Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sanatan Sanstha extremist caught with explosives, terror strike foiled: ATS

The Sanatan Sanstha (SS), a right-wing extremist group, is once again in the news for wrong reasons.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has conducted a raid and arrested Vaibhav Raut, an alleged SS sympathiser.

Huge cache of explosives that were enough to make dozens of bombs, was recovered.

After the midnight swoop, the ATS team conducted more arrests. Raut was caught from Nalasopara in Mumbai.

The ATS sources say that the accused was planning terror strikes in different cities in Maharashtra.

The arrests later were made from Pune and Palghar. Multiple raids are on in Maharashtra at several places including Aurangabad.

The advocate of Sanatan Sanstha told media that though Raut was not associated with him he was a 'Hindutva worker' and the Sanstha would fight the legal case. LINK

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hindutva Hand: Right-wing terror module was behind Gauri Lankesh murder, accused arrested


The police have arrested the right-wing Hindutva extremists who were involved in hatching the conspiracy to kill journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Lankesh was murdered a few months ago. But the terrorist module had several other names including those of rationalists on their hit-list. The masterminds were Pune-based engineer Amol Kale and Parshuram Waghmare.

Along with other fanatics, they planned and murdered Lankesh. Apart from Waghmare and Kale, the other accused include KT Naveen Kumar, Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, Manohar Dundappa Edave alias Manoj and Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep Mahajan.

Edave, another accused, who is in police custody told police that he updated Kale and Dada, who is still absconding, about Lankesh's movement. Along with KT Naveen Kumar, Yadave had followed her.

Naveen Kumar's wife told SIT that her husband had bought a pistol and offered his blood to it. She told the police she had gone with her husband to Mangalore and when next day there were reports about the murder, she spoke to him but he didn't react.

Sources said that Naveen had met Praveen and other associates at Belagavi city hotel on November 20 to discuss the plan to eliminate KS Bhagwan, the noted writer. He admitted names of Kale, Parveen, Amit Digwekar and another person to a forest near Mandya to practice shooting.

The police found 22 cell phones in his possession and 21 in Kale's possession. Amil Kale, who livres in Pune, has been associated with Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a radical Hindutva group in the past.

Waghmare had confessed that he shot Lankesh. Kalue and Amit had trained Parshuram at Satara in Maharashtra and Belagavi in Karnataka.  When asked why he killed her, he would tell interrogators that he did it for the 'sake of Hinduism'.

Waghmare had been arrested in the past with five Ram Sene members for unfurling a Pakistani flag outside tehsildar office at Sindagi. Kale had recruited and trained Waghmare. They had once made a bid on her life and failed. On the second occasion, the assassins pumped multiple bullets, killing her on the spot.

A diary has been recovering and there are names of several rationalists including theatre personality Girish Karnad in it. Other names on the hit-list include politician-litterateur B.T. Lalitha Naik, pontiff Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji of Nidumamidi Mutt and rationalist C.S. Dwarakanath.

LINK 1, LINK 2, LINK 3 and LINK 4

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hindus offer sherbet at Jama Masjid, join Muslims in celebrating Eid: Communal Harmony Project-41



This is a photograph from Burhanpur, a historic town in South Western part of Madhya Pradesh.

A group of local Hindus went to the Jama Masjid and wished Muslims 'Eid Mubarak'.

They offered 'sherbet' to Muslims who came to offer the special prayers on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Now, these are gestures we witness all over India but not every such incident is mentioned. Muslims offer sherbet to 'Kanwariyas'. Sikhs, Christians too do join festivities of other communities.

The members of the Hindu Seva Samiti offered 400 lites of sherbet to Muslims at the Jama Masjid near Lal Bagh in the town. The office-bearer, Rakesh Chauksey, said that they celebrate Hindu festivals and speak for Hindus' rights but also join people belonging to other communities in celebrating their events. This is the photo courtesy Hindi newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily.

There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now.

This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project]

#Communalharmony #Communalharmonyproject #India

Friday, April 13, 2018

SHAME: Right-wing Hindutva extremists raped girl, tortured, murdered her to scare Muslims

The horrific rape of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu has shaken the country.

The rapists including an ex-bureaucrat and a special police officer tortured the child--who was given sedatives and raped repeatedly after being kept confined in a the temple in Kathua.

It was a pre-planned crime that was aimed to scare the nomadic Muslims living in the region, says police charge-sheet. The DNA reports have corroborated the involvement of Sanji Ram, Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and others.

If that is not enough, they called a person to rape her once more, before she was to be killed. When the accused were arrested, the BJP (and some Congress too) leaders came out in support of rape accused.

They took out a 'tiranga yatra' in Jammu. Lawyers in Jammu supported the accused and resisted the charge-sheet in the court. The lawyer fight the child's case was threatened. BJP leaders including ministers kept speaking in favour of the rapists.

But the question that haunts us is that how could these people turn so evil that they planned to plan the horrible crime of kidnapping a child--the age of their granddaughter, and rape her in a temple!

