Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Letter denying permission in Alirajpur

Letter to organizers of the Christian meeting in Jobat

Monday, October 06, 2014

Now, MP town denies permission for Christian convention under pressure from Hindutva brigade

After declaring a marriage between a Christian man and a Hindu girl invalid, the local administration in Jobat, Alirajpur, has refused permission to the minority community to hold an annual gathering on the ground that it was likely to “disturb peace”.
The four-day gathering organized by All India United Christian Front (AIUF) and Moksha Foundation (MF) was supposed to start from Monday at an agricultural field which is two kilometers away from Jobat town. 
The town earlier saw protests by right-wing organizations after a Christian man married a Hindu girl.
The police administration had declared as invalid the marriage between Joseph Pawar and Ayushi Wani, both major, who tied the knot at an Arya Samaj temple in Bhopal.
The 5th Massihi Atmik Jagruti Sabha had been planned in advance but the administration first cancelled the permission on September 30 after Hindu organizations threatened to begin an indefinite protest from October 1 till the couple was not traced and the woman restored to her parents.
While denying the permission, SDM (Jobat) Sharda Chouhan in a letter to Kapil Sharma, who is founder of MF and state head of AIUF said if the meet was held “Wani Samaj and Hindu Sangathan(s) could commit some cognizable offence.” The SDM quoted an input by the in-charge of the Jobat Police Station behind the refusal.
The couple was traced and brought to Jobat on October 1, the day Hindu organizations enforced a complete bandh but withdrew the call for indefinite protest. Ayushi told the administration that she loved Joseph and refused to go back to her parents. While she was sent to Nari Niketan in Ujjain, Joseph was escorted to Indore.
Thinking that the matter had been resolved, Sharma again wrote to the SDM seeking fresh permission for the meet. He said invites had been sent to followers weeks in advance and it would be difficult to stop them from coming to Jobat.
Sharma told The Indian Express that on Sunday he got a call from the SDM to convey the administration’s decision that the permission for the meet remained cancelled because the atmosphere was still charged.
Chouhan informed that the ‘mahaul’ was not conducive for the gathering of Christians and that the permission had been denied because it could have become a law and order issue. “What if something goes wrong? Then we will be blamed for having allowed the meet to take place” she said adding tempers were still running high. She said the venue (agriculture field) suggested the meet was planned at a larger scale.
Sharma said that he would challenge the denial of permission in a court of law because the minority community’s constitutional right was being violated.
Fr Anand Muttungal of Isai Mahasangh slammed the Alirajpur administration saying security concern was an excuse. “How could permission be refused for a peaceful meet that could have taken place inside a church,” he asked dubbing the cancellation as “deliberate”.
Refusing the allegation by right-wing organizations that people are converted during the annual meet, Sharma’s letter to the SDM said “no one has been converted in the last four meets and no one will be converted in future.”

Click here for source

Friday, October 03, 2014

Police annuls marriage of a Christian boy and Hindu girl under pressure from Hindutva brigade


The campaign against alleged `love jihad’ conspiracy has taken its toll on a marriage involving a Christian boy and a Hindu girl in Jobat town of tribal-dominated Alirajpur district in Madhya Pradesh.
Joseph Pawar and Ayushi Wani who eloped and married in an Arya Samaj temple in Bhopal four days ago were traced by the police to Pawagarh in Gujarat after Hindu Jagaran Manch (HJM) and other right-wing organizations threatened to launch a massive agitation.
The town observed a complete bandh on Wednesday the day the superintendent of police met the two families separately in his office as hundreds of right-wing activists assembled in the premises.

Ayushi, 19, told Alirajpur SP Akhilesh Jha that she loved Josesh, a nursing college student and that she went with him on her own. She refused to return to her parents and was later sent to Nari Niketan in Ujjain.
The activists wanted Joseph booked for luring Ayushi into marriage but the police said no case could be made against him because she was a major and gave a statement that she loved him. Joseph was escorted to Indore under police protection after the police told him that he would not be safe given that tempers were running high.
The police declared the marriage invalid saying Joseph is not a Hindu and that he will have to convert to Hinduism by following the procedure laid in the Freedom of Religion Act, which says the potential convert and those presiding over the ceremony should notify the district magistrate a month in advance.
Jha told The Indian Express that he did what appeared best in the circumstances given that 300-400 activists had gheraoed his office and the threat of arson and damage to government property was looming large. “There are some plus and minus points when an administrator takes a decision in such matters.’’
Joseph tried to argue that the marriage in Arya Samaj temple was done following Hindu rituals.
Ayushi’s family had filed a complaint on September 26 when she did not return home from college. Hindu activists threatened to take to the streets when it was revealed that she had eloped with a Christian boy and gave the police time till September 30 to trace and bring the couple back to Jobat.
The police claimed they used their network to find that after the marriage on September 28 the couple went to Pavagarh from where the two were brought to Jobat on October 1.
The SP said situation had returned to normal on Thursday but that it was not safe for Joseph to return. “It’s possible that he could apply for converting his faith,’’ he said.

Click here for source

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Press release: State of Minorities under the new regime


Press Release

Government must take strong to end Violence, Coercion and orchestrated campaign of Hate and Violence targetting Religious Minorities, polarising communities

Zero Tolerance, not moratorium, needed to end communal violence

NEW DELHI,  27 September 2014

Civil society activists and representatives of religious minorities have called upon the Central and State Governments to take urgent action to end the orchestrated and motivated campaign of hate and violence  which targets and coerces minorities, and impacts on communal harmony in towns and villages in many parts of the country.

The hundreds of incidents of “Shuddhikaran” and “Ghar Wapsi” against Muslims and Christians specially in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the mobilisation against the so-called “love jihad” has terrorised youth in these regions. The blatant support from  central and local political leaders to these anti social groups has triggered violence in  many places. The media has recorded over 600 incidents of violence against minorities since the results of the General elections were declared on 16th May 2014. State governments had been tardy in taking action against the guilty. This impunity had further encouraged  the unlawful elements.

A public protest against Attacks on Minorities, was held at Jantar Mantar today to focus attention on  the rapidly deteriorating situations. Speakers  impressed upon  the Prime Minister and Union and State Governments and the Union Government to take action under the law of the land against  those creating disharmony and polarising the people.

A Report on Attacks on Minorities was released at the public meeting endorsed  by over 30 civil right and constitutional right groups and minority right to raise the issue of defence of minority rights, the right to live with dignity as equal citizens of India. The country, several speakers said, needed a Zero Tolerate against Communal and Targetted Violence, and not jsut a moratorium for some years.

Speakers noted that the situation had become so critical that even a person of the eminence of jurist Mr. Fali Nariman went on record to voice his concern, 

“We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost on a daily basis a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of  citizens who belong to a religious minority and the criticism has been that the majority government at the Centre has done nothing to stop this tirade,” 
"And how does one protect the interest of minorities who (or a section of which) are on a daily basis lampooned and ridiculed or spoken against in derogatory language?"   Mr. Fali Nariman said at  function organised by the National Commission for Minorities at which the Union Minister for Minority Welfare, Dr. Najma Heptullah, was present.

We had hoped that the acrid rhetoric of the election campaign would end with the declaration of the results, and the formation of a new government at the centre. The first 100 days of the new regime have, however,  seen the rising pitch of a crescendo of hate speech against Muslims and Christians. Their identity derided, their patriotism scoffed at, their citizenship questioned, their faith mocked. The environment has degenerated into one of coercion, divisiveness, and suspicion. This has percolated to the small towns and villages of rural India, severing bonds forged in a dialogue of life over the centuries, shattering the harmony build around the messages of peace and brotherhood given us by the Sufis and the men and women who led the Freedom Struggle under Mahatma Gandhi.  The attacks have assumed alarming proportions. Over 600 incidents of targeting religious minorities have taken place from May to September 2014 in several parts of the country, but especially which have seen, or will soon see, by-elections or elections to the Legislative Assemblies.

The hate campaign, the violence, the open threats have stunned not just the religious minorities, but civil society, jurists and academics. Many of them articulated their concern not just at the violence but at the silence of  the Government.

Many of the incidents of violence were directed against individuals and places of worship of the Muslim community, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. These incidents of violence include at least 36 recorded incidents against the tiny Christian community in various parts of the country. The Christian community, its pastors, congregations and churches, were targets of mob violence and State impunity in dozens of cases in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Target dates, one of them coinciding with Christmas 2014, have been set to “cleanse” various areas of Muslim and Christian presence. The state apparatus and specially the police often became a party arresting not the aggressors but the victims to satisfy the demands of the mob. There have attempts at religious profiling of Christian academic institutions, and their students in the national capital.

There has been a well planned shift the locus of violence and mobilisations from the urban centres to small towns and rural areas; another course is to keep the “dead-count” low and use variants of everyday, “routine” violence to spread tensions and create panic. Yet another scheme is to convert India-Pakistan relations into a subset of the Hindu-Muslim relations within India. The most prominent method deployed in recent weeks has been the issue of “Love Jihad”.


While the Southern University System of Louisiana in the United States has decided to offer Prime Minister Narendra Modi an honorary doctorate for his work in inclusive growth and in recognition of Mr. Narendra Modi's contribution towards social transformation, especially for empowering women and minorities in Gujarat, the facts on the ground are very different. 

The people and organisations gathered at the Public meeting demand:
1.   Zero Tolerance against Communal and Targetted Violence, including Hate crimes, profiling and attacks on Freedom of Faith as enshrined in the Constitution of India.

2. Govt of India and State governments should swiftly take action against those who create tension among minorities through their utterances,  by immediately arresting them and filing cases against them. 
3.   The Union Home Ministry and State Home Ministries should issue a directive to all Police Posts across the country to treat all citizens equally and not come under pressure from certain groups and harass minorities. 
4.   Govt should set up a mechanism to provide conducive environment to all citizens of our country and to ensure defence of minority rights, the right to live with dignity as equal citizens of India.

Those who spoke included : ALI ANWAR-JDU, AMARJEET KAUR-CPI, APOORVANAND, ARCHBISHOP ANIL JT COUTO, Archbishop Kuriakose Bharnikulanghara , Bishop Simon John, COLIN GONSALVES, DR ZAFARUL- ISLAM KHAN, HARSH MANDER, HARVINDER SINGH SARNA, JOHN DAYAL, KIRAN SHAHEEN, KUNWAR DANISH-JDS, MANISH TIWARI-CONGRESS, MANISHA SETHI, MAULANA NIAZ FAROOQUI, MOHD NASEEM, NAVAID HAMID, NOOR MOHD, PAUL DIVAKAR, SEHBA FAROOQUI, SHABNAM HASHMI, SYEDA HAMEED,  ZAKIA SOMAN.
The meeting was organsied by : ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN MINORITY FRONT, ALL INDIA DALIT MAHILA ADHIKAR MANCH (AIDMAM), ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (AIDWA), ALL INDIA CATHOLIC UNION, ALL INDIA MILLI COUNCIL, ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-E-MUSHAWARAT, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM, AMAN BIRADARI, ANHAD, BHARTIYA MUSLIM MAHILA ANDOLAN (BMMA), CBCI OFFICE FOR SC/BC , CHRISTIAN LEGAL ASSOCIATION, FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIONS OF DELHI, HUMAN RIGHTS LAW NETWORK, INDIAN SOCIAL INSTITUTE, JAMIA TEACHER’S SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION, JAMIAT ULEMA-E-HIND , JESUITS IN SOCIAL ACTION (JESA),  JPD COMMISSION, CBCI CENTRE, MAZDOOR KISAN SHAKTI SANGATHAN, MOEMIN, MUSLIM WOMEN'S FORUM, NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON DALIT HUMAN RIGHTS (NCDHR), NATIONAL FORUM FOR HOUSING RIGHTS (NFHR), OFFICE FOR JUSTICE, PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT – CBCI, PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY & SECULARISM (PADS), RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION    , SOUTH ASIAN MINORITIES LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (SAMLA), SHAHRI ADHIKAR MANCH: BEGHARON KE SAATH (SAM:BKS), STANDING TOGETHER TO ENABLE PEACE TRUST, WING INDIA (WOMEN IN GOVERNANCE), WSS (WOMEN-AGAINST-SEXUAL-VIOLENCE & STATE REPRESSION), YWCA INDIA.

 Link to the report

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Minority Report since election results in India



INDIA HAS NO PLACE FOR HATE
AND NEEDS NOT A TEN-YEAR MORATORIUM BUT AN END TO COMMUNAL AND TARGETTED VIOLENCE AGAINST RELIGIOUS MINORITIES

A report on the ground situation since the results of the General Elections were announced on 16th May 2014

Edited by Dr. John Dayal

NEW DELHI, September 27th, 2014

The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, led by Bharatiya Janata Party to a resounding victory in the general elections of 2014, riding a wave generated by his promise of “development” and assisted  by a remarkable mass mobilization in  one of the most politically surcharged electoral campaigns in the history of Independent India.  When the results were announced on 16th May 2014, the BJP had won 280 of the 542 seats, with no party getting even the statutory 10 per cent of the seats to claim the position of Leader of the Opposition.

The days, weeks and months since the historic victory, and his assuming office on 26th May 2014 as the 14th Prime Minister of India, have seen the rising pitch of a crescendo of hate speech against Muslims and Christians. Their identity derided, their patriotism scoffed at, their citizenship questioned, their faith mocked. The environment has degenerated into one of coercion, divisiveness, and suspicion. This has percolated to the small towns and villages or rural India, severing bonds forged in a dialogue of life over the centuries, shattering the harmony build around the messages of peace and brotherhood given us by the Sufis and the men and women who led the Freedom Struggle under Mahatma Gandhi. The hate speeches have resonated in debates in the Chamber of the Lok Sabha – an exceptionally and aggressively provocative and virulent one by the BJP leader  and lead speaker, Yogi Adityanath, in the debate on communal violence --  and in meetings, rallies and statements to the Media by leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and its associate organisations, collectively called the Sangh Parivar. Their focal points have been to rouse their cadres and others by sowing seeds of fear, listing “Love Jihad”, inter-community marriage, and conversions as conspiracies by religious minorities, specially Muslims and Christians, against the existence of the Hindu faith and Mother India.  Adityanath, now head of a religious cult in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, got away with demonising the Muslim community and others. The Congress was ineffective in rebutting him and his colleagues, and so were the others in pinning down the very aggressive and very big BJP group in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha debate, the fielding of Adityanath as the key speaker for his party, and the applause he received from the leaders and other members on the BJP benches, set to rest any polite talk that the political high command distances itself from the lunacy of the Sangh Parivar. The hate campaign  has mutated to a more coercive and threatening that has percolated to the Universities and colleges  on the one hand and the villages and small towns over much of the country. One group even set up a “Hindu Helpline” to assist anyone from the majority community who is being harassed by Muslims, announcing its cadres will come to the help of any Hindu parent who suspects his or her daughter is seeing a Muslim youth.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has not yet spoken about, much less condemned, the virulent and poisonous hate campaign against Muslims and Christian communities in India carried out by the cadres of the non-State actor, the “socio-cultural” Sangh Parivar.

Mr. Modi’s two sentences in his interview with Mr.  Fareed Zakaria of the US-based CNN International on the eve of his  visit to meet President Barak Obama in Washington  in September 2014 was the first time he has referred to India’s religious minorities since a passing reference in his Independence Day speech calling for a “10-year moratorium’  on violence.  Mr. Zakaria asked: “Ayman al-Zawahiri the head of al Qaeda has issued a video and an appeal trying to create an al Qaeda really in India. In South Asia he says but the message was really directed towards India and he says he wants to free Muslims from the oppression they face in Gujarat, in Kashmir. Do you think, do you worry that something like this could succeed?”  Mr. Modi said: “My understanding is that they are doing injustice towards the Muslims of our country. If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims will live for India. They will die for India. They will not want anything bad for India.”

In his 15th August address, his first, Mr. Modi said: “Communalism and casteism are an obstacle in the country’s progress. We see violence on the basis of religion and caste. How long? Who is benefiting? We have fought enough, killed enough. If you look back, you will find that nobody has gained anything…. It took us to even partition. ”I appeal that for the sake of country’s progress, there should be a 10-year moratorium on violence, at least for once, so that we are free from these ills. We should have peace, unity and harmony. Please believe my word, if we give up the path of violence and adopt the path of brotherhood, we will make progress,”

The hate campaign, the violence, the open threats have stunned not just the religious minorities, but civil society, jurists and academics. Many of them articulated their  concern not just at the violence but at the silence of  the Government, State organisations charged with addressing issues of communal harmony and national integration, and  the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party which now rules India.




Inevitably, this has led to great violence. Over 600 incidents of targetted religious minorities have taken place from May to September 2014 in several parts of the country, but specially which have seen, or will soon see, by-elections or elections to the Legislative Assemblies. In the first few weeks of the new government, by its own admission, A total of 113 communal incidents have taken place in various parts of the country during May-June in which 15 people were killed and 318 others were injured, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Kiren Rijiju told the Rajya Sabha. Many of the incidents of violence were directed against individuals and places of worship of the Muslim community, specially in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. These incidents of violence include at least  36 recorded incidents against the tiny Christian community in various parts of the country. The Christian community, its pastors, congregations and churches, were targets of mob violence and  State impunity in dozens of cases in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, particularly, as the Sangh Parivar declared a campaign of “Ghar Wapsi” and Shuddhikaran  or conversions to Hinduism, and a war on all evangelical activity.  Target dates, one of them coinciding with Christmas 2014, have been set to “cleanse” various areas of Muslim and Christian presence. The state apparatus and specially the police often became a party arresting not the aggressors but the victims to satisfy the demands of the mob. There have attempts at religious profiling of Christian academic instititons,  and their students in the national capital.

