Monday, April 27, 2009

Gujarat Muslims Ignored by Indian Politicians


It has been almost seven years since the 2002 Gujarat riots in India in which at least 2,000 Muslims were killed by Hindu mobs and several hundred girls and women were stripped naked, raped or gang-raped, had their wombs slashed and were thrown into fires, some while still alive. But even today, tens of thousands of Muslims continue to languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes. Why? Because the names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom are widely known. Some of them were even caught on video, in a sting carried out by the weekly magazine Tehelka, proudly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims. But, as Amnesty International pointed out in a recent report, justice continues to evade most victims and survivors of the violence. Another organization, Human Rights Watch, has also criticized the Indian government for failure to address the humanitarian condition of the victims, "overwhelming majority of them Muslim." Following their traumatic experiences, the surviving Muslim victims of Gujarat are still living in fear, as the perpetrators of riots remain powerful and roam free.

But the plight of the riot victims does not find any echo in the general elections of the world's largest democracy, according to a BBC report. Both the ruling BJP and Congress party remain silent on the shoddy rehabilitation of the victims or the delay in bringing the culprits to justice.

Most independent observers believe that the Nanavati commission report, which absolved Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of any responsibility for the riots, is nothing but a farce. Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government accused of complicity in the riots, echoed the government's position that the Godra incident was a pre-planned conspiracy. The Nanavati report was designed to pre-empt the findings of the independent Justice Bannerjee commission report which clearly found that the fire incident in which 58 Kar Seveks on the train died was an accidental one.

"We cannot vote for the BJP and the Congress almost has a fixed deposit on our votes. So it's a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea," the BBC quotes Mr Ansari, a refugee in Ahmadabad, as saying.

Muslims comprise barely 10% of the population in Gujarat. "Despite the riots and the headlines, the political parties here feel that they can ignore them, because they don't comprise a decisive vote bank," analyst Achyut Yagnik told the BBC.

Such total disregard for the rights and plight of minorities in India raises serious questions about the secular character of India's democracy and adherence to its secular constitution. But the Indian and Western media continue to be silent about the suffering of Gujarati Muslims.

Similarly, while the torture and human rights abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib by the Bush administration have been exposed, documented and condemned by the world media, the continuing abuses of Muslims in India's "war on terror" have gone largely unnoticed. There appears to be a conspiracy of silence by the world media when it comes to the brutality against Indian Muslims practiced by officials and the right-wing Hindu extremists in world's largest secular democracy. The western media, in particular, have completely bought what Fareed Zakaria, the Indian-born Muslim editor of Newsweek International, describes as a "peaceful, stable, and prosperous" India. Even the officially-endorsed anti-Muslim violence and resulting deaths of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat have not been able to shake the faith of the Indophile western journalists.

Here's a Tehelka.com video clip of Babu Bajrangi account and confession of killings of Gujarat Muslims in 2002:



Related Links:

Amnesty International India Report

India: Justice- the Victims in Gujarat

India's Guantanamos and Abu Ghraibs

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hitler is big in India
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/5182107/Indian-business-students-snap-up-copies-of-Mein-Kampf.html

Anonymous said...

Nice try Riaz. Boost ratings with a controversial one eh? :-)

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Nice try Riaz. boost ratings with a controversial one eh? :-)"

There is no controversy about the facts of Gujarat 2002 riots and their aftermath. All of these are now well documented. I have clearly referenced independent sources and data. Anyone who still denies the facts about Gujarat is being dishonest or self-delusional.

Anonymous said...

There is no controversy about the facts of Gujarat 2002 riots and their aftermath.Not contesting that. The remark was about your cynical method of generating debate on your blog. It works - can't argue with that.

In any case, why do you care so much about the Gujarat? Is it primarily because the victims were mostly Muslim?

In the increasingly likely event that Pakistan splinters into some awful micro-emirates and the big cities, there will be refugees by the tens of millions heading to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. The same "rabid" folks will keep those millions of refugees alive. You may want to lay off the preachy sermons about the "right-wing Hindus" - they don't fit reality.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "The same "rabid" folks will keep those millions of refugees alive. You may want to lay off the preachy sermons about the "right-wing Hindus" - they don't fit reality."

I worry and care as much about "rabid" Hindu fanatics as I do about the rabid Taliban fanatics. They both pose a huge threat to the future of South Asia and the rest of the world. The world needs to be aware of both and be prepared to stop both.

Captain03 said...

I've posted something like this on my blog too
thank God that he sent jinnah to save us.

Anonymous said...

When indian politician have ignore lakhs of hindus pandit and leaving them for their own fight for survival what else do you expect for the muslims of gujarat.

Further what is the state of pakistan offering for the people of swat and bunder against the talibanization of the society. Give a choice to the swat guys they will move to india happily.

Anonymous said...

Islamic brotherhood of middle east does not have any problem in doing business with gujarat modi and also muslim there does not have any problems with him as cm.



http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Can-Godhra-abort-Missile-Modi/articleshow/4463411.cms

Over the years, Modi has got the Shia Muslims — mainly Bohras and Khojas — on his side. Both are Gujarat-based business communities and their wealth contributes positively to the Sachar statistics.

Even among Sunnis, there are voices of support coming from quarters who are opposed to the hardline Tablighis. There is a keen tussle going on between the hardline and moderate Sunnis for control of mosques across Gujarat, like elsewhere in the country, and the chief minister is known to have provided the government’s support to the moderates.

While his effort is of course to wean away the moderates from the radicals, it is not the Muslim numbers which worry Modi much. The perception that he is anti-Muslim does. And he has tried to change that. One may argue that Gujarat DGP Shabbir Khandwawala’s appointment just a couple of months back may be cosmetic.

But that came on the back of a strong participation from Islamic countries at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in January. The difference is they were here to do business, not politics.

indian said...

Dear Haq. Nice to see the BBC articles in your blog. Can you find similar articles about the massacre of hindus in Bangladesh, Rape and slaughtering of Kashmiri pandits in Kashmir, mass murder of tribals in Assam by Bangladeshi muslims, Rape and physical torture of immigrants in gulf countries? If so, and if you are REALLY concerned about humanity, please post articles about those incidents also in your blog. I will stop supporting BJP if you really do that. I will surely vote for Congress if you REALLY show secularism. Will you? Can you? Do you have guts?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting commentary by Kapil Komireddi published in the Guardian earlier this year:

Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice. Their grievances are legion, and the list of atrocities committed against them by the Indian state is long. In 2002 at least 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu mobs in the western state of Gujarat in what was the second state-sponsored pogrom in India (Sikhs were the object of the first, in 1984).

For decades Indian intellectuals have claimed that religion, particularly Hinduism, is perfectly compatible with secularism. Indian secularism, they said repeatedly, is not a total rejection of religion by the state but rather an equal appreciation of every faith. Even though no faith is in principle privileged by the state, this approach made it possible for religion to find expression in the public sphere, and, since Hindus in India outnumber adherents of every other faith, Hinduism dominated it. Almost every government building in India has a prominently positioned picture of a Hindu deity. Hindu rituals accompany the inauguration of all public works, without exception.

The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as "angry Muslims" in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus.

The failure of secularism in India – or, more accurately, the failure of the Indian model of secularism – may be just one aspect of the gamut of failures, but it has the potential to bring down the country. Secularism in India rests entirely upon the goodwill of the Hindu majority. Can this kind of secularism really survive a Narendra Modi as prime minister? As Hindus are increasingly infected by the kind of hatred that Varun Gandhi's speech displayed, maybe it is time for Indian secularists to embrace a new, more radical kind of secularism that is not afraid to recognise and reject the principal source of this strife: religion itself.

Shiv Sena said...

kashmiri pandits have remained in refugee camps since the early 90s. until they are repatriated, the muslims of gujarat dont deserve to be too. lets be fair and square. dont be such a fanatic mr. haq. the pandits have been refugee camps over a decade longer than Gujarat Muslims. And the fact is many muslim refugee camps are at least still in Gujarat, unlike Kashmiri refugee camps in Himachal, Delhi etc.

when it comes to hindu secularism, we may have our pictures / launching ceremonies etc as that is our belief, but we never enforce it on anybody. we still allow muslims to attend mosque, christians to attend church, and the rights of all citizens irrespective of religion is protected. now compare that to Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries where u cannot even build a church / temple. in fact even in pakistan we know how minorities are treated. we have never seen a single minority leader in Pakistan.

and dont gimme that nonsense about gojra etc coz those are isolated happenings; the christians and muslims are still happy and openly participate in all sectors. we dont brand them kafir etc.

And also dont gimme crap that Saudi is Muslim holy land so its justified, etc, coz in that case India is the hold land for ALL Dharmic religions. And anybody stepping out of the boundary will be thought a lesson.