Still, the BJP leaders came out demanding release of the monsters involved in the crime. There were rallies. The media was not interested. It took nearly three months, a charge-sheet, outrage on social media, that finally this case has got the attention.

The photographs of the accused, the story of the victim--nothing was carried in mass circulated English and Hindi newspapers for months. It was absolute silence. After candle light vigils and protests on April 12, finally media picked it up.

Still, BJP leaders on TV, were involved in hate speak and weird counter arguments. The incident shows how there is now a breed in India that has lost all sense of morality and can go to any extent to further their power, influence, authority and ideology. Right-wing Hindu extremism has reached Nazi level in India in 2018.

Time to wake, before it's too late. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Is India most backward society in the world: Woman beheaded with sword for going to work, hurting 'Rajput pride' in Rajasthan

In a shocking incident, a man beheaded his daughter-in-law for defying 'Rajput traditions'.

The woman--Uma Rajput, was hacked to death by her father-in-law, as she 'dared to go out for work'.

In a patriarchal society, this had brought 'dishonour to his family', felt the accused. He publicly killed his daughter-in-law, by attacking her with a sword.

The incident took place in Alwar in Rajasthan. India Today reports, "The woman was on her way to work at a factory in Shahjahanpur village in Alwar district when her father-in-law brandished a sword and allegedly chopped her head off."

"As the woman was attacked, none of the passersby came forward to help her. She died on the spot. Subsequently, police took her body to the mortuary of the local hospital. The victim, identified as Uma, is survived by her husband Mukesh Rajput and two children", India Today further reports.

"Both Uma and Mukesh worked to run the family and provide for the education of their two children. When questioned, family members and neighbours of the woman said that her father-in-law Maamraj was upset with her for working in a factory", the report adds.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Child marriages in India: 27% girls are married before they turn 18


Child marriages are widely prevalent in India.

One of the biggest social evils, the practice of child marriage is yet to be checked in the country.

Millions of minors tie the knot every year because of social acceptance in several regions.

The latest figures suggest that 27 percent of girls, or nearly 1.5 million girls, get married before they turn 18 in India.

Though there has been a decline in number of child marriages in India, compared to last decade, the figure is still mind-boggling. In rural parts of the India, child marriages are more common.

In Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and other North Indian states, tens of thousands of children are made to tie the nuptial knot on the day of 'Akshay Tritiya'.

UNICEF claims that the steps to check child marriages have brought the numbers down, yet, the practice is so widespread that it is difficult to stop it.

India leads the world in child marriages. It recorded six times more child marriages that Bangladesh. It is far ahead of Nigeria, Brazil and Ethiopia that are other countries on the list.

While India is on the top, the other countries in the list include Bangladesh, Nigeria, Brazil, Ethiopia
Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. Clearly, in seventy years, India hasn't done enough to eradicate social evils. 

Monday, March 05, 2018

Social evils in India: Caste discrimination form of apartheid, rampant in Indian society


Caste is the fundamental identity in India, at times, even stronger than religion.

Every day, there are incidents of casteist violence and oppression all over the country.

Many people who pretend to be modern and flaunt their liberal credentials deny that caste exist and vehemently say that they don't believe in caste.

But when it comes to marriage, they always go for a match from their own caste. It's a harsh reality. Caste groups hold events regularly, organise their conventions in cities and towns, inculcate sense of pride among their members.

They also hold introductory meets for youths so that the youngsters marry within the caste. The so-called 'honour killings' are just an example of this deep-rooted caste phenomenon in Indian society.

Casteism is a mental ailment. People afflicted it with are conditioned from childhood. It's like apartheid, even worse. Here, the race is same, religion is same and even skin colour is same. But hate overcomes everything.

A girl is writhing in pain on the floor after she was made to drink poison by her own family. Sushma was given this punishment as she loved a man outside the community and wanted to marry him.

This incident occurred near Mysuru in Karnataka. Sushma wanted to marry a Dalit youth. Hence, the family decided to kill her. Her father forced poison down her throat. See report

And that's so common that it doesn't prick the conscience of people or shock the nation, anymore.

It is no aberration but a regularity. It happens in rural parts, it happens even in town and big cities of the country.

Just see the matrimonial advertisements and you find how caste functions. Everyone wants to marry within caste.

And those who are exceptions--say 'Caste no bar', yet don't want to marry Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe  (ST) or Other Backward Caste (OBC).

Monday, February 19, 2018

Terrorism: After 17 deaths in Florida school shooting, accept 'White Supremacist Terror' as big threat to society

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Will it now be acknowledged that 'White Supremacist Terror' is one of the biggest threats to the society?

It is a threat to society, not just in United States of America (USA), but outside too [including Europe].

As many a 17 persons including mostly students and staff, were shot dead in the massacre that has shocked the entire world.

Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, entered the school premises, opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring over 14.


Cruz used an AR-15 style rifle for the coldblooded murders on the school campus.

In fact, a month before the shooting, FBI had received a tip that Cruz had made a threat but due to 'error', this information wasn't taken seriously.

Most of the victims in the horrific school shootings were students who were teenagers.

