Friday, November 29, 2019

Communal riots in India: Had Congress been tough on rioters in Mumbai 1992-93 rioters, 2002 won't have happened

In 1992-93, Mumbai was rocked by riots--in two separate phases. Congress' Sudhakar Rao Naik was CM & there was no serious attempt to stop riot-killings.

Still, we remember role of police, helplessness in the era. Congress was ruling party in Maharashtra & also in Delhi., then.

Mumbai was burning for weeks. The role of Shiv Sena cadre in this period is well documented.

Muslims were getting killed and remember it was Congress government in Delhi that remained oblivious to the plight of the Muslims. The police officers who were involved in violence were never prosecuted.

The firing on Hari Masjid in Mumbai, is one such case. There was unprovoked firing by police on the Namazis. Seven persons were killed and those who were injured were booked for rioting. Farooq Mapkar fought a legal battle for years against the policemen involved in it but govt didn't act on the guilty.

Seven persons were killed and Mapkar had also been critically injured with the bullets. Worse, those who didn't die in the firing, were charged by the police of rioting and murder. This extraordinarily heinous crime of police has been reported widely in the past but justice eluded the victims.

The constables, the DCP's driver and other officials apart from residents had testified that Kapse for reasons known to him only, entered the mosque and shot those in the prayers, though there was absolute peace in the area.

The Sri Krishna Commission had also found that there were Hindu houses and properties around the mosque and they were neither harmed nor touched. It was an unbelievable case of hate crime, yet, the atrocities didn't affect the ruling party.

For 15 years, Mapkar has been waiting to see the group of policemen led by Sub-Inspector Nikhil Kapse get punished for the crime (rather he got promoted sometime back). Even FIR was not registered for the death of these seven persons while 57 persons including the injured were booked for 'rioting'.

Over the years, all efforts were made by successive governments including the Congress to bury cases like the Hari Masjid firing. The Sri Krishna Commission report was shelved and despite repeated assurances by the Congress leaders, whenever the party came in power it ignored the recommendations.

In 2006, soon after Malegaon blasts, admin-police were just not willing to believe that any 'other' group could be involved in it. CM announced compensation was Rs 1 lakh for dead victim's kin, even though by then Rs 3 lakh & 5 lakh were being announced for victims in other cases.

Mosques were targeted at several places--Jalna, Parbhani, Nanded then but despite role of Naresh Rajkondwar or Himanshu Panse, the seizure of explosives or S Chaudhary's arrest, probes was stalled. We talk about Malegoan 2008 but Malegaon 2006 & role of perpetrators forgotten.

Mosques were targeted at several places--Jalna, Parbhani, Nanded then but despite role of Naresh Rajkondwar or Himanshu Panse, the seizure of explosives or S Chaudhary's arrest, probes was stalled. We talk about Malegoan 2008 but Malegaon 2006 & role of perpetrators forgotten.

Had they been tough in 1984, there won't be any 1992-93. Or if Congress had taken real tough action in 1992-93, then 2002 won't have happened or 2008 Odisha or 2012 or any other massacre. No party can claim moral high-ground. Naik and his party's riot taint for 1992 can't go.

It is important to remember the extent of injustice, the manner in which the regimes favoured rioters, harassed victims & set precedents. Just that BJP has an openly right-wing agenda, Congress' role can't be whitewashed.

*Role of Congress, PV Narasimha Rao in Babri Masjid demolition and later Mumbai riots

*Sudhakar Naik whose failure in controlling Mumbai riots, indifference is forgotten

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Scared of Minorities: Rise of majoritarianism and Hindutva in India, need for introspection among Muslims as well

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Often it happens, that some Muslims in India rue, 'we are not snatching their jobs, we don't have adequate representation, we are being demonized, we are being lynched, still why the majority doesn't understand us or feels sympathy'. Why there is hate or anger?

A lot of it is valid and as a person belong to minority community, it would seem so that they we are wronged. We want justice but are we doing justice? Just after the Ayodhya verdict, I saw posts in FB groups about pictures of RSS leaders with Muslim Ulema. On pix of Shia leader with Sangh-BJP leaders, there were comments that would disgust you.

After all, when we don't trust own minority, always suspect-accuse them, and forget how many of mainstream Sunni leaders go-meet, involved all sorts of parleys but still target 'own minority'. Many of us publicly act suave but we too are like a 'mob'. We want our minorities too to 'behave'. It is so easy to term any sect 'Kharijite' in normal conversation.

I don't generally talk about Pakistan. But see, when you don't consider Ahmadiyyas as 'Muslim', leave them alone or give them the rights for a non-Muslim minority but you are angry, as they are not on your path, so the less than 0.5% minority is always an eyesore.

