on Mohammad Akhlaq’s house in Bisara village, leaving him dead and his son Danish seriously injured, belong to the family of district BJP worker Sanjay Rana. That includes his son Vishal. All residents of Bisara village in Gautam Budh Nagar district, the 10, who are between the ages of 18 and 24, have no criminal background. A Home Guard constable detained in connection with the lynching, Vinay, is also related to Sanjay Rana.

Rana confirmed that apart from Vishal, Saurabh, Gaurav, Sandeep, Shivam, Sachin and Vivek are from his family. The other three, Rupendra, Hari Om and Shri Om, he said, are their neighbours. Sachin and Hari Om are still absconding. Circle Officer, Noida, Anurag Singh said, the list of 10 includes three sets of brothers – Saurav and Gaurav, Vivek and Sachin, and Shri Om and Hari Om.

On Sunday, Vishal and Shivam, who were named by Akhkaq’s wife in the FIR, were remanded to judicial custody. Bisara village pradhan Sanjeev Rana said the 10, all from the “Thakur community”, lived near each other.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/dadri-lynching-eight-of-11-named-detained-are-relatives-of-bjp-worker/

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SDM of Dadri threatens Ikhlaq’s family from speaking out (Oct 6, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Even as Uttar Pradesh administration comes into criticism for its handling of the incidents that led to the lynching of Mohammad Ikhaq over rumours about beef, activists allege that Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Dadri Rajesh Kumar has threatened the family of the slain of “dire consequences” if they speak out.”

The incident occurred as a group of social activists from Jamia Nagar, New Delhi led by Asna Nousheen were at the victim’s house in Bisahra village of Dadri. Tahseen, a social activist from Jamia Nagar narrated the incident to TwoCircles.net over the phone: A man in white shirt came with few policemen, we thought him to be a political leader as the room was small we came out. Suddenly I heard the man instructing the relatives of Ikhlaq- “Don’t speak out much; if not then you will face dire consequences. Why you are not allowing BJP people to come? Let them come, meet them and talk to them.”

“When we heard this we were shocked and asked him, who are you? He didn’t reply, and then we asked a policeman escorting him. He replied-He is SDM Saab. When our team started asking-What authority you have to command them? He hurriedly moved towards his car. The policemen surrounded him and he left.” “Now the policemen started threatening us and asked-who we were? They searched us, checked our ID card and mobile phones including the pictures and if we have recorded anything.”…

http://twocircles.net/2015oct03/1443833030.html

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Protest against Dadri killing: ‘How can a barbarous act be an accident’ (Oct 4, 2015, Indian Express)

At a candlelight vigil in Rajghat on Saturday, to protest the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq over rumours of cow slaughter and beef consumption, the protesters voiced their concern about the “attempts to make India into a Hindu nation”. The protest was organised by several groups including Khudai Khidmatgar, National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), Swaraj Abhiyan and Sadhbhav Mission, among others. While some claimed that the incident had struck fear among minority communities in India, others voiced their concern over the “rising number of communal incidents”.

Justice (retired) Rajinder Sachar – head of the Sachar Commitee which had drafted a report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims – was one of the protestors. Terming the incident shameful, Sachar said, “The government simply wants to make this a Hindu nation”. Another protester, Vimal Bhai from NAPM, said, “Some people want to turn this country into a Hindu nation, which is not possible. We need to raise our voices against them, otherwise we will lose our ground”. He also criticised Union minister Mahesh Sharma for terming the lynching an “accident”. “How can such a barbarous act be an accident? Then the attack on Parliament and the 26/11 attack should also be considered accidents,” he added.

Asha Naushen, a member of Swaraj Abhiyan, said she and other activists had visited Dadri. “The sub-divisional magistrate of Dadri told the family members of the deceased to accept whatever is being given by the government and remain quiet. When we confronted him over his callousness, he refused to speak to us,” she said.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/protest-against-dadri-killing-how-can-a-barbarous-act-be-an-accident/

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Kanpur: Man lynched to death on suspicion of being Pakistani terrorist (Sep 29, 2015, DNA India)

In a shocking case of mob outrage, a 42-year-old Muslim man was killed in Kanpur on Sunday, reports The Indian Express. His fault being that people ‘identified’ him as suspected Pakistani terrorist, according to the police.