The highest in the government and the Sangh Parivar are in unison in sending across the message that Islam is un-Indian and Muslims by and large anti-national. We must take these signs seriously because the implications of linking up religion and nationalism are bound to be disastrous.” Prof Kancha Iliaih wrote.  [http://www.sacw.net/article9562.html]

The internationally respected Economic and Political Weekly recently noted “If communal polarisation of the electorate to build a Hindutva vote bank was a constant presence in the general election campaign, it has only seen a sharpening in the, supposedly important, “first 100 days” of the BJP-led government in office. An important way in which this has been done is the strategy of the Sangh Parivar to calibrate communal violence and hate campaigns in a way so as to keep it “under the radar”. One of the ways of accomplishing this is to shift the locus of violence and mobilisations from the urban centres to small towns and rural areas; another course is to keep the “dead-count” low and use variants of everyday, “routine” violence to spread tensions and create panic. Yet another scheme is to convert India-Pakistan relations into a subset of the Hindu-Muslim relations within India (and here the conveniently timed ratcheting up of tensions and cross-border firing is proving very useful). The most prominent method deployed in recent weeks has been the issue of “Love Jihad”.

Eminent jurist Mr. Fali Nariman, a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and a Member of the National Integration Council traditionally chaired by the Prime Minister of India,  expressed concern at the government’s “silence” on the hate speeches witnessed in parts of India and rued that Hinduism was “changing its benign face”. Traditionally Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths.   But - recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate-speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain.  And let me say this frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance.  Nariman praised Jawaharlal Nehru, saying he “never looked upon the diverse and varied peoples of India from the standpoint of Hinduism”. While dealing with minority rights, Indian courts had once conceptualised their role as that of an Opposition political party — until the BJP in the early 1990s characterized Congress policy as “appeasement of the minorities”. The label stuck; “minority” became an unpopular word, he said.

  “We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost daily a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens (from) a religious minority. The criticism has been that the majority government at the Centre has done nothing to stop this tirade. I agree,” he said delivering the annual lecture organised by the National Commission for Minorities at the Constitution Club. It was titled “Minorities at crossroads: comments on judicial pronouncements”. Mr. Nariman  urged the commission to move court by invoking the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code  against those making hate speeches and publicise the action to win the confidence of the minorities. [See full text of Mr. Nariman’s speech in the Annexure]

His words did move the National Commission for Minorities. The NCM, in a resolution posted on its website, said: “The Commission would appreciate a public statement from the Government to reassure all minorities that their constitutional rights of safety, security and equality before the law cannot be compromised at any cost. The Government needs to send a clear signal that it is committed to the protection and security of all citizens and that no attempt at creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust will be tolerated.”  Without naming hate speeches of some politicians of the ruling BJP such as  Yogi Adityanath and Dr. Praveen Togadia against Muslims for so-called 'Love Jihad' campaign, the resolution said  “The NCM also condemns the communally charged statements attributed to prominent people in public life which are creating this atmosphere of mistrust and heightened tension. These happenings are violating the principles of the Indian Constitution and also the call given by the Hon'ble Prime Minister that there should be a moratorium on communal riots,” reads the resolution. The NCM also called to honour  the words of the Prime Minister.

The rapid vanishing of tolerance and secularism from public space in recent months  has disturbed thinkers, analysts and commentators in the country who see this as encouraging  hate speech and targetted violence.

Noted editor Mr. Bharat Bhushan wrote “What we are witnessing is not just Hindu rituals in the public sphere but their use to create a predominantly Hindutva public sphere that marginalises others. Rituals are mere instruments.” (http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/bharat-bhushan-pm-as-pilgrim-or-indianness-redefined-114081401189_1.html [http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/bharat-bhushan-pm-as-pilgrim-or-indianness-redefined-114081401189_1.html])

The eminent activist, Mr. Harsh Mander wrote in the Hindustan Times, "In the three months since Narendra Modi’s spectacular triumph, many corners of the country have begun to smoulder in slow fires of orchestrated hate and distrust against India’s Muslims.... The culpability for each of these clashes lies with the communal organisations bent on fomenting animosities. But it is shared equally by the shamefully weak-kneed (or actively prejudiced) responses of the state and district administrations in these states.... After characterising the millennium of Indian history when the majority of its rulers were Muslim as an era of slavery, the studied silence of the otherwise garrulous Prime Minister about these attacks is both deafening an

The patterns are familiar. A multitude of ever-growing Hindu nationalist organisations – some mainstream, some fringe – deploy and refashion small local disputes to spur rage and suspicion against the Muslim people, each time reviving and fuelling old stereotypes. The manufactured flashpoints are also familiar: disputes over land for shrines and graveyards, an offending loudspeaker in a place of worship, charges of young Muslim men sexually harassing hapless Hindu women in a sinister campaign of ‘love jihad’, sometimes with the added twist of forced conversions, or cow slaughter. It is no secret that the BJP rose to power with active support of RSS cadres, and the adrenaline of their decisive victory has led them to feel emboldened to pursue even more vigorously their intensely divisive agendas. Raised on a staple diet of anti-Muslim propaganda, and encouraged further by the open deployment of these sentiments to reap a polarised vote in states like UP and Bihar, high-pitched communal tempers are not a genie which can be released and then pushed back into a bottle at will. A sense of dread slowly therefore mounts almost invisibly over the country as communal tempers are cynically and perilously being overheated for a series of electoral harvests.

An editorial in the Indian Express asks, “So who is in charge in the BJP? And why is no action being taken against those like Adityanath and Thakur who are openly stoking communal tensions on the ground, especially in poll-bound states, in flagrant defiance of the forward-looking and development-oriented image courted by the Modi-led BJP at the Centre? Or is the party playing true to its own worst stereotype — of always speaking in two voices, carefully choreographing the interplay between them and their alternation?”

Political columnist and author John Dayal noted: The BJP is unabashed about its links with the Sangh Parivar. Mr. Modi is himself a former RSS leader, as are several of his Cabinet colleagues. Some ranking RSS officials have in recent weeks been inducted as general secretaries of the BJP, leaving absolutely no one in any doubt of the seamless fusion of the political party and the Sangh which styles itself as a social and cultural organisations. Mr. Seshadri Chari, former editor of RSS mouthpiece Organiser and member of the BJP national executive, who enjoys a deserved reputation as a sober and reflective commentator, is quoted in the Outlook Magazine saying says that Hindus have always been a majority in India but the manifestation of majoritarianism has been reflected in the cultural and social field. “Now it is reflected in the politics of the country. A large number of foot-soldiers in the RSS-BJP do believe that the political Hindu has arrived.”

THE HATE CAMPAIGN: RSS chief Mr. Mohan Bhagwat has repeated asserted that everyone in India is Hindu, including Muslims and Christians, because this is the land of the Hindu people and civilisation. This refrain was picked up by the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa, and by big and small leaders across the country, going viral  on social media and the national TV News channels in their English and Hindi debates. The Sangh ideologue MG Vaidya said on 19th May, three days after the election results, that they can now tackle issues such as the building of the Ram temple on the site of the Babri mosque they demolished in 1992 Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Mr. Ashok Singhal, said “if [Muslims] keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?”. Another leader said “Modi will restore Hindutva rule, like Prithviraj Chauhan (25th May 2014). The focus is now on Love Jihad. [See Annexure for details and Links.]


EXAMPLES OF ATTACKS ON THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY:

Christians constitute 2.3 per cent of the national population, according to the 2011 census. They have been a focal target of the Sangh Parivar for a long time. Recent weeks have again seen a rash of well-planned and organized attacks on Church, Christian schools and institutes have been regular. Desecration of religious symbols, burning of bibles and crosses to dishonor the religion has been intentionally carried through the country.

In August 2014, 72 Valmikis (a section of the Dalit community) who had in the past converted to Christianity underwent a so-called “re-conversion” to Hinduism in Aligarh in the state of Uttar Pradesh, under the auspices of the ‘Dharam Jagran Vivad” (Religious Awakening Forum). This was a “Ghar Vapassi” (literally, a “return home”) ceremony through which the Sangh Parivar intervenes to claim non-Hindu members of the Dalit and Adivasi communities as Hindus. The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of religion, allowing for the free exercise of individual choice over matters of faith. However, “Freedom of Religion” laws enacted in several states presume that individuals are incapable of making their own informed decisions regarding matters of faith, and can only be manipulated or coerced into conversion. The language of the Gujarat anti-conversion law enacted in 2003 is telling in this respect. Conversion is viewed as an attempt “to make one person to renounce one religion and adopt another religion.” These laws empower district administrations to oversee and regulate religious conversions, in order to prevent what are referred to as conversions by “fraud” or “force.” Effectively, these laws target Christian and Muslim communities and provide opportunities for both local officials and Hindu supremacist organizations to harass and intimidate them. The anti-conversion laws, passed by a number of states, do not apply to such ‘Ghar Vapsi’ ceremonies. The Sangh Parivar has a singular focus on curbing any conversions out of Hinduism, particularly by Dalits and Adivasis. In April 2013 BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, now a Cabinet minister, had publicly announced his party’s intention to “bring an anti- conversion law to ban religious conversions in the country if it is voted to power in 2014 General Elections.” Highlighting the primary motivation underlying his party’s anxiety over conversions, he went on to add: “...The country will be safe and sound only when Hindus are in a majority.”
Inspired by the party’s rise to power, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have launched so-called “re-conversion” drives targeting Christian communities. RSS Hindu activist, Rajeshwar Singh recently declared while converting a Christian family to Hinduism in Hasayan (140 km south of Delhi in the state of Uttar Pradesh), “We will cleanse our Hindu society. We will not let the conspiracy of church or mosque succeed in Bharat (India).” Rumors continue to circulate suggesting Christians were forcibly converted and the church has also been refashioned into a Shiva temple. These conversion efforts are directed primarily at Adivasis and Dalits, informed by a caste politics that drives Hindutva anxieties over conversion. The basic claim that all Christians, like Muslims, are converts, empowers Hindutva groups to deny the religious legitimacy of Adivasi and Dalit Christians. Moreover the claim that conversion to Hinduism is merely “re-conversion” rests on the fallacious notion that all Adivasis are “Hindu” by default, denying the legitimacy of their own distinct and autonomous religious traditions. In BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh, draconian laws specifically target Christians, as in the recent case of the Bilaspur High Court banning “all non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in the villages” in Bastar district. The message is clearly that the only religious identity permissible is Hinduism. The administration has remained silent on the growing atmosphere of repression threatening Christians in India.
On May 18, 2014 in Kundapur, Karnataka, the properties of two churches were damaged by unidentified miscreants.  An ornamental pot at the entrance of the Holy Rosary church were broken and a signpost leading to St. Antony Church in Koteshwar also was uprooted. On June 24, 2014 in Bhilai, Durg, suspected Hindu extremists demolished an independent church. According to local sources, the church was completely destroyed. Rumors were spread among the villagers claiming that the building was destroyed by a cyclone. The area Christians, however, maintained that it was the hands of the extremists as only the church was damaged in the area by the so called 'cyclone'.  Another incident is that of courage at one of the Free Methodist Churches at Belar, 30 kms east of Jagadalpur, Chhattisgarhwhich was under attack. A frenzied mob of the Vajrang Dal stormed towards the church premises on June 3, 2014 with the intention of demolishing the building. But the villagers took their ground and frustrated the evil plan.

Such attacks are pre planned and pre-meditated to cause maximum damage to property, resources, vehicles, and cause damages that are very hard to rebuild.

Social Exclusion:  52 families were denied ration for two months in the Sirisguda Village which was an order enforced by the panchayat head. They approached the food inspector of the district and asked for an enquiry to be conducted. On Monday, June 16, 2014, when the two representatives were sent to appease the village leaders and the complainants, both of them were chased away from the village. Then some assailants filed a false complaint at the Badanji Police Station, Lakandi Taluk - District Bastar about the Christians beating the Hindus in the village. This was simultaneously followed up by a mob of 200 perpetrators who attacked 52 Christian families. Most families were stoned and chased away with sticks, while 8 men and 2 women were seriously injured and hospitalized. This incident preceded the banning of non-Hindu missionaries in Bastar, as mentioned above (Sec. II, Increasing Intolerance against Christians).

Social exclusions are the one of the primary tactics to victimize minorities denying basic human rights that are common to every citizen. These exclusion orders, often make Christians vulnerable to excessive violence and denial of social privileges like access to water, electricity and work. On July 28, 2014 a mob of over 300 persons from the Yadav community led by Swami Krishnadavananda threatened the Pastor and 30 families who were believers in the Church at Gallaragati, Holalkara in the ChitradurgaDistrict to convert back to Hindusim. They along with the local Panchayat issued a one week deadline to decide on the same, which otherwise, would lead to the families being ostracized from the local village. Such exclusions force families into submission or are attacked for making a choice of being as a Christian.

Assaults on Church Leaders and Believers: Assaults on Church leaders and believers have augmented bizarrely. Profiling of Christians in villages and attacking them has been the most effective way of spreading terror among the minorities. A Christian along with his wife, mother-in-law and mother were beaten by Hindu fanatics at Parapur Village in Bastar, Chhattisgarh on July 26, 2014. The incident occurred when five Hindu fanatics took Shri Raguram (name changed) outside his house and started verbally abusing him. They alleged that that he had left their Gods and became a Christian to which he replied saying that he had become a Christian because he wanted to and no one had forced him to do so. On hearing this, they started slapping and kicking him. Then when they began to strangle him with the intention of killing, his mother and mother-in-law interfered and stopped the men from trying to kill him. They then slapped and beat the elderly women and his wife. He was bleeding profusely and was later admitted to the Jagdalpur hospital. When Shri Raguram's wife went to the Lohandiguda Police Station to file a complaint, the police refrained from doing so, citing it as a family feud.

In another incident, a mob of about 10 people came and attacked a Pastor and believers in Perur, near Coimbatore while praying for a 8 year old who had a fractured her hand, on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 7:00pm. Six men among the mob stormed into the house and beat up the pastor and the family, including women and children with vessels. According to the local police, the pastor was allegedly beaten up with sticks and dragged outside the house. He was then stripped and publicly humiliated by the gang. The FIR was filed in Perur Police station and the two men were arrested and remanded to judicial custody by the magistrate of Coimbatore Court. Two preachers from the Jehovah Witness were arrested on allegations of conversion on August 17, 2014 at Sukhiya, Indore, which was also the day of the Hindu festival Janmashtami.  They were taken to the Harsh Nagar Police Station where a FIR was filed and they were charged under the MP Freedom of Religion Act, 1968 under Sec. 3 and 4. A mob of over 400 people had gathered outside the police station chanting slogans against the pastor. They were bailed out by Christian workers next day morning. Most of these incidents are not reported to the police due to fear and intimidation fromthe local thugs that operate for the RSS, VHP and the Bajrang Dal. Such attacks are unconstitutional and against the fundamental right to freedom on religion.

Police Inaction: However, the violence in itself fails to reveal the full picture. The impunity enjoyed by the violent mobs is a bigger cause for concern. Many victims of violence complain about the lack of police action, including hostility towards Christians. Police resist filing criminal complaints and have on several instances allegedly threatened to falsely incriminate the victims in some cases.

On September 6, 2014, twelve pastors were beaten at a Police station in Greater Noida on the pretext of a mob of about 150 Hindu fundamentalists that had gathered outside and demanded such action. The police obliged and thrashed the pastors. No reports were filed. It was baffling to know that the police had thrashed the pastors. Such police atrocities have led to increase of impunity among perpetrators.

On June 30, 2014, the police manhandled a Pastor, filed a case against him and summoned him to appear before the court in Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. It was reported that the local Hindu extremists had opposed the ministry of the Pastor and threatened to harm him several times in the past for conducting prayer meetings. However, the pastor continued to conduct worship services and later started to build a prayer hall on his land. Subsequently, the extremists filed a police complaint against the pastor of illegal construction. Earlier, on 19 April, 2014, the police had questioned the same Pastor at his home, slapped him and told him to stop the construction work and had charged him Under Sections 107 and 116 of the Indian Penal Code.

Anti Christian violence May-September 2014
{This is a list of some of the cases that have been documented by various Christian groups. This  by no means is exhaustive.]

