|World's Tallest Building Burj Khalifa Lit Up in Pakistani Colors|
Who is Khalid Masood, the man alleged to have terrorized London and considered responsible for causing tragic deaths and injuries to many near the British Parliament? How is the Islamophobia industry using this incident to fan the flames of hate? Does Masood have any connection to Pakistan as alleged by some? Is he representative of Muslims and Islam?
Is the FBI investigating "coordination" between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence US presidential elections in 2016? What does "coordination" mean? Is it active "collusion" to leak damaging Clinton emails and other info? Or simply encouraging such leaks to benefit Trump?
Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)
Looking Back at Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940
UP Elections 2017
Husain Haqqani's Shifting Loyalties
Hinduization of India
Islamophobia in the West
Talk4Pak Youtube Channel
Talk4Pak Vimeo Channel
Tarek Fatah was quick to exploit the tragic terror attack by Khalid Massod by the following tweet:
"Jihadi #KhalidMassod ws born in UK in 1963, but remained loyal to Pakistan, Islam and ISIS. Food for thought, isn't it?"
Fact: Khalid Masood was born Adrian Elms and converted as an adult. HE had a prior criminal record. He was not of Pakistani origin.
I really like your blog.You share with us very helpful info.
The 712-page Google doc that proves #Muslims do condemn #terrorism | World news | The Guardian #Islamophobia
It happened in history class. Heraa Hashmi, a 19-year-old American Muslim student at the University of Colorado, was supposed to be discussing the Crusades with the man sitting next to her. Within a few minutes, however, he was crusading against Islam.
“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims,” Hashmi’s classmate told her. What’s more, he complained, not enough Muslims were making a stand against terrorism.
Hashmi was perplexed by this analysis. Muslims are constantly denouncing atrocities that have been committed in the name of Islam. Yet many people seem to think Muslims don’t condemn terrorism enough. So Hashmi decided to put the notion to the test. Using Google spreadsheets, she made a “712-page list of Muslims condemning things with sources”, which she tweeted. The list includes everything from acts of domestic violence to 9/11.
“I wanted to show people how weak the argument [that Muslims don’t care about terrorism] is,” she explained.
Her stats struck a chord. Within 24 hours, Hashmi’s tweet had been retweeted 15,000 times. A couple of her followers volunteered to help her turn her spreadsheet into an interactive website and, within a week of the tweet, muslimscondemn.com was born. This was last November, but the website has grown considerably since then and, sadly, flickers into prominence whenever a new attack takes place.
Hashmi’s project isn’t just designed to prove that Muslims are constantly condemning terrorism; she made it to demonstrate how ridiculous it is that Muslims are constantly expected to offer apologies for terrorist acts. Muslims, notes Hashmi, are “held to a different standard than other minorities: 1.6 billion people are expected to apologise and condemn [terrorism] on behalf of a couple of dozen lunatics. It makes no sense.” After all, Hashmi, says, “I don’t view the KKK or the Westboro Baptist church or the Lord’s Resistance Army as accurate representations of Christianity. I know that they’re on the fringe. So it gets very frustrating having to defend myself and having to apologise on behalf of some crazy people.”
You can see that double standard at play in the aftermath of the London attacks. Khalid Masood, the London attacker, was born Adrian Elms in Dartford, Kent and is believed to have converted to Islam in prison. Have we heard Kent natives – hello Nigel Farage! – condemn the actions of the people born in their county? (“I hope my Kentish brothers and sisters will reach out to fellow Britons in solidarity to demonstrate that such hatred will not defeat the inherent bonhomie of the home counties?”) No, we haven’t, because that would be ridiculous. And yet Muslims have often been expected to apologise for the actions of someone on the very fringes of their community, and have done so.
Thanks to Hashmi, all these condemnations are now carefully recorded at muslimscondemn.com. So for anyone asking why more Muslims don’t denounce terrorism, you know where to go.
Indian history scholar Audrey Truschke says the Hindu-right largely ignore the colonial history and see their history through an Indo-Islamic lens only.
“So, to contradict that narrative or make it more nuanced and complex is a problem, since their current position in the Indian cultural and political landscape rests on their reading of the past,” says Truschke. “But Aurangzeb was a complex king who had a profound impact on the political landscape of 17th- and 18th-century India. As historians, we need to avoid this presentist stance and look at the evidence before us.”
A leading scholar of South Asian cultural and intellectual history, Truschke has just published a book on one of the most hated figures in Indian history, the last of six great kings of the powerful Mughal dynasty, whose empire stretched across the Indian subcontinent during the heyday of Muslim rule in the region from the 16th to 18th centuries.
Since this year’s publication of Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth, Truschke has been targeted by Hindu-nationalists supporting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and by other groups, whose current anti-Muslim sentiment traces back to medieval times, when Muslims started expanding into the region.
“My Twitter account is a nightmare right now,” Truschke says. “It hasn’t been fun.”
The popular view in today’s India is that, like other Mughal kings who were hostile to Indian languages, religions and culture, Aurangzeb was a Hindu-despising Islamist fanatic who destroyed Hindu and Jain temples and imposed a military tax on most non-Muslims.
But Truschke, one of the few living scholars who reads pre-modern Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi, had in a prior book argued that the Mughal courts were deeply interested in Indian thinkers and ideas, with elites and intellectuals engaging across cultures. In researching that monograph, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (2016), she was the first scholar to study texts in Sanskrit and Persian in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals.