Nine individuals have been arrested so far. However police is yet to identify the person who was beaten to death. According to the report, there was a rumour about presence of Pakistani terrorist in the area. Suddenly this guy was identified and soon all hell broke loose with people mercilessly lynching him on the accusation of being a terrorist. He was attacked with stick and shard-edged weapon.

By the time police reached the place, which is in the Maharajpur locality of Kanpur, the person was already dead and the mob was trying to dispose off the body. But seeing the cops, they fled. According to the police, the person was a Muslim after physical verification.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-kanpur-man-lynched-to-death-on-suspicion-of-being-pakistani-terrorist-2129815

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Nehru’s niece Nayantara Sahgal returns Sahitya Akademi to protest Modi’s silence on ‘reign of terror’ (Oct 6, 2015, India Today)

Famous writer and first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s niece Nayantara Sahgal on Tuesday announced to return her Sahitya Akademi Award, which was awarded to her in 1986, in protest against Narendra Modi government’s “failure to protect cultural diversity.” In an article published on the website indianculturalforum.in, Sahgal, who is known for her outspoken political views, has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the recent mob lynching of a Muslim man in a village on the outskirts of Delhi.…

In all these cases, justice drags its feet. The Prime Minister remains silent about this reign of terror. We must assume he dare not alienate evil-doers who support his ideology. It is a matter of sorrow that the Sahitya Akademi remains silent. The Akademis were set up as guardians of the creative imagination, and promoters of its finest products in art and literature, music and theatre.

In protest against Kalburgi’s murder, a Hindi writer, Uday Prakash, has returned his Sahitya Akademi Award. Six Kannada writers have returned their Awards to the Kannada Sahitya Parishat. In memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty, I am returning my Sahitya Akademi Award.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nayantara-sahgal-jawaharlal-nehrus-niece-returns-her-sahitya-akademi-award/1/491704.html

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Over half killed in communal clashes till June 2015 were Muslims (Oct 5, 2015, Economic Times)

Amidst glowing statistics of violence receding in Naxal areas and the North-East, and terror activity in the hinterland at its lowest ebb, there is one figure the Home Ministry wishes not to publicise. That is communal violence levels up by 30 per cent this year.

Out of 51 persons killed in communal incidents this year till June, 31 were Muslims. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two states where the ruling dispensations openly accuse BJP leaders of fostering communal strife to polarise the electorate, are also the dark spots accounting for half the death toll. While poll-bound Bihar tops in casualties at 14, UP has the largest number of communal incidents at 68. And the Dadri lynching incident comes as a watershed moment. There were 6,438 incidents of riots in UP last year (not all categorised as communal) and over half of them, 3,359 to be precise, occurred in Western UP.…

Communal unrest being a law and order subject is the state responsibility; the Centre can at best send advisories. That was the main reason for BJP to bury UPA’s Communal Violence Bill which asked for strict punishment against rioters, independent probes by National/State Human Right Commissions and punitive action against delinquent cops and administrators. The Modi Government can however do its bit by amending existing Central laws.…

http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/31-of-51-killed-in-communal-clashes-till-june-muslims/

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BJP, VHP leaders booked for ‘stoking’ tension (Oct 5, 2015, The Hindu)

At least three leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) are on the run after being booked for allegedly stoking communal tension in Rajouri district in the last one month. State BJP leader Naiter Singh and VHP leader Karan Thakur are absconding since October 2 after a mob of 30-40 people attacked a cop from a particular community when he was tending a cow home.

“Preliminary investigation suggests that late in the evening the policeman was attacked by a strong mob of around 40 people. We have identified around 10 people. A case has been registered and law will take its own course,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Rajouri, Haseeb Mughal told The Hindu over phone.