Alyssa, Martin, Nicholas, Jaime, Luke, Cara, Gina, Alaina, Meadow, Helena, Alex, Carmen, Peter--they were all in the age group of 14-17. There were others Chris, Scott and Aaron, from the staff.

WHEN TERRORISTS DIDN'T FIT 'MEDIA-CREATED IMAGE'

There has been a long list of White men involved in shootings, massacres and killings in United States of America (USA).


Gun violence is one of the biggest problems for America. However, these people are often termed 'insane shooter', 'gunman', 'madman', but NOT terrorist.

The list of these 'gunmen' is long:

Anders Breivik killed 77 persons in Norway
Devin Kelley who killed 26 people in a Church
Wade Michael Page who killed devotees in a Sikh Gurdwara
Dylann Roof who killed nine blacks
Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 in Oklahama
James Holmes who killed people in a theatre
Robert James Talbot, Esteban Santiago, Alexandre Bissonette, Chris Harper Mercer, among others.

1. MUST-READ ON THIS SITE: White men not termed Terrorist, called 'shooter' or 'gunman'

2. DOUBLE STANDARDSInsane gunman or shooter: Media must de-link religion from Terror

3. MAJORITARIAN RACISM: Why Dylann Roof was not termed Terrorist in US Media

Links about Florida school terror attack:

Victims of Florida School Shooting, names and photos
Wikipedia page on Stoneman Douglas school shootings in Florida
Florida gunman said he wanted to be a 'professional school shooter' and FBI were warned

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Indian Media's Hall of Shame: TV channels airing fake news to spread propaganda, fan communal hatred, divide society



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi 

It is not easy to describe what is happening in India [and Indian media] right now.

Top media houses that were once considered trustworthy and had set standards of journalism, have fallen into disgrace.

They not only promote fake news, shamelessly, but reward journalists who fan hatred through fake stories based on rumours, morphed photos or tweets of parody accounts.

TV anchors seem to be hell-bent on destroying communal harmony and tearing apart the social fabric of the country. The focus is not on news but on propagating falsehoods and spreading hate.

Ethics have been thrown off the window. Any false claim can be made and any incident can be twisted to suit the agenda. This is happening in the world's biggest democracy, round the clock.

Each and every day, several anchors on half-a-dozen Hindi-English TV channels are trying to outdo each other in how much fake news they can spread and how much they could do to divide Indian society on religious lines.

This is just unbelievable. Till a few years ago, one couldn't even imagine that Indian media would fall to such levels. Journalists who refuse to toe the line are being shown the door. However, those who spread venom day in and day out, are getting rewarded.

These channels have been demonizing Muslims. And the result is that there have been murders all over the country. Right-wing fanatics like Shambhu Bhawani burnt a man dead and shot his video.

Even after dozens of hate crimes and killings like that of Akhlaq, Pahlu Khan and Junaid, these channels continue to spread hate. This is an organised propaganda war that is being run from TV studios.

It all started with Times Now, the news channel of Times of India group. During the UPA tenure, it was known for anti-establishment line. But once BJP government came to power, it stopped questioning the government.

The focus was now on Army, patriotism, Hindu-Muslim issues. Soon, it was playing up non-issues, spreading hatred and focusing on divisive issues.

After Arnab Goswamy's exit, another such channel was born--Republic.

Aroon Purie's India Today already had anchors who were trying to outdo Arnab.

Soon, they were also given a free hand. Initially, they tried to maintain some balance with one or two anchors trying to be moderate but the mask fell, quickly.

Of course, Zee News was doing for long. In fact, it was the first channel that openly started airing motivated and fictional reports.


Zee News was instrumental in stoking communal passions with its reporting on Kairana.

It falsely claimed that there was a Hindu exodus. This style was later picked up by other 'respected channels' too.

A petition urging Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ban Zee News, was also launched.

Thousands signed the petition, then. In those days, Zee News was the lone channel that was blatantly doing it. LINK 1 and LINK 2

It didn't take much longer. Other channels too followed it, within the next couple of years.

Thanks to AltNews that exposes propaganda and fake reports, we have a compilation, umpteen examples on a regular basis, how hate and propaganda are being peddled in the form of news.

India Today: Gold plated journalism: India Today and fake news
Times Now: A compilation of Times Now’s experiments with untruth
Aaj Tak: One tale, two narratives, reportage on Kasganj violence

Its Hindi version, Aaj Tak, has no dearth of such anchors whose sole job seems to fan hatred between communities, chiefly Hindus and Muslims. Rather than questioning government on its failures, the channels try their best to 'divert attention by setting agenda'.

Subhash Chandra, an icon! In a way, he was an icon. He was the person who set up the first TV channel after the state owned Doordarshan. Zee was a pioneering venture and though Chandra's proximity with BJP was known, the channel has

Their favourite topics are same--Kashmir, Muslims, Love Jihad, Triple Talaq, Patriotism, Army, JNU, Fatwas (even if there is none issued) just to name a few. Those called for debates are also people who can shout the loudest and suit their agenda.

When people may be dying of encephalitis in UP or farmers committing suicide in Central India due to crop loss, they shift focus by setting agenda on the basis of 'fake video clips or tweets' and turn studios on fire.

