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Archives for : Minority Rights

National Protest against the Assault on Cattle Economy and Lynching of Dalits and Minorities.


In Memory of Pehlu Khan

|New Delhi| April 3rd 2018 marks one entire year since Pehlu Khan’s death, a dairy farmer from Nooh district of Haryana who was attacked by a group of 200 cow vigilantes affiliated with right-wing Hindutva groups in Alwar, Rajasthan. It is shameful to see that the Rajasthan govt. has still not made the case a priority – to deliver justice to the victims or address the increasing cases of cow vigilantism. There is a growing threat to the power of democratically elected state-government and courts from quasi militant groups such as the gau-rakshaks, who have undermined the Right to Life of individuals and communities, especially in the rural agrarian belt.

Various militant and political outfits such as RSS and VHP have regularly attacked cattle traders under the guise of “gauraksha” (cow protection). Pehlu Khan’s family is still struggling to come to terms with their loss and live a normal life. The delay in this case clearly shows not a lack of evidence, but a lack of will to bring the killers to justice. The role of the local police officials in the subduing and diluting of the cases, including threatening families and friends of the victims of filing false cases, destroying evidence and adopting a strategy of false encounters must also be looked into.

Com. Hannan Mollah stated that since Pehlu Khan’s lynching, over 300 more cases have been reported, the victims were dairy farmers, dalit and Muslim cattle traders, and none of them have received justice even now. It is time for the nation to agitate against such politically motivated murders; as a democracy, India cannot standby as innocent farmers, traders and other social minorities are murdered in broad daylight.

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan continues its demand for justice for these victims, for immediate relief to be provided to the families of the victims of these attacks and strives to provide support to the families of the victims. It also condemns the protection given to these gau-rakshaks who have run havoc across the country, and are visibly operating with the patronage of local and state administration and political groups who have vested interests. Com NK Shukla stated that these repeated attacks on cattle traders and dairy farmers are part of a bigger design to undermine the dairy sector of the country. He further added that these attacks are creating havoc on the lives of the farmers who are already distressed because they are not getting a fair MSP, they are burdened by debts and being pushed to commit suicides.

Maulana Hanif also said that the repeated attacks on the Muslim community in Mewat is a result of a larger political propaganda, he stated that the need of the hour is for all the communities in Mewat to unite and stand as a strong front against such communal forces.

At the protest organized on 3rd April, 2018 at Parliament Street in Delhi, leaders of the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan called for nation-wide struggle against increasing cases of violence meted by right-wing groups in the name of cow-protection and of vendetta against all progressive movements and of continued attacks on dalits and minorities.

It is mentionable that Bhumi Adhikar Andolan had also organised a two day National Convention and Photo Feature on the same issues in March, it was attended by farmers, political leaders, social activists and academicians from all over the country.


Bhumi Adhikar Andolan also announced its support to the call for a countrywide protest called by Jan Ekta, Jan Adhikar Andolan on the completion of 4 years of the Modi Government with the slogan “Pol Khol, Halla Bol!”

The protest was addressed by: N. K Shukla (Joint. Sec AIKS), Phul Singh (State Sec. Haryana AIKS), Com. Hannan Mollah (Gen. Secy. AIKS), Jiten Chaudhary (MP, Lok Sabha, CPIM), KK Ragesh (MP, RS. Kerala, CPIM), Pehlu Khan’s Family, Com. Bharat Singh (State Secy. Uttar Pradesh, AIKS), Maulana Hanif, Shifat Manager (Alwar), Com. Ramesh  (AIKMS). 

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan


National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhawan), All India Kisan Sabha (36, Canning Lane), Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Jan Sangharsh Samanvaya Samiti, Chhatisgarh Bachao Aandolan, All India Kisan Maha Sabha, All India Agricultural Workers Union, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Sanyukt Kisan Sangharsh Samilti, INSAF, Delhi Solidarity Group, Kisan Manch, Bhartiya Kisan Union Arajnitik Asli, Mines Minerals and Peoples, Jan Adhikar Jan Ekta Andolan and Others.

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India – Meet the Lawyers who secured first conviction in cow related mob lynching #mustshare

(L-R) Advocates Mohammad Shadab Ansari, Raju Hembram and Mumtaz Ansari along with members of Alimuddin’s family after judgment in Ramgarh, Jharkhand on 21 March 2018.

MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI /RANCHI: “We had strong evidences and the prosecution as well as the local administration were good and acted positively – this all helped us fight the case through to the successful end,” said young lawyer Advocate Mohammad Shadab Ansari while talking to Caravan Daily over phone on Thursday, day after a court in Jharkhand awarded life sentence to all 11 accused in the June 2017 mob lynching of Mohammad Alimuddin.

Adv. Shadab is member of the team of three young lawyers who fought the case in the Fast Track Court in Ramgarh district where Alimuddin, 55, was lynched by a brutal gang of cow vigilantes that included a BJP office bearer also last year. Other two lawyers of the team are Advocate Raju Hembram and Advocate Mumtaz Ansari. They all are attached to the Human Rights Law Network or HRLN.

In the year 2017, at least one dozen people, mostly Muslims were mercilessly lynched by unlawful gangs of cow vigilantes in various states ruled by BJP. From Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Alwar in Rajasthan to Ballabhgarh in Haryana, Mohammad Akhlaq, Pahlu Khan and Junaid Khan were killed. In none of the dozen-odd cases, accused have been convicted.

But the Ramgarh case stood out thanks to the hard work of the lawyers. In just 10 months, they have secured conviction and sentencing. On March 16, the accused –Nitayanand Mahto, Santosh Singh, Deepak Mishra and Chhotu Verma (members of a gau raksha samiti), Sikander Ram, Vicky Saw, Raju Kumar, Vikram Prasad, Kapil Thakur and Uttam Kumar were convicted and on March 21, all of them were awarded life sentence by judge Om Prakash. One of the accused, Nitayanand Mahto was district media cell in-charge of BJP.

Alimuddin, a driver by profession, is survived by wife, two daughters and a son. They all were present in the court on Wednesday when the judge announced sentencing to the accused.

Excerpts from Interview with Adv. Shadab Ansari:

Who will you give credit for the success in the Ramgarh lynching case?

It is not possible to give credit to one person because many people played role at one level or the other to take the case to the final conclusion. My team had three lawyers. Besides me, there were Advocate Raju Hembram and Advocate Mumtaz Ansari. The local administration played positive and good role. They also deserve credit because they investigated the case professionally and without taking any side. Prosecution also played a good role. Besides, there were many people who supported us.

We focused on the evidence which we had and put it strongly before the court. We all are happy that our hard work has given us success.

What is your comment on the judicial staff and judge of the Fast Track Court?

I cannot comment on the judge. He gave verdict on the basis of evidence presented before him. There was strong evidence against the accused and so we got this good judgment.

The judge has directed the authorities to provide compensation for the victim family. Has he fixed any amount?

No, he has not fixed any amount. The judge observed that the state has failed in its duty to protect the life of the deceased (Alimuddin Ansari). He said the widow of the deceased should be given compensation after enquiry into her financial condition, and it will be fixed by the district services legal authority (DLSA). The judge has not fixed any quantum of amount.

What will you do if the convicts challenge the verdict in higher court?

We will take note of their decision and plan accordingly. Earlier, they had approached the High Court seeking bail. We represented Maryam Khatoon, widow of Alimuddin, and opposed their move and the High Court rejected the bail plea of all.

Source- Caravan Daily

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Yogi Adityanath govt to withdraw 131 cases linked to 2013 Muzaffarnagar, Shamli riots #WTFnews

Opposition criticises move

In what is likely to emerge as another controversial move that could further the communal divide, the Bharatiya Janata Party government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh has reportedly started the process of withdrawing 131 cases linked to the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

While the BJP has maintained it is withdrawing only the false cases linked to the September 2013 riots, in which at least 62 people had died and thousands lost their homes, Opposition parties have termed it an attempt to offer ‘amnesty’ to rioters.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal to Twitter to vent out his frustration over the move, saying that the decision gives the message that the “state will protect murderers and not victims of violence”.

A report in the The Indian Express claimed to have examined documents, which show that a large portion of the 131 cases which are being withdrawn “include charges under Indian Penal Code sections related to ‘heinous’ crimes with a minimum punishment of seven years in jail”.

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

Of them, 13 involve murder under Section 302, 11 involve an attempt to murder under Section 307, 85 involve mischief by fire or explosive substances under Section 436, 55 have charges of dacoity under Section 395 and two of kidnapping Under Section 364 of the Indian Penal Code.

Besides, the report also claimed that there are “16 cases under Section 153A on charges of promoting enmity on religious grounds, and two under Section 295A for deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult a religion or religious beliefs”.

