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Why its hard to accept the killing of Mohsin Sheikh in Pune

Guest Post by SAMEER KHAN

first_wicket_mohsin_shaikh

The nation was outraged with the news of the murder of Mohsin Shaikh in Pune following the riots after the suspected defaming face book post. Many people were horrified by the killings of the young techie. The news media and the social media used the word Pune in a very generic manner but the fact was much of Pune remained unaffected with the violence. The initial protest that started on the day of FB rumors took place mainly in selected places and appeared to have been clearly organized by some group that was closely coordinating its cadres by use of social media and other communication by circulating fake planted stories and directing the mobs to target specific places.

The place Mohsin Shaikh was murdered, and where the worst damage occurred was the Hadapsar area of Pune which is actually on the outer limits of Pune towards the Sholapur road.Hadapsar was a sleepy town couple of decades ago. It is Hadapsar that is the native place of the author of this article. My father was raised in Hadapsar and completed his primary education from the local Bunter School, one of the oldest surviving schools in the region

I was born and raised in South Mumbai and my world came crashing down when my father decided to move back to his native Hadapsar in mid 1980’s. I was in 7th grade and my transition from a south Mumbai boy to sleepy Hadapsar town was a very painful one. It took my very long to reconcile the fact that Hadapsar the sleepy semi rural town was now my new home.

I hated my father for the forced migration inflicted upon me and my family. I remained completely incongruous in an all Maharashtrian rustic neighborhood and it was hard for me to get used to the new reality that now Hadapsar was the place I was supposed to live.The only small Muslim hamlet nearby was Syed nagar that had some Muslims among the otherwise overwhelming Mahrashtrian Marathi speaking area.

It took me a while to get used to life in the rural settings and the rustic dialect of Marathi being spoken in the region. As time went by I got familiar to the local dialect of Marathi and also made friends with local boys visited their homes and learnt swimming with them in the local canals and snitched sugar canes and carrots from the nearby fields. Celebrate the otherwise lesser known Maharashtrian festivals like Kojagiri or Bail pola along with the others.

Most Maharashtrians do not have penchant or patience for pronouncing long names unless one belong the some selective urban section of Pune. Bhandarkar would be truncated to Bandya, Suresh would be Surya, Manish would be Manya and living by the tradition I was bestowed the sobriquet of “Samya”

When I would visit my family and friends in Mumbai and other parts of India they would often taunt or tease me calling me a Ghati or a Hadapsari which was used in pejorative manner. I hated being addressed as a Ghaati but over the period of time accepted myself as a Ghaati and I had no qualms about proudly called myself a Ghaati.

Though the presence of Muslims in the neighborhood was miniscule, almost negligible and the very tiny number of Muslims that had existed over many years were completely assimilated and entrenched into the local fabric. Most of them spoke chaste Marathi and wore the traditional white Lenga and cap that marks rural Maharashtra.  It was impossible to differentiate between Hindu and a Muslim.

It would be untrue to deny that there were no social barriers between the Hindus and Muslims. Difference existed to a thin degree yet the majority of Maharashtrian Hindus were extremely tolerant towards fellow Muslims.When a local Muslim boy Mohammad who was fondly called Mamdya had slipped and fell in the canal and had drowned almost every man around had leaped inside the flowing canal to search his body unfortunately the boy could not be saved and entire town has turned up at the dead boy’s funeral to console his parents.

The two local prominent Ganesh mandals or clubs in my locality were Amar Mitra Mandal and the newly formed Shiv Premi Mitra Mandal. (Fans of Shivaji friends club) Both mandals celebrated Ganesh festival with fervor and had a traditional rivalry. When my dearest friend Bandya who was the leader of the Shiv Premi Mitra Mandal decided to print a broacher with list and names of all the members of the club Sameer Khan or Samya was the only Muslim member of the club.

Once a fight broke out between the two mandals and some of the over enthusiastic drunken members of our Shiv Premi Mitra Mandal ended up breaking the decoration of the rival Amar Mitra Mandal. Police were called in and many of the boys were questioned over the arson. I was still in my early teens and most of the older boys stepped forward to protect me and in fact the members of rival Amar mitra mandal came forward and declared that I was not the part of the disruptive gang and privately told me not to get involved in mandal activities and instead pursue my studies. I was loved by all as “Samya” and they accepted me as their own.

After living a couple of years in Hadapsar in 1989 my family decided to move to urban Pune and I had to bid a painful adieu to my friends. It was hard for me to assimilate in Hadapsar and after living couple of years it was equally hard for me to get away from the circle of friends whom I had become an integral part.

Last 25 years have changed Hadapsar completely today it is not longer the sleepy town of sugar cane fields. Now it’s a thriving suburb of Pune and every bit as part of growing Pune metropolis. Land prices have sky rocketed and apartment buildings have taken over from traditional mud houses and few people wear the traditional White Maharashtrian Lenga.

Killing of Mohsin Shaikh is still hard for me to digest. What has happened in last decade that has lead to his new breed of hatred? Muslims are and were a factor in local politics. Shiv Sena has had a presence in the region for more than last 30 years yet it had always focused on local issues and domestic politics that dealt with Maharashtrian issues and would never attack a Maharashtrain Marathi speaking Muslim in Pune.

So that makes me think which forces have brought the alien culture upon the Maharashtrians? Who is spreading the hate agenda that identifies a Muslim as enemy? The Local Muslims still remain a simple peaceful small community that is merely involved in earning its two square meals and the local Maharashtians never perceived them as any kind of threat.

An alien culture has descended or has been brought up the local landscape and is being infused upon some Maharashtrian youth by some insidious and ambitious politicians that have been emboldened by success of similar tactics in other parts of the country.

Having grown up in Hadapsar I can say with immense pride that local Maharashtrians by core are not communal or people with violent natured streak that would want to harm any person just because of their faith. I am still finding it hard to reconcile that such a horrific killing could take place in Hadapsar and I refuse to believe it was a spontaneous riot or violent reaction. It is not just Mohsin Shaikh who has died but a little bit a Hadapsar that I knew has also died.

