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Bharatiya Janata Party’s Achilles’ Heel

Image result for Bharatiya Janata Party’s Achilles’ Heel

The ruling party’s neglect of the “rural” is proving to be fiscally and politically expensive.

With farmers in Rajasthan successfully securing a farm loan waiver to the tune of ₹20,000 crore from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the fourth state government in the past four months to do this, similar agitations threaten to flare up in other parts of India. Does this suggest the beginning of a reversal of the BJP’s big-ticket reforms as fiscal and political liabilities rise in these states?

Farmers in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, primarily the districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu, congregated on 1 September 2017 in Sikar for an indefinite, sit-in strike. This came on the back of several failed attempts, beginning June 2017, to flag the issue of abysmally low procurement prices following demonetisation, among several other problems plaguing agriculture in the region. Characteristically, the district administrations and state government refused to engage with the agitating farmers, seeking instead to disrupt the protests and farmers’ unity. This move backfired as the agitation, under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of theCommunist Party of India (Marxist)—CPI(M)—grew from strength to strength. The support base and participation of the agitation extended to include common citizens, business persons and traders in the district towns, various local service providers’ unions and the overwhelming assertion of women in enforcing curfews and shutdown in towns and villages.Unlike previous farmers’ agitations witnessed this year, the protest in Rajasthan mobilised all sections of rural society. This is a significant departure in the chain of rural unrestunderway in the country.

In the reform agenda of the BJP, rural India has seldomfeatured prominently. The party’s political action has been concentrated in urban pockets, with its core cadre of Brahmins and Banias wielding influence in the many big and smallbazaar towns and cities across India. It has had limited success in reaching out to rural masses until 2014, when the ruralvote decisively sided with the BJP purportedly due to theNarendra Modi wave. However, this support base appears tobe slipping away. This is possibly because for the BJP, the“rural” has never been an integral factor in formulating ordirecting reforms.

Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the rural economy even after 27 years of liberalisation. The structural transformation of the economy has not led to a transformation of the country’s labour force, 60% of which continues to be engaged in agriculture that contributes no more than 15% of the gross domestic product. Lack of employment generation in the non-farm sector, inadequate infrastructural development in rural areas and the shrinking cover of state social security keep vast swathes of the labour force arrested in agriculture and allied services. Thus, the neglect of agriculture is tantamount to the neglect of the entire rural economy.

Three of the BJP’s recent policies—the ban on cow slaughter, demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST)—have hit farmers and the rural economy directly. Demonetisation wiped away the all-important liquidity base of agricultural markets and farmers. In a year of bountiful crops, this led to a steady drop in prices for farm produce, leaving farmers with a gaping income deficit and an inability to sow in the next crop cycle. This explains the demand for loan waivers across the country, although the waiver only enables farmers to take new loans for the upcoming season. Secondly, in times of distress, the sale of livestock helps farmers tide over the immediate short run. However, the ban on cow slaughter and sale of cow meat, and the free reign of cow vigilantes have resulted in the nearcollapse of this market. The cost of maintaining cows has increased the numbers of stray cattle that destroy crops—a complaint which features in the agitating farmers’ list of demands in Rajasthan. Thirdly, the GST, which has hit the prospects of small businesses and service providers and thereby expanded the support base for this agitation from non-farm sectors, has also raised the cost of farm inputs for peasants. While the BJP may appear to have won the majoritarian discourse on the above-mentioned reforms, the emerging material outcomes could reverse this rhetoric.

If one sets aside the loan waivers in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which were delivered as part of poll promises in the respective assembly elections, the only opposition party to mobilise and represent this wave of rural–agrarian agitations has been the CPI(M). The AIKS has been at the forefront of the mass strikes, formulation of demands and farmers’ negotiations with the state governments in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, and isslated to initiate the next agitation in Haryana. In the age of unorganised, informal employment, the revival of traditional trade union mobilisation taking the state to task over labour demands is heartening. The challenge for the Indian left isto be able to transform this moment into political returns and reverse its dwindling electoral fortunes. The challenge for the BJP, on the other hand, is to incorporate the rural in itsvision of a “new India.”’-heel.html

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What Ravana, Duryodhana can teach India’s leaders

What drove Ravana, a good king, and Duryodhana, who could match Bhima on strength and valour to ruin?
Arrogance, points out Arundhuti Dasgupta.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/


Speaking truth to power has always been perilous.

Never more so now than before it would seem, given the death of a journalist who took political leaders to task, the ordeal of two women to put a rapist spiritual leader behind bars and the daily ignominies being heaped upon people who dare to choose a narrative that deviates from those who wield power.

That power breeds arrogance is a universal given.

Ravana, a good king and a devout Shiva bhakt, was undone by his arrogance.