In her latest work, she paints a much more nuanced picture of Aurangzeb, showing how he also protected most Hindu and Jain temples and increased the Hindu share in the Mughal nobility. Rather than hatred of Hindus driving his decisions, Truschke says, more likely Aurangzeb was guided by political reprisals and other practical considerations of rule, along with morality concerns, and a thirst for power and expansion.
That interpretation hasn’t sat well with some factions in India, but Truschke argues that as an academic historian, her project wasn’t to play political football with Aurangzeb to satisfy current agendas. It was to recapture the world of the sixth Mughal king, which operated according to quite different norms and ideas.
“My book looks at Aurangzeb as part of an Indian dynasty in all its complexities and nuances. I don’t ask if he was good or bad; that’s not an interesting historical question,” says Truschke. “I look at him with a purely empirical view, and that has been widely read by Hindu-nationalists as an apology for his Muslim atrocities.”
Truschke says that the current ethno-religious tensions in India were stoked during the British colonial period, when Britain benefitted by pitting Hindus and Muslims against each another while portraying themselves as neutral saviors who could keep ancient religious conflicts at bay.
Modern Hindu-nationalists, meanwhile, saw the political value in perpetuating the conflict and have done so with great success.
Noam Chomsky: Is It Fair to Worry About #Trump Staging a False Flag #Terrorist Attack? @alternet
Chomsky warns of scapegoating vulnerable people: "That can turn out to be very ugly."
In order to maintain his popularity, the Trump administration will have to try to find some means of rallying the support and changing the discourse from the policies that they are carrying out, which are basically a wrecking ball to something else. Maybe scapegoating, saying, "Well, I'm sorry, I can't bring your jobs back because these bad people are preventing it." And the typical scapegoating goes to vulnerable people: immigrants, terrorists, Muslims and elitists, whoever it may be. And that can turn out to be very ugly.
I think that we shouldn't put aside the possibility that there would be some kind of staged or alleged terrorist act, which can change the country instantly.
#Aurangzeb Wasn't The Bigot India's Right Wingers Make Him Out To Be On Social Media http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/03/28/why-aurangzebs-reputation-as-a-tyrant-and-bigot-doesnt-stand-t_a_22013910/?ncid=fcbklnkinhpmg00000001 … #KnowAurangzeb #Mughal #history
Aurangzeb's life, widely misrepresented by the Hindutva brigade as that of a cardboard despot's, was far more complex
To impose on Aurangzeb the standards of the modern world is to thus make a grave historical error
It's no big news that contemporary India is brazenly partisan about its national heroes, especially the ones who tower over the subcontinent's history. But few figures have elicited as much contempt from a section of the public as well as the political class as the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Aurangzeb's legacy, in the popular imagination, is one of unmitigated tyranny — reviled as the destroyer of Hindu temples, executioner of Sikh guru Teg Bahadur, and an austere Muslim ruler, who imposed unpopular taxes and curbed expressions of liberal Islam.
In 2015, amid a raging controversy, the ruling government acceded to an extraordinary request from the New Delhi Municipal Corporation to have the name of Aurangzeb Road in the national capital changed to APJ Abdul Kalam Road. The idea was to remove the association of evil, represented by Aurangzeb, from the name of the street and replace it with the name of the former president of India, who, presumably, embodied goodness.
The hatred for Aurangzeb also comes through in his denunciation by the Shiv Sena and other groups that admire his arch-rival, the Maratha warrior, Shivaji. In 2004, a biography of Shivaji by James Laine was banned in Maharashtra because it had dared to raise questions deemed unseemly by his fans. In 2015, a Shiv Sena MP abused an officer on duty on camera by calling him "Aurangzeb ki aulad" (a descendant of Aurangzeb), after he razed some temples during a demolition drive sanctioned by the district collector in Aurangabad, based on high court orders.
Historian Audrey Truschke took it upon herself to write a biography of Aurangzeb for the common reader to disabuse them of the many misconceptions around the Mughal king. At a little over 100 pages, without the paraphernalia of footnotes, it is as accessible as a complex historical narrative can get, without losing its essential core of erudition.
Debunking The Myths
As Truschke says in the Preface, the idea for the book, fittingly, came to her in an exchange on Twitter, a minefield for peddling divisive political agenda by interested groups and individuals. The spirit of the book, with its crisp prose and controlled polemics, hits out at the easy generalisations of social media.
Aurangzeb's life, widely misrepresented by the Hindutva brigade as that of a cardboard despot's, was far more complex, as anyone with common sense would expect, as well as riddled with many contradictions. Those who are familiar with politics should not be surprised by the persistence of the latter either.
Culture police vandalism and politics force the Maharashtra Government to ban the biography of the Maratha warrior king.
James W. Laine wanted to redeem history from legends. What the professor of religious studies at Macalester College in Minnesota did not realize was that some Indians find legends more comforting than history.
Laine's slim volume, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, published by Oxford University Press, is the latest victim of the culture police. Following the rage of the self-styled keepers of the Maratha heritage against Laine's blasphemy, the Government of Maharashtra has now banned the book.
What about the lost manuscripts, though? On January 5, an angry mob calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade of the Maratha Mahasangh stormed the 87-year-old Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune, and destroyed priceless manuscripts and artifacts.