Mr. Mughal said raids are on to arrest Singh, Thakur and others involved in the attack, which prompted a shutdown from Muslims on Saturday. BJP district general secretary Atam Prakash, and Vikrant Sharma, a government teacher working as the public relations officer of BJP leader Kuldip Raj Gupta, are absconding since September 14 after the police established their role in allegedly uploading a blasphemous picture on social networking sites like WhatsApp.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-vhp-leaders-booked-for-stoking-tension/article7723396.ece

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How a tech error by NIA led to acquittal of Goa blast accused (Oct 5, 2015, Hindustan Times)

A technical error committed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its charge sheet against six members of Sanatan Sanstha in the Goa blast case considerably weakened their trial, HT has learnt. “In order to file charges under the Explosive Substance Act of 1908, a sanction is required from the district magistrate. Rather than taking the mandatory sanction, the NIA took the sanction from Union home ministry, which the trial judge found legally inadequate,” said a Union home ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The NIA officials also confirmed that the agency took sanction only from the home ministry. Ultimately, all six accused were acquitted by a special court on December 31, 2013. The NIA’s appeal against the court’s judgement is pending before the Goa bench of Bombay high court.

Two absconders – Rudra Patil and Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni – in the Goa blast case are now prime suspects in the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare. Sameer Gaikwad, another member of Sanatan Sanstha, has been arrested in the Pansare murder case. According to NIA sources, Gaikwad was once questioned by the agency sleuths in connection with the Goa blast.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/how-a-tech-error-by-nia-led-to-acquittal-of-goa-blast-accused/story-NqOc8jPqMfLh6q1bYQOYjI.html

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More Muslims, Dalits in Prison, Says NCRB Data (Oct 3, 2015, New Indian Express)

The percentage of Muslims, Dalits and OBCs lodged in prisons in India is disproportionate to their population, if one were to go by the data of prisoners compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau and the latest Census figures.

While the NCRB report reveals that 26.4% of the prisoners in the country were Muslims, the total population of Muslims in the country is lesser at 14.2% as per the Census data. Likewise, 60.3% of the jail inmates belonged to Other Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes/Tribes.

Also, 38.1% of the detenues in prisons were OBCs and STs. ‘Detenues’ are persons detained in prison on the orders of a competent authority under relevant preventative detention laws. “While Muslims constitute around 30% of all prisoners, in the ‘pre-trial phase’, the proportion of convicted Muslim prisoners stands at only 16.4%,” said an activist.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/More-Muslims-Dalits-in-Prison-Says-NCRB-Data/2015/10/03/article3059767.ece

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90-yr-old Dalit man burnt alive for trying to enter temple in UP (Oct 2, 2015, Hindustan Times)

A 90-year-old Dalit man died after he was brutally attacked with an axe and set on fire for trying to enter a temple at Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh, police said on Friday. The victim, identified as Chimma, had gone to the Maidani Baba temple with his wife, son Durjan and brother on Wednesday evening. He was stopped from entering the temple by a man named Sanjay Tiwari.

When Chimma did not relent, Tiwari allegedly attacked him with an axe and then set him on fire. The incident took place in the presence of several other worshippers in Bilgaon, a village on the boundary between Hamirpur and Jalaun districts located 140km from Kanpur.

Police said Tiwari had been arrested after he was nabbed by other people present in the area. They said he was drunk at the time of the incident. An eyewitness said Tiwari had asked Chimma and several others not to enter the temple but they refused. He said Tiwari became furious and attacked the Dalit man with an axe. While Chimma’s wife screamed for help, Tiwari doused the elderly man with kerosene and set him afire, the eyewitness said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/dalit-man-attacked-set-on-fire-for-entering-temple-in-up/story-oZTmIGHAhck4jLi7lB4mMO.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Blood On Our Hands – By N K Bhoopesh (Oct 10, 2015, Tehelka)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always had one message for his contemporaries: India is strong. It is powerful. And soon it shall occupy seats in international forums forcing ‘them’ to lend their ears to us. However, none of these global powers know that the nation has become a cause of worry for its beef-eating citizens. Forty-five kilometres from the border of the national capital is Bishara village in Dadri area of Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. It hit the headlines when a frenzied mob attacked Mohammed Akhlaq and his family for allegedly consuming and storing beef.…

This isn’t a first. Ever since the Sangh Parivar unleashed a campaign against cow slaughter and beef eating, people have been harassed, attacked and killed.… While the police suspect the role of the little-known Hindu Right outfit, Samadhan Sena, in the killing, reports suggest that this fringe group has been raising a hue and cry over a number of pet Hindutva issues, such as Muslim shops operating in Hindu-inhabited areas and the use of loudspeakers in mosques.