As was Duryodhana who could match his cousin Bhima on strength and valour and almost every other human trait.

But arrogance got the better of him, driving him to ruin.

Power also breeds intolerance; it fosters disdain for all who have an opposing view or interfere with the ways of the powerful.

Numerous examples are found in ancient texts about angry sages and wilful gods who burnt rivals to cinders for minor transgressions.

But as is the case with all such narratives, the stories convey the point of view of one set of narrators.

However, folk traditions in all ancient cultures offered an alternative telling of the stories where the good deeds of Ravana or the compassion of Duryodhana were often subjects of admiration.

This was an indicator of the popularity of the stories and the characters; and the resilience of the prevalent cultural framework that did not fear the other side enough to stamp out all dissenting voices.

Storytellers, writers and poets have taken great liberties with the popular narratives of the epics in the past.

While Ram the hero turns into an avatar of Vishnu and a god in the larger national narrative; there are plenty of stories and songs (usually sung by women) about Ram as a cruel husband, a boastful king and an uncaring brother.

The existence of many versions or tellings of these stories served as useful counter-points to more popular narration of events and they also managed to create a way of life that was comfortable with diverse opinions.

The coexistence may not always have been harmonious, but it was not a case of ‘My way or the guillotine’.

Interestingly, even the mainstream narratives were not blind to the inherent flaws in powerful heroic characters.

Some narratives gave heroes a back story and thereby justified their actions while others served up their life stories as warnings to future heroes.

Unfortunately, neither has knowing the past, nor having lived with many versions of the past, worked as an antidote against future tyrants. Especially powerful males, be they kings, priests or leaders in any field.

For example, there is a part historical, part mythical narrative popular in parts of Bengal about an astrologer of some renown called Varahamihira. He was regarded as the final word on astrological predictions and counted many kings from many distant regions among his patrons.

As he grew powerful, he grew arrogant and intolerant, but it so happened that he met his comeuppance in his daughter-in-law.

Her name was Khana and she turned out to be an even greater astrologer than him and soon people began seeking her out, instead of him.

Unable to bear this, he went up to his son and asked him to rein in his wife.

The punishment to be meted out for her arrogance at assuming a greater role than her father-in-law was that her tongue be cut.

And so Khana spent her life with a half stutter that was understood only by her husband. He went on to propagate her teachings that are popular among people in the region even today as Khanar vachan.

In ancient Greece, the poet Sappho was known for her erotic poetry. She wrote odes to many pagan goddesses, but the Church saw this as homo eroticism and burned her books many years after her death.

Sappho is perhaps one of the early victims of religious hegemony.



Power or the version that we live with today seems to hate dissent.

The powerful see any questioning or their authority as a sign of revolt.

Irony is that those in positions of power who unfailingly invoke the country’s great past on every occasion tend to ignore the other great traditions of the region.

To quote the prime minister who recently held forth on the Indian tradition of samvad: ‘Dialogue is the only way to cut through deep rooted religious stereotypes and prejudices,’ he said in a video message in August 2017.

Unfortunately, the truth lies in the practice, not the preaching.

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Maharashtra hasn’t overcome its primordial and divisive caste proclivities

Maratha Kranti Morchas

In the shadow of caste

Hailed as the cradle of the Indian renaissance, Maharashtra hasn’t overcome its primordial and divisive caste proclivities

This country is broken into a thousand pieces,

its cities, its religion, its castes.

Its people, and even the minds of the people

— all are broken, fragmented.

—Bapurao Jagtap

(This Country is Broken, translated by Vilas Sarang)

  • Medha Khole, a senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), lodged a police complaint accusing her cook Nirmala Yadav of concealing her caste and posing as a Brahmin woman for a job. Khole said she required a married cook from the Brahmin community to prepare food on special occasions like the Ganesh festival and during the puja in memory of her deceased parents.
  • Bhalchandra (Bhau) Kadam, a popular Marathi theatre and film actor, was at the receiving end of his Buddhist-Dalit community when Kadam installed an eco-friendly tree Ganesha idol, which some Ambedkarites claimed went against the 22 vows prescribed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar for his followers while renouncing Hinduism and adopting Buddhism. One of these includes not worshipping Hindu Gods like Ganpati.
  • Since last year, Maharashtra’s caste cauldron has been on the boil after members of the dominant Maratha community organised a series of silent Maratha Kranti Morchas. Demands included quotas and preventing the misuse of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Non-Marathas, including Dalits, retaliated with similar Bahujan Kranti Morchas.

The darkness, as the cliché goes, lurks at the bottom of the lamp. Maharashtra, hailed as the cradle of the Indian renaissance, having produced social reformers like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Ambedkar, Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, has not been able to overcome its primordial and divisive caste proclivities.

