"Stop All Communalism" an unequivocal call-out on Kandhamal Solidarity Day from Bangalore

Kandhamal Solidarity Day Bangalore

– Jagadish G Chandra

Bangalore these days is purging itself its long held image, that it is a city that is impervious to what happens around the world. The gathering on 25th August ’14 to remember the Communal Carnage of 2007 & 2008 in Odisha’s Kandhamal district is any indication, then the ordinary working people citizens of this city are surely shrugging off their old habits.

Unlike the old times when activists struggled to organise solidarity protest actions for various people’s causes, both pertaining to India and other countries, now there is a marked change for the better in the numbers participating in such events. While the mammoth gathering of 17th July event in support of the Palestinians may remain a benchmark for an event for a long time to come, but the willing participation of the people on 25th August to express solidarity to the Victims of Communal Violence in Kandhamal, from a cross section of classes, castes, religion, gender and nationality instils a ray of hope for the struggles ahead.

It is no exaggeration to admit that we in Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns-Bangalore & New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) have had protests with pathetic numbers, sometimes not going beyond the count of fingers in one’s hands. But it was a welcome change for the organisers to be received by dozens of young female participants from Mount Carmel College who had gathered well ahead of the start time on 25th August.

While the number might not have been more than 120 or so, but it was the quality of participation that was unique. One notable and commendable fact was that it surely did not turn out to be a protest event just by Christians because during Kandhamal violence Dalith Christians and Adivasis were the main targets. As mentioned earlier young & elderly from all religious backgrounds were there.

Speaker after speaker spoke on the issue of growing intolerance orchestrated by the Right Wing Hinduthva forces around the country, and how the majoritarianism and communal-ism is creeping into the administration, police & courts, which is increasingly eroding the values of non-partisan, secular ethos that were envisaged in the Constitution of India.

Among the speakers were, Rev. Prasad, Fr. Ambrose Pinto,(Pricipal, St. Aloysius College) , Raj Bharth Patta (SCMI), Debapriya (Student,Mount Carmel), Cynthia Stephen (Social Policy Researcher), Azharuddin Khan Chikmagalur (Political Science Researcher), Balaji Shanmughavel ( May17 movement), Manohar Ranganathan (Human Rights Activist) , Vishwanath (New Socialist Alternative & Dudiyora Horaata), Rini Ralte (United Theological College). Jagadish G Chandra, the convenor of Peoplers’ Solidarity Concerns-Bangalore conducted the event and Narasimha Murthy, Bangalore’s dedicated Human Rights Defender gave the Vote of Thanks.

Both Ambrose Pinto and Raj Bharath Patta, reiterated their unequivocal stand that All Communal Attacks must be stopped, and the democratic and progressive forces in this country must actively campaign for secular values in the society.Vishwanath of New Socialist Alternative/ದುಡಿಯೋರ ಹೋರಾಟ, in his emotional self brought the issue of Kambalapalli carnage and questioned to say

” ಹಾಗಾದರೆ ನಾವು ದಲಿತರು ಈ ಕೋರ್ಟ್ ತೀರ್ಪನ್ನ ಏನು ಅಂತಾ ಅರ್ಥ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣ? ಕಂಬಾಲಪಲ್ಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ 14 ವರುಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಆ ಅಮಾನುಶ ಪೈಶಾಚಿಕ ಕೃತ್ಯ ನಡೆಯಲೇಇಲ್ಲವಾ? ನನ್ನ 7 ಅಣ್ಣ-ತಮ್ಮಂದಿರು ದಲಿತರು ಸುಟ್ಟು ಕರಕಲು ಆಗಲಿಲ್ಲವಾ? ಈ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ದಲಿತರಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಈರೀತಿ “ನ್ಯಾಯನಾ”, ಅನ್ಯಾಯ ನಮಗೆ ಫುಲ್ಲೀ ರಿಸರ್ವಡಾ? ಇದಾ ದಲಿತರಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿರೋ ಡೆಮಾಕ್ರಸಿ?”

(In that case how should we the Dalits in this country understand the court’s judgement on Kambaalapalli massacre? Should we think the ghastly & demonic carnage never happened in Kambaalapalli? That my 7 Dalit brothers were never burnt alive? Is it the case that in this country only Daliths get this type of “justice”? Or is it that injustice is fully reserved for Daliths? Is this the Democracy that Daliths get?-Vishwanath)

The main speaker at the event was Meena Kandasamy;Poet, Author and Political Activist who specially travelled from Chennai to participate and express her solidarity to the victims of Kandhamal Violence, Meena emphasised on the need to unite our forces to thwart all the attempts to gang up against the vulnerable and the marginalised in the society.

