Saturday, March 30, 2019

Samjhauta Acquittals: Modi's India is Protecting Hindutva Terrorists

An Indian court has recently acquitted all accused in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack of February 2007 that claimed 68 lives, including lives of 43 Pakistan citizens, 10 Indian citizens and 15 unidentified people. This latest verdict came after the acquittal of these and other accused who had confessed to a series of bomb attacks on Muslim targets including Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Ajmer sufi shrine. These attacks claimed many innocent Muslim lives. The latest acquittals are a continuation of prior shameful judgements by Indian judges in Afzal Guru death sentence and Babri Masjid cases. These trends pose a serious existential threat to India's rule-of-law, democracy and economy.

Swami Aseemanand
Samjhauta Express Attack:

Immediately after the Samjhota Express attack in 2007, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well as some Indian media organizations blamed Pakistan for the attack.  Later, an investigation by India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) concluded that the attack was carried out by four men - Swami Aseemanand, Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma - linked to the Hindu far-right group Abhinav Bharat which has close ties to Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party.

In 160 page verdict, Special NIA court judge Jagdeep Singh said that the “best evidence” was “withheld” by the prosecution and was not brought on record.  He said some of the cited independent witnesses were never examined or sought to be declared hostile for cross-examination when they chose not to support the prosecution case. With ‘anguish", the judge said that a ‘dastardly act’ has gone unpunished for lack of evidence.

In his order, the judge further said: “There are gaping holes in the prosecution evidence and an act of terrorism has remained unsolved. Terrorism has no religion because no religion in the world preaches violence. A Court of Law is not supposed to proceed on popular or predominant public perception or the political discourse of the day and ultimately it has to appreciate the evidence on record and arrive at final conclusion on the basis of relevant statutory provisions and settled law applicable thereto.”

Afzal Guru Execution:

Mohammad Afzal Guru was a Kashmiri who was convicted for his alleged role in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack. He was sentenced to death in a controversial judgment and executed on February 9, 2013.

In upholding the death sentence, the Indian supreme court acknowledged that the evidence against Guru was circumstantial: "As is the case with most conspiracies, there is and could be no evidence amounting to criminal conspiracy." But then, it went on to say: "The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation, and the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender." This shameful Indian Supreme Court verdict to approve Guru's execution is a great miscarriage of justice with few precedents in legal annals.

Babri Masjid Case:

In a majority verdict in 2010, India's Allahabad High Court judges gave control of the main disputed section, where Babri mosque was torn down in 1992, to Hindus.

This verdict set a dangerous precedent, raising alarms about hundreds of other mosques in India which are claimed as ancient temple sites by the violent Sangh Parivar. L.K. Advani and other major Hindutva leaders, including then Gujarat Chief Minister and now India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, welcomed it and vowed to build "Ram Temple" on two-thirds of the disputed land awarded by an extremely unwise and politically motivated decision of the Allahabad Court.

In his Ayodhya opinion, Justice S.U. Khan, the only Muslim judge in the three-judge panel of the Allahabad High Court, made a reference to the Treaty of Hudaibiya as follows: "When prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah(sic), it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters."

This quote from Justice Khan shows how defeated and marginalized even the very few well-educated and well-placed Indian Muslims feel at this point....something reflected throughout his verdict. He basically threw in the towel and gave in to the likes of Justice DM Sharma, the most unabashed pro-Hindutva judge on the panel who "established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi of Ram Chandra Ji" in his opinion.

This is the evidence of absolute Hindutva fascist dominance of India's "secular democracy" on the streets and in the courts of India.  It has dramatically increased social hostilities against Indian minorities, according to a Pew Survey.  It does not augur well for either democracy or secularism in India.

Social Hostility Against Minorities in South Asia. Source: Bloomberg


India's Justice System:


The recent court judgements raise the following question posed by India's Economic Times editors:  "If a judge feels that the prosecution is waffling on purpose, why should he or she deliver a verdict? Why should the legal system not allow the judge to express dissatisfaction with the conduct of the prosecution and seek correctives before proceeding to conclude the hearing?"

Independent justice system is essential for Indian democracy which is facing an existential threat from Prime Minister Narendra's government pushing Hinduization of the country.  It is also bad for India's economy as top economists have been warning New Delhi against rising intolerance, bigotry and violence in the country.

Prime Minister Modi's Re-Election:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term as Prime Minister pf India in this year's general election. Some believe that his divisive policies and hateful rhetoric against Pakistan and Indian Muslims are designed to solidify the support of his Hindu Nationalist base. Will he succeed? And if he does, how will it impact India's future? Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University, Sweden has argued in a recent op ed that "India might not survive another five years of Modi". Here's an excerpt of what he wrote:

"India, a country of huge size and immense diversity, needs a functioning secular democratic structure to survive itself. The South Asian giant becoming a religious authoritarian state is not only a threat to its 172 million Muslims but also to the country’s unity and integrity. Indian polity can possibly be ripe enough to go through a peaceful secular democratic revolution in a period of five to ten years to overthrow an authoritarian leader, but the real risk is that a violent civil war might precede the popular revolution, and that India as a country most likely can’t afford".

Summary:

An Indian court has recently acquitted all accused in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack of February 2007 that claimed 68 lives, mainly Muslims including lives of 43 Pakistan citizens, 10 Indian citizens and 15 unidentified people. This latest verdict came after the acquittal of these and other accused who had confessed to a series of bomb attacks on Muslim targets including Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Ajmer sufi shrine. These attacks claimed many innocent Muslim lives. These latest acquittals are a continuation of prior shameful judgements by Indian judges in Afzal Guru death sentence and Babri Masjid cases. These trends pose a serious existential threat to India's rule-of-law, democracy and economy.