Despite the march towards a globalised economy, where old barriers are breaking down and new reference points are being created, the inhuman and unnatural system of caste may be a bit like the law of thermodynamics — something that cannot be destroyed but that which changes form.

(Left) Medha Khole; (Right) Bhalchandra (Bhau) Kadam

(Left) Medha Khole; (Right) Bhalchandra (Bhau) Kadam

Superior by default

“We need to question the notion that caste has been rooted out from the educated sections. These people take recourse to many substantive ways to reinforce the caste system,” noted Deepak Pawar, assistant professor, department of civics and politics, University of Mumbai. Though inter-caste and inter-religious marriages take place, such couples are in a minority, he adds. Such matches are also difficult in a rural milieu.

“There is a section of Brahmins that has become more vocal after the BJP came to power… as the organisations providing ideological support to it are seen as those of Brahmins or pro-Brahmin. Conservative Brahmins who were in hibernation have secured a new lease of life. They feel Brahmins are superior by default,” said Pawar.

Hari Narke, professor and head of the Mahatma Phule chair at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), noted that while Khole had the right to observe sovale (purity rituals) in the confines of her home, she could not discriminate on grounds of caste or gender.

“Bhau Kadam has accepted his mistake. He has his personal freedom but it was morally wrong to install a Ganesh idol while being a follower of Babasaheb,” said senior Dalit activist and litterateur Arjun Dangle, while adding that any threats to him, including those for expulsion from the community, were wrong.

“Since Buddhism is part of an Indic tradition, some Hindu customs remain part of it. The growing hardline sentiment among Buddhist Dalits is harmful. They are within their rights to protest against Bhau Kadam, but the aggressive manner in which his apology was forced is wrong. The decline of the Ambedkarite movement and politics has left the youth with little constructive to do, which leads them to this path,” noted an Ambedkarite intellectual.

He pointed out how the Dalit-Ambedkarite movement, which was once a potent social, intellectual and political force and birthed an avant-garde genre of literature, had been weakened. The Dalit middle class largely remains passive about socio-political movements, is more interested in religious and cultural affairs and seeks upward socio-economic mobility instead of providing intellectual leadership to the movement.

However, there are some who disagree. “The Constitution grants freedom to practice one’s religion but not for deviousness. Bhau claims to be a Buddhist and also tries to pass off as a Hindu,” said Ambedkarite blogger MD Ramteke.

He explained that the first qualification of an Ambedkarite was rejecting the (Hindu) gods and religion which forced them to suffer for ages. “Bhau Kadam’s case is that of double standards. In case of devious behaviour, some backlash from the society is but logical,” said Ramteke.

“The Khole episode shows how Hindus are divided… However, many Brahmins came out against Khole’s behaviour,” said Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Avinash Mahatekar.

Reasons for resurgence

Pawar noted that social media served as a medium of casteist expression and for buttressing existing notions. “On one hand, we see inter-caste and inter-religious marriages while on the other hand, social attitudes are becoming more rigid,” he said.

Pawar explained that despite the universalisation of education, the decline of liberal arts and social sciences had contributed to the present state of affairs. “Hence, Ambedkar’s followers talk about him without reading his works while educated Hindus working in the IT sector still cling on to superstitions,” he said.

The spatial integration across classes and communities in shared living spaces like chawls and lower and middle-class housing are being replaced by gated communities where people belong to just one class. “People are unable to think outside the rigid confines of their caste,” he rued, adding that niche Dalit newspapers often targeted those like Kadam who celebrated Hindu festivals.

Activists admit that like the protagonist in Baburao Bagul’s famous short story Jenvha Mee Jaat Chorli Hoti (When I was forced to conceal my caste), cooks and domestic help are often forced to lie about their caste or religion to get employment.

Writer-activist Sanjay Sonwani said the new moral order and popular media post-liberalisation had chosen to project only middle and upper-middle class culture while rejecting the plight of the poor and working classes. “This combined with consumerism has created an economic, cultural and social gap which feeds such feelings,” he explained.

Warning signs?

Stating that such incidents were warning signs for Indian society, which is progressing towards becoming a nation than just being a geographical entity called a country, Yuvak Kranti Dal founder Dr Kumar Saptarshi said this indicated that caste, which was unique to Indian society, was re-surfacing.

Saptarshi said that the “Khole incident has proved that impact of Manusmruti and the ego of upper castes still prevails while the Kadam incident has shown that followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar are not influenced by him in the real sense.”

Mahatma Gandhi had successfully argued that India was one nation and the basis for this argument was the rich, old culture it possessed. After attaining Independence, the process of doing away with erstwhile princely states and reducing the gap between different castes and communities to evolve as a society is going on.

Saptarshi, however, noted that such stray incidents were to be welcomed since they “ring a caution bell to remind all of us to march on the journey of nation-building which would result in creating a modern nation.”