These TV channels can go to any extent to further their agenda. The aim is take forward the narrative of the right-wing extremists. During the recent communal riot in Kasganj, news agencies and TV channels (their editors) were acting like propagandists.

A person who was not on the spot was claimed to be dead to whip up communal frenzy. Within a few years, Indian media has seen this transformation. Initially, it appeared that certain anchors were doing it, on their own. But soon it was clear that the owners are responsible.

Owners are complicit and this has been proved time and again. An anchor who was arrested on extortion charges and sent to jail, has been promoted and given a free run (to spread propaganda and hatred) for years at Zee News.

When an India Today group journalist tweeted that anchors were allowed to whip up communal frenzy without even naming any person or group, India Today group sacked her.

It is clearly visible that the owners are complicit in this organised campaign. There is no attempt to stop this propaganda. However, in process, they have fallen from grace, lost all respect and ensured the death of credibility of the 'mainstream media' in India.

Media honchos seem to have sold their souls. Media has been reduced to completely take focus off pressing issues and divert attention towards non-existent issues by fanning communal hatred. Perhaps, it suits government. This is all too evil and sinister to say the least.

But one positive thing has come out of it. All masks have fallen. Sab mukhaute utar gaye. Aur sab ki credibility ka kriya-karm ho gaya.

READWorld must Wake Up: Indian TV channels, media houses, anchors involved in Nazi-style propaganda against Muslims

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stop calling Indian Muslims 'backward': Muslims are not backward on most social indicators

'You don't look like Muslim'.

Many people have heard it time and again from non-Muslim friends.

This is because it is deeply embedded in the minds that Muslims are backward.

It's a bias, they have grown up with. Either at home or through media, the society--it's conditioning.

Backward, on what social indicators? How the entire Muslim community can be termed backward?

And aren't Hindus backward? But many Muslims also keep repeating the line 'Muslims are backward'.

Either its sex ratio or discrimination with women and girl child, infant mortality rate or malnutrition, dowry deaths or other many more indicators, Muslims aren't backward.

Yes, as far as education is concerned, Muslims are a bit behind. But there are Hindus too, large sections who are far behind. Visit rural parts of the country or tribal hamlets, you'll see the poorest of poor--sans proper clothes, malnourished and without bare minimum facilities.

More people who die of hunger or the poor and homeless who die because of natural factors--heat or cold in extreme seasons, while sleeping in the open, are Hindu.

Muslims are more urbanized and have a different social system, a parallel economy, that helps them survive. But by parroting the sentence that Muslims are backward, we too fall in this trap.

It is defaming Muslims for no reason. There are tremendously educated people among Muslims, there are actors and sports persons, there are Muslim achievers in all fields just like in Hindus or Sikhs, Christians or Jains.

Yes, benefits of schemes don't reach large section of Muslim masses just like certain other sections. Often, state policies and lack of due representation are among the reasons. But that doesn't make Muslims 'backward'.

Muslims are trying hard to progress despite the fact that they are under-represented in jobs, in politics, and don't get reservation. Still, the community members are working hard, trying to move despite all odds.

But we should get rid of this 'backward community' narrative. It is not at all true that Muslims are backward. There is poverty, there are issues, but terming 'Indian Muslims' as a whole is backward, is wrong.

It has no basis. It is just an attempt to sully the image of Muslims.

Photo courtesy ShutterStock in Hindustan Times. LINK

Thursday, February 08, 2018

How 'media mischief' ruins lives: Innocent Muslim girl termed 'bomber', her career ruined


That's the real power of pen, or byte, in our times--destroying lives.

Irresponsible reporting and you ruin lives just because you want to create sensation or because of your biases (communal) against certain sections of society.

A girl was wrongly termed 'fidayeen', 'a bomber'. On Republic day, the news flashed on TV screens.

All the major issues were now forgotten, and this 'sensational news' was on all TV channels.

But by next day, there were no follow-ups or any apology for wrong and misleading reporting.

So what happened to the girl? How she was termed a bomber? The fact is that there was not even an FIR registered in this case. She was not even arrested. Yet, it became national news on Republic Day, creating panic and fear.

Some websites reported how the girl returned to Pune. Others mentioned that the news was a hoax. Hoax? And all fell for it?* There, she said that how this incident affected her career.

"The Jammu and Kashmir Police have sent an email to Pune police clearing me of all the falsehoods. Unfortunately, because of the wrong and biased media reports and campaign against me, on 27 January, the college abruptly cancelled my admission for the nursing course".

However, even in these reports, her name was mentioned, which again demonizes her. How irresponsible and shabby, journalism can be in India. It's just a reflection of it. And this has been the norm here for decades.

Why media does it, again and again?

Come Jan 26 and Aug 15, when security is at its peak, such stories appear, year after year same pattern. This year too there was flash on channels 'fidayeen girl from Pune caught', without any confirmation.

All over India hundreds of people are stopped during security check on R-Day or I-Day. Four-wheelers, scooters, all sorts of vehicles are checked. This is routine.