Why have the world leaders warmly welcomed India's Modi back after shunning him for years for his role in Gujarat 2002 Massacre of Muslims? Celebrated Indian writer and rights activist Arundhati Roy explains to Mehdi Hasan of Aljazeera


https://youtu.be/16OUgKPl0BU





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis

Islamophobia Goes Mainstream in 2017

Ayodhya Verdict Belongs in Hall of Shame

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Modi and Trump

Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India

Hindu Nationalism Goes Global

Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj

21 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

When They Want #War, #India and #Pakistan Will Always Have #Kashmir. This year, it was Pakistan, rather than India, that came out looking like the adult on this occasion. #Balakot #PulwamaAttack https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-they-want-war-india-and-pakistan-will-always-have-kashmir?ref=scroll

The essentially violent nature of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, has now been laid bare by events. Countless Kashmiris in other parts of India spent most of late February avoiding lynch mobs—many of them helped by activists like Shehla Rashid, who you will hear from later in this series. Many gruesome scenes that recalled the 2002 Gujarat riots, which left countless people, mostly Muslims, dead.

The Indian media, up to and including ostensibly liberal journalists like Barkha Dutt, devolved in the wake of the Pulwama attack into an unthinking, bloodthirsty rabble. Bollywood actors, who have only ever played at war, became all-too-willing mongers for it.

Hindutva Twitter—which has long made MAGA Twitter look quaint—seethed with denunciations of “traitors” and “Pakapologists” and writhed with demands for ever greater violence. The extent to which Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has entered the Indian mainstream—its bloodstream—seemed scarily absolute.


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On February 14, an Indian-born Kashmiri named Adil Ahmad Dar drove 300 kilograms of explosives into a convoy of Indian military vehicles in Pulwama, a district of Indian-administered Kashmir. In addition to himself, Dar killed 40 Indian soldiers, rendering the attack the deadliest in decades. A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, claimed responsibility for his actions, and the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to allege Pakistani involvement. Pakistan denied the charge.

A quickly escalating game of tit-for-tat followed. Indian jets crossed the infamous Line of Control and, according to official statements, bombed a terrorist training camp on Pakistani soil. Pakistan denied this, too, saying the planes hadn’t destroyed much of anything and certainly hadn’t killed any terrorists.

Meanwhile, Pakistan sent its own planes across the LoC in response. For the first time since the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan engaged in dogfights over Kashmir. When an Indian plane was shot down on the Pakistani side of the LoC, its pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured. He was returned to India on the first day of March in a move that Pakistan described as a “gesture of peace.” The stand-off has largely been limited to cross-border shooting and shelling since. A number of Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC have been killed.

Bill Clinton once described Kashmir as “the most dangerous place in the world.” Christopher Hitchens once described the LoC—from a vantage point on the Pakistani side—as “the near-certain flash point of a coming war that could well become an Asian Armageddon.”

For the moment, that war appears to have been averted. Cross-border shelling is business as usual in this part of the world.

But Hitchens would have been surprised to learn that it was Pakistan, rather than India, that came out looking like the adult on this occasion. Then again, Hitchens, who wrote his dispatch in 2007, had long been convinced that the U.S. alliance with Pakistan was a form of geopolitical self-harm, and Hitchens died before Modi came to power in India in 2014. He did not foresee the rise of an Islamophobic nationalist government in Delhi and couldn’t have guessed at the manner in which that government would wind up radicalizing a whole generation of Indian Kashmiris through its militarization of the region and the brutality it would inflict on its citizens there.

Riaz Haq said...

"Prof Keshram Shastri was the 96-year old chairman of Gujarat branch of the World Hindu Council ... admitted he had organized the drawing up of a list of Muslim shops for looting in the city of Ahmedabad immediately after the Godhra incident." - The Dark Side of Democracy, 2005.

https://twitter.com/ashoswai/status/1112744473623257088

http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-narendra-modi-leader-of-worlds.html

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s political parties are spreading #misinformation. #BJP Cyber Army 400+ WhatsApp group includes head of the BJP IT: “This Group is Nationalists Group With #Hindu Warriors Working To Save Nation from congress, communists, #Islam, #Christianity.”#Modi https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/04/india-misinformation-election-fake-news/586123/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

EW DELHI—In the days following a suicide bombing against Indian security forces in Kashmir this year, a message began circulating in WhatsApp groups across the country. It claimed that a leader of the Congress Party, the national opposition, had promised a large sum of money to the attacker’s family, and to free other “terrorists” and “stone pelters” from prison, if the state voted for Congress in upcoming parliamentary elections.

The message was posted to dozens of WhatsApp groups that appeared to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, and seemed aimed at painting the BJP’s main national challenger as being soft on militancy in Kashmir, which remains contested between India and Pakistan, just as the two countries seemed to be on the brink of war.

The claim, however, was fake. No member of Congress, at either a national or a state level, had made any such statement. Yet delivered in the run-up to the election, and having spread with remarkable speed, that message offered a window into a worsening problem here.

India is facing information wars of an unprecedented nature and scale. Indians are bombarded with fake news and divisive propaganda on a near-constant basis from a wide range of sources, from television news to global platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. But unlike in the United States, where the focus has been on foreign-backed misinformation campaigns shaping elections and public discourse, the fake news circulating here isn’t manufactured abroad.