Saptarshi said that it was interesting to note that Maratha organisations were condemning Khole and organising protests since the victim was a Maratha. But in Bhau Kadam’s case, Saptarshi said, “these organisations are not coming forward so strongly to condemn the boycott on Kadam because he is not a Maratha. Obviously, this is bringing to the fore the strong clutch of caste on our society.”

Brahmin bashing?

Terming the entire episode as uncalled for, Moreshwar Ghaisas, the in-charge of Ghaisas Guruji Ved-Paathshala in Pune said Hinduism or religion per se did not define any rituals for sovale or purity.

Ghaisas said Khole had provided yet another opportunity for Brahmin bashing. “Those accusing Khole of being casteist are silent on the Bhau Kadam episode,” said Ghaisas, adding this was because Brahmins did not have a nuisance value and would not retaliate violently. This led to them being subject to attacks after stray examples like that of Khole.

Ghaisas said bringing religion into the public domain leads to such tensions and boosts caste-related egos. He said true religion does not provide any scope for such tensions on the basis of caste.

Social dumbing down

“Peoples’ understanding of caste and religion is shallow which prompts such behaviour. Khole’s choices came from her outdated religious values, which overtook the scientist in her… the reactions in the Bhau Kadam case reveal a hardline neo-religiosity too,” said Sonwani.

He added that while Ambedkar, an organic intellectual, had stressed on the spirit of inquiry, some of his followers were becoming rigid and hide-bound. “There is a rise in intellectual shallowness and education is not working as an antidote,” he lamented.


  • Maharashtra has a rich tradition of social reform and has produced icons like the warkari saints, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, Tarabai Shinde, Justice MG Ranade, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Raghunath Dhondo Karve.
  • Much before the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci propounded his theory of cultural hegemony, Mahatma Phule tried to break with the culture and iconography of the upper castes and create an alternate value system for Bahujans (a conglomeration of non-Brahmins) through his Satyashodhak Samaj

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From Raia to Rohingya: The Politics of Intolerance

Image result for intolerant india

Vivek Menezes| TNN | Sep 23, 2017, 03:41 IST

Goa‘s social harmony suffered a severe blow this week after an aggressive minority of local residents positioned themselves as adamant opponents of a proposed Muslim graveyard (kabrastan) on the Sonsoddo hillside. There are certainly some legitimate grounds for this conflagration of ire: the designated site is a last verdant patch surrounded by development, and was acquired with obviously inadequate compensation to the original tenant.

But, completely unacceptable is the overtly anti-Muslim tone and tenor of some of the loudest complainants, who voiced vile arguments of the kind that citizens of India‘s smallest state have never tolerated. There is no excuse for this nonsense to start up now, and it is imperative that the state regime act decisively to end it immediately.

All Goans are legitimately proud of their homeland, have remained conspicuously tolerant and liberal in its social and cultural make-up, even as much of the rest of the subcontinent lurched back and forth into communal tension and violence throughout the 20th century. That outstanding record remains largely intact even in a 21st century India that Pew Research Centre ranks a disgraceful fourth-worst in the world for religious intolerance, in its Social Hostilities Index, which factors in “hate crimes, mob violence, communal violence, religion-related terror, use of force to prevent religious practice, the harassment of women for not conforming to religious dress codes, and violence over conversion or proselytizing”. It is particularly shameful to note the only countries rated lower — Syria, Iraq and Nigeria — are suffering armed sectarian insurgencies.

But now the poison is seeping into Goa. Earlier this year, the cherubic Sadhvi Saraswati told the All India Hindu Convention in Ponda that “Jo vyakti apne ma (gau mata) ka maas khaane ko apna status symbol maanta hai, aisi vyaktiyon ko Bharat sarkar se nivedan karti hoon, phaansi pe latkana chahiye. Beech chaurahey pe latkana chahiye”, openly calling for killing consumers of beef. These threats caused considerable concern amongst the Catholics of Goa, who justifiably felt targeted. Such a backdrop makes it doubly unconscionable that a few Catholics are amongst the spewers of Islamophobic rhetoric against the Sonsoddo kabrasthan. These “useful idiots” (as Lenin referred to manipulated propagandists) surely fail to realize they’re just unwitting pawns, giving fuel to pernicious majoritarian prejudices that will turn around to consume them next.

It is true India’s contemporary politics of intolerance targets Hindus almost as much as Muslims, but the victims are Dalits. According to the National Crime Record Bureau, there is a hate crime against a Dalit every fifteen minutes. The total has sky rocketed 66% over the past decade. So-called “retributive” rapes of Dalit women doubled in the same time frame. This systemic curse has always bedevilled India, but there is no doubt the current national political landscape has made things much worse. Paul Divakar of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights notes “most atrocities … are by upper castes having some political protection. The data clearly shows the rise of violence against Dalits has a direct connection with the rise of BJP in power”.