Date
Location
Description
1
May 18, 2014
Kundapur, Udupi, Karnataka, India
The  properties of two churches was damaged by unidentified miscreants.  An ornamental pot at the entrance of the Holy Rosary church was broken and a signpost leading to St. Antony Church in Koteshwar also was uprooted.
2
May 25, 2014
Kishanganj, Bihar, India
A mob attacked and physically assaulted a Christian family and blocked the road. Subsequently again the mob returned and beat up the family asking them to leave Christianity. Even the little children and young girls were beaten-up. A FIR was registered against both the Christians and members of the mob for disturbing the peace of the region. The local church has been shut down till date.
3
June 14, 2014
Katni, Murshidabad, Madhya Pradesh, India
On 14 June in Gayatri Nagar, Katni, Hindu fundamentalists manhandled Christians and tore up Bibles. About 15 fundamentalists from the Bajrang Dal attacked the Pastor and few believers from Brethren church when they were coming out from one believer's house after a prayer.  The fundamentalists surrounded them, started to verbally abuse them for their faith in Christ and pushed them around. Thereafter, the fundamentalists snatched their bags, took out the Bibles and tore it up threatening them not to pray again in the area in the future. The Christians, however, did not file a police complaint against the attackers.
4
June 16, 2014
Sirisguda, Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
When 52 families were denied ration for two months in the Sirisguda Village which was a order enforced by the panchayat head, they approached the food inspector of the district and asked for an enquiry to be conducted. When the two representatives were sent to appease the village leaders and the complainants, both of them were chased away from the village. Then some assailants filed a false complaint at the Badanji Police Station, Lakandi Taluk  - District Bastar about the Christians beating the Hindus in the village. This was simultaneously followed up by a mob of 200 perpetrators who attacked 52 Christian families. Most families were stoned and chased away with sticks, while 8 men and 2 women were seriously injured and hospitalized.
5
June 24, 2014
Bhilai, Durg, Chhattisgarh, India
Suspected Hindu extremists demolished an independent church of a Pastor Rakesh (name changed). According to local sources, the thatched building of the church was completely destroyed. Some villagers claimed that the building was destroyed by a cyclone. The area Christians, however, maintained that it was the hands of the extremists as only the church was damaged in the area by the so called 'cyclone'.  Moreover, the local Hindu extremists have threatened to harm the Pastor if he continues to conduct a worship meeting in the area several times in the past.
6
June 30, 2014
Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, India
A Pastor was severely beaten by a mob of about 150 assailants during an afternoon prayer meeting at Killoda Village at Madhya Pradesh, India on Monday, the 30th of June, 2014. The pastor was later arrested along with a member of his church and charged under the MP Freedom of Religion Act Sec.3, 4 and 5. The incident took place when the pastor was at his church member's house to conduct a prayer meeting at around 2:00 pm. The local RSS leader along with the mob came to the house and caught the pastor and started beating him up profusely. He was verbally abused for being an adivasi and for using people from higher castes to convert the village into Christianity. They also got hold of the member and beat him up after which he escaped and ran to the nearby village. Seeing how the mob was beating up the pastor, the member's family managed to take the pastor inside their house and locked the doors to protect him from the raging mob that was waiting to get hold of the pastor again. Meanwhile, the police was called and the Pastor was arrested while the church member was also arrested the next day.
7
June 30, 2014
Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Police manhandled a Pastor, filed a case against him and summoned him to appear before the court on 30 June. It was reported that the local Hindu extremists have opposed the ministry of the Pastor and threatened to harm him several times in the past for conducting prayer meetings. However, the pastor continued to conduct worship services and later started to build a prayer hall on his land. Subsequently, the extremists filed a police complaint against the pastor of illegal construction. On 19 April,2014, the police questioned the Pastor at his home, slapped him and told him to stop the construction work and charged him Under Sections 107 and 116 of the Indian Penal Code for abetment of a thing and abetment of offence respectively.
8
July 3, 2014
Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
One of the Free Methodist Churches at Belar, 30 Km. east of Jagdalpur, Chhatisgarh was under by a frenzied mob of the Vajrang Dal that stormed towards the church premises on June 3, 2014 with the intention of demolishing the building. But the villagers took their ground and frustrated the evil plan. The Christians mostly belong to Madia tribe.
9
July 6, 2014
Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
An aggressive mob of about 70 Shiv Sena activists attacked a Church during their Sunday morning worship at 10:30 am, which was attended by 250 people, including women and children. Even when the Police arrived, the ruthless attack on the members of the Church did not stop until the senior police officials arrived and intervened with additional police personnel at the scene. 11 Christians were arrested the same day over allegations of conversion while 5 attackers from the mob were arrested on a non-bailable warrant the next day. The 11 Christians were bailed out on July 8, 2014.
10
July 7, 2014
Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
An aggressive campaign by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had led to a ban on the entry of and propaganda by non-Hindu missionaries, especially Christians, in more than 50 villages of Chhattisgarh's Bastar region in the last six months. According to Suresh Yadav, Bastar district president of the VHP, over 50 gram panchayats in Bastar have passed orders banning all “non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in the villages. The Sirisguda gram panchayat in the Tokapal block of Bastar passed the order at a special Gram Sabha organised on May 10.The order says, 'to stop the forced conversion by some outsider religious campaigners and to prevent them from using derogatory language against Hindu deities and customs, the Sirisguda Gram Sabha bans religious activities such as prayers, meetings and propaganda of all non-Hindu religions'.
11
July 13, 2014
Patholi, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on July 13 disrupted a Sunday worship meeting, verbally abused the Christians and beat them up. The extremists wearing khaki pants barged into the worship meeting conducted in a house church, accused the believers of being traitors and betraying their fathers' religion and beat them up. However, the Christians replied that they are free to worship anyone they like and that no one should simply barged into a worship meeting and get violent. The extremists further threatened the Christians of dire consequences if they continued to worship Jesus and gather on Sundays.
12
July 16, 2014
Balwanazir, Kaliyanganj, Bihar, India
Hindu extremists who had locked up a church on June 5 after they beat up a Christian family returned to threaten the family on 16 July even after Police took action last month against the extremists. The extremists had repeatedly beat up Kumar (name changed) and his family for their faith in Christ in May and June and finally locked up the church of the Indian Evangelical Team.
Kumar and his family were dragged on the road and the entire family including two minor girls were beaten up mercilessly in the last incident. Singh and his family were socially boycotted ever since they decided to follow Christ in 2010.
13
July 17, 2014
Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, India
On 17 July, Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal vadalized a Church at Bulandshahr. They verbally abused the priest and insulted the Bible. 2 of them were later arrested after a report was filed by the Priest.
14
July 25, 2014
Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
The leaders of the Sirisguda village in the state of Chattisgarh have alleged that a Christian believer grabbed land forcefully to build a prayer house. Shri Aditya (name changed) was taken to the Collector's office on the July 24th and asked to sign on papers on which he did not know what was written. The next day he came to know that he had signed on papers that lodged a complaint against his own nephew for forcefully grabbing his land to build a prayer house. Shri Aditya said that he was fully supportive of his nephew for building the prayer house and did not oppose his decision. However, he said that the leaders of the village had duped him to sign the papers. He has filed a complaint about the incident at the Badanji Police Station.
15
July 26, 2014
Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
A Christian along with his wife, mother-in-law and mother were beaten by Hindu fanatics at Parapur Village in Bastar, Chattisgarh. The incident occurred when five Hindu fanatics called Shri Raguram (name outside) outside his house and started verbally abusing him. They alleged that that he had left their Gods and became a Christian to which he replied saying that he had become a Christian because he wanted to and no one had forced him to do so. On hearing this, they started slapping and kicking him. Then when they began to strangle him with the intention of killing, his mother and mother-in-law interfered and stopped the men from trying to kill him. They then slapped and beat the elderly women and his wife. He was bleeding profusely and was later admitted to the Jagdalpur hospital. When Shri Raguram's wife went to the Lohandiguda Police Station to file a complaint, the police refrained from doing so, citing it as a family feud.
16
August 1, 2014
Gallaragati, Holalkara, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
On 28th July, 2014 (Monday), a mob of over 300 persons from the Yadav community led by Swami Krishnadavananda threatened the Pastor and 30 families who were believers in the Church to convert back to Hindusim. They along with the local Panchayat have issued a one week deadline to decide on the same, which otherwise, would lead to the families being ostracized from the local village.
17
August 2, 2014
Jasadih Village, Deoghar, Jharkand, India
A Christian widow was beaten by local villagers for taking water from the public well. Shrimati Diya (name changed) who had recently started coming to Church was ostracized by the villagers for becoming a Christian along with other believers. The villagers had issued a warning to all Christians in the village to refrain from using the water from the common tube well. Upon hearing about the incident, the village chief defended the Christians and said, ' All have the right to take water from public well and no one should be stopped'. The incident was averted and no report has been filed.
18
August 3, 2014
Perur, near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
A mob of about 10 people came and attacked a Pastor and believers while praying for a 8 year old who had a fractured her hand. Six men among the mob stormed into the house and beat up the pastor and the family, including women and children with vessels. According to the local police, the pastor was allegedly beaten up with sticks and dragged outside the house. He was then stripped and publicly humiliated by the gang. The FIR was filed in Perur Police station and two men were arrested and remanded to Judicial custody by the magistrate of Coimbatore Court.
19
August 6, 2014
Rohtak, Haryana, India
On Wednesday, some unidentified men allegedly vandalized Christian school buses parked in front of a church in Rohtak.
20
August 8, 2014
Sakti, Chhattisgarh, India
On August 8, 2014 , two women were alleged to have forcefully converted people and were arrested under Section 4 of The Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Act. The women, who work as a nurse at the local PHC and a reader at the Tehsildar's office were caught by Hindu fundamentalists during a women's prayer meeting at the Nurse's home. 12 persons have recorded statements against the women and have charged them of forced conversion. The reports alleged that the nurse and the readers promised healing and prayed for sick patients while asking them to accept Jesus.
21
August 10, 2014
Chinnatharapuram, Karur, Tamil Nadu, India
On August 10, 2014, about 9 Hindu extremists pelted stones at the Church during their Sunday service that was being conducted by Christian missionaries. After the Sunday service at 5:30 pm, they came and threatened the missionaries to stop their ministry in the area.
22
August 10, 2014
Arikpal Village, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India
Hindu extremists have alleged that local Christians broke some of their idols about 40 kms from Jagdalpur Village. A mob of 20-30 people have threatened the local Christians who have now approached the District Collector for protection for fear of violence that might break out against them. The situation is very tense at press time.
23
August 17, 2014
Koranga village, Kunkuri, Jashpur, Chhattisgarh, India
A Pastor was forcefully pulled out by Hindu extremists during Sunday's service and taken to the police station where the police arrested him and booked him under Section 295(A).  The extremists had lodged complaints against the Pastor in three different police stations. They alleged that he had referred to Hindu Gods as evil spirits, asked believers to wear necklaces with crosses and converted people. About 20 local villagers testified at the Kunkuri Police Station that the allegations were false. The Pastor is still in jail and did not got bail till press time.
24
August 17, 2014
Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India
A Pastor was beaten by Hindu Extremists for not reconverting to Hinduism and repeating the chants. The incident occurred while returning from the Church service that he had conducted that morning. The Pastor went to Goumutha Church in East Medinipur for the Sunday worship Service. After the Church service, at about 4.30 pm, he went to the Chandipur Bus stop to board into a bus to return back home and while waiting decided to have tea. Two Hindu extremists came to him with printed handbills by local Hindu extremists and asked the Pastor to read it aloud. They then probed him about his whereabouts and forcefully took to them to their Ashram at Kotal Village. They then repeatedly beat him and ask him to chant Hindu mantras while they put a Tilak on his forehead. They then took him to four other of their centers and tortured him for the rest of the evening. They took away his ATM card, mobile and all his documents. The Pastor was then given three options in order to be released - first, he had to recant his faith and re-convert into his old faith, Hinduism, secondly, he had to worship the Gods in the temple and thirdly, provide details of those who support him financially. They also threatened him that they would kill him if these conditions were not fulfilled. They also compelled him to sign some papers where they wrote that he would not convert any one. When the Pastor did not fulfill these conditions, they threatened him of dire consequences and released at 11.30 pm. No report was filed till press time.
25
August 17, 2014
Sukhiya, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
Two preachers from the Jehovah Witness were arrested on allegations of conversion. Preachers on Monday, which was also the day of the Hindu festival Janmashtami, were taken to the Harsh Nagar Police Station where a FIR was filed and they were charged under the MP Freedom of Religion Act, 1968 under Sec. 3 and 4. A mob of over 400 people had gathered outside the police station chanting slogans against the pastor. They were was bailed out by Christian workers next day morning.
26
August 20, 2014
Satna, Madhya Pradesh, India
Missionaries in Satna are being blamed for forcible conversions in the State's Jail. Reports allege that Christian missionaries seek permission from Jail authorities citing medical examination and meet prisoners and convert prisoners to Christianity promising them good health and release from the Jail.
27
August 24, 2014
Mandla, Madhya Pradesh, India
On August 22, 2014, Shri Raju (name changed) was arrested by the Mahadwani Police Station in-charge on his way to a Friday Meeting in Mahadwani, Mandla.  The police station in-charge took him to police station and charged him under section 295 and 298. On August 24, he was taken to the Dindory Jail and was scheduled to be presented before the court on August 26, 2014.
28
August 26, 2014
Asroi, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
A church with a cross in it that belonged to the 7th Day Adventists overnight turned into a temple adorned with a portrait of Shiva after what some Hindu groups in Aligarh termed it as 'successful gharwapasi' (reconversion) of 72 Valmikis who had become Christians in 1995. There was an elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony on Tuesday inside the church.
29
August 30, 2014
Greater Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
At least 10 Christian pastors were brought in for questioning to the Surajpur Police station in Greater Noida on Saturday over allegations that they were forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity. Soon after their detention, the police station was surrounded by protesters from various Hindu groups. Local reports suggest that the Christians were physically assaulted by the mob. Investigation by the police revealed that the allegations were baseless and that people were praying with the Christian pastors on their own free will. Christian community leaders in Greater Noida said allegations of forced conversion had been trumped up and were aimed at creating mistrust in the district.
30
August 31, 2014
Bhusala Danapur, Patna, Bihar, India
A pastor and his house owner were beaten by Hindu fundamentalists. Pastor Rakesh (name changed) along with two other pastors were showing the film on Jesus in front of their house while two Hindu fundamentalists Shri Sanjay Roi and Shri Bumphod Roi came to the spot and stopped the film show. They shouted at the pastors and verbally threatened them saying 'We are Hindus and we are living in Hindustan. Why are you converting us?'. They then forced the pastors to worship Hindu Gods. When Pastor Rakesh's house owner saw this, he came to defend the Pastor. The men then started beating both the house owner and the Pastor. The fundamentalists left the scene when the villagers intervened and stopped the beating. No reports have been filed till press time.
31
September 11, 2014
Rajepur Village, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
On September 11, 2014, six police officers came to question a Pastor who was conducting a prayer meeting at one of his believers. The 35 believers who had come for the prayer responded to the queries raised by the police and no reports were filed.
32
September 12, 2014
Barawah Village, Khandwa, Chhattisgarh, India
4 Pastors were arrested for praying for a family in the village. A mob of about 100 Hindu fundamentalists who had gathered there after the incident forced the family to file false allegations against the pastors saying that they had asked them to throw away their idols. The pastors have not been bailed out till press time.
33
September 13, 2014
Katte Kalyan  Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, India
Hindu Fundamentalists threatened Christians attending the Indian Pentecostal Church to convert back to Hinduism. The believers have been receiving threats very often in the past months. When the fundamentalists had come to speak to Christians on Saturday, they verbally abused the villagers and threatened them for not converting back to Hinduism. The verbal attack was interrupted when the Police saw the altercation and calmed down the mob of about 20 persons. Two years back, the Pastor was beaten by the fundamentalists for conducting the services at the village. No report was filed till press time.
34
September 13, 2014
Bindhani Village, Itki, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Five students of theology were held captive by villagers. They were caught with Christian literature and New Testament Bibles by villagers who had also gathered from the neighboring villages. Some of the villagers kicked and punched them and also brutally attacked them with cricket stumps and bats. They threatened them to stop preaching Christianity and asked them to never come back to the village. When the Police was informed about the same, they rescued the students and sent them safely back to the seminary. No report was filed till press time.
35
September 15, 2014
Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, India
About 30 Christians of the Madutha Village, Bhanpuri, Dantewada District are being harassed for over a week by Hindu fundamentalists. The Pastor was beaten up by the fundamentalists  and was threatened to never conduct prayer meetings at the Christian Prayer Hall in the village. The believers have been facing continuous threats to their life from the village members as well and are being forced to reconvert to Hinduism. No reports were filed till press time.


             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


VIOLENCE AGAINST MUSLIMS

Much of the violence has been against Muslims. BJP Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday that “jihad in the name of love is unacceptable” and that only a BJP-led government in UP can “stop forceful conversion of Hindu girls”. He also categorised “love Jihad” as “a national and social problem”. This is one reason for the violence. Others include objections to loud speakers in mosques, controversies over burial grounds, and objections to the construction of mosques. A extremely volatile situation  has emrged in the  semi urban belt around the National Capital of Delhi extending from Meerut in the east to the Mewat region in the south-west with slogans against Love Jihad as he main trigger.

According to an investigation by the Indian Express, police records show that more than 600 “communal incidents” or small religious conflicts took place in Uttar Pradesh (UP) after the Lok Sabha elections, between 16 May and 25 July 2014. The largest number of riots, 259, took place in western UP. In the Terai region, 29 clashes took place; in the Awadh region, 53; in Bundelkhand, six; and in eastern UP, 16 (Express Investigation Part I 2014). A further analysis of the statistics shows that the regions where most of the communal riots took place are the constituencies where assembly by-polls will be held very soon. For example, in western UP, polls are due in five seats; in the Terai region, in two seats; in the Awadh region, in one seat; in Bundelkhand, in two seats; and in eastern UP, in two seats. The roles of political classes and parties are clearly evident in these riots. [FULL REPORT IN ANNEXURE]

The intention here is not to list each one of the hundreds of incidents. Some are given as illustrative of trends.