Now when you cleverly write, 'Suspect caught, terror link not ruled out'. Who can deny this? You haven't termed the person terrorist but in a way linked him/her to terrorism.

Those reporters who never get a scoop otherwise, can sell this to their boss in newspaper as page 1 story. Power of pen! Happens in all states, cities.

Of course, security agencies feel good, it shows their alacrity on important days, that they are working hard, no blame either, journos doing it for them. Communal bias is another aspect.

The 'other' is always a suspect and while putting pen to paper, this is reflected. So what if lives are ruined! As far as victim is concerned, once the ordeal is over, they are so exhausted and relieved that they don't even think of taking legal steps.

Besides, when there are dozens of media houses, agencies, newspapers, channels. How many can you drag to courts? And once again it requires resources--money, links and power. If you don't have it, you can't do it.

Besides, it affects the person's own life. Hence, the victim also tries to rorget and forgive. That's how the world goes. This is how journalism works in the country.

Hate speeches in India: BJP leader Vinay Katiyar wants Muslims to leave India, party takes no action


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A member of parliament (MP) says that Muslims should leave India and yet there is no action taken against him by his party.

Forget, even the talk of disciplinary action, there is no need to even dissociate or distance itself from his statement (by the party).

In any mature democracy, a responsible political party would be ashamed that its leader made such a fascist, communal and racist comment but NOT in India.

It's normal here, unfortunately.

Vinay Katiyar doesn't have any qualms in making hate speeches or outrageous comments because speeches that seem to rival Nazi hate propaganda and threats against minorities, are considered normal in India.

Katiyar has been an MP for several terms. Besides, he has been national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to be the biggest political party in the world on account of its membership.

Just days ago, he made another vicious remark during Kasganj violence. He said that pro-Pakistanis were involved in violence. The word 'Pakistani' is directed at Muslims time and again to show him/her their place because of being a religious minority and doubt the Muslims' patriotism.

If, in the world's biggest democracy, the senior leader of the main party can make such statements and get away, you can have an understanding about the manner in which democracy functions in the country.

Katiyar, 63, hails from Kanpur. He has been a member of Lok Sabha from Faizabad, several times in the past. Right now, he is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament. There are specific laws against hate speech in India.

The privileges-clout enjoyed by politicians ensure that they can get away with anything--spreading hate or even instigating communal riots. Media hasn't been too harsh on him for the 'outrageous' statement.

It is commonly said that such people should be ignored but the problem is that he is no 'fringe voice' and ignoring has brought us to the situation where there are dozens of hate-mongers, as no one has fear of law. Besides, abusing or threatening Muslims is a sure-shot way to succeed in right-wing politics.

1. BJP's Vinay Katiyar continues his hate-mongering, says Muslims should leave India
2. Katiyar demand for Muslims to leave India shows BJP is cranking up hate machine for 2019
3. Outrageous statements shouldn’t be taken lightly: Katiyar said Taj Mahal would be turned into temple

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Soldiers keep dying at the border but political class fails: Does government have no strategy to stop firing at LoC?

Ram Avtar was killed in firing at Line of Control.

The soldier, has left behind a son and a 3-month-old daughter apart from a five-year-old son.

That's tragic. Unfortunately, there seems no let up in such incidents.

Compensation is no substitute to the tragedy--the fact that kids will grow up without father.

How to deal with Pakistan?

What sort of power are we when we can't stop these deaths. India is strong, aren't we? We are a 'maha-shakti', arent' we?

But what use when can't stop deaths of soldiers. Is there any strategy!!!

The deaths of armymen makes headlines, rouses patriotic feelings, anger but what about families, these kids? TV channels continue to exploit the feelings, fuel rage. Deaths continue.

But that's no solution. Government is unable to stop it and seems it has no way to deal with it. It's not that they can't but they are clearly not interested.

One thing is clear--dialogues can reduce it. But who will accept it? This needs statesmanship, leadership. 

The rhetoric of war can't solve this. Political class and constant war-mongering by section of media have brought us here, that any suggestion for peace talks is considered blasphemy. We are caught up in this circle.

LoC, Army, Jawans' deaths: These issues keep public mind off real issues

There is another aspect. 'Army, deaths of jawans, firing at LoC' helps divert focus from other major issues--unemployment, poverty, failure to deal with crumbling infrastructure in health-education sectors.

Hence, public focus is off the failure of politicians. Is this the reason that there is lack of initiative or statesmanship on part of the leadership to improve the situation at the border and deal with these regular incidents of firing and deaths?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

43 year jail to man for attack at London mosque: India should have given stern punishment to those who demolished Babri Masjid


A man who drove into a mosque in United Kingdom, killing one and injuring nearly a dozen others, has been given a jail term of 43 years.

The man, Darren Osborne, had plowed into the crowd of devotees at mosque, killing a man--Mukaram Ali.

This incident had occurred in London. Osborne, 48, has been jailed for 43 years, with no chance of parole. Osborne had driven a rented van into devotees who were leaving the evening prayers during the Ramzan.