She was rightly scathing in her speech about the present government at the centre led by BJP’s Modi and said that ” We have to remember Kandhamal and Godhra and all the atrocities of communal violence that have taken place. Corporate mainstream media does a complete whitewashing, for instance not even a single newspaper of the day carried any info about Kandhamal and what happened there six years ago. It was the same corporate media that whitewashed Modi and made him this Prime Minister in waiting, and he won. It was the same media that made people forget about Godhra 2002 when they went to the polling booth. So it is important that we remember all the atrocities that have been committed and keep reminding them to ourselves and the public at large.”

Meena very indignantly said “Kandhamal is also a question that we need to revisit today in the relevance of the politics of Hindutva and its present agenda. The entire argument about Love Jihad that has hit the headlines today is not very different from the politics of hate behind Kandhamal. There is a certain Hindutva neurosis and hatred and paranoia about the demographic question. There is an angst that Muslim population is increasing, that’s the reason for rumour of love jihad. We know that such rumours can be very threatening if we look at what happened in Kandhamal. Both are about the Hindu insecurity against conversions. The idea that Christian population was increasing due to conversion caused the destruction of 300 churches and the displacement of thousands of Dalit and Adivasis and Christian people”

In concluding her excellent speech the author of Gypsy Goddess said “Kandhamal is also a story about the question of justice, she quoted Teesta Setalvad, the renowned human rights defender, who says that only 2 of 27 murder trials had any conclusion,that only 3000 of the over 11,300 named in 800 FIRs were brought to trial. Giving a feminist perspective Meena said, how Kandhamal has to be seen as a feminist issue, about how the rapes of women were covered up, how the bodies of gang-raped victims were burned. So this communal violence and its effect on women has to be condemned.

Meena Kandasamy was emphatic in saying that Kandhamal, is a story that recurs all through Indian history. Whether it is Kilvenmani, Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe, or the recent Kambalapalli judgement, the ruling class, the upper caste, the majority of right wing Hindus who commit the atrocity are allowed to go scot free. We should force the judiciary to stay true.

As the convenor of Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns-Bangalore from New Socialist Alternative, I am immensely grateful and personally thank all those men, women, young and elderly, believers (of various faiths) & non-believers, Human Rights Defenders who gathered to say “No More Kandhamals, Not Here-Not Anywhere”

People United can never be defeated
Solidarity for ever

Jagadish G Chandra is a political & human rights activist based in Bangalore. He is the convenor of Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns-Bangalore from New Socialist Alternative.

Book Review: Curfewed Night

Curfewed NightL​ike many youths, who grew up in Kashmir, during the beginning of the long and gruesome fight for secession in the 1980s, Basharat Peer determined the thought of slinging a Kalashnikov over his shoulder and fight against, what many Kashmiris view as a brutal occupation of their land and freedom.

Peer writes, he wanted to cross the ‘Line of Control’, get trained and fight. However, his fancy romanticism with the gun, guerrillas and their Russian made boots comes to an abrupt end, when his grandfather, upon finding out his plan, calmly asks, “how do you think this old man can deal with you death?” Peer writes, “his words hit me like the burst of a water cannon.”

Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer is an intensely passionate memoir about the struggle for freedom and justice in what one former U.S president described as the “world’s most dangerous place.” The story of Kashmir here is set against the backdrop of Peer’s life and ​his life is ​interwoven in the melancholy of his homeland and its inhabitants.

​​Peer’s narrative takes the reader through the beautiful and striking landscape of Kashmir, ​the orchards of apples and apricots, the poplars, the willows and the canoes over the Dal lake. A paradise on earth indeed, but one which has, ironically, a bit of its own hell.

The Kashmir described here is torn between the historical baggage and the incendiary politics of two nuclear armed countries – India and Pakistan. India’s armed forces have check posts across this Kashmir, they search and monitor every movement, they barge into people’s houses at nights, days and noons. They rape brides on their first nights, they seek to control hearts and minds, but the people here cry out in unison – ‘Azaadi’.

Amidst these sufferings, which is largely Muslim, Peer also talks about the displacement of Kashmir’s indigenous Hindu population. The conflict has had painful consequences on them as they have become the victims of circumstances.

The book is an excellent merger of reportage and story telling, the tradition I have always admired. It is a must read for anyone, who is interested in Kashmir, but especially recommended for those, whose jingoism takes precedence over reason and facts.