Read: India’s lynching epidemic and the problem with blaming tech

Many of India’s misinformation campaigns are developed and run by political parties with nationwide cyberarmies; they target not only political opponents, but also religious minorities and dissenting individuals, with propaganda rooted in domestic divisions and prejudices. The consequences of such targeted misinformation are extreme, from death threats to actual murders—in the past year, more than two dozen people have been lynched by mobs spurred by nothing more than rumors sent over WhatsApp.

Elections beginning this month will stoke those tensions, and containing fake news will be one of India’s biggest challenges. It won’t be easy.

Riaz Haq said...

Microsoft survey: #India topping #fakenews menace globally, more pains likely ahead of polls - #BJP #Modi

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/microsoft-survey-india-topping-fake-news-menace-globally-more-pains-likely-ahead-of-polls-3488761.html


Interestingly, the survey finds that there has been a sharp 9 percentage points increase in family and friends spreading online risks to 29 percent.

Internet users in the country are more likely to encounter fake news online than the global average and social circles are increasingly spreading risks, says a global survey.

The Microsoft survey, covering 22 countries and coming a few months ahead of the general elections, shows that as many as 64 percent of the Indians surveyed have encountered fake news as against the global average of 57 per cent.

The country is ahead of the global average on Internet hoaxes with 54 percent of those surveyed reporting so and also instances of phishing or spoofing at 42 per cent, Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday.

Interestingly, the survey finds that there has been a sharp 9 percentage points increase in family and friends spreading online risks to 29 percent.

"Social circles became riskier in India," the survey said, adding the jump to 29 percent has taken the country a little over the global average.

Indians are also higher than global average when it comes to reporting of severe pain from online risks, with 52 percent saying so as against the global average of 28 percent.

In what only complicates the matter, the country saw increased consequences from risks and little positive action taken following online risk exposure, the survey said.

"Indians match the worldwide trend for consequences and were more likely to say that they were stressed and lost sleep in the latest year versus the previous year's study," the survey said.

India also showed drop in positive actions taken following online risk exposure and are less likely to pause before replying to someone whom they disagreed with online. Millennials and teenagers are the hardest hit by online risks and also sought help online, it said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims Live in Fear in #Modi's #India. Millions of Muslims are living fear in Modi's India. Indian Muslims are trying to hide their Muslim identity in public for fear of #Hindutva #violence against them. #Islamophobia https://youtu.be/QQPoPaiE5as via @YouTube

Gilbert said...

Religion is the source of many wars and killings.

Riaz Haq said...

Gilbert: "Religion is the source of many wars and killings."


Hindu Nationalism is not a religion. It has little to do with Hindu religion.

Hindu Nationalism movement was started as an extreme nationalist paramilitary organization along the lines of Mussolini's Fascist movement by BS Moonje after he visited Italy and met Mussolini.

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/foreign-hand-in-the-sangh-rss-hindu-society-muslims-christians-5117648/

In fact, a unique camaraderie that continues to plague the Indian political scene is that between B S Moonje (the first president of the Hindu Mahasabha and early associate of and mentor to K B Hedgewar, first sarsanghachaalak of the RSS) and Benito Mussolini. Instead of visiting the architectural and artistic marvels in Rome, Moonje chose to visit fascist military academies and have a meeting with the dictator. In the happy chat between the two, as noted in Moonje’s diary, he congratulates Mussolini on the fascist youth and military organisations that he had constituted, adding that India needed similar organisations. He proceeds to note that the RSS, formed by Hedgewar, is one such organisation. He returned to India and immediately set to work giving statements on how useful a militarisation of Hindu society on the lines of fascist youth organisations in Germany and Italy would be in the Indian subcontinent.
In the early 1930s, the discussion around such Hindu militarisation found a prominent place in the Marathi press, and Hedgewar, who formed the RSS in 1925, chaired a conference on Italian Fascism and Mussolini in 1934, where Moonje gave the concluding speech. There were other secondary paramilitary organisations with links to the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha — such as the Swastik League, headed by M L Jayakar, a prominent member of the latter — which drew inspiration from Italian fascism. In We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939), M S Golwalkar (who succeeded Hedgewar as sarsanghachaalak in 1940) expresses admiration for the Nazis for their policy on Jews, and says that this was a model that India could profit from.

To cite another example, in a chapter on “internal threats” to the nation in Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar says that the three internal “threats” more dangerous than any external ones were Muslims, Christians, and communists. It is, therefore, no surprise that the sangh parivar consistently stayed away from all the movements that form India’s anti-colonial struggle. The Hindu Mahasabha boycotted the Quit India movement, and Hedgewar said to RSS workers that they could participate in their individual capacity only, and that the RSS as an organisation would stay strictly away from the most vibrant of struggles for Independence. When the Indian National Congress passed the resolution to celebrate January 26 as a day of independence after resolving to fight for Purna Swaraj by hoisting the tricolour with the charkha in 1929, the RSS celebrated the day only once in 1930 by hoisting the saffron RSS flag instead.

Riaz Haq said...

