Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Delhi killings: Can communal violence, orchestrated riots, anti-Muslim pogroms ever be stopped in India?

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Delhi is in flames--nearly 20 persons have been killed, hundreds injured, settlements burnt and mob marches on the streets shouting slogans.

It all happened in Delhi, when the security was high, Donald Trump was visiting, yet, police failed to stop the rioters. The photographs and videos of youths taking pride in the attacks, arson and killings, are all over social media.

But this is just one in the series of such communal killings India has witnessed for decades. Delhi is the national capital, hence, we see more images. But the total failure of political class, the lack of will on part of opposition leaders and role of police show how law-and-order crumbled and this is the story of every riot in India.

Indian Express report on the front page on February 26,2020, had the headline ''Mob, courtesy Delhi police". It said, 'Right under the police nose, men with rods, sticks assault, set homes ablaze, check ID cards, smash CCTVs..."

The question once again stares us in the face: Can such killings, violence ever stop in India?

We often see how cops choose not to act, remains mute spectators or there are allegations how they side with mobs. One of the most important factors it the lack of Muslims and other minority communities in the police. The share of minorities in police is barely 5%.

If there are 12-15% Muslims in Delhi, but you don't have even 2% in Delhi police, it is a clear lack of representation of the society. *When riots are engineered or mobs are out on streets, its impact is visible, most clearly.

There are videos of attacks on mosques and madarsas, people forced to take off pants, journalists allowed to go when it was found that they were from the majority community. But many would still make false equivalence, justify. They will use one example or two to claim that it was not a pogrom or mass killings that had the nod of the authorities, rather, a clash.

When you work in a society or serve it, you have to be representative of the society, at least, there should be some attempt to act fair, appear fair. If not 12%, at least get 5-6% minorities! But no, there is no discussion on the subject, in fact, the figures are no longer made public. May be less than 2% now in Delhi

In reports of numerous commissions on communal killings, role of police has been criticised. When even in national capital, people have to approach High Court to get police to let ambulances carry victims, you see how deep is the rot. Nothing will work until police is inclusive.

Police is the arm of the State on the ground--the most visible and potent symbol of power on the street. You want to keep it as such, reform is not the intention, never, no government is keen on in. Besides, narrative is created in such a fashion that if there were no police, then majority would have been in trouble!

Further, there is no accountability, action. Political class has no interest in stopping killings, it helps them. After every riot, the politician who made hate speeches or got accused of orchestrating the riot, gains in stature--that's the irony of India.

Communal riots continue because politicians benefit, role of society as well

When riots begin, there is always the call to bring Army. This is because army is seen as more neutral and that its arrival does scare the rioter who can't take all the liberty, which otherwise he gets.

But, the Army is never called timely because public posturing apart, leaders too come from the same society & many of them want to 'teach lesson to other community'--basically the same inherent violent streak in our society where riots, bloodbath is not an aberration.

Violence is just a 'tamasha' (sic) in this society, it doesn't really bother or upset masses. For politicians, it helps them achieve the status of a masculine big leader. Publicly everyone won't say it but message goes--'this leader can bring them on their knees'. That's reality.

It was after the killings during Rath Yatra that LK Advani became 'the leader'. It was after 2002 that Modi conquered hearts of the majority. And earlier SS supremo too got respect for this reason. So that's the tried and tested formula in our politics.

What can be worse in a society when you know the politicians are aware of the benefits of killings--Count bodies, conquer hearts! And why should any politician one bother about law-and-order! For riots, politicians don't go to jails in India, our judiciary is known for letting these cases continue for decades.

No jail terms, it's perfect system. Riots, killings ensure rewards. 24 people were shot dead dead in UP only recently. Large sections of society felt it was the 'tough message' that was needed and as the monk's rule was giving competition in hardline Hindutva, the competitor had to strike back andshow he can get it done in national capital.

The figure of deaths, the scale of violence. All this could have been stopped much earlier but no one bothered. BJP leaders' role well-known. Aam Aadmi Party did nothing. And, Congress leaders! Nothing. All are responsible for this bloodbath.

Shouldn't Opposition leaders have reached President House last night, sat in front of it when Delhi was burning? This is a question even committed voters of these parties and supporters are asking. In the worlds biggest democracy, no system works and nothing could save Delhi. Innocents perished, property destroyed and dreams died.

[Photo: Front page of Indian Express]
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LINK: Percentage of Muslims in Police in States

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hindu wedding held in a century-old mosque, the masjid committee supports bride's family, hosts event: Communal Harmony Project-53

Anju and Bindu tied the knot as priest chanted the mantra and all the rituals were performed. 

The unique thing was that it was a Hindu wedding but was held on the premises of a mosque. 

The Cheravally Muslim Jamath mosque, which is nearly a century old, came to the family's help as the bride's family needed support and financial assistance for the event. 

"After the death of husband Ashokan two years ago, Bindu has been struggling with financial liabilities and was staying at a rented house with her three children. As she was struggling to source money to conduct daughter Anju's wedding, her neighbour, a Jamaath secretary, suggested she approach the Jamaath committee", reports The Week

"Bindu did not worry about religious differences when she sought help, and the Jamaath committee was open to assistance. One of the members offered to bear the wedding expenses. Believers, who came for Friday prayers last week, were informed about this and they too lent their support". 