Arrested for being seated while national anthem was played in the theatre

Salman_Zalman

Statement by concerned citizens on the arrest of Salman and demanding his immediate release

On August 20th night 12 pm Salman a student and social activist from Trivandrum was picked up by the police from his home in Peroorkada. The immediate accusation against him was that he had insulted the national anthem while it was being played in a theatre, where he had gone to watch a movie. Later his comments on Facebook where he questions nationalism as a philosophical and political concept were also pointed out as a reason for his arrest. It is also being reported that there was a deliberate attempt to frame him by some right-wing hindutva groups and that they are the ones who are behind his arrest.

There is a lack of clarity regarding his arrest and the way it was conducted, late in the midnight hours of August 20th. It is clear, though, that none of the customary norms were followed during his arrest. Even after it was said that Salman was taken to the Thampanoor station, the police themselves later denied this. For a whole night and the next day even Salman’s parents had no access to him. In fact, Salman was taken from prison to prison like it is usually done with so called ‘notorious terrorists’ and the police refused to give out any information about him both to his parents and to the lawyers who had contacted them. It was onlyon August 21st evening that it was made known that there was an FIR recorded against him and that a case was registered under IPC act 124 A and 66 A charging him of sedition and of sending offensive messages through communicative service. Though there were many other students with him it is surprising that it was only Salman who was picked out and arrested.

The media too automatically reiterated the police version in their reports, without attempting to investigate into the case, in spite of the fact that police injustice towards Muslim youth is growing day by day. Further, we want to bring attention to the fact that vigilante right-wing hindutva groups are at present conducting an extremely abusive hate campaign against Salman on Facebook. The abusive comments on his Facebook wall have become so vicious that some even threaten to rape the women who are in support of him.

We strongly condemn the arrest and inhumane treatment of Salman Zalman at the hands of the Kerala police and call for his immediate release. We consider the charging of IPC 124 A (sedition) on him as a gross over stretching of the sedition act to encroach into the rights of a citizen to criticize the nation.We also condemn the abusive campaign that is being conducted on Facebook against him and the discriminatory nature of the media reporting, which is aiding such human right abuses.

Salman Zalman

Salman Zalman

It must also be noted that whatever the nature of the crime, the withdrawal of constitutionally established human rights is extremely problematic and illegal. We would surely connect the arrest and incarceration of Salman to the way in which Muslim youth in Kerala and elsewhere are being constantly oppressed by the criminal justice system (please remember the case of Muhsin, another trivandramite youth fabricated in a “letter bomb” case from which he was acquitted only after seven years). To avoid such illegal incarceration and delayed justice we demand that he should be allowed to use his fair legal rights as promised by the constitution.

His arrest is all the more troublesome because he was a student who has been a part of many human rights campaigns in the past and was even an artist in the play that was held in protest against UAPA in front of the Secretariat on August 14th. His clandestine arrest and subsequent secret incarceration and denial of legal access for a whole day and night reeks of police impunity, which selectively target the youth who question state ideology. We must remember that, at this moment, it has become a norm to first arrest, torture and incarcerate Muslims before allowing them to seek any kind of justice. This is sheer discrimination and we urge everyone to come together to condemn the arrest of Salman and to demand his immediate release.

Sa'adat Hasan Manto: How I write stories


Saadat Hasan Manto

–  by Sa’adat Hasan Manto

Honorable ladies and gentlemen!
I’ve been asked to explain how I write stories.
This “how” is problematic. What can I tell you about how I write stories?

It is a very convoluted matter. With this “how” before me I could say I sit on the sofa in my room, take out paper and pen, utter bismillah, and start writing, while all three of my daughters keep making a lot of noise around me. I talk to them as I write, settle their quarrels, make salad for myself, and, if someone drops by for a visit, I show him hospitality. During all this, I don’t stop writing my story.

If I must answer how I write, I would say my manner of writing is no different from my manner of eating, taking a bath, smoking cigarettes, or wasting time.

Now, if one asked why I write short stories, well, I have an answer for that. Here it goes:

I write because I’m addicted to writing, just as I’m addicted to wine. For if I don’t write a story, I feel as if I’m not wearing any clothes, I haven’t bathed, or I haven’t had my wine.

The fact is, I don’t write stories; stories write me. I’m a man of modest education. And although I have written more than twenty books, there are times when I wonder about this one who has written such fine stories – stories that frequently land me in the courts of law.

Minus my pen, I’m merely Saadat Hasan, who knows neither Urdu, nor Persian, English or French.

