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Archives for : Minority Rights

India – Where are the poor in the Budget?

A crucial policy document, the Budget must provide appropriate cushions for the very poor. This, unfortunately, has not happened.

In bad shape: What India needs is an institutionalised universal healthcare and not an insurance-based model.

Ashwini Deshpande
Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

The most optimistic estimates set the proportion of the Indian population below the poverty line at 22 per cent. And serious researchers of poverty argue that the official poverty line is among the lowest in the world; by any reasonable definition of poverty, the proportion of the poor would be far higher. But even the 22 per cent translates into roughly 300 million individuals.

What does the 2018 Budget offer to this massive population of the poorest Indians? The basic and universal life needs -food, employment, housing and healthcare – are even more critical for those who sit just above and below the poverty line, as any negative shock on these fronts could push the former into poverty, and make the climb out of poverty harder for the latter. And for those in chronic and desperate poverty, a negative shock could mean a difference between life and death. With a problem of this magnitude, one would expect the Budget, which is a crucial policy document, to provide for appropriate cushions for the chronically poor, and ladders for the marginally poor to help them climb out.


Unfortunately, these are conspicuous by their absence. Let’s take employment first, as poverty can be eliminated by generating jobs, and not through redistribution. The Budget does not address this at all! There is now increasing evidence to show how the ill-conceived demonetisation hit those using cash, and working in the informal economy, the hardest. This is the sector that the poor inhabit.


In the backdrop of this massive negative hit, one would have expected the Budget to provide for ameliorating measures, but there are hardly any.Research on the causes of poverty reveals that among the recurring triggers pushing people into poverty are negative health shocks.


A highlight of this Budget is the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which promises a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh for 10 crore families per year. This sounds impressive until one realises that the Budget does not indicate how this scheme is to be financed. The outlay is just about Rs 2,000 crore, whereas this scheme would need at least 30 times as much, if not more.


The absence of funding is the least of the problems with this scheme. For a country beset with poverty and poor access to healthcare, we need institutionalised universal healthcare like several European countries, not an insurance-based model, which might put money in the pockets of some hospitals and doctors, but may not admit every person deserving of treatment.

The evidence from the earlier Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) reveals urgent problems in the institutional architecture. Additionally, in any insurance-based system, the issue of whether “pre-existing conditions” would be covered for treatment is contentious: what happens to the disabled and chronically sick population? What the Budget needed to provide for was resources to strengthen and revitalise primary healthcare, and also resources for the prevention of disease: clean water, efficient garbage and solid waste management, and sanitation.


The Swacch Bharat Mission needed a clear-headed and hard rethink: to what extent has it moved beyond photo-ops and advertisements, and translated into cleaner neighbourhoods? What lessons can we learn from its failure? A large section of the poor is rural and engaged in small agriculture.


The Budget talks about the rural sector, but the focus is on infrastructure – rural haats, with  electronic linkages – not as much on the causes of agrarian distress caused by high indebtedness and sudden loss of income due to crop failures. The “in principle” commitment, again not matched by any budgetary provision, to give minimum support prices (MSP)to ensure 50 per cent returns over the cost of production addresses only one aspect of the mix of factors underlying rural distress. 


To be fair, there are schemes in the Budget that might benefit the rural poor, which are actually backed by financial outlays, such as LPG connections to replace conventional chullahs; roads; electrification with a focus on bringing electricity to every home (and not just the village) and housing -i.e. pucca houses with toilets. Only time will tell if the government will actually seize the bull by the horns: would the monetary outlays on these schemes be adequate, whether these deliver on their promises, and how effective these prove to be in terms of making a dent in the spread and depth of rural poverty. 


Groups that disproportionately bear the brunt of poverty, such as Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims, and a large proportion of women, have little to cheer either. The outlays on existing schemes have not been significantly enhanced; more disappointing is the lack of review of how the existing schemes have fared, and there are no new initiatives to ensure decent livelihoods to groups that are discriminated against and marginalised. 


The government’s insistence on ABBA (Aadhaar-based biometric authentication) to access any government scheme is already proving to be disastrous for the poor. First is the issue of seeding – linking the Aadhaar card to various service providers. Then come immense problems in accessing services.

Connectivity issues, erosion of lines on the hands of those engaged in hard manual labour, the bureaucratic contempt for the poor has meant that those most in need are unable to access existing government provisions, even if we forget the new ones that have been promised. ABBA is not a part of the Budget, but it defines the delivery architecture for all government services. For the poor, overall, things look bleak.


The Budget does not promise any imaginative and bold new measures, and access to existing schemes is sinking deeper and deeper in the ABBA quicksand.

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IDENTIFIED: Admin of the FB page that called for violence against 100+ inter-faith couples

On February 4, 2018, Alt News published an article that shockingly revealed how a list of more than 100 couples who had entered into inter-religious union were being targeted on social media and a page called “Hindutva Varta” was openly calling for violence against these couples by putting out links to their Facebook profiles as a list in the public domain.

Alt News has identified the perpetrator of these threats. The Facebook page by the name ‘Hindutva Vaarta‘ had urged social media members to track and hunt down Muslim men who are in a relationship with Hindu women. A person called Satish Mylavarapu admitted to being the admin of the page.

