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".


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

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


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

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.


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.

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

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...

#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 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.

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. 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 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.”


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.

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

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 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

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

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

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...

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 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

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
All in the Family
The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard

01 August 2019

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...

The destruction of #India’s judicial independence is almost complete. The hall of shame of the #Indian #judiciary in recent times is sullied with brazen cases of #HumanRights violations. #BabriMasjid #Hindutva #Modi #Islamophobia #Kashmir

Last week, as India rolled out plans to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Supreme Court quashed the bail petition of Anand Teltumbde, one of India’s leading scholars, and asked him to surrender to the police in the second week of April.

Teltumbde, an advocate for India’s most disadvantaged communities, including Dalits, once called “untouchables," has been swept up in a broad crackdown against lawyers, activists and dissent in general. He has been accused of supporting a banned group of Maoist militants, known as Naxalites, who seek to overthrow the government — charges he of course denies. Many of those charged have been languishing in jail for a long time.

Teltumbde’s work against the caste system in India and his fight against majoritarian politics made him a target of right-wing leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Teltumbde has been on the forefront of condemning the communal politics unleashed by Modi and has compared him to Hitler. He also rightly accused Modi of being complicit in the anti-Muslim carnage of 2002 that left more than 1,000 people dead in the state of Gujarat, when Modi was chief minister.

Teltumbde’s unfair treatment by our judiciary underscores the loss of independence by India’s institutions. The refusal by the Supreme Court to grant him bail came soon before a former chief justice, Ranjan Gogoi, joined Parliament after being nominated by Modi government. Gogoi delivered some of the most crucial rulings in recent times that helped enable the Modi administration’s majoritarian agenda. His appointment, just four months after his retirement (and after he was accused of sexual harassment), has raised big questions about justice in the era of hypernationalism that Modi has come to represent.

In November, Gogoi delivered a big victory to Modi when he ruled on the Babri Masjid, an important mosque for Indian Muslims demolished in 1992 by right-wing Hindu nationalists. The court ended up awarding the land to a Hindu litigant. It was a judgment by Gogoi that also cleared the Modi government in allegations of corruption in a defense deal involving the purchase of Rafale fighter jets. The administration was accused of bypassing procedures and compromising national security to clear an arms deal that benefited an Indian billionaire.

Now Gogoi has been rewarded with a place in the Indian Parliament, putting a spotlight on the unholy nexus between political power and the Indian judiciary.

It’s clear India’s Supreme Court has been politicized and has become pliant toward the current administration. Recently, Justice Arun Mishra, who has also ruled in favor of Modi, hailed the prime minister as a versatile genius, an internationally acclaimed visionary who thought globally and acted locally. The comment was widely criticized, including by the Supreme Court Bar Association. Mishra led the justices who refused to grant relief to Teltumbde, despite the flimsy evidence presented in his case.

The hall of shame of the Indian judiciary in recent times is sullied with brazen cases of human rights violations. In February, when Delhi saw horrifying communal carnage that led to the loss of 53 lives, arson and hundreds injured, the Delhi High Court called out the state police for its complicity and asked to take action against ministers from the BJP government who gave hate speeches against Muslims. The judge who delivered the order was transferred overnight.

The Supreme Court once called Modi a modern-day Nero for looking the other way as innocent women and children were burning in the 2002 attacks on Muslims in Gujarat.

Riaz Haq said...

"Suppose Pakistan had been nonnuclear in 2002,” a Pakistani general told me. “There might have been a war. If there’s one single lesson I’ve learned, it’s that possession of a nuclear weapon has not been a bad idea.”

The parliament attack received little attention in the United States, where, just three months after September 11th, the Bush Administration and the media were focussed on the war in Afghanistan. In India, however, the Parliament House raid was a deeply shocking event, one that stirred the public and the media into a fury.

As India and Pakistan headed toward confrontation, it quickly became clear that more was at issue than Pakistan’s covert support for jihadi groups or the dispute over Kashmir. This was the first nuclear crisis of the twenty-first century, and it was characterized by a very modern problem—that posed by stateless religious networks with millenarian ideas. Even during the early years of the Cold War, when some high-ranking generals in the United States and the Soviet Union believed that atomic bombs should be viewed as routine weapons of war, neither side had to cope with religiously motivated insurgents in its midst. And, for all the nuclear brinkmanship and bumbling of the nineteen-fifties and early sixties—culminating in the Cuban missile crisis, in 1962—neither the United States nor the Soviet Union supported groups that carried out provocative terrorist attacks on the other’s home territory. Pakistan’s support for jihadi groups that launched attacks in India had a rational premise: the groups offered a potent, cost-effective way for Pakistan’s generals to tie down India’s large force in Kashmir. But they also had a religious aspect, because some officers in Pakistan’s Army had come to identify with the global ambitions of the jihadi cause.

