Friday, March 24, 2017

Pakistan Day; Adityanath as UP CM; London Terror; FBI Trump Probe

What is the significance of March 23 for Pakistanis? How did Pakistan celebrate its National Day? What does the participation of friendly nations China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the parade mean?

World's Tallest Building Burj Khalifa Lit Up in Pakistani Colors
What message does Indian PM Modi's choice of Hindu militant priest Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, send to Indian Muslims and the world? Does this election further reinforce the reasons for the partition of India as demanded by Muslims on March 23, 1940?

Who is Khalid Masood, the man alleged to have terrorized London and considered responsible for causing tragic deaths and injuries to many near the British Parliament? How is the Islamophobia industry using this incident to fan the flames of hate? Does Masood have any connection to Pakistan as alleged by some? Is he representative of Muslims and Islam?

Is the FBI investigating "coordination" between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence US presidential elections in 2016? What does "coordination" mean? Is it active "collusion" to leak damaging Clinton emails and other info? Or simply encouraging such leaks to benefit Trump? 

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/sKxPdYMuA-o




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Looking Back at Lahore Resolution of  March 23, 1940

UP Elections 2017

Husain Haqqani's Shifting Loyalties

Hinduization of India

Islamophobia in the West

Trump's Appointments

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

Talk4Pak Vimeo Channel


17 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Tarek Fatah was quick to exploit the tragic terror attack by Khalid Massod by the following tweet:

"Jihadi #KhalidMassod ws born in UK in 1963, but remained loyal to Pakistan, Islam and ISIS. Food for thought, isn't it?"

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7oiMWKXUAE0uGa.jpg:large

Fact: Khalid Masood was born Adrian Elms and converted as an adult. HE had a prior criminal record. He was not of Pakistani origin.

Abdul Jabbar said...

I really like your blog.You share with us very helpful info.

Riaz Haq said...

The 712-page Google doc that proves #Muslims do condemn #terrorism | World news | The Guardian #Islamophobia
https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2017/mar/26/muslims-condemn-terrorism-stats

It happened in history class. Heraa Hashmi, a 19-year-old American Muslim student at the University of Colorado, was supposed to be discussing the Crusades with the man sitting next to her. Within a few minutes, however, he was crusading against Islam.

“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims,” Hashmi’s classmate told her. What’s more, he complained, not enough Muslims were making a stand against terrorism.

Hashmi was perplexed by this analysis. Muslims are constantly denouncing atrocities that have been committed in the name of Islam. Yet many people seem to think Muslims don’t condemn terrorism enough. So Hashmi decided to put the notion to the test. Using Google spreadsheets, she made a “712-page list of Muslims condemning things with sources”, which she tweeted. The list includes everything from acts of domestic violence to 9/11.

“I wanted to show people how weak the argument [that Muslims don’t care about terrorism] is,” she explained.

Her stats struck a chord. Within 24 hours, Hashmi’s tweet had been retweeted 15,000 times. A couple of her followers volunteered to help her turn her spreadsheet into an interactive website and, within a week of the tweet, muslimscondemn.com was born. This was last November, but the website has grown considerably since then and, sadly, flickers into prominence whenever a new attack takes place.

Hashmi’s project isn’t just designed to prove that Muslims are constantly condemning terrorism; she made it to demonstrate how ridiculous it is that Muslims are constantly expected to offer apologies for terrorist acts. Muslims, notes Hashmi, are “held to a different standard than other minorities: 1.6 billion people are expected to apologise and condemn [terrorism] on behalf of a couple of dozen lunatics. It makes no sense.” After all, Hashmi, says, “I don’t view the KKK or the Westboro Baptist church or the Lord’s Resistance Army as accurate representations of Christianity. I know that they’re on the fringe. So it gets very frustrating having to defend myself and having to apologise on behalf of some crazy people.”

You can see that double standard at play in the aftermath of the London attacks. Khalid Masood, the London attacker, was born Adrian Elms in Dartford, Kent and is believed to have converted to Islam in prison. Have we heard Kent natives – hello Nigel Farage! – condemn the actions of the people born in their county? (“I hope my Kentish brothers and sisters will reach out to fellow Britons in solidarity to demonstrate that such hatred will not defeat the inherent bonhomie of the home counties?”) No, we haven’t, because that would be ridiculous. And yet Muslims have often been expected to apologise for the actions of someone on the very fringes of their community, and have done so.