Hindutva FB page publishes list of 100+ couples in inter-faith marriages, calls for violence 

I am proud to be admin of that page हिंदुत्व वार्ता … Will create new page again

Mylavarapu has been rather brazen on social media, openly posting threats and inciting violence against members of a particular community. His viciousness can be judged by the fact that he openly pays tributes to Nathuram Godse and claims that Godse saved the country. In the following tweet, along with a picture of Nathuram Godse, Mylavarapu writes, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Desh Bachcha Gaye Nathuram”.

रघुपति राघव राजा राम,

देश बचा गए नाथूराम।

Many of Mylavarapu’s tweets call for genocide against ethnic communities and religious minorities.

“Army exercises maximum restraint. They acted only in self – defence when stones were being hurled on them from all sides by a mob of about 200 people’, says @AmanSinhaLaw, Spokesperson BJP

Maximum restraint?? What the use…. If you need to save india… You have conduct genocide in Kashmir valley… No other go.

In the following tweet, he urges members of the Sikh Community (Khalsa) to crush Islam.

12 बज गए । इसी समय मुग़ल आतंकवादियों को सिखों ने घसीट घसीट के मारा था । और ऐसा मारा था कि आज भी उनकी पुश्ते घर मे गिलास भी गिर जाए तो पलँग के नीचे दुबक जाती है और कहती है12 बज गए कहि सरदार तो नही आ गए । 

@TajinderBagga ji की यादाश्त कमजोर हो गयी है, को चाहिए के 21वें सदी में फिर से इस्लाम को पैरों तले रौंद दे…

His bigotry did not even spare Ankit Saxena who was killed by the family members of the Muslim woman he was in love with, justifying his murder and claiming that it is the wicked Indian constitution that led to his death, and not Islam.

ये नमाज़ी है… मर गया यही सोचते कि सब एक समान है, इसकी हत्या ने नही की… हमारी विकृत ने की…

After Alt News’ story on the call for violence against inter-faith couples led to a huge uproar, the FB page ‘Hindutva Vaarta’ was suspended. Mylavarapu however was nonplussed about the fact that his page was taken off Facebook, resolving to bide his time.

Hindutva FB page publishes list of 100+ couples in inter-faith marriages, calls for violence 

अरे पेज बैन कर दिए, id 30 दिन के लिए बैन कर दिए… अब क्या हिन्दू लड़कियों को अपने हाथों से जिहादियों के हाथ सौंप दी??? सेक्युलर कहलाने का इतना शौक नही है

This nonchalance on the part of those who are openly issuing violent threats in the public domain is a serious cause for concern. Such threats are a direct affront to the authority of the state which is expected to crack down with a heavy hand on those who challenge its monopoly over the legitimate use of force. Moreover, these calls for ‘tracking and hunting down’ Muslim boys is not only blatantly communal but calls upon ordinary citizens to adopt violent tactics, openly fuelling communal tension and conflict. Alt News calls for strict action to be initiated against the admin of the page.

IDENTIFIED: Admin of the FB page that called for violence against 100+ inter-faith couples

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Gujarat – First-person account of working with Bajrang Dal

Moyukh Chatterjee

The Ordinary Life of Hindu Supremacy

The author presents a personal, first-person, account of his experience of working with Bajrang Dal in Ahmedabad. He attempts to throw light on the everyday lives of the Bajrang Dal boys, especially in the context of increased reportage on right-wing vigilante groups and their attacks on minorities across India. In this three-part article, he argues that there is more to these groups than violence. In certain parts of India like Gujarat, these groups and activists are embedded in the everyday life of the neighbourhood, where they often act as problem solvers and intermediaries.


In the middle of a long meandering walk in Ahmedabad on a cool February evening in 2010, we stopped before a mosque. “Just look at it now. You should have seen it when my boys and I burnt it down in 2002,” said Kunal. I looked up and saw a large pale green mosque covered in decorative lights. Eight years on, there were no signs of the destruction. But I stood in front of the mosque and tried to imagine the assault. It was hard to conjure the scene of a mob burning a mosque in the middle of a busy street packed with street vendors selling bangles, vegetables, and sweets.

Kunal, from Bajrang Dal  and a long-time resident of Madhavpura, tells me that they had a surprise visitor during the attack.

“As we were breaking the lock of the mosque, the Police Inspector’s (PI) jeep came by and we all ran away. But he stopped his jeep near the mosque and shouted keep doing what you’re doing.” 

The news and election cycles make men like Kunal flicker in and out of our lives, making it easy to dismiss them as part of the fringe. But what do these men do when the burning, looting, and stabbing is over? We conveniently look the other way when the riot is over, when the lynching is done, and when the elections are lost or won. For us, the fringe becomes visible only during moments of “exceptional” violence—lynchings, vigilante attacks, moral policing, and massacres. But the fringe is also a world view—Hindu supremacy—that resonates with the fears of common people, fuels the masculine fantasies of young men, becomes a tool to access the state, and a pragmatic mode to gain influence in the neighbourhood.