Stories don’t reside in my mind; they reside in my pocket, totally unbeknownst to me. Try as hard as I might to strain my mind hoping for some story to pop out, trying equally hard to be a short story writer, smoke cigarette after cigarette, but my mind fails to produce a story. Exhausted, I lie down like a woman who cannot conceive a baby.

As I’ve already collected the remuneration in advance for a promised but still unwritten story, I feel quite vexed. I keep turning over restlessly in bed, get up to feed my birds, push my daughters on their swing, collect trash from the house, pick up little shoes scattered throughout the house and put them neatly in one place – but the blasted short story taking it easy in my pocket refuses to travel to my mind, which makes me feel very edgy and agitated.

When my agitation peaks, I dash to the toilet. That doesn’t help either. It is said that every great man does all his thinking in the toilet. Experience has convinced me that I’m no great man, because I can’t think even inside a toilet. Still, I’m a great short story writer of Pakistan and Hindustan – amazing, isn’t it?

Well, all I can say is that either my critics have a grossly inflated opinion of me, or else I’m blinding them in the clear light of day, or casting a spell over them.

Forgive me, I went to the toilet…The plain fact is, and I say this in the presence of my Lord, I haven’t the foggiest idea how I write stories.

Often when my wife finds me feeling totally defeated and out of my wits, she says, “Don’t think, just pick up your pen and start writing.”

So advised by her I pick up my pen and start writing, with my mind totally blank but my pocket crammed full of stories. All of a sudden a story pops out on its own.

This being the case, I’m forced to think of myself as not so much a writer of stories but more as a pickpocket who picks his own pocket and then hands over its contents to you. You can travel the whole world but you won’t find a greater idiot than me.

Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, UW-Madison; 2013. These translations were published in The Journal of Urdu Studies. This English translation was first published online by Scroll.

This short story has been published under the Creative Commons license.

U. R. Ananthamurthy no more

U. R. Ananthamurthy (Photo credit: Roy Sanai/Tehelka)

Bangalore: Renowned writer and Jnanpith awardee U. R. Ananthamurthy, passed away in a hospital here on Friday, where he was undergoing dialysis for kidney failure.

The condition of 82-year-old writer, admitted 10 days ago, had deteriorated for the past few days and was closely monitored for infection and fever, and was undergoing treatment on multi-support system.

“…Ananthamurthy has been unwell for a while, he had multiple problems including kidney disease for which he had been on dialysis for the last few years…,” Manipal Hospital Medical Director & Chairman – Medical Advisory Board H Sudarshan Ballal told reporters earlier today.

According to doctors, Mr. Murthy’s “condition had deteriorated in the last day or so.”

Born on December 21, 1932 in Melige, a tiny hamlet near Thirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district, Udupi Rajgopalacharya Ananthamurthy was the sixth of the eight Jnanpith awardees from Karnataka. For his readers and admirers, his work came to symbolize humanity and its courage in questioning cultural norms. Best known is his 1966 novel, Samskara, a story that asks: Can culture survive only if it is followed with blind fervour?

A Padma Bhushan award winner, Ananthamurthy was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. The Man Booker committee called him as, “one of the most important representatives of the “Navya” or “New Movement” in the literature of the Kannada language.”

A vocal opponent of mindless bigotry and fascism of every kind, Ananthamurthy became an ardent critic of Narendra Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and said he would leave the country if Modi won the election and became the Prime Minister of India. Explaining his views on Modi, he wrote that, “Modi symbolises all the greed that development has brought—heartlessness, the lack of sense of duty, and intelligence. It has all been lost to development. And they become blind to hungry children and mothers, schools without teachers, bad roads. It is a nightmare. Modi stands for that more than anyone else…Modi has built his political fortune by giving a big bali during the Gujarat riots. He silenced the Muslims.”

U. R. Ananthamurthy was said to be not keeping well for more than a year now. In one of his last interviews published by Mint in April this year, the writer said that, “I have lost my kidneys. I was on peritoneal dialysis for a year. The man who attended to me had to wash his hands 10 times or have gloves on, which was very expensive.”

He is survived by his wife, Esther, and two children, Sharat and Anuradha.

My story of captivity

– by Hafeez Nomani

Hafeez NaumaniThirty five years ago when this scribe was not even 35, on 13 May 1966, first part of the story of my captivity was published in Nida-e-Millat. This was based on those nine months day-and-night observations and experiences during captivity that was our ‘reward’ from the government for bringing out a special issue on Aligarh Muslim University.

In those days not only did the Government not like Nida-e-Millat but it was brazenly hostile. The proofs of its hostility were the 25 cases filed, after this episode, against my elder brother Maulana Atiqur Rehman Sanbhali as the editor and against this scribe as the printer and publisher in all of which the Government had to bite dust.