They targeted the institute, one of the finest archival centres of the country, because it was acknowledged in the book as Laine's "scholarly home" in India during the time of his research. The loss was a piece of India's own heritage.
A rattled Laine,who considers Pune his second home, even made an appeal that he alone, and not those who assisted him in his research, should be held responsible for the book. The Sambhaji Brigade, saying the ban is more political than official, is threatening to take the book-burning protest beyond Pune.
What's Laine's blasphemy? By "reviewing" the narrative evolution of the legend of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the 17th century Maratha hero who defied the Mughal Empire to found an independent kingdom, he hopes to rescue the biography of "this great man"from"the grasp of those who see India as a Hindu nation at war with its Muslim neighbors".
Today Laine's work is struggling to rescue itself from the grasp of Maratha pride because it raises some "personal" questions about the warrior king. Questions like: Did he have an unhappy family life?
Did he have a harem? Was he more interested in building a kingdom than liberating a nation? Was he least interested in the religion of Bhakti saints? Laine calls them "cracks" in the Shivaji narrative.
Writing in LA Times on January 12, Laine, "always drawn to stories of heroes", defends his scholarly freedom to entertain what he calls "unthinkable thoughts". As he says in the article, "The owners of Shivaji's story had their own set of questions, delivered with a punch: who should be allowed to portray this history?
Should an outsider working with Brahmin English-speaking elites have a greater say in Shivaji's story than Shivaji's own community?" Defenders of the Maratha pride see an intellectual conspiracy in the cracks.
Outraged by a reference in the book to Shivaji's "absentee father", Purushottam Khedekar, founder member and president of the Maratha Mahasangh, says, "We strongly condemn the Brahminic attitude and the heinous propaganda against Shivaji Maharaj."
And politically too, Laine is not getting any support.Sharad Pawar, the veteran Maratha leader, has already warned that scholarship should not clash with public sentiments and faith. Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, as usual, was an exception. He condemned the violence and upheld the importance of disagreement and debate in a democracy.
Chief Minister S.K. Shinde, under pressure from the Maratha lobby in the NCP and his own party, the Congress, is hesitant about taking action against the violent protesters.
In the time of elections, few political leaders can afford to be on the wrong side of Maratha pride, and fewer can afford to take the side of free expression.
I think it is rather misguided for Mr. Faraz Dervesh to suggest that Hussain Haqqani be given an opportunity to explain his viewpoint on Viewpoint from Oversees. We all know he is a liar, so why do you want to give him another forum to spread his lies? He already has an outlet in the Western media. You should continue to use Viewpoint from Overseas as a forum for CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue about Pakistan. Taking on a snake may just get you bitten, and you are likely not achieve anything positive.
#India state to give life sentences for #cow slaughter @AJENews. #GaurakshaACT #Modi #BJP #Gujarat
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat on Friday increased the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life imprisonment as Hindu hardliners push for tougher protections for the holy animal.
Under the stiffened penalties passed by Gujarat's state assembly, anyone caught transporting cows for slaughter could also face up to 10 years in jail.
Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is illegal in most states.
"A cow is not an animal. It is symbol of universal life," Gujarat Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told the state's assembly.
"Anybody who does not spare the cow, the government will not spare him."
The amendment still needs the approval of the state governor - a formality all but assured - before becoming law.
Millions from India's huge minority populations - including Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus - eat beef, although it is not widely available.
But Modi's ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, which recently won India's largest state Uttar Pradesh in a landslide, has long campaigned for the protection of cows.
The BJP's new chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has launched a crackdown on abattoirs since taking office in March that has ground the state's meat industry to a halt.
Hindu activists have long accused the Muslim-dominated meat industry of covering up the slaughter of cows and passing off the meat as buffalo, which are not revered as holy.
Cow slaughter is a hot-button issue in India, where even rumours of cows being transported can spark murderous reprisals and religious riots.
Squads of "cow protection" vigilantes are known to roam highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of the animal.
In 2015, a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of eating beef was dragged from his home and beaten to death by a mob. Police later said it was mutton.
What is Hindutva?
Savarkar wrote, “... Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism. By an ‘ism’ it is generally meant a theory or a code more or less based on spiritual or religious dogma or system. But when we attempt to investigate the essential significance of Hindutva we do not primarily — and certainly not mainly — concern ourselves with any particular theocratic or religious dogma or creed”. His concern was politics; the political mobilisation of Hindus into one nation.
If not religion, what, then, is the basis for the divide? With crystal clarity, he wrote, “To every Hindu … this Sindhusthan is at once a pitribhu and a punyabhu — fatherland and a holy land. That is why in the case of some of our ... countrymen, who had originally been forcibly converted to a non-Hindu religion and who consequently have inherited along with Hindus, a common fatherland and a greater part of the wealth of a common culture — language, law, customs, folklore and history — are not and cannot be recognised as Hindus. For though Hindusthan to them is fatherland as to any other Hindu yet it is not to them a holy land too. Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and god-men, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their name and their outlook smack of a foreign origin”.
The divide cannot be bridged except by obeying Hindutva’s demand for conversion to Hinduism. Savarkar exhorted, “Ye, who by race, by blood, by culture, by nationality possess almost all the essentials of Hindutva and had been forcibly snatched out of our ancestral home by the hand of violence — ye, have only to render wholehearted love to our common mother and recognise her not only as fatherland (Pitribhu) but even as a holy land (Punyabhu), and ye would be most welcome to the Hindu fold”.