If Indian Muslims are not happy, the doors to Pakistan are open

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ExpressIndia story of a Gujarati Muslim killed in Surat:

Mehboob Pathan (50) of Valak village on Surat’s outskirts wanted was a job in the city. Having a Muslim name, he felt, came in the way. So, to get himself a job in Surat’s diamond units, he passed himself off as Jayenti Bhatti, and managed to find work in two separate units in the Kapodara area.

Early this week, his “cover” was blown, after he was brutally killed over a monetary dispute. As the distraught family stepped forward to admit that Jayenti Bhatti was indeed Mehboob Pathan, they worried that having been cremated as a Hindu, the practising Muslim’s soul may not find peace.

In the ledgers of Surat’s diamond units, there are many leading a double life like Pathan. His son Mushtaq is registered as Mukesh and daughter Samina as Sharmila, and both are afraid of losing their jobs if the fact was known.

Diamond industry sources and workers say many Muslims assume Hindu names to find work in the city’s lucrative diamond business.

One of them, Allarakha Khan, admits to having passed himself off as a Hindu like many others from his village. “We would not get a job if we are known to be Muslims. We have been doing this for a long time, and we take great care not to reveal our real names or addresses at work,” he told The Indian Express.

Rohit Mehta, president of the Surat Diamond Association, however, denied knowledge of Muslims passing themselves off as Hindus for jobs. “We will inquire into this,” he said.

Pathan’s story came to be known after his body was found in a farm at Antroli last Monday, with the head smashed in. The police registered a case and kept the unclaimed body in the Palsana Primary Health Centre mortuary till Thursday. Then they arranged to give Pathan alias Bhatti a Hindu funeral, with all the rites.

His family, who had been looking for Pathan, had filed a missing complaint. Then, seeing news stories in local newspapers about an unclaimed body, Mehboob’s brother-in-law Iqbal Pathan decided to check. By that time, Pathan had been cremated, but the brother-in-law identified him from a photo of the body.

The family says Pathan was a pious Muslim and the change of name was just so that he and his children could find and keep a job. “We are too poor to do anything, but how could the police dispose of his body the Hindu way?” asks son Mushtaq. “A genital examination would have shown he was a Muslim.”

Sub-Inspector of Kadodara police V R Malhotra said they had kept the body in the mortuary hoping someone would turn up. “We disposed it of according to Hindu rites not knowing he was a Muslim. The family turned up too late and we are now helpless.”

Kapodara police inspector S J Tirmizi, who is probing the murder, confirmed that Pathan had passed himself off as Bhatti for work. Manoj Rokad, who is the manager of the Varachha unit in which Pathan’s daughter Samina works as a diamond polisher, has reportedly confessed to the murder.

According to the police, Rokad had become a family friend of the Pathans and knew their real identities. Two years ago, Pathan had reportedly loaned Rokad Rs 60,000 for an emergency, which he never returned. Pathan used to call Rokad repeatedly asking him to return the same, and the latter reportedly asked Pathan to meet him on December 20. They went to Antroli village, where Rokad allegedly killed Pathan with the help of two other diamond polishers, who have been identified as Chhanya Rathod and Sanjay.

While Rokad has been held, and has reportedly admitted that they beat Pathan to death, Rathod and Sanjay are on the run.

Anonymous said...

Reaping the Harvest of Hate
Ram Puniyani
Film Review

Film: From Hindu to Hindutva
Debaranjan Sarangi, Pedestrian Pictures,

Language: Oriya with English Subtitles
Duration- 44 Minutes

-
Kandhmal violence has been the most ghastly communal violence in the Adivasi areas in India. Close to two years after the violence the tragedy of the area continues, the victims of violence, the rehabilitation, the justice to victims, most of these are no where close to what they should be.

Debaranjan Sarangi, a social activist and writer has effectively caught the Kandhamal carnage in his short but comprehensive film with great amount of sensitivity and objectivity. He presents the whole event with the help of field interviews, the shots of burning of houses and churches and the pathetic condition of the refugee camps. The film begins with the event of murder of Swami Laxmandnand, Praveen Togadia of VHP takes out the procession of his body through sensitive areas of Kandhmal, the rumor is spread that Christians are behind the murder of Swami, One striking parallel which emerges from this account is that even in Gujarat Modi permitted the procession of the victims of Godhra train burning through Ahmedabad, accompanied by rumor that Muslims have burnt the train and this in turn incited the feelings of the people leading to carnage. VHP’s Praveen Togadia does the same. The methods of RSS combine have so much of a parallel.

.... The attacker’s were shouting the slogans of Jai Bajarang Bali.

The state, since Biju Janata Dal had BJP as an ally, soft peddled towards the criminals indulging in communal riots. This is the same story in most of the carnages, be it the anti Sikh pogrom, Mumbai violence or Gujarat carnage, state devices kid gloves to deal with the perpetrators of the crime. Also on the ‘expected’ pattern state gave no protection to victims.... The VHP supporters worsened the situation by asserting that .. Christians should leave or they will be killed unless they convert into Hinduism.
Krishna Majhi, leader of Kui samaj, Adivasis, points out that Adivasis are not Hindus and the ‘Home coming’ campaign, conversion of Adivasis into Hinduism, is a forcible one... This home coming was conducted by Laxmandnand, at big scale. The Christians were tonsured and given a Hanuman locket...
The violence is done by VHP for its political goals. Laxmananand indulged in lot of unchecked ‘hate speech’ against Christians. As a matter of fact his and RSS combines ‘Hate other’ speech against Christians laid the foundation of the violence.

Kandhmal was no flash in the pan. It was systematically built up from 1970 since the swami began his activities there... through which hate campaign was conducted. After the violence the major sectors of state were apathetic to the plight of Christians. Currently even their children are looked down in schools. The anti Christian atmosphere prevails till the day.

Film ends on a sad note, the reality of minorities in Orissa today is well depicted... It gives enough hints about the method of working of VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and RSS combine in the Adivasi areas. Bringing out these linkages with RSS combine’s methods in unleashing violence in other areas would have enriched the quality of the film. It is a must watch for all social activists and citizens at large.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a Dec 2006 report published in The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, that deals with birthrates and other demographic differences in India:

Narendra Modi should take note. The Sachar committee debunks the myth that Muslims have more children than other communities.

“Strictly speaking, there is no ‘Muslim fertility’ as such in the sense that Muslims in general cannot be identified as having a particular level of fertility,” says the panel’s report, tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

Muslims have a low fertility rate in states with low fertility rates. “Muslims in southern states have lower fertility than in northern and central states,” says the committee, tasked to find out Indian Muslims’ status in all spheres of life and activity.

A myth within the myth has been that Muslims have more children because they marry early. “Data, however, show that Muslims do not have a lower age at marriage than the average,” Sachar says.

The report asserts that over a third of Muslim couples do use some form of contraception. “Data in the National Family Health Survey show the use of contraception is widely prevalent among Muslims, though to a lesser degree than the average.”

The bogey of Muslims’ “higher” fertility — and the demographic “threat” it poses to Hindus — has held sway for decades. Modi, Gujarat’s Muslim-baiting BJP chief minister, had played on this fear a few years ago with his mock slogan “hum paanch, hamara pachis (the five of us and our 25 children)”.

Sachar also reveals that only 4 per cent of Muslim students go to madarsas; most of the rest go to government or government-aided schools.

He then goes on to make a surprising revelation. For all the disadvantages Indian Muslims suffer from, the mortality rate among infants and under-fives in the community is lower than that among Hindus (excluding the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes).

Christians and Sikhs have an even lower mortality rate.

“The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes suffer the highest infant and under-five mortality rate followed by the Hindus. Muslims have the second-lowest infant and under-five mortality rate among all socio-religious communities,” the report says. “This is somewhat surprising given the economically disadvantaged position of Muslims.”

One possible explanation could be the higher urbanisation of the community. Yet the finding seems to fly in the face of accepted wisdom.

Socio-economic variables that are supposed to reduce child mortality rates include the mother’s education as well as the household’s socio-economic status and access to safe drinking water, sanitation and electricity.

But Muslims in general have lower levels of income and education. “The only states where child mortality among Muslims has worsened are Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan,” Sachar says.

The advantage in infant and under-five mortality is not carried over to the later stages of childhood. “Muslims suffer from the highest rates of stunting and the second-highest rate of underweight children among all social groups.”

But Sachar admits that the difference is negligible. Hindu children, too, are at high risk of stunted growth and malnutrition, while the SC/STs fare worse than Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is the reaction of Dr John Dayal, Secretary General, ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL on Ayodhya verdict:

The judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High court today [30th September 2010] on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute is patently based on populist and political sensitivities, rather than on points of law. Its implications, not just for the Muslims who were a party in the dispute, but all other religious minorities is yet to be fully assessed, but here is little doubt that there is an ominous aura to a verdict being touted by some as the only way to inter community peace in India. Judges SU Khan, Aggarwal and D V Sharma – the last of the 18 justices who have heard the case since its inception — have given a legal cloak to popular Hindu mythology and faith that the Lord Rama was born at the very spot where the mosque was built over the ruins of a Hindu temple sometime in 1528 AD during the reign of Emperor Babar.