———–
Sameer Khan is a playwright, author and independent writer who tweets at @samkhan999

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#India – Untouchable to indispensable: the Dalit women revolutionising waste

Pune has give an army of mostly Dalit (‘untouchable’) women the sole rights to collect and recycle the city’s mountains of trash
Indian Rag Pickers

An Indian worker carries a bag of recyclable materials in east Delhi, India. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Massive solid waste accumulation has become an environmental, health and aesthetic hazard for India‘s cities. Urban India generates 188,500 tonnes of trash a day. In the absence of infrastructure to handle the issue, a large, informal waste-picking and recycling industry has developed among the urban poor. This unpaid, unprotected ‘army of green workers’ collects, sorts and recycles the city’s discards to trade for small returns.

Their labour fills a valuable role in municipal responsibility but city officials across the country have nearly unanimously overlooked the waste pickers’ contributions. However, in Pune, just 150km from Mumbai, a quiet revolution is taking place: the city’s poorest have fought their way into the municipal system and have been given the sole rights to collecting the city’s garbage – a move unprecedented in a country increasingly opting for privatised waste management.

Suman More, a waste picker from Pune, is one of the thousands of women who have benefitted from the partnership with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Like many in her position, she started rag picking when she was a teenager to help her parents, also rag pickers, who were new migrants to the city. 90% of Pune’s waste pickers are women – many of whom are the sole breadwinners – and nearly all are from India’s ‘untouchable’ caste.

In 1993, a newly-formed union of waste pickers, Kagad Kach Patra Kaghtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), came to her neighbourhood offering benefits that appealed to her but seemed “utopian” to skeptical friends. Exhausted from daily harassment from both city officials and residents not to mention the filthy conditions in which she toiled, More joined.

Today, she is part of a 9,000 strong waste pickers’ union who have not only improved the working conditions for its members but have brought dignity to their lives. Importantly, KKPKP laid the foundation for Swach (Solid Waste Collection and Handling), India’s first wholly owned cooperative of self-employed waste pickers. In 2008, Swach and the PMC entered into a memorandum of understanding.

Pune’s door-to-door garbage collection service owned and operated by the waste pickers themselves is one of the only examples of a pro-poor public private waste management partnership in India. Swach services 400,000 households in the city – from slums to the more affluent – for a user fee ranging from 10-30 rupees (US$0.15-US$0.50) per household per month – the fee is fixed at 15 rupees (US$0.25) for slum dwellers. The women now wear uniformed green saris and the municipality has provided protective gear as well as rolling bins and sometimes even motorized carts to make their work easier.

“I work only four hours for more money,” says More. “Since I collect the waste from door to door, the quality and condition of waste is much better.”

Fewer working hours means that the women can undertake supplemental employment or have more free time to spend with their children, providing them with an education and a future outside their work. Swach has also expanded its operations and opportunities for the women to learn new skills in the growing waste sector, including composting and operating bio-methane plants.

“The unique aspect of this cooperative is that it is completely owned by the waste picker members themselves,” says Aparna Susarla of Swach. “They are the decision-makers; they decide for themselves and run the cooperative on their own. They are invisible environmentalists and entrepreneurs in the truest sense.”

In Mumbai, Vinod Shetty, a lawyer and head of Acorn Foundation, which advocates for waste pickers, says that Pune has set an example for the country of a workers’ rights-oriented model, but there are many barriers to replication. “The biggest challenge to incorporating rag pickers into the municipal system in Mumbai is the corruption in the garbage collection system,” says Shetty. “The nexus between contractors and politicians will not allow the rag pickers to enter the system.” This sentiment is echoed throughout the country.

Swach believes there is opportunity for its model to work elsewhere, but attributes its success to a strong pre-existing waste pickers union and sees a need for more unionisation in other cities. This starting point, says the organisation, is often overlooked by NGOs working in the sector. A policy brief on the Pune model by Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (Wiego) cites the union as an important foundational step. The difference in this public sector union is that it set its priorities beyond just workers’ rights and focused on the larger public benefit.

The wider focus has achieved an unthinkable triumph: women from the lowest caste – those who are barred from drinking from the same water tap as others – now interact with the households they service and, for now, have beaten out powerful competitors for the right to collect the city’s refuse. They now clean the city with a sense of dignity and purpose – a feat that goes beyond what the economics of the low-cost model could ever have predicted.

 

Read more here – http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jul/01/india-waste-picking-women-waste-cities-urban

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Pune = A hub for culture, education, IT, now communal violence hub ?

ATUL LOKE
Students’ Wing Collegegoers at a rock concert
MAHARASHTRA: PUNE VIOLENCE
A City Interrupted
A hub for culture, education, IT. But Pune, communal violence hub?

It has been three weeks since a young Pune techie, 28-year-old Mohsin Sheikh, was killed in a mob attack on the outskirts of Pune, but Punekars are yet to recover from the shock. Until May 31, when the Hindu Rashtra Sena unleashed a weekend of bloody mayhem in the Unnati Nagar and Satav Plot area of the Hadaspar suburb, they would have vouched for their city’s cosmopolitan and secular fabric. Suddenly they are not so sure anymore. Some are even wondering if it existed at all.

“Pune has a very complex social fabric,” says Dr Abhijit Vaidya, a practising cardiologist, well-known health activist, socialist and Pune resident. “Here we have had Mahatma Phule and Dr B.R. Ambedkar, and at the same time Brahminical organisations like the RSS or Sanatan Prabhat also flourished; it had many left-leaning socialist leaders as well. Pune stayed relatively safe bec­ause of the dominance of secular and progressive forces—small in number but with towering personalities like S.M. Joshi. “What needs to be understood is the timing and the place. The polarisation of Hindu votes helped the BJP in UP after the Muzaffarnagar riots. Now, the assembly elections are around. One cannot say there is no connection.”