Thanks to Hashmi, all these condemnations are now carefully recorded at muslimscondemn.com. So for anyone asking why more Muslims don’t denounce terrorism, you know where to go.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian history scholar Audrey Truschke says the Hindu-right largely ignore the colonial history and see their history through an Indo-Islamic lens only.
“So, to contradict that narrative or make it more nuanced and complex is a problem, since their current position in the Indian cultural and political landscape rests on their reading of the past,” says Truschke. “But Aurangzeb was a complex king who had a profound impact on the political landscape of 17th- and 18th-century India. As historians, we need to avoid this presentist stance and look at the evidence before us.”

A leading scholar of South Asian cultural and intellectual history, Truschke has just published a book on one of the most hated figures in Indian history, the last of six great kings of the powerful Mughal dynasty, whose empire stretched across the Indian subcontinent during the heyday of Muslim rule in the region from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Since this year’s publication of Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth, Truschke has been targeted by Hindu-nationalists supporting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and by other groups, whose current anti-Muslim sentiment traces back to medieval times, when Muslims started expanding into the region.

“My Twitter account is a nightmare right now,” Truschke says. “It hasn’t been fun.”

The popular view in today’s India is that, like other Mughal kings who were hostile to Indian languages, religions and culture, Aurangzeb was a Hindu-despising Islamist fanatic who destroyed Hindu and Jain temples and imposed a military tax on most non-Muslims.

But Truschke, one of the few living scholars who reads pre-modern Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi, had in a prior book argued that the Mughal courts were deeply interested in Indian thinkers and ideas, with elites and intellectuals engaging across cultures. In researching that monograph, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (2016), she was the first scholar to study texts in Sanskrit and Persian in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals.

In her latest work, she paints a much more nuanced picture of Aurangzeb, showing how he also protected most Hindu and Jain temples and increased the Hindu share in the Mughal nobility. Rather than hatred of Hindus driving his decisions, Truschke says, more likely Aurangzeb was guided by political reprisals and other practical considerations of rule, along with morality concerns, and a thirst for power and expansion.

That interpretation hasn’t sat well with some factions in India, but Truschke argues that as an academic historian, her project wasn’t to play political football with Aurangzeb to satisfy current agendas. It was to recapture the world of the sixth Mughal king, which operated according to quite different norms and ideas.

“My book looks at Aurangzeb as part of an Indian dynasty in all its complexities and nuances. I don’t ask if he was good or bad; that’s not an interesting historical question,” says Truschke. “I look at him with a purely empirical view, and that has been widely read by Hindu-nationalists as an apology for his Muslim atrocities.”

Truschke says that the current ethno-religious tensions in India were stoked during the British colonial period, when Britain benefitted by pitting Hindus and Muslims against each another while portraying themselves as neutral saviors who could keep ancient religious conflicts at bay.

Modern Hindu-nationalists, meanwhile, saw the political value in perpetuating the conflict and have done so with great success.

https://www.newark.rutgers.edu/news/historian-finds-herself-center-indias-hindu-muslim-conflict

Riaz Haq said...

Noam Chomsky: Is It Fair to Worry About #Trump Staging a False Flag #Terrorist Attack? @alternet

http://www.alternet.org/noam-chomsky-it-fair-worry-about-trump-staging-false-flag-terrorist-attack

Chomsky warns of scapegoating vulnerable people: "That can turn out to be very ugly."

In order to maintain his popularity, the Trump administration will have to try to find some means of rallying the support and changing the discourse from the policies that they are carrying out, which are basically a wrecking ball to something else. Maybe scapegoating, saying, "Well, I'm sorry, I can't bring your jobs back because these bad people are preventing it." And the typical scapegoating goes to vulnerable people: immigrants, terrorists, Muslims and elitists, whoever it may be. And that can turn out to be very ugly.

I think that we shouldn't put aside the possibility that there would be some kind of staged or alleged terrorist act, which can change the country instantly.


Riaz Haq said...