The fractured judgement — Justice Sharma took an absolute and unabashed pro-Hindu line while the other two appeared to give somewhat more consideration to the arguments of both Hindus and Muslims — does not bring a closure to the dispute as an appeal in the Supreme Court is inevitable. But Hindu groups, who see the demolition of the mosque on 6 December 1992 as the natural outburst of an injured majority sentiment, have hailed this as a glorious victory. RSS chief Bhagwat has called upon all Hindus and others to join in a national campaign to build a “magnificent” Ram temple at the spot. Political leaders such as Mr Lal Krishan Advani have supported this move, and others have asked the Muslims to be magnanimous in defeat. The more virulent right wing of the Sangh Parivar, unmoved by calls of restraint, has demanded absolute control of the Mosque land, and everything else around it.

-----
That is as maybe. But jurists, law scholars and thinkers among the minority communities have been left numb at the Lucknow bench’s effort to play “village mediator”, accept mythology and theology as legal facts, and then proceed to divide the disputed land in a three way distribution – one part to the Muslims and two parts to two different Hindu groups. This surprised most because it is not even a prayer by any one of the many litigants. This also treads a very thin edge of the legal wedge in
India where land disputes between religious groups is legion, and documentation, written and archaeological very scarce. Even in the Hindu Muslim relationship, there are at least three other major Temple-mosque disputes and the Sangh Parivar lay claims to as many as 3,000 mosques built at various times over former temples. Forgotten in this claim is the history of Buddhist stupas and shrines all over the country which were demolished to make way for temples during the first Hindu resurgence a thousand years ago. There are, however, no Buddhists of Indian origins in any numbers to make a claim. Also apparently blown away by the wind is the law of the land that the religious character of a building, church, mosque, temple or gurudwara, has been “fixed” for all times from the moment of India’s Independence on 15th August 1947 and no one can usurp each other’s religious places.

http://johndayal.com/2010/10/the-high-court-judgment-on-ayodhaya-if-it-becomes-the-law-of-the-land-through-the-supreme-court-has-ominous-ramifications-for-india%E2%80%99s-minority-communities/

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from a piece by Girish Shahane, Mumbai-based freelance journalist. He writes the blog Shoot First, Mumble Later:

...These sorts of errors bothered me far less than the constant highlighting of atrocities, often fictional ones, by Muslim rulers. The entry on Konark read, "The massive Sun Temple was constructed in mid-13th century, probably by Orissan king Narashimhadev I to celebrate his military victory over the Muslims. In use for maybe only three centuries, the first blow occurred in the late 16th century when marauding Mughals removed the copper over the cupola. This vandalism may have dislodged the loadstone leading to the partial collapse of the 40m-high sikhara." As a child, I'd heard the tale of a giant magnet holding the Sun Temple's girders in place. By the time I was in my late teens, I knew Indian temples were made of stone and used little metal. The idea of a lodestone atop the Sun Temple keeping the structure together, while making compasses on passing ships go haywire, was manifestly absurd. Not too absurd for Lonely Planet, though, which lays blame for this imaginary vandalism at the door of Mughals, whose only connection with Konark in the late 16th century was a laudatory passage about the structure composed by Abul Fazl in the Ain-i-Akbari.

Temples, even grand ones can collapse from natural causes, as evidenced by the recent fall of the 500 year old gopuram of the Srikalahasti temple.

In India, however, any damage to old Hindu religious structures is reflexively attributed to 'the Muslims'. That phrase itself is objectionable, in my view. Lonely Planet never clubs the British and Portuguese together as 'the Christians', so why place rulers from varied ethnic backgrounds and historical eras into a hold all category such as 'the Muslims'?

The Sun Temple isn't the only instance of Lonely Planet inventing acts of Muslim vandalism. The entry for Himachal's Brajeshwari Temple states, "Famous for its wealth, the temple was looted by a string of invaders, from Mahmud of Ghazni to Jehangir". Mahmud did, indeed, loot the Brajeshwari temple. But Jehangir was neither an invader, having been born and bred in India, nor a plunderer of holy sites. He loved that region of the country, and did much to improve it.

Mughals keep unjustly getting the wrong end of the stick throughout the book. The background to Amritsar and its Golden Temple reads, "The original site for the city was granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar, but another Mughal, Ahmad Shah Durani, sacked Amritsar in 1761 and destroyed the temple." Durrani was, of course, not a Mughal at all. But hey, these guys are all Muslims, right? Mughal, Turk, Afghan, big difference. That attitude is probably why Allaudin Khilji is wrongly labelled a Pathan: "Chittor's first defeat occurred in 1303 when Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Pathan king of Delhi, besieged the fort, apparently to capture the beautiful Padmini, wife of the rana's (king's) uncle, Bhim Singh." Actually, misidentifying a Turko-Afghan as a Pathan is a minor error. The big howler in the sentence is LP's propagation of the myth of Rani Padmini. Back in the early 14th century, Khilji was on a campaign in Rajputana, capturing one fort after another, and Chittor was on his list. He didn't need a special reason to besiege it. The great poet and mystic Amir Khusro, who chronicled Khilji's campaign, made no mention of any Padmini. The story was dreamt up much later to contrast the treachery and lasciviousness of the Muslim ruler against the bravery and chivalry of his Hindu Rajput antagonists. I feel like saying to the Rajputs, "Guys, Khilji won, you lost, get over it."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent expose published by Tehelka.com on "tapes implicating ultra Hindutva outfits in terror blasts gathering dust" in India's law-enfocement agencies:

Tehelka has accessed 37 audio tapes, two videos and several witness statements that cast further light on the Malegaon blasts case of 2008..
...
The tapes show that the conspiracy was not just restricted to the 12 who were arrested. They throw up names of those who were sympathisers and funders, as suggested by Hemant Karkare in his last ­interview to Tehelka on 25 November 2008, a day before his death. The people mentioned are majors, brigadiers, police chiefs and politicians. But after the filing of the chargesheet, there has been silence...

Damningly, Tehelka also has a copy of an important department communication to a top ats official officials in the beginning of the year, with information on Ramji Kalsangra, a key accused. Kalsangra is wanted not just in the Malegaon blasts case but also for the Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad), Malegaon mosque and Samjhauta Express blasts. Kalsangra was the one who planted the bombs and rode the bike used in the blasts. He was declared absconding. However, the department communication accessed by Tehelka speaks of specific information about Kalsangra’s whereabouts —
The tapes accessed by Tehelka also contain what amount to confessions of rioting. For instance, RP Singh, an ­endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital, tells Dayanand Pandey, “We burnt 25 Muslims at one go. Killing Muslims by day, practicing medicine at night: we have to do this. We have to spread terror. No more crying” (translated from Hindi).

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent expose published by Tehelka.com on "tapes implicating ultra Hindutva outfits in terror blasts gathering dust" in India's law-enfocement agencies:

Tehelka has accessed 37 audio tapes, two videos and several witness statements that cast further light on the Malegaon blasts case of 2008..
...
The tapes show that the conspiracy was not just restricted to the 12 who were arrested. They throw up names of those who were sympathisers and funders, as suggested by Hemant Karkare in his last ­interview to Tehelka on 25 November 2008, a day before his death. The people mentioned are majors, brigadiers, police chiefs and politicians. But after the filing of the chargesheet, there has been silence...

Damningly, Tehelka also has a copy of an important department communication to a top ats official officials in the beginning of the year, with information on Ramji Kalsangra, a key accused. Kalsangra is wanted not just in the Malegaon blasts case but also for the Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad), Malegaon mosque and Samjhauta Express blasts. Kalsangra was the one who planted the bombs and rode the bike used in the blasts. He was declared absconding. However, the department communication accessed by Tehelka speaks of specific information about Kalsangra’s whereabouts —
The tapes accessed by Tehelka also contain what amount to confessions of rioting. For instance, RP Singh, an ­endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital, tells Dayanand Pandey, “We burnt 25 Muslims at one go. Killing Muslims by day, practicing medicine at night: we have to do this. We have to spread terror. No more crying” (translated from Hindi).

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-conversion laws are linked to higher persecution of minorities in India.

Seven Indian states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh now have anti-conversion laws in "Secular India". The passage of these laws has inevitably been followed by extreme violence against mainly Christian groups claiming many innocent lives.

... two members of the National Commission for Minorities, Harcharan Singh Josh and Lama Chosphel Zotpa, acknowledged that Hindu extremists frequently invoke the anti-conversion law in the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh as a means of inciting mobs against Christians or of having them arrested without evidence. They reported this finding after a visit to the state June 13-18.

Dubious Intentions

According to Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, "Freedom of Religion" laws are misnamed.