#HinduNationalist RSS co-founder Ganesh Savarkar tried to kill prominent #Indian #Muslim leader AbulKalam Azad. Plot was discovered by spies of the #British colonial government and their reports about are now part of #Delhi Police Archives. https://scroll.in/article/873683/the-story-of-rss-co-founder-ganesh-savarkars-failed-plot-to-assassinate-a-prominent-muslim-leader via @scroll_in

Last Sunday, an armed procession celebrating the Hindu festival of Ram Navami destroyed a statue of the freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district. Nearly nine decades earlier, Azad was one of a clutch of Muslim leaders the police suspected may have been targetted for assassination by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s co-founder Ganesh Damodar Savarkar.

But Ganesh Savarkar, the older brother of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Savarkar, failed to execute his plot. It is not clear why.

The plot was discovered by spies of the British colonial government and their reports about it are now part of the Delhi Police Archives. The first report was filed from the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, Calcutta, on September 13, 1929, and was addressed to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, Bombay. It stated:

“I have just received reliable information that Ganesh Savarkar is implicated in a plot to murder some prominent Muhammadan leader either at Delhi or Bombay in retaliation for the assassinations of the Hindu leaders Sradhanand and Rajpal by Muhammadan fanatics. I am sorry that we have no further information about the proposed plot.”

Ganesh Savarkar had visited Calcutta to procure arms and “the sample of Bengal bomb” from “a prominent revolutionary”, the report added, but “to the best of our knowledge no revolver or explosives were made over to Savarkar by this group”.

Four days later, Additional Superintendent of Police, Criminal Investigation Department, Delhi, received a report from the Intelligence Bureau’s headquarters in Shimla. Referring to the September 13 report, it stated, naming several prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress, “It is possible that SH Damodar Savarkar’s intended victim may be Muhd. Ali, Dr. Ansari, Abul Kalam Azad and Mufti Kifayatullah, but perhaps you are in the best position to know which particular Muhammedan leader has come in for odium for his extreme separatist pro-Muhammedan or anti-Hindu activities in Delhi.”

Aman Goel said...

Hinduism isn't a single religion at first place. It's a group of Indian religions. Many of us are polytheistic, monotheistic and even atheistic. Just like you guys have your Islamic, Christian and Jew culture in your Abrahamic world, we have our own world in Indian Subcontinent.

Hindu Nationalism would have been same as that of nationalisms in other civilization based countries. But having a large number of Abrahamic cults, it started to have conflicts inside.

Riaz Haq said...

Speaking out may put us at risk, not speaking out will kill the soul: Anand Patwardhan on his latest film “Vivek”. Assassinations, cow-related, #Lynching #Hindu #terrorism and atrocities on #Muslims, #Dalits. #Modi #India #BJP https://caravanmagazine.in/culture/anand-patwardhan-film-vivek-right-wing-rationality via @thecaravanindia

As India heads to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it finds itself at a crossroads. Over the last five years, the idea of India as a secular and pluralistic democracy has been aggressively challenged by an authoritarian government led by Narendra Modi, and backed by the Sangh Parivar, which wields the sword of militant Hindu nationalism.

With growth stagnating and unemployment at a four-decade high, it is now becoming clear that the Modi government has failed to deliver on its promise of economic development. But whether this will weaken the majoritarian groundswell, currently buoying the Bharatiya Janata Party, remains to be seen. On the evidence of the activist-filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s latest documentary, Vivek, or Reason in English, it seems unlikely that even an electoral defeat for the BJP will halt the march of Hindutva.

Nearly half-a-decade in the making, Vivek plays out over eight chapters that document Hindutva’s ascendancy in recent times through the trail of blood that it has left in its wake. The film covers the murders of rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the connection of these crimes to the militant-Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha, the violent attacks on Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection, the caste-based discrimination that led to the suicide of the young student leader and scholar Rohith Vemula, and numerous other outbursts of violence, large and small, connecting them to present an overview of the turmoil that India is currently witnessing.

As it traces the scars that this violence has left on India’s collective consciousness, the film reveals a citizenry and a state so deeply penetrated by Hindutva and Hindu nationalism that it is difficult to imagine its ideology being dislodged by a mere election. In late March, I spoke to Patwardhan about the film and its themes. “I am hoping that if you have even a modicum of humanity, it will move you,” Patwardhan said. “Not because the film is great, but because what it describes is both real and tragic.”

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Patwardhan: Vivek traces the communal divide of today back to the “divide and rule” policy of British colonialists. After independence, imperial British power was replaced by another superpower, the United States, which created Islamic jihad in our bordering states in order to fight Soviet influence in Afghanistan. While the film just skims the surface of this, India and Pakistan, Hindus and Muslims are really playing out an agenda set elsewhere. That is not to say we are not responsible for what is happening today, so the main focus of the film is on the rise of fascism in India and its ongoing battle with humanists and rationalists.

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The actual line is, “Brahminism today is draped in the national flag, its storm troopers drawn from amongst those it has dumbed down and made jobless.”

Riaz Haq said...

#SriLanka #Muslim leaders had warned #SriLankan government about activities of radical group #India based National Thowheed Jamath (#NTJ) alleged to have carried out #EasterAttackLK. #SriLankaTerrorAttack #ColomboTerrorAttack https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-22/sri-lanka-searches-for-answers-after-easter-blasts-kill-hundreds

For members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, it’s no surprise that local jihadist group National Thowheed Jamath is being blamed for deadly bombings that killed nearly 300 people on Easter Sunday.

Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said he warned military intelligence officials about the group and its leaders about three years ago. On Monday afternoon, Sri Lanka’s government said National Thowheed Jamath was responsible for six suicide bombings at Christian churches and luxury hotels.