#Aurangzeb Wasn't The Bigot India's Right Wingers Make Him Out To Be On Social Media http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/03/28/why-aurangzebs-reputation-as-a-tyrant-and-bigot-doesnt-stand-t_a_22013910/?ncid=fcbklnkinhpmg00000001 … #KnowAurangzeb #Mughal #history

Aurangzeb's life, widely misrepresented by the Hindutva brigade as that of a cardboard despot's, was far more complex

To impose on Aurangzeb the standards of the modern world is to thus make a grave historical error

It's no big news that contemporary India is brazenly partisan about its national heroes, especially the ones who tower over the subcontinent's history. But few figures have elicited as much contempt from a section of the public as well as the political class as the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb's legacy, in the popular imagination, is one of unmitigated tyranny — reviled as the destroyer of Hindu temples, executioner of Sikh guru Teg Bahadur, and an austere Muslim ruler, who imposed unpopular taxes and curbed expressions of liberal Islam.

In 2015, amid a raging controversy, the ruling government acceded to an extraordinary request from the New Delhi Municipal Corporation to have the name of Aurangzeb Road in the national capital changed to APJ Abdul Kalam Road. The idea was to remove the association of evil, represented by Aurangzeb, from the name of the street and replace it with the name of the former president of India, who, presumably, embodied goodness.

The hatred for Aurangzeb also comes through in his denunciation by the Shiv Sena and other groups that admire his arch-rival, the Maratha warrior, Shivaji. In 2004, a biography of Shivaji by James Laine was banned in Maharashtra because it had dared to raise questions deemed unseemly by his fans. In 2015, a Shiv Sena MP abused an officer on duty on camera by calling him "Aurangzeb ki aulad" (a descendant of Aurangzeb), after he razed some temples during a demolition drive sanctioned by the district collector in Aurangabad, based on high court orders.

Historian Audrey Truschke took it upon herself to write a biography of Aurangzeb for the common reader to disabuse them of the many misconceptions around the Mughal king. At a little over 100 pages, without the paraphernalia of footnotes, it is as accessible as a complex historical narrative can get, without losing its essential core of erudition.

Debunking The Myths

As Truschke says in the Preface, the idea for the book, fittingly, came to her in an exchange on Twitter, a minefield for peddling divisive political agenda by interested groups and individuals. The spirit of the book, with its crisp prose and controlled polemics, hits out at the easy generalisations of social media.

Aurangzeb's life, widely misrepresented by the Hindutva brigade as that of a cardboard despot's, was far more complex, as anyone with common sense would expect, as well as riddled with many contradictions. Those who are familiar with politics should not be surprised by the persistence of the latter either.

Riaz Haq said...


Shivaji spark
Culture police vandalism and politics force the Maharashtra Government to ban the biography of the Maratha warrior king.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/james-wlaines-book-on-shivaji-sparks-controversy/1/196669.html

James W. Laine wanted to redeem history from legends. What the professor of religious studies at Macalester College in Minnesota did not realize was that some Indians find legends more comforting than history.

Laine's slim volume, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, published by Oxford University Press, is the latest victim of the culture police. Following the rage of the self-styled keepers of the Maratha heritage against Laine's blasphemy, the Government of Maharashtra has now banned the book.

What about the lost manuscripts, though? On January 5, an angry mob calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade of the Maratha Mahasangh stormed the 87-year-old Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune, and destroyed priceless manuscripts and artifacts.

They targeted the institute, one of the finest archival centres of the country, because it was acknowledged in the book as Laine's "scholarly home" in India during the time of his research. The loss was a piece of India's own heritage.

A rattled Laine,who considers Pune his second home, even made an appeal that he alone, and not those who assisted him in his research, should be held responsible for the book. The Sambhaji Brigade, saying the ban is more political than official, is threatening to take the book-burning protest beyond Pune.

What's Laine's blasphemy? By "reviewing" the narrative evolution of the legend of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the 17th century Maratha hero who defied the Mughal Empire to found an independent kingdom, he hopes to rescue the biography of "this great man"from"the grasp of those who see India as a Hindu nation at war with its Muslim neighbors".

Today Laine's work is struggling to rescue itself from the grasp of Maratha pride because it raises some "personal" questions about the warrior king. Questions like: Did he have an unhappy family life?
Did he have a harem? Was he more interested in building a kingdom than liberating a nation? Was he least interested in the religion of Bhakti saints? Laine calls them "cracks" in the Shivaji narrative.