When the nda government took over, several right-wing extremist groups sprung up in different parts of the country to sow the seeds of animosity between communities.… If the Prime Minister is invested in propagating the values of Indian civilisation to the world, but turns a blind eye to what is happening inside the country, then no amount of rhetoric would suffice to save the idea that binds India together.

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/10/blood-on-our-hands/

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Dadri reminds us how PM Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Oct 3, 2015, Indian Express)

If you wanted an example of how vile, nauseating and morally odious our public discourse has become, you need look no further than Tarun Vijay’s ‘Death in Dadri’ in these pages (October 2). Mohammad Akhlaq’s death is a tragedy. It exemplified the depths of the barbarity that lurks behind the veneer of our civilisation. Vijay’s words, and those of many in the party he represents, have given that barbarism full rein in the highest circles of power.

It is astonishing that this piece was meant to distance Hinduism from violence. It instead represents the way in which violence is inscribed into the self-appointed votaries of Hinduism. Vijay has accomplished the astonishing feat of even making apology look almost homicidal. The sentiments he represents are now becoming the moral common sense of our public culture. The article gives full display to the moral twistedness of what passes as BJP thinking.…

But the truth is that a lot of nasty people within the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are feeling empowered to the point of shamelessness. No one in the party is willing to signal an intolerance of the intolerant. The blame for this has to fall entirely on Modi. Those who spread this poison enjoy his patronage. This government has set a tone that is threatening, mean-spirited and inimical to freedom. Modi should have no doubt that he bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread by the likes of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and Vijay — whether through powerlessness or design is irrelevant.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-party-and-its-poison/

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Remaking India – Editorial (Oct 3, 2015, EPW)

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges global capital to come and “Make in India,” his party and its affiliates have been hard at work remaking India. Both by stealth and brazenly, the foundation stones for the ultimate aim of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the larger Sangh Parivar to create a Hindu rashtra are being put in place by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. It is also now clear, irrespective of the BJP’s statements to the contrary, that the RSS remains at the heart of the attempts to remake Indian society. How else can one explain the way senior ministers of government literally bowed before the RSS as they presented their report cards during the three-day meeting the RSS convened in New Delhi last month?

The all-male upper-caste RSS uses the levers of access, influence and, yes, control over the government to further its agenda of pushing India towards becoming a Hindu rashtra. The RSS has always focused on moulding beliefs and social relations; hence its interest in institutions of education and culture, and on changing even basic aspects of daily life—like food consumption patterns. The steady reorganisation and takeover of institutions where the government has a direct say in appointments has become so routine as to pass virtually without comment.…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that his government’s sole interest is in hard-selling an India ready to move into a modern future. Yet, the actions of his Parivar tell a very different story, one where the very foundations of an open, pluralistic society are being undermined and recast into an intolerant monoculture.

http://www.epw.in/editorials/remaking-india.html

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Rioting and right wing in communal cauldron north Karnataka – By Sudipto Mondal (Sep 30, 2015, Hindustan Times)

There was a communal riot every day in north Karnataka for six straight days to Monday. What was the police doing, and can they be trusted to put out future fires? Luckily nobody died but hundreds were injured and properties worth crores were lost in the riots: Mudhol-September 23, Chikkodi and Surpur-24th, Dharwad and Surpur-25th, Dharwad and Koujalagi-26th, Belgaum-27th and 28th. There were signs everywhere for weeks that riots might break out in the state.