"Their intention is just the reverse", he said. "They deny the people the freedom of faith."

These laws encourage extremist groups such as the RSS and VHP to target Christians and their educational institutions, he said, adding that in Madhya Pradesh it has become “impossible† for Christian workers to even visit rural areas.

Christians complain that the anti-conversion laws define "force", "fraud" and "inducement" vaguely, which can paralyze Christian social and evangelistic service by exposing Christian workers to false charges.

For instance, Section 2(b) of the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act terms "divine displeasure" “ a key component of the gospel message“ as "force" . Section 2(d) labels an "inducement"  the offer of "any gift or benefit" thus criminalizing Christ's command to feed, clothe and give drink to the needy. Section 2(b) vaguely defines as fraud "misrepresentation or any other fraudulent contrivance."

Section 4(1) of the Act requires any person wishing to convert to another religion to give a prior notice of at least 30 days to district authorities; failure to do so can result in a fine of 1,000 rupees (US$23). Yet, "no notice shall be required if a person reverts back to his own religion" in a society that largely assumes that to be born in India is to be born Hindu.

Section 3 states that a person who is converted by any unfair means shall not be considered converted. According to Section 5, an offense under Section 3 – which includes conversion “by the use of force or by inducement or by any other fraudulent means” – is punishable with imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine up to 25,000 rupees (US$570).

In case of conversion of a minor, woman, Dalit or tribal (aboriginal) person, the imprisonment can extend to three years and the fine up to 50,000 rupees (US$1,140).

Election Issue

Before elections, the BJP has raised the issue of Christian growth and consequent need to ban “forced” conversions in order to divide voters along religious lines.

On February 10, The Indian Express daily quoted Himachal Pradesh state BJP chief Jairam Thakur as saying that, had the Congress Party government not enacted the anti-conversion law, the issue could have become his party's "major poll plank" in assembly elections in 2008.

http://www.worthynews.com/1277-india-anti-conversion-laws-linked-to-higher-persecution

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India report on the deprivation of Muslims and Dalits in Gujarat:

NEW DELHI: Muslims in Gujarat have a long way to go. A new study shows there's deep-rooted poverty and income inequality among the state's lower castes and Muslims. The latter, in particular, fare poorly on parameters of poverty, hunger, education and vulnerability on security issues — nowhere benefiting from the feelgood growth story of CM Narendra Modi's state.

In the study titled "Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials", economist Abusaleh Shariff used the NSSO, NCAER's human development data and the Sachar Committee report, among others, to tabulate the status of Gujarat's Muslims. "Estimation of poverty by social group is rare, but the NCAER survey data, and NSSO, allow for such estimates," says Shariff, also chief economist at National Council of Applied Economic research (NCAER).

Disturbingly, and surprisingly, says Shariff, Gujarat's levels of hunger are high alongside Orissa and Bihar, with only Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh having higher hunger levels. Urban poverty among the state's Muslims is eight times more than high-caste Hindus, 50% more than OBCs.

Muslims are educationally deprived: despite 75% enrolment of Muslim children in primary school, a mere 26% reach matriculation. This is against 79% enrolment of 'others except SCs/ STs', 41% of who make it to matriculate levels.
---------

Shariff points out that while FDIs and investments are channeled into the organized sector, self-employment — where most Muslims make their living — is "not a growing sector". Says Shariff, "Income growth in self-employment has only marginally increased compared to other sectors in Gujarat."

The study says that Gujarat's is hunting ground "for NRI and corporate politics", and that "the FDI hype" is designed to facilitate tax subsidies, cheap licensing and under-priced land.

Concluding that Muslims in Gujarat face high levels of discrimination and deprivation, Shariff adds, "Even on roll-out of NREGA, Gujarat is at the bottom of the pile."

The study is a first in series of studies of various states on similar lines, says Manzoor Alam of the Institute of Objective Studies that organised its presentation. The purpose is to cut through rhetoric and evidence the state of Muslims across states. "We get lost in the talk on 'appeasement'. It's important to see the actual status of Muslims. So, Muslims know where they stand, and it will help governments formulate policy," says Alam.

State of Gujarat Muslims
* 60% live in urban areas; their poverty is eight times more than high-caste Hindus, 50% more than OBCs
* 12% have bank accounts. But their share of total loan amounts is low at 2.6
* Gujarat among worst performers in NREGA-implementation. Only Rs 540 million distributed at a wage rate of Rs 50. Only 4.9 rural households participated.

(Source: Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials by Abusaleh Shariff)

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a Washington Post report on the conviction of 31 Muslims in Godhra train fire case:

NEW DELHI - An Indian court in the western state of Gujarat has found 31 Muslims guilty of setting fire to a train coach nine years ago, killing 59 Hindu passengers in an incident that sparked some of the worst religious violence in India in recent years.

The verdict was delivered inside the jail by Judge P.R. Patel who charged the men with murder and criminal conspiracy in the plot to kill the Hindu activists. The judge acquitted 63 others accused in the case.

Sentences are scheduled to be announced Friday.

The defendants bought gas, cut into the vestibule to pour it inside and torched the train, said J.M. Panchal, the public prosecutor in the case.

The Sabarmati Express train was carrying Hindu activists on their way to build a temple at a disputed site. Police had accused the Muslim mob of executing a well conceived plan in the town of Godhra on Feb. 27, 2002.

However, human rights activists and lawyers defending the accused have argued that it was an accident and not an act of sabotage.

The court on Tuesday upheld the conspiracy argument, but acquitted 70-year-old Maulana Hussain Umarji, who was accused as a key conspirator.

"We are not satisfied with this judgement. There are so many contradictions. We will appeal in higher courts," said I.M. Munshi, the defense lawyer

The burning of the train triggered reprisal riots in the following days that left more than 1,000 Muslims dead in Gujarat. The verdict on Tuesday is the first among nine court cases examining those accused in the violence.

Riaz Haq said...

There is a systemic anti-Muslim bias in the criminal justice system of India, particularly in Gujarat, that makes it extremely difficult for any Muslim accused to get a free trial.

In this particular instance, Justice Bannerjee, various human rights activists and lawyers have argued that it was an accident and not an act of sabotage.

Here's an excerpt from a Tehelka story on how the investigation was handled by the notoriously anti-Muslim Gujarat police that says "if there was a “conspiracy” in Godhra, it was not by the Muslims". ASHISH KHETAN picks apart Judge Patel’s verdict and shows how a devious lie was constructed:

Parmar was the chief investigating officer of the Godhra carnage. It was he who had constructed the premeditated conspiracy theory which was supposedly under independent review by the SIT. When the SIT was formed, Parmar was serving his fourth post-retirement extension given by the Gujarat police. How could a probe officer be inducted into the SIT to review his own investigation, petitioners protested. Under pressure, the SIT reluctantly dropped him from the probe team. But, in another malicious move, it inducted Parmar’s aide Ramesh Patel instead. The logic? Patel was familiar with the case so his presence would help the investigators.

The idea behind the SIT was to have an independent review of the Gujarat police investigation by neutral officers. That purpose was defeated when the probe in effect was handed back to the Gujarat police, under the cloak of the SIT.

Raghavan visited Gujarat only for three days in a month. For all practical purposes, the investigation was carried out by the Gujarat police. In less than 10 months, IGP Jha claimed he had concluded his scrutiny of the Godhra carnage investigation carried out by the Gujarat state police. He claimed to have re-examined all the crucial police witnesses. But dismayingly, when Murli Mulchandani and Kakul Pathak were examined by the SIT, they were not quizzed about their damning confessions made before this TEHELKA reporter. Even the basic question of whether they were caught on camera by TEHELKA was not put before them.

Even more dismayingly, though this reporter’s statement was recorded by the SIT, his testimony — about Pathak and Mulchandani admitting on camera that they had fudged their statements — and the supporting sting footage were not produced before the court. When you consider the fact that both testimony and evidence produced by this same reporter has been cited as an important piece of evidence by the SIT in three other riot cases — Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society — the inconsistency becomes even more glaring. Why did the SIT not want to nail Pathak and Mulchandani? Why did Jha accept the sanctity of the Gujarat police investigation in toto?

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main48.asp?filename=Ne050311CoverStory.asp

If there was a “conspiracy” in Godhra, it was not by the Muslims. ASHISH KHETAN picks apart Judge Patel’s verdict and shows how a devious lie was constructed

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ws260211SABARMATI_TRAIN_BURNING_CASE.asp

Godhra Carnage: A Muslim Conspiracy?

See what two BJP men and a star witness told TEHELKA during a sting operation


http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ws250211acquitted.asp

Those acquitted have lost nine years of their lives. Only because they are Muslim

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Op050311Actions_speak.asp

Riaz Haq said...

“Democracy in India is only top-dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.”