Writing in LA Times on January 12, Laine, "always drawn to stories of heroes", defends his scholarly freedom to entertain what he calls "unthinkable thoughts". As he says in the article, "The owners of Shivaji's story had their own set of questions, delivered with a punch: who should be allowed to portray this history?
Should an outsider working with Brahmin English-speaking elites have a greater say in Shivaji's story than Shivaji's own community?" Defenders of the Maratha pride see an intellectual conspiracy in the cracks.

Outraged by a reference in the book to Shivaji's "absentee father", Purushottam Khedekar, founder member and president of the Maratha Mahasangh, says, "We strongly condemn the Brahminic attitude and the heinous propaganda against Shivaji Maharaj."

And politically too, Laine is not getting any support.Sharad Pawar, the veteran Maratha leader, has already warned that scholarship should not clash with public sentiments and faith. Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, as usual, was an exception. He condemned the violence and upheld the importance of disagreement and debate in a democracy.

Chief Minister S.K. Shinde, under pressure from the Maratha lobby in the NCP and his own party, the Congress, is hesitant about taking action against the violent protesters.



In the time of elections, few political leaders can afford to be on the wrong side of Maratha pride, and fewer can afford to take the side of free expression.

Rizwan said...

I think it is rather misguided for Mr. Faraz Dervesh to suggest that Hussain Haqqani be given an opportunity to explain his viewpoint on Viewpoint from Oversees. We all know he is a liar, so why do you want to give him another forum to spread his lies? He already has an outlet in the Western media. You should continue to use Viewpoint from Overseas as a forum for CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue about Pakistan. Taking on a snake may just get you bitten, and you are likely not achieve anything positive.

Riaz Haq said...

#India state to give life sentences for #cow slaughter @AJENews. #GaurakshaACT #Modi #BJP #Gujarat

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/india-state-give-life-sentences-cow-slaughter-170331154617787.html

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat on Friday increased the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life imprisonment as Hindu hardliners push for tougher protections for the holy animal.

Under the stiffened penalties passed by Gujarat's state assembly, anyone caught transporting cows for slaughter could also face up to 10 years in jail.

Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is illegal in most states.

"A cow is not an animal. It is symbol of universal life," Gujarat Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told the state's assembly.

"Anybody who does not spare the cow, the government will not spare him."


The amendment still needs the approval of the state governor - a formality all but assured - before becoming law.

Millions from India's huge minority populations - including Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus - eat beef, although it is not widely available.

But Modi's ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, which recently won India's largest state Uttar Pradesh in a landslide, has long campaigned for the protection of cows.

The BJP's new chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has launched a crackdown on abattoirs since taking office in March that has ground the state's meat industry to a halt.

Hindu activists have long accused the Muslim-dominated meat industry of covering up the slaughter of cows and passing off the meat as buffalo, which are not revered as holy.

Cow slaughter is a hot-button issue in India, where even rumours of cows being transported can spark murderous reprisals and religious riots.

Squads of "cow protection" vigilantes are known to roam highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of the animal.

In 2015, a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of eating beef was dragged from his home and beaten to death by a mob. Police later said it was mutton.


Riaz Haq said...


What is Hindutva?
A.G. NOORANI

https://www.dawn.com/news/1301496/what-is-hindutva


Savarkar wrote, “... Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism. By an ‘ism’ it is generally meant a theory or a code more or less based on spiritual or religious dogma or system. But when we attempt to investigate the essential significance of Hindutva we do not primarily — and certainly not mainly — concern ourselves with any particular theocratic or religious dogma or creed”. His concern was politics; the political mobilisation of Hindus into one nation.

If not religion, what, then, is the basis for the divide? With crystal clarity, he wrote, “To every Hindu … this Sindhusthan is at once a pitribhu and a punyabhu — fatherland and a holy land. That is why in the case of some of our ... countrymen, who had originally been forcibly converted to a non-Hindu religion and who consequently have inherited along with Hindus, a common fatherland and a greater part of the wealth of a common culture — language, law, customs, folklore and history — are not and cannot be recognised as Hindus. For though Hindusthan to them is fatherland as to any other Hindu yet it is not to them a holy land too. Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and god-men, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their name and their outlook smack of a foreign origin”.