“Targeting the non-Muslim community is something they encourage -- they say you have to kill them in the name of religion,” Ahamed said in a phone interview from Colombo on Monday. “I personally have gone and handed over all the documents three years ago, giving names and details of all these people. They have sat on it. That’s the tragedy.”

The National Thowheed Jamath has broken up into various groups as individual leaders pursued separate funding sources, Ahamed said. Although not all members of the group were radicalized, the group is "extremist in their thinking," he added.

Sri Lanka Says Local Jihadist Group Behind Easter Sunday Blasts

As Sri Lanka continues to treat the wounded, questions are being raised -- including by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- about why Sri Lanka didn’t act more promptly on warnings ahead of the Easter attacks. The government is now investigating possible links to international terrorist organizations as well.

Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Monday called on the inspector general of police to resign.

"The intelligence services had done the work, but it was not acted on at higher levels," he told reporters in Colombo.

Harin Fernando, a cabinet minister, circulated an internal security memo dated earlier this month that warned the group was "getting ready for suicide attacks on popular Catholic churches and the Indian High Commission." It also said the group’s members were "inciting hatred" among online followers.

“Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored,” Fernando said.

National police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera did not respond to several phone calls on Monday.

Civil War
Sri Lanka only recently recovered from a brutal 26-year civil war between the predominately Buddhist Sinhalese majority and mostly Hindu Tamil minority. The long-running conflict killed more than 100,000 people before former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa launched a final assault on the group in 2009.

Since the war ended, Buddhist extremists have occasionally led attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka. The most recent flare up was in March 2018 in Kandy and was widely viewed as fueled by Facebook posts that urged deadly violence against Muslims.

One possibility is that Sri Lanka’s authorities, long used to dealing with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatists, did not take seriously the idea that an Islamic extremist group was capable of coordinating such a well-planned and deadly attack, said Sameer Patil, director of the Centre for International Security at Mumbai’s Gateway House think-tank.

"Even though their activity was picked up and the community reported this, the Sri Lankan security agencies still go on their long experience with the bloody insurgency," Patil said. "Their mindset is still attuned to any future terrorist attack coming from Tamil Tiger extremists."

Riaz Haq said...

Cow urine cured my breast cancer: Sadhvi Pragya. #Modi's #BJP candidate accused to #terrorism against #Muslims enumerated the various health benefits of the cow and cow products. #India #HinduTerror https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/sadhvi-pragya-cow-urine-cancer-1507816-2019-04-22 via @indiatoday

Sadhvi Pragya said rubbing a cow from back to neck can help maintain BP
She said she is living example of effectiveness of drinking cow urine
She filed her nomination papers from Bhopal on Monday
"A mixture of gau mutr (cow urine) and other cow products cured my cancer," said BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency Sadhvi Pragya. She was speaking to India Today TV as she filed her nomination from the seat in Madhya Pradesh.

When asked about the current politics around cows in India, she said it was painful to see how cows are treated in many places. "Godhan amrit hai (owning cattle is like consuming divine nectar)," she told India Today TV.

Sadhvi Pragya also enumerated the various health benefits of the cow and cow products. The biggest health benefit according to her is that consuming cow urine helped her cure her cancer. The BJP candidate from Bhopal, who is also an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, is a breast cancer survivor. "I was a patient of cancer and I cured myself by consuming gau mutr (cow urine) and panchgavya mixed ayurvedic herbs," she said.

Panchagavya is a mixture used in traditional Hindu rituals that is prepared by mixing five cow products. The three direct constituents of the mixture are cow dung, urine, and milk; the two derived products are curd and ghee. These are mixed in proper ratio and then allowed to ferment.

Sadhvi Pragya called the cure scientific, saying, "I am a living example of its effectiveness."

She also claimed that rubbing a cow in a certain way can help one control their blood pressure. "If you rub gau mata from the back towards the neck she will be pleased. If you do it every day, your BP will stay in control," she said as she fed cows in a cattle shelter.

Explaining the cure in detail, Sadhvi Pragya said, "If you rub the cow from back to the neck, you will experience joy and the cow will also experience joy but if you rub her from neck to back the animal will feel uneasy. If you rub from back to front, your BP will be maintained. This is Amrit (divine nectar). This is scientific. A gaushala (cow shelter) is the best place for Tapasya (penance)."

Sadhvi Pragya filed her nomination papers for the Lok Sabha election from Bhopal on Monday amid chanting of mantras. The BJP candidate, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, currently out on bail, filed her nomination based on what she claimed was an "auspicious time" after arriving at the collectorate here with 11 priests who chanted mantras.

The 48-year-old right-wing activist said she would file her papers "formally" on Tuesday.

She said she chose the time to file her nomination on Monday based on "choghadiya", a Hindu Vedic calendar.

Sadhvi Pragya, making her electoral debut, is pitted against senior Congress leader and former chief minister Digvijay Singh. Bhopal, a BJP bastion since 1989, will vote on May 12.

Anonymous said...

India's justice system under the BJP rule is degenerating into the law of the jungle. In cases brought against people from the minority communities, especially in places like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and so on, little or no evidence is required for conviction of the parties arrested. If members of minority communities call the police for any infringement against their legal and human rights, the police arrest them rather than the culprits.
After the Hinduists have ripped apart the minorities they will start ripping each other and the country apart.

Riaz Haq said...