Unnati Nagar and Satav Plot essentially house middle-class and lower-middleclass families. Despite a few Muslim-dominated localities, in most areas they live with an overwhelming majority of Hindu neighbours. Many like Mohsin would live on a cot-share basis in the only Muslim household in their lane and get tiffin from outside. The congested byla­nes, in fact, have both a small temple as well as a mosque, betraying no apparent undercurrent of any communal angst.   “No one ever had any problem with azaan or puja. We celebrated all festivals, Diwali or Id,” says Shakil Hamid Shaikh, one of the ‘original’ residents of Unnati Nagar. “We have often voted Shiv Sena and Muslims have served on several party positions.”


Losing The Drive Will the Punekar be able to ride free of fear on these roads? (Photograph by Atul Loke)

Which is why the Sena found itself caught in a tricky situation. The Facebook content that sparked off trouble riots was on Shivaji and Balasaheb Thackeray. Yet the Sena chose to distance itself from the protests and violence unleashed by the HRS because, ironically, the party has many Muslim supporters in the same pockets where the HRS went on a rampage and if they want their support, they cannot be seen as anti-Muslim. The balance in its alliance with the BJP in the state has shifted in the Sena’s favour, with the death of BJP leader Gopinath Munde.

“There is no question about our revere­nce for Shivaji but we’re certain the Pune Muslims had nothing to do with the post,” says Shiv Sena MLA in the area, Mahadev Babar. Some Muslims spoke of his efforts in ensuring no violence took place in his areas. “He made teams of Hindu and Muslim youth who would protect members of either community when mobs attacked,” says Shakil Sheikh. “We have nothing to do with HRS,” says Babar on his part. “It is our demand that the culprits be caught and punished.”

 

Just a few days before he was killed, Mohsin had celebrated his 28th birthday at work, cake, song and all.

The police have already made controversial HRS head Dhananjay Desai an accused in the Mohsin murder case. Another 21 people have been arrested. There are reports of a special public prosecutor being appointed in the case and the trial may be expedited.

Yet, several issues remain. Anwar Shaikh, a former police official and now a member of the Socialist Party, voices them: “So why is this happening in the outskirts where vulnerable and isolated Muslim groups stay? These incidents don’t happen in areas like Mominpura as there’ll be a strong reaction from the other side.”

And that is what worries Akhalaque Shaikh, Mohsin’s cousin, a Pune resident by birth. “We have never felt threatened in Pune. In fact, fear has not been a factor. But there are different groups with different agenda. Just like the militant Hindu groups, there will be those who want to retaliate among Muslims too. I did not inform many people of Mohsin’s death until the body had been sent to Solapur because it would have increased communal tension,” he says.

“It takes only a few people to start riots but what needs to be investigated is the funding of such organisations and the protection they receive in the event of such vandalising incidents,” says Anwar Shaikh.

The Hindu Rashtra Sena, which fancies itself as a reincarnation of Nathuram Godse’s original, is a relatively new outfit, active only for the past five years. In this time, its head Dhan­anjay has already totted up over 20 cases pertaining to making inflammatory speeches and instigating violence.


Fear Factor HRS head being led to court. (Photograph by Nitin Lawate)

“The spawning of organisations like the Hindu Rashtra Sena, with reportedly over 4,000 members, is not just worrying for inter-communal harmony but it is also a test for the law and order machinery,” says human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. “We know Dhananjay Desai was a suspect in the Narayan Dabholkar murder yet no direct evidence could be linked to him. The speeches he makes, circulating freely on social media like WhatsApp, are hate-filled and inflammatory. Why does action follow only after a brutal killing? Also what are the HRS connections with the Shiv Sena or the RSS?”

The answer perhaps lies in what Professor Joseph Pinto has to say. “The RSS/BJP/Modi want to see just sufficient polarisation so that they are able to gain ‘first-past-the-post’ majorities in the Lok Sabha, assembly and corporation elections. Learning from ‘the Gujarat model’ of the 2002 riots, these right-wing forces want to polarise the electorate. If they achieve that aim, the violence of the Right will have served its purpose. All the political parties are interested in pandering to the Hindu Right because it builds their res­pective bases among the poor youth.”

Meanwhile, a compensation of Rs 5 lakh has been declared for Mohsin’s family, and more might be coming from the min­ority affairs ministry and other government departments. The money is important for Mohsin’s family because they depended entirely on Mohsin. “He used to send his entire salary home and lived very frugally,” says Sujeet Mittal, Mohsin’s friend and boss at Ujwal Enterprises, the company in whose billing department the young techie was employed. “He was a most trustworthy person, a saint, the only one who had a key to the office apart from me. He had no friends in the  city, let alone enemies.” Mittal had rushed to the hospital when he heard the news and waited till Mohsin’s body was sent to Solapur.

In Solapur, Mohsin’s family is no longer willing to send their younger son to Pune, where he has got a job, thanks to Mohsin’s goodwill. “His mother is still in shock. We want justice for our son and have faith in the police and judi­cial system,” says his father Sadiq Sheikh over the phone from Solapur.

Mohsin’s relatives in Pune too feel the same. Says Akhalaque, “We want better laws and implementation so that no one tries to indulge in violence. But more importantly, we don’t want anyone’s safety and security to be compromised.”

“This has never happened here,” says Nikhil Bhat, a filmmaker who belongs to Pune and is now based in Mumbai. “Not even after the 1993 blasts and riots. It is a students’ city, with youth coming here from all over the world. This is some kind of vested outside int­erest at play here. No common man—Hindu, Muslim, anyone—wants to disrupt his own house. My family is still there. I don’t feel scared.”


By Prachi Pinglay-Plumber in Pune

Read more here – http://www.outlookindia.com/article/A-City-Interrupted/291102#.