—B.R. Ambedkar, in 1949, framer of Indian constitution, in "Thus Spoke Ambedkar, Vol. 1: A Stake in the Nation"

Talking about minority rights, here's an excerpt from a piece by Satya Sagar about cow rights trumping human rights in India:

Human Rights vs. Cow Rights

What we are dealing with in this country is a situation where historically the concept of the fundamental rights of a universal, standard ‘human being’ has never existed. In fact I would argue that traditionally in India there has never been the concept of a creature called the ‘human being’.

The only two categories that have prevailed for centuries in this land- and continue to do so in many parts of the country even today- are that of the ‘devas’ and ‘asuras’. ‘Human being’ is a somewhat fancy Western category in between the ‘gods’ and the ‘demons’ that small groups of enlightened activists have been bravely propagating for many years but one which is understood by very few even in the highest echelons of power- in the Indian parliament or the Indian judiciary.

To those sections of society who rule India the Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim or the poor in general, who constitute over 75 percent of the Indian population, are not human beings at all. That is why a vast section of this oppressed population is subject to the most horrific forms of violence in the form of not just direct physical attacks from time to time but also abject poverty, forced displacement and disease. For example, there are 2.5 million children under the age of 5 who die every year due to malnutrition related diseases in this country- all avoidable with social or state intervention. A vast majority of these children are from the communities I mentioned above. If this is not a genocide I would like someone to explain what is?

Even today in many parts of the country while there is a ban on ‘cow slaughter’ that is effectively implemented there is no such privilege for people from the Dalit, Adivasi or Muslim communities. In that sense these hapless people do not even have ‘cow rights’ leave alone the more esoteric ‘human rights’.

http://www.countercurrents.org/sagar280210.htm

Riaz Haq said...

A new Wikileak revelation by The Hindu quotes BJP leader Arun Jaitly calling Hindutva as an Opportunistic issue for the party that exploits anti-Muslim sentiments and India-Pak tensions:

CHENNAI: Is Hindu nationalism the raison d'être of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), or just another vote-catching device? In a private conversation with American diplomats in May 2005, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley articulated the view that Hindu nationalism was an opportunistic issue for the party.

Mr. Jaitley, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, met with Robert Blake, the Charge at the U.S. Embassy, on May 6, 2005, and provided him and the Political Counsel an insightful exposition on the politics of Hindutva. “Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point' for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue,” the Charge wrote in a cable dated May 10, 2005 ( 32279: confidential).

“In India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament,” Mr. Blake reported on the interaction with Mr. Jaitley.

On the basis of these remarks on Hindutva made by Mr. Jaitley, the diplomat concluded that his “credentials with the Sangh Parivar are weak, and he may not have what it takes to mobilize the BJP base.”
--------
On the issue of revocation of the visa of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Jaitley complained that he could not understand how the United States could take such an action against the party that began the transformation of U.S.-India relations.

When Mr. Blake explained the “rationale and legal basis” for the U.S. decision, “Jaitley agreed with the Charge's point that Modi was a polarizing personality, but argued that it would have been better for the US to let the Chief Minister visit the US, where he would have attracted a few demonstrators and then nothing more would be said.”

The Modi issue aside, the BJP leader was upbeat on U.S.-India relations, “emphasizing that ties with the U.S. were no longer a point of controversy in Indian politics.” Citing his own situation as typical, “Jaitley noted that he has several nieces and sisters living in the U.S., and ‘five homes to visit between DC and New York.'”

In private, Mr. Jaitley appeared more willing to give credit to his political rivals where due. “Putting on his hat as a former Commerce Minister, Jaitley confessed that the BJP's opposition to a Value Added Tax (VAT) at the state level was based on a narrow political calculus, and predicted that the BJP states would adopt the VAT soon in order to protect their revenue streams. He gave the Congress government generally positive marks for its handling of economic policy issues, but focused on the contradictions inherent in the UPA coalition.”

In response to the “Charge's pitch for opening of the Indian services sector,” Mr. Jaitley, a Senior Advocate, agreed that legal services should be opened to foreign competition, “noting that the performance of the Indian bar has begun to improve, even though the quality of judges suffers from a ‘Gandhian' mindset that leads to unreasonably low salaries.” On the retail sector, Mr. Jaitley “argued that foreign competition should not seriously hurt the mom and pop stores that form a BJP constituency.”

Riaz Haq said...

Muslim rulers deliberately projected as intolerant: Katju

Vidya Subrahmaniam, The Hindu

New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Sunday attributed simmering Hindu-Muslim tensions to a deliberate rewriting of history to project Muslim rulers as intolerant and bigoted, whereas ample evidence existed to show the reverse was true.

The judge also said that Indians were held together by a common Sanskrit-Urdu culture which guaranteed that India would always remain secular.

Justice Katju said the myth-making against Muslim rulers, which was a post-1857 British project, had been internalised in India over the years. Thus, Mahmud Ghazni's destruction of the Somnath temple was known but not the fact that Tipu Sultan gave an annual grant to 156 Hindu temples. The judge, who delivered the valedictory address at a conference held to mark the silver jubilee of the Institute of Objective Studies, buttressed his arguments with examples quoted from D.N. Pande's History in the Service of Imperialism.

Dr. Pande, who summarised his conclusions in a lecture to members of the Rajya Sabha in 1977, had said: “Thus under a definite policy the Indian history textbooks were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule.”

Justice Katju said Dr. Pande came upon the truth about Tipu Sultan in 1928 while verifying a contention — made in a history textbook authored by Dr. Har Prashad Shastri, the then head of the Sanskrit Department in Calcutta University — that during Tipu's rule 3,000 Brahmins had committed suicide to escape conversion to Islam. The only authentication Dr. Shastri could provide was that the reference was contained in the Mysore Gazetteer. But the Gazetteer contained no such reference.

Further research by Dr. Pande showed not only that Tipu paid annual grants to 156 temples, but that he enjoyed cordial relations with the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math to whom he had addressed at least 30 letters. Dr. Shastri's book, which was in use at the time in high schools across India, was later de-prescribed. But the unsubstantiated allegation continued to masquerade as a fact in history books written later.

Justice Katju said the secular-plural character of India was guaranteed both by the Indian Constitution and the unmatched diversity of the Indian population. The judge attributed the diversity to the fact of India being a land of old immigrants, dating back to 10,000 years (Justice Katju and fellow judge Gyan Sudha Misra first propounded this thesis in a judgment, excerpts from which were carried as an op-ed article in The Hindu edition dated January 12, 2011). The diversity, reflected in the wide range of religions, castes, languages and physical attributes found among the descendants, led the founding fathers to draft a Constitution with strong federal features. “Diversity is our asset and our guarantee for staying secular,” said Justice Katju.

Earlier, a resolution passed at the conference urged the government to forthwith set up an Equal Opportunity Commission as recommended by the Rajinder Sachar Committee.

The resolution said: “The conference resolves that inclusive growth is not possible without equal opportunities being given to all sections of society, particularly minorities and other marginalised communities.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1704204.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC story on damning testimony against Narendra Modi by an Indian intelligence official:

A senior police officer's sworn statement to India's Supreme Court alleges that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence in 2002.

Sanjiv Bhatt says he attended a meeting at which Mr Modi is alleged to have said that the Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger.

Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing.
'Vent their anger'

The riots began after 60 Hindu pilgrims died when a train carrying them was set on fire.

Sanjiv Bhatt was a senior police officer in the Gujarat intelligence bureau during the 2002 riots.

In a sworn statement to the Supreme Court, he said that his position allowed him to come across large amounts of information and intelligence both before and during the violence, including the actions of senior administrative officials.

He also alleges that, in a meeting in the night before the riots, Mr Modi told officials that the Muslim community needed to be taught a lesson following an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims.

The Gujarat government has responded to the allegations by saying they have already testified before a special panel investigating the riots and will wait for the court's verdict.

Riaz Haq said...

Now that MF Hussein has passed away in exile, India's hypocritical politicians - from left and right are paying lip service to his memory. How dishonest!

This shows that in the so-called "world's largest democracy", the Indian politicians continue to appeal to the religious fanaticism of the Hindu majority.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a post by Indian blogger Namit Arora:

Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, continues to thrive after calling the Dalits ‘mentally retarded children’ who gain ‘spiritual experience’ from manual scavenging. The media has little interest or insight into Dalit lives, nor hires low-caste journalists.[11] Major atrocities against Dalits still go unreported. Law enforcement is often indifferent or worse. There is no effective prosecution for discrimination in employment and housing. A Dalit politician can’t get a majority of upper-caste votes even in South Mumbai. Even among those few elites who read books, how many have read a single novel or memoir by a Dalit? In what is perhaps the most diverse country in the world, there is no commitment to diversity in the elite institutions that decide what is worthy art, music, and literature, or what is the content of history textbooks. In book after book of stories for children, both the protagonist and the implicit audience are elite and upper-caste.[12] Much the same is true of sitcoms, soap operas, and commercials on TV. Dalits are invisible from all popular culture that gets any airtime. The Indian army still has many upper-caste-only regiments. There is nothing like an Indian ACLU. Or a Dalit history month on public TV, or exhibits in museums, that seek to educate the upper-castes about a long and dark chapter of their past (and present). Unless a sizable proportion of elites, benumbed by privilege, open their eyes and learn to see both within and without, can there be much hope?

http://www.shunya.net/Text/Blog/OnCastePrivilege.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Modi the mass murderer, the friend of those who hounded out MF Husain, has detroyed the official records from 2002 Gijarat massacre of Muslims, reports the BBC:

Official records relating to the 2002 riots in India's Gujarat state were destroyed in line with regulations, the government tells a panel probing the riots.