The divide cannot be bridged except by obeying Hindutva’s demand for conversion to Hinduism. Savarkar exhorted, “Ye, who by race, by blood, by culture, by nationality possess almost all the essentials of Hindutva and had been forcibly snatched out of our ancestral home by the hand of violence — ye, have only to render wholehearted love to our common mother and recognise her not only as fatherland (Pitribhu) but even as a holy land (Punyabhu), and ye would be most welcome to the Hindu fold”.

Gandhi’s assassination put paid to Savarkar’s ambitions, but the RSS picked up the baton. Its supremo, M.S. Golwalkar, drew inspiration from Hindutva and coined its synonym, ‘cultural nationalism’, in contrast to ‘territorial nationalism’ in his book, A Bunch of Thoughts (1968). Everyone born within the territory of India is not a nationalist; the nation is defined by a common ‘culture’ (read: religion).

Golwalkar wrote, “... here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as invaders, the Muslims and Christians. They never faced the question how all such heterogeneous groups could be called as children of the soil merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in common territory under the rule of a common enemy … The theories of territorial nationalism and of common danger, which formed the basis for our concept of nation, had deprived us of the positive and inspiring content of our real Hindu nationhood ...”

This explains the RSS’ ghar wapsi (‘return to your home’) campaign, simply a repeat of the past shuddhi (‘purification’) movement. Nothing has changed; an unbroken ideological thread binds Savarkar’s Hindutva, Golwalkar’s ‘cultural nationalism’ and the RSS-BJP policies today. On Sept 24, 1990, BJP president L.K. Advani launched “a crusade in defence of Hindutva”, which culminated in the demolition of Babri Masjid, in his presence, on Dec 6, 1992.

Since 1996, the BJP’s election manifestoes for Lok Sabha elections pledge to espouse Hindutva in these terms: “The cultural nationalism of India … is the core of Hindutva.” This explains the Modi government’s systematic purge of educational and cultural institutions. It is a quarrel with history. As scholars Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph remarked, modern hatreds are supported by ancient, remembered wrongs, whether real or imagined. The RSS-BJP combine rejects the concept of composite culture that Jawaharlal Nehru and others propounded.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #India's #Hindu #Nationalist Surge Is Stoking Tensions: QuickTake Q&A. #Modi #GauRakshaks #beef
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-24/why-india-s-nationalist-surge-is-stoking-tensions-quicktake-q-a


Hindu nationalist policies risk fueling social divisions in India, a country with a history of religious violence, and creating economic problems. In Uttar Pradesh, vigilantes have disrupted the multi-billion dollar meat export industry and prevented farmers from culling unproductive buffalo. Chief Minister Adityanath has also blamed Muslim youths for waging a "love jihad" by seducing Hindu women to convert them to Islam.

While Modi has not condoned any of the incidents, he has also not publicly condemned some of them. In 2015, after a mob lynched a Muslim man outside Delhi for allegedly killing a cow and keeping beef in his refrigerator, Modi said his government played no role and was being unfairly targeted. Modi also said the BJP “has always opposed pseudo-secularism.”

Hindu nationalism could help the BJP win more state polls, giving Modi an even stronger grip on power. But tensions between Hindus and Muslims could also spur violence and distract lawmakers from economic policies. India’s commercial capital Mumbai was shut down for nearly two months by deadly communal clashes in 1992 after the mosque in Ayodhya was destroyed by Hindus claiming it was built in the 1500s on a temple marking Lord Ram’s birthplace. A former BJP deputy prime minister is currently facing criminal conspiracy charges related to the 1992 violence, in a trial that could exacerbate tensions.


The food processing industry faces risk. The BJP promised to shut mechanized slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh, a move that could hit exports. India overtook Brazil to become the world’s largest bovine meat exporter in 2014, driven by low-cost water buffalo meat. The industry, which earns about $4.8 billion annually and employs about 2.5 million people, is operating around 40 percent capacity, according to the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association.


Riaz Haq said...

#India's Minorities, #Muslims and #Christians, Face Increased Sectarian Attacks By #Hindu Nationalists. #BJP #Modi

https://www.voanews.com/a/india-minorities-face-increased-sectarian-attacks/3830816.html

Muslim and Christian leaders in India are expressing concern over what they call a sudden rise in sectarian attacks against their communities across the Hindu-majority country.

The minority community leaders have said the hate attacks, for which they blame right-wing Hindu groups, spiked with recent assembly election victories in Uttar Pradesh state by India's ruling party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Noting that most of the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian attacks are taking place in the BJP-ruled states, the leaders accuse the local governments of not taking punitive actions against the perpetrators.