IT PROFESSIONAL LYNCHED IN PUNE

It was within a fortnight of the swearing in of the new government that  the nation received a jolt in the lynching of a young Information Technology professional  in the metropolitan city of Pune, in Maharasthra. As the Times of India reported on 5th June under the headline  In Pune, ‘Hindu zealots’ kill man over ‘offensive’ Facebook post, 13 arrested” Mohsin Mohammed Sadique Shaikh was killed randomly after rumours spread over an objectionable post on Facebook. The 28-year-old man was beaten to death on Monday night by people with suspected links with a Hindu fundamentalist outfit. Shaikh was bludgeoned to death after being beaten with hockey sticks near his residence here on Monday night. Shaikh had been living in Pune since 2006 and was working as a manager in the IT department of a textile firm since the last four years. A police inspector told the Times of India the 13 young men arrested were members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena.
Shaikh's cousin Salman said that the victim and his roommate were returning home on their motorcycle after picking up their dinner. "A gang of youths blocked his way near the lane just behind his house and started hitting him with sticks. While the roommate managed to escape, they bludgeoned my cousin with stones and fled. He was lying covered in blood for about 15 minutes. His brother rushed there and took him to a nearby hospital where he died during treatment," he said. A little before the murder, the same youths had beaten up two other men at the same spot.

 

From what started as a small unit in Vile Parle area of Mumbai, the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) has grown into a radical Hindu outfit in Maharashtra. Its leader Dhananjay Desai, referred to as Bhai by his followers, is said to have started the outfit when he was just 14.
Desai, who was arrested in connection with the murder, is a history-sheeter. According to the police, he has been named in 23 cases of extortion, rioting and other crimes. Desai and HRS first grabbed headlines in April 2007 when they attacked Star News office at Mumbai for telecasting a news item on a Hindu girl eloping with a Muslim youth. The outfit had also extended support to Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Srikant Purohit, accused in the Malegaon blasts. A Financial Express report quotes Yogesh Kupekar, who supervises the HRS office in Mumbai, as saying, “A graduate from Tilak College in Mumbai, Desai was inclined towards Hindutva ideology since his childhood,” said Yogesh Kupekar, who supervises the HRS office in Mumbai. “Bhai was influenced by the Shiv Sena in the 1980s. But he wanted to form his own group and work for the cause of Hindutva. So he started working in the name of Hindu Rashtra Sena when he was only 14 years old,” he said. A Hindu activist close to Desai said that the HRS chief was like “Robin Hood” who looted the wealthy and used the money for the cause of Hinduism. However, according to police, Desai runs the outfit with the money extorted from builders and businessmen.   Desai, who is infamous for making inflammatory speeches, wields strong influence among the youth and moves around in a convoy like that of a politician.

After Ahmedabad, BJP men riot in Bijapur:

Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Narendra Modi, fierce communal clashes broke out between Hindus and Muslims in Bijapur when the victory procession of BJP  activists led by former Union minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, approached Lal Bahaddur Shastri market. The BJP supporters were playing provocative songs on loudspeaker which called for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and slogans of their success. The sloganeering and hurling abuses at passerby Muslims led to clashes between two groups. A police officer who did not want to be named said, “BJP workers were applying gulaal [red colour powder] on the faces of the public and passers-by. Around 7 pm, the rally entered the sabzi mandi adjacent to LBS market dominated by Muslim businessmen. Violence started when hundreds of BJP workers in the demonstration tried to forcibly smear red and saffron-colour powder on Muslims to which some vendors objected. In turn, rallyists assaulted some boys. A full-fledged riot broke out within five minutes. BJP hooligans removed batons off their waving flags and went on a rampage damaging parked vehicles, stalls, forcing all shops and businesses in and around Gandhi Chowk, Kohinoor Lodge near Shivaji circle, Nehru Market and Basaveshwar Road to shut down. This went on for some three hours causing heavy damages and loss to properties worth lakhs.”

Even as television cameras rolled live, the market was ransacked, several Muslim shops, push-carts of poor roadside vegetable and fruit-vendors, mostly belonging to Baghban community, were deliberately damaged and destroyed.  Footage of the mayhem, aired by local television channels, show heavily outnumbered police personnel standing as spectators even as rioters ran amok. Dozens of people sustained injuries including, two policemen, a woman, a child and a man who was admitted to the civil hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. One can make out what must have happened by watching a live video captured by a cellphone. Two boys were beaten blue and black by 4-5 khaki men. One of the boys’ mother scared them away shouting. The situation was brought under control after nearly three hours. The city was placed under prohibitory order (Section 144 (CrPC) for the next three days.
Inspector-General of Police (Northern Range) Bhaskar Rao described Mr. Yatnal as the prime culprit and said the police were on the lookout for him as he was facing non-bailable cognizable offence. He said when the police went to arrest Mr. Yatnal, he was absconding. Mr. Rao said the police had evidence, including video footage, to prove the role of Mr. Yatnal and his supporters. “He will be arrested if he fails to surrender,” Mr. Rao said.  Yatnal was traced immediately the very next day. The police had followed his trails and ultimately found him hiding in Hotel Oriental in Kolhapur, about 180 kms northwest to Bijapur. Yatnal had checked into the hotel under a fake name. A team led by DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) M.Y. Baladandi tracked him down. He was caught holed up with three of his associates — Umesh Kore, Parasuram Kenganal and Yellappa — who too were arrested along with him.  The former minister and a few of his followers have been booked under IPC section 295 (insulting a religion or class), 153 A (promoting enmity between religions), 354 (molestation) and 353 (attacking a public servant).  [The Milli Gazette, 16-30 June 2014]

POLARISING MEWAT AND THE MEOS: The Economic and Poltiical weekly in a special report on 30th August 2014 said communal elements managed to polarise the Meos and the Hindus over a road accident, leading to yet another riot-like situation in Tauru town of Mewat district on 8 June, 2014. Meos are a Muslim community with its distinct traits radically different from other community groups. They are found in and around Mewat that includes Mewat district of Haryana and parts of adjoining Alwar and Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan. They are scattered in small numbers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh also. Largely converts from Rajput Hindus to Islam, the religion they profess is a blend of Islam and Hinduism. Meos subscribe to Islam but their caste structure is deeply influenced by their Hindu background.  In the 1857 revolt against the British rule Meos played a glorious role. Raisina, a village in Mewat was the centre of rebels. Many Meos here laid down their lives fighting against the British. In the last few years Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates have made significant inroads in Mewat and they played a highly provocative role in injecting anti-Muslim virus in the body of Mewat. They have been emphasising the role of Meos in spreading the concept of love-jihad .
On 8 June, 2014 at about seven in the morning a young man named Danvir, while riding a motor cycle, was mowed down by a dumper near Pataudi-Mohammadpur road junction in Tauru, a small town in Mewat district of Haryana. He died on the spot. The driver ran away and two cleaners of the dumper - Raes and Mubarak, both Meos, were caught by the mob on the spot. Both the cleaners were thrashed by the mob with a sizeable presence of a Hindu mob, so ruthlessly, that they died. Some elements in the mob started manhandling and beating any Meo they spotted in the town. Ismael Meo got serious injuries. Three motor cycles of Meos were set ablaze. The news spread in the Meo villages around Tauru infuriated Meos. A large number of them reached the spot in different vehicles. There was clash between them and the Hindu mob. The RSS spread  a rumour that Radhswami Satsang Bhawan and and Pagha temple were razed to the ground. It was found by the team that the Radhaswami building was intact. The Sangh mob attacked the Jumma Masjid and Kasai Masjid and caused extensive damage to them. Religious texts, carpets and furniture were set ablaze. A curfew was eventually imposed and continued for about a week.

Crime Data Contradicts Communal Spin to Uttar Pradesh Rape Cases:
The BJP’s new rhetoric focusing on a communal twist to crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh is not borne out by cold facts. Data accessed by NDTV reporters Niha Masih and Sreenivasan Jain shows that in western Uttar Pradesh, where vociferous campaigns have highlighted the alleged abuse of Hindu women by Muslim men, women have been assaulted by men from their own community in most rape cases this year.

On 24 August 2014, NDTV reported in Meerut district, where the alleged gang-rape of a woman took on a communal colour, Muslims were accused in seven of the 37 rape cases reported this year. The accused were Hindus in the remaining 30 cases. Detailed data for rape cases covering a wider footprint of all nine districts of Western Uttar Pradesh prove that the reality does not match the concerns raised by the BJP, which in a political resolution passed by its UP unit, mentioned the increasing involvement of ‘a certain community’ in crimes against women of a ‘certain community’.

This year, there have been 334 rape cases in the districts of Meerut, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat, Hapur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. In 25 cases, the accused are Muslim and the women are Hindu. This is almost the same as the number of cases -23- in which the women are Muslim and their attackers are Hindu. In 96 cases, the accused and victims are Muslim. And in 190 cases - the highest number - both the accused and victims are Hindu.

ECONOMIC ISOLATION

Muslim businesses face heat in Gujarat: Muslims are not allowed to do meat and egg business in Palitana which is situated at about 100 kms from Bhavnagar. 10 Gujarati Muslim traders have alleged to having been forced to close down their businesses over the past one month. The latest complaint was filed on 4 September 24, 2014 by hotelier Mustafa Patel who claims to have shut down his Jyoti Hotel on Viramgam highway, a 90 minute drive from Ahmedabad, after receiving threats. His petition says that despite court orders, Police has refused to provide him protection.

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has sought a report from the Gujarat government after receiving complaints related to preventing people from operating their businesses. Earlier the Commission had received complaints from nine traders of Chhota Udepur, alleging that their businesses have been ruined. The complaint said that the sarpanch of village Baroj, Jayanti Rathwa engineered a riot in the area to take away the luxury transport business from his competitor Irfan Abdul Ghani. The region witnessed communal clashes  following a minor altercation between Adivasis and Muslims.

"Many Minority industries were attacked and set on fire. Police DIG  and SP went there, FIRs were lodged but till today no one has been arrested," said the complaint. Muslims and Advisasi have lived together in the area for centuries. Muslims smell a conspiracy to create bad blood between the two communities with a view to force Muslims out of business in the region. Those who have been already forced to close down their businesses are Kasim Ahmad (scrap dealer), Ahmad Arif (minerals), Farooq Bhai (power production unit), Yakub Mohammad (mineral production), Saifudin Ali (power production), Ahmad Khoka (power), Shabir Bhai (mineral production), Majid Khan (power) and Harun Abdul Malajher (mines).

Palitana IS a sacred place for the Jain community. There is a famous temple here. Jains come from all over the country and even from aboard to visit it. In the temple vicinity, meat and eggs were not allowed but now even in the rest of the town Muslims are not allowed to do the business of meat.  Recently in Ahmedabad city, all slaughter houses and meat shops were forced to close on account of a Jain festival for about a week.

Muslim populated areas deprived of ‘Jan Dhan’ scheme :
Under ‘Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Scheme’ whereas bank accounts of common people are being opened on a large scale in all banks of Delhi even in case of people who have zero balance, people living in Muslim populated areas are being deprived of this facility because on account of Banks anti-Muslim bias they are not opening / have not opened their branches because these (Muslim populated) areas have been black-listed by almost all banks in consequence of which lakhs of residents of these areas, majority of whom are Muslims, are facing great difficulties in opening their bank accounts. When the manager of a bank was asked about this he said on condition of anonymity that Banks Advisory Committee takes decisions about opening the bank’s branches in different localities on the basis of resolutions passed, surveys of localities etc but when a locality is blacklisted, how can branches be opened there? He did not specify the reason of blacklisting a locality or region.
After the prime minister’s 15th August speech and ‘Jan Dhan’ scheme, bank accounts of even people who have neither any bank account nor any bank balance are being opened in all banks of the country on a large scale. Some commercial banks had already started opening bank accounts of people. If some one’s bank account is already opened but he has no debit card, there is no need for him to open a fresh account. They can get a debit card on the basis of the account already opened.

Whereas great rush of account openers is being seen in banks in all areas, in Muslim populated areas like Mustafabad, Nehru Vihar, Khajoori Khas, Ghonda, Brahampuri, Old and New Seelampur, Jaffarabad, Welcome Colony, Kabir Nagar, Nangloee, Prem Nagar, Mubarakpur, Nizamuddin, Seemapuri, Sunder Nagri, Jamia Nagar, Batla House, Jogabaee, Shaheen Bagh, Abul Fazal Enclave, Okhla Vihar  Muslims of these areas are facing great difficulties in opening accounts in the absence of branches of any bank. Banks on the whole are so biased against Muslims that almost all these Muslim populated areas are blacklisted. There are very little ATM facilties also in these areas. People in these areas are not given any loans nor housing loans from whatever bank branches are opened here.  [The Milli Gazette – 16-30 September 2014]

POLICE REVEALS SANGH HAND IN RIOTS IN SAHARANPUR: Meerut’s Police Commissioner Bhupender Singh, who was appointed by UP government to probe Saharanpur’s (Muslim-Sikh) communal riots, has also blamed BJP, in particular its Member of Parliament, Raghav Lakhan Pal as well as district administration as being responsible for the Saharanpur communal riots of July 2014. The Muslim-Sikh communal riots that started on 25 July in Saharanpur three persons were killed and hundreds of shops were looted, destroyed or set on fire in addition to more than 40 vehicles etc. In these riots about 35 persons were injured. At first UP government had constituted a committee including Shiv Kant Ojha, minister for technical education; Arvind Singh Gopay, minister for rural development; Aashoo Malik, state minister and Haji Ikram Qureshi and headed by PWD minister, Shiv Pal Singh Yadav. In its brief report this committee, which submitted its report to the government on 14 August in which, in addition to holding BJP MP, Raghav Lakhan Pal and Mahram Ali Pappu as the main accused persons, also blamed the police and district administration, some Congress as well as SP leaders for spreading tension and abetting communal hatred. The report said that police and civilian officials at lower levels were lax in controlling the situation and because of their laxity they failed not only in bringing the situation under control but added to the gravity of the situation because rioters and unsocial elements were encouraged to provoke and fanning communal passion.

Police Commissioner Bupender Singh submitted his 92-page report to the government on 25 August and blamed the BJP MP Lakhan Pal. This report said that in spite of being advised by officials not to visit riot-hit areas, this MP visited many sensitive localities in different cars and was also seen inciting the people (Hindus and Sikhs) to violence. [The Milli Gazette – 16-30 September 2014]

     ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Hindutva actions, Hate statements and trends – Post General Elections 2014 – documented by Indian Media