In January, a report claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling withdrawing nine cases against BJP leaders in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

According to the report, Raj Singh, Special Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Department of Justice, had written a letter to the district magistrate seeking information on 13 points, including whether the cases — filed against UP minister Suresh Rana, former Union minister Sanjiv Balyan, MP Bhartendu Singh, MLA Umesh Malik and party leader Sadhvi Prachi — could be withdrawn in public interest. The letter also sought the opinion of the Muzaffarnagar senior superintendent of police.

It is alleged that Rana and Singh along with BJP MLA Sangit Som and a man identified as Chandra Pal participated in a mahapanchayat and incited violence through their speeches in the last week of August 2013.

Although it’s not clear if the nine cases against the BJP leaders are also among the 131 cases which are being withdrawn by the Adityanath government, a report in February had said that Singh had written another letter to district magistrates in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar seeking details of 131 cases linked to the riots.

According to Hindustan Times, in February (and before as well) this year, Balyan, had met Adityanath seeking withdrawal of 402 cases registered largely against Hindus during the riots.

Reports claim that a total of 503 cases were registered against around 1,455 persons (according to some the number is above 2,000) at police stations in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli by the then Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh. The cases were filed against both Hindus and Muslims.

The communal riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar in September 2013 and later spread to the neighbouring Shamli.


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Jharkhand lynching -Want Justice not Revenge: Mariam Ansari

Jharkhand lynching victim Alumuddin Ansari’s widow does not want death penalty for convicted Gau Rakshaks

| Ajit Sahi

In an EXCLUSIVE interview Mariam Khatoon, the widow of Alimuddin Ansari who was killed by gau rakshaks on June 29 last year, has said she does not want her husband’s convicted killers to hang.


“Though they murdered my husband I don’t want them to lose their lives,” she told this reporter at her home shortly after a court here found the 11 accused guilty of killing him. “I would prefer the court gave them life imprisonment.”

The court’s guilty verdict for the 11 men is the first conviction in India for Gau Rakshaks, the self-styled  cow vigilantes linked to the RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal, who have gone on an attack-and-kill spree especially since the BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014.

While the 11 men, at least one of whom was a well-known BJP leader in this district, have been found guilty of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, three of them were additionally found guilty of conspiracy under section 120(B) of the IPC. Sentencing is due on March 21, Wednesday.


Mariam Khatoon implored Prime Minister Modi to put an end to continuing assaults by the Gau Rakshaks on innocent Muslims across India. “There is terror of the gau rakshaks among the Muslims and Mr. Modi should realise it is not good for inter community relations,” she said. “Please, for god’s sake, stop it.”

She also said that the Hindu neighbours in her village were no less supportive of her and her family than the Muslim community. In fact, she said, never had there been any chasm between the Hindus and Muslims in not just the village but in the entire Ramgarh district.

Announcing the verdict in Hindi in open court at about 3.30 pm on Friday, Additional District Judge Om Prakash said that he had considered all evidence and witness statements before ruling the accused as guilty. A full judgement in writing is expected to be delivered along with the sentencing.

Alimuddin was waylaid by Gau Rakshaks at a prominent city thoroughfare on the morning of June 29, 2017, and severely beaten. The Gau Rakshaks accused him of carrying beef in his car. After the police arrived on the scene he was taken to a local hospital where he shortly died of his injuries.

The defendants denied they had assaulted Alimuddin and, instead, claimed he died of in police custody due to police torture. The judge rejected this contention. For hours before the verdict was given the road leading to the courthouse, as well as the court premises itself, was heavily patrolled and guarded by a special police force.

The sprawling lawns of the courthouse teemed with young men in bright saffron shirts, many of whom also sported saffron bandanas around their foreheads, who were obviously supporters of the defendants. Many said they were active members of the Bajrang Dal.

Women and children from the families of the accused crowded the narrow corridor at the end of which lay Judge Prakash’s courtroom. None, however, but the lawyers and a handful of journalists were allowed into the court, right after the 11 accused, their hands tied with a long, single rope, were marched into the massive iron cage inside the courtroom.

Dressed in shirts and trousers, all the accused wore fresh saffron tilaks on their foreheads. This reporter counted at least 22 lawyers on the defendants side, greatly outnumbering the lone public prosecutor flanked by three lawyers that represented Mariam Khatoon’s family.

As the judge pronounced his verdict there was stunned silence all around in the courtroom. In conversations with this reporter before the verdict was read the families as well as the Bajrang Dal supporters had appeared confident that most, if not all, the accused would be acquitted. As the team of lawyers left the courtroom the convicts’ families and supporters crowded around individual lawyers trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Mariam Khatoon and her family were conspicuous by their absence from the courthouse, although about half a dozen of their well-wishers from her village were present. After the verdict was given, they quietly hurried out.