Also, read this report in The Hindu: "The bride had lost her father a couple of years ago. As the family lacked resources to conduct the wedding, Ms. Anju’s mother sought the help of the mosque committee."

“She came to my house seeking help for conducting the marriage. She gave a letter, which I presented to the Jamaath committee. We decided to help the family conduct the marriage,” said Nujumudeen Alummoottil, secretary, Cheravally Muslim Jamaath Committee.

[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

Muslim parents arrange Hindu daughter's marriage in the temple: Communal Harmony Project-52

Rajeshwari and Vishnu got married in a temple in Kasargod in the presence of Rajeshwari's parents--Abdullah and Khadeeja.

Strange it may sound but Rajeshwari lived at the home of Abdullah and Khadeeja after her parents' death. 

They raised her just like her parents and as she became an adult, the marriage was solemnised. 

She was barely 7-8 years ago when she came to this house and now, 15 years later, when she is 22, she was married off. 

To Abdullah's three sons, he was a sister. After they got marriage proposal, the family made proper visit and then accepted it. Vishnu is son of Balachandran and Jayanthi.

Abdullah's elderly mother was also present in the ceremony. Not just the families, their relatives and local residents but local councillor, BJP leader and several other political representatives attended the event. 

There are several such stories of communal harmony that one finds in every city. On this website too, we have posted several such incidents--foster parents raising adopted son or daughter on the kid's religion and later marrying off. 

Photo, news courtesy: Mathrubhumi

[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

Myths about Indian Muslims' backwardness: Muslims moving forward, striving to achieve despite discrimination and lack of government jobs

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Call it the impact of propaganda, conditioning or bias, some people feel that Muslims are mostly poor in India.

They feel that barely a fraction of Muslims are educated and also live under the impression that the community is not making any progress at all.

That day I decided to make a mental note of Muslims I was going to come across, not those who're in 'our circle' [like us], but random meeting, coming across in journey, public place, gathering...waiting in a clinic, at a party, those whom I met for the first time.

I felt it would educate me also and would be 'informative;, an experience, as we must also know what kind of works, professions, people are into, what sort of ways to earn their living.


The first person I met was going to another city for sale of 'chikan embroidery goods' in an exhibition that runs for months, was taking 12 employees, even cook, as they stay for the period. It was interesting conversation as we talked at length during train journey.

The second was a man who deals in sale of tyres, mostly trucks, and not just new but old and recycled too. The third is a youth whose job fascinated me most--maintenance of backhoe machines, excavators, equipment used in mining, a big team under him in a neighbouring state

The fourth person has an has agency of newspapers and magazines that he runs in a metro near his city, goes 20 km everyday in the morning, returns at night, doesn't seem to be earning big but was quite happy with his job.

Next, a youth who conducts speech therapy, helps youths who stammer and stutter. Very interesting jobs and great insight about works, careers. Then, a guy I met, who works for a medical company, covers 3 states and earns well though he is constantly on the move.

A bakery shop owner, a woman who has got teaching job and is shifting to other city with kids. A man working with a caterer, supervisory work. The tenth, a guy doing project work for students, couldn't talk much. Long list. An aphrodisiac seller too, very interesting guy

Widely travelled person, hailing from Allahabad, has relatives in Lucknow and Bhopal, has seen almost every important town in different states, cautioned that one should never go to quacks or buy 'shilajit', as it is always fake. I promised him that I would never buy 'shilajit'.

READ: Vilification of Indian Muslims is a clever political strategy

Then, a guy in hardware business who unlike other traders [who say terrible, too bad], didn't complain and said business was okay. May be, hardware not as affected or he is lucky or more patient. Poverty cuts across all sections of the society and there are poor, unemployed in all..

..sections, communities. A community less in govt jobs, naturally tries harder elsewhere. See how people trying to earn a living, how they strive, how hard or innovative some are. But on the other hand, often people form opinions, inherit prejudices and don't even try to find out.

This is just a short thread, in fact, interaction with the people, one can write posts on them, it gives insight about society. I met the man who deals in glass work and also sells very high quality small mirrors, the sort of mirrors which you would like to buy immediately.

READ: Stop generalizing, calling Indian Muslims 'backward'

Statistically, there has been separate posts about how Indian Muslims are improving on social indicators, and have even done much better than several other communities. Besides, social evils ranging from female foeticide to dowry deaths are least among Muslims. This post was about the need to get rid of assumptions and see reality on the ground.

There are crores of Indian Muslims--over 200 million i.e. 20 crore. There must be a lot more, those running pan shops, eateries, hotels, lawyers, those selling roadside biryani, dealing in computer parts, working as pharmacists, security personnel, software engineers, advertisers, architects, journalists, those in transport, hospitality, government or private jobs, writers, poets, technicians, drivers, artisans, farmers, scrap dealers, teachers, sell chicken or run mutton shops, entrepreneurs, salesmen or running small-scalle industrial units.

So, my advice--shun your prejudices, learn about Indian Muslims.