Documents with records of telephone calls and the movements of officials during the riots were destroyed in 2007, five years after their origin

Officials say this is standard practice and in line with civil service rules.
----

The Supreme Court set up a panel to investigate the riots in 2008, after allegations that the Gujarat government was doing little to bring those responsible to justice.

Government lawyer SB Vakil told the Nanavati panel probing the riots that some records relating to the riots had been destroyed according to the rules.

"As per general government rules, the telephone call records, vehicle logbook and the officers' movement diary are destroyed after a certain period," Mr Vakil was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

In April a senior police officer alleged in a sworn statement to India's Supreme Court that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13970748

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in The Hindu on India's dismal human rights record:

Six months before India's human rights gets reviewed at the United Nations, the Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR) in India released a report painting a dismal picture of its rights record.

The U.N. Human Rights Council examines the rights record of its members on a rotational basis every four years through a peer review process, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Reports by the civil society, U.N. agencies and the country under review are relied upon during the UPR. India's review is due in May next year.

“The report presents a very bleak scenario of the actual state of human rights across India. The government has shown positive signs in dealing with the U.N. human rights system in the past year. We hope that this change extends to the UPR review in 2012 and beyond. Nothing but a radical shift in economic, security and social policy is needed to meet India's national and international human rights commitments,” said the former U.N. Special Rapporteur and WGHR convener, Miloon Kothari.

“The last four years have seen a marked increase in the deployment of security forces and draconian laws to deal with socio-economic uprisings and political dissent. Conflict is no longer confined to Kashmir and the northeast but also many parts of central India. In all these areas, human rights violations are overlooked and even condoned. The legal framework and practice have entrenched the culture of impunity. People are increasingly losing faith in systems of justice and governance,” cautioned noted human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover.

She felt the military approach and the ongoing conflicts contradicted India's stated position in the U.N. that it did not face armed conflict and pointed out that militarisation was also being used to forward the state's ‘development' agenda.

“Today, our institutions are in disrepair and failing our needs. Our police need urgent reform. Our bar bench and our myriad commissions need much more vigour, commitment and accountability. Every moment reforms are neglected, thousands of tragedies occur and we cannot build a nation on that,” according to Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Executive Director Maja Daruwala.


http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2704704.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent Op Ed by Aijaz Zaka Syed published in The News:

...Law Minister Salman Khurshid suggests the government is considering a six percent quota for “backward Muslims” under the 27 percent quota allocated for economically backward communities.
------------
Things could get more exciting when other communities that come under the 27 percent quota join the protests. The Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, that great messiah of Muslims, is vehemently opposed to the idea and could go to any extent to protect its constituency. There will be many others. In the end, the government may be persuaded to withdraw the proposal.
------------
The less said of Dr Singh’s ‘leadership’ the better. One is yet to discover what he really stands for and believes in. If this government had been serious about the predicament of the Muslims, it wouldn’t have slept all these years on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee.

In a fleeting moment of generosity and apparently to acknowledge the Muslim role in returning Congress to power after years in wilderness, the prime minister had picked up eminent jurist Justice Rajinder Sachar to probe the condition of the community. You didn’t need a Supreme Court judge to assess the state of Muslims. It’s there for everyone to see all across the length and breadth of the country.

Yet the findings of the Sachar committee were astounding. Weighed down by the so-called guilt over the Partition and faced by antipathy and often open hostility by successive administrations since Independence, the Muslims have gone from being the ruling class to the lowest of the low in six decades.

In a country that they ruled for nearly a thousand years, Muslims today find themselves struggling on the farthest fringes of the world’s greatest democracy. According to the Sachar panel, the Muslims’ condition today is worse than that of the Dalits, the low caste Hindus who have for centuries suffered the worst possible discrimination and exploitation.

Demolishing the myth of Muslim appeasement, Justice Sachar’s findings actually exposed systemic discrimination and complete injustice at all levels against the community. Justice Sachar repeatedly talks of the disturbing “development deficit” the community suffers from in all walks of life.
-------------
Let’s face it. The Muslims are India’s new untouchables. It’s all very well to showcase the cool Khans of Bollywood and sport icons like Sania Mirza as the new faces of India’s Muslims. The larger reality of the community unfortunately is different. Facing political and economic marginalisation and security concerns on the one hand and being perpetually under the scanner of security agencies as usual suspects, they find comfort in numbers and in their ghettoes and slums in urban India. Poverty in small town India and rural areas is even worse. Little of the government benefits and programmes, targeting the vast majority of the economically struggling communities, trickles down to them.

It’s five years since Justice Sachar submitted these findings and possible solutions to the government. We are yet to discover what Dr Singh, or the Congress leadership, thinks about them, let alone act on the urgent recommendations to address the dangerous deprivation and dispossession of the country’s largest minority.....


http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=82386&Cat=9

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a DNA report describing Gujarat Muslims as "outcastes":

The 2002 communal riots not only drove Muslims into new ghettos all over the state, they also reduced them to the status of second-class citizens who do not seem to exist for the government. This is the finding of a city-based NGO, Janvikas, which conducted a survey on the status of the minority community in the state after the riots.

The survey has revealed that Muslims are the new outcastes who, more often than not, are denied basic facilities which are available to people of other communities. Not only that. It appears that this neglect of the community is officially sanctioned for the riot victims find no mention in government records as people who need help.

The neglect of the minority community is evident even in efforts to resettle them as little has been done to provide them access to government schemes, health facilities and loans.

About 16,000 Muslims displaced by the riots are still living in relief colonies that are denied even the most basic amenities.

The riots displaced more than 2 lakh people across the state.

These people remained displaced for almost two years after 2002. However, NGOs and Muslim relief organisations settled a total of 16087 people in 83 different relief colonies.“These are the people who cannot or dare not return to their original place of residence and have been living in shelters for the last 10 years,” said Vijay Parmar, CEO of Janvikas.

The 83 relief colonies that were built after the riots are almost all located in Muslim majority areas. Fifteen of them are situated in Ahmedabad and the support they receive from the state government is negligible.

"The government did next to nothing for creating awareness about social security schemes meant for Internally Displaced People (IDP)," said Khatunben, a resident of Citizen Nagar, a relief colony in Ahmedabad.

The houses in which the displaced people have been living since 2002 have not been formally transferred to their names.

There has also been a sharp decline in the earnings of almost every displaced individual. The survey has revealed that the average annual income of displaced Muslims in Ahmedabad has come down by 31% as compared to their income before the riots.


http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_muslims-are-gujarats-new-outcastes-survey_1657290

Hope Wins said...

Dr. Haq,

There is something that I don't seem to follow here. Perhaps you can help me understand it.

1) If Hindu-India was horrifically oppressing Muslims in 2002, why did they elect Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, as their President that same year? Why is it not illegal for a non-hindu to become President in Hindu-India as it is illegal for a non-muslim to become President in Islamic-Pakistan?
2) After the burning of train by a Muslim mob, some Mullahs in Gujarat began giving fiery speeches saying "yeh to bas shuruwat hay, hum in hinduwon ko sabak sikhayen gay"; this led to angry mobs of Right-wing goons going on a rampage against Muslims in Ahmadabad.
3) After more than a decade, Muslims still remember that massacre in which hundreds of innocent Muslims were killed. In fact, even the militants who attacked the Taj Hotel in 2008 seemed to cite it as justification for indiscriminately killing Jews, Christians, Westerners, Koreans, Japanese and foreigners amongst a few Indian Hindus and Muslims.

This is tragic, but not an uncommon sequence of events amidst all the communal riots in world history.

But how do you explain the 2009 Anti-Christian massacre in Gojra?
http://www.pkhope.com/when-gojra-became-godhra/

Did some vengeful Christians go and burn a train carrying other Pakistanis? Did some Christian Pastors or Deacons give fiery speeches threatening continued violence against the majority of other Pakistanis? Did the Christians gloat over any act of violence against other Pakistanis? Did the Christians resort to (or threaten) any kind of violence whatsoever?

No. That does not seem to be the case. As far as can be ascertained, the Christians were just going about their lives peacefully and were just as patriotic as any other Pakistani community. In fact, the Christians specifically preach the forgoing of vengence and exalt non-violence as a pillar of their faith.

