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Temple Vs Mosque- : My loudspeaker versus your loudspeaker

Express investigation part-II: My loudspeaker versus your loudspeaker

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | Saharanpur/ Bijnor/ Moradabad | August 6, 2014
A temple and a mosque in Nehtaur, Bijnor, each with its own loudspeaker. There was a communal incident in the town on July 23. Source: OINAM ANAND A temple and a mosque in Nehtaur, Bijnor, each with its own loudspeaker. There was a communal incident in the town on July 23. Source: OINAM ANAND


That’s the spark in more than a quarter of the estimated 400 communal incidents since May 16 in 12 bypoll areas in UP.

Mitron aaj to tumhare mandiron se speaker utar rahe hain, ek na huye to kal yeh tumhare ghar main ghuske tumhari izzat utarenge. Isliye bolta hoon, apni taakat dikha do. To sab milte hain, shaam 6 baje Bageshwar mandir. (Friends, today, they are removing speakers from your temples; if you do not unite, tomorrow they will enter your homes and humiliate you. This is why I say, demonstrate your strength. So let us meet at 6 pm at the Bageshwar temple.)

— Message sent out on WhatsApp, allegedly by Vijay Kumar Mittal, head of the Bageshwar temple committee in Saharanpur.


On July 23, four days before riots broke out between Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur city, nearly 2,500 Hindus answered the message, gathering quickly at Kothwai Nagar, 5 km outside the city. On the previous night (July 22), loudspeakers at the temple had blared Shiv Katha, disturbing scores of Muslims at their night-time Ramzan namaaz. Some 300 Muslim families live in the Hindu-dominated area, and an argument broke out between the two communities on Behat Road before the police were called in. The night passed peacefully, but the next morning, the WhatsApp message went out.

On the same day, in Nehtaur in adjoining Bijnor district, two Muslim men attacked a Hindu pandit called Rajesh Singh Saini with a knife. Saini’s temple is in the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Holiyan, and residents of the area had objected to the volume of the temple’s loudspeaker. The local police shrugged off the attack as the result of personal enmity between Saini and someone called Salim. But a full week after the incident, The Indian Express observed five armed policemen still patrolling the area.

In the 10 weeks after May 16, when the new government took over in Delhi, police in Uttar Pradesh recorded 605 incidents of “communal” nature, two-thirds of them in and around 12 assembly constituencies headed to bypolls. In this communal tinderbox, the humble loudspeaker emerged as a potent catalyst for tensions.

Traditionally used for propaganda, provocation and posturing, the loudspeaker was transformed into an effective instrument of polarisation. Police records of over 600 communal incidents during this period scrutinised by The Indian Express show some 120 of them were triggered by the use of loudspeakers at places of worship — the largest contributor, alongside construction activities involving masjids, madrasas and kabristans, to tensions.

Ten incidents occurred in Muzaffarnagar; nine each in the districts of Bijnor, Meerut and Moradabad. Loudspeakers triggered eight incidents each in Amroha and Saharanpur; seven each in Sambal and Bareilly; and six in Shamli. Five incidents each were witnessed in Baghpat, Rampur, Bahraich and Balrampur.

The incidents spiked sharply after June 16, when \Hindu mobs poured out on the streets of Kant, Moradabad, after a newly installed loudspeaker at a Dalit temple was removed.

Between May 16 and June 16, only 17 incidents were recorded — all but one of which were in the western UP districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Amroha, Sambhal and Moradabad. After June 16, however, and especially after Ramzan began on June 30, there was a spurt in communal incidents, which also spread rapidly eastward.

In nearly all of these 120 cases, a familiar pattern was seen: temple loudspeakers competed with loudspeakers of the azaan; and a new and aggressive Hindu insistence on the right to use loudspeakers triggered Muslim reaction.


Vijay Kumar Mittal of Saharanpur’s Bageshwar temple committee — also an activist of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — denied having sent the WhatsApp message that, besides exhorting Hindus to “unite”, contained several offensive references to Muslims. Police are yet to establish where the message originated.

Eyewitness accounts of Muslims, corroborated by police officials, suggest that the majority among the 2,500-strong Hindu mob that gathered at the temple were outsiders. Said a Muslim man in Saharanpur who identified himself as Nazir, “We have never had such problems in the past. If it (the loudspeaker) was loud, we would request that the volume be turned down, and the pujari would oblige. But this Ramzan, it was impossible to conduct our prayers.

“We informed administration officials because we did not want conflict. But an agitating mob showed up the next day. There were very few locals in that mob. I don’t know what would have happened had the administration not intervened.”