The incident – where Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists stripped a Muslim man at a marketplace in Mangalore, tied him to a pole and flogged him for an hour in full public view for being friends with a Hindu girl on August 24 – was a sign. The broad daylight assassination of rationalist MM Kalburgi on August 30 in Dharwad was a sign. The open threats issued to rationalists and intellectuals after Professor Kalburgi’s killing were also signs that something big might happen.

The riot during Ganesh puja in Janata colony of Mudhol was slow cooking for weeks before it was served on the night of September 23rd. Hindus and Muslims in the area had clashed just two months earlier during the procession of Durgowwa, a local Hindu deity. There were a few close shaves during Ramadan as well.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/rioting-and-right-wing-in-communal-cauldron-north-karnataka/story-zLau0299rCRnlUHmPzpoAM.html

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The Hindu Software Code Bill – By Nissim Mannathukkaren (Oct 12, 2015, Outlook)

…Technicism is married to a virulent and aggressive cultural agenda. A Digital India is sought to be ushered in, but premised on the revival of the great Hindu civilisation. The attempt to reach the pinnacle of economic and scientific development is accompanied by the project of cultural “cleansing”. But development and culture mirror each other—in yoking culture to technicism, culture itself becomes mechanical, losing its vitality.

Recently, the Financial Times, London, argued that Narendra Modi “embraces modernity…just not at home”. It sees a dichotomy between “India’s first tech-savvy, social media-enabled prime minister” and his party’s own culturally regressive agenda at home. On the one hand, there is the globe-trotting and internationalist PM, courting world leaders and business heads to “Make in India” and visiting the Silicon Valley to “Start-Up India”, and on the other, there is his party and fundamentalist supporters who seek to enforce an unmodern code when it comes to meat-eating, romantic relationships, school pedagogy, critical thinking, foreign culture, the religious “other” and so on. But this dichotomy between development and Hindutva, widely shared by even critical commentators, is a false one.…

Thus seeing Modi’s seeking of economic and technological progress for India as “embracing modernity” is fundamentally a mistake. For modernity is not technicism or the expansion of the market, it is a larger project in which technological and economic betterment is only one aspect. More significant is the liberation of the human mind from the shackles of unreason (in which science is a mere aid), the seeking of the end of all oppressions, satiating the craving for liberty, equality and fraternity.… A Hindu India, barring some minor contradictions, is perfectly at home with the superficial modernity of a Digital India.… India’s future does not lie in a Hindu India, however digitised.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/the-hindu-software-code-bill/295495

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In Thy Name, Ambedkar – By Anand Teltumbde (Oct 3, 2015, EPW)

…It is interesting to note that on one hand the Sangh Parivar and its BJP government are waxing eloquent over Ambedkar but on the other hand they are systematically defiling his secular legacy. His vitriolic comments on Hinduism and Hindutva should make Ambedkar the greatest enemy of the Parivar. But tragically, thanks to the ideological disorientation of Dalits, it converted this threat into a golden opportunity.… Weaving a cobweb of lies around a strand of tenuous truth in Ambedkar’s life they have been propagating, with Goebbelsque zeal, a saffron Ambedkar.

This Ambedkar is shamelessly projected in favour of ghar wapsi. He is the greatest benefactor of the Hindus. Why? Because, he accepted Buddhism, which was just a sect of Hinduism! What a monumental lie. He was against Muslims. He was friends with Hedgewar and that guru of poisonous ideology, Golwalkar. He was praise for the Sangh and so on. Yes, it is true that Hedgewar, Golwalkar, Savarkar and others in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh met Ambedkar (not vice versa) but that did not amount to his being friends with them. He never praised their creed.

It is true that B S Munje, along with his friends, met Ambedkar at the Bombay airport, when he was a member of the flag committee, and handed over a saffron flag to him with a plea to make it the national flag. Does it mean that Ambedkar really supported their cause? Does that mean he proposed Sanskrit to be the national language? They are dwarfing Ambedkar to their own pigmy stature as a petty communalist. Such appropriation is a direct insult to Ambedkar. But pity, the Ambedkarites are too inebriated with memorials to notice it.

http://www.epw.in/margin-speak/thy-name-ambedkar.html

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