Target Dalits at home, and Muslims everywhere. That bottom line of India’s current policies was brought home again this week by the Union home ministry’s extraordinary affidavit to the Supreme Court alleging “serious national security threat/concern” that justifies mass deportation of 40,000 (majority Muslim) Rohingya back to Myanmar, where the community faces a sustained military campaign the United Nations calls “ethnic cleansing”. The opposing lawyer Prashant Bhushan says the government is trying to distract from its real intentions, because “this is clearly a case of religious discrimination and an attempt to arouse an anti-Muslim feeling”.

India’s hospitality to communities fleeing intolerance is perhaps its greatest civilizational attribute. Countless refugees can attest to this munificence, from Parsis who sought safety over 1,500 years ago, to the Dalai Lama who took refuge in 1959. Regimes come and go, but the defining ethos of a people is precious and deserves protection above all. In a few days, the Supreme Court will rebuff the government in its inhuman and immoral campaign to expulse the Rohingya seeking sanctuary in India. That is exactly as it should be. Similarly, the rampant anti-Muslim prejudices being voiced by Sonsoddo kabrasthan opponents must come to an end without delay, with zero tolerance offered by either state or society. There is much more at stake than just a cemetery on a patch of green hillside opposite an overflowing garbage dump.

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After Ram Rahim, Rajasthan’s ‘Falahari’ Baba arrested for rape #Vaw


The incident comes nearly a month after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in two rape cases.

Baba Falahari was accused of raping a woman from  Chhattisgarh. (Photo: YouTube | Screengrab)

 Baba Falahari was accused of raping a woman from  Chhattisgarh. (Photo: YouTube | Screengrab)

Jaipur: Rajasthan’s self-styled godman, ‘Falahari’ Baba was arrested on Saturday by Alwar Police after he was accused of raping a female disciple from Chhattisgarh. He was arrested from a government hospital, where he was admitted.

The 21-year-old victim from Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur had lodged a complaint against Rajasthan-based Falahari Maharaj, alleging sexual exploitation.

The 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapannacharya Falahari Maharaj was dubbed as ‘Falahari’ Baba after he claimed to have survived by consuming only fruits for the last 25 years.

The incident comes nearly a month after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in two rape cases and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


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Protestors claiming to be Shiv Sena workers shut down over 500 meat shops for Navratri

Gurugram ‘Shiv Sena’ at it again, forces meat shops and street joints to shut for Navaratras

Abhimanyu Mathur| TNN | 

In March, the group’s members had entered a KFC outlet in Sector 14 and forcibly shut it down, apart from around 500 meat shops and family restaurants across town (BCCL/ Ajay Kumar Gautam)

Gurugram 'Shiv Sena' at it again, forces meat shops and street joints to shut for Navaratras

Bullying by a local outfit that calls itself the Gurgaon unit of the Shiv Sena had forced nearly 500 meat shops and eateries to shut shop or pull off non-veg from their menus during the last Navaratras, even though Gurgaon Police had promised action against them. This time, just a ‘request’ from the outfit has been enough to down shutters or change menus.

In simpler times, Navaratra in Gurgaon marked the arrival of ramlilas across the city, setting up of Durga Puja pandals, and invites for dandiya nights being sent out. Of late, however, the Navaratra also bring along a forced meat ban in several areas of the city, enforced by a self-proclaimed local unit of the Shiv Sena. Like in March, the party has again ‘requested’ all shops, restaurants, and eateries selling and serving non-vegetarian food in Gurgaon to shut their operations for these nine days as it “hurts the sensibilities of fasting Hindus.” In March, the group’s members had entered a KFC outlet in Sector 14 and forcibly shut it down, apart from around 500 meat shops and family restaurants across town, even though the Gurgaon Police had said that they would immediately take action against any coercive shutting down. The KFC outlet had reopened after a few hours, and fast food chains continued to operate as usual, but smaller shops and street food joints weren’t so lucky. Naturally, such eateries in Gurgaon have taken the threat seriously this time. Most say, they are either shutting down for the Navaratra or pulling non-veg off their menus for this duration.

Selling or serving non-veg during navaratra hurts sensibilities of fasting Hindus: Shiv Sena
Traditionally targeting meat shops in the city, the unit has only recently started including eateries in their ‘meat ban’. Ritu Raj, who claims to be Shiv Sena’s Gurgaon spokesperson, says, “Even though our main objection is against the meat shops that sell meat and display it in the open, we have also asked restaurants and eateries that serve non-veg out in the open or display it to either shut their shops or limit their activities during the Navaratra. Selling or serving non-veg during these nine days hurts the sensibilities of fasting Hindus, which is why we would insist all shops adhere to our request. This includes all kiosks and street food joints too, as they openly serve non-veg.” He added that starting Thursday, about 200 Shiv Sainiks would be ‘patrolling’ the streets and markets of the city to impose their diktat. “If not, we will do the needful ourselves,” says Ritu Raj, the threat hardly veiled.