After December 13th, the two governments were implicitly exploring new areas of nuclear strategy. “In all of the game theory and everything else considered in the West, it was always based on the assumption of rational actors on both sides,” K. Subrahmanyam, a writer and national-security strategist who is regarded as an intellectual father of India’s nuclear-weapons doctrines, told me. Pakistan’s generals had a similar view, according to Feroz Khan, a retired Pakistani brigadier general, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear policies—except that the Pakistani generals included India’s Hindu nationalists among the irrational actors. In developing their nuclear doctrines, Khan told me, Pakistani generals knew that “Western deterrence theory had never encountered the wild cards of the jihadis and the Hindu fundamentalists.” As it turned out, these challenges were compounded in Pakistan by breakdowns in its system for securing its nuclear technology.

Riaz Haq said...

Govt should come clean on former J&K DSP Davinder Singh: Congress
The police officer was sacked on May 20 on charges of having links with terrorists by the Narendra Modi government

“Who is J&K DSP, Davinder Singh? Why can’t the Government hold an enquiry? Why does the enquiry threaten national security?” Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

“What is his role, if any, in (the) Pulwama (attack)? Who was he arrested with? What’s the name of his accomplices? What is the Modi Government hiding? Nation has a right to know!”

The order signed by lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on May 20 said the Lt Governor was satisfied “that the activities of Mr Davinder Singh, DSP Pulwama, are such as to warrant his dismissal.”

However, the order also said the Lt Governor was “satisfied that in the interest of the security of state, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in the case of Mr Davinder Singh.”

The Congress wants to know how an inquiry into a senior police officer’s alleged terror links can hurt the interests of State security.

Riaz Haq said...

Former police officer Davinder Singh ‘let off’, innocent Kashmiris kept in jails: Mehbooba Mufti
Singh, a former deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, was caught with Hizbul Mujahideen militants in January 2020.

Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday alleged that former Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh was “let off the hook” despite being caught with militants, but “Kashmiris are considered guilty until proven innocent”.

Singh, a former deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, was caught with Hizbul Mujahideen militants in January 2020. He had allegedly escorted the militants from Shopian in south Kashmir to his home and allowed them to stay overnight.

In July 2020, the National Investigation Agency named him in a chargesheet along with five others under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Singh was dismissed from service in May.

However, the dismissal order mentioned that under provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha was “satisfied” that it was “not expedient to hold an enquiry” against Singh “in the interest of the security of the State”.

Sub-clause 2(c) of the Article 311 enables the government to dismiss civil service employees without an inquiry if the president or governor deems it necessary for security of the State. The decision can only be contested in a High Court.

Mufti’s comment came after a photo of the dismissal order went viral on social media. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister accused the Centre of having double standards for Kashmir residents.

“Innocent Kashmiris arrested under anti-terror laws rot in jails for years,” Mufti tweeted. “But GOI [Government of India] does not want an enquiry against a cop caught red-handed with militants. Is it because he colluded with the system to orchestrate certain dodgy incidents?”

The Congress also demanded answers on the matter from the Union government. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Sunday tweeted that the country had the right to know the details of the case against Singh.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson in Jammu and Kashmir Altaf Thakur dismissed Mufti’s claims, suggesting that his party had a policy of not sparing anyone involved in terrorism, the Hindustan Times reported.

“The case of Davinder Singh is already being investigated by the NIA so everything about the case will come out,” Thakur said.

Riaz Haq said...

Davinder Singh tortured me, told me I had to do small job for him: Afzal Guru letter
Afzal Guru alleged that Davinder Singh and other J&K police officers introduced him to one of the men who attacked Parliament, asked him to arrange for logistics.

The arrest of senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh, who was accompanying two wanted terrorists to Jammu, has also brought him under the scanner for his alleged links with 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Singh was named by Afzal Guru, who was hanged on 9 February 2013, in a letter that he wrote to his lawyer Sushil Kumar from Tihar jail.