Nazir was among members of the community who gathered for afternoon prayers not far from Bageshwar temple amid curfew in Saharanpur.

Kapil Mishra, a member of the Bageshwar temple committee, said, “The loudspeaker will remain where it is, and the Shiv Katha will continue. The temple uses loudspeakers only occasionally. What about the masjid? Their radio (loudspeaker) blares throughout the year. Have we ever objected?”

Assembled inside the temple, Mishra and other members of the temple committee described an alleged attack by Muslims on a priest. “Muslims attacked the pandit of the Shankaracharya temple and injured him. This is what is happening to us wherever the Mohammedans are in a position of strength,” they said.

However, the local police station has no record of any such attack. About the July 23 incident, Kothwai Nagar police have recorded in the station registry that following rumours of a loudspeaker being removed in Bageshwar temple, both communities had gathered on the main road, but the district administration had settled the matter and urged both sides to maintain peace.

At Muzaffarnagar, Balraj Singh, the Bajrang Dal’s regional coordinator for western UP, told The Indian Express: “Why do Muslims object to mandirs using loudspeakers? They don’t want Hindus to express themselves. They want to subjugate us. We are being denied the right that they enjoy. That is why they are making an issue out of mandirs using loudspeakers.”

Balraj Singh said he had just returned from clamped-down Saharanpur.


At 7 pm on July 23, barely half an hour after the knifing of priest Rajesh Singh Saini in Nehtaur, Bijnor, Karan Singh Saini, the BJP’s Nehtaur in-charge, arrived at the local police station along with 200 others. Gathering the crowd had been easy, he said, because everyone knew pressing charges against Muslims would be difficult.

“The news spread to nearby areas, and we decided to meet at the police station. We knew it would be difficult to press charges against a Muslim because the Samajwadi Party government patronises Muslims,” Karan Singh Saini said.

Soon afterward, a “Muslim” delegation led by the SP’s local unit in-charge arrived at the police station, seeking an “amicable” compromise. Police, however, charged both groups, much to the dismay of the Hindu population in the area. The station registry recorded that the incident involved two individuals of the Hindu and Muslim community, both of whom were under the influence of alcohol, and that an FIR had been registered.

Later, standing in the one-room home where Rajesh Saini is recovering from his injuries, a neighbour said, “T

The SP government patronises them (Muslims). We are the victims, but get charged.”

Everyone in the room agreed, and several people recounted incidents of attacks on priests during Ramzan. The Indian Express could not confirm any of these incidents. The police have no record of such attacks.


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#India – A temple visit a day “fully dressed” keeps rapists away- MP Home Minister #WTFnews


A temple visit a day “fully dressed” keeps rapists away, or so it would seem from what Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur has to say.


The 10-time MLA returned from a visit to Chennai apparently so impressed by the religiosity of the city’s women that he now firmly believes this is the reason there are fewer sexual crimes there.


At a function on Thursday, Mr. Gaur, who has courted controversy before with his remarks on how marriage was not a contract as men were worshipped as gods by their wives, said women in Chennai were relatively safe as they “visit temples regularly” and are “fully dressed.”


The Madhya Pradesh capital has one of the highest rates in India for crimes against women. In Chennai, in 2012, the rates of crimes against women — calculated by dividing the total number of crimes by the female population — was 19.32; for Bhopal district, it was 71.38, and for the whole of Madhya Pradesh, 71.38. During the inauguration of the Ayodhya Nagar Police Station here on Thursday Mr. Gaur, who met top cops in Chennai during his visit, said, “They said that women are of religious nature and hence, they are fully clothed. That’s why their crime rate is lower than many other States.”


Speaking to The Hindu later, Mr. Gaur added that “There is a cultural difference between Chennai and Bhopal” and “crimes such as chain snatching, eve teasing et cetera are low there. People are religious and women visit temples everyday. They are fully dressed and there is no vulgarity. It is also peaceful and Marwari businessmen have settled there for work because the environment is safe.”


Speaking to this paper over telephone, Chennai’s Joint Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Varadaraju declined to confirm if divine intervention plays a role in the process.


But the police officer did say he and his colleagues had spoken to Mr. Gaur about the Women’s Policing initiative. “We have 32 women’s police stations which deal with all crimes against women. Also, there are mobile units which address crime at the earliest and also educate women about their rights. This initiative has changed the public’s attitude,” he said.


MP’s Congress vice-president Manak Agrawal said Mr. Gaur’s comments had insulted the way of life of the State’s women. “It seems the Home Minister has surrendered before the anti-socials who openly play with the dignity of women and have thrived under BJP rule. Due to political interference the police have been dwarfed and have proved to be ineffective in curbing crime,” he said.