Some of the world's most polluted cities are in #India, and #NewDelhi is one of them. This is what life’s like there. #pollution #Modi #Hindutva

https://www.washingtonpost.com/photography/2019/05/10/some-worlds-most-polluted-cities-are-india-new-delhi-is-one-them-this-is-what-lifes-like-there/?utm_term=.10a54a31ef2f

Photographer Lasse Bak Mejlvang recently went to India to document the conditions of a country that has a large concentration of the most polluted cities in the world. Mejlvang’s project, titled “Air Like Poison” chronicles the daily conditions that inhabitants of Delhi, India, live, work and play under. Below are some statistics Mejlvang became aware of while working on this project.

At the time of this project, it was estimated that 90 percent of the world’s population breathe highly polluted air. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers air pollution to be the biggest societal heath risk in recent times. It is estimated that more than 7 million people die each year due to the consequences of air pollution. Air pollution now claims more deaths each year than smoking, hunger and natural disasters combined.

In October 2018, WHO published a list of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. Nine of the 10 cities are located in India. With its more than 21 million inhabitants, the capital New Delhi has been at the top of the not-so-well-reputed list for a long period of time. The pollution level in the city is 20 times higher than the recommended levels, and the consequences of the air pollution are now beginning to affect the city’s inhabitants in a very serious way. The air pollution enhances the risk of strokes, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.


Riaz Haq said...

After 5 years of divisive politics, #India's #Modi promotes fear over hope. He rails against #Indian #Muslims as sultanate, heirs of foreign rule in India–the country had centuries of #Muslim rule & India’s English-speaking elite (#Congress) #Islamophobia http://time.com/5586415/india-election-narendra-modi-2019/

Can the World's Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?

Not only has Modi’s economic miracle failed to materialize, he has also helped create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India. One of his young party men, Tejasvi Surya, put it baldly in a speech in March 2019, “If you are with Modi, you are with India. If you are not with Modi, then you are strengthening anti-India forces.” India’s Muslims, who make up some 14% of the population, have been subjected to episode after violent episode, in which Hindu mobs, often with what seems to be the state’s tacit support, have carried out a series of public lynchings in the name of the holy cow, that ready symbol of Hindu piety. Hardly a month goes by without the nation watching agog on their smartphones as yet another enraged Hindu mob falls upon a defenseless Muslim. The most enduring image of Modi’s tenure is the sight of Mohammad Naeem in a blood-soaked undershirt in 2017, eyes white and enlarged, begging the mob for his life before he is beaten to death. The response of leadership in every instance is the same: virtual silence. Basic norms and civility have been so completely vitiated that Modi can no longer control the direction of the violence. Once hatred has been sanctioned, it is not always easy to isolate its target, and what the BJP has discovered to its dismay is that the same people who are willing to attack Muslims are only too willing to attack lower-caste Hindus as well. The party cannot afford to lose the lower-caste vote, but one of the ugliest incidents occurred in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, in July 2016, when upper-caste men stripped four lower-caste tanners, paraded them in the streets and beat them with iron rods for allegedly skinning a cow.

Modi’s record on women’s issues is spotty. On the one hand, he made opportunity for women and their safety a key election issue (a 2018 report ranked the country the most dangerous place on earth for women); on the other hand, his attitude and that of his party men feels paternalistic. He caused outrage in 2015 when he said Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, had a good record on terrorism, “despite being a woman”; Modi’s deputy, Amit Shah, speaks of women as having the status of deities, ever the refuge of the religious chauvinist who is only too happy to revere women into silence. Yet Modi also appointed a woman Defense Minister.

If these contradictions are part of the unevenness of a society assimilating Western freedoms, it must be said that under Modi minorities of every stripe–from liberals and lower castes to Muslims and Christians–have come under assault. Far from his promise of development for all, he has achieved a state in which Indians are increasingly obsessed with their differences. If in 2014 he was able to exploit difference in order to create a climate of hope, in 2019 he is asking people to stave off their desperation by living for their differences alone. The incumbent may win again–the opposition, led by Rahul Gandhi, an unteachable mediocrity and a descendant of Nehru, is in disarray–but Modi will never again represent the myriad dreams and aspirations of 2014. Then he was a messiah, ushering in a future too bright to behold, one part Hindu renaissance, one part South Korea’s economic program. Now he is merely a politician who has failed to deliver, seeking re-election. Whatever else might be said about the election, hope is off the menu.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's treatment of #Muslims condemned by US government report. $Hindu mob attacks on followers of #Islam see ‘perpetrators protected from prosecution’ by authorities, according to official document . #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-muslims-mob-attacks-us-report-state-department-narendra-modi-a8970911.html

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1142826316619587584

The US government has said that anti-Muslim violence is continuing in India, in its annual report on international religious freedom.

A state department report noted that mob attacks in the country occurred throughout 2018 and contained allegations of law enforcement involvement in the violence.

“Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that the victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” the document noted.

The report said authorities “often protected perpetrators from prosecution” and that attacks “included allegations of involvement by law enforcement personnel”.

“There were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs,” the document added.

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has faced longstanding accusations of marginalising India’s Muslim and Christian communities.

Despite the controversy surrounding him, the 68-year-old was returned to power for a second term in a resounding May 2019 election victory.

Mr Modi, who leads the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won particularly strong support from his Hindu nationalist base.

But he is regarded with wariness by many of the country’s 180 million Muslims, with the US report noting that senior BJP officials made “inflammatory speeches against minority communities”.

The document also discusses the rape and murder of Asifa Bano, an eight-year-old girl who was killed in January 2018.

Her death, which allegedly involved police officers, prompted widespread protests across the nation.