We have no choice, don’t want any trouble: Eateries
The promise of these ‘raids’ has already put fear in the hearts of food joints across Gurgaon. Shamim, who operates a kebab and rolls joint in Old Gurgaon, says, “I plan to shut shop for the Navaratra. Sales are anyway low during these days. On top of that, I don’t want any trouble with these guys. Even last time, they had objected to me selling rolls and kebabs. I think it’s best that I avoid any such situation this time.” Others say they will continue opening their joints but with an only-veg menu for the Navaratra. An owner of a shawarma joint in Sector 14, says, “I have got a sign prepared that we don’t serve meat during Navaratra to display outside the shop. It will mean some losses but it is the safest thing to do right now.” Another joint owner from Sector 56, adds, “Earlier, I used to shut shop on Tuesdays and the first and last day of the Navaratra, as the sale is anyway low during those days. But this time, given the atmosphere, I will close it for all nine days. Aisi controversy rehti hai toh log bhi nahin aate.”

Owners of street food joints say that the main reason to switch to a vegetarian-only menu is to avoid trouble with the Shiv Sainiks as that adversely affects business. Gagan Singh, who runs a street food joint selling rolls, shawarma and other snacks, says, “I hope the police act before these guys hurt anyone. It is quite scary that you can be attacked just for doing your job. The sales dip during the Navaratra anyway, but some people do come to eat non-veg despite the fasts. If we eliminate our non-veg menu, we will incur losses. But as of now, I have decided to limit my menu to only egg, paneer, and vegetarian dishes. Any argument or incident here will drive customers away. I don’t want that.”

If they threaten us, we will have to give in to their demands: Fast food joints

Fast food joints too, are being cautious. An employee of the KFC outlet in Sector 14 says, “We are being cautious this time. Although we have faith that the administration and police won’t let a repeat of last time happen, if it comes to that, we will agree to whatever their demands are. In any case, their objection is about displaying non-veg in the open, which we don’t do. If it comes to that, we won’t put any signs or display boards outside as well.”


Meat Shops In Gurgaon


“We have served notices to every meat and chicken shop. This time we have not served notices to restaurants such as KFC and others, which serve chicken, as it is not seen openly. One will have to face consequences in case he does not follow instructions,” general secretary and spokesperson of Shiv Sena Gurgaon wing Ritu Raj said.

Had given memorandum to Gurugram admin demanding shutting down of illegal meat shops in view of Navratri-Ritu Raj (Shiv Sena spox, Gurugram)

Not just the meat shops, Shiv Sena workers also served notices to non-vegetarian food outlets, asking them to shut business till the nine-day Navratri festival is over.

Another right wing group Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal (ABHKD) have also threatened meat sellers not to operate for the nine days.

“We had to close two of our meat shops in Wazirabad and in DLF-5. We did so out of fear because these people can even use violence to get their way,” said Tasim, who sells chicken and biryani.

Meat Shops In Gurgaon


Another meat shop owner in Old Gurgaon said, “We respect religious sentiments but this is our livelihood. We are being asked to not earn our bread for 10 days. There has to be some other way.”

Meanwhile, the police and Gurgaon administration said they will ensure all security to meat shops.

“We are looking into the matter and no one is authorised to take law into his own hands. If the shops were forcefully shut down by the workers of Shiv Sena, we will take strict against them and are waiting for the complaint to be registered in this regard,” a senior police officer said.


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SC’s stern message: Cow vigilantes need to be brought to justice, victims must be compensated

SC says states must appoint police officers to prevent cow vigilantism by Oct 13, pay compensation for violence

Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power three years ago.

Focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power three years ago.(AP File Photo)

The Supreme Court order asking states to appoint in every district a senior police officer who will be responsible for preventing violence in the name of cow protection will have to be complied with by October 13.

States will also have to compensate victims of violence in the name of cow protection.

The court, while proposing measures to stem what it called growing violence by so-called cow protection groups, earlier this month had said the nodal officers would have to ensure that vigilantes do not become a law unto themselves. It had given states a week to comply with the order. The court had also asked states to list steps they would take to step up security on highways, where cow vigilantes have stopped vehicles carrying cattle and attacked people.

Focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power three years ago, and several states ruled by the party made laws to punish cow slaughter.

So-called cow protectors have targeted cattle and meat traders, transporters and even farmers walking their animals — violence that has killed several people, mostly in BJP-ruled states. Critics accuse the vigilantes of using cows as a pretext to target Muslims and Dalits.