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Pune’s new Sena: Pushing Muslims to the edge

Aditi Pai  Pune, June 13, 2014 |

On June 2, hours after a group of goons, armed with hockey sticks, beat up a bearded Muslim youth in Hadapsar in Pune’s suburbs and left him to die, a text message in Marathi started doing the rounds in the city. It said: “Pahili wicket padli (first wicket down)”. The message circulated by the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), who attacked 28-year-old Mohsin Sheikh, enraged people in the neighbourhood. “If they want to play a cricket match, we are also ready for it,” said a local from Sayyad Nagar, a neighbourhood close to Unnati Nagar, where Sheikh was killed.

 

Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Desai is lodged in Yerawada Central Jail.

With tempers flying fast, the Pune police and security forces stepped in to fortify the area and maintain calm. Seventeen HRS workers were arrested in connection with the murder within five days. Meanwhile their chief, Dhananjay Desai, who’s in his mid-30s, was already in jail for allegedly circulating hate materials in Pune’s slums. But he was later charged with criminal conspiracy in Sheikh’s murder after the police examined videos and material that had allegedly instigated his people to commit the crime. He is currently lodged in the Yerawada Central Jail.

 

Sheikh’s death maybe the first incident from Hadapsar to make national headlines but the eastern suburb of Pune has seen simmering, largely because of the HRS, over the past five years. A far-flung suburb until over a decade ago, Hadapsar has now found its place on the city’s industrial map, thanks to the IT corridor of Magarpatta City and Fursungi IT Park. Home to the huge forging company Bharat Forge, a number of BPOs and KPOs and the sprawling Amanora township, Hadapsar has turned into a hub for the migrant population. “Local unemployed youth vent their frustration on these migrants especially those who are from outside Maharashtra,” says a local political party worker.

Sheikh, however, was not an outsider. He was from Solapur and had been working in a textile firm in Pune for the past four years. The murder has led to widespread anger and fear in the neighbourhood that has witnessed a heavy police presence ever since then. On June 6, when Salim Sheikh (name changed), 29, left his home in Manjri, he shaved off his beard, slipped into a pair of trousers and tucked his skull cap into a pocket. The television technician had traded his Pathani suit for a “more secular makeover” that would make him “unidentifiable as a Muslim”.

Residents of Wadki, Phursungi, Manjri and Sayyad Nagar in Hadapsar claim that the right wing radical group made an appearance around five years ago. “When they see a Muslim man walking alone, they try and attack. But till now, no severe action has been taken against them and this has encouraged the perpetrators,” says Farooque Inamdar, founder of the Hadapsar Mohammadwadi Vikas Parisar Kruti Samiti, an NGO. Pune police records, too, show that Desai, the HRS founder, has been operating in the city for the past five years with a sizeable support base. “HRS is a socio-political entity and Desai is creating a communal rift to fulfil his political aspirations,” says a police officer.

With his trademark white kurtas, flowing hair, a tilak and sacred threads on his wrist, Desai has grown to become infamous in western Maharashtra, leading a fledgling outfit that swears by militant means. ‘Hinduise the politics and militarise the Hindus’ is the slogan that’s inscribed into the HRS logo.  “Desai is known for his hate mongering and we’ve cancelled permissions for his rallies and served him notices for anti-Muslim speeches several times,” says an officer investigating Sheikh’s death. A few months ago, the Pune police rejected his request to hold a rally while the Kolhapur police had sent him a notice cautioning him against inflammatory statements when he addressed an audience in Kolhapur last year. City police records show that he has over 20 police cases against him, most of them for using derogatory language against the minorities.

Those working with him say that Desai comes from a family that lived in Mumbai’s western suburb of Vile Parle and started his work as an aspiring political figure by intervening in cases where he felt “injustice was done to his religion”. This also included forcibly settling minor land disputes in rural areas and Pune’s outskirts. “The HRS also indulges in petty extortion from builders and Desai has cases of dacoity against him,” says a police officer. When the police barred him from entering Mumbai because of his criminal record, he shifted base to Paud in Pune’s outskirts.

The HRS shot to infamy in 2007 when its supporters attacked a television news channel office in Mumbai for reporting an incident of a Hindu girl eloping with a Muslim boy. Over the years, the HRS firmed up its base in fringe areas of cities like Mumbai-Thane, Pune and Kolhapur with an estimated support base of about a lakh youth. “Most of these supporters are in the 16 to 25 age group, are unemployed and have no responsibilities. So they don’t care about police cases,” says Shabir Khan, founder of the Vande Mataram Sanghatana, a social organisation working for communal harmony in Pune.

“We are proud to be a fascist organisation that fights for the rights of Hindus,” says a HRS supporter. The fringe outfit has led several public protests in Mumbai as well. Last year, they took a morcha to actorSanjay Dutt‘s apartment in Bandra demanding strict punishment for him; the group held agitations against Islamic Research Foundation president Zakir Naik, and demanded harshest punishment for German Bakery blast accused Himayat Baig. Hailed as an impressive speaker by his supporters, Desai, in his rallies, has often proudly claimed that he treats police notices as raddi or junk paper, eliciting applause from his cadre. The HRS chief was also questioned in the murder of anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar who was killed in August 2013. Interestingly, the perpetrators are still at large even 10 months after the day-light murder.

The steady rise of the HRS doesn’t come as a surprise for social activists and the local police. Arun Bhatia, former bureaucrat and founder of the People’s Guardian Party, blames it on covert political patronage. “These potential law breakers know they have a mai-baap and that nothing will be proved. There is no deterrent and therefore radical groups emerge and thrive,” he says. Locals claim that the police rarely registered cases when HRS workers threatened or attacked people. The gradual downfall of the informer network, say local activists, is another factor that has led to the rise of fringe groups such as the HRS that function in the suburbs. “Here, most people are migrants and don’t have close bonds with each other, unlike in the heart of the city. In such an environment, groups spreading hatred continue to survive,” says Shabir Khan.