Date
Statements/Actions
Source
1
May 19, 2014
No Muslim MP in BJP
2
May 20, 2014
BJP to tackle Ram Mandir, Article 370
3
May 24, 2014
Goa: Facebook user faces jail for anti-Modi 'holocaust' comment
4
May 27, 2014
Sanjeev Baliyan: From riot accused to central minister
5
May 28, 2014
Muslims are not Minorities, Parsis are: Najma
6
June 3, 2014
Book on sexual violence in Ahmedabad riots is ‘set aside’ by publisher
7
June 3, 2014
Publisher of Megha Kumar’s 'Communalism and Sexual Violence: Ahmedabad since 1969' forced to censor
8
June 4, 2014
Pune mob violence over 'Bal Thackeray pics' kills 1
9
June 4, 2014
Pune techie killed, SMS boasts of taking 'first wicket'
10
June 9, 2014
Publishers fear legal or violent reprisal
11
June 10, 2014
Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) and the ABVP, the RSS students’ wing set a target of at least one lakh volunteers in each district of UP.
12
June 12, 2014
Foreing Fund NGOs stalling development: IB Report
13
June 14, 2014
CBSE syllabus is anti-national: Shashikant Phadke
14
June 17, 2014
Smriti Irani asks for details of appointments made in educational institutions
15
June 18, 2014
RSS book in Vadodara schools
20
July 3, 2014
Sudershan Rao from RSS will head historical research body
21
July 6, 2014
In Bastar, 50 villages ban non-Hindu missionaries
22
July 6, 2014
Sena, Christian evangelist’s followers clash in UP village
23
July 15, 2014
NDA Government 'wants consultation' on controversial Uniform Civil Code
24
July 17, 2014
Bajrang Dal members arrested for vandalising a church in Bulandshahr
25
July 17, 2014
BJP win blow to Muslim politics: Singhal
26
July 17, 2014
If [Muslims] keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?” – Singhal
27
July 19, 2014
After Singhal, Togadia reminds Muslims of Muzaffarnagar riots
29
July 19, 2014
Subramanian Swamy in dock over Facebook post on HIV positive students creating enmity against Catholic Church
31
July 24, 2014
Pakistan's 'daughter-in-law' Sania Mirza lacks credentials to be Telangana brand ambassador: BJP
32
July 24, 2014
Force feeding a Muslim man compared to rapes during Ramzan
33
July 25, 2014
Modi can make India a Hindu State with our support: Goa Minister
34
July 25, 2014
Tension in Moradabad as VHP Leader Plans Puja at Temple Caught in a Dispute
35
July 26, 2014
Batra claims that Smriti will change entire syllabus.
38
July 27, 2014
Compulsory reading list for government primary and secondary students in Gujarat
39
July 27, 2014
Sangh sets up panel to push 'saffronisation' of education
40
July 27, 2014
Smriti to scan the NCERT syllabus for revision
41
July 28, 2014
BJP forces will press for saffronisation of history books
42
July 28, 2014
Social media used to incite violence in Saharanpur
43
July 29, 2014
Gujarat school books on racism
44
July 30, 2014
Anti-black magic bill not necessary in Goa: Hindu Janajagruti Samiti
45
July 30, 2014
Batra’s panel to ‘Indianise’ education
46
July 30, 2014
Naroda Patia massacre: Maya Kodnani granted bail by Gujarat high court
47
July 31, 2014
Detention Centers for immigrants from Bangladesh
48
August 1, 2014
Victims of custodial deaths in Maharashtra only from minorities
49
August 2, 2014
RSS –linked Think Tank Vivekananda International Foundation infiltrates Bureaucracy
50
August 3, 2014
RSS criticizes minority status to Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists
51
August 5, 2014
Over 600 ‘communal incidents’ in UP since LS results, 60% near bypoll seats
52
August 6, 2014
120 communal incidents lie in a clash involving the use of loudspeakers in masjids and temples.
53
August 6, 2014
Babu Bajrangi granted bail in Gujarat
54
August 6, 2014
RSS Idealogue Calls For Gita to Be Declared National Book
55
August 7, 2014
One out of 9 communal incidents in UP involve Muslims and Dalits.
56
August 8, 2014
BJP, Parivar outfits to intensify campaign against ‘love jihad’
57
August 8, 2014
Politics of Konsar Nag Pilgrimage: Rahul Pandita
58
August 8, 2014
Show of strength in December 2014 by converting Muslims and Christians into Hinduism
59
August 9, 2014
Victoria Statues targeted in Uttar Pradesh
60
August 10, 2014
BJP and Shiv oppose bill to curb criminal activities in the name of religious practices.
61
August 10, 2014
Hindutva laced monk with feathers sells 'cure' to control women going astray
62
August 10, 2014
Love Buster helpline set up in Uttar Pradesh
63
August 10, 2014
Monk sells Love cure for innocent Hindu girls
64
August 12, 2014
Hindutvavadis trolling Bollywood
65
August 12, 2014
Subramanium Swamy suggests DNA test on Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah to prove her Indianness
68
August 15, 2014
BJP Leader Subramanian Swamy booked for “inciting religious hatred” in Karnataka
69
August 15, 2014
Kashmir controversy over Kousar Nag yatra
70
August 16, 2014
Muslim meat sellers beaten up, forced to flee Gurgaon village on Delhi border
71
August 16, 2014
RSS presence strong in the new government
72
August 17, 2014
Committee questions role of BJP Saharanpur riots in report
73
August 17, 2014
Modi decides to scrap Planning Commission
74
August 17, 2014
RSS rules in new BJP team
75
August 17, 2014
VHP members booked for wielding swords at golden jubilee celebrations
77
August 19, 2014
RSS wants Ram Temple while PM talks Unity
78
August 20, 2014
MP government vision paper attempt at communalisation citing lack of knowledge of awareness of culture and tradition
79
August 21, 2014
Government bans film that 'glorifies' Indira's assassins after Home Ministry raises law and order fears
80
August 22, 2014
Right wing ideologues in textbooks
81
August 23, 2014
‘Love jihad’ on official agenda of BJP’s UP unit
82
August 23, 2014
Hindutva and BJP Thugs Celebrate the Death of Famed Writer UR Ananthamurthy
83
August 24, 2014
‘Liquor-free-Kerala’ finds support from leaders of Christian and Muslim communities alleges two Hindu organizations
84
August 24, 2014
NDA to rename UPA schemes after Hindutva icons
85
August 25, 2014
Activists on house-to-house search for 'foreigners' in Manipur
86
August 27, 2014
If They Kill One Hindu, We Will Kill 100 Muslims' 'Says Yogi Adityanath in a surfaced video
87
August 28, 2014
Nothing wrong in calling all Indians Hindu: Najma
88
August 28, 2014
Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand granted bail by High Court
89
August 29, 2014
Najma denies her statements on all Indians being Hindu
90
August 31, 2014
Riots take place wherever minorities are more than 10%: Yogi Adityanath in 'Aap Ki Adalat'
91
August 31, 2014
Two cops who probed Ishrat, Sohrab cases shunted
92
August 31, 2014
Yogi Adityanath blames Muslims for riots in UP
93
September 3, 2014
Govt urged to provide firearm licences to Hindu outfit leaders
95
September 4, 2014
India - Gujarat 2002 riots: Court acquits all 44 accused in Gomtipur case
96
September 4, 2014
VHP wants Pakistani lifestyle exhibition in Delhi scrapped
97
September 5, 2014
Gita back in Madhya Pradesh schools under moral science garb
98
September 5, 2014
Palda Village Riots accused not being arrested by Police
99
September 5, 2014
Sangh re-converts Dalit Muslim converts in Shivpuri
101
September 6, 2014
Right Winger Adityanath Attributes the Origin of Term “'love jihad' to Communist veteran and former Kerala CM V S Achuthanandan
102
September 6, 2014
The Teachers’ Day celebrations in Gujarat started with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) anthem “manushya tu bada mahaan hai, bhool mat”
103
September 7, 2014
"We will cleanse our Hindu society. We will not let the conspiracy of church or mosque succeed in Bharat (India)," said Hindu activist Rajeshwar Singh
104
September 7, 2014
Guaranteed divorces and wedding for Hindu girls
105
September 7, 2014
Muslims only appartments in G. Noida - Is it high-end ghettos?
106
September 7, 2014
RSS's paper Panchjanya on Hateful Propaganda about Love Jihad
107
September 7, 2014
The divisive agenda of RSS is now Public: Hansal Mehta
108
September 9, 2014
VHP Sets chowkis (booths) and deploys “flying squads” to check the transportation of cows
109
September 9, 2014
VHP ups the ante on cow, conversion
110
September 11, 2014
Vishwa Hindu Parishad claims 'love jihad' election leaflets not theirs but agree with what is said in these leaflets
111
September 13, 2014
Crying love jihad, Hindutva activists lay siege to Bhopal police station after girl goes missing
112
September 14, 2014
BJP MP claims Madrasas 'teach youths to be terrorists
113
September 15, 2014
Modi: The Pradhan Sevak: Prathna Gahilote
114
September 15, 2014
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal ransack the office of University Vice Chancellor for expressing sympathies with Kashmir flood victims
115
September 15, 2014
BJP Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj claims madrasas offering cash rewards for love jihad




ANNEXURES:

Transcript of Mr.Fali S. Nariman’s 7th Annual Lecture of National Commission of Minorites: “Minorities at Cross Roads: Comments on Judicial Pronouncements” delivered on Friday, 12th September, 2014
at Speaker Hall (Annexe), Constitution Club of India, Rafi Marg, New Delhi
Organized by The National Commission of Minorities


The elections in April-May, 2014 this year have put a strong majoritarian Government in power at the Centre.  I welcome it.

Whilst I welcome a single-party majority government, I also fear it.

I fear it because of past experience with a majoritarian government in the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies: when the then all-Congress Government had unjustifiably imposed the Internal Emergency of June 1975.  And rode rough shod over the liberties of citizens.  I cannot forget it nor can I condone it.

My wife and I have lived through it and we know how a very large number of people suffered.

Traditionally Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths.   But - recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate-speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain.  And let me say this frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance.

Jawahar Lal Nehru was a Hindu.

But he never looked upon the diverse and varied peoples of India from the stand point of Hinduism.  He wrote in that most inspiring book “The Discovery of India” that “it was fascinating to find how the Bengalis, the Canarese, the Malayalis, the Sindhis, the Punjabis, the Pathans, the Kashmiris, the Rajputs, and the great central block comprising of Hindustani–speaking people, had retained their particular characteristics for hundreds of years, with more or less the same virtues and failings, and yet they had been throughout these ages distinctively Indian, with the same national heritage and the same set of moral and mental qualities.

Ancient India, like ancient China (he wrote), was a world in itself.  Their culture and civilization gave shape to all things.  Foreign influences poured in and often influenced that culture, but they were absorbed.  Disruptive tendencies gave rise immediately to an attempt to find a synthesis.

It was some kind of a dream of unity that occupied the mind of India, and of the Indian, since the dawn of civilization.  And that unity was not conceived as something imposed from outside.  It was something deeper; within its fold, the widest tolerance of beliefs and customs was practiced and every variety was acknowledged and even encouraged.  This was Nehru’s great vision of the diversity and unity of India.

When someone told Panditji that Hindi was the predominant language of India, he agreed although he said he would have preferred it if it was Hindustani, and then he added (and I ask you to note what he added):

(I quote) “Quite frankly I do not understand the way some people are afraid of the Urdu language.  I just do not understand why in any State in India people should consider Urdu a foreign language and something which invades their own domain.  Urdu is a language mentioned in our Constitution.  I object to any narrow mindedness in regard to Urdu….” (Unquote).


And how right he was.  These words were said by him in December 1955.  They have proved prophetic.  Almost 60 years later, just last week, a Constitution Bench of 5 Judges of India’s Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Urdu being made the second regional language in the State of Uttar Pradesh, where it is widely read and spoken.

It is a step and a very important step in the right direction. 

Some day in the future – for the good of the integration of India - Urdu deserves to be included not just in the Eighth Schedule where it lies with 21 other recognized Indian languages, but upfront in a trinity of National languages of India i.e. Hindi, Urdu and English.

When speaking of minorities.  Do remember that in some countries there is no linguistic equivalent for the expression.  In an official communication to the U.N. Sub-Commission (on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities), the Government of Thailand stated that the concept of “minorities” was unknown in that country.  The communication said (and I quote):

“Although this word has a Thai translation from the English for the purpose of communication with the outside world, it has no social or cultural connotation whatever”![1]

But for us in India we have a written Constitution and there is no difficulty in knowing who are reckoned as “minorities”.  Article 29 read with Article 30 provides that any section of citizens of India residing in India or any part of the territory of India having a distinct religion, language, script or culture of their own are minorities with the right – a fundamental right – to conserve their religion language script and culture.  One culture was anathema to the Founding Fathers.

Religious and linguistic minorities not only have a separate status under our Constitution.  They have also been conferred an additional fundamental right – a right which no ordinary law can take away – viz. to “establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”. 

The intention of the framers of the Constitution was to use the term ‘minorities’ in the widest sense. 

In the Constituent Assembly debates you will find mention of this intent (you will find it in Vol.VII of the Constituent Assembly Debates at pages 922-923).  It is recorded there (and this is an example given by our Founding Fathers in the debate during Constitution-making) – that Maharashtrians settled in Bengal or Bengalis settled in Maharashtra – even though Hindus settled amongst Hindus and hence not a religious minority in either State – are nonetheless linguistic minorities in each of the respective States and so have a fundamental right to protect their own language and culture; and additionally, to establish educational institutions “of their choice” to foster that language and culture.

By its very existence, then – and our Constitution recognizes this - every minority group whether religious linguistic or cultural in any part of India poses a challenge to – the predominantly majority community - a challenge to what has been elsewhere described as:

“the dynamics of governance amidst pluralism”.

This is the challenge for every government including a majority government, even a majority government that has a 2/3rd majority in Parliament.  It is – still pledged to safeguard and enhance minority rights – The Constitution has ensured that the dynamics of Governance amidst pluralism has to be tackled peacefully and with vision.

In every nation intolerance towards someone who looks, talks or worships differently (or who even lives or dresses differently) from the majority community has always been a basic human infirmity. 

Every tribal society in almost every part of the world has chosen a word to denote “foreigner” or “outsider”.[2] In Bhutan and Sikkim when most of the foreign visitors were from India – they still are from India - the term GYAGAR (Tibetan for “Indian”) was adopted to denote the “outsider” – an innocent term in itself, but the tone of voice or accent with which it was expressed conveyed something derogatory or contemptuous.

Whatever the source from which a minority derives its existence, religious, ethnic or linguistic, the rest of society has to make a conscious effort in coming to terms with it: but the fact of life is that the larger the majority community with greater political power the lesser the inclination to make efforts to build bridges.

Which explains – why generally speaking minorities because they are minorities are not well-treated, or at least do not feel well-treated, in different parts of the world – This is a theme that has been explored more fully in a recently published book by a Lebanese author M. Amin Maalouf (The book is titled “In the name of Identity”)[3].  He points out that those who claim a complex identity are often marginalised because others perceive them through the lens of only one aspect of their identity: their religion. 

Maalouf grew up in Lebanon and moved to France in 1976, at a young age.  He sees himself as both Lebanese and French.  He celebrates the ability of humans to maintain numerous identities.  He does not like the singular (what he calls) tribal identity of fanatics who are (as he says) “easily transformed into butchers”.  About fanatics he writes that any doctrine with which they identify can be and is perverted, including liberalism, nationalism, atheism and communism.  He believes in (what he calls) calming identity conflicts because as he says:
“it will mean making people, especially minorities, feel included”
a useful guide for us in India – if we all, majority and minority, move towards calming identity conflicts.   We need it particularly now when we are poised for greater economic development.

History shows several ways in which members of a society have tried to solve the problems posed by the presence of a minority group (“section of citizens”, as our Constitution describes them).  These ways or methods are four in number.

(1)      The first method is: forceful suppression and eradication:

-       Will Durant records in his Story of Civilization[4] – that in India in the middle–ages during the alien despotism of the Sultanates of Delhi, Sultan Ahmad Shah boastfully feasted for three days whenever the number of defenceless Hindus slain in his territories reached twenty thousand! 

The same method was adopted even in modern times as witnessed in the planned liquidation of six million Jews;

(2)      The second method is: coercive or hostile toleration:

-       Which is like the treatment of a sect of Muslims known as Quadianis (or Ahmediyas) in Modern day Pakistan.  The Ahmediyas, because they were in a minority and because the rest of the Muslims in their Parliament were in a majority, were declared officially and statutorily as non-Muslims in the Islamic State of Pakistan.  Today they are hardly “tolerated” – even as non-Muslims!

(3)      The third method is: by voluntary or involuntary assimilation or absorption.


-       As witnessed by forced conversion in the middle-ages which effectively destroyed the identity of religious minority groups.  The Ismaili Khojas and the Cutchi Memons of today were originally Hindus – who were forcibly converted to Islam during the invasions of Mahomed of Ghazni (AD 971 to 1030) and his successors.   They are now a recognized sect of Muslims in India, who practice the religion of the Prophet.

Our Constitution has consciously rejected these first 3 methods as contrary to the Indian ethos:
(4)      Our Constitution has consciously adopted the fourth way – Affirmative action for protection and preservation - as the only way – because at the time of the framing of the Constitution and for many years after that, this was the Hindu ethos i.e. – the true Indian ethos.

In the Indian Constitution, the provisions of Part III have been so drafted as not only to prevent disability for, or discrimination against minorities, but to create positive and enforceable rights on them.  And then Parliament has put in place since 1992 the National Commission of Minorities Act – the role of the Commission is to protect and preserve the minorities from attacks from outside.
It is this liberal approach to Fundamental Rights and protection of minorities that has helped – the minorities in India to progress, so far – as well as to conserve and protect their guaranteed rights.  Then why are the minorities at the cross-roads today? 
It is because the body set up by Parliament to protect minorities has omitted to take effective steps to protect them. 
We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost on a daily basis a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens who belong to a religious minority and the criticism has been that the majority government at the centre has done nothing to stop this tirade.  I agree.

But do remember that every government whether at the Centre or State – whether composed of one political party or another – will do or not do whatever it considers expedient to advance its own political interests.  This is why in my view Parliament has in its wisdom set up an independent Minorities Commission to look after the interest of Minorities.  It is true that the National Commission for Minorities has functions defined in Section 9 of the Act, but the functions would definitely not preclude the Commission issuing Press Statements or filing criminal complaints regarding diatribes against minorities or protesting against hate speeches against minorities in general or against any particular minority community.  The Commission is specifically empowered to do two things:
(i)            To look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matter with the Authorities; and

(ii)          Suggest appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Government.


I would implore the distinguished members of the National Commission for Minorities (and believe me they are influential and distinguished) to read the Statement of Objects and Reasons for enacting the National Commission for Minorities Act.  This is what the Statement of Objects and Reasons says: (I Quote)
            “The main task of the Commission – mark you – the main task of the Commission – shall be to evaluate the progress of the development of minorities, monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution for the protection of the interests of minorities and in laws enacted by the Central Government or State Governments, besides looking into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities.”
So the main task of the Commission is “protecting the interests of minorities”.  And how does one protect the interest of minorities who (or a section of which) are on a daily basis lampooned and ridiculed or spoken against in derogatory language?  The answer is by invoking the provisions of enacted law – law enacted in the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.  Otherwise the Commission is not fulfilling its main task which is the protection of the interests of the minorities. 
I do implore the Commission and its distinguished members to take steps as an independent Commission set up by Parliament and not controlled by government, to actively move to safeguard the interests of the minorities.  It is as important as giving educational facilities and improving the economic condition of the minorities which the Commission and Government are rightly pursuing. 
Those who indulge in hate speech must be prevented by Court processes initiated at the instance of the Commission because that is the body that represents Minorities in India.  Whoever indulges in such hate speech or vilification (whatever the community to which they belong) they must be proceeded against and the proceeding must be widely publicized.  It is only then that the confidence of the minorities in the National Commission for the Minorities will get restored.
I would respectfully suggest that if we minorities (through the statutory body set up by Parliament) do not stand up for the rights of minorities and protest against such hate speeches and diatribes how do we expect the Government to do so -?