So what was the background of the events leading up to the 2009 Anti-Christian Massacres?

Do the few minorities remaining in Pakistan still remember it? What about the minorities who have fled Pakistan to escape the increasing Islamization of the State and are now being given refuge in England/Canada/Australia? Do they still remember the 2009 massacre?

Would you please do some more in-depth research and blog about this too?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

HopeWins: "If Hindu-India was horrifically oppressing Muslims in 2002, why did they elect Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, as their President that same year?"

Have you ever heard the word "token"? Abul Kalam fits that description more than any other Muslim official who has helped maintained the facade of secularism in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Twocircles.net review of Laurent Gayer and Christophe Jaffrelot's book "Muslims in Indian cities - Trajectories of Marginalisation":

The book adds to the debate and discussions on the condition of Muslims following the publications of Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Committee reports. This book is a worthy addition in understanding the abysmal situation of Muslims in cities. The book covers Muslims in 11 cities - Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Delhi, Cuttack, Calicut and Bangalore through 11 chapters apart from the Introduction and an erudite Conclusion. Each chapter also has a concise conclusion.

As these cities have distinct dynamics the book has used several variables and different approaches to best contextualise the lives of Muslims living there. For Mumbai, it has chosen the decrepit Shivaji Nagar area and not the cliched Muslim localities of Bhendi Bazaar and Mohammed Ali Road. In Lucknow the author has focussed on the Shias of the Kashmiri Mohalla. Thus for each of the cities it has chosen an area/locality/theme that could provide the best opportunity to present the differences in historicity, aspirations, thinking and mentality of the Muslims.

Though the book primarily brings out the routes towards ghettoisation (due to violence or combination of circumstances - as it says) it also goes a long way in puncturing the illusion of Muslim homogeneity that some people have. The dependence on land, willingness to take up new employment, hereditary occupation, asserting the distinctness of religion all have a bearing in defining the condition of Muslims across India - just like any other community. The book does well to draw upon these factors to bring out their role in the current situation of Muslims.

A good part of the chapters deal with how the people chose to vote and the choice of candidates. It lays threadbare the degree of receptivity of the political class and how the Muslims have been able or unable to extract the benefits from the state. It also discusses the contribution of Gulf remittances especially in the cities of Aligarh, Lucknow, Jaipur, Kozhikode and what that has meant for the Muslims - socially and politically.

The book also captures the intrinsic flavours of the cities which come out through the acute observations of the authors. Thus, Arif Sheikh a municipal school teacher at Mumbai's Shivaji Nagar 'takes a lot of pride...in his fluency in English and Marathi'. This is true for any slum or ghetto in Mumbai. Knowledge of Marathi means the ability to deal with local municipal ward officers enhancing ones prestige and standing.

The chapter on Aligarh talks about Sir Syed Nagar, an elite colony housing the Aligarh Muslim University professors. 'While they hardly visit other parts of the city' writes Juliette Galonnier, 'Sir Syed Nagar residents travel a lot to foreign countries'. Someone told Galonnier that Sir Syed Nagar is among the most educated colony of Asia but representing another point of view one AMU professor told the author that it is the 'largest Muslim intelligentsia ghetto'. The book is replete with many such interesting comments and observations - all well referenced and attributable to sources.

The book reveals that Muslims in Kozhikode are 'choosing to extend into the city's mixed localities'. In Gujarat's Ram-Rahim Nagar, which is a mixed neighbourhood, there has not been any riot for decades. In Cuttack the bhaichara (brotherhood) culture has ensured that Muslims have not suffered much physical harm.

-..


http://twocircles.net/2012apr04/book_review_muslims_indian_cities_trajectories_marginalisation.html

Mayraj said...

"A couple of years ago, when rising Bollywood star Emraan Hashmi complained of facing religious discrimination at the hands of a housing society in Mumbai, he had invited instant derision and ridicule. Known as the “serial kisser” for his onscreen shenanigans, Hashmi was accused of hunting for cheap publicity.
Wagging tongues fell silent only when Shabana Azmi, one of India’s finest actresses and a liberal activist, came out in Hashmi’s support saying she and her distinguished writer husband Javed Akhter faced a similar predicament when they went house hunting in Mumbai’s posh neighborhoods.
More recently, Saif Ali Khan, one of the country’s top 10 superstars, talked of facing a similar problem. The fact that Saif’s mother happens to be Sharmila Tagore or the fact that he is set to marry Kareena Kapoor, the reigning screen queen, didn’t help at all. This in a city that is home to the world’s biggest movie industry. Mumbai is considered the most cosmopolitan of Indian cities bringing together as it does dream chasers from across the country and beyond.
As Emma Lazarus said for New York, Mumbai seemed to implore: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” Not anymore. And it’s not just Mumbai; the state of affairs in Delhi or for that matter in other metros and major cities is little different. "

http://www.arabnews.com/muslims-face-housing-apartheid-big-indian-cities
Muslims face housing apartheid in big Indian cities

"Agents told us it was not possible to get a flat in Gorai,” Mr. Khan told The Hindu. “They said Muslims are not preferred. I am married to a Hindu woman. So they suggested purchasing a flat in my wife’s name. But living anonymously is not possible. Letters and bank statements will be in my name.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article3613986.ece
In Mumbai, a ‘no rent, no sale’ policy
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3613994.ece
Housing apartheid flourishes in Delhi
http://dawn.com/2012/07/30/in-india-non-hindu-parents-face-adoption-prejudice/
In India, non-Hindu parents face adoption prejudice

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article3614070.ece
Chennai claims stronger secular credentials
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3614002.ece
India’s IT powerhouse is mired in social prejudice
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3613976.ece
Ghetto? What ghetto? We’re British
http://infochangeindia.org/human-rights/analysis/persistent-exclusion-of-muslims-in-india.html
Persistent exclusion of Muslims in India
http://twocircles.net/2012apr08/curfew_imposed_hyderabad.html
Curfew imposed in Hyderabad
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_insecurity-drives-up-realty-rates-in-surats-muslim-areas_1487664
Insecurity drives up realty rates in Surat’s Muslim areas

HopeWins Junior said...

MAY 1, 2013, QUOTE: "The global climate is crucial. People believe radical Islam to be at the centre of the many of the most violent conflicts around the world. They feel they are at the receiving end of conversion drives by the much more evangelical monotheistic faiths. And they feel that if other religions are going to get tough, they had better follow suit....."
----

http://alturl.com/gup6n

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ:

The BBC report you quote concludes as follows:

Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of "freedom-loving nations", all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. Buddhist rulers and monks have been no exception.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306

Abhishek Sharma said...

nice quotes by narendra modi. narendra modi be the next prime minister of india

Pavan said...

Does it really matter which party was in power? The minorities suffer. It is Hindu goons whether belonging to the BJP or the Congress in case of the Sikh riots who do the damage. The RSS indirectly encourages all Hindus including those in the police. So what if the SP was in power when the Muzaffarnagar riots took place. They were incited by politicians from the BJP. Gujarat is different altogether since the BJP government looked the other way. The riots lasted for three whole months. Muzaffarnagar was brought under control in three days.

Anonymous said...

What it means to be a Muslim in India by Zahir Jan Mohammad

“My name,” I told him, “is Sanjay.” I closed the curtain in the Internet booth and held back tears as I emailed my parents the lie I needed to tell them: yes mom and dad, I am safe.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-212276-What-it-means-to-be-a-Muslim-in-India

Riaz Haq said...

The Muzaffarnagar riots have stopped, but the deaths haven’t. A grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding, and (Muslim) victims lodged at the many relief camps say that official neglect, terrible living conditions and the onset of the bitter north Indian cold have already claimed almost as many lives as the riots, which left 60 dead.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/muzaffarnagaraftermath/cold-death-stalks-muzaffarnagar-riots-victims-hounded-out-of-home/article1-1158297.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-#Muslim riots in #India UP(247 incidents),77 dead. Maharashtra(82) MP(84), Karnataka(73), Gujarat(68)..2013 data

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article5656627.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Ghettoization, discrimination against and segregation of #Muslims in @narendramodi's #gujarati #India http://nyti.ms/1eH0qFQ #IndiaElections

Even as candidate for prime minister, Mr. Modi has not given up his sectarian ways. Nor has his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Of the 449 B.J.P. candidates now running for seats in the lower house of Parliament, all but eight are Hindu. The party’s latest election manifesto reintroduces a proposal to build a temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of a medieval mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya, even though the destruction of that mosque by Hindu extremists and B.J.P. supporters in 1992 devolved into violence that killed several thousand people.

Continue reading the main story
Amit Shah, a former Gujarat minister and Mr. Modi’s closest aide, is awaiting trial for the murder of three people the police suspect of plotting to assassinate Mr. Modi. (Mr. Shah calls the charges a political conspiracy.) He has made speeches inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among Hindu voters, including in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, despite an outbreak of sectarian violence there last September.