Pune is a fast growing city, drawing in people from across the country, thanks to the opportunities that the city’s automobile and IT industries offer. Census 2011 data shows that Pune district has registered a 30.3 per cent increase in population over a decade, next only to Thane in the state. With more villages being included under the Pune Municipal Corporation umbrella, the city is set to burgeon further. Sanjay Nahar, founder of Sarhad, a social organisation that works for communal harmony, says: “Fanaticism has been brewing for the past few years and the symptoms were visible in the form of Narendra Dabholkar’s murder and minor skirmishes and threats. Now this fanaticism has stabilised in both communities in the city.”

The steady rise of supporters for Desai is evident in the large turnout at his public gatherings where he often runs down non-violence. His trusted aides were given the job of expanding their numbers in Mumbai after Desai was barred from entering the state. Local police claim that he enjoys patronage from a few strongmen in the state who use him to mobilise support. Rocked by the recent murder, the Pune police are compiling details about the HRS to recommend a ban on the outfit. A police official who has followed Desai’s criminal past, however, claims that the HRS enjoys tacit support of certain political parties and a ban just before the state goes to the polls, might be difficult. But as the case drags on, with Desai behind bars and the police cracking down on cadres, Pune hopes to regain its popular perception as a peaceful pensioners’ paradise and an educational hub

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Modi is this your way to take all together ? Muslim Homes Vandalized by Mob in Pune

in Big StoryIndia s

The mob vandalizes a mosque and madrassa in Pune.

The mob vandalizes a mosque and madrassa in Pune, Maharashtra. Dozens of mosques and madrassas across the city have been targeted by the Hindu radical groups.

Twocircles.net 

PUNE – Muslim homes, shops, mosques and madrassas have been damaged in Pune and elsewhere in Maharashtra in the violence by Hindu radicals across Maharashtra purportedly protesting derogatory images of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Facebook. A 24-year old techie from Sholapur was beaten to death, sparking tensions across the state.

A mosque and madrassa ‘Tanzeemul Muslimeen Darl Uloom Ashrafiya’ situated in Landewadi was damaged by the miscreants whereas prayer mats of the mosque in Bhosari were burnt down. The mob also burnt a number of copies of the Holy Quran. Five two-wheelers parked outside mosque were also set on fire. Most students studying in the adjacent madrassa somehow managed to escape, although many suffered minor injuries.

Speaking to TwoCircles.net, Maulana Aziz Siddiqui of the Madrassa Darl Uloom Ashrafiya said, “Three students have suffered leg injuries who were briefly admitted to the hospital, but most students have now gone home. But the madrassa has been severely damaged.” He added that situation in Pune is now calm but tense as no one is certain what may happen next.

The popular dargah of Hazrat Peer Shah Jalaluddin Shah Qadri which was situated in the same area was also vandalized. Nearly 500 Hindu radicals entered Noor Mohalla of Bhosari area with swords and petrol bombs in their hands and broke doors and windows of Muslim houses.

The popular dargah of Hazrat Peer Shah Jalaluddin Shah Qadri which was situated in the same area was also vandalized. Nearly 500 men entered Noor Mohalla area with swords and petrol bombs in their hands and broke into Muslim homes.

The popular dargah of Hazrat Peer Shah Jalaluddin Shah Qadri which was situated in the same area was also vandalized. Nearly 500 men entered Noor Mohalla of Bhosari area with swords and petrol bombs in their hands and broke doors and windows of Muslim houses.

The prayer hall, ablution area, water tank and around 10 graves in Shahi Qabrastan Trust, Bhosari were vandalized. Five mosques in Hinjewadi area were also damaged. The imam of Aisha Mosque was beaten up brutally who is now recuperating in Inamdar Hospital. Masjid-e-Zainab and Madrassa-e-Shabnam Garib Nawaz were also damaged badly. Three other mosques in the adjacent areas were also desecrated by the rampaging mob.

One of the petrol pumps belonging to a Muslim businessman was totally destroyed. A mosque situated in Talode basti was also damaged. Muslim houses, shops and around 20 bakeries were targeted in Karve road area, Thergaon and Wakad.

A group belonging to various Muslim organizations made an emergency visit to the affected areas to assess the overall damages suffered by the community.

The view of a vandalized graveyard in Pune

The view of a vandalized graveyard in Pune

The damaged bakeries included Ismail bakery (Karve Nagar),Citizen Bakery (Sinhgarh road), Heena Bakery, Shabnam Bakery, Moti Bakery, Shad Bakery (Dattawadi), Sun Rise Bakery, Indian Bakery (Warje), Welcome Bakery, Sahara Bakery, Patel Bakery (Hadapsar), Supreme Bakery (Malewadi) and Unicon Bakery ( Phirsangi). The visiting group of Muslims estimated the loss of damaged bakeries alone to be more than one crore (ten million) rupees.

Senior police officer Mandhre assured the Anjuman Ittehadul Ansar that police are working to restore peace and harmony in the city and have so far arrested 116 people aging between 18 to 25 years old for the violence. –With inputs from Roznama Sahara

 

Read more here – http://caravandaily.com/portal/muslim-homes-mosques-madrassas-vandalized-in-pune-by-hindu-radicals/

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First wicket has fallen, say killers of Pune Muslim youth on SMS #WTFnews

first_wicket_mohsin_shaikh

Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times  Pune, June 04, 2014

First Published: 18:57 IST(4/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:40 IST(5/6/2014)

Soon after killing a Muslim youth unconnected with uploading indecorous morphed pictures of late Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray and Maratha icon Chhatrapati Shivaji on Facebook, his alleged killers, belonging to a Hindu extremist outfit, exchanged an ominous message on their mobiles. The message said, ‘Pahili wicket padli’, which means: The first wicket has fallen.

This message was circulated by members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena who have been accused of killing 28-year-old IT graduate Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh during Monday’s protests over the morphed pictures, which were taken off the social networking site on Friday.

“The message was circulated immediately after about 25 members of the Hindu extremist outfit allegedly bludgeoned Shaikh to death,” said Pune joint commissioner of police Sanjay Kumar.

Considering the content of the message exchanged by the accused and the weapons they were carrying, the police are probing whether the attack was planned in advance.