A majoritarian Government is elected and exists mainly on the vote of the majority community.  On the other hand the Commission is an independent statutory body.  Its Chairman is not a Minister of Government.  And though it receives grants from the Central Government it is not expected to be a mere mouthpiece of that Government.

I come now to the second part of my talk this evening – about judicial pronouncements.
Before the nineteen nineties – and I emphasize this because it means that for almost forty long years after independence – on almost every occasion on which the minorities approached the Supreme Court of India complaining of State or Central legislation or executive action as infringing their fundamental rights, the challenge was upheld.  It was most heartening.  The Supreme Court of India functioned as a Super Minorities Commission – as it was meant to: this was long before a Minorities Commission got established by law made by Parliament. 
For instance, way back in 1952 a small minority group known as Anglo-Indians, who ran many reputed schools in Bombay, were adversely affected by an order passed by the then Government of Bombay.  The Order forbade state-aided schools using English as a medium of instruction to admit pupils other than Anglo-Indians or citizens-of-non-Asiatic descent.  Anglo-Indians could maintain and administer their schools and teach in English but only to Anglo-Indians; if they admitted other Indians they forfeited State aid - unless of course, they switched over to Hindi as the medium of instruction.  The effort was to encourage the use of the National language (Hindi) – which is a constitutional prescription. 
Although the object was laudable, the order was struck down by the Supreme Court because under the Constitution – Anglo-Indians which had a distinct language (which was English) had a fundamental right to conserve, the same and because the direct effect of the Order was to prevent Indians from entering Anglo-Indian Schools on grounds of race and language[5].
Seven years later, (in 1959), the same Supreme Court of India thwarted an attempt by the Communist-controlled Government of Kerala to take over the management of Christian Schools contrary to Article 30.  In an Advisory opinion given by a bench of seven Judges of India’s Supreme Court – rendered in a Presidential reference - large parts of the Kerala Education Bill were declared unconstitutional.[6]  This is well-known.  What is not so well-known is what Chief Justice S.R. Das (a devout Hindu) said in his judgment when (presiding over a Bench of 7 Judges).  He gave a peroration at the end of his judgment: which he wrote for himself and for five of his colleagues on the Bench. This is how it read:
“There can be no manner of doubt that our Constitution has guaranteed certain cherished rights of the minorities concerning their language, culture and religion.  These concessions must have been made to them for good and valid reasons.  Article 45, no doubt, requires the State to provide for free and compulsory, education for all children, but there is nothing to prevent the State from discharging that solemn obligation through Government and Government-aided schools and Art.45 does not require that obligation to be discharged at the expense of the minority communities.  So long as the Constitution stands as it is and is not altered, it is, we conceive, the duty of this Court to uphold the fundamental rights and thereby honour our sacred obligation to the minority communities who are of our own.”  (Unquote).

He then ended his peroration with these words: 
“The genius of India has been able to find unity in diversity by assimilating the best of all creeds and cultures.  Our Constitution accordingly recognises our sacred obligation to the minorities.”

Notice that the expression “our sacred obligation to the minorities” was used not once but twice in the same judgment.
Even the Judge who did not entirely agree with the views of Chief Justice S.R. Das and of his 5 Companion Justices – in the Kerala Education Bill case – (he was Justice Venkatarama Aiyar (a Brahmin whose portrait hangs in Court No.3)) had said (and I quote):
“But what is the policy behind Art.30(1)?  As I conceive it, it is that it should not be in the power of the majority in a State to destroy or to impair the rights of the minorities, religious or linguistic.  That is a policy which permeates all Modern Constitutions, and its purpose is to encourage individuals to preserve and develop their own distinct culture.”

Mark the words: “their own distinct culture”.
After the Kerala Education Bill Case, some State Governments said they found it increasingly difficult to regulate educational standards, and so the Highest Court in 1974 was requested to constitute a larger Constitution Bench to reconsider its previous decisions.  It did. 
Certain provisions of the Gujarat University Act 1949 had laid down statutory conditions for affiliation of colleges in Gujarat to the Gujarat University; they applied to all educational institutions including those run by minorities; they provided that teaching and training in all colleges affiliated to the University would be conducted and imparted by teachers appointed only by the University.  Since the provisions interfered with the minorities’ right to administer and run educational institutions “of their choice” – a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 30 – these provisions were challenged by the Ahmadabad St. Xavier’s College (managed by Jesuits).
The Court heard the case – this time sitting in a larger Bench of nine judges[7]  - for reconsidering the decision in the Kerala Education Bill case. 
But this Bench of 9 Judges in the end re-affirmed what was said by the Bench of 7 judges in the Kerala Education Bill case. It struck down the offending provisions as inapplicable to minority-run colleges.     One of the Judges sitting on the Bench was Mr.Justice H.R. Khanna, one of the most famous and the most noble of India’s Judges.  He was a votary of the Bharat Vikas Parishad which is a functioning social organization now chaired by Mr.Justice Rama Jois – a distinguished BJP Member of Parliament. 
In the St. Xavier’s College case Justice H.R. Khanna delivered a memorable judgment giving reasons why minority interests are so zealously protected in every society – especially in India.  This is what he said:
“The safeguards of the interest of the minorities amongst sections of the population is as important as the protection of the interest amongst individuals or persons who are below the age of majority or are otherwise suffering from some kind of infirmity.    The Constitution and the laws made by civilized nations, therefore, generally contain provisions for the protection of those interests.  It can, indeed, be said to be an index of the level of civilization and catholicity of a nation as to how far their minorities feel secure and are not subject to any discrimination or suppression.”
Khanna knew that it was the feeling amongst minorities about their security and about non-discrimination that mattered.
In an excellent treatise on the Role of the Supreme Court in American Government, Prof. Archibald Cox has written that constitutional adjudication depends upon a delicate symbiotic relation –
“The court must know us better than we know ourselves.  Its opinions may sometimes be the voice of the spirit, reminding us of our better selves
The judgment of the Supreme Court of India in the St. Xavier’s College case reminded all Indians of their “better selves”.
State-aided Minority Educational Institutions (MEIs) however, did not receive, the same favourable reception from the Supreme Court when Article 30 was invoked in the case of institutions of higher learning – in postgraduate courses in medicine, engineering and the like.
In these groups of cases (where I had been briefed and had appeared for some of the MEIs), different benches of the Supreme Court – at first – wavered as to how much, or how little, autonomy should be conceded to such minority educational institutions.  The cases shuttled from a bench of two justices, to a bench of five justices, then from a bench of five justices to a bench of seven justices (on 19th March 1994), and were ultimately referred to a bench of 11 justices (in TMA Pai Foundation vs. State of Karnataka). 
With the mandatory constitutional age of retirement of Supreme Court judges (at 65), the composition of the bench was entirely different from what it was in 1974!  In 2002 the difficulty the bench of 11 justices felt (in TMA Pai) – that’s what they said - was how to reconcile the provisions of Article 30(1) with the seemingly contrary provisions contained in Article 29(2):   

Article 30(1) provided:

“(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.”

But Article 29(2) provided as follows:

“(2).. No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”

But in the Kerala Education Bill case (1958), an attempt had been made at a reconciliation – this is what the Court in the Kerala case said:
“The real import of Article 29(2) and Article 30(1) seems to us to be that they clearly contemplate a minority (educational) institution with a sprinkling of outsiders admitted into it’;”
The expression ‘sprinkling of outsiders’ was later explained (in bench decisions of the Supreme Court) as not restricting the number of outsiders so long as the minority character of the institution was not affected.
But the inarticulate major premise underlying the ultimate decision of the justices who constituted the majority in the 11-judge bench in TMA Pai Foundation (2002) was the strong suspicion that many of the MEIs, in receipt of state aid, were selling seats to the highest bidder and were thus disentitled to invoke the Fundamental Right to ‘administer’ the MEI in question. In the Kerala Education Bill case (1958), Chief Justice S. R. Das had warned that the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Article 30 to administer educational institutions would not include the right to ‘maladminister’ them.

In the view of most of the judges on the bench (in TMA Pai Foundation), state-aided MEIs, which had established institutions for postgraduate courses in medicine, engineering and the like, were claiming a Fundamental Right to administer them almost solely with a view to profiteering in the matter of admissions and allotment of seats. It was money and not merit that mattered to them. ‘Maladministration’ therefore became a convenient stick with which to beat the MEIs – not unjustifiably, at times – but only at times: not every time!

In my view, the ultimate majority decision in TMA Pai Foundation was not so much the result of a textual interpretation of the constitutional provisions as of the apprehension of the judges that treating the right of minorities under Article 30 as ‘absolute’ (as it had been described in the earlier cases) would totally negate the claim of the states to regulate MEIs – especially in higher education. My plea to the judges that not suspicion, but only concrete allegations and proof of such allegations in individual cases could deprive MEIs of their Fundamental Right to administer minority educational institutions established by them, was invariably met with stony silence!

Prior to the decision in TMA Pai Foundation (2002) Courts in India – i.e. our Judges – had shown a special solicitude for minorities since (ordinarily) they would not be able to find protection in the normal political process.  In other countries also, there has been a tendency for Courts, when dealing with minority rights, to conceptualize their role to that of a political party in opposition.[8]  In his foreword to a book written by Justice K.K. Mathew titled: Democracy Equality and Freedom published by Eastern Book Company way back in 1976, Prof. Upendra Baxi said that the Supreme Court of India regarded minority rights as one of the “preferred freedoms”.  He was right. But he wrote this more than 40 years ago. 
Minority rights are still regarded by the Courts (as they have to be) as fundamental rights, but (and I say this with regret) they are no longer regarded by the Judges of today as “preferred freedoms”.
The decision in TMA Pai was a un-mitigated disaster for the minorities.  Let me tell you why.  Article 30 (the right of minorities, religious and linguistic to establish and maintain education institutions of their choice) has now been placed by Court decision on a much lower pedestal than it was – or was intended to be.  It has been equated only with a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) – i.e. a mere right to an occupation (running an educational institution the Judges said is an “occupation” like any other):
Even though the fundamental right under Article 30 had been expressly made – deliberately made - not subject to any reasonable restrictions at all, the Bench of 11 Judges (by majority) relegated this right to a right to an occupation guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) i.e. therefore subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in public interest – i.e. subject to State regulation.
The Fundamental Right of MEIs have got devalued, because approximating the provisions in Article 30 to the provisions contained in Article 19(1)(g) mean, that as a matter of perception, the ‘reasonable restrictions’ imposed by ordinary law on this Fundamental Right – permissible under Article 19(6) – has also got subsumed in what was an otherwise unrestricted Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 30!  

With the result that when the Right to Education Act 2009 – was challenged as unconstitutional before a Bench of 3 judges of the Supreme Court it was upheld – two of out of the Bench of three judges holding that even admissions to minority education institutions governed by Article 30 were required to conform to its provisions – however, it was only in May 2014 that the majority view on this limited point has been over-turned by a unanimous Bench decision of five Judges.[9]

As I said before – initially, when dealing with minority rights, courts in India had invariably conceptualized their role as that of a political party in opposition – until one of the political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), in the early 1990s characterized the policy of the Congress Party (the ruling party in power at the Centre for more than 40 years) as an “appeasement of the minorities”.  The label stuck; “minority” became and has become an unpopular word. 
And after the same political party had included in its Election Manifesto in the general election of May-June 1991 the party’s resolve if and when it came into power to amend Article 30 to the disadvantage of minorities, ‘minority rights’ got less and less protected by Courts (including the Supreme Court of India) than they were before.
A large number of Judges of the Supreme Court today no longer pay much attention to what the great Chief Justice S. R. Das had said at the end of his judgment in the Kerala Education case. 

NOW – SOME CONCLUSIONS -
Way back in 1836 a lively Anglican priest and social reformer, the Rev. Sydney Smith[10] perceived the dangers of giving political power to the people.  Preaching in St. Paul’s Cathedral he ventured to suggest that:
“It would be an entertaining change in human affairs to determine everything by minorities.  They are almost always in the right.”

But the great democrat, Abraham Lincoln, frowned on such heresy.  In his First Inaugural Address in March 1861 he said that “the rule of a minority as a permanent arrangement is wholly inadmissible; so that rejecting the majority principle, anarchy and despotism in some form is all that is left”
So you see - for as long as people aspire to govern according to majoritarian values in terms of assumptions held by the majority, the minorities must always suffer – anywhere and everywhere.   Even Abraham Lincoln said so.
But with respect, I suggest that neither the view of the lively Anglican priest nor of the great democrat are valid. 

In my humble view there is – there has to be – a middle way.
Some years ago I read an article in the Times of India: an interview with Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand.  He is a prominent activist and had been persecuted by many dictatorships in Thailand.  He has been forced into exile.  He was asked whether he felt that the major world religions needed to reinvent themselves in order to be more effective in “these troubled times”?  And Sulak Sivaraksa answered that every religion must go back to its original teachings and make itself more relevant today. 

He was then asked why there were great disparities in the way Buddhism was being practised?  And his answer was significant, and for us all -crucial.  This is what he said:
Quote. “I make a distinction between Buddhism with a Capital ‘B’ and buddhism with a small ‘b’.  Sri Lanka has the former, in which the state uses Buddhism as an instrument of power, so there are even Buddhists monks who say the Tamils should be eliminated.  Thai Buddhists are not perfect either.  Some Thai Buddhist monks have compromised and possess cars and other luxuries.  In many Buddhist countries, the emphasis is on being goody-goody, which is not good enough.  I am for buddhism with a small ‘b’ which is non-violent, practical and aims to eliminate the cause of suffering..." Unquote.

If I were to project myself into the mind of the founding fathers and review what they thought were the rights of minorities in the context of freedom of religion, I would lay great emphasis on the fact that whilst most of them started the business of Constitution making, by defining minorities with a big ‘M’, within a few years, they began to accept the fact that, in the vast Indian Union, in the smooth working of the Constitution the minorities had a great future if their sights were lowered – if they chose to accept “minority” with a small ‘m’. 
In 1984, at a conference in New Zealand to which I was invited, I heard its human rights commissioner (Justice John Wallace) say: ‘the minority view is generally right, provided the minority can carry the majority with it.’ His was the voice of mature experience, not of mere human-rights rhetoric.
When we in India discuss the state of our nation, we should never forget the historical context: Minority with a small ‘m’ must be the watchword.  Because minority with a small ‘m’ may help to carry the majority with itprovided always that the majority has the humility and statesmanship also to accept “majority” as a word with a small m.  ‘Majority’ with a small ‘m’ helps to instill a sense of confidence in the minorities.  The possibility of conflict arises only when one or other of these groups stresses the big ‘M’ factor.
Sorry for the bits of plain – speaking this evening.  Ladies and Gentlemen.
But I must tell you Hon’ble Minister that when a delegation of some members of the Commission came over some days ago to invite me to speak I alerted them and told them that they would not like to hear my views; I told them that I was pretty critical in my approach to minority rights.  But they insisted that I come and speak.  This is the reason why parts of this talk may not have gone down well with some of you.  I am sorry but I assure you I did not mean to offend anyone.
In a book written by a distinguished advocate of old Mr. P. B. Vachha, which is a judicial history of the Bombay High Court during the British period, the book had been commissioned by the Judges of the Bombay High Court but then they did not approve of certain passages in the book and asked Vachha to remove them.  He refused.  So a group of us advocates got together and financed the publication privately.  In his Preface Vachha wrote that in writing the history of the Bombay high Court he had adopted the advice given to India’s great historian Ferishta, by Ibrahim Adilshah, when Ferishta migrated from the Nizamshahi Court at Ahmednagar to the Adilshahi Court at Bijapur.  Famous words:
“Write”, said the Monarch, “write without fear or flattery.”
Fear and flattery of the powers that be are the worst enemies of historical truth, and vitiate an opinion at its very source.
I have always been impressed by these brave words.  It is better to be unpopular than to be untruthful.

*****

Minority Commission seeks public statement from Govt. to reassure minorities
15 Sep 2014 04:09 PM, IST
http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/minority-panel-seeks-public-statement-from-govt-to-reassure-minorities

By IndiaTomorrow.net,
New Delhi, 15 Sep 2014: Amidst communal tensions rising in different parts of the country due to constant hate campaign, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has urged the Central Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a public statement reassuring all minorities that their constitutional rights are safe. In his speech at the 7th Annual Lecture of NCM in New Delhi on 12th Sep, India’s distinguished jurist Fali S. Nariman had asked the commission to become an active protector of the rights of minorities. “It is this liberal approach to Fundamental Rights and protection of minorities that has helped the minorities in India to progress so far as well as to conserve and protect their guaranteed rights. Then why are the minorities at the cross-roads today? It is because the body set up by Parliament to protect minorities has omitted to take effective steps to protect them...” said Mr. Nariman.



The NCM said: “The Commission would appreciate a public statement from the Government to reassure all minorities that their constitutional rights of safety, security and equality before the law cannot be compromised at any cost.”