Kunal is short and stocky with a barrel chest, bulging biceps, small ears, and a floppy haircut. Most evenings, he sits outside his house on a cot with “his boys.” On Sunday mornings, they go together to a municipal gymnasium and attend cock fights. They are all members of the Bajrang Dal. Raj is a night shift security guard, Ajay sells religious photos outside courts, Sanjay sells fried snacks on a cart, and Jai, the most educated, is 22 years old and is student of accountancy.

To show me how he joined the Bajrang Dal, Kunal pulls out an old coverless photo album from underneath his mattress. It has colour photographs of many young men joining the Dal. We flip through pictures of men striking identical faux aggressive poses till we find a young Kunal. Irrespective of their built, they all strike the same pose—holding up shining trishuls in their hands, and a bright orange Bajrang Dal sash hanging loosely across their shoulders. In the background, there is a small temple and a map of Mother India on a tiger. Standing next to the men, a local Bajrang Dal leader smiles broadly at the camera like a principal distributing prizes to his best students.

Kunal strikes that same pose as soon as anyone approaches him; he stands very straight, stuffs both his hands in the pockets of his trousers, and thrusts his chest out. You can spot his house from the street because it is the only one with a red trident and Jai Shri Ram painted on it. And then you notice the dusty cot on which his parents sit all day, the broken windows of his dark, sunless one-room shack, and the ragged clothes of his neighbours. He says he is a Rajput from Rajasthan unlike his Dalit neighbours, whom he finds filthy.

“They are low caste, so when they call us for weddings, we don’t go. Forget about eating with them, we don’t even drink water in their house.” 

Since 2010, I have been visiting Kunal and his boys in Ahmedabad to understand men who roam the streets to protect Hindu women from Muslim men, raid Muslim neighbourhoods to seize cows, vandalise cinema halls to protest movies like “My Name is Khan.” They are, of course, the foot soldiers, not the top command; the small fry who burn the mosque, not the big sahibs who make sure that the police do not disturb them. In 2002, my attempts to meet these Hindu activists in Gujarat were largely unsuccessful. When I walked across from a Muslim relief camp to the Hindu neighbourhood next to it, the streets were empty, and all I saw was a freshly painted wall with the message: “The Pride of 5 Crore Gujaratis, Narendra Modi.” Walking down the empty streets in the afternoon, I felt a hundred eyes on me as I desperately tried to find someone to talk to. Then a man beckoned me from his balcony with a wave.

“No one here will talk to you. Go back to Pakistan.” 

So, when a friend introduced me to Kunal, I was surprised to meet an affable young man who tries to help his neighbours. Barely literate, with no stable job, Kunal is passionate about rescuing Hindu women from Muslim men and saving cows from Muslim butchers, but it is the idea of seva (service) that he finds attractive.

“They (Muslims) collect together and talk about their dharma. Why can’t we talk like that too? Why can’t we collect together and be strong? If any Hindu is hurt, I am very saddened, so I act. I try to help my neighbours people as much as possible. If I can’t help them then I talk to some people above me.” 

One evening, a Hindu couple approaches him after their neighbours (also Hindus) file a police report against them. There is some dispute over a staircase and the neighbours have gone to the police. After listening to couple, Kunal accompanies them to the local police chowki, and helps them file a counter case against their neighbours. Kunal’s brother and I wait outside the small one-room chowki. Through the open door I see Kunal enter and shake hands with the policemen, seat the couple in front of a desk, and stand behind them. They are out in 10 minutes. He tells them, “we will pull them out of their [the neighbours] house if they make trouble.”


“The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal are different from the Sangh (RSS),” says former VHP leader Chandanbhai.

“The Sangh is not known to fight or send boys to begin a scuffle. They concentrate on laying the roots with physical exercises and patriotic songs.”

Swaying his grandson in his arms, Chandanbhai says that things have cooled down.

“It seems that the top leaders don’t want any activity from the Bajrang Dal and VHP. For several months now there have been no incidents, meetings and orders.”

Organisations like Bajrang Dal cycle through hot and cool phases. Elections are typically hot. And we often only hear about them when they pass through a hot phase.

But from the perspective of young men like Kunal, there is more to these Hindutva organisations than a cynical electoral strategy to polarise voters along religious lines and win elections. That is true and important, but it does not capture what these organisations do for them. In a life that promises no prospect of a stable job, or any kind of social and economic mobility, these organisations give many young men a chance to be part of something bigger and grander than their precarious everyday lives. It gives them influence with powerful state officials and institutions like the police. It gives them feelings of “manly” strength and power. It gives them something to rescue and something to destroy.

Ask Kunal what he does for a living and he tries to change the subject. “I buy and sell cloth. I buy cloth wholesale, give it to small vendors, and take a percent of the profits.” One day when he is away, his brother tells me something quite different. “He (Kunal) walks around neighbourhoods selling hosiery items. You know ladies’ stuff…” When Kunal asks for my cellphone number, he cannot type it himself because he is barely literate. With no formal education or skills, he has no prospect of securing a white-collar job or a traditional factory job, and belongs to the large and precarious informal sector in Ahmedabad. His father had moved to Gujarat from Rajasthan to work in Omex Mills, but the mills too closed down long ago. In Ahmedabad—where everyone has finer clothes, smarter phones, and better paying jobs—Kunal and his boys are proud of saving Hinduism from effete Hindus and treacherous Muslims.