The defendants’ lawyer, M. B. Tripathi, told this reporter they will appeal the conviction at the Jharkhand High Court in Ranchi after the sentencing.


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One of the finest musicians in the world, Ustad Bismillah Khan

All You Need To Know About Ustad Bismillah Khan, The Shehnai Maestro

All You Need To Know About Ustad Bismillah Khan, The Shehnai Maestro

Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan with his grandchildren

NEW DELHI:  Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan was born as Qamaruddin Khan on 21st march, 1916 in a traditional Muslim family of musicians in Bhirung Raut Ki Gali, Dumraon – in present-day Bihar. He was the second son of Paigambar Baksh Khan and Mitthan. His grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan exclaimed “Bismillah” at his birth and Qamaruddin Khan came to be known as Bismillah Khan.

Born to a family of musicians, he was trained by his uncle, the late Ali Baksh ‘Vilayatu’, who was also a shehnai player and attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath Temple. His father was a court musician employed in the Dumrao palace by the Raja of Bhojpur. His great grandfather Ustad Salar Hussain Khan and grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan were also musicians in the Dumrao palace.

Ustab Bismillah Khan single-handedly transformed how the world looked at shehnai. From being an important folk instrument, it suddenly found a place in the heart of Indian music after Ustad Khan’s performance at Calcutta All India Music Conference in 1937.

One of the finest musicians in the world, Ustad Bismillah Khan played to audiences across the globe. Such was his devotion to his art and music that he referred to his shehnai as “begum” after the death of his wife.

ustad bismillah khan

The maestro was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001.

On the eve of India’s Independence in 1947, Bismillah khan performed at the Red Fort in Delhi. He also performed here on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony in 1950. His performance soon became an integral part of the cultural programme during Independence Day celebrations in years to come. Doordarshan would regularly telecast his recital along with the Prime Minister’s address from Red Fort in Delhi.

Apart from shehnai concerts and recitals, Ustad Bismillah Khan was associated with films as well. He acted in Satyajit Ray’s much acclaimed Jalsaghar and played the shehnai in Goonj Uthi Shehnai, a 1959 film directed by Vijay Bhatt. National Award winning director Goutam Ghose directed a documentary on his life titled Sang-e-Meel Se Mulaqat. Most recently his music was incorporated in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar starring Ranbir Kapoor. AR Rehman, who won the Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, was the music director of the film.

The maestro was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001.

Ustad Bismillah Khan’s last wish, to be able to perform at the India Gate as a tribute to the martyrs, remained unfulfilled after he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

A day of national mourning was declared by the government on his death. He was buried along with his shehnai under a neem tree at Fatemaan burial ground in old Varanasi with a 21-gun salute from the Indian Army.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, instituted the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar in 2007, in his honour, which is conferred to young artists in the field of music, theatre and dance.

On his 102nd birth anniversary, Google paid tribute to the musician with a doodle. His music will remain till the end of time, the way he had famously prophesied, “Even if the world ends, the music will still survive.”

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Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa jumps off water tank in Kurukshetra, dies

Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, 52, committed suicide on Tuesday by jumping off a water tank at his native village Thaska Ali in Kurukshetra district.

Khalsa has been demanding release of Sikh radicals who have completed their jail term but are still lodged in various prisons across India.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Kurukshetra superintendent of police Abhishek Garg said: “He (Khalsa) jumped off the village water tank and was declared dead at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash government hospital here. In the preliminary investigation, it was found that he was demanding release of some people”.

Police have registered a case under section 174 of the CrPc. The body will be handed over to the family after the autopsy.

Police said Khalsa had climbed atop the water tank around 1pm after being presented a ‘siropa’ by the family members of Sikhs lodged in jails. After shouting slogans, Khalsa jumped off the tank.

Apprehending protests by Khalsa supporters, police have stepped up vigil in the area.

Khalsa had been seeking the release of seven Sikh prisoners, including those convicted for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.. In November 2013, he went on a 44-day hunger strike at a gurdwara in Punjab’s Mohali. He ended his strike on December 27, 2013 after reportedly getting an assurance from the government.

However, when the detainees were not released, he restarted his hunger stir on November 14, 2014.