I have not used the word, ‘hostile’ on impulse. Among dozens of proofs of it is a particular case that substantiates my point. The known freedom fighter Mrs. Subhadra Joshi had published an article in the weekly Link. We carried the translation of this write up in Nida-e-Millat mentioning the names of the writer and the publication.

When the case against us for publishing this essay was brought before the court, we produced, in our defence, original copy of the newspaper in which it had been carried. But even such a concrete proof had no impact on the outcome. When one of the most Islamophobic Chief Judicial Magistrates of his time who was presiding over the case was asked by our benefactor and lawyer Mr. Abdul Mannan if there was any piece of legislation that allowed criticism against the Government in Hindi and English but made such exposition a criminal act if published in Urdu, he had no answer. May be he was just a puppet whose strings were being pulled by the very hands that had the power to promote, demote and transfer him and thus he was forced to defile the judge’s chair in the name of justice.

At about 9pm the door of my residence was forced opened and, with torches in their hands, half a dozen of high officials of CID, Incharges of Qaisar Bagh, Ameenabad and Hazrat Gang police stations, along with 115 armed personnel of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), barged in without any permission or warning. With them was also a fruit seller who lived at the back of my house and was so heavily drunk that he fell unconscious at the door. We later found out that he was a ‘great witness’ of the great police who was brought to his thumb impression on the documents recording the proceedings of the police.

Syed Muhammad Haleem and Muhammad Hakeem Warsi were with me at that time as, because of the work going on, I had sent my wife and children to my father’s house.

‘Who is Hafeez Noumani?’ One of them enquired. I came forward and introduced myself. In response he said that he was the DYSP CID and showing me official orders told us that none of us was allowed to touch even a single piece of paper in the office. He further said that the Administration had learnt from sources that some of the contents in this issue were objectionable and, for the time being, their publication was being stopped.

‘Shall we consider ourselves under arrest?’ I enquired, upon which he replied that no decision had been taken by then and that was to be decided after consultation with High Officials. From his response it was obvious to us that we were in custody. We explained to them everything about the newspaper and handed over the complete and incomplete newspaper to them.

Six officers came downstairs one of them holding a copy in his hand. He asked me to open its page number 33. I told him quite bluntly that after the newspaper being taken in custody it was his property. ‘I will not even touch it’. One of them then suggested to his colleague that someone who could read Urdu be called. They ran upstairs and then went outside enquiring if some Urdu-knowing person was available. One constable told them that a Head Constable at Ameenabad Police Station could read Urdu. A Jeep was sent for him. When he arrived he was handed the newspaper and asked to read. It was a poem by Akhtar Bastavi. With his poor knowledge of Urdu the wretched person readout what he could, some of which could hardly be understood by anyone. However, he was asked to stop at a word, ‘Raqeeb’ (meaning rival).

‘What does it mean?’ He was asked.

‘Dus[h]man’ [enemy] came the answer.

‘That is enough.’ The DYSP opined; ie a word wrongly translated, wrongly pronounced and wrongly read would serve the purpose. And this is what happened. On the basis of one word, Raqeeb, we were arrested.

Roodad-e-Qafas has been published in Urdu and Hindi by Alfurqan Book Depot, Nazirabad, Lucknow. This excerpt was translated into English by UrduMediaMonitor.com

Myth of love jihad: What’s faith got to do with it?

Love-jihad

Communal politics, communal violence all over used women’s bodies as the site of contestation and community honor. This is the worst expression of patriarchal values inherent in the communal politics. We recall that it was the presentation of a road accident between boys of two religious communities that was propagated as an issue of the honor of ‘our girl’ being violated by the ‘other’. The Panchayats were mobilized; openly flaunting the arms, and Muzaffarnagar violence was orchestrated. And that’s not the end of the abuse of ‘our women-their women’ mind set. Post Muzaffarnagar violence, UP is abuzz with various activities aimed at polarizing the communities using this issue.

A Madarassa teacher stated that she was abducted and raped, by Muslim men. She kept changing her versions and later said that she had eloped with her lover. This Raksha Bandhan day (August 2014) hordes of RSS volunteers spread in different parts of Western UP, tying Rakhi (sacred thread, traditionally tied by sister on brothers wrist) to the people and warning them of the threat of the Muslim youth wooing away their ‘girls’ for love jihad. ‘Muslim youth teasing and luring Hindu girls’ has been made the central part of propaganda in Western UP currently.