“The Government needs to send a clear signal that it is committed to the protection and security of all citizens and that no attempt at creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust will be tolerated,” it said.

Though it is not clear when the resolution was passed, the text has two references that show it was passed after 15th August Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and before the just concluded by-elections (13th Sep).

While condemning the provocative and hate speeches of some politicians of the ruling BJP (though it did not mention any name) like Yogi Adityanath and Praveen Togadia against Muslims for so-called 'Love Jihad' campaign, the commission said these statements are violating both the Constitution and PM Modi’s call for moratorium on communal riots.

“The NCM also condemns the communally charged statements attributed to prominent people in public life which are creating this atmosphere of mistrust and heightened tension. These happenings are violating the principles of the Indian Constitution and also the call given by the Hon'ble Prime Minister that there should be a moratorium on communal riots,” reads the resolution. It also called for honour for the words of the Prime Minister.
Description: http://indiatomorrow.net/userfiles/NCM%20Resolution.JPG
NCM Resolution

The commission demanded the government to “verify the media reports to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, especially in the politically sensitive regions where byelections are due.” It appealed to civil society to work for inter-faith understanding and mutual respect among the various communities.

The resolution is displayed on the official website  http://ncm.nic.in/


           ----------------------------

INDIAN EXPRESS
WEDNESDAY, SEP 24, 2014
Adityanath’s party?

A BJP MP from Gorakhpur, member of the party’s national executive who has officially been handed charge of its campaign for the UP assembly bypolls, has been issued a notice by the Election Commission of India for allegedly delivering an inflammatory speech and invoking religion to garner votes. The EC has found prima facie violation of the model code of conduct and asked him to explain why action should not be taken against him. An MLA in Madhya Pradesh, who is also the state BJP vice president, has asked party workers to ensure that Muslim youth are not allowed to enter garba venues in her constituency during the upcoming Navdurga festival, alleging that Hindu girls are lured and converted to Islam as part of a “love jihad” conspiracy. Yogi Adityanath and Usha Thakur speak the language of what is often called the BJP’s “fringe” — but they don’t really fit that description. While the former is central to the BJP’s campaign for UP, the latter is an important party office-bearer, apart from being an elected representative. Both could be rightfully expected to be circumscribed by the slogan put forward by their party to win the Centre — “sabka saath, sabka vikas”. Neither would be unaware of the 10-year moratorium pledged by their prime minister on caste and communal strife on Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
So who is in charge in the BJP? And why is no action being taken against those like Adityanath and Thakur who are openly stoking communal tensions on the ground, especially in poll-bound states, in flagrant defiance of the forward-looking and development-oriented image courted by the Modi-led BJP at the Centre? Or is the party playing true to its own worst stereotype — of always speaking in two voices, carefully choreographing the interplay between them and their alternation?
The BJP has only recently won a decisive majority at the Centre, and though religious polarisation played a part, the party’s victory was made up of much more than that. It was propelled by the hope for change, and aspirations sparked by its promise to revive economic growth and provide an enabling environment, jobs and opportunities in a young country. While Prime Minister Modi appears to be largely addressing himself to the developmental challenge at hand, and is clearly conscious of the need to be seen to be doing so too, others in the party are straying from this script. If this dissonance — between the BJP in the state and at the Centre, or in a poll-bound state and outside it — is allowed to fester, the party must know that it will eventually imperil the trust and expectation that brought it its unprecedented mandate.

        ---------------------------------
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 Wed,24 Sep 2014

The silence on the rising communal tempers is deafening
August 24, 2014


In the three months since Narendra Modi’s spectacular triumph, many corners of the country have begun to smoulder in slow fires of orchestrated hate and distrust against India’s Muslims and this is mostly unnoticed by the majority. Only a few violent episodes make it briefly to the front pages of the national Press and television news. But what is unseen is that cumulatively, many small communal skirmishes have contributed to a sustained but decentralised campaign of sectarian hate. This and the studied silence of the prime minister through all of this – except a welcome reference from the Red Fort – have created mounting disquiet and fear among the country’s largest minority.

The patterns are familiar. A multitude of ever-growing Hindu nationalist organisations – some mainstream, some fringe – deploy and refashion small local disputes to spur rage and suspicion against the Muslim people, each time reviving and fuelling old stereotypes. The manufactured flashpoints are also familiar: disputes over land for shrines and graveyards, an offending loudspeaker in a place of worship, charges of young Muslim men sexually harassing hapless Hindu women in a sinister campaign of ‘love jihad’, sometimes with the added twist of forced conversions, or cow slaughter.
In Muzaffarnagar, a murderous hot-headed clash following a motorcycle accident is converted into a story of stalking for love jihad. In Moradabad, Dalits in a Muslim majority town are instigated to install a loudspeaker on their shrine. In Saharanpur, an old and almost settled land dispute over the site of a gurudwara acquires a communal colour. In Meerut, an unfortunate young Hindu woman teacher in a madrassa who undergoes a late and unsafe abortion becomes the centre of murky charges of gang-rape and forced conversion. Allegations of cow slaughter lead to clashes in Udipi, Kathua and Loni. Even in Delhi, trucks are set ablaze alleging that they were transporting cows for slaughter.
In Mewat in Haryana, clashes break out after a truck driven by a Muslim runs over a motor-cycle killing two Hindu men. In Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, a communal clash erupts from a dispute over a children’s cricket match. It is as though activists are hunting for any dispute which can be twisted and morphed to heighten communal tempers.
The internet becomes a handy tool for communal mobilisation. All across Maharashtra, from Pune to Nagpur, Aurangabad to Dhule, violence between communities breaks out after pictures insulting religious and political icons are posted on social networks, and rarely do enraged street warriors know or bother to know who actually posted the offending pictures. The attacks in Pune during the last week of May are particularly tragic. Activists of the Hindu Rashtra Sena armed with cricket bats, iron rods and daggers, run amok, damaging 250 buses, two madrassas (where children are studying at that time), two mosques, a graveyard, and a string of bakeries, hotels and shops owned by Muslims. Their rampage climaxes in the bludgeoning to death of a young man returning from his evening prayers, marked out as a Muslim by his beard and skull cap.
The culpability for each of these clashes lies with the communal organisations bent on fomenting animosities. But it is shared equally by the shamefully weak-kneed (or actively prejudiced) responses of the state and district administrations in these states, especially UP and Maharashtra. Each of these episodes could have been prevented or rapidly quelled, if only local officials had effectively publicly dispelled hate rumours and expeditiously arrested those who spread these falsehoods and organised violence.  
However, blame also lies with the ruling central leadership. It is true that law and order is primarily the responsibility of state governments. But it is no secret that the BJP rose to power with active support of RSS cadres, and the adrenaline of their decisive victory has led them to feel emboldened to pursue even more vigorously their intensely divisive agendas. Raised on a staple diet of anti-Muslim propaganda, and encouraged further by the open deployment of these sentiments to reap a polarised vote in states like UP and Bihar, high-pitched communal tempers are not a genie which can be released and then pushed back into a bottle at will. 
Matters are not helped when a young BJP leader with a proven record in fomenting such communal divides for rich electoral gains — in Gujarat first, and now in UP — is handpicked to lead the party. Even more disturbing is that these communal passions are being stirred precisely in those states and constituencies that go to polls in coming months. The ruling coalition further alienates Muslim people when a BJP MP on the floor of Parliament tells a Muslim MP to ‘go to Pakistan’, as though the country belongs any less to its many minorities. After characterising the millennium of Indian history when the majority of its rulers were Muslim as an era of slavery, the studied silence of the otherwise garrulous Prime Minister about these attacks is both deafening and ominous.
A sense of dread slowly therefore mounts almost invisibly over the country as communal tempers are cynically and perilously being overheated for a series of electoral harvests, and for drawing larger and larger sections of low-caste Hindus to stand with their upper-caste oppressors against the Muslim ‘other’, who is portrayed as their common enemy. The Congress, socialists and the Left are too dispirited to convincingly take to the battle. The struggle to preserve the idea of India has to be fought outside Parliament, by ordinary people, on the streets and in our homes, in places of worship and secular assembly, but most of all in the hearts of the young.  
(Harsh Mander is director, Centre for Equity Studies. The views expressed by the author are personal.)


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014
http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/bharat-bhushan-ambient-intolerance-goes-up-114072901247_1.html

Ambient intolerance goes up in the Modi era

With the temperature of Hindutva rising in the Indian social discourse, Narendra Modi is yet to become the inclusive leader that the high office he occupies demands of him

Bharat Bhushan  July 29, 2014

Something has changed in our society after Narendra Modi became the prime minister. Today, speaking carelessly about other religious communities has become acceptable. A new "normal" is being defined about how India talks to herself and the world.

Election campaigns tend to accentuate political differences to appeal to voters and draw them away from others. Modi's campaign also gained from polarising voters. After a handsome victory, however, as prime minister, he has failed to heal the polity. If he lets the situation drift, differences could grow into deep social divisions.

The tendency towards this is evident from several disturbing developments - of which Modi is a silent spectator.

The testosterone-charged grey eminences of Hindutva, such as Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, are openly threatening the Muslims. Singhal claimed that Modi's victory was a blow to Muslim politics because it showed elections could be won without Muslim support. He saw Modi as the "ideal" RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) volunteer who would implement the Hindutva agenda. Modi's invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his inauguration was explained as the necessity of resorting "to deceit at times".

Togadia went much further in threatening the Muslims. He claimed that they may have forgotten the Gujarat riots of 2002, but they should remember the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. Referring to the mythical Ramayana tale he warned, "If you set Hanuman's tail on fire, Lanka will burn." He did not receive even a rap on the knuckles.

Even legislators openly speak of a Hindufication agenda, with one from Goa claiming that under Modi India will become a "Hindu nation", and another countering that it already was one.

As if this were not enough, obscurantists like Dinanath Batra are crawling out of the woodwork. Now that his claptrap has made it to the reading lists in schools in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat, he wants the school curricula for the entire country changed. The RSS has been emboldened to set up an education commission of its own - the Bharatiya Shiksha Niti Ayog or Indian Education Policy Commission - to suggest changes to make the curricula more "Indian".

Even parliamentary proceedings are getting a Hindutva tinge, with the Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, concluding obituary references in Parliament with "Om Shanti, Shanti". Should India get a Christian or a Muslim speaker in future, would we then expect them to say "Amen" or recite a "dua" or prayer for the departed?

In communally sensitive western Uttar Pradesh, BJP MPs are making an issue of the installation of a loudspeaker in a Hindu temple to broadcast the prayer rituals. They claim that if mosques could broadcast their call to prayer, then there should be no discrimination against the Hindus.

The ally of the ruling BJP, the Shiv Sena, sees nothing wrong in its legislator force-feeding a Muslim during his Ramzan fast. The BJP fielded spokespersons on TV who sermonised about the public behaviour required of peoples' representatives, without once specifically criticising the Shiv Sena MP. Even the home minister did not ask the Delhi Police, directly under his control, to register a criminal case against the loutish MP. It was left to L K Advani, marginalised in the party and Parliament, to mutter that what happened was wrong. In a break with political tradition, the new government's ministers have also pointedly shunned the goodwill gesture of holding "iftaar" for the minority Muslim community leaders, sharing the evening meal after their daylong fast during the month of Ramzan.

With the ambient temperature of Hindutva rising in the Indian social discourse, the question is whether Modi is letting the situation drift deliberately. He has not yet become the inclusive leader that the high office he occupies demands of him.

There seems to be a mismatch between Modi, the man, and the image he is forced to adopt as the prime minister of an ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse nation. Modi, the man, is a Hindutva icon and a long-time RSS worker. His experience of Gujarat and the last general election - especially in Uttar Pradesh - is that communal polarisation wins elections.

His world view, shaped by his long tenure as a full-time RSS worker, his political success and experience, is expected to be sympathetic to the Hindutva agenda. In his motion of thanks to the President's address to Parliament, he referred to "1,200 years of mental servitude" that afflicts India. Since the British ruled over India for only 200 years, Modi was including a further 1,000 years of rule by the Ghoris, Ghaznavis, the Sultanate and the Mughals. This is a conception of Indian history that Hindutva votaries believe in.

Historians can debate whether he is factually right or wrong. But the political question is whether such a view of history, which sees religious and cultural diversity as vestiges of those who "enslaved" India and proselytised it, will allow him to see these as desirable inclusive qualities of the Indian polity and tend them. What emboldens the Singhals, the Togadias and other Hindutva activists to raise the threshold of hate speech is perhaps the knowledge that with Modi at the helm, they are safe.

If this is indeed the case, then the minorities might choose to become inward-looking, more ghettoised and to withdraw from active political participation. A large section among them might be satisfied if they are left unharmed and allowed to live their private lives. While a section of youth might be attracted to militancy, another section could be won over by the loaves and fishes of office. The larger segment of the minorities might simply become indifferent to public life. This enforced political passivity would help the BJP electorally - it needs this to happen desperately in states with sizeable minority population such as West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

On the other hand, Modi could embolden himself to live up to the image of an inclusive prime minister - a leader of the entire country. Such a transformative leadership would mean questioning his long-held beliefs. At this point, given his indifference to the hatemongers within his cheerleaders, this seems too much of an ask.


The writer is a journalist based in Delhi

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Back to Basics

Economic and Political Weekly, Vol - XLIX No. 36, September 06, 2014

Editorial

Now that "development" has delivered the votes, the BJP is back to hard-line Hindutva.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is supposed to have won the recent general elections on the basis of its campaign on “development”. Vikas is supposed to have been the strong pitch for transforming India – accomplishing in 60 months what the Congress and other governments could not do in 60 years – into a developed country that created the electoral tsunami which carried the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the “vikas purush”, to power.

While it may well be true that some voters were swayed by this massive public relations exercise, a look at the electoral evidence also suggests that vicious communal divisions played a significant role in giving the BJP an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. The sweep in Uttar Pradesh would have been impossible without the execution of the well-planned Muzaffarnagar riots where Muslim communities in the rural areas were systematically targeted and an atmosphere of communal tension and suspicion was created in the entire state. A spillover of this was also the electoral bounty in Haryana. The showing in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, etc, also cannot be accounted for without the killings, general violence and displacement of Muslims, for instance, in Assam’s Bodo-dominated areas. Other states like Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, etc, also saw openly aggressive campaigns on communal issues accomplished by the BJP and other Hindutva organisations. Given the reach of the BJP’s high voltage “360 degree” media campaign, these communal pitches did not remain local but had a national effect.

Depending on the analysis, it is possible that anything from 50 to 75 of the 283 seats that the BJP won in the general elections were primarily due to the proximate reasons of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims (and also Christians). Those who have studied the popular mobilisations and political strategies of the Sangh Parivar would agree that the total number of seats won by the BJP through communal mobilisations would be much higher than the conservative psephological estimate we give here.

If communal polarisation of the electorate to build a Hindutva vote bank was a constant presence in the general election campaign, it has only seen a sharpening in the, supposedly important, “first 100 days” of the BJP-led government in office. An important way in which this has been done is the strategy of the Sangh Parivar to calibrate communal violence and hate campaigns in a way so as to keep it “under the radar”. One of the ways of accomplishing this is to shift the locus of violence and mobilisations from the urban centres to small towns and rural areas; another course is to keep the “dead-count” low and use variants of everyday, “routine” violence to spread tensions and create panic. Yet another scheme is to convert India-Pakistan relations into a subset of the Hindu-Muslim relations within India (and here the conveniently timed ratcheting up of tensions and cross-border firing is proving very useful). The most prominent method deployed in recent weeks has been the issue of “Love Jihad”.

The uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) sexuality of women has always been among the main insecurities of men who form the backbone of all right-wing movements. The fear of the “Mussalman” stealing away the innocent “Hindu” woman, impregnating her with Muslim children and thus weakening the Hindus, and adding strength to the Muslims, has been a continuous strain within Hindutva fear-mongering for at least a century in India. In one single slogan “Love Jihad” brings together the fears over sexuality, family and patriarchy, caste, religion and nation. Its potency, if a pun may be excused, as a rallying cry has long been established as reliable. No wonder it is again being deployed in precisely those areas – Jat-dominated western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, northern Rajasthan – where the first wave of communal violence consolidated the BJP’s electoral position but may not guarantee long-term dominance. In these areas the anti-Muslim slant of “Love Jihad” also fits in well with the ongoing patriarchal insecurities of the dominant communities, which have been expressed till now in “non-communal” ways, for instance, in the form of low sex ratios, honour killings, injunctions over dress and the use of mobile phones.

As some reports in the media have shown, the “argument” that there is a “conspiracy” by Muslim men to marry Hindu women and produce Muslim children through them is entirely without any basis. There is some “evidence” to show that there is an increase in the number of people marrying across caste and religious lines. Inasmuch as this indicates a growing ability of individuals to break from their traditional chains of patriarchal control, it is an entirely welcome trend. And it is unlikely that this silly, yet extremely dangerous, “Love Jihad” campaign will put a stop to the growing trend of people exercising individual choice in matters of sex and marriage. What it will however do is increase the risk for young people and provide rich electoral gains to the BJP in the upcoming state elections.
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To make a country without fear

John Dayal
[For Spotlight, Centre for Policy Analysis, June 2014]

A lynching in the country is not a good backdrop for a new government to begin the serious work of good governance that was promised in the winning election 2014 manifesto. Nor is it a good omen as a new Lok Sabha begins its inaugural session of a five-year tenure that perhaps will be less stormy and contentious than the one preceding it, its peace assured by the overwhelming majority of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The numbers leave little space for dissent, even if the emasculated and truncated Opposition to the initiative to raise issues that the Treasury benches and the government collectively think of as contentious. The riotous assemblies of the past on issues such as Telengana, the Women’s Reservation Bill, the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill, albeit very briefly, and even the Tamil issue will arguably remain just in the memories of the media and the TV-watching public.