The Supreme Court on Friday said states were under obligation to compensate victims of violence by cow vigilante groups.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said states must frame schemes to compensate victims of crime, including those of cow vigilantism as envisaged under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Noting that law and order had to be given primacy, it said anyone violating the law must be dealt sternly.
The top court asked states and union territories to comply with its September 6 order to appoint nodal officer to deal with cow vigilantism by October 31.
The direction came after the Bench was informed that only five states — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh — have filed compliance report.
The Bench, however, declined to take up the issue of murder of Junaid on a train in Faridabad allegedly by members of a cow vigilante group, saying individual case should not be clubbed with the larger issue.
Amid rising incidents of cow vigilantism from various parts of the country, the Supreme Court had on September 6 asked states to appoint a senior police officer in every district as a nodal officer to stop violence in the name of cow protection.
“The senior police officer shall take prompt action and will ensure vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with promptitude,” it had said.
“Steps have to be taken to stop this…. Some kind of planned action is required so that vigilantism does not grow… Efforts have to be made to stop such vigilantism. How they (states) will do it, is their business but this must stop,” the Bench had said on the last date of hearing after senior counsel Indira Jaising submitted on behalf of petitioner Tushar Gandhi that there had been 66 incidents of mob lynching and assault since July.
Tushar Gandhi, great- grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has moved the top court seeking direction to states to check cow vigilantism. Activist Tehseen S Poonawalla too has approached the court on the issue. The nodal officers have to ensure that cow vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves, it had said.
The Bench had also asked the Centre to see what action can be taken against states that fail to check such vigilantism. While maintaining that it did not support violence in the name of cow protection, the Centre has maintained that law and order was a state subject and it did not have any role to play in it.
Cattle traders, transporters and farmers and meat traders have been at the receiving end of cow vigilante groups as many victims, including those in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, have been killed.
States were required to list the measures taken to step up security on highways, where cow vigilantes often target cattle traders.

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Mass grave at Dera Sacha Sauda’s Sirsa headquarters has 600 skeletons #WTFnews

Ram Rahim Could Have Been Involved In Child Trafficking, His Close Aide Reveals 600 Skeletons Buried Inside Dera Headquarters

Gurmeet used to appeal to his followers to donate their kids to Dera so that good fortune will follow.
Ram Rahim Could Have Been Involved In Child Trafficking, His Close Aide Reveals 600 Skeletons Buried Inside Dera Headquarters

While rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is serving his 20-year jail term in Rohtak‘s Sunaria jail, skeletons are tumbling out of the closet with every passing day, unveiling the dark secrets of the Dera chief. The latest one is the possibility of his involvement in child trafficking.

Lalita, a  resident of Paniput, who was a Dera follower has alleged that her child has gone missing from Dera headquarters in Sirsa since last 12 years. She has claimed that she donated her 2-month-old kid to Dera after Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s persuasion through an advertisement, reported India Today.

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Gurmeet used to appeal to his followers to donate their kids to Dera so that good fortune will follow, the report adds.

Speaking to the news channel, Lalita said,”I donated my 2-month-old kid to Dera…. 12 years have passed, I have no clue where my child is.”

While no one else has come forward with similar accusations, there is a possibility that Gurmeet could be involved in child trafficking.

A senior Dera official, during an interrogation by Special Investigation Team (SIT) has revealed that nearly 600 skeletons are buried inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.

Gurmeet, who is lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail after having been convicted of rape, appeared via video- conferencing in the court of CBI judge Jagdeep Singh on Tuesday in connection with Dera Sacha Sauda manager Ranjit Singh murder case.

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Gurmeet has been named the main conspirator in the murder case.

Five other accused – Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Sabdil Singh, Indersen and Avtar Singh – were present in the court.

Former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was shot dead in 2002.

He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of an anonymous letter which narrated how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters.

On August 25, the CBI court had convicted Ram Rahim Singh, following which violence had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa leading to the death of 41 people.

(With PTI inputs)

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Mumbai 1992- The Forgotten Riot

There is no clamour for justice in Mumbai 1992 riots since it can’t be used politically

Written by Jyoti Punwani |

In August, the Supreme Court (SC) announced the setting up of a high-level committee to check why 241 cases closed by the Delhi police after the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, remain closed even after another set of policemen re-examined them. Such committees have to report to the court that appointed them. Hence, if evidence still exists, the culprits of 1984 may well face trial.

Unfortunately, such hope has long been extinguished in families whose loved ones were similarly killed in Mumbai. The 1,358 closed cases of Mumbai’s 1992-93 riots account for 60 per cent of the total cases registered then. In Mumbai too, a special police team re-examined them, barely a decade after the incidents took place — not a long time, given our legal system. But this team reported to the Maharashtra government. The result? Just five of the cases were re-opened and all of them ended in acquittal.