While the Prime minister states from the ramparts of Red Fort that there should be a moratorium on communalism-casteism for ten years, his party colleague, Chandramohan, a BJP spokesperson from UP says that “incident like that of the madrassa teacher are a part of ‘global love jihad’, which targets vulnerable Hindu girls.” In BJP’s parent organization, RSS, after the shakhas are dispersed the volunteers go from house to house and tell the people about ‘dangers of love jihad’ and need to protect ‘our girls’!

ANHAD report on Muzzafarnagar violence, ‘Evil stalks the land’ exposes the falsehood of ‘Muslim boy talking to Hindu girls to lure them to marry and so to convert to Islam’. Incidentally this was the major concoction around which the riot was engineered. One Baba Rijakdas has come up in Saharanpur in Western UP. He is supposed to cure the love smitten girls, if the boy happens to be a Muslim!

The word “love Jihad’ which played a major role in mobilizing the Hindu community for violence, has a strange history. As such the two components of this word Love and Jihad, who so ever manufactured it, have a very different meaning. Since 9/11 2001 the word Jihad has been employed in the popular media in a very negative way and that meaning has by now become part of the ‘social common sense’.

Contrary to the meaning of the word Jihad in the Holy Quran, which means striving and struggle in the way of God, it came be projected as mindless killing of non-Muslims. The word Love Jihad must be a creation of an evil genius and it has come to be used to further demonize the Muslim community. The propaganda has been that some Muslim organizations are funding Muslim youth, to lure the non Muslim girls, to marry them and to increase the Muslim population. The rumor is being spread that youth are given money to buy motorbike, mobile etc and lure the non Muslim girls.

While doing Google search, if you type, ‘why Hindu Girls are’, the other sentence which pops up on the search engine is ‘are attracted to Muslim boys”! Recently in Maharashtra, a group “Hindu Raksha Samiti” has been claiming to save Hindu religion by breaking up the Hindu Muslim couples, if the girl happens to be a Hindu girl. Not that there are too many such couples, just a suspicion and these self appointed guardians of Hinduism pounce on the boy. A booklet in Marathi on Love Jihad shows a Muslim boy riding the Motor bike, with Hindu girl riding pillion. The word has been so popularized that even a Christian group in Kerala allied with the Sangh progeny, VHP to stop this non existing phenomenon.

In India the word began to be used in coastal Karnataka, Mangalore couple of years ago, and in parts of Kerala. It was Sri Ram Sene founded by RSS trained Swayam Sevak, Pramod Mutalik, which started attack on Hindu girl-Muslim boy couples. The marriages of such combinations started being looked at with suspicion and if parents were opposed to the marriage, Sri Ram Sene would help to take the matter to the court also.

The pretext was that the girl has been forced to marry the Muslim boy. Funnily in the case of Sijalraj and Azghar the judge of Karnatak High Court, went on to give the ruling, that the facts (Love Jihad) had “national ramifications… concern security, besides the question of unlawful trafficking of women,”! So it ordered the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police to hold a thorough investigation into to ‘love jihad’. Pending that, the girl was asked to stay with her parents. The case was that of a simple Hindu Muslim marriage and the girl stood to her version and refused to bow to the social pressures. The police investigation showed that the notion of ‘love Jihad’ is a cooked up one with no substance whatsoever.

In a similar case earlier the Kerala High court while hearing the appeal from two parents passed a similar order. Two Hindu girls had eloped and got converted to Islam and planned to get married. Kerala court also ordered the police authorities to investigate this phenomenon. The police investigation again showed that there is no such phenomenon as Love Jihad. The organizational promotion of such marriages is a hoax but has become part of social understanding.

Shri Ram Sene propaganda stated that over 4000 Hindu girls have been lured into conversions. This concoction was aggressively put across through various mechanisms. This laughable, figment of imagination spread like wild fire and frightened the parents. The trajectory of many of these girls who initially state about their love for the boy and voluntary conversion, changes many a times after they are forced to stay with their parents. Under a sort of emotional blackmail, some girls give in and later say that they were brain washed, shown a Jihadi CD and what not.

We have witnessed such acts in the form of propaganda in Gujarat in the wake of carnage, that ‘Muslim boys are luring Adivasi girls’. There Babu Bajarangi, a VHP-Bajrang Dal activist, who was also a major participant in Gujarat carnage (2002), formed a goon-gang. This gang attacked couples and forced them to separate if they belonged to different religions. All this is presented as defense of religion! As such inter-caste, inter-religious marriages are a normal natural part of a plural society. With rise of the communal politics, these inter-religious marriages are being opposed very dangerously.