Shaikh, sporting a beard and green Pathani kurta, was returning home in the evening when the accused blocked his way in Hadapsar on the outskirts of Pune, took him off his bike and hit him on the head with hockey sticks and stones.

This sparked tension in the area, forcing the police to clamp curfew for 12 hours. Shaikh’s cousin, who was accompanying him, escaped unhurt after he fled from the spot while the two others, Ameen Shaikh, 30, and Ijaz Yusuf Bagwan, 25, sustained injuries.

The police said the protesters had gathered in the area following rumours that Shivaji’s statue had been desecrated and a Hindu girl had been raped.

Within 24 hours of the killing, the police arrested 13 persons of whom seven have been charged with murder. Among those arrested but not yet charged with murder include Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Desai. The police first recovered one of the bikes used in the attack, based on which the other accused were arrested.

On Wednesday, a local court remanded all the accused to police custody till June 9.

Rashtra Sena chief Desai has a criminal background, with cases such as rioting and extortion registered against him in different police stations in the city. The organisation he heads has been in existence for a decade.

 

Read more here — http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pune-techie-killed-sms-boasts-of-taking-down-first-wicket/article1-1226023.aspx

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Right Wing Extremists Kill Innocent Muslim Technie During Pune Riots

 Here’s All You Need To Know

 | June 4, 2014

By Mayank Jain:

The News: Morphed pictures of the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackerey and Chhatrapati Shivaji started doing rounds on Facebook last week from a page with over 50,000 fans and they were re-shared over WhatsApp groups. This propelled an angry mob in Pune to go on a run riot.

Shiv-Sena-protest-Pune

The city was filled with protests and violence from the mob which resulted in the killing of a Muslim IT professional who had no relation to the pictures; was allegedly killed by members of a radical Hindu outfit active in the state.

The victim has been identified as Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a 24-year-old from Solapur district, who worked as an IT manager with a firm in Pune. He is said to have been beaten to death by the mob while he was returning home from offering Namaz with his friend Riyaz. Riyaz,who was with him when the attack took place, has said, “Mohsin was targeted because he was wearing a skull cap and a beard.”

Two other people aged 25 have been injured in the incident. The police has blocked many areas and peace committee meetings are being held in areas of Hadapsar and Pune to keep the situation under control. The protests however, don’t seem to die down amid the rumours of desecration of a statue of Shivaji, and a girl being raped by men of a different community made rounds and protestors took to the streets.

An attempt was also made by the protestors to burn a bakery.

Police has arrested over 130 people in the last four days for rioting. Meanwhile, police has also arrested 13 members of the outfit Rashtra Hindu Sena, said joint commissioner of police.

Rashtra Hindu Sena is not a well-known organization but it is known for its extremist right wing views and the attack it carried out against a Marathi news channel.

The opinion: The violent agitations over posts circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp, while the owner of the page is still unknown, is going a bit too far to show anger. The right wing extremists should consider the larger impact on the region as a whole and the lives people lose in these incidents before taking to violence. A judicial system in the country is already in place which should be left to do its job since an FIR has already been registered against the unknown owner of the page. On the other hand, the incident has also brought the potential of social media to incite communal hatred to light. Facebook has removed the page but the owner is still being located. However, mob justice should not be rendered to those who had nothing to do with the incident or violence, whatsoever.

 

What do you think?

Read more here – http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2014/06/young-techie-gets-killed-morphed-images-nothing/

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#GOODNEWS -Pune born socialist Kshama Sawant scores for Seattle: Record $15 an hour minimum wage for workers

,TNN | Jun 3, 2014, 10.54 PM IS

Pune-born socialist Kshama Sawant scores for Seattle: Record $15 an hour minimum wage for workers
The US port city of Seattle enacted laws on Monday raising minimum wage for workers to $ 15 an hour, the highest in America, thanks in large part to a movement led by Kshama Sawant.
WASHINGTON: The US port city of Seattle enacted laws on Monday raising minimum wage for workers to $15 an hour, the highest in America, thanks in large part to a movement led by Kshama Sawant, a self-described socialist born in Pune, India.Sawant, 41, whose election to the Seattle City Council as a Socialist Alternative candidate last November was first reported in ToI, based her campaign largely on proposals such as raising hourly wages for workers to $15 and taxing the rich, slogans that are anathema in a country where terms such as socialism and socialist are treated with deep suspicion and disdain.

But her campaign ignited support from the working class among the 400,000-strong electoral college in a liberal city that is better known for storied companies such as Microsoft and Boeing, located in nearby enclaves of Redmond and Everett.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council passed legislation that will phase in the $15 an hour minimum wage over three to seven years, making it the city with the highest minimum wage in America. That will be almost double the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage that has remained stagnant for more than four years, and far higher than the $10.10-an-hour proposed by President Obama. It is also some 60 percent above Seattle’s current $9.32-an-hour wage that is tied to inflation.

Sawant, a Pune-born leftist who studied engineering in Mumbai and worked as a software engineer for a while in the US. says she switched to an Economics Ph.D program in North Carolina to find answers to political questions that she says haunted her from her days in India. “I was always a socialist at heart,” she explained in an interview to this correspondent last November. “But academia in the US is not focused on solutions. It only provides an intellectual justification of capitalism system….you are told unions are bad and poor people are poor because they are lazy.”

She then moved to Seattle, a city with such a left-liberal bent that local police was once reported handing out snacks at a large marijuana festival. Elected to the City Council, she has been pressing for higher minimum wage, implementing rent control, protecting public sector unions from layoffs, instituting higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for public union jobs and services and other measures that find support among working class but raise the hackles of the capitalist interests.

That was very much in evidence on Monday when a group called the International Franchise Association decried the City Council’s action as “unfair, discriminatory and a deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda,” and announced that it will file suit to overturn the minimum wage plan. Many business have also said they will simply have to pass on the burden of higher minimum wages to customers.