In the letter, Afzal alleged that Singh and other officers from the J&K police not only tortured him and extorted money, but also introduced him to one of the men who later attacked Parliament. Afzal also claimed that it was Singh who asked him to arrange for a car and a place to stay for the attacker.

Singh’s role, however, was not investigated by authorities.

ThePrint culls out key excerpts from the letter by Afzal, in which he has referred Davinder Singh as ‘Dravinder’.

‘Dravinder Singh tortured me’
“One day at 10 AM I was on my two wheeler scooter that I had purchased just before two months. I was whisked away by STF men in bullet proof gypsy to Paihallan camp. There the D.S.P. Vinay Gupta tortured me, electrified me — put me in cold water — used petrol-chillies and other techniques. He told me that I possess weapons but at evening time one of his inspector Farooq told me that if I can pay 1000,000 Rs. to him (DSP) I will be released or they will kill me.

“Then they took me to Humhama STF camp where D.S.P. Dravinder Singh also tortured me. One of his torture inspector as they called him Shanty Singh electrified me naked for 3 hours and made me drink water while giving electric shocks through telephone instrument. Ultimately I accepted to pay them 1000000 Rs. for which my family sold the gold of my wife.

“Even after this they could manage only 80000 Rs. Then they took the scooter too which was just 2-3 months old which I bought for 24000 Rs. Thus after getting 1 lakh rupees they let me free. But now I was a broken person. In the same Humhama STF camp there was one more victim named Tariq. He suggested me that I should always co-operate with STF otherwise they will always harass and will not let me to live normal – free life.”

“Since from 1990-1996 I had studied in Delhi University I was also giving tuitions in different coaching centres and also home tuitions. This fact reached to the man named Altaf Hussain who is brother-in-law of S.S.P. Ashaq Hussain of Budgam. Since it was this Altaf Hussain who managed my family rather he became the broker between my family and D.S.P. Humhama Dravinder Singh.

“Altaf told me that I should teach his two children one on 12th, 2nd [second one] in 10th class as his children were not able to go outside for tuition due to militant threat. Thus I became very close to Altaf’s and Altaf also.

“One day Altaf took me to Dravinder Singh (D.S.P). D.S. told me that I had to do a small job for him that has to took one man to delhi as I was well aware about Delhi and has to manage a rented house for him. Since I was not knowing the man but I suspected that this man is not Kashmiri as he did not speak in Kashmiri but I was helpless to do what Dravinder told me. I took him to Delhi.”

Riaz Haq said...

Davinder Singh tortured me, told me I had to do small job for him: Afzal Guru letter
Afzal Guru alleged that Davinder Singh and other J&K police officers introduced him to one of the men who attacked Parliament, asked him to arrange for logistics.

“One day he (Singh) told me that he want to purchase a car. Thus I went with him to Karol Bagh. He purchased the car. Then in Delhi he used to meet different persons and both of us he Mohammad and me used to get the different phone calls from Dravinder Singh. One day Mohammad told me that if he want to go back to Kashmir he can. He also gave me 35000 Rs. and told me that this gift is for you.

“6 days or 8 days before I took a rented room at Indra Vihar for my family as I decided to live in Delhi with my family because I was not satisfied with my this life. I left the keys of rented house to my land lady and told her that I will be back after Eid festival on 14th Dec. after parliament attack about which there was a lot of tension. I contacted Tariq in Sgr. [Srinagar]. At evening he told me when I came back from Delhi. I replied just one hour before. Next morning when I was about to leave to Sopore from bus stand Sgr. police caught me and took me to Parampora police station Tariq was there also with STF. They took 35000 Rs. from my pocket, beated me and directly took me STF Head Quarter. From there I was taken to Delhi. My eyes were blind folded. Here I found myself in special police torture cell.

“In special cell custody I told them everything regarding Mohammad etc. but they told me that I Showkat his wife Navjot (Afshan) Geelani are the people behind parliament attack. They too threatened me regarding my family and one of the inspector told me that my younger brother Hilal Ahmad Guru is in STF custody. They can lift the other family members too if I don’t co-operate with them.

“They tried me and forced me to implicate Showkat his wife and Geelani but I did not yield. I told them this is not possible. Then they told me that I should not say anything about Geelani (be about his innocence). After some days I was presented before media hand cuffed.