We have also the case of Rijwan Ur Rehman married to Priyanka Todi, daughter of an affluent and powerful business magnate of Kolkata. She was forced to turn around under emotional blackmail from parents and relatives. The details were not known, what is known is that later Rijwan Ur Rehman was forced to “commit suicide.” In all such cases the role of police, state machinery, has been totally against the spirit and provisions of law, the protectors of law acting to support the things totally against the law.

Such campaigns against inter-religion, inter-caste marriages are not only against the spirit of national integration they also aim to control the lives of girls in the patriarchal mode. Women’s bodies are made symbols of community honor. In addition the bogey against a minority is whipped up to aid the divisive politics. It is a double bonus for sectarian politics. Since in patriarchal norms women are regarded as property of man and are made to live under the control structure defined by men, such an issue rouses high emotions. The agenda of communal politics targets minorities, Muslims at one level and promotes patriarchal norms at another.

Over a period of time, from being just a mechanism to control the lives of Hindu girls, a tool to ensure that girls don’t have the right to choose their own life partners, this phrase has been used to instigate violence as witnessed in Muzaffarnagar. Most of the pretexts of communal violence are cooked up, gradually manufactured. This term ‘Love Jihad’ by now is being used as a dangerous weapon. Lot of messages on WhatsApp and face book are flying and relating the phenomenon as an international conspiracy of the Muslims. On other side ‘Jodha Akabar’ is being cited as the initial incident of this phenomenon. Clearly one knows that kings used to have such marriages as a part of political alliances, cutting across other boundaries. How cleverly the popular legend of Jodha Akbar is being manipulated!

The politics in the name of religion, the politics of Sangh Parivar here in India or that of Taliban’s in Afghanistan, Islamic fundamentalists, or even Christian fundamentalists all operate on the same wavelength as far as crushing the rights of women is concerned. In line with this starting from Sri Ram Sene, to Babu Bajrangi to those orchestrating violence in Muzaffarnagar, they all operate on the premise, that women are the property of men and their lives have to be controlled. The truth is not the issue here; the myth has been drilled into the thinking of society. This social thinking is being stepped up by the activities of RSS and affiliates who are running door- -to-door campaign to spread the venom of communal hatred.

Girl gangraped in Bangalore, police arrest three

(Photo credit: HT)

(Photo credit: Indian Express)

Bangalore: In yet another incident of gross sexual brutality, a 22-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped by three men, and then held captive in a farmhouse near Tippagondanahalli, 35 km west of Bangalore.

The young survivor, who works as a sales woman in the city, has alleged in her compliant that she was raped by three men, who had earlier offered to drop her home, when she was waiting for a bus near Majestic area, after her work shift on Wednesday night.

The men allegedly took her to a farmhouse near Tippagondanahalli  and raped her through the night. The victim has alleged that she was also raped by the caretaker of the farmhouse.

Though pained and traumatized by the violent savagery of her tormentors, the rape survivor managed to escape from the farmhouse, in a semi-nude state, and flagged down a cab driver and reached the  local Tavarekere police station and lodged a complaint.

The rape survivor and the trio were subjected to medical tests. Preliminary investigations confirmed rape, police said.

The alleged abductors and rapists, Arun Narasimhamurthy Gowda (24), and his friend Kempa Narasimha (36), are said to be from affluent families. And Mahadev alias Mahadevaiah (45), was the caretaker of the farm. Arun, a son of a Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) official, is a cement and steel businessman from Magadi taluk, and Kempa, also from Magadi, is a timber merchant.

“We have arrested all the accused,” DSP (Ramanagar) Lakshmi Ganesh said.

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar bans Sri Ram Sene in the state

Manohar Parrikar (Photo credit: HT)

Manohar Parrikar (Photo credit: HT)

Porvorim: The Goa government has banned the entry of hardline Hindutva outfit Sri Ram Sene from the state, chief minister Manohar Parrikar announced on the floor of the House yesterday.

“I had asked police to prepare a report and it was sent to the collector to ban the entry of Sri Ram Sene in the state. We have banned Sri Ram Sene,” Parrikar said.

Sri Ram Sene’s controversial leader, Pramod Muthalik had announced his plans to setup  a unit of his organisation in Goa last year, though he hadn’t revealed a timeline for its operation.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the All-India Hindu Convention, Muthalik had said that “we had to postpone the launch of the organisation in Goa due to various reasons including the just concluded assembly elections in Karnataka.” He had said that his Belgaum unit head was in touch with around 200 local youth in the state for the cause.