Gandhi’s assassination put paid to Savarkar’s ambitions, but the RSS picked up the baton. Its supremo, M.S. Golwalkar, drew inspiration from Hindutva and coined its synonym, ‘cultural nationalism’, in contrast to ‘territorial nationalism’ in his book, A Bunch of Thoughts (1968). Everyone born within the territory of India is not a nationalist; the nation is defined by a common ‘culture’ (read: religion).
Golwalkar wrote, “... here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as invaders, the Muslims and Christians. They never faced the question how all such heterogeneous groups could be called as children of the soil merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in common territory under the rule of a common enemy … The theories of territorial nationalism and of common danger, which formed the basis for our concept of nation, had deprived us of the positive and inspiring content of our real Hindu nationhood ...”
This explains the RSS’ ghar wapsi (‘return to your home’) campaign, simply a repeat of the past shuddhi (‘purification’) movement. Nothing has changed; an unbroken ideological thread binds Savarkar’s Hindutva, Golwalkar’s ‘cultural nationalism’ and the RSS-BJP policies today. On Sept 24, 1990, BJP president L.K. Advani launched “a crusade in defence of Hindutva”, which culminated in the demolition of Babri Masjid, in his presence, on Dec 6, 1992.
Since 1996, the BJP’s election manifestoes for Lok Sabha elections pledge to espouse Hindutva in these terms: “The cultural nationalism of India … is the core of Hindutva.” This explains the Modi government’s systematic purge of educational and cultural institutions. It is a quarrel with history. As scholars Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph remarked, modern hatreds are supported by ancient, remembered wrongs, whether real or imagined. The RSS-BJP combine rejects the concept of composite culture that Jawaharlal Nehru and others propounded.
Why #India's #Hindu #Nationalist Surge Is Stoking Tensions: QuickTake Q&A. #Modi #GauRakshaks #beef
Hindu nationalist policies risk fueling social divisions in India, a country with a history of religious violence, and creating economic problems. In Uttar Pradesh, vigilantes have disrupted the multi-billion dollar meat export industry and prevented farmers from culling unproductive buffalo. Chief Minister Adityanath has also blamed Muslim youths for waging a "love jihad" by seducing Hindu women to convert them to Islam.
While Modi has not condoned any of the incidents, he has also not publicly condemned some of them. In 2015, after a mob lynched a Muslim man outside Delhi for allegedly killing a cow and keeping beef in his refrigerator, Modi said his government played no role and was being unfairly targeted. Modi also said the BJP “has always opposed pseudo-secularism.”
Hindu nationalism could help the BJP win more state polls, giving Modi an even stronger grip on power. But tensions between Hindus and Muslims could also spur violence and distract lawmakers from economic policies. India’s commercial capital Mumbai was shut down for nearly two months by deadly communal clashes in 1992 after the mosque in Ayodhya was destroyed by Hindus claiming it was built in the 1500s on a temple marking Lord Ram’s birthplace. A former BJP deputy prime minister is currently facing criminal conspiracy charges related to the 1992 violence, in a trial that could exacerbate tensions.
The food processing industry faces risk. The BJP promised to shut mechanized slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh, a move that could hit exports. India overtook Brazil to become the world’s largest bovine meat exporter in 2014, driven by low-cost water buffalo meat. The industry, which earns about $4.8 billion annually and employs about 2.5 million people, is operating around 40 percent capacity, according to the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association.
#India sends back 50 #Pakistani children after threats by #Hindu extremists. #Modi
Around 50 Pakistani students, visiting India along with their teachers at the invitation of an NGO, were sent back to Lahore after they received threats from extremist organisations.
Routes2Roots, a Delhi-based NGO, had invited 50 students from Pakistan as part of their Student ‘Exchange for Change’ Program, according to Indian media reports.
The students, who reached India on May 1, were sent back home only within a day, after Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena threatened the host NGO for inviting the students.
The students were a part of the cultural exchange programme and on a five-day visit to India. The students after the intimidation from extremists were terrified and remained inside their rooms.
They reached Wagah border safely on Wednesday.
The NGO has been advised by Indian government officials that “the time is unfavourable for the exchange programme”, the Deccan Herald reported.
“An NGO had invited Pakistani school students here. They came to India on the same day when the barbaric and inhuman act of killing and mutilating our soldiers happened.
“The ministry advised the NGO that it was not an appropriate time for such exchanges after we learnt that the children had crossed over to India on May 1,” Gopal Baglay, a spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said.
India has accused Pakistan of killing and mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers across the Line of Control.
Pakistan Army categorically rejected Indian Army’s accusations.
“Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on the line of control or a BAT action in the Buttal sector (Indian Krishna Ghatti Sector) as alleged by India. Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers’ bodies are also false”, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement had said.
The Pakistani students were scheduled to go on a day-long trip to Agra today and participate in an exchange of experiences with Indian students tomorrow at the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi.
Expressing regret over the return of the delegation, Routes2Roots said that the trip had to be shortened and the students and teachers have been sent back to Lahore.
“Around 50 students aged between 11-15 years along with their teachers arrived in Delhi from Pakistan on May 1 and were supposed to meet their Indian pen friends and hosts of other programs which had to be cut short.