One such attack occurred this month in Uttar Pradesh when Hindu activists barged into a church in Maharajganj district, confronting a congregation of 150 people and accusing them of secretly converting Hindus. After threatening to kill the pastor and demolish the church, the group left when police arrived.

"There is a very sharp rise in violence against Christians and also Muslims in the days since Yogi Adityanath has become the chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh," John Dayal, spokesman of United Christian Forum, a New Delhi human rights group, told VOA.

Zafarul Islam-Khan, a New Delhi Muslim community leader, said the hate attacks against minorities by Hindu right-wing groups were rising with the growth of the BJP in the country.

"BJP-led governments at the center and the states do not take action against the Hindutva groups because they are responsible for establishing the powerful Hindu vote bank for the party. People from these groups are becoming ministers and [legislators] in the party," Khan told VOA. "So, they are part of the family, and that's why BJP in different states cannot take any action against these Hindutva groups."

Rights group critical

New York-based Human Rights Watch this week condemned India's Hindutva group cow vigilantes — those who perpetrate violence in the name of protecting cows, which Hindus consider sacred — for targeting Muslims in attacks.

"Self-appointed cow protectors driven by irresponsible populism are killing people and terrorizing minority communities. The government should condemn this violence and take prompt action against those responsible for these attacks or face allegations of complicity, " Meenakshi Ganguly, the rights group's South Asia director, was quoted saying in the report.

In India, where Muslims and Christians constitute 14.2 percent and 2.3 percent of country's population, respectively, the two communities have long alleged varying levels of persecution.

Riaz Haq said...

#India sends back 50 #Pakistani children after threats by #Hindu extremists. #Modi

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/india-sends-back-50-pakistani-students-after-threats-by-hindu-extremists/

Around 50 Pakistani students, visiting India along with their teachers at the invitation of an NGO, were sent back to Lahore after they received threats from extremist organisations.

Routes2Roots, a Delhi-based NGO, had invited 50 students from Pakistan as part of their Student ‘Exchange for Change’ Program, according to Indian media reports.

The students, who reached India on May 1, were sent back home only within a day, after Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena threatened the host NGO for inviting the students.

The students were a part of the cultural exchange programme and on a five-day visit to India. The students after the intimidation from extremists were terrified and remained inside their rooms.

They reached Wagah border safely on Wednesday.

The NGO has been advised by Indian government officials that “the time is unfavourable for the exchange programme”, the Deccan Herald reported.

“An NGO had invited Pakistani school students here. They came to India on the same day when the barbaric and inhuman act of killing and mutilating our soldiers happened.

“The ministry advised the NGO that it was not an appropriate time for such exchanges after we learnt that the children had crossed over to India on May 1,” Gopal Baglay, a spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said.

India has accused Pakistan of killing and mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers across the Line of Control.

Pakistan Army categorically rejected Indian Army’s accusations.

“Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on the line of control or a BAT action in the Buttal sector (Indian Krishna Ghatti Sector) as alleged by India. Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers’ bodies are also false”, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement had said.

The Pakistani students were scheduled to go on a day-long trip to Agra today and participate in an exchange of experiences with Indian students tomorrow at the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi.

Expressing regret over the return of the delegation, Routes2Roots said that the trip had to be shortened and the students and teachers have been sent back to Lahore.

“Around 50 students aged between 11-15 years along with their teachers arrived in Delhi from Pakistan on May 1 and were supposed to meet their Indian pen friends and hosts of other programs which had to be cut short.

“Keeping in view the security and sentiments of fellow Indians the delegation has been sent back to Lahore safely,” Rakesh Gupta and Tina Vachani, founders of Routes2Roots, said in a statement.

In October last year, a similar programme by the NGO was cancelled after the announcement of surgical strike by India along the LoC in September.

Riaz Haq said...

Attacks on #India's minority #Muslims by #Hindu vigilantes mount. #Modi #BJP #gaurakshakterror https://usat.ly/2pd3DDm via @usatoday

One April afternoon, a group of men clad in saffron scarves barged into a house in Meerut, 40 miles northeast of here, and dragged out a young Muslim man and a Hindu woman. Their offense: They were an interfaith couple in love.