Sawant herself was torn between celebrating the win and trying to rollback provisions such as training wages and a temporary incorporation of tips into the $15 wage base. Amid cries of “Shame, Shame!” in the council meeting, two of her amendments were defeated, but according to the local media, she still declared victory, saying, “We defeated the arguments of business in the corporate media.”

On Tuesday, her Facebook profile read “15 Won.”

 

Read more here — http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pune-born-socialist-Kshama-Sawant-scores-for-Seattle-Record-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-for-workers/articleshow/36011205.cms

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Face Book post shuts down Pune #WTFnews

By Mubarak Ansari, Pune Mirror | Jun 2, 2014, 02.30 AM IST
FB post shuts down Pune
(CITY STAYS BANDH) Saturday night saw mayhem in areas like Bhosari, where buses were torched and many public and private vehicles were damaged. Photos of Nikhil Tikone circulated on WhatsApp, accusing him of the act; it was found to be a hoax. Photos: Dhananjay Helwade, Sachin Phulsundar, Bandu Yewale. (DISTRICT AFFECTED) Anger simmered across Pune district with protesters blocking the Mumbai-Pune E-way, as well as other highways (top); places like Lonavla were also shut down by political party activists, who took to the streets with saffron flags
Defamatory post morphing photos of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Bal Thackeray andothers on Facebook sparks violence across the city; special forces deployed to maintain peace; many injured in stone pelting, property damaged in several areas.

Acontroversial Facebook post that contained defamatory pictures with allegedly derogatory references to warrior king Shivaji Maharaj, late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and others, provoked violent protests on Sunday by workers of the Shiv Sena, BJP, and right-wing organisation Hindu Rashtra Sena. In the unrest, 24 out of 33 police stations were affected on Saturday night and Sunday.

During the night, miscreants pelted stones at vehicles and damaged 130 PMPML buses and 21 private vehicles, as also set fire to one bus, tempo and the motorbike of a police beat marshall. Shops were also torched. Protests were also given a communal colour by damaging religious places of a minority community in Ganeshnagar near Bopkhel, Landewadi in Bhosari, Lohegaon, Sayyednagar in Hadapsar and Phursungi.

Groups were seen waving saffron flags in motorbike rallies and raising slogans in several areas. Members of these parties forced traders to down their shutters, after cops got the US-based social network to remove the controversial post on Saturday night.

The posts were found again on another social network on Sunday, but re-deleted. Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order), Pune police Sanjay Kumar told Mirror, “The situation was brought under control within the first few hours. We are investigating the source of the controversial post and the Facebook account.

Till Sunday evening, 117 persons were arrested, while 101 were put under preventive detention. We also identified some troublemakers enagaged in stone pelting and violence, and are keeping watch on them.” He added, “There were 52 such incidents, and we registered 34 cases. In terms ofproperty damage, Bhosari was worst affected.

In its Noor Mohalla locality, 24 vehicles were damaged and attempts were made to set fire to four bikes.” Cops registered two cases against unidentified persons with Kothrud and Hinjewadi police stations for offences under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the IPC and relevant sections of the IT Act.

THE INCIDENT

A Facebook profile in the name of ‘Dharamveer Shree Sambhaji Maharaj’ was noticed on Saturday night, carrying morphed pictures containing allegedly derogatory references to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Thackeray, Lord Ganesha and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. There was an instant reaction and by the time the police machinery reacted, 12 buses were damaged at Chaphekar Chowk in Chinchwad by 9.30 pm. “The post spread like wildfire through WhatsApp. Rumourmongers took advantage of the situation and started spreading false alarms. Stone pelting went on till well past 2 am,” a senior police officer told Mirror.

Heavy police deployment was made across affected areas and riot control vehicles were pressed into service, besides additional forces from headquarters. With thousands on the road, cops also summoned companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), which started arriving around midnight on Saturday. City police contacted the Centre’s Delhi-based Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), who got the post deleted by Facebook.

There was some delay, as Facebook servers are located in the US. Though a court order is required to delete a post from the social networking website, in this case, CERT went out of its way to get the controversial posts deleted without it.

The photo of young Nikhil Tikone did the rounds on WhatsApp on Saturday night under the name of ‘Nihal Khan’, who reportedly posted the pictures. It was only on Sunday afternoon that it was cleared that he was Tikone, a resident of Kasba Peth where he was beaten up.

AFFECTED AREAS

Affected areas where stone pelting took place were mainly located to the city’s north, like Hinjewadi, Pimpri, Chinchwad, Bhosari, Khadki, Yerwada, Pune-Ahmednagar Road, Kharadi, Wanowrie, Hadapsar. Various parts of Pune district — Loni Kalbhor, Wagholi, Wadgaon Maval and Lonavla — were also affected, with highways including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Pune-Ahmednagar Highway being blocked. “We arrested 53 and registered 27 cases.

We deployed bandobasts in several areas and called in two SRPF companies,” said Manojkumar Lohiya, Superintendent of Police, Pune rural. City police deployed three companies of SRPF, Quick Response Team (QRT), and striking forces in the north of the city. One extra DCP rank officer was allotted to Zone III and Zone IV, under the North region.

Commissioner of Police Satish Mathur, who is on leave, appealed to citizens to maintain peace. “Do not forward any material/ photo/ post that might insult public feelings. In case of emergency, contact the police control room by dialling 100,” stated Mathur.

12 INJURED IN STONE PELTING

As many as 12 were admitted to the casualty ward of the Sassoon General Hospital on Sunday, after being injured in stone pelting that took place over the photoshopped images. Four were admitted there after 2 am; on Sunday evening, eight were brought in.

Of these, one resident of Kasba Peth suffered injuries leading to cerebral edema, and was unconscious till the time of going to print. Dr R Mhaske, chief medical officer at Sassoon hospital, said, “He was hit on his head badly and is currently under observation.”