“There is no Muslim in this neighbourhood who doesn’t know that we are from the VHP. We are kattar.” 

Kattar (fanatic) here is not an insult, but a badge of distinction.

They build this reputation by intimidating anyone who comes in the way of their projects. When a Hindu neighbour protests against the building of a temple next to his house and threatens to call the police, Kunal collects his boys and gives him a thrashing. When the municipal corporation tries to remove an illegal temple to widen the street, they protest against it. The police arrive and take them to the station and let them go with a tip:

“Rebuild the temple, but do it at night.” 

They build a bigger and grander temple on the widened road.

When a Muslim family buys a house adjoining his neighbourhood, Kunal feels it is “too dangerous.” He asks his neighbours to throw trash into the balcony to impede the new owner’s efforts to renovate it.

“Some of the neighbourhood women even burned some of their clothes hanging out to dry. When they (Muslims) tried to oppose us, I called the police and told them to come here quickly before a riot begins.” 

For Kunal and his boys, the police are a malleable force that can be molded to fit their agenda of Hindu supremacy. This happens through persuasion and appeals to policemen to help protect shared Hindu interests or through connections with politicians. When a Hindu man protested against the building of an illegal temple next to his house, it was a Muslim policeman, according to Kunal, who asked the man, “What kind of Hindu are you?” What happens when the police don’t intervene in their favour? “We phone our leaders at Mahalaxmi (the Bajrang Dal office in Ahmedabad) and make them speak to the police.” Under “ideal” conditions, as in 2002, the state falls in line. But their work goes on.

Looking at 22-year-old Jai, quiet and bespectacled, it is hard to imagine him stealing into a slaughterhouse in the middle of the night with two friends and a camera.  Later, they send the footage to the local Member of the Legislative Assembly and the police commissioner. Standing back, his mouth swollen with red betel juice, Jai smiles when the boys show me signs of his other life: a thick, long brown lathi (stick) is tucked away discreetly on the side of his motorbike. He is a member of a civil defence committee.

“Two weeks ago, we saved a dozen calves from the Muslim neighbourhood opposite us. For us, the cow is like a mother, but for them she’s a meal. Have you seen a printing press? They have a blade that slices paper into two halves. They have automatic machines where the blade comes down and simply chops the head off. Then the carcass is cleaned up. If you see it, it will give you goosebumps.”

Before Bakrid, the boys make a gang and forcibly enter Muslim neighbourhoods to save calves. But they are not alone.

“During the raid, we kept calling the police control number.”
“But such rescue missions must be dangerous?”
“Of course, but we have police protection. The police support us because they know we are from the Dal and do this work.”

But the police also use Kunal. One evening, as Kunal and I sit on the cot outside his house admiring his new Samsung phone, I see two men arrive on a motorbike across the street and gesture towards us. Kunal hands me his phone and walks across to meet them. When the men leave, Kunal apologises.

“Plain clothes policemen. They help us a lot, so I make sure I chat with them.” 

Kunal’s Muslim neighbours have bigger and better houses.

“We have thatched roofs and they have towers [multi-storied apartments]. When there is violence, they throw rocks and petrol bombs, but our stones don’t reach them.” 

I peer into the buildings in the distance and my eyes settle on a distant tube light-lit room. I can see the outline of a person. I hear a thin voice next to me say “We are surrounded by Muslims.” It’s an old woman bent double on a walking stick looking up at me. She leaves without saying anything else. We continue our evening walk weaving in and out of tiny one-room houses. Kunal greets everyone with a loud “Jai Shri Ram!” People call us inside their homes to have a meal. A gang of small boys follow us around chanting his name. We stop at his aunt’s house and she wants to talk about the government houses that have been promised to slum dwellers who are displaced by the Sabarmati Riverfront. She waves an affidavit at him as we leave. “I will talk to Barot about it,” says Kunal.


Kunal, Jai, and I are “tripling” (three riders on a motorbike) down Ellis Bridge in Ahmedabad. Jai is weaving in and out of traffic at full speed. Kunal sits behind me nudging Jai to drive faster and catch up with a motorbike ahead of us. “Just look at her straddling the bike,” he points with his chin at a burqa-clad woman riding pillion on the bike. We catch up with them at a red light. Kunal stares at the woman and the shiny blue sports bike. When they roar past us, he nudges Jai to follow them. At some point, they get tired of following the woman and turn back to go home.

One day I notice Kunal is wearing a tight black t-shirt with Lajja Bachao (Protect Honour) in blue letters at the back and Nagrik Raksha Sangathan (Citizen’s Protection Committee) on the front. He says it is “an old organisation that works to protect women and their honour.” The t-shirt reminds him of a funny story.

“Recently I saw a boy and a girl traveling in an autorickshaw and the boy had his arm wrapped around the girl. I had my tika on the forehead and I stopped them.

What’s your name?

Who are you?

I am from the VHP. What’s your name?


Okay. And what’s your name?


Farooq, what are you doing with her?