“Keeping in view the security and sentiments of fellow Indians the delegation has been sent back to Lahore safely,” Rakesh Gupta and Tina Vachani, founders of Routes2Roots, said in a statement.
In October last year, a similar programme by the NGO was cancelled after the announcement of surgical strike by India along the LoC in September.
Attacks on #India's minority #Muslims by #Hindu vigilantes mount. #Modi #BJP #gaurakshakterror https://usat.ly/2pd3DDm via @usatoday
One April afternoon, a group of men clad in saffron scarves barged into a house in Meerut, 40 miles northeast of here, and dragged out a young Muslim man and a Hindu woman. Their offense: They were an interfaith couple in love.
The men, part of a self-appointed enforcement group called the Hindu Youth Brigade, beat the man, videotaped the incident and then handed him over to police for charges of obscenity. The traumatized woman, who wept and covered her face with her scarf, was let off with a warning.
“We are not against love, but this guy changed his name (to a Hindu one) to mislead the girl. Let police investigate,” said Nagendar Pratap Singh Tomar, chief of the brigade.
The April 12 Meerut incident is the latest example of Hindu vigilantes attacking Muslims in this overwhelmingly Hindu country, especially with the gains made by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March elections.
Several similar attacks have occurred since March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose an anti-Muslim firebrand, Yogi Adityanath, to be chief minister of India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the nation's Hindu population.
On April 13, another interfaith engaged couple in Meerut was attacked in the street by brigade members. The Muslim woman faced verbal abuse while her fiancé, a Hindu, was beaten for protesting.
Also in April, two dairy farmers returning from a cattle fair in a northern state were attacked by vigilantes, leaving one dead and the other seriously wounded. Cows are considered sacred by Hindus, who make up 80% of India's population of 1.3 billion.
"We had purchased the cows legally for dairy farming, but our vehicle was intercepted by these men and they beat us up so badly that my neighbor died," Azmat Khan, 27, from a remote village in Haryana, said from his bed.
India cracks down on slaughter of sacred cows
India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, said Muslims feel a deep sense of dread since Modi, a fierce Hindu nationalist, took office in 2014.
The BJP has taken an aggressive stance in dealing with anti-India Muslim youths in the disputed Kashmir region, which is roiled by a Pakistan-backed separatist insurgency. India and mostly Muslim Pakistan have long fought over the region because of competing territorial claims.
Youths regularly pelt Indian soldiers with stones, causing an ongoing conflict in the Muslim-majority states of Jammu and Kashmir. The government faced fresh criticism when a video went viral showing a Muslim man, Farooq Dar, 24, tied to the front bumper of an army jeep as a human shield against the stone-pelters.
Dar later told Indian media that he had defied the separatists’ call for an election boycott in Kashmir and was on his way to his sister’s house after voting when the army picked him up to be a human shield.
The BJP government earlier had authorized paramilitary forces to use pellet guns on protesters, causing widespread casualties and eye injuries to the young stone-throwers.
"Everyone talks about the human rights of terrorists, separatists and disruptive elements. It is high time everyone realize that the security forces, fighting in tough conditions braving all odds, are also humans and have human rights,” Rao said. “They have been highly professional and restrained even in some highly provocative situations."
BBC News - #India's 'cow vigilantes' hotel in the clear. It was #chicken, not #beef. #Modi #GauRakshakTerror http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-39872080#
A hotel owner in the Indian state of Rajasthan has expressed his frustration over the fact that his hotel has been closed for weeks over false accusations that it had served beef on the premises.
Police on Tuesday said forensic tests on meat seized from the Hayat Rabbani hotel in March showed it was definitely not beef, but chicken, the Hindustan Times reported.
Cows are revered as sacred animals among India's Hindus, and there are strict laws on their slaughter and consumption in several parts of the country, including Rajasthan.
"From the very first day, I have been saying that it was chicken but no one from the administration listened to me," hotel owner Naeem Rabbani told the paper. "The report confirms all allegations levelled on us were false."
The hotel was closed after a group of "cow vigilantes" protested in front of it for hours in March, chanting nationalist slogans.
The Indian Express website cited a member of the group saying they had gathered there after reading about rumours of a beef party at the hotel on WhatsApp, allegedly sent by Jaipur's mayor.
Such vigilante groups have been involved with several incidents of violence in India, particularly after the Hindu nationalist BJP party came to power in 2014. Last month, police investigated the death of a Muslim man who was attacked by a vigilante group while transporting cows in Rajasthan.
#India bans sale of #cows for slaughter, a move designed to appease conservative #Hindus. #beefban #Modi #BJP
The Indian government has issued a nationwide ban on selling cattle for slaughter, the toughest measure yet imposed to protect cows, an animal that conservative Hindus regard as sacred.
Under new rules issued this week, the government ordered that no cows or buffaloes could be traded at a livestock market without a signed declaration by the owner that the animal was not being sold for slaughter.\
Hindus form an overwhelming majority among India’s 1.3 billion people, and many of them eschew beef out of respect for the bovine.
But beef, which is cheaper in India than many other sources of protein, is a major part of the diet of Muslims, Christians and Hindus from the lowest rung of the ancient caste system, known as Dalits, or “untouchables.”