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  • #India – Madhya Pradesh: ‘Malnutrition ka dil dekho’ #healthcare (


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#India – Self-styled sanyasi ‘bans’ Dalits from entering temple in HP #WTFnews   |  Dec 11, 2013, 12:29PM IST

Shimla: A self-styled sanyasi based in Bilaspur town, 199 km in from Shimla, barred the Dalits from entering a temple. He put up a sign on the wall of Markandeya Temple which read, ‘Shudras (Dalits) not allowed entering the temple of Sanyasis. Maintain the social system’.


According to Mail today, “Taking a serious note of the declaration made by Baba Kewal, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday issued contempt of court notices to the senior functionaries of the district. A bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Kuldip Singh had passed an order banning the putting up of such notices on the premises of a temple after taking cognisance of media reports about it. The court had also ordered the district functionaries to ensure that no such board is put up in the future.”


The report said, “The board was removed and a case registered against Kewal, but he put the same notice up again. The contempt notices were issued following a letter of complaint written by S. R. Harnot, president of Shimla’s Himalaya Sahitya, Sanskriti Avam Paryavaran Manch, to the Chief Justice. ‘The court has issued contempt of court notices to Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, and the chairman of the management committee of the temple, for their failure to ensure compliance of the orders,’ a court spokesperson said. ‘It is a shame that Dalits are still treated as children of a lesser god,’ Harnot said. There are over a dozen temples in the state where Dalits cannot even touch the temple walls.”

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="" target="_blank"> #India – MIT’s dalit girl student refuses to withdraw case #Apartheid
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#India – 45 Dalit women talk about daily humiliation at stake is DIGNITY ! #Vaw

At stake is the dignity of Dalit women
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The national conversation, dominated by temples, toilets, has no patience for stories of Dalit women who face humiliation daily. Given the measly media coverage, their stories cause no outrage. Complicit in this are the police, loath to file FIRs against politically connected and rich  criminals.

Away from the din of ‘dehati aurat’ and ‘escape velocity’, 45 Dalit women are talking about the daily humiliation that is their life. The women and, in some cases men who are deposing on their behalf, have come to Delhi  from eight states across the country, and to them it doesn’t matter if it’s the Congress or the BJP or a regional party or some new-fangled alliance that is in power. For them the story never changes.

From East Champaran, Bihar, not far from where Mahatma Gandhi launched satyagraha, a landless labourer tells of how his wife was beaten to death for asking for Rs. 400 that was due to her as daily wages. From district Dausa, Rajasthan an educated Dalit woman, an elected member of her village’s panchayat, tells of how she was not allowed to sit on a chair on a podium during a Republic Day function because ‘upper caste women in the audience were sitting on the ground’.

From district Patna, Bihar, a husband talks of a squabble between two nine-year-old boys, one Dalit and the other upper caste, and its consequences when the family of the upper caste boy decides to ‘teach them a lesson’. They do this by stripping the mother and dragging her through the village.

When the grandmother and younger daughter intervene, they are thrashed. The mother runs from house to house, naked, begging for help. Nobody comes forward; they are too frightened. Finally, the village sarpanch steps in and a bystander offers the woman her shawl. A first information report (FIR) is registered, but the accused get bail. “My wife lives in the village, knowing that her tormentors are free, that nobody helped her and that they have all witnessed her shame. But what choice does she have?” asks the husband.

In Gujarat’s Mehsana district, cooperatives won’t buy milk from women who own ‘Dalit’ cows. In Bihar, a young bride is beaten up by priests after being denied entry into a temple. And in Haryana the gang-rape of minor Dalit girls by upper caste men is now so routine that in some districts girls are being pulled out of school and kept home.

Rural Dalit women face a double whammy: discriminated by caste as well as patriarchy; poor and illiterate; ignored by city-based feminists and non-government organisations; often singled out for rape by upper caste men as a way to ‘humiliate’ the entire community and keep it in its ‘place’.

If they try to assert themselves by going to school or asking for wages or contesting panchayat elections, they become vulnerable to what Asha Kowtal of the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM) calls ‘backlash violence’.

The national conversation, dominated by temples, toilets, has no patience for these stories. Given measly column centimetres, if at all, in newspapers, they cause no outrage or candlelight processions. Complicit in this conspiracy of silence are the police, loath to file FIRs against politically connected and economically influential criminals. The legal system grinds along with notorious delays.

Medical reports are botched up by compliant doctors. And victims of the worst crimes are liable to ‘compromise’ since they depend on the dominant castes for their livelihood.