She’s my friend.

Okay. Is this how you sit with your friend? With your arm around her? Is this the way you sit with your sister?

And then I thrashed him nicely. A crowd gathered and all the girls fled on their scooties.”

Kunal’s world is a peculiar mix of fear and fantasy. Kunal tells his boys to trap Muslim women. “Make them love you and then make them Hindu.” I ask him how that will happen and that his plan is like a scene from a bad Hindi movie.

“If while walking you spot a Muslim girl, you should give her the look so that she falls in love and then you make her Hindu. Understand?”

It would be a mistake to treat Kunal and his boys as an exceptional aspect of Hindu nationalism or even Indian politics. These men are part of a growing network of Hindu right-wing organisations that are trying to lay the groundwork to make Hindu supremacy mainstream. But violence alone is not enough to spread the word, recruit new supporters, enter new neighbourhoods, and win sympathisers. Their work often involves the most ordinary things, like helping a neighbour.

In February 2016, I was sitting and chatting with Kunal on the cot outside his house when a man wandered in looking for him. Kunal did not know the man. The man needed help. His house shared a wall with a neighbourhood mosque. The mosque authorities raised the height of the wall without the man’s consent and in the process, even cut a part of his tin roof. “I have a mud wall. What if it collapses when I am inside?”

Kunal was quick to point out that this was a situation where he must intervene because “a poor Hindu is being harassed by Muslims.” The man quietly nodded in agreement. “I will talk to them and if they don’t understand, we will file a complaint with the police.” The man turned around and walked back to his house, next to the same mosque that was burned down in 2002.

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India – Watchout for a factory of fake quotes – a dangerous trend

Alt News unearths a factory of fake quotes

Alt News has stumbled upon a factory – a factory of fake quotes. The matter first came to light when fake quotes ascribed to Prakash Raj  , Swara Bhasker and Farhan Akhtar went viral on social media. The three celebrities denied making the statements that were circulated in their name. A further search by Alt News led to a goldmine of similar quotes. Fake quotes are being circulated in the name of actors, authors, activists, politicians and even common people with the objective of polarizing the society on religious grounds. Let us look at a few of them:

Fanning fears :

The claims are often outlandish like the one below. You may be tempted to think that no one would believe them. Think again. These inflammatory messages are reaching far corners of the country through WhatsApp.

In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kashmir, Assam, Kerala and other parts of India, we Muslims have snatched 70% of land from the Hindus. Yet Hindus think we could not do any harm to them in 1400 years. India has nearly become an Islamic nation.” E. Abubaker, PFI Kerala.

naresh_nimbau: क्या जिहादी अबुबकर सच बोल रहा हैं ?
इस मुद्दे पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ? rt

Till all Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christian are not killed, we will continue with our Jihad. Your tolerance and secularism cannot change our views. According to the Koran, the one who is not a Muslim has no right to be alive” – Abdullah Zubair, India

खतरनाक ! क्या हिन्दुओं के भाई चारे से मुसलमान बदल जायेंगे ?
इस मुद्दे पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ?

Make a mosque on government land, bury dead bodies in open land and make it a kabristan, make a Dargah or Mazaar on railway platforms. Land Jihad will ensure Muslims will control land all over the world” – Faiz Saiyyad, Lawyer

खतरनाक ! लैंड जिहाद के चपेट में आया भारत ! इस मुद्दे पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ?
हर जगह मस्जिद, मजार, दरगाह, कब्रिस्तान का अतिक्रमण ! Land Jihad rt

Maligning Islam :

Another overriding theme of the quotes is to spread misinformation about Islam and Muslims.

My husband Kamaal Amrohi divorced me. For the second marriage I was forced into “halala” with Amanullah Khan. What kind of religion is Islam where the husband gets his wife raped?” – Meena Kumari

बॉलीवुड अदाकारा मीना कुमारी हुई थी हलाला का शिकार ! उसके बाद मीणा कुमारी ने बोला था इस्लाम पर ऐसा हमला की सन्न रह गए थे मुसलमान !
मीना कुमारी के सवाल पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ?

Muslims have the virility and hence we produce 10 kids. Unemployment, terrorism, slums, water shortage etc due to this population explosion are problems of the government, not the Muslims” – Owaisi

इस मुद्दे पर आपकि क्या राय हैं ?

Targeting Muslim celebrities

Targeting Muslim as well as liberal public figures is yet another theme of these quotes. The objective is to show them in a bad light and build public opinion against them.

I criticize the traditions of Hinduism like dowry, caste system etc. But I don’t want to upset Muslims by criticize their traditions like four wives, 10 – 12 kids and teaching terrorism to children in Madrasas.” – Aamir Khan

आमिर खान द्वारा इस भेदभाव पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ? ज्यादा से ज्यादा शेयर करे !

We have seen similar attempts to discredit Arundhati Roy by ascribing fake quotes to her. What is surprising is the number of people who routinely fall for such obviously fake quotes.

The above is only a small sample of numerous such rabid posts circulating on social media. Such radical messages are being manufactured in bulk and use of Hindi gives them an even wider audience.