(INPUTS BY NOZIA SAYYED)

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#India – Narendra Modi and Silence of the Lambs #mustread

PRESS RELEASE

Modiji will you answer these ?

modimask

 

Against the false claims and campaigns, you owe this to the Narmada valley

 

While the election campaign is heated up in Madhya Pradesh and promises are showered upon the voters, Mr. Narendra Modi is to visit the Narmada valley once again, this time right at the heart of the Narmada movement, raising questions over injustice and illegalities infesting the Sardar Sarovar Project. It is known to everyone that lakhs of people; adivasis, farmers, fish workers, and others in Badwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur are not just voters, but sufferers of the Dam which Modi himself and his government is pushing to its completion,, without any concern for the utter violation of law and justice. It remains to be seen and watched as to what statements he makes at Badwani tomorrow and what questions he answers!!

 

The controversial statement Mr. Modi made in his populous rally in Bhopal last month is obviously challengeable. He claimed that Madhya Pradesh is to get 800 MW of free power from Sardar Sarovar, which is getting ‘lost’, due to non-completion of the Dam  to its final height! This being an utterly false statement that was made by the ‘aspiring-PM’, and was repeated in his press conference at Bhopal, he may not hesitate to repeat this lie during his public meeting at Badwani tomorrow. Voters from a few hundred villagers and densely populated region of Nimad will surely judge him on this and expect him to answer the following questions:

 

1.      Does Mr. Modi know that Sardar Sarovar is NOT Gujarat’s project alone, but is an inter-state project ?

2.      Is Mr. Modi not aware of the fact that Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have to meet 57% and 27% of the Project’s capital cost on power generation and are not to get any power ‘free’ or by charity?

3.      Is Mr. Modi not aware that Madhya Pradesh has already invested Rs. 2065 crores out of about Rs. 5,000 crores that is, at present, the share of M.P. (capital cost for power) and raised a dispute over Rs. 1,500 crores, as the state is not agreeing to Gujarat’s pressure to pay interest on the borrowing amount?

4.      What happened to his promise (from Anjad in 2005) of lighting up the whole of M.P, if the dam is permitted to be raised by 9 mts. The dam height was raised, but there has been no real diwali for the farmers of the valley since then.

5.      Does he know that Madhya Pradesh – not the CM or the government- but the farmers – adivasis, Mankars, others farmers, fish workers (water melon cultivators) potters etc. are losing 20,800 + hecatres of land, including prime agricultural and horticultural land and forests ?

6.      Does he know and realize the huge impact of impoverishment, never compensatable on the Nimad region, with agricultural prosperity, to be caused by such massive submergence?

7.      Can he assert from the dais in Badwani that rehabilitation is complete, in full compliance with the law, including the Narmada Tribunal Award, state rehabilitation policy and judgemnts of the Supreme Court?

8.      Can he prove that all affected farmers have obtained not just paper pattas, but actual possession of alternative cultivable and irrigable land as due legal entitlement, when thousands are still deprived of the same?

9.      Does Mr. Modi know that thousands of adivasis in the hilly region of M.P., as well as in Maharashtra and Gujarat itself, whose lands have been submerged since 1994 (and since 2000 even in some plain villages) but not yet rehabilitated, have been facing illegal losses, annually ?

10. If he is only briefed properly by the authorities and his own party, who have not even cared to visit the affected villages after the devastation, how can he know the destruction of thousands and more houses, thousands of acres of farm lands, with standing crop, due to dam-induced floods, not natural.

11. Does Mr. Modi have any sensitivity towards these and lakhs of families who have a sword of brutal eviction and submergence looming large over their lives ? Does he believe in the false figure of ‘0’ balance families to be rehabilitated, while 2.5 lakh people live in the submergence zone as on date? Does not Mr. Modi, who went all the way upto Uttarakhand, have any sensitivity for these lakhs of people, in his adjacent state?

12. What does he know about the use and misuse of Rs. 1900 crores rehabilitation funds for M.P. and the massive corruption with upto 2000+ fake registries, CAG Reports on corruption in the construction works at resettlement sites, leading to dismissal of 27 officials at Badwani ?

13. Neither Shivraj Singh nor Modi utter a word about corruption in Narmada rehabilitation, canal construction and compensation disbursement?   Why? Can he and will he (Modi) still facilitate Shivraj for the ‘good job’ in rehabilitation?

14. Mr. Modi takes pride in spending Rs. 2,500 crores on the statue of farmers leader Sardar Patel, which is more than the amount for rehabilitation of 245 villages and one township affected by Sardar Sarovar ? Is such tourism just and justifiable?

15. How will Mr. Modi justify the imposed sacrifice on the prosperous region of Nimad, taking over 150 kms of Narmada and yet not give Kutch and Saurashtra their due, compelling them to go to the Supreme Court and return empty handed !

16. How and why is Modi de-notifying 4 lakh hecatres of the Sardar Sarovar command area land for corporates? And how can he explain the huge cost escalation of Sardar Sarovar, which has changed the cost-benefit ratio ?

17. Even after a cost of 70,000 crores and Rs. 5700+ crores received from the Govt. of India, for canal construction, why has Mr. Modi’s Govt. not completed the canal work Gujarat beyond 30%and how can he justify filling up the reservoir further and drowning dozens of villages, when existing waters are not being used?

18. Mr. Modi must certainly be aware of the huge illegal sand mining in the Sardar Sarovar affected villages, destroying the shelf life of the reservoir itself? Why is he silent on this?

 

With all this and much more, when Modiji is insisting in the dam height to be raised, will he and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh take the responsibility for the fate and future of 2.5 lakh people by drowning houses of 45,000 houses and families, temples and mosques, schools and dispensaries, shops and panchayats, and millions of trees, proving all compliance reports to be utterly false.Please, Mr. Modi we would like to hear your candid answers to each of these queries, as we are not to stop you from your speech, not are to do policing, as you do against us, inflict violence against adivasis to activists. Please do not run away from his reality to a dreamy world of empty political promises.

 

Saavabehan                 Devram Kanera                      Kailash Awasya          Medha Patkar

Madubhai                    Bhagiram                                Vidyabai                     Kailash Harla

Iqbalbhai                     Hiradaram                              Mustakim Chacha

 

 

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