"The prosecutors said Osborne was motivated by a hatred of Muslims and was radicalized by online far-right and Islamophobic propaganda", reports NY Post.

The judge said that Osborne's mind had been poisoned by far-right extremist ideas and he showed no signs of remorse. Your mindset became one of the malevolent hatred, the judge said, adding that, 'this was a terrorist attack. you intended to kill'.

This is indeed exemplary. This is justice. Swift trial and sentence within a short time. The incident had occurred on June 18, 2017. The judgment came in less than a year. When the prosecution intends to get the accused, due sentence, and the courts deliver judgments timely, it leads to order in the society.

In India, we must learn from it. In 1992, Babri Masjid was demolished in full public view. The chief minister of UP, Kalyan Singh, had given oath to the Apex court, didn't honour it. Top BJP leaders had brought the 'Kar Sevaks'.

It was indeed attack on India's values, India's religious freedom, India's secular ethos, India's law-and-order, yet, Congress government and CBI remained indifferent. The criminal case wasn't pursued. The courts apparently didn't consider it a serious crime.

Those who were responsible became ministers and chief ministers and reached posts of Governors and Deputy Prime Minister. So, that's the difference, between a society governed by law and a society where law collapses or can be subverted.

If only, exemplary punishment was given to those who planned and were involved in destruction of the Babri Mosque or leaders involved in communal riots, inflammatory speeches, things won't have deteriorated in later years

Friday, February 02, 2018

No action, No FIR, No outrage over Rakesh Sinha's open threat during live TV debate


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) 'thinker' Prof Rakesh Sinha made a highly objectionable statement on TV.

During a debate, he alleged issued the threat. He clearly gave the warning that, 'you won't be able to survive for more than 15 seconds'.

Surprisingly, this didn't lead to much outrage. Media largely ignored it. A few websites did cover it, for example, Janta Ka Reporter. There was no action, no FIR and not even any attempt to make him apologise.

"Sinha told the panelist representing the AIMIM, “I am not even talking about Asim Waqar (from AIMIM) whose leader (Akbaruddin Owaisi) wanted police removed for 15 minutes. I am saying that if there’s a retaliation against them, forget 15 minutes, you wouldn’t even survive 15 seconds", reports the website.

"Sinha later told Janta Ka Reporter that his comments were not intended towards Muslims adding that he was merely referring to the AIMIM leaders", the website further mentions. Still, wasn't it a threat? Didn't he make the comments? The video is quite clear that he gave the threat.

This is in sharp contrast to AIMIM leader Akbar Owaisi's statement when he faced multiple FIRs and had led to debate on national TV channels, which continued for days.

Akbar Owaisi was arrested and had to go to jail. Surprisingly, Rakesh Sinha's comments--not in a rally but in TV studio and telecast live, caused little outrage.

This was during a debate on News24 channel. Sinha talked about AIMIM and then said that not 15 minutes, they would not be able to stand even for 15 seconds in case of retaliation. The line was
'.... 15 second nahi tik payenge......'

Clearly, there are double standards. Not only media ignored it and paid little attention, the authorities had no interest in such an open display of bigotry and warning. Else, we find people getting booked for sedition even when there is little evidence.

Watch him utter the lines after 17.45 minutes in this video below:

VIDEO: Rakesh Sinha's chilling warning on TV channel



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

World must Wake Up: Indian TV channels, media houses, anchors involved in Nazi-style propaganda against Muslims


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

This is an extremely disturbing trend that is being witnessed in the world's largest democracy, India.

Several media groups seem to have taken a cue from the Nazi propaganda style and have been targeting, demonising minorities, particularly, the Muslims.

Not only they fan hatred and have normalized it, but many journalists are openly using social media to give a call for violence.

This started a few years ago. Among major TV channels, Zee News, was among the first in Hindi while Times Now took the lead among English channels. Certain anchors were clearly inciting hate.

No wonder, violence against Muslims in the name of cow protection, the lynching incidents, the attacks on Muslims, have all occurred in this period when media increasingly began behaving as a mouthpiece of hate brigade.

After the last Parliamentary election, several other media groups, owners and editors too turned far-right. Open display of bigotry became the norm. A new English channel, Republic, joined the tirade. More Hindi and English news channels also started toeing the Hindutva line.

There were some channels that were perceived as slightly less biased and more objective than others. However, there were certain anchors in these channels too who began peddling hate and lies. It was as if a competition begun as to who would outdo other anchors and other channels in spreading hate towards Muslims.

India Today group that had a certain image and was believed to be practicing fair journalism, also  began indulging in this propaganda. One of the anchors, Rohit Sardana, who has been brought from Zee group, has been the cheerleader of the extreme right-wing mob.

In the latest incident when Kasganj, a town in Uttar Pradesh, witnessed trouble on Republic Day, the TV channels were clearly involved in communal polarizing, spreading hate on the basis of rumours and not going by facts.

Local Muslims had organised an event to celebrate Republic Day. The national flags were visible all around. Suddenly, 'Tiranga Yatra' arrived that had more Bhagwa (Saffron flags) than the national flags.