We found a pattern in the quotes:

  1. The quotes are communal in nature and have a very clear agenda to polarize Hindus and Muslims.
  2. They show Muslims in a poor light and further the narrative of Hindus being under threat.
  3. Though not always, they often focus on liberal celebrities to build public opinion against them.
  4. They pick a current issue like Rohingya refugees or instant triple talaq and try to shape opinion on the issue by fanning distrust and fear of the other community. They are often shared with the question:  “इसमुद्दे पर आपकी क्या राय हैं ?” (What is your opinion on this issue?)
  5. They are fake. The people quoted have made no such statements.

These messages are not a recent phenomenon and some of them go as far back as 2014. We were not able to trace the origin but the use of identical color and font points to one person or a small group of people behind this coordinated social media offensive. The fake Swara Bhasker and Farhan Akhtar quotes carried the logos of serial fake news
peddlers Shankhnaad and Postcard News but we don’t know if they are behind the other fake quotes that don’t carry logos.


Clearly the fake quotes have been manufactured to create a feeling of victimization among the majority community. The messages play on fears with an objective to create and maintain a divide between communities. They target the most gullible social media users who are looking for a confirmation of their own biases. There is need for a greater awareness of the malicious intent behind these quotes. The  perpetrators of the fake quotes factory must be identified and action initiated against them. Social media users need to unite to call out the fakery of those sharing such material. It is time to reclaim the social media space from such rogue elements. The factories of filth need to be shut down

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Mayday Mayday,India Adrift!

Are we not hurting ‘national sentiment’ by holding the country to ransom

 I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India.

At a drop of a hat we gather together to show aakrosh. We gather in thousands without a thought, without an aim. Most of us are tamashbeen. Throw stones at a bus; break them and burn them. We are so illiterate and blind that we cannot even recognise a school bus. The poor driver, conductor and students have no defence but to let it happen.

Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS (…—…) call.

Issue is there are no more morals left. Today, the Zameer is dead, Insaniyat is finished, humaneness has vanished, tolerance has been subverted, patience has evaporated, humanity is in danger, compassion has been swept under the carpet and civility no more exists. Did the founders of India even dream of such things when they set sail on this voyage?

We can talk of projecting India as a super power. How can it be if we are so communally motivated? The negative energy thus being produced is actually not letting the wheel of progress turn. Everyone is exerting without being in sync and tune. If we have to find faults and pick holes in every system and oppose its implementation we can forget about progress.

It appears that India is like a rudderless craft. It is carrying a lot of stuff but drifting with the current and the wind. The Captain is trying to steer it but the power train is not firing all cylinders. He often leaves the ship and goes abroad to accelerate its growth but comes back to find its crew has burnt quite a few of the ships compartments. Though the captain knows the ropes but appears to be caught between the devil and the deep sea.

On this Indian ship, security is vigilant but the internal organisations are at loggerheads. The crew which belongs to various regions, ethnicities, speaks various languages and belongs to different religions is taking too much time to start functioning as a team. The diversity is difficult to fathom. The galley cannot cater for every ones choice. A Tamil will have to get used to Chola bhaturas and a Punjabi to sambar vada.

The engine room is the Parliament and is so noisy that all issues get drowned in its noise and heat. The crew is just making steam without understanding the need of the ship, as they are oblivious of the weather, wind conditions and currents while they work deep inside their work stations. Hope time has not come to shout May Day.

The journey for us is long, moreover our own crew has become in-disciplined, the sea is rough with hazards popping up every now and then, course is being set and reset but the ship appears to be relatively static. The expectation is to move this 125 (crore) tonne ship at the speed 69 knots and even more. We find the engine room not responding, the oars are not being pulled in unison and attacks by pirates are stalling the progress. Why can’t we have all hands on deck?

Task is difficult and time is running out fast. Let us not self destroy our ship by agitating and protesting. Let us not add to the misery by burning our own bunks. Let us for once think and act as one team India and climb the Jacob’s ladder to reach a different world. The Admiral and his fleet is as effective or efficient as each crew member.

Individually all crews may be brilliant but when it comes to brand India the flotilla appears scattered, is a feeling I get. The star board side of each ship is not aware of what is happening on the port side and the stem doesn’t know what is happening in the stern. The saving grace is it is still afloat.

Let the Captain be the guiding light. All those who are trying to make a hole to sink the ship need to be taken care of. Let’s not create a situation to abandon ship. We need to be above board and leave no one marooned. When can we have such a BRAVO ZULU moment? I wonder!

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India – Let us not mince words; forces that killed Gandhi have killed Gauri Lankesh

By Suman Priya |
'Let us not mince words; forces that killed Gandhiji have killed Gauri Lankesh'


  • The commemoration of 56th birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by assailants on September 5 was held at Town Hall, Bengaluru
  • Witnessed by MLA Jignesh, Kanhaiya, Shehla and a jam-packed audience
  • Is the large crowd a sign that alternate forces are getting stronger against the fascist forces in Karnataka?

The commemoration of the 56th birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by assailants on September 5 was held at Town Hall, Bengaluru, and was witnessed by all she considered as children including MLA Jignesh, Kanhaiya, Shehla and a jam-packed audience. The event was organised by the Gauri Memorial Trust.