Such a farcical exercise was not expected of this grandly-named Special Task Force. The STF comprised hand-picked police officers, supposed to be different from the Mumbai police, who had been indicted by a judicial commission for their pro-Shiv Sena, anti-Muslim conduct during the riots. The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Inquiry Report into the riots recorded that the Mumbai police closed many of these cases even though complainants had given names and sometimes, even addresses of the suspects.

Were these officers hauled up for their shoddy investigations? That would be expecting too much. The STF reported to Chhagan Bhujbal, former Shiv Sainik turned state home minister under a Congress-NCP government. Bhujbal set up the STF only to show the SC that the Srikrishna commission report was being implemented. An angry chief justice, A.S. Anand had demanded to know what action was being taken against those indicted by a sitting high court judge. That was the last meaningful intervention by the SC in the 1992-93 Mumbai riots matter.

Why have the riots that broke out in Mumbai after the Babri Masjid demolition been pushed to oblivion? Nine hundred persons died in violence which lasted more than a week in December 1992 and again in January 1993. The Justice Srikrishna Commission Report became the most publicised report of any inquiry commission, because the judge, without mincing words, indicted Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

Yet, the communal violence debate continues to focus only on Delhi 1984 and Gujarat 2002, using each episode as a weapon against the Congress and Narendra Modi respectively. The Mumbai riots, on the other hand, exposed both the Congress who ruled the state and the Shiv Sena, which was responsible for the violence, specially in January. Bit difficult then to lay the blame on one door. And if you can’t use them politically, why mention communal riots at all?
But there’s another reason why the Mumbai’s riots are rarely mentioned. More than the Congress and the Shiv Sena, it was the Mumbai police that was exposed. The Srikrishna commission indicted 31 policemen for crimes ranging from murder to rioting to shielding rioters. Twenty-four years later, just two cases against the policemen, filed under judicial pressure, are alive. The “secular’’ Congress-NCP government that ruled between 1999-2014 made sure the other cops went scot-free.

Although overwhelming evidence exists against the policemen in these two cases, one officer was exonerated by the CBI. The cases meander from court to court. Investigating officers reluctant to get their colleagues into trouble, occasionally show up. Bored public prosecutors barely glance at the tattered files. And no one’s present in court to exert public pressure.

Delhi’s Sikhs have been helped not just by untiring lawyers but also by human rights groups and powerful community organisations. In Gujarat, the violence was televised and shook the entire country, prompting a number of NGOs to intervene, who then roped in the NHRC and the SC.

Mumbai’s victims have always had only a small band of activists and lawyers. But as cases were deliberately prolonged, only a few stayed on for the tedious job of attending courts, supporting vulnerable victims and witnesses, assisting lawyers fighting for free. Ultimately, they were just not enough to take on a state determined to protect its own.

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Rajasthan- Case Against self styled ‘Godman’ for sexual assault #Vaw

In her complaint, the woman had alleged that the 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapanacharya Phalahari Maharaj sexually exploited her at his ashram in Rajasthan’s Alwar on August 7

A woman from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh has accused Phalahari baba of Alwar in Rajasthan of raping her on August 7.

Rajasthan godman Phalahari baba booked for raping a woman.


  • Chhattisgarh woman accuses Rajasthan godman of rape.
  • Alwar’s Phalahari baba booked for raping 21-year-old
  • Phalahari baba raped the woman on August 7.

    AIPUR: A self-styled godman in Rajasthan was on Wednesday booked for alleged sexual exploitation of a 21-year-old woman from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, police said.

    In her complaint, the woman had alleged that the 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapanacharya Phalahari Maharaj sexually exploited her at his ashram in Rajasthan’s Alwar on August 7.

    “Bilaspur police have sent the complaint here. We have registered a case of sexual exploitation and initiated investigation,” SHO Aravali police station, Hemraj Meena, said.

    He said that they visited the ashram of the accused from where it was found that he was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Alwar.

    He will be interrogated after permission from doctors, Mr Meena said.


    According to the police, the accused ‘Godman’ had been visiting the woman’s residence for quite some time.

    According to preliminary investigation, the woman had got an internship after completing her law studies. She visited the the ashram on August 7 to donate some money following which he allegedly sexually exploited her.

    “Her family is a disciple of Phalahari baba so they told her to give it to baba. When she went to meet him he told her to wait and then raped and threatened her. The parents came to us after the woman told them everything and we registered a case,” Archana Jha, DSP, Bilaspur said.

    The ‘Godman’ apparently has a sprawling ashram and several domestic and international devotees revere him, police said.

According to reports, when the police reached his ashram, Phalahari baba got himself admitted to a private hospital complaining of ill health. A police team is currently stationed outside the hospital to take him away for questioning.



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