Hindustan times

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“…Murder Me, Set My Home on Fire, But in My Veins Runs the Waters from the Ganges…


15th Frida Laski Memorial Lecture

 Senior journalist Saeed Naqvi expressed anguish at being a Muslim in India today, by quoting the late Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza.

He choked on words as he recited from Raza: my name is like that of a Muslim, murder me and set my home on fire but in my veins runs the water from the Ganges.

Fill the palm of your hand with my blood and throw it on the face of Mahadev and tell that yogi-Mahadev take this Ganga back now for it is become part of a Turk and runs through his despicable body like blood:

mera naam musalman jaisa ha,i mujhko qatl karo aur mere ghar meiin aag laga do, lekin meri rag-rag meiin ganga ka paani daudh raha hai, mere lahoo se chullu bhar mahadev ke munh par phenko aur uss yogi se keh do- mahadev ab iis ganga ko vapas le lo, yeh zalil turkon ke badan meiin gadaa gaya, lahu ban kar daudh raha hai.

Naqvi is in pain as he watches fundamentalists both Hindu and Muslim drag the rug of living together from under the feet of Indian society.

Saeed delivered the 15th Frida Laski Memorial Lecture in Lucknow this year. The talk was titled sham-e-haram ho ya diya somnath ka a line from the poetry of Mir Taqi Mir who was born in Agra in 1723. Mir wrote this about Varanasi saying that the splendor of its beauty lights up everything whether it is the Kaaba or the lamp at the Somnath temple.

us ke faroġh-e-husn se jhamke hai sab meiin nur, sham-e-haram ho yā ho diyā somnāt kā

Frida was a birth control advocate, a great friend of India and wife of Harold Laski, a London School of Economics (LSE) professor. Harold was also chairman of the British Labour Party in 1946. Their daughter Diana nearly married VK Krishna Menon, once the second most powerful man in Indian politics after Jawaharlal Nehru. Menon was one of Harold’s favourite students at the LSE in the 1930s.

“The base of our existence was all about appreciating each other. Today when I talk about times in which I grew up I feel like I am telling lies. As if I am making up stories. This is the extent of cultural damage that politics has done to us,” he said.

Yet he does not tire of repeating how Hindus and Muslims have been so full of admiration for each other. How adorable Urdu poets have found Rama, Krishna and the city of Varanasi. It is nothing but love for this land that made Amir Khusro, the 13th century poet burst into song at the sight of endless fields in western Uttar Pradesh carpeted with the mustard crop, and at the repeated call of the koel and cuckoo birds.

Nazeer Akbarabadi from the 18th century has written with abandon about his love for Krishna and his poetry is popular with both Hindus and Muslims.

An evergreen popular bhajan is man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj where the devotee pines for a glimpse of his creator. It is from the 1952 film Baiju Bawra and written by Shakeel Badayuni, sung by Mohammad Rafi to music composed by Naushad. Hasrat Mohani who died in 1953 shared his love for Krishna in numerous verses and made pilgrimages to Mathura during the Janmashtami celebrations.

It makes Naqvi sad to see people from the Hindu and Muslim communities drift away and to look upon each other with suspicion today. It took more than a thousand years to nurse a hectic cultural commerce between the Hindu and Muslim way of life that became the envy of the world but is now threatened by fundamentalists belonging to both communities.

That does make him sad but not pessimistic as there must be something, he says quoting poet Allama Iqbal that prevents our existence from being wiped out by the age old resentment of the world against us:

kutchh baat hai ki mit thii nahin hastii humaari, sadiyon raha hai dushman daure zaman hamara

Once again Mohsin Kakorvi was quoted as the poet who described the cosmic in ecstasy at being told of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Then, the poet imagines the clouds dancing all the way from Kashi to Mathura in search of a glimpse of Krishna.

Saeed Naqvi gives another example, of Shaikh Ali Hazin who came to Varanasi in 1750 from Isfahan, Iran and found it difficult to leave the city.

Wrote Hazin that he cannot part from Banaras as every Brahmin here looks like a son of Ram and Lakshman:

az banaras na rawam, maabad aam ast iinja, har brahman pisare lakshmam o ram ast iinja

When Mirza Ghalib’s pension was stopped, he began his travels from Delhi to Calcutta to petition the East India Company to renew his dues. On his way he took a break at Varanasi in 1828 and was inspired to stay on to pen a long poem called chiragh-e-dair, the lamp of the temple.

To the 19th century poet, Banaras was like a lovely maiden who looks at her beauty mirrored every day in the waters of the Ganga River. He called the city the Kaaba of Hindustan where sacred music is made from conch shells:

ibaadat khanae naqoosian ast hama na kaaba-e-Hindustan ast

Another example is that of Bismillah Khan who played the shehnai with utter devotion at the Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.