To come forward and fight a system so loaded against you requires incredible, boundless courage. Seated in the audience is a young girl. When we get talking she tells me she was raped last year in August by 12 upper-caste Jat men in village Dabra, Haryana.

The police filed an FIR only after her father committed suicide.

She tells me that four of the 12 were never arrested while another four have been acquitted. Still she fights on. A year after she was raped, the girl from  Dabra is doing her BA, studying music, art and Sanskrit and says she wants to  become a lawyer.

“I am the first Dalit girl to fight against the upper castes in my village,” she says. “And I will fight for all the other girls so that this never happens again.”

At stake is not financial compensation or vengeance but dignity.

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#India – Temple, Toilet and Sangh Politics #mustread




Cartoon by Satish Acharaya

 Guest Post by Ram Puniyani


After a long campaign the RSS combine succeeded in demolishing Babri Mosque on 6th December 1992. While Advani was the lead person in the whole phenomenon, there were many RSS swayamsevaks who formed the foundation of this dastardly act, one of them being Narendra Modi, the BJP’s current Prime Ministerial candidate. The importance given to this identity issue, temple issue, undermined the real issues baying at society for solution. This temple issue was too compelling for Advani-Modi and company. It undermined the issues of society related to survival. At that time many a magazines carried the surveys as to what should be built at the site of demolition. Many a people said that either an educational institute or a hospital or sanitation facilities should be built at the site.


Kanshiram, the leader of Bahujan Samaj Party strongly put forward the case for a urinal being constructed at the site. Somewhere on the parallel lines a couple of years ago, Jairam Ramesh the union Cabinet minister said that toilets are more important than temples. On similar lines the Modi recently (October 2013) said that he regards Shauchalay (Toilet) should precede Devalay (Temple). When Ramesh had made his statement Modi associates, the Sangh activists urinated and also kept urine bottles in front of Ramesh’s house. BJP spokespersons went on to accuse Ramesh of destroying the fine fabric of faith and religion in the country. This time around, when Modi has made this statement, those spokespersons are silent, while Praveen Togadia has criticized Modi. Other Sangh progeny has kept mum on the issue. Many a commentators have come forward to uphold Modi’s statement saying that this is the soft side of Hindutva, and this is what is needed and will help the BJP to increase its electoral strength. Jairam Ramesh again states (Oct 2013) that in the forthcoming elections Congress has to fight against RSS not BJP.


For the commentators, saying that this is liberal side of Hindutva, it should be clear that the elections are overall coordinated not by BJP but by RSS. It is all the RSS progeny which comes together to put in their best for BJP’s prospects. So while Modi will be projecting that for him now, after Babri demolition two decades ago, toilet is more important than the temple. This surely is a very tactical move. RSS operates at various levels at the same time. It has a clever internal division of labor as per which the VHP can keep the issue of Ram Temple alive, its other wings can reap the harvest of communal violence by polarizing the society, and its supportive structures will play the role of Goebbels to create the image of Modi as the man committed to development, as an efficient man, good administrator and what not.


In the next elections RSS is going to use multiple strategies. One, to polarize the society through violence and through keeping alive the issue of Ram temple. Second it is going bank heavily on twin propaganda around Modi, the Gujarat model of development and Modi’s own leadership qualities, i.e. his autocratic style of functioning. For this purpose if Modi is talking about development and toilets it is again a very clever mover. Modi built himself up by polarizing the Gujarat society through post Godhra carnage. During all these years he played the subtle Hindutva agenda of marginalizing the minorities, as is evident in the prevalent conditions in Gujarat. Having consolidated this polarization as a state policy, he changed gears. As the Gujarat society got polarized due to this carnage, his tune was changed to the one of development. This development claims have been punctured by the statistics from various sources. The latest one being that every third child in Gujarat is malnourished. This is the revelation of the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General. So many other statistics have burst the myth of Gujarat development.


Jairam Ramesh, in saying that the Congress will be fighting against RSS in the forthcoming elections is correct but this is a very obvious statement. While as per him, RSS will be fought against in the next elections as RSS is controlling BJP. This became obvious as RSS directly imposed president and prime ministerial candidate on BJP. This is part of the story. As a seasoned and senior politician he should know that BJP’s core and main leadership is constituted by RSS swayamsevaks. Atal Bihari Vajpeyee in his Staten Island speech in United States had stated this in so many words, saying that he is first a RSS swayamsevak and then anything else. The pattern of RSS functioning is such that it trains the swaymsevaks, into the Hindu Rashtra ideology and then these trained swayamsevaks undertake different assignments for building Hindu nation, the agenda of RSS. All the RSS progeny is manned by these swayamswvaks. The core leadership of these organizations in turn is coordinated by RSS. So Modi can talk of toilets, Togadiaya can stick to temples, someone at lower level can upload a video on mobiles to instigate the communal violence, while someone else can work in saffronizing text books or undertaking the massive plays like Janata Raja, a play on Shivaji, which is built around communal projection of History. The swayamsevaks, seeped in ideology of Hindu Rashtra also infiltrate into state organizations. One hopes that the major electoral party, which should stand for pluralism, knows its truth in totality. This party should also know that RSS control and coordination of the politics is not just though electoral means. It is multi pronged through different mechanisms.