“I was never given an [a] chance in [the] designated court to tell the real story. The judge told me that I will be given full opportunity to speak at the end of case but at the end he even did not recorded my all statements neither the court gave me whatever even court recorded. If phone numbers recorded will be seen carefully the court would have come to know the phone numbers of STF.”

Afzal says that he was entrapped by Special Task Force of Kashmir and was made to confess under duress.

“In the parliament attack case I was entrapped by Special Task Force of Kashmir. Here in Delhi the designated court sentenced me to death on the basis of special police version which workes in nexus with STF, and also came under the influence of mass media in which I was made to accept the crime under duress and threat by special police A.C.P. Rajbir Singh.

“When I was arrested in Srinagar bus stand I was taken to STF Headquarter from here the special police along with STF brought me to Delhi. In Srinagar at Parompora Police Station everything of my belongings was seized and then they beated me and threatened me of dire consequences regarding my wife and family if I reveal or disclose the reality before anybody.

“Even my younger brother Hilal Ahmad Guru he was taken into police custody without any warrant etc. and was kept there for 2-3 months. This was first told to me by A.C.P. Rajbir Singh.

“Special police told me that if I will speak according to their wishes they will not harm my family members and also gave me false assurance that they will make my case weak so that after sometime I will get released.”

Riaz Haq said...

Eleven convicts in Gujarat gang rape, murder cases freed in India
The 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case are freed from Godhra jail after the state government approves their application for remission of sentence.

Eleven men serving life imprisonment for gang rape and murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots have been freed, Indian media reports said.

The 11 convicts in what came to be known as the Bilkis Bano case were freed on Monday from jail in Gujarat’s Godhra town after the state government approved their application for remission of sentence, said the reports.

An anti-Muslim pogrom happened in 2002 after a train carrying many Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59 people. Hindu right-wing groups blamed the local Muslims for the incident.

In the retaliatory violence that went on for days, nearly 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were hacked, shot and burned to death in the western state, one of India’s richest. Hundreds of women were raped.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister at the time and has been accused of not doing enough to stop the killings and even targeting human rights defenders fighting for the victims.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #RSS Worker Says Top #Hindutva Leaders Involved in Nanded Blast. Yashwant Shinde also claimed that he was told by a senior VHP leader about a #terror training camp that was underway to “carry out blasts across the country”. #Modi #India via @thewire_in

Shinde is not a prosecution witness in the case. But he claims to have come forward finally because he “couldn’t stay silent anymore”. He told The Wire, “I spent the past 16 years convincing every RSS leader, including Mohan Bhagwat, to take action against those involved in the terror activities. No one paid heed to my pleas. So here I am, before the court, willing to depose everything that I have known for so long.”


Mumbai: Sixteen years after a bomb exploded at a residence of a Nanded-based Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh (RSS) worker, a former senior functionary of the organisation has moved an application before a special CBI court claiming that several senior right-wing leaders were directly involved in the incident.

The applicant, Yashwant Shinde, was an RSS worker for close to 25 years and also had associations with other ultra-right-wing groups like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. He has claimed that over three years before the blast, a senior VHP worker had informed him about a terror training camp that was underway to “carry out blasts across the country”.

The Nanded bomb explosion that occurred on the intervening night of April 4 and 5, 2006, was one of the three explosions that occurred in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the span of a few years. In the other two blasts – in Parbhani (2003) and Purna (2004) – the courts have already acquitted all the persons, who were accused of hurlings bombs at mosques.

The CBI, which took over the case from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, has claimed that the blast occurred accidentally at the residence of one Laxman Rajkondwar, allegedly an RSS worker. Rajkondwar’s son Naresh and Himanshu Panse, a VHP activist, were killed while assembling the bomb. The investigating agencies believe that the bomb would have been used to target a mosque in Aurangabad.

Shinde claims to have known Panse since 1999, when the latter was working as a full-time VHP worker in Goa. At a meeting in 1999, Shinde claimed that Panse and seven of his friends had agreed to undergo weapons training in Jammu. This training, Shinde alleges, was imparted by “Indian Army jawans”.


Advocate Sangameshwar Delmade, who represents Shinde in the Nanded court, told The Wire that he was also initially skeptical about why Shinde is coming forward now. “I had in fact even posed this question to him. He told me that there was a threat to his life all along. And now he has reached a point where his conscience doesn’t allow him to stay quiet,” the lawyer said.