“Jammu and Kashmir police arrested eight men, including four police personnel, in connection with the kidnapping, gang rape, and killing of an eight-year-old girl,” the report said.

“The men allegedly kidnapped the victim, took her to a nearby temple, and raped and killed her in an effort to drive her nomadic Muslim community out of the area.”

Also among the Modi administration’s policies are proposals to “rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance,” the report said.

“Most notably this includes the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and has led to increased communal tensions.”

On Sunday, the Modi administration issued a sharp rejection of the US government’s findings.

“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” a government spokesperson said.

“We see no locus standi [right to bring action] for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.”

Discussing Mr Modi’s second electoral victory in May 2019, Ajay Mehra, a political scientist, said: “They will be able to say that minorities are just that, we are the majority, and what we say goes.”

Mr Mehra is currently working on a book about the prime ministers of India.

“If they say nobody should eat beef, nobody will eat beef. If they say there should be no cow slaughter, then it will be so,” he told The Independent.

“And if they say that cities with Muslim names must change, then they will.”

Mike Pompeo is expected to visit India on Tuesday as the US seeks greater strategic ties with India.

Riaz Haq said...

#UN Puts #India in 'Shameful' List of 38 Countries for Reprisals Against Rights Activists. Allegations of surveillance, criminalization and public stigmatization of #humanrights defenders and victims. #Kashmir #Islamophobia #Hindutva https://thewire.in/rights/un-decries-shameful-reprisals-on-rights-activists-in-38-countries-including-india via @thewire_in

The UN listed 38 “shameful” countries including China and Russia on Wednesday which it said had carried out reprisals or intimidation against people cooperating with it on human rights, through killings, torture and arbitrary arrests.

The annual report from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also included allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalisation and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders.

“The world owes it to those brave people standing up for human rights, who have responded to requests to provide information to and engage with the United Nations, to ensure their right to participate is respected,” Guterres wrote. “Punishing individuals for cooperating with the United Nations is a shameful practice that everyone must do more to stamp out.”

The 38 countries included 29 countries with new cases, and 19 with ongoing or continuing cases.

The new cases were in Bahrain, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela.

Governments frequently charged human rights activists with terrorism or blamed them for cooperating with foreign entities or damaging the state’s reputation or security, it said.

“(There is a) disturbing trend in the use of national security arguments and counter-terrorism strategies by states as justification for blocking access by communities and civil society organisations to the United Nations,” the report said.

Women cooperating with the UN had reported threats of rape and being subject to online smear campaigns, and UN staff often encountered people who were too afraid to speak to them, even at UN headquarters in New York and Geneva.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, who will present the report to the Human Rights Council next week, said in a statement that the cases in the report were the tip of the iceberg.

“We are also increasingly seeing legal, political and administrative hurdles used to intimidate – and silence – civil society,” he said.

Some of the countries listed are current members of the Human Rights Council, which adopted a resolution last year reaffirming that everyone – individually or in association with others – had a right to unhindered communication with the UN

Riaz Haq said...

Silence or the grave: #India’s #justice system does far too little to protect witnesses. Conviction rates are just 6% in cases involving politicians. #Modi #AmitShah #BJP https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/08/22/indias-justice-system-does-far-too-little-to-protect-witnesses via @TheEconomist

he teenager riding down National Highway 31 was already living a nightmare. Two years earlier she had been raped, she claimed, by a group of men starting with Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a powerful politician in her home district of Unnao, in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. Her family tried to file a complaint with the local police, who brushed them off. Then they began receiving death threats. In 2018 her father was allegedly beaten senseless in broad daylight by Mr Sengar’s brother and a bunch of goons—and then jailed on unrelated charges. His daughter despaired of finding justice in Unnao and left for the state capital of Lucknow, where she stood before the residence of the chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu cleric, and doused herself in kerosene, but was overpowered before she could light it. The next day her father died in police custody.

The victim continued to seek justice, to no avail. A witness to her father’s death died in jail. Her uncle was sentenced to ten years in prison on a 20-year-old charge. Mr Sengar and his allies in the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp), including Mr Adityanath and the mp from Unnao, celebrated a resounding victory at the polls in May. The victim wrote a letter to the chief justice of the Supreme Court asking for help.

Riaz Haq said...

Half of #India #police feel #Muslims more likely to commit #crimes. Study finds 'significant' anti-Muslim bias among police; 1 in 3 calling mob attacks in cow-slaughter cases 'natural'. #Islamophobia #Modi #Hindutva #BJP #lynching @AJENews https://aje.io/8qzee


A new study says police in India display "significant bias against Muslims", with half of the police personnel interviewed saying they feel Muslims are "naturally prone towards committing crimes".

The report, which surveyed 12,000 police personnel in 21 Indian states, also found one in three police staff felt mob violence in cases of cow slaughter was "natural".

The findings, published on Tuesday, come amid concern from the United Nations and rights groups over an increase in harassment of and violence against India's Muslim minority after the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assumed power in 2014.

Since then, dozens of people, mostly Muslims, have been killed by vigilante mobs on allegations of eating beef or slaughtering cows - an animal considered sacred in Hinduism. Modi has repeatedly said authorities should punish vigilantes who commit violence in the name of cow protection, but his critics allege the government has not done enough to prosecute those accused of killings.

Tuesday's study, titled The Status of Policing in India Report: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions, found 14 percent of police surveyed believed Muslims were "very much likely" to be prone to committing crimes, while 36 percent felt members of the faith were "some-what likely" to do so.