The leader of the southern state of Kerala, which has a large Christian population, criticized the move as “fascist” and a “clear attack on our plurality.”
Pinarayi Vijayan, the state’s chief minister, tweeted that the law would rob hundreds of thousands of people of jobs, cripple the leather industry and affect the diets of millions of people.
“The aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure [the] welfare of cattle” in the markets, Vardhan said, according to the Press Trust of India.
But the meat trade in India, a $4-billion industry, is centered on animal markets and dominated by Muslims and Dalits, who would be most affected by the change.
In the western state of Maharashtra, where a government led by Modi’s party banned the slaughter of cows in 2015, thousands of butchers have lost their jobs and many meat shops have closed.
In the city of Aurangabad, Mohammad Qureshi, 31 — part of a Muslim community that has traditionally slaughtered cattle and sold the meat for export — said his family’s beef business has dwindled. The business has survived because the state ban did not include buffalo meat, but now buffalo cannot be sold at markets for slaughter either.
“What are we supposed to do?” Qureshi said. “I have a family to look after and this shop is all I have. By imposing these rules, the government is making lives difficult for minorities.”
The nationwide rules would also prevent farmers from selling aging and unproductive cattle to be slaughtered, which many farmers have typically done to raise money and avoid the expense of maintaining an unproductive animal.
Many observers criticized the government for imposing new layers of bureaucracy and paperwork on cattle traders, many of whom are poor and uneducated.
Anyone seeking to sell cattle at a market would need to furnish identification documents — both for himself and the animal — creating what one commentator called “a cow bureaucracy in the 21st century.”
#Indian #Muslims are hashtagging this holiday #BlackEid - http://CNN.com #Modi #India #BJP #LynchRaj
New Delhi (CNN)A shadow hangs over Eid celebrations this year in India.
Across the country, thousands of worshippers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan are donning black armbands during special prayers following the high-profile killing of a Muslim teen in an allegedly Islamophobic attack.
The black band is a way of showing "solidarity with the people who have lost their kin," said Ali Khan Mahmudabad, one of the people behind the movement.
Dubbed #BlackEid on social media, the idea was conceived as a way to draw attention to an apparent increase in mob violence aimed at minority groups.
"Silence is tantamount to complicity, especially at a time where the events are happening with increasing frequency," Mahmudabad said.
Mob attacks on the rise
India, home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations, has been gripped by a spate of widely publicized mob attacks in recent months, with many of the victims being Muslim.
On Friday, a young Muslim man was stabbed to death by a group of men after an alleged dispute over a seat on a train near Ballabhgarh in Haryana. The attack, believed by many to be religiously motivated, has been widely reported in the Indian media, prompting calls for a period of national soul-searching.
In March, Muslim residents of a village in Gujarat reportedly faced an attack by an angry mob from a neighboring village. In April, a Muslim farmer in Rajasthan was beaten to death by a mob after he purchased a cow for milk, according to reports. In May, two young Muslim men in Assam allegedly were killed on the suspicion that they were stealing cows.
"Hate crimes against Muslims, Dalits, and marginalized sections have increased," said Navaid Hamid, president of the All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat in Delhi, a decades-old umbrella group for Muslim institutions.
"My perception is the central government and the state governments of states are complicit with violence against minorities and other marginalized sections of society," Hamid said.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many crimes are being committed against Muslims. India's most recent criminal data, which cover 2015, track only caste-based crimes.
But an investigation by the Hindustan Times that tracked "communal incidents" -- conflicts between Hindus and Muslims -- in India's most populous state found a rise in incidents over the last several years.
The public nature of recent attacks has led Muslims in India to think twice about what they wear, what food they buy or carry, and how they present themselves in public, Mahmudabad said. "Being a Muslim in public is something that can draw the ire of a mob."
Protest image sparks a movement
Mahmudabad first created an image of a person wearing a black armband with a message of unity in English, Hindi and Urdu. He posted the image to various social media accounts but didn't expect to get much response.
In rebuke to Modi government, India’s high court suspends ban on trade of cattle for slaughter
India’s Supreme Court has suspended a controversial ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter that critics said unfairly targets the country’s meat and leather industry and its predominantly Muslim and lower-caste workers.
The ban, introduced by the Hindu nationalist government, prohibits the trade of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, a move that would have cut off a major supply chain for the country’s $16 billion-a-year meat and leather industry.
Cow slaughter and consumption have increasingly become a flash point in India, where cows are considered sacred by many members of the Hindu majority and where cow traders and beef consumers have faced beatings and lynchings.
India’s highest court on Tuesday upheld a lower-court decision to suspend the ban, which some states had already declared they would not enforce.
“The livelihoods of people should not be affected by this,” Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said in a courtroom in New Delhi. The government’s attorney told reporters after the decision that the government would modify the rules.
The government had said in May that the prime focus of the new livestock market rules was to protect cows from cruelty and to stop them from being smuggled to places such as Bangladesh and Nepal for large-scale animal sacrifice.
Representatives of India’s meat industry had argued that the ban — which prohibits the sale of “cattle” for slaughter, “cattle” being a broadly defined term including buffaloes and even camels — would have a devastating effect on their business.
Daljeet Singh Sadarpura, president of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association in the northern state of Punjab, said the regulations would complicate the sales of the 300,000 cows the association’s members send to market each year.