There were also batons and firearms in their hands. Provocative slogans were raised on the occasion too. It was during this Yatra, that a youth, Chandan Gupta, had hit by a bullet. He later succumbed.

However, TV channels gave it a twist as if minorities had any objection to unfurling national flag.

While Muslims were celebrating Republic Day and hoisting flag, the TV channels turned into mouthpieces of far-right propagandists and repeatedly parroted lies. LINK

Instead of questioning that who gave the Saffron forces the right to storm into any locality with Saffron flags, raise provocative slogans and rather than joining the Republic Day event, make abusive comments.

The channels went ahead, they began speaking the language of the right-wing fanatics, giving a totally different impression. Just when curfew was on in Kasganj--there was violence, houses-shops were being attacked and burnt, these TV channels were busy in reinforcing the prejudices.

Not just on TV, there were using other mediums [like Twitter] too for spreading hate. The aim was to polarize, communalize and foment trouble at a time when police and administration were trying to bring the situation under control.

Another journalist, Abhijit Majumder who is a managing editor of Mail Today [also belongs to India Today group], tweeted about another death, though there was none.

Then, there was Jagruti Shukla, who gave the open threat--her account was suspended by Twitter, but later suspension was revoked.

As a result, the situation took such a turn than when a district magistrate R Vikkram Singh, wrote on Facebook about the trend of going to particular areas, raising slogans and disturbing law-and-order, he was trolled and targeted. Finally, he had to remove the post.

1. Rohit Sardana aka walking-talking Radio Rwanda does it again

2. Man declared dead in Kasganj speaks up: People were using me to incite violence

3. Pressure on Indian official after he questioned Muslim-baiting

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Karni Sena: Should individuals, celebrities of community speak up when groups claiming to represent them indulge in violence?


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Once again this question arises in the wake of pan-Indian violence by Karni Sena.

There are not just death threats to actors or acts like burning down theatres but also warning the state, not listening to courts and even attack on school bus carrying children.

When a group gets violent, claiming to represent your community, is there need to speak up that no they're wrong, not representing us.

Need for 1-2 celebrities of the industry or leaders-bizmen-sportsmen need to condemn, speak. Or no need for it?

How many Rajput celebrities including Bollywood stars or Rajputs in Sports, Business, Army, Bureaucracy, Police have issued statements and said that we don't agree with Karni Sena (that has no respect for even SC) or that it doesn't represent us?

When it comes to Muslims, on any petty issue involving a Muslim, many of us get uneasy, unable to sit silent, start profusely apologizing for someone else's conduct just because of Muslim name and start giving justifications.

This situation comes up again and again. In some instances, people too ready, more than eager to condemn, feeling guilty for others' acts. In some cases, absolutely passive.

Ideally though, State-cops that needs to deal with lawlessness. But because it doesn't happen, there is often pressure on the community. Though many support the muscle-flexing.

Secret admiration for 'Gunda', 'Gundagardi' of own community in Indian society

Frankly, in India, people even admire 'gunda' of own community, gundagardi too. There is secret admiration--feeling that 'chalo ek taaqatwar aadmi ya group tayyar ho gaya'.

In states, regions, you hear people talking with pride about their own 'bahubali'. Love for muscle-flexing. Once a group-person gets powerful, people draw power from them. 

Throwing its name, weight, in situations. In a country, where law doesn't act equally, that's bound to happen. One can get away with arson-violence if has backing, other can be jailed under 151 without doing anything.

When politicians-bureaucrats-other power centres wield disproportionate power, when their allegiance or signal can start or stop any action, nothing can stop it. That's how this country runs. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Right-wing extremism in India: Graham Staines' killing reminds us of dangers posed by extremist ideologies

Graham Staines and his two sons were burnt to death in their car on this day--January 23, 1999.

Though nineteen years have passed, it still evokes painful memories and remains a part of collective conscience of the nation.

It serves reminder to us that how extremist ideologies can turn people into such monsters that they would even go to the extent of killing innocent children.

Staines who hailed from Australia, had settled in India, and worked for leprosy patients. He was with his sons, Philip and Timothy, when an armed mob surrounded the vehicle and set it afire. The killings led to international outcry.

The man had dedicated himself to serve humanity and made India his home, yet, he was accused of luring locals towards Christianity. His wife Gladys rejected the charges that he converted people to Christianity.

Dara Singh, who was associated with Bajrang Dal, was held guilty in this case. The trial court gave him death sentence. However, the High Court didn't consider it a rarest of rare case, and instead of capital punishment, he was given life term in the year 2005.

The Supreme Court too upheld the decision, six years later. Despite the widespread outrage, right-wing forces have over the years continued to target Christians--either it is Dangs in Gujarat or attacks on Churches in Karnataka.

Singh is in jail. Shockingly, despite Dara Singh's involvement in the monstrous act and his conviction for it, several websites that claim to be dedicated to the cause of Hindutva, express support to Dara Singh.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Just compare Muslim silence on Haj subsidy abolition with Karni Sena violence on Padmavati



When BJP government decided to do away with the Haj subsidy, there was not a single protest across India.

Muslims didn't come out on streets. They didn't even burn effigies or stage any protests at all.