"Thirty-five percent personnel feel (to a large extent and somewhat combined) that it is natural for a mob to punish the culprit in case of cow slaughter," it added.

"Some of the findings were very surprising," said Manjesh Rana, one of the researchers on the year-long survey, because "we believe that this could be the perception of the people but not the perception of the police."

But he added: "We can't really establish that the prejudices they have, whether it's affecting their work or not but there are always these chances."

The study also found 60 percent of those surveyed believed migrants from other states were more likely to commit crimes. Separately, more than half felt complaints of gender-based violence were false.

The researchers described the survey as the first of its kind in India, covering police perceptions on a range of issues, including working conditions, resources and obstacles to investigating crimes.

Nearly a third of respondents said pressure from politicians was the main obstacle to investigating crimes, while an overwhelming majority of 72 percent said they encountered "political pressure" in probes involving influential people.

The study also found more than a third of police personnel surveyed favoured handing out "a small punishment" for minor offences than a legal trial, while one out of five felt "killing dangerous criminals is better than a legal trial".

It added: "Four out of five personnel believe that there is nothing wrong in the police beating up criminals to extract confessions."

Riaz Haq said...

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has close ties to the #Hindu Sangh Parivar. Her political career is being bankrolled by #Modi-loving #Hindutva fascist donors in #America https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard
All in the Family
The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard

PIETER FRIEDRICH
01 August 2019

https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard

Amongst Gabbard’s many donors are various members of the US chapters of groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America. Thanks to her connection to leading figures of the American Sangh—such as Vijay Pallod, a businessman from Texas; Bharat Barai, an oncologist from the Chicago region; and Mihir Meghani, a physician from California—she has been eagerly welcomed at many Sangh fundraisers around the country.

“She has proved it at a young age that she is a capable leader,” Barai told me. “When a capable Hindu candidate will contest, sure, I look at it favourably. But, of course, I don’t vote for every Hindu candidate. They also have to be capable.” Pallod told me he liked Gabbard because she was a “moderate” and seemed genuine. “She is not like many politicians who do not keep their word,” he said.

Even as mainstream interfaith groups refused to participate in events hosted by the American Sangh, Gabbard repeatedly spoke at its events, in the United States and abroad. While organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published reports warning about the spread of Hindu-nationalist violence under Modi’s administration, Gabbard has called India an “indispensable partner” to the United States, and pushed for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. Gabbard's donors have publicly applauded her for supporting Modi before he was elected, for speaking against the US decision to deny him a visa after 2002 and for working against congressional efforts to recognise human-rights violations in India.

Tulsi Gabbard began her six years in office as a liberal Democrat. She is now closely aligned with the progressive wing of the Democratic party, and is campaigning for president with rhetoric about peace and diversity. Yet by the end of her first term, one Indian paper was describing her as “the RSS fraternity’s newest mascot.” Few in the United States realise that Gabbard's relationship with the RSS does not agree at all with the progressive image she cultivates. The RSS, as a mainspring of Hindu nationalism, is an organisation that pushes a regressive ideology at odds with a multicultural society. It campaigns for a homogenous, hegemonic culture it hopes will turn India into a Hindu State, in which minorities such as Muslims and Christians will, at best, be second-class citizens.

“The Sangh in America backed Tulsi Gabbard because they understand that the international community is increasingly worried about the sectarian violent politics of the Sangh in India,” Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Sweden’s Uppsala University, told me. “They want some powerful political personalities on their side, particularly in the United States. They believe Tulsi can be one of them, who can provide them cover from international sanctions. Tulsi has also done that in the past.”

Riaz Haq said...

Urban Dictionary Defines 'Rapistan' as an Alternate Name for #India. I suggest another alternate name for #Modi's #Hindutva #India: #Lynchistan. https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/urban-dictionary-defines-rapistan-as-an-alternate-name-for-india-and-were-in-shock-2301271.html

Most of us have used Urban Dictionary at one point or the other, especially if we're going to stay up to date with the latest lingo that millennials use; it was started by Aaron Peckham in 1999.

For the unaware, Urban Dictionary basically lists and defines words that we use colloquially; it was initially started as a parody or a spoof of dictionary.com but can now easily be described as the go-to place for most youngsters looking up words that they wouldn't find on traditional dictionaries.

And guess what they describe India or Hindustan as? Rapistan. No, we're not kidding.

A Twitter user named Nida Malik asked Urban Dictionary what "Rapistan" meant on Twitter.

In case you think this is a joke, here's a screenshot of the word's meaning on their website:

3

Now, here's the thing - before you go trashing Peckham or the website for this, let us remind you that Urbandictionary.com is a crowd sourced website. That means any user is free to define a word as he or she pleases. The website is clever enough to quickly capture the word and even track variations in meanings over time. Also, the site allows a user to write opinion as descriptions of words, which is probably what happened in this case.

As MIT Technology Review reports, the problem with this system is that very little is known about the users or the people defining and describing the words. Thus, it is impossible to figure out if the definition being used is accurate or simply the opinion of a small group of people.

A Reuters report which had been published last year stated that India is the most unsafe country for women, facing a risk of sexual violence and rape. Similarly, a report by the United Nations also showed that at least 95% women in the national capital feel unsafe. In 2016, over 36,000 cases have been registered under the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012). Following such reports, a large number of people had blasted India and its people on social media calling the country "rapistan" or a "country of rapists."