“A crazy person has written this notification,” he said. “Where will the cows go? If a farmer sells four cows every year and now he cannot, how will he keep them? No one has the capacity to keep so many cows. If he cannot keep them, he will leave it on the roads or in the fields.”
India has about 5 million stray and abandoned cows, many kept in shelters run by volunteers.
The ban was the latest limitation placed on butchers in a country where beef slaughter and consumption is already banned in several states. One state assembly this year amended laws to punish those slaughtering cows with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and other state officials have suggested that butchers should be hanged.
Right-wing Hindu “cow protection” squads have in recent months beaten and killed cow traders and those suspected of eating beef.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lengthy silence on the issue led to criticism that he was enabling the cow vigilantes. Last month, he spoke out against the violence, saying killing in the name of the cow was “not acceptable.”
Since the late 2000s, India has rapidly increased its beef exports — particularly of water buffalo meat, known as carabeef — by 12 percent annually, boosting its share of world beef exports from 5 percent to about 21 percent and rivaling Brazil for the top spot, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Agriculture Department.
The country’s leather goods industry — which supplies international retailers such as Benetton — would face supply shortages in the long run under the ban, according to Puran Dawar, chairman of the northern section of India’s Council for Leather Exports.
“If animals are not slaughtered, where will we get the raw material from?” Dawar said. “If the raw material is not there, the prices will go up. We will lose to our competitors. We could not play in the international market.”
#India’s Turn Toward Intolerance. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #cow #Modi #economy #jobs #BJP
Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.
But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.
Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.
It would also have struck a blow against Mr. Modi’s supposed priorities: employment, economic growth and boosting exports. The $16 billion industry employs millions of workers and generated $4 billion in export income last year.
More disturbing was his party’s decision to name Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu warrior-priest, as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and a springboard to national leadership. Mr. Adityanath has called India’s Muslims “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped” and cried at one rally, “We are all preparing for religious war!”
This development led the analyst Neerja Chowdhury to observe: “India is moving right. Whether India moves further right, and Modi begins to be looked upon as a moderate, I think that only time will tell.”
On Tuesday, India’s film censor board, headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart apparently intent on protecting Mr. Modi and the party from criticism, ruled that a documentary film about one of India’s most famous sons, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, cannot be screened unless the director cuts the words “cow,” “Hindu India,” “Hindutva view of India” — meaning Hindu nationalism — and “Gujarat,” where Mr. Modi was chief minister at the time of deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002.
This might seem like merely a farcical move by Hindu fanatics, if it were not so in line with much else that is happening in Mr. Modi’s India, and if the implications for India’s democracy weren’t so chilling. But this is where Mr. Modi has brought the nation as it prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence on Aug. 15.
India’s Muslims and the Price of Partition
By AJAZ ASHRAFAUG. 17, 2017
The League began to argue that the Hindu majority of undivided India would swamp Muslims and suppress their religion and culture. As evidence, the League pointed to Hindu-Muslim riots in the northern states of Bihar and the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), both ruled by the Congress, as an ominous portent. They argued that the movement to ban the slaughter of cows, led by an assortment of religious leaders, Hindu nationalist groups and some members of the Congress, was aimed at subverting Muslim culture. Unlike Muslims, Christians, Jews and animists, a segment of Hindus worship the cow and don’t eat its meat.
In 1937, Congress adopted as the national song of India some verses from “Vande Mataram,” or “I praise you, Mother,” a poem written in the 1870s by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, a Bengali poet and novelist, as an ode to the Hindu goddess Durga. The League objected to its singing as it depicted India as Mother Goddess, which the League construed to promote idolatry, anathema to Muslims.
The most alarming trend has been the lynching of Muslims suspected of possessing beef, for ferrying home cattle purchased legitimately from cattle markets elsewhere.
The markers of Muslim identity — beards, skullcaps and head scarves — invite frowns, even violence, in India. On a late June afternoon, Junaid Khan, a 15-year-old Muslim boy, was stabbed to death on a train near New Delhi. Mr. Khan was traveling with his older brother and two friends. They were identified as Muslim because of their clothes and skullcaps. After an argument over a train seat, their fellow passengers threw religious slurs at them, killed Mr. Khan and injured the other boys.
India’s Muslims didn’t feel secure and weren’t flourishing before the B.J.P.’s rise. There were Hindu-Muslim riots then as well; Muslims were targeted and discriminated against. Their representation in elite government services has been less than 5 percent, according to the Indian government report in 2006.
Today India’s Muslims are apprehensive. Before sectarian violence was often orchestrated to win elections in a clutch of seats, almost always followed by a process of reconciliation. The Hindu-Muslim rivalry never constituted the political language of the Congress Party, the principal recipient of Muslim votes for much of India’s 70 years. The B.J.P. seeks to permanently consolidate Hindus against Muslims and keep the social caldron simmering.
From Modi to #Yogi: The #Militant Monk Who Could Lead #India to #HinduRashtra. #YogiAdityanath, the diminutive 49 year-old saffron-clad fire-breathing monk and chief minister of the most populous #Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is political heir to #Modi. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-modi-to-yogi-the-militant-monk-who-could-lead-india-to-full-hindu-theocracy-1.10385471
And if the BJP wins the crucial state elections that are just four months away, Yogi, who is universally addressed (according to his own request) as Maharaj (King) will be the front runner to be the heir and successor to Narendra Modi, the hardline Hindutva prime minister of India.