So much energy is spent on conferences, morchas on the issue, as if Ahmadiyyas are a huge sect. No, they are not but the moment you have a leader or politician behaving against norm, you start whisper campaigns that he is 'Qadiani'. Why do you feel so insecure, so threatened?

Clearly, a minority has to abide by certain rules. So when you have a huge minority, not 0.2-.4% but 15% around in India, here too majority will feels 'threatened', that they were 'own people' who got converted and now creating trouble, similar feelings.

The majority may get upset if you retort or even if you talk like equals. So that's how mindset of majority works. The reality is that not everyone will get a good job or earn well. Rather than looking for reasons behind our failure, it's very easy to blame the 'other', the minority, believing that things would have been better without them.

And also 'hate' as a passion, drives people, gives them the 'jeene ka maqsad', the kick many need.
Just sometime ago, I got message (from Muslims) calling for boycott of Mulla (Bohra) businesses. Now imagine, in a country where we face it--calls for boycott of Muslims, and we feel so hurt, many of us do it so casually and no one is bothered.

We don't even 'see' or talk about this blatant badmashi. That's majoritarian privilege within the community. When leaders of Barelvi or Deobandi school go to meet right-wing leaders, whose boycott are you going to call for?

Anyway, the levels of majoritarianism also depends on how 1-2 leaders may succeed in a society or by misuse of mass media. All this needs to be analyzed and tackled. But we must also keep introspecting, when we expect justice, we should also do justice.

Sometimes we have to get out of the 'complaining mode' or tackle the media-created image of minority. It needs an effort but it is not impossible. There are several successful examples. But we must be ready to accept our own failures, our drawbacks and must not lose our cool the moment we hear a contradictory opinion or hear our criticism.

Right now, we are facing injustice, a lot has happened that depresses us, that takes us to negativity. But we are facing a group that worked hard for eighty years, the right-wingers who have democratically got power, worked extremely hard to achieve the objective. We need to improve ourselves, learn, introspect and work.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Twitter faces backlash for allowing 'hate' on its platform in India, users ask it to act against hate, Islamophobia

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Social media giant Twitter is facing a huge backlash in India.

It is because of the company's perceived failure to stop hateful messages and even allowing users who give 'calls for boycott and open discrimination' to remain on Twitter.

The accounts that trended in support of boycott of an entire community [Indian Muslims] were not blocked & even the objectionable trend was not removed, though trends inconvenient for Twitter are removed suddenly.

On the other hand, several accounts were suspended or blocked on flimsy grounds--like posting a phone number seeking help or for seeking blood for a patient. Senior lawyer Sanjay Hedge's account was suspended for reasons best known to Twitter.

But those abusing people freely, issuing threats or posting fake news remain active and there is no one stopping them from carrying on misinformation. Many of them even have 'verified' status. Already, Twitter is facing flak for its strange social media policy.

Bahujan activists have demanded transparency in its verification process. Today, Bhim Army members reached Twitter office to seek clarification over its policies and that why Backward, Tribal and Dalit leaders don't get 'verified'.

The reality is that over a period of two years, Twitter has said that its 'verification' process is on hold. However, people with little or no following and even those who have tweeted fake news repeatedly, keep getting the blue tick (verified), though there is no contact or email on Twitter's website.

No criterion or parameter is known. Mostly, the PR agencies or middle-men are engaged in the job to get people verified. However, allowing hate and fake news is a much more serious issue. Users who have repeatedly shared fake news that had the potential to disrupt communal harmony are not suspended or blocked.

Instead, if a person who is not aware of Twitter's policy that someone's phone number can't be shared, gets suspended even for trying to help someone who needs blood in emergency. Twitter hasn't said it openly and clearly about it and most users aren't aware.

STOP HATE: Citizens' statement against Twitter for failing to stop offensive content, hate

This has been a long-standing problem with Twitter in India. Users who have been sending messages that disrupt social harmony or abuse religious figures or go to the extent of call for complete boycott of an entire community, are not punished.

Isn't it shocking that people who say that Muslims ought to be economically insulated in India--clear incitement (that is against the law of the land too), and violates constitutional provisions, face no action on Twitter.

READ: How Twitter gives free run to fake news, serial hate peddlers on its platform

In the past, such propaganda, demonizing minorities and hate has led to Rwanda genocide. In recent years, we saw killings in Myanmar. Yet, Twitter fails to even act despite hundreds of people reporting these tweets.

Independent fact-checkers have repeatedly exposed the people who are misusing the platform. These tweets make way to people's phones through screenshots, in WhatsApp, and go to rural areas where there is no system to debunk them or find their veracity.

PETITION: Twitter must stop hate, Nazi style propaganda on its platform in India