The problem isn’t just about rhetoric. Judging by the evidence in Gujarat, where Mr. Modi has been chief minister since 2001, a B.J.P. victory in the general election would increase marginalization and vulnerability among India’s 165 million Muslims.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, has become a wealthy metropolis of about six million people and three million private vehicles. Office complexes, high-rise apartments, busy markets and shopping malls have replaced the poor villages that once dotted the land. The city has a mass transit system called People’s Path, with corridors reserved for buses.

But Ahmedabad ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a southwestern neighborhood and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto, with about 400,000 people. I rode around there last week on the back of a friend’s scooter. On the dusty main street was a smattering of white and beige apartment blocks and shopping centers. A multistory building announced itself in neon signs as a community hall; a restaurant boasted of having air-conditioning. The deeper we went into the neighborhood, the narrower the streets, the shabbier the buildings, the thicker the crowds.

The edge of the ghetto came abruptly. Just behind us was a row of tiny, single-story houses with peeling paint. Up ahead, in an empty space the size of a soccer field, children chased one another, jumping over heaps of broken bricks. “This is The Border,” my friend said. Beyond the field was a massive concrete wall topped with barbed wire and oval surveillance cameras. On the other side, we could see a neat row of beige apartment blocks with air conditioners securely attached to the windows — housing for middle-class Hindu families.

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Congress doesn't usually weigh in on domestic politics in other countries, but a resolution recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison is designed to put pressure on Narendra Modi, the front-runner to be India's next prime minister.
The resolution suggests that the State Department should continue to deny him a U.S. visa. Many hold Modi responsible for one of the worst episodes of religious violence in India's recent history — riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002, which left more than a thousand Muslims dead.
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/01/247946506/in-gujarat-anti-muslim-legacy-of-2002-riots-still-looms

Balamurali Krishnamoorthy said...

Dear Riaz, Since I am convinced that you will proabably never write an un-biased article about India, I now think it is probably better to read your investor blog rather than your political ideas. I don't know how a person without even coming to india and spending time here becomes an authority on India.

Riaz Haq said...

BK: "I don't know how a person without even coming to india and spending time here becomes an authority on India."

What makes you think I am a "person without even coming to india and spending time here becomes an authority on India"?

How well do you know me and my travels?

Mayraj said...

"Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi witnessed the bloodshed up close. In Pogrom in Gujarat, he provides a riveting ethnographic account of collective violence in which the doctrine of ahimsa--or nonviolence--and the closely associated practices of vegetarianism became implicated by legitimating what they formally disavow.
Ghassem-Fachandi looks at how newspapers, movies, and other media helped to fuel the pogrom. He shows how the vegetarian sensibilities of Hindus and the language of sacrifice were manipulated to provoke disgust against Muslims and mobilize the aspiring middle classes across caste and class differences in the name of Hindu nationalism. Drawing on his intimate knowledge of Gujarat's culture and politics and the close ties he shared with some of the pogrom's sympathizers, Ghassem-Fachandi offers a strikingly original interpretation of the different ways in which Hindu proponents of ahimsa became complicit in the very violence they claimed to renounce."


http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9755.html
Pogrom in Gujarat:
Hindu Nationalism and Anti-Muslim Violence in India

Riaz Haq said...

Apart from granting anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in the case against them for violating foreign funding rules, the Bombay High Court has obliquely warned the Modi government and its agencies not to allow a citizen’s “different point of view” to colour the investigation process.

In her written judgment, released in writing on Wednesday, Justice Mridula Bhatkar held that “A citizen may conduct social activities and may have a different point of view, which may not be liked by the government. However, in a democratic state, a citizen may have his or her point of view.”

The court also made it clear that the activist couple’s remaining free would not amount to a threat to “national security and public interest” as the Central Bureau of Investigation had charged.

The judge said there was in fact no need for custodial interrogation of Setalvad and Anand at all since the CBI’s case was based entirely on documents which they said they already had in their possession.

Organisations led by Setelvad which have been at the forefront of the fight to secure justice for the victims of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. They became the target of close financial scrutiny by the CBI after an FIR was lodged against them following a letter from the Gujarat government to the Union Home and Finance ministries alleging violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.

Among the allegations levelled against them is a case of fraud related to a proposed plan to build a memorial for the victims of the Gulberg Society killings, as well as embezzlement of funds, none of which have been proven despite the raid conducted on Setalvad’s premises on July 8, 2015.

Setalvad and her supporters have alleged that the CBI was seeking her custodial interrogation in order to ensure she was not able to devote time to the crucial Zakia Jafri case, in which the widow of a former MP killed by riotous mobs in Ahmedabad in 2002 has demanded the prosecution of Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time. The Special Investigation Team set up by the Supreme Court to probe the charges decided there was not enough evidence to charge Modi; Jafri and Setalvad are currently appealing this finding, and a lower court’s decision to close the matter, before the Gujarat High Court.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh argued in court that Sabrang Trust run by Setalvad was not only acting against the interest of the state but was also receiving foreign contributions to do the same. This, he stated, was a “threat to national security”, and therefore both Setalvad and her husband should be detained for custodial interrogation.

In its verdict, the court stated that “Prima facie it appears that there is some misuse of amount they received from the (Ford) Foundation for which (Teesta and Javed) are undoubtedly answerable”, but went on to reject the CBI’s claim that their activities amounted to any threat to sovereignty and integrity of the nation. It further declared that since the case is largely based examination of accounts and documents, custodial interrogation of the accused was not necessary.

http://thewire.in/2015/08/13/why-the-bombay-high-court-ruling-on-teesta-bail-is-a-big-blow-to-the-cbi-8405/

Riaz Haq said...

Trivedi was a former colleague of Jyotsna Yagnik, the judge responsible for convicting Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi for the Naroda Patiya massacre, before he resigned on moral and ethical grounds and emigrated to New Zealand. His post reads as follows:

“Teesta Setalvad. Hats off. I have always admired you and your courage and outspokenness on these issues. I also take this opportunity to state that I am indeed pained (and I am the one who had QUIT Gujarat’s Judiciary. I was a district cadre judge in Ahmedabad City Civil and Sessions Court – once a colleague of the bravest judge Ms Jyotsna Yagnik who handed out the judgments to Babu Bajrangi and Kodnani and now lives in fear of her life) … because they (the State of Gujarat) wanted us (the judges and the judiciary) of Gujarat to be acting against the minority community (albeit with no written orders but DEFINITELY communicated in loud and clear messages to us). I could not be part of it as I was sworn to the Constitution of India …”
http://thewire.in/2015/08/04/former-gujarat-judge-says-he-quit-judiciary-over-governments-anti-muslim-bias-7822/

Riaz Haq said...

#India Police FIR brands #Ahmedabad's #Muslim area as #Pakistan http://toi.in/fh9SeY via @TOIAhmedabad


AHMEDABAD: In a communally polarized city of Ahmedabad, references to Hindu ghettos as 'India' or 'Hindustan', Muslim ghettos as 'Pakistan' and roads which divide these as 'border' is common-place.

The largest Muslim ghetto at Juhapura is commonly referred to as 'Mini Pakistan' that shares a 'Wagah border' — the arterial road that divides it from Hindu dominated Vejalpur.

However, this street lingo is now being legitimized in official records. An FIR filed by Rakhial police against four involved in a brawl mentions two accused — Bablu Azizbhai and Faizan Azizbhai — as residents of 'Vatva, Pakistan'! Much like Thane's Nallasopara, where some of the 500-odd Muslim families have reportedly been getting electricity bills that list their address as 'Chota' or 'Little Pakistan'.

The reference is to a housing enclave where 2,500 Muslim families have been rehabilitated from slums on the Sabarmati river-bed for development of a riverfront. The other block houses 1,500 families from both communities. The 4,000-unit colony was constructed five years back by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and allotted along communal lines on owners' request.

Rakhial police inspector Barkat Ali Chavda said, "The writer wrote Pakistan as the address in FIR because it was dictated to us by the city control room. This is quite normal here. Those who live there also identify themselves as residents of Pakistan".

In AMC records, the mixed block is called 'Sadbhavna Nagar' while the entirely Muslim block is called 'Vasant Gajendra Gadkar Nagar after a local icon of communal harmony. In the middle of 'Hindustan' and 'Pakistan', a police post named 'Sadbhavna chowky' was set up two years back after an incident of stone-peltin.

"We are used to this, even auto-rickshaw drivers ask whether we want to go to 'Hindustan' or 'Pakistan'", says local resident Samir Sheikh.

"Complainants many a times dictate information in such lose manner. Here, complainant must have recorded his statement in this manner; he may have played some mischief. However, cops should have cross-checked before making it part of the FIR. After all, during investigation, such anomalies are removed. Beyond this, I cannot comment much on this because I have not seen the FIR," said secretary (home), G S Malik.