So the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram or Samajik Samrasta Manch may be working in remote areas doing social engineering, still they make the foundation of RSS agenda. In that sense electoral politics is a small part of the enterprise of RSS work, which by now has infiltrated all aspect of our social and political life. This agenda of RSS, Hindu Nation or what can be popularly called Hindu Pakistan, is of course against the ethos of Indian diversity, it is for an authoritarian elite dominated society, and this is for the agenda of domination of a section of Hindus, while talking of the interests of all Hindus.


This work of RSS has gone up from last three decades and its infiltration in different pores of society goes up by leaps and bounds once the state is ruled by BJP. That’s what happened when BJP led NDA was ruling the country from 1998 to 2004. That’s what is happening in different states ruled by BJP. The likes of Jairam Ramesh, if they have woken to this stark reality of our body politic, it is welcome but this fact has been very obvious to those who have been trying to understand the phenomenon of RSS politics. So for those political elements who are interested in upholding democracy, pluralism and the values of Indian Constitution, it is not adequate just to think of the menace of religious nationalism, just at the times of elections. It is a battle, which has to be fought at all the times, more at the times of elections surely, in the arena of culture, literature, art and every other aspect of the life of the Indian nation.

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Shiv Sena-Narendra Modi’s ‘toilet before temple’ remark shows BJP unaware of his views

Indiatoday, October 5, 2013 |

(From left) Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swarah, Rajnath Singh, L K Advani and Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi said ‘Jai Jairam’ instead of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ which led to running around in BJP.

The Shiv Sena on Saturday said that Narendra Modi’s “toilets first, temples later” remark show that the BJP is not in touch with the views of it’s prime ministerial candidate.

“Modi had to face flak on the toilet remarks. He said ‘Jai Jairam’ instead of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ which led to running around in BJP. The lesson to be learnt from this episode is that now not even the BJP knows what stance he takes,” Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana said in Mumbai.

“The picture is that of Modi leading and BJP following. What can we say. All should participate in the toilet building work. As for the temple building work, we will see later,” it said.

“Through the ‘toilets first, temples later’ remark, Modi put forth a courageous thought. It is surprising that Congress attacked him for that.

“In fact, Modi is saying what Jairam Ramesh said earlier… so, Congress should appoint Modi as a brand ambassador for the toilet project and give a big amount as remuneration to BJP,” the editorial said.


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#India – Philosophical Letter from ‘ Burglar”stumps cops on heist trail #Robbery

, TNN | Nov 2, 2012, 05.21AM IST

MALAPPURAM: “The Bhagavathi doesn’t need gold ornaments; they would be useful for people like me. God exists in our minds, not in the sreekovil of a temple and deities do not want ornaments as they do not have a physical existence.”A burglar can’t be more philosophical.The police team investigating a burglary at Payyangattil Bhadrakali Temple near Edappal on October 8 is baffled by a letter purportedly written by the person who stole the gold ornaments of the deity after locking the priestinside the temple.Though they are yet to confirm the authenticity of the letter, police suspect that it was written by someone who is familiar with the temple. Priest Surendran had also claimed that the robber was a daily visitor to the temple for a week prior to the heist with a kid of around 12 years’ old.

A postcard addressed to the priest from one Ramabhadran Adiyodi says the temple committee had lied about the actual worth of the ornaments. “The ornaments do not add up to three sovereigns as claimed by the temple committee and police. It is less than 2.5 sovereigns,” the letter says.

The letter also has some words of advice to the priest. “There is no need to open the doors of the sreekovil when lighting the lamp at the sub-temple of Karimkutty deity. You (Pujari) better stop doing puja and start tapioca cultivation to lead a good life with your wife,” it says. The author of the letter claims that he had come to loot the temple with his grandson. He also wants everything in proper order when he comes back to the temple on November 26.

The case, registered by Changaramkulam police on basis of a complaint from the priest, says ornaments worth Rs 49,500 were stolen from the idol in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple around 5.30 am.

The police team visited Tirur post office on Thursday and collected details about the postcard.

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