The men, part of a self-appointed enforcement group called the Hindu Youth Brigade, beat the man, videotaped the incident and then handed him over to police for charges of obscenity. The traumatized woman, who wept and covered her face with her scarf, was let off with a warning.

“We are not against love, but this guy changed his name (to a Hindu one) to mislead the girl. Let police investigate,” said Nagendar Pratap Singh Tomar, chief of the brigade.

The April 12 Meerut incident is the latest example of Hindu vigilantes attacking Muslims in this overwhelmingly Hindu country, especially with the gains made by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March elections.

Several similar attacks have occurred since March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose an anti-Muslim firebrand, Yogi Adityanath, to be chief minister of India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the nation's Hindu population.

On April 13, another interfaith engaged couple in Meerut was attacked in the street by brigade members. The Muslim woman faced verbal abuse while her fiancé, a Hindu, was beaten for protesting.

Also in April, two dairy farmers returning from a cattle fair in a northern state were attacked by vigilantes, leaving one dead and the other seriously wounded. Cows are considered sacred by Hindus, who make up 80% of India's population of 1.3 billion.

"We had purchased the cows legally for dairy farming, but our vehicle was intercepted by these men and they beat us up so badly that my neighbor died," Azmat Khan, 27, from a remote village in Haryana, said from his bed.

India cracks down on slaughter of sacred cows
India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, said Muslims feel a deep sense of dread since Modi, a fierce Hindu nationalist, took office in 2014.

The BJP has taken an aggressive stance in dealing with anti-India Muslim youths in the disputed Kashmir region, which is roiled by a Pakistan-backed separatist insurgency. India and mostly Muslim Pakistan have long fought over the region because of competing territorial claims.

Youths regularly pelt Indian soldiers with stones, causing an ongoing conflict in the Muslim-majority states of Jammu and Kashmir. The government faced fresh criticism when a video went viral showing a Muslim man, Farooq Dar, 24, tied to the front bumper of an army jeep as a human shield against the stone-pelters.

Dar later told Indian media that he had defied the separatists’ call for an election boycott in Kashmir and was on his way to his sister’s house after voting when the army picked him up to be a human shield.

The BJP government earlier had authorized paramilitary forces to use pellet guns on protesters, causing widespread casualties and eye injuries to the young stone-throwers.

"Everyone talks about the human rights of terrorists, separatists and disruptive elements. It is high time everyone realize that the security forces, fighting in tough conditions braving all odds, are also humans and have human rights,” Rao said. “They have been highly professional and restrained even in some highly provocative situations."

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #India's 'cow vigilantes' hotel in the clear. It was #chicken, not #beef. #Modi #GauRakshakTerror http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-39872080#

A hotel owner in the Indian state of Rajasthan has expressed his frustration over the fact that his hotel has been closed for weeks over false accusations that it had served beef on the premises.
Police on Tuesday said forensic tests on meat seized from the Hayat Rabbani hotel in March showed it was definitely not beef, but chicken, the Hindustan Times reported.
Cows are revered as sacred animals among India's Hindus, and there are strict laws on their slaughter and consumption in several parts of the country, including Rajasthan.
"From the very first day, I have been saying that it was chicken but no one from the administration listened to me," hotel owner Naeem Rabbani told the paper. "The report confirms all allegations levelled on us were false."
The hotel was closed after a group of "cow vigilantes" protested in front of it for hours in March, chanting nationalist slogans.
The Indian Express website cited a member of the group saying they had gathered there after reading about rumours of a beef party at the hotel on WhatsApp, allegedly sent by Jaipur's mayor.
Such vigilante groups have been involved with several incidents of violence in India, particularly after the Hindu nationalist BJP party came to power in 2014. Last month, police investigated the death of a Muslim man who was attacked by a vigilante group while transporting cows in Rajasthan.

Riaz Haq said...

#India bans sale of #cows for slaughter, a move designed to appease conservative #Hindus. #beefban #Modi #BJP

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-india-cow-slaughter-20170526-story.html

The Indian government has issued a nationwide ban on selling cattle for slaughter, the toughest measure yet imposed to protect cows, an animal that conservative Hindus regard as sacred.