Long before the general elections, the re-structuring of the Bharatiya Janata Party had given an indication of the vision for the future, with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and Mr. Narendra Modi together micro-managing the nation-wide choice of the candidates, with the cadres deployed all the way down to the electorate at the level of individual booths. There were close to a million polling stations, so that should a fair indication of the scale of the exercise and the numbers of cadres involved, working with other BJP supporters, and surely with excellent lines of information, command and control.

The long election campaign was vicious and unsparing, bruising, divisive and coercive, even threatening in a manner never seen before. The sophisticated social media, presumably manned by “modern” and educated young men and women, many of them living in the United States of America, often crossed the lines of legality, while their trolls operated essentially on the wrong side of the Information Technology legislation. Political leaders and activists, among them many who are now in the Union Council of Ministers, pandered to the lowest common denominator in an effort, so very successful in retrospect, to consolidate the majority communities. The electoral rout of the so-called secular parties and those representing the marginalised and the subaltern groups indicates how wide the communal chasm had grown in the last one year, peaking in Muzaffarnagar, with that infamous pogrom in turn fuelling the separation of peoples. It is a matter of speculation as to how long it will take for wounds to heal and suspicion to fade away. That, of course, would also depend on how long it will take for the defeated political parties and groups to recover, regroup and rebuild themselves into potent political entities. And that, in turn, would depend on whether the vanquished have learnt lessons from the battle. That, some say, seems a tall order.

The all-conquering Mr. Narendra Modi, the new prime minister has taken early and dramatic steps in an effort to prove that he is his own man, with a visible bow to his alma mater, the Sangh. The core group of his Cabinet is men and women fiercely loyal to him, even as the bulk of the lesser portfolios are filled by Sangh nominees, including a man who is an accused in the Muzaffarnagar violence, and representatives of the allies in the National Democratic alliance.  The minorities, Dalits and Tribals have token representation. He has accommodated one competitor, the redoubtable Mrs. Shushma Swaraj, but has kept out patriarchs Mr. Lal Krishna Advani and Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi.

His swearing-in sought to mute fears of a hawkish image by an invitation to the heads of government of the countries of the neighbourhood, including the prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif even though some of his senior party colleagues, including former BJP president Mr. Nitin Gadkari, had all but declared that India reserved the nuclear option if Islamabad provoked the country. Every neighbour obliged. His inaugural address as Prime minister spoke of development and inclusiveness. The oath taking ceremony further spelled out the economic agenda, so to speak, in the major presence of India Inc., led by the Ambani family, fellow Gujaratis, as well as the more controversial Mr. Adani, and many more.  And while perhaps the promise of inclusiveness was reflected in a number of Bohra leaders, and some other Muslim religious heads, also Protestant Christian Bishops and pastors, this was rather offset by the entire Sangh hierarchy present on the front seats at the Rashtrapati Bhawan ceremony. The man not present was Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh head, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat. The Organiser, the official mouthpiece of the Sangh recorded that those present included religious leaders Sri Sri Ravishankar, Jagadguru Ramanandacharya, Swami Ramandrachrya as well as Mr. Rameshbhai Ojha, Acharya Balkrishna, Mr. Bhaiyujji Maharaj, Sadhvi Rithambhra and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Mr. Ashok Singhal.

And perhaps therein lies the fear that extreme religious elements may see in the BJP-Modi landslide – that it was on a 31 per cent of the vote is largely irrelevant in the popular discourse – an opportunity for themselves, if not a licence.

The French political scientist, Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot who has written several books on the rise of the saffron brotherhood, noted “Except in Uttar Pradesh, where polarisation was the repertoire Mr. Amit Shah [the BJP campaign manager] orchestrated for delivering votes in a key state, Mr. Modi projected a rather soft Hindutva-based discourse this time. Whether this style will continue to prevail will largely depend on how his government will succeed in delivering economic growth. If he can quickly achieve positive results on the economic front and revive growth and create jobs, and can thus remain popular – the economy is definitely his top priority – then the development plank will be sufficient for him. If, however, he is not successful on the economic front, there will be strong criticism not just amongst the liberals but in his own camp. He may then resort to the Hindutva-based polarisation strategy.”

Delivering on the economy is not one man’s job, or even of one government. In his election rhetoric, Mr. Modi spoke of development, but never spelt it out in detail. It remained a phrase, a matter of interpretation. The United Progressive Alliance government of economist Dr. Manmohan Singh was accused of policy paralysis. Mr. Modi has done away with collective decision making mechanism thought of by his predecessor, including such holy cows as Groups of Ministers, and Empowered Group of Ministers [which by the way were instruments that led to the creation of Telengana]. Mr. Modi made it clear that it would be he, and not his cabinet colleagues, who would take policy decisions, leaving them the job of the day-to-day running of ministries whose numbers would also be reduced in time through the clubbing of several departments. He appointed a Principal Secretary using a Presidential Ordinance to overcome some legal barriers. He met with the heads of all the departments, Secretaries to the Government, and told the bureaucrats they had a direct access to him on the mobile phone to get the work done. Mr. Modi would indeed be the Chief Executive Officer of the new dispensation.

But India now lives in a globalised economic world and everything from Foreign Direct Investment to join ventures needs willing partners in the US and Europe even as they struggle in their own economic doldrums. The balancing of internal development, infrastructure projects and the vexatious issue of transferring land and forests to industries for exploitation and use remains a political landmine that can turn quite  few friends into enemies, and provoke mass unrest in sensitive regions.

Thought inevitably turns to Prof. Jeffrelot’s common-sense premonition. In a very short time, there have been voices from within the council of ministers and the larger political family that the election verdict is for implementing the most confrontationist subjects on the agenda. Within a day of taking oath, a junior minister in the Prime Minister’s office spoke of reopening the issue of abrogating Article 370, which is critical to the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s ascension to the Union of India. The minister said talks had begun with stakeholders, provoking an ominous statement from the state Chief Minister that “long after this government is memory, either Article 370 will remain, or Jammu and Kashmir will not remain in India”. The political spectrum of the valley of Kashmir came together on the point, and Dr. Karan Singh, the last Maharajah’s son and himself the last Sadr-e-Riyasat, in a rare statement advised caution on an issue that had international as well national implications.

As if that were not enough, there has been a very visible attempt to raise the national temperature by immediately bringing up the issue of a Uniform Civil Code, which is seen as thinly veiled attempt against Muslim personal law. Other religious communities too have in the past vigorously opposed such a move unless there is a universal code which a citizen can voluntarily adopt, much as he Special Marriages Act. This has been a pet project of the Sangh Parivar, which sees the Muslim community as the font of a demographic conspiracy to overwhelm India. Its most obscene representation was in the slogan “Ham Panch, Hamare Pachhis”, suggesting that a Muslim man and his four wives would produce twenty-five offspring to upset the religious population balance in India. In actual fact, polygamy is the Muslim community is perhaps no higher than the hidden polygamy in some other communities.

The second pet project, “Indianising Indian education” was tried out in NDA-I under the venerable Mr. Tal Behari Vajpayee as Prime Minister and the learned Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi as minister for Human Resource Development. Much of the strategy revolves around changes in the curricula, in the text and ancillary books and in pedagogy. The Madhya Pradesh government’s Surya namashkar and efforts to make Yoga compulsory in schools is but a dramatic sign of it.

The tens of thousands of Ekal Vidyalayas and Shishu Mandirs run by the Sangh, often in remote villages, practice this education system. Their target is to have one such school, mostly a single-teacher institution, every one of the 6,38,000 villages in India. They are far away from the target, but they plan to get there. Even in their present numbers, such schools outstrip the total number of Christian schools and Islamic madrasas in the country, though official figures are not available.

The new HRD cabinet Minister, Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani, mired in an unseemly controversy about her undergraduate status, has nonetheless announced that the education system would have to look into Indian culture for inspiration. Her fans in academia have seen this as the go ahead for purging textual material and curricula of things seen as Nehruvian, western, or for that matter, Islamic. Several leaders, and smaller fries including those who lead moral policing groups, want a drastic overhaul, restructuring the entire secondary school system. These perhaps are explained as the over-enthusiasm of a euphoric group.

All these are issues pertaining to the system, and will require major administrative and legislative action. They can also not be done in a day, or even by the next academic session howsoever hard Mrs. Irani, and those pushing her, may try. Despite the crushing majority in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Modi may also not try major amendments to the Constitution. The fierce independence exercised by the leaders of ruling groups in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal, as well as insufficient numbers in the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha, are current bulwarks against such adventure. But that is not to say Mr. Modi and his government may not launch another Constitution Review Committee on the pattern of the Justice Venkatacheliah-chaired National Commission to review the working of the Constitution was set by NDA Government of India led by Vajpayee on 22 February 2000 for suggesting possible amendments to the Constitution of India. They have the mandate of numbers to do this, though one would like to hope Mr. Modi will not exercise this option.

What concerns the common people, specially members of religious minority communities as well as Dalits and Tribals, are matters of security, issue of their self respect, welfare, economic development, identity, and of course the protection of the law. They also want safeguards against the excesses of the law, and of the law-keepers.

The UPA government led by the Congress was not innocent in this. In fact, it was very guilty. There was large-scale community profiling. The government could not deliver on safety and security. It waffled on bringing forth Equal Opportunity Commission laws. It betrayed the minorities by almost deliberately and cynically ensuring that the Prevention of Communal and Targetted Violence Act was never passed by Parliament. Its Home Minister of the time, Mr. P C Chidambaram must take much if the blame. The blackest mark against the UPA on this score was the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which was used to arrest, humiliate, torture and incarcerate a large number of Muslim young men, as also those of the Christian and Sikh communities, if in much less numbers. And the Congress government could not either tame or contain extremist political elements spewing hate and indulging in violence.

The world is watching if the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, can rise to the occasion and contain these forces that so intimidate society with their violence, their moral policing and their efforts, so successful in the short run, to bridle the freedom of speech. Collectively, the result is great tragedy, and further dividing of people.
Mr. Modi will have to ensure that the death of a 28-year-old Information Technology professional in Pune, Mr. Mohsen Sadiq Shaikh, will be the last such incident of intolerance, psychotic hysteria and brutal violence during his term in office. The police say Mr. Shaikh was waylaid and bludgeoned to death in the wake of a morphed image the late Shiv Sena patriarch Mr. Bal Thackeray and Maratha icon Chhatrapati Shivaji on Facebook. Mr. Shaikh sported a beard and wore a skullcap, easily identifying him as a Muslim. That he was entirely innocent did not matter. That he was a Muslim, did. He paid for his identity with his life.  His alleged killers, belonging to the Hindu Rashtra Sena, exchanged an ominous message on their mobiles: ‘Pahili wicket padli’, The first wicket has fallen, according to Pune joint commissioner of police, Mr. Sanjay Kumar. Considering the content of the message exchanged by the accused and the weapons they were carrying, the police are probing whether the attack was planned in advance. The city was under curfew for several hours.
This ideology surely cannot be allowed to propagate, or continue. The law must, of course, take its course. But it is for the government now in power in New Delhi to send out strong messages of comfort and reassurance to a traumatised people who otherwise may fear the worst. There can be no licence allowed to self-styled moral and cultural police groups. Mr. Modi and his party, the BJP, will have to show in word and deed that they are genuinely inclusive, and that every Indian citizen, whichever religious, cultural or ethnic group he or she may belong to, enjoys the Constitutional right of life and liberty and the freedom of faith in full measure. The law and justice system will, it is to be hoped, ensure this, with the backing of the political dispensation in power. Mr. Modi will have to see that such groups do not hold the government hostage, even if they think they helped it come to power.
Development alone, however visible it may become under Mr. Modi, will have little meaning for a people who are otherwise living in fear of any sort.
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Early Warning – increasing hate crimes alarm religious minorities

JOHN DAYAL
UCA News Agency, 20, August 2014

Several political columnists have in recent weeks noted how elements of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, professing a right wing ultra-nationalist and Hindu majoritarian political ideology, have moved from the fringes where they were for decades, to the centre stage of the national discourse in India after Mr. Narendra Modi came to power in May this year in the wake of a massive electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP.

The BJP is unabashed about its links with the RSS and the expanding group of organisations it has spawned, collectively known as the Sangh Parivar. Mr. Modi is himself a former RSS leader, as are several of his Cabinet colleagues. Some ranking RSS officials have in recent weeks been inducted as general secretaries of the BJP, leaving absolutely no one in any doubt of the seamless fusion of the political party and the Sangh which styles itself as a social and cultural organisations.

RSS chief Mr. Mohan Bhagwat has repeated asserted that everyone in India is Hindu, including Muslims and Christians, because this is the land of the Hindu people and civilisation. The Sangh ideologue MG Vaidya said on 19th May, three days after the election results, that they can now tackle issues such as the building of the Ram temple on the site of the Babri mosque they demolished in 1992 Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Mr. Ashok Singhal, said “if [Muslims] keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?”.

Mr. Seshadri Chari, former editor of RSS mouthpiece Organiser and member of the BJP national executive, who enjoys a deserved reputation as a sober and reflective commentator, is quoted in the Outlook Magazine saying says that Hindus have always been a majority in India but the manifestation of majoritarianism has been reflected in the cultural and social field. “Now it is reflected in the politics of the country. A large number of foot-soldiers in the RSS-BJP do believe that the political Hindu has arrived.”

This was apparent in the absolutely poisonous and acrid discussion that took place in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament two days before Independence Day, when the  BJP’s lead speaker, Adityanath, the deputy head of religious cult in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, got away with demonising the Muslim community and others. The Congress was ineffective in rebutting him and his colleagues, and so were the others in pinning down the very aggressive and very big BJP group in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha debate, the fielding of Adityanath as the key speaker for his party, and the applause he received from the leaders and other members on the BJP benches, set to rest any polite talk that Mr. Modi’s political high command distances itself from the lunacy of the Sangh Parivar.

That in itself would not been much of an issue where its lax electoral laws turn a blind eye to many religious groups – including Sikhs, Muslims and even Christian apart from Hindus – intervening in the political process with registered political parties that contest and win elections, and occasionally even control state governments.

The crisis comes, as it has this time, when rogue elements choose to challenge the law and indulge in targetted mass violence assuming, and seemingly correctly, that the new dispensation will stop them. One group even set up a “Hindu Helpline” to assist anyone from the majority community who is being harassed by Muslims.

The rash of violence against Muslims in north India, and increasing incidents of coercion and assault against Christians in Central and north India, has alarmed religious minorities in the country.

The figures of communal violence, and actions that fell just sort of violence, are not officially declared, but estimates of cases since the BJP victory announcement on 16th May 2014 range upwards of 1,000, most incidents taking place in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra which face elections later this year to state legislatures. Reputations of Mr. Modi, his Gujarat lieutenant and now the new BJP president Amit Shah, and the RSS, are at stake..

The violence against Muslims has been well recorded. The anti-Christian violence has gone under the radar. Taken together, they indicate a massive drive to saffronise the countryside, villages, small towns and tribal areas away from the big towns which were the foci of violence in past years. Bastar in Chhattisgarh is the new flashpoint.

The Christian leadership has expressed alarm at the sharp rise in hate campaigns by the Sangh’s political and cultural organisations. This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi. Condemning the threat of Shuddhhikaran, [purification], they say it in real terms means forcible conversion to Hinduism.

There has been no response from the state and federal governments yet to the June 2014 dictat by several village Panchayats in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, to ban the entry of Christian workers in their areas.  The Panchayats decided only Hindu religious workers will be allowed into the village areas in the Tribal belt, and only Hindu places of worship could be constructed henceforth. This decision is of course entirely illegal, and violative of the provisions in the Constitution of freedom of expression and of movement.

The coercive methodology of branding every Tribal as a Hindu has led to much violence in several central Indian states, including the pogrom in Kandhamal in Orissa in August 2008. Such threats by Sangh Parivar groups were largely heard in a big way during the early years of the NDA government of Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, especially in the tribal areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In the Dangs, more than two dozen village churches were burnt down on Christmas eve in 1998, followed by the gruesome burning alive of Australian medical missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his young sons Timothy and Philip in Manouharpur in Orissa in January 1999. Many other murders followed, including that of a Catholic priest, Fr. Arun Doss, in that region.

The Prime Minister and his Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Rajnath Singh, have not sent out strong signals that the rule of law will be enforced, and religious minorities and their freedom of faith will be fully protected. Mr. Modi’s announcement in his Independence Day oration asking for a “ten-year moratorium” on all forms of sectorial violence has muddled the civil discourse. Human rights and religious minority groups have questioned him on why he sought a ten-year hiatus, and did not appeal for an end to violence against religious and caste groups. One cynical explanation is that the BJP seeks peace for the ten years when it hopes to rule the country in increasing strength, but