Gauri’s sister Kavita Lankesh attended the programme, whereas brother Indrajit gave it a miss as he had arranged an alternate programme at Chamarajpet. The likes of freedom fighter HS Doreswamy, actor-activist Prakash Rai, CM Siddaramaiah’s media secretary Dinesh Amin Mattu, KM Neela, activist Teesta Setalvad and also Manipur activist Irom Sharmila were present, to show their solidarity with Gauri’s ideas and ideologies.

The Town Hall experienced a powerful event where people responded with enthusiasm to the appeals by speakers like Prakash Rai, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, the crowd-puller JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar, the one who doesn’t like mincing words JNU’s Shehla Rashid, Umer Khaleed, and the one who stopped UP CM Yogi Adityanath from entering Allahabad University campus, Richa Sharma.

Most of them stated that RSS-BJP has to be trounced. People should understand the reality and should defeat BJP in the coming elections in Karnataka.

Two books in memory of Gauri Lankesh were released on the occasion. Kanhaiya’s slogan of Azadi pulled a large crowd chanting the slogan and Sheetal Sathe’s ‘songs for freedom’ were the highlights of the event.

To help the Trust, which aims at re-starting the publication of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which was earlier run by Gauri Lankesh, Prakash Rai bought a copy of the book at a cost of Rs  1 lakh.

Here is what the leaders expressed in their speeches.



Will be in Karnataka three weeks ahead of elections; Will join hands with Congress just to keep the fascist BJP away from the state. Let them speak about temple, love jihad etc. But we should speak about the need for employment, employment generation, and make the people, dalits understand how they are being cheated by the BJP.


I will not cry, nor have an emotional outburst on the day of my mother Gauri’s birthday, post her demise. Because this is the time to think and act, just like what was practised by Gauri herself. Yes, we will break into pieces, not the nation as the BJP claims, but practices of injustice and the theories of Sangh Pariwar, which tries to divide people. The situation of every Indian is like the man who has been looted but instead of getting justice, he is made to look like a thief and a villain. Let us walk in the path traversed by mother Gauri and not become prey to the ‘pure ideology’ trap.

Shehla Rashid

Let us not mince words, the people who killed Gandhiji in 1948 are the ones who killed Gauri Lankesh. The RSS needs to be stopped. Taking a dig at Yogi Adityanath’s Karnataka visit and speech on medical conditions here, Shehla said, “People of Karnataka do not need advice from a man who was responsible for the death of nearly hundreds of children due to lack of oxygen in his state, UP. The people of Karnataka should trounce BJP in the upcoming elections.”

There was also talk about Pakoda Protest, and its significance in the backdrop of PM Modi‘s statement. They were of the opinion that even pakoda-selling must be considered as an employment, so that tax is collected from them too.

Showing her solidarity with the event, though never had met  Gauri in her lifetime, Manipur’s iron lady, who fought against the draconian rule of AFSPA, Irom Sharmila, came to know about the event in the morning and travelled  to Bengaluru and took part in the programme.

Is the large crowd a sign that alternate forces are getting stronger against the fascist forces in Karnataka?

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Violence in Kasganj Sponsored by BJP: Former DIG, UP Police

Press Statement by S. R. Darapuri, Former DIG U.P. & convener of Jan Manch.

Communal riot in Kasganj was pre-planned, which is evident by the events of that day. On the said day, on the occassion of 26th January, Muslims of Kasganj PS area had organised a meeting at Abdul Majeed Chowk. At the same time, approximately 100 youths belonging to Hindu Yuva Vahini, ABVP and RSS arrived there on Motor Cycles holding Tricolor and Saffron Flags, shouting slogans. They asked the organisers to hoist the saffron flag instead of the Tricolour. At this point, Muslims requested them to take the other route, but they insisted on using that way only and ruined the rangoli made there by the motor cycle.

On this, quarrel started between both the groups, at that point the people from that ‘Tiranga March’ started shoutingw objectionable slogans like “If you want to live in India, You will have to say Vande Matram” and “Mullas deserve only one place : Pakistan or Graveyard”. As things escalated, stone pelting and firing from both the sides srarted in which a boy from one side died and two people from the other group also got shot. One person who has sustained the bullet injury has said that he recieved it when a Sub-Inspector of the Police fired at him. After this all, rioters from one side burned one bus, one tractor, and one stall. This is mentionable that the so called Tricolour March was being carried without any permission. After this incident, heavy police enforcements were posted in the town.

The next day, after the last rites of the deceased youth, the BJP MP gave this incinting speech that “We cannot forego the death of our this youth on any condition.” After this speech of his, even after the presence of heavy Police force, the riot again started and a house and six shops belonging to muslims were burned. It has come to the notice that even after the presence of heavy police force, shops and vehicles belonging to the muslims have been again burned. It is a matter of concern that how this arsoning could take place in even in presence of the Police Force. Role of the Police is also under doubt.
It is clear from these events that the communal riot in Kasganj was a part of the riot politics of BJ

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Justice Chelameswar-Inequality more in India, equality keystone of Constitution


The SC Judge said that the Indian Constitution shows the way on how to remove inequality

Supreme Court Justice J. Chelameswar on Sunday said that though inequality is prevalent in all countries of the world its prevalence was more in India, adding that equality of all was the keystone of the Indian Constitution.