Under new rules issued this week, the government ordered that no cows or buffaloes could be traded at a livestock market without a signed declaration by the owner that the animal was not being sold for slaughter.\

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Hindus form an overwhelming majority among India’s 1.3 billion people, and many of them eschew beef out of respect for the bovine.

But beef, which is cheaper in India than many other sources of protein, is a major part of the diet of Muslims, Christians and Hindus from the lowest rung of the ancient caste system, known as Dalits, or “untouchables.”

The leader of the southern state of Kerala, which has a large Christian population, criticized the move as “fascist” and a “clear attack on our plurality.”

Pinarayi Vijayan, the state’s chief minister, tweeted that the law would rob hundreds of thousands of people of jobs, cripple the leather industry and affect the diets of millions of people.

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“The aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure [the] welfare of cattle” in the markets, Vardhan said, according to the Press Trust of India.

But the meat trade in India, a $4-billion industry, is centered on animal markets and dominated by Muslims and Dalits, who would be most affected by the change.

In the western state of Maharashtra, where a government led by Modi’s party banned the slaughter of cows in 2015, thousands of butchers have lost their jobs and many meat shops have closed.

In the city of Aurangabad, Mohammad Qureshi, 31 — part of a Muslim community that has traditionally slaughtered cattle and sold the meat for export — said his family’s beef business has dwindled. The business has survived because the state ban did not include buffalo meat, but now buffalo cannot be sold at markets for slaughter either.

“What are we supposed to do?” Qureshi said. “I have a family to look after and this shop is all I have. By imposing these rules, the government is making lives difficult for minorities.”

The nationwide rules would also prevent farmers from selling aging and unproductive cattle to be slaughtered, which many farmers have typically done to raise money and avoid the expense of maintaining an unproductive animal.

Many observers criticized the government for imposing new layers of bureaucracy and paperwork on cattle traders, many of whom are poor and uneducated.

Anyone seeking to sell cattle at a market would need to furnish identification documents — both for himself and the animal — creating what one commentator called “a cow bureaucracy in the 21st century.”

Riaz Haq said...

I Am A Practicing Muslim. My Concerns Right Now For India Are... by Indian Journalist Rana Ayub

http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/in-response-to-naseeruddin-shah-1707581


My family was forced to move from the cosmopolitan Sahar village to the rather lower middle class Deonar which was considered safer. My brother and my father applied for a credit card thrice while we lived in that area and were which was rejected on all occasions.

We were told later that these companies have specific instructions to not issue cards to Muslims living in 'such' areas. The building in which we stayed was next to the famous Deonar dumping ground and the abattoir from where the stench would fill the neighbourhood. But we and many like us continued to stay there because it was "safe".

Despite maintaining the best of hygiene, we had to live with the stink and airborne diseases. BMC workers who would mark their presence every morning in the swanky neighbourhoods of Mumbai like Peddar Road didn't mind taking days off in our neighbourhood with the garbage piling up because we (the Muslims and our many lower middle classes companions) could live with it.

Another problematic assertion in Naseer's column is that Muslims must stop feeling victimized. I have and continue to believe as a Muslim who has had to bear two communal riots that the community, like most communities in India, has been resilient and has chosen to put its dreaded past behind it, voting in every election for a change. But when every day you have videos emerging asking Muslims to chant "Bharat Mata ki Jai" before they are thrashed and cattle traders are lynched in public, the Muslim of the country does not feel a healing touch on the scars of the past.

If indeed we are so concerned about the plight of Muslims, their education, hygiene, then the topic of discussion should be to ensure that Muslim-dominated areas, government schools for Muslims have the same level of cleanliness and attention paid to them as other areas of Swachh Bharat. Muslims in this country have moved beyond the pain of the Babri demolition, but if the well-being of Muslims is indeed the criteria, those in power move on from Ayodhya and lets discuss corruption in the Waqf Board whose proceeds could help get Muslims access to higher education and a better status in society.

The alleged participation of Indian Muslims in ISIS is 0.0002 percent of the total number across the globe. To fault them for this and use it as an excuse to deny the 99.99 percent Muslims a dignified life is the worst one can offer to one of the largest minority in the country which has a glorious past in the country's freedom struggle. And which is now, as I keep hearing from many around me, leaving me feeling like a "second-class citizen".

(Rana Ayyub is an award-winning investigative journalist and political writer. She is the author of 'Gujarat Files', a book on the politics of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in Gujarat.)