Responding to a question posed by Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai on whether the government had banned the group following opposition demands, Parrikar said Sri Ram Sene has been banned because of its plans to enter the state.

Describing the order banning Sri Ram Sene in Goa as ‘toothless’, Rajya Sabha MP and AICC Secretary Shantaram Naik told reporters that, “the ban order imposed by the Goa Government on Sri Ram Sene is without teeth, unless the order is followed by a regular order by the Central Government under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.”

Founded in the 1960s, the ring wing Hindu nationalist group came to notoriety in 2009, when its members barged into a pub and attacked young women, accusing them of “indecent behaviour” and “an insult to Hindu culture and tradition”.

The attack which garnered wide spread condemnation, brought Sri Ram Sene to the forthwith of national and international attention, with even RSS favouring a ban on the organisation.

Since then, the group has been involved in a spate of violent speeches and actions especially targeted against women, and the minority Muslim and Christian communities.

In 2012, with a clear intention to flare up communal tensions between different communities, its members had raised Pakistan’s national flag on a government building in  Sindgi, near Bijapur, Karnataka and then accused the Muslim community for the mischief. The incident lead to angry protests by Hindu organisations and the stoning of a mosque. Six members of the group were later arrested for “creating communal disharmony.”

Meanwhile, Sri Ram Sene (SRS) workers burnt effigies of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today and staged protests in parts of Karnataka. They said that the group will defy the ban, and added that Muthalik himself would be present for the launch of the unit in Goa.

Police complaint against Subramanian Swamy for "inciting religious hatred"

subramanian swamy

Bangalore: Bangalore Police has registered an FIR against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for “inciting religious hatred”, through his speeches and social media posts between different communities in the country.

In a complaint filed in the JP Nagar police station, the complainants have alleged that Mr. Swamy uses, “blatant lies to deliberately instigate communal hatred between communities,” and has urged the police to take stringent action against him.

“His allegations on social networking site, Facebook are of very inflammatory nature, which could lead to building distrust between communities and divide the peace loving citizens of the country, and lead to communal riots in the country. Specially the regions of Meerut-Muzaffarnagar-Sahranpur are already facing tensions due to other incidents and someone like Swamy making irresponsible comments to promote hatred between Hindus and Muslims adds fuel to Fire,” the complaint states.

Mr. Swamy, who is no stranger to controversy, drew the ire of at least three complainants and irked many more, when he, commenting on the recent  alleged Meerut rape case, posted on his Facebook page that, “this girl was a teacher in a Madarsa on the salary of just 1500, Madarsa official kidnapped her, She was drugged and kept in captivity, Raped many times, Her Fallopian Tube was removed so that she could never become pregnant, She was forcefully converted into Islam, She finds 40 more girls in Madarsa who were told that they will be sent to Saudi Arabia to marry Sheikhs. The girl somehow escaped from their captivity.”

Calling on his followers to act against the alleged rape, his Facebook post further states that, “She isn’t asking for your sympathy, or candle marches for that matter. Just give a minute of your thought to what’s happening in a country where people take pride in religious tolerance, profess mutual trust. And think, what kind of special blind them people are who have their heads sunk deep in the sand, refuse to see the writing on the wall and cry “..don’t give this a communal color” even though the reality begs to differ. Sometimes it’s hard to decide who the real enemy is…The jihadis who are perpetraters of the crime/terror or the ones who try their best to hide those criminals behind the veil of secularism. You decide.”

Speaking to Nasheman, the complainants Mr. Faisal Syed and Mr. Ameen Khan said that, “he is belittling the respectful madrasas and inciting hatred within the peace loving citizens of the country, in times when a small burning coal can escalate into a fire-ball, he should be more responsible while making such outrageous comments”.

The complainants are from the Bangalore-based human rights group, Mission Possible for Justice and Rights (MPJR).

Quoting media sources Mr. Syed further added that, “the Investigating Officer has said that the girl had eloped with her boyfriend, and it was the girl’s father who lodged an FIR against him and three of his family members, alleging that his daughter was abducted”. He asked, “how can Mr. Swamy make such fallacious statements based on flimsy reports while the investigation is still ongoing”.

According to Mr. Syed, the complaints have been lodged in three different police stations so far, and the case is registered under Section 153, 153A (spreading enmity between communities) and 295, 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of Indian Penal Code.


Update 08/16/2014: Though the complainants claim that the Facebook page is a verified account, Mr.  Subramanian Swamy, however, denied its ownership on Twitter today. He tweeted saying, “…Facebook is not maintained by me.”