Yogi Adityanath is sui generis in the Hindu nationalist ecosystem, known as the Sangh, as unlike the Modi and other current BJP government ministers, he has no current connection to or background in the secretive and militant Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mothership of the BJP and source of its Hindus First vision for India. The RSS has been banned multiple times, most notoriously for its involvement in Gandhi's assassination. And yet Yogi is today a contender for the party's top job.
So what explains the rise and rise of Yogi as the new Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hindu Hearts), an obsequious piece of puffery over which, until recently, was Modi's favored epithet? In two words: Muslim hate.
The RSS and its creature, the BJP, are excited by the idea that Yogi gives voice to a brand of maximalist majoritarian politics without the filters to which Modi is subjected and thus does not dare to say, hemmed in as he is (so far) by India's Constitution and the office of the prime minister.
Yogi Adityanath, originally called Ajay Mohan Bhist, was born into the family of a forest ranger. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, he apparently became disenchanted with routine life and first joined the same temple movement in Goraknath Mutt that eventually led Hindu nationalist mobs in 1992 to tear down the Babri Masjid, an act that triggered nationwide intercommunal violence and which Yogi has publicly praised. He took diksha, or ordination, as a monk disciple of his spiritual father Mahant Avaidyanth and was named his successor.
Yogi has always mixed realpolitik with Hindutva. He has won five parliamentary elections, representing the constituency of Gorakhpur. From the start, he's recognized the power of a cult of personality, absolute loyalty backed up by physical coercion.
After his first win, he established a vigilante force called the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was often accused of violence and extortion. His vigilantes would roar around in cars and motorbikes with only Yogi’s image emblazoned where the license plates were supposed to be. A popular slogan in his state amongst his supporters goes: UP mein rehna hoga Yogi Yogi kehna hoga, if you want to live in UP, chant Yogi’s name.
Till Modi and the RSS gave him his dream job ruling Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath was, together with his band of vigilantes, set on an adversarial course against them. The Sangh, though, sensed his potential as the ultimate instrument of Hindutva, finally gave him the prize in 2017.
From Modi to #Yogi: The #Militant Monk Who Could Lead #India to #HinduRashtra. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-modi-to-yogi-the-militant-monk-who-could-lead-india-to-full-hindu-theocracy-1.10385471
Yogi Adityanath has singlehandedly brought the term "love jihad" into both common use and has even criminalized it in Uttar Pradesh (a move several other BJP-ruled states then followed). "Love jihad" is a baseless conspiracy theory attacking interfaith relationships by accusing Muslim men of seducing and Hindu women and then forcing them to convert to Islam.
He has closed down slaughterhouses and abattoirs using cows which were mainly run by poor Muslims and Dalits, and has banned the sale of beef: killing a cow or its progeny now incurs a ten-year jail sentence.
If this legislative agenda wasn’t bad enough, Yogi Adityanath routinely incites against Muslims and other non-Hindus. He declares his state government is focusing on building (Hindu) temples while non-Hindus are focused on filling burial grounds. In the run up to the UP elections he has oddly promised a "surgical strike" against the Taliban. He once launched series of attacks on Mother Teresa, accusing her of being part of a conspiracy to Christianize India.
He has compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to the Pakistani arch-terrorist Hafiz Sayeed, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 civilians, and after Khan spoke about growing intolerance in India, proposed he go live in Pakistan. He told Indian Muslims suspicious of increasingly coercive efforts to institute yoga in schools they should either leave the country or drown themselves in the sea.
Women are not spared Yogi Adityanath’s Stone Age views. On his website, the monk writes that, "Women always need to be protected lest their energy go waste." He adds that the patriarchal protection accorded to a woman by her father, husband and brother is only to "channel" her energy and her power – for the good of perfect procreation.
It is only a "controlled woman" who will give birth to mahapurush (great men). Yogi Adityanath warns that women who acquire "masculine traits" turn into demons and need to controlled for the good of society.
He once sat silent on the stage during an election rally when a fellow speaker called for Muslim women’s bodies to be dragged out of their graves and raped. Yogi did not utter a word of condemnation.
Yogi’s government routinely files cases against journalists for simply doing their job under a terror law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Sedition Act. In one case, the journalist Siddique Kappan was on his way to report a rape case and was booked before he even filed a single report. Because of the stringent provisions of the Act, Kappan is still in jail for an imaginary crime.
The idea is to sufficiently intimate the independent press that they give up trying to cover his tenure as chief minister, and any future national-level campaigns, leaving the field to obedient pro-Hindutva shills.
Parts of India’s cheerleader media love to gush about Yogi Adityanath’s love for animals. The dairy he maintains, his loving dogs and pet monkeys, are all parts of a deliberate makeover to present India with an image of a kindler, gentler Yogi.
Soft-focus snaps of him sitting with his monkey on his lap are duly circulated in the mainstream media, but in that same media safe space, no one dares question his divisive and bigoted takes.
Despite lethal missteps in the handling of the vicious second wave of COVID which saw bodies floating on the sacred Ganges river, Yogi Adityanath has nonetheless managed to move political debate in UP back to the usual polarizing issues of Hindus versus Muslims, where he is most comfortable. A lacklustre opposition has not been able to pin down his terrible governance record.
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