Shinde, according to his affidavit, joined the RSS when he was 18. He is 49 now. “I have had to distance myself from all these Hindu organisations now. They are no longer working for the ‘Hindu cause’. They are mere puppets in the hands of the ruling party,” he claimed.

As a way of establishing his “credentials”, Shinde’s affidavit lists out events he had participated in during his youth. In 1995, Shinde was arrested under the Public Safety Act for allegedly attacking Farooq Abdullah during his visit to Rajouri in Jammu. Although the court later acquitted Shinde, he interestingly takes responsibility for the attack in this application before the Nanded CBI court. Following this act, Shinde underwent training to be a “pracharak” and was eventually made the head of Bajrang Dal’s Mumbai unit in 1999.

Riaz Haq said...

AT 9.4 out of a maximum possible score of 10, India’s Social Hostilities Index (SHI) in 2020 was worse than neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan, and a further increase in its own index value for 2019, the Pew data showed. A higher score is worse. The report covered 198 countries.


Indian American Muslim Council
A latest
report notes that India’s Social Hostilities Index (SHI) in 2020 was worse than Afghanistan, Syria & Mali.


In India, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced in April 2020 that more than 900 members of the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat and other foreign nationals (most of whom were Muslim) had been placed “in quarantine” after participating in a conference in New Delhi allegedly linked to the spread of early cases of coronavirus. (Many of those detained were released or granted bail by July 2020.)

Pandemic-related killings of religious minorities were reported in three countries in 2020, according to the sources analyzed in the study. In India, two Christians died after they were beaten in police custody for violating COVID-19 curfews in the state of Tamil Nadu.

In India, there were multiple reports of Muslims being attacked after being accused of spreading the coronavirus. In Argentina and Italy, properties were vandalized with antisemitic posters and graffiti that linked Jews to COVID-19. In Italy, for example, authorities found graffiti of a Star of David with the words “equal to virus.” And in the U.S., a Mississippi church burned down in an arson attack about a month after its pastor sued the city over public health restrictions on large gatherings. Investigators found graffiti in the church parking lot that said, “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pew talks about how Muslims were blamed and targeted during the COVID pandemic.

In India, Islamophobic hashtags like #CoronaJihad circulated widely on social media, seeking to blame Muslims for the virus.

In India, there were multiple reports of Muslims being attacked after being accused of spreading the coronavirus.

In India, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced in April 2020 that more than 900 members of the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat and other foreign nationals (most of whom were Muslim) had been placed “in quarantine” after participating in a conference in New Delhi allegedly linked to the spread of early cases of coronavirus. (Many of those detained were released or granted bail by July 2020.)

Pandemic-related killings of religious minorities were reported in three countries in 2020, according to the sources analyzed in the study. In India, two Christians died after they were beaten in police custody for violating COVID-19 curfews in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu Mahasabha workers slaughtered cows to cause communal violence, says UP Police - India Today

By Siraj Qureshi: Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday revealed that some members of the Bharat Hindu Mahasabha slaughtered cows themselves to incite communal violence in Agra during the Ram Navami procession.

Agra Police had arrested four youths accused of cow slaughter on the occasion of Ram Navami. The youths were arrested during Ram Navami celebrations in Gautam Nagar of Etmaduddaula area in Agra during a raid.

Regional police told India Today that the names of several office-bearers of the Bharat Hindu Mahasabha have also surfaced in the cow slaughter plot.

According to the information, the name of the Hindu Mahasabha’s national spokesperson, Sanjay Jat, has emerged as the main conspirator. Many workers are also said to be involved in the conspiracy. Jitendra Kushwaha had lodged an FIR about cow slaughter at Etmaduddaula police station.

DCP Suraj Rai said that many facts had come to the fore during the police investigation. Two, named Imran alias Thakur and Shanu named in the FIR were arrested by the police.

Shanu told the police that he reached Mehtab Bagh at 8 pm on March 29 and found Imran, Salman, and Sairo there. They then decided to kill a cow roaming there. That's when Shanu and Imran went and informed Jitendra Kushwaha about this.

Some Hindu Mahasabha workers complained against Jitendra Kushwaha and Sanjay Jat and said they themselves were getting the cow slaughtered to spoil the communal harmony of Agra on Ram Navami.

On the other hand, Sanjay Jat has told India Today that he has been deliberately trapped by the office bearers of the Hindu Mahasabha and the entire episode should be investigated by CBCID. He said that he will complain about these officials to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.