“Inequality is there in all countries in different forms and due to various reasons. (But) In this country it is more,” he said while delivering a lecture on ‘Constitutionalism and the Role of Civil Society’.

Justice Chelameswar, the second senior most Judge of the apex court, said that inequality exists in terms of religion, caste, language and region and there are historic reasons for the same.

He said India was not the only country where inequality exists. “It is there everywhere, even in the US, which is seen by many as as a heaven on earth and the model of democracy.”

The SC Judge said that the Indian Constitution shows the way on how to remove inequality.

“Equality is the keystone of the Indian Constitution,” he said pointing out that Articles 14 to 18 of the Constitution direct the government to ensure equality in all spheres of life.

“The Constitution is not another book or collection of few articles. It’s an expression of the way of life a nation, a society, chooses to live.”

The apex court Judge said the Constitution was not merely a political arrangement or rules of governance but something on which the future of the country depended.

Justice Chelameswar was in Vijayawada in his home state of Andhra Pradesh to deliver the K. Ravindrarao memorial lecture at Siddharth College.

On January 12, Justice Chelameswar, along with three other senior most Supreme Court Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur had held an unprecedented press conference in Delhi to raise various issues pertaining to the Supreme Court’s administration, including allotment of sensitive cases.

Justice Chelameswar also expressed displeasure over efforts made on the social media to link him to a political party.

“Immediately after becoming a (Supreme Court) Judge, I cut my political connections. It is not good to talk whatever comes to our minds because we have the freedom to speak,” he said.

He made it clear that he would not approach the government for any position after retirement.

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SC- NIA can’t probe marital status of Hadiya in love jihad case #Goodnews

Hadiya’s parents refused to accept her marriage to Shafin Jahan, who returned from Oman recently, and they allege that she was being indoctrinated and will be taken to Syria.

Hadiya Adult, Can't Question Her Marriage, Says Supreme Court

Hadiya Case: In November, the Supreme Court freed Hadiya from her parents.



  1. Hadiya’s marriage to a Muslim man annulled by Kerala High Court last year
  2. Her parents allege she was brainwashed and forced to convert
  3. Supreme Court freed Hadiya from her parents last yearThe Supreme Court said on Tuesday that 25-year-old Hadiya – the Muslim convert from Kerala whose marriage to Shafin Jahan was annulled by Kerala High Court – was the only one competent to decide about her marriage.

    Hearing the case, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it cannot go into her marital status, since she herself told the court that she was married.

    “She can choose independently. She is 24 years old,” the bench observed.

    “How can the court compel, she is an adult, she appeared and made the statement,” the court said.

    The SC bench has also made Hadiya a party in the case and has asked her to file her response before the next hearing, which is on February 22.

    The SC bench also said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) cannot investigate the marriage of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan, although they can look into other aspects of any criminal activity.

    Although Advocate Madhvi Diwan, appearing for Hadiya’s father Ashokan argued that she was concerned about Hadiya’s safety. The bench pointed out that Hadiya was no longer in illegal confinement. Madhvi Diwan also argued that the circumstances that led to the marriage should also be investigated. However, the bench said that Hadiya was to decide who is a good human being or not. The bench said that the court cannot dictate that.

The NIA objected, saying the top court had asked it to check if vulnerable women were being preyed on and recruited as terrorists, and they have made sufficient progress. The agency had told the court earlier that it found an “emerging trend” in the conversions.

The court responded saying “We are not concerned with the NIA probe. You can probe anything, but not on marital status”.

Hadiya, the court said, is 24 years old. “She told us in court she is married.  We can’t question the legitimacy of her marriage,” added the court, which had freed the young woman from her parents’ custody and sent her to complete her studies at a homeopathy medical college in Salem in November.

The top court had spoken to Hadiya after Shafin Jahan had appealed against the high court’s annulment order. “We will only examine whether the court can cancel the marriage,” the judges said today.In November 2017, the Supreme Court directed Hadiya to complete her education. Following this order, Hadiya came out of the custody of her parents, under whom she has been under house arrest since May last year.

The court also ordered that Hadiya be returned to the Sivaraj Homoeopathic Medical College in Salem, where she will complete the rest of her course.

While Hadiya has consistently insisted that her conversion and her marriage have both been fully of her own volition, her father Ashokan has claimed that Hadiya has been indoctrinated as part of a plan to lure her and take her away to Syria.

The NIA had in December questioned Shafin Jahan. Shafin was questioned by the NIA for many hours at their office in Kochi. According to reports, the agency had decided to question him again as they believed there had been discrepancies in his earlier statement.

Hadiya has been in the eye of a storm ever since she converted to Islam and left home in January 2016.

Her case has taken many twists and turns, with the Kerala High Court annulling her marriage to Shafin Jahan, her being confined to her parents’ home for months on end, and the Supreme Court ordering a National Investigation Agency probe into her case.


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India: Unchecked Attacks on Religious Minorities

Reform Laws Choking Freedom of Expression, Association

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