Naqvi regrets that most members of the Muslim clergy and some intellectuals too do not encourage this kind of living together between Hindus and Muslims. No wonder not one line can be found anywhere today in praise of the clergy, by an Urdu poet.

While the media is quick to make headline news of a riot between Hindus and Muslims, not much mention is made of the everyday encounter between people of both communities who like living with each other. Thousands people from different religious and economic background continue to meet everyday at the shrine of Sufis who have always encouraged peace and harmony amongst all human beings for centuries.

Few know that a Muslim priest applies vibhuti on the forehead of a pilgrim who first prays at the Vavar Sami mosque before traveling to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

There is a need to visit with young Indians the Maihar home of Baba Alauddin Khan, sarod maestro in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. Here music is played only after offering prayers to goddess Saraswati. Here Alauddin’s son Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar sat at the feet of the guru to learn music. Later Ravi Shankar married Alauddin’s daughter.

It was most exhilarating for Saeed Naqvi to watch Indonesian dancers say the namaz before performing the Ramayana ballet every evening against the background of the Prambanan Hindu temple complex in Central Java. This, the traditional dancers have been continuously doing for nearly half a century in a country that is home to the largest Muslim population in the world.

That is life. That is civilization. That is culture. Everything else is politics, concluded Naqvi.

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Busted: Republic Reporter Wrong in Blaming Rohingyas for Assaulting Him

Policemen and eyewitnesses debunk journalist’s claim that refugees wanted to kill them.

On March 13, 2018, three journalists—Republic TV’s Tejinder Singh Sodhi and India News’ reporter Ajay Jandyal and video journalist Gaurav—were beaten up by a group of unidentified men in Narwal, Jammu. The issue gained momentum after a video from JK Update, a local media outlet, showed two boys assaulting the journalists and RTI activist Rohit Chaudhary.

Tejinder Singh Sodhi even claimed that the refugees were in a mood to kill.

The two attackers were arrested after Sodhi and the others filed a first information report (FIR). Cops have now been deployed at the sprawling makeshift refugee settlement in Narwal.

To fact-check the whole incidentNewsclick visited the settlement and found it to be very quiet. Most people were hesitant to talk to strangers, especially media persons, fearing repercussions. But following is what NewsClick discovered on the ground.

Republic TV and threat to national security

Sodhi used the video footage to claim that Rohingyas were behind the attack. He accused the refugees of attacking him with rods and snatching his gold chain and wristwatch. He calls the Rohingyas the “biggest security threat to the people and the ones who are trying to curtail the freedom of reporters by attacking them”.

When contacted by Newsclick, Sodhi said, “We were at the Rohingyas’ settlement to report about the illegal procurement of mobile SIM cards. At least, 100-150 Rohingyas, including their landlords, suddenly gathered there and threatened us with murder. They hit us with rod and sticks. One of them hit me on the head with an iron rod. They are the biggest security threat to the people.”

“The police are trying to shield Rohingyas as they have political pressure. I don’t know anyone by face. Let them (the cops) investigate and decide,” he said.

Police trash the allegation

The Jammu police, who arrested two local Muslim boys for the violence, categorically stated that they were not Rohingyas. “We have apprehended two local boys – Sher Mohammad and Mohammad Ashraf,” Jammu’s Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Gupta told Newsclick. “We are yet to know the real reason for the attack. We don’t know whether this was part of a plan or there was some other reason.” Investigation is underway, Gupta said.

Series of events that led to the incident

A 20-year-old woman outside her makeshift tin shanty in Narwal stood up hesitantly as she saw policemen come towards her. In a flinch, she pulled her child to herself and exchanged glances with her sister. She had been talking about a ruckus that took place at Burma market on March 13. “Local Gujjars attacked them (the TV news reporters). We are not at all involved. They are taking our names to trouble us,” she told Newsclick.

The Burma market emanates the putrid smell of dry fish and fear in the hearts of the refugees. “I was present when the incident happened. The scuffle was over a traffic jam. The journalist wearing a turban had his car parked in the middle of the road, blocking the way. Two local Gujjar boys were passing through the area with their family in a transport vehicle. They asked him (Sodhi) to move his vehicle. The journalist blatantly ignored them and continued with his work. When asked further, he abused the boys and that is how it started,” said Mohammad Shine Shofi, an eyewitness.

Shofi said the media is unnecessarily portraying the refugees as goons. “They are in fact persecuted people and have no involvement in the local law and order problem. With their wrong portrayal, the refugees now fear for their lives,” he added.

Another eyewitness alleged that the journalist slapped one of the boys first. Later, the two boys retaliated and Sodhi’s cameraperson recorded the assault.

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-15 at 15.11.59.jpeg

Manisha Bi

The boys live in Burma market. Mansha Bi, the mother of one of the boys, also blamed the journalist for triggering the incident. “I was in the kitchen, when I heard a lot of noise and went out to see what had happened,” she said. “My son was honking and asking the journalist with a turban to move his car. But he did not listen and began abusing my son instead. When my son asked him not to abuse, the journalist slapped him. When they were attacking my son, they kept the camera switched off. When my son retaliated, they started capturing video. I came in between and asked both of them to stop (A lady can be seen in the video trying to stop the fight).”

Later the police came to her place and arrested the two boys, she said. There were no iron rods and no Rohingya was involved. “I feel bad that they are trying to implicate them for no reason,” she said.

An officer on patrol, who did not wish to be named, said, “No Rohingya was involved. The fight was over a traffic jam and it was not even a big issue. But now, it has turned into something big and we are deployed here to prevent any possible untoward incident.”

Another cop also said, “I know them (the Rohingyas) for three years. They have not done anything.”

Fear underlines the lives of Rohingyas since they have been uprooted from Myanmar. Right wing groups such as the Hindu Ekta Manch are spearheading a campaign to defame the refugees and press the government to evict them from the country. Recently, the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry put out advertisements calling for the ouster of Rohingya Muslims from different refugee camps in the city. The advertisements – on the front page of local newspapers – read, “Rohingyas: a ticking time bomb. Evict them to save Jammu” and “Threat of Rohingyas looms large over the heads of peace loving Jammuites. Let’s save Jammu”.

Advocate Ankur Sharma, who is a leader of the Manch, alleged that the Kashmir-based party (the PDP) is trying to change the demography of Hindu-majority Jammu by allowing Muslims to settle here in large numbers.

Rohingyas waged a war against their own government and, therefore, they were punished. We demand the government that they must be thrown out from here as they are a threat to national security,” he earlier told this website.

Other political parties have held demonstrations and put hoardings demanding their eviction. “Few television channels and media houses are coming up with fabricated stories because of which locals have started fearing them. Since the advertisements and demonstrations, our children are not allowed to study at the local government school. If they don’t study, how will our community flourish,” a 25-year-old young man living in a refugee camp told Newsclick.

“We are not terrorists. Please, stop branding us like that. We want to return to our homeland. We want to go back as we have our houses there. We don’t want to live like a refugee. We will go back as soon as normalcy returns,” he added.

Fake News and Media

Over a period of time fake news has become the new norm for mainstream media. In a race to attract audience and to break stories first, media networks, especially TV channels, have started circulating agenda-driven fake stories. But we can’t miss the organized pattern in which fake news are being circulated. They are mostly anti-minorities (Dalits and Muslims).

The prime time panel noise where the anchor and his favorite party speak is one of the most visible patterns of this trend, And it’s quite a threat. It has the power to change the opinion of a given set of people. In the post-truth world, the seed of hatred is being planted by a few TV channels. The blunder by Republic TV journalist Tejinder Singh Sodhi is one of the many examples that cannot be overlooked since such lopsided coverage shape public opinion and could leave an entire community feeling vulnerable.

source newsclick

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Mecca Masjid Blast Case- Aseemanand’s crucial ‘confession’ goes missing from court #WTFnews

Hyderabad: A key document in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case containing a disclosure by Hindu right-wing member Swami Aseemanand, which could seal the fate of the trial, has gone mysteriously missing from a lower court’s custody.

The revelation came after chief investigating officer and CBI SP T Rajah Balaji on Tuesday began recording his evidence. Balaji filed the first chargesheet before the case was transferred to the NIA.

On May 18, 2007, a bomb blast inside the Mecca Masjid during Friday prayers killed nine people and injured 58 others. Later, more people were killed when the police opened fire on protesters. As part of the trial, more than 160 witnesses were examined by the court that includes victim, RSS pracharaks and several others.

Aseemanand was granted bail in April 2017 on the condition that he can’t leave Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

On Tuesday, K Ravinder Reddy, the fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge cum special court for NIA cases, came down heavily on court officials after several documents pertaining to the case couldn’t be traced. The proceedings of the case had to be stalled by more than one and half hours before officials could trace some of the documents that were exhibited before the court.

Balaji was taken by surprise after a key two-page document relating to the reported disclosure made by Naba Kumar Sarkar aka Swamy Aseemanand before CBI, explaining the alleged conspiracy, was not traceable. The document, marked as “Memo of Disclosure” No 88 in NIA chargesheet, reportedly contains names of senior RSS leaders.

The missing document is believed to be of much importance and can seal the fate of Aseemanand in the case, investigators said.

During investigation, the CBI officer examined 68 witnesses in the case, out of which 54 have turned hostile, including DRDO scientist Vadlamani Venkat Rao, who is the prosecution witness No 151 in the case.

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India – Sanghis Vandalise Pushpa Mission Hospital in Ujjain #WTFnews

Sanghis vandalised Pushpa Hospital in Ujjain, MP on March 12, 2018. The Catholic Church has been running this hospital since 1976 and it is legal. Sanghis even brought a JCB but the police turned up only after the destruction was complete.
Catholic hospital attacked by mob in India

A mob attacked Pushpa Mission Hospital on March 12. (Credit: Father Antony/Archdiocese of Bhopal.)

MUMBAI, India – A Catholic hospital in India was attacked by a mob on March 12, leading to the destruction of the institution’s water and power supply. Several nurses were also injured in the attack.

The Pushpa Mission Hospital is located in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, and is the oldest medical facility in the area.

A missionary hospital in Ujjain was allegedly attack by a group of locals led by BJP activists on Monday following a dispute over a piece of land, which both sides claim belong to them.

Carrying a JCB the group damaged the hospital gate, a generator and disrupted electric and water supply striking fear among patients and staff, alleged PRO of Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh Fr Maria Stephen. He said nurses who tried to stop the attackers were harmed and beaten up. He said nearly 100 people pulled down the compound wall and put up an iron fencing inside the hospital premises.

Though several police personnel passed by no one intervened and the attack continued unabated. The hospital came up in 1974 when there were no health care facilities in villages. Sisters and doctors went to nearby villages and conducted many camps and supplied free medicines.

BJP MP from Ujjain and party spokesman Chintamani Malviya, however, alleged that the hospital had encroached on a private person’s land. He said the minority community lost in both high court and the lower court after which the land owner demolished the unauthorized construction on Monday. He denied that the owner or his men attacked nurses claiming that no one was required to enter the hospital premises. He claimed even after losing the court cases the hospital was not ready to vacate the encroachment. He said the district administration had recently marked out areas owned by both parties.

A delegation led by Bishop of Ujjain called on Governor Anandiben Patel who was in the town for a scheduled visit. “The entire Catholic church is shocked to know about the planned attack. Minorities feel unsafe in the midst of repeated attacks on Church personnel and Christian institutions. Archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio strongly condemned an alleged attack on Pushpa Mission Hospital, Ujjain, calling it a systematic planning to create disturbance and violence.

Father Maria Stephen, the public relations officer for the Church in the Madhya Pradesh region, told Crux that the mob was made up of nearly 60 people, and also damaged the hospital gate, and terrified the hospital patients and staff.

A Church official said the mob was led by Gagan Singh, the personal secretary of Chintamani Malviya, a Member of Parliament.

The attack may be connected to a land disputed over a property adjacent to the hospital, which the Diocese of Ujjain had refused to hand over to Singh.

Bishop Sebastian Vadakel told Crux the attack is “definitely an act against the Christian community.”

“This dispute began around the end of January, where false claims were made of the ownership. We have all proper valid legal documents to prove ownership rights,” the head of the Ujjain diocese said.

Vadakkel led a delegation of Catholic dignitaries to meet the state governor Anandiben Patel, who was on a visit to Ujjain when the attack took place.

“We the minorities feel unsafe in the midst of repeated attacks on the Church personnel and institutions,” Stephen said.

“We want an explanation why the hospital has been attacked? There were nearly a hundred people who launched the attack on the front yard of emergency gate of the hospital, dug of the exit and pulled down the compound wall,” the priest said. “They even put up iron fencing on war footing inside the premise of the hospital. Despite several police vehicles passing by, not even a constable has turned up at the site while hooligans sitting at the encroached hospital front yard and abusing the media when they asked for explanations.”

Madhya Pradesh state has a population of 73 million. The state is over 90 percent Hindu and less than 1 percent Christian and is ruled by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also controls the national government.

The BJP has strong links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu nationalist organization

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