It was peace all across India. Government took a unilateral decision but there was no opposition or street violence.

But, when a movie, Padmavati, was about to be released, the Karni Sena came out on streets, it threatened to kill actors, apart from threats to cut nose and bury the actors.

Despite open threats, FIRs were not registered. The state, the media, everyone seemed to ignore the verbal threats and the violence on the streets, as if the Karni Sena is their own group and it was nothing but mere tantrums.

Further, there were violent attacks, arson, attacks on cinema halls, assaults, threats to burn down theatres, even making an extremely shocking appeal to Rajputs within Army, and not even listening to Supreme Court. 

Just recall, mob violence in India in recent history. Army had to be called out in Haryana as well as in Gujarat during Jat agitation and Patidar movement. Is nationalism about burning-damaging national property?

Bajrang Dal does it all the time but it remains national. Which Muslim group has been involved in such acts? None.


Yet, the Karni Sena is termed as a 'fringe'. No extremism or fanaticism, used here.

Similarly, when BJP government unilaterally decided to bring law banning Triple Talaq, the Muslim community, even if there were many voices against it, didn't go out on streets to stage protests or commit violence.

This is not just about Karni Sena. It is about Bajrang Dal and Ram Sene, it is about the VHP as well as HVK.

From Gujjar agitation to Jat violence, from Patidar movement to Baba Ram Rahim's followers--all have been incidents of organised violence, the state and law was defied, people died.

READ: Violence during Jat stir in Haryana, Rs 25000 cr property damaged

Even in farmers' agitations or teachers' protests, one finds arson, attacks and violence.

However, Muslims show maturity, despite bad press and constant demonisation, Muslims remain peaceful and avoid any mass protests or violence, don't damage national property and abide by law. This is the point, we must remember.

READ: Horrors of Haryana, destruction in Rohtak during quota protests

Sunday, January 07, 2018

How institutions have failed in India: Denial of justice led to death of idealism, hope soon after 1992


When one is young, there is idealism and you feel that things can change.

You hope that society will move forward, we will learn from our failures in the past and that there will be progress, believing that the new leaders will devote themselves to welfare of people and development of the country.

But as years go, you realise that nothing of that sort is going to happen. Everyone who comes with the promise of revolution, is playing the same old game. People will continue to be exploited in the name of religion and rhetoric is just a tool to cheat the masses, who themselves seem eager to be cheated.

---

In childhood, I too hoped that one day religious discrimination, casteist oppression and capitalist divides would become end, or at least the dividing lines would become so thin that they would become invisible.

But, what fools we are when are young. My moment of reckoning was in 1992. It was not the demolition of Babri Masjid but slightly later. When the mosque was demolished, Prime Minister came on national TV, said that the mosque would be rebuilt.

There was still a feeling of shock in the entire country. One could never believe that a Prime Minister could lie or make a false promise in front of entire nation. And Kalyan Singh, the chief minister of UP, who had given an undertaking that mosque would not be harmed, had presided over the demolition.

Then, the Supreme Court, in a its judgment, awarded Kalyan Singh, just ONE DAY imprisonment, a symbolic sazaa! Then, comes the realisation how politicians, bureaucrats and the judiciary--there is no institution that would come to the aid, even in the gravest situations facing the nation.

SHOW ME THE MAN AND I WILL SHOW YOU THE RULE

Some may work against the nation but will be awarded certificate of nationalism. Some may work for nation but would be dubbed 'anti-national'. It keep happening in our democracy all the while.

Rajiv Gandhi looked sophisticated and seemed to have a vision for the country. But his party's goons were involved in killing of Sikhs. The role of Chief Minister Sudhakar Rao Naik in Mumbai riots when Shiv Sainiks were allowed free run, is just one of the examples.

Naik faced no case or punishment. Congress devised a perfect system--instituting Commissions that was a way to give a quiet burial to issues without any action. Regarding the role of BJP, the lesser said, the better it is.

It isn't that one would totally lose all hopes. We all have to fight and resist and use constitutional methods. But once you know the reality, it's always good. How the 'system' works--always in favour of the powerful and against the weak. The early we realise it, the better it is.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Why Shahjahan is not remembered by State on his birth anniversary?


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Emperor Shah Jahan was born on January 5, 1592.

That's centuries ago but shouldn't the State remember him on his birth anniversary!

He was not only the emperor of India but also built Taj Mahal--India's most famous structure, a monument dedicated to love, for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Taj is a global attraction--the single biggest brand for India and our tourism, and apart from this, it has also been the biggest investment, a huge source of revenue.

Hundreds of years will pass and millions would keep coming to India to see Taj. Billions would be earned in process.

Still, while the state remembers people born in the past or recent past, Shahjahan is forgotten.

There is an Urs though at the Taj in Agra. But apart from that, there is no other such event. Even in case of historical personalities--those who have certain political constituency, there are events, public programmes by people who have regard for the person.

Of course, Shahjahan doesn't come under this category. This small post is just a tribute to the King who immortalized love and gifted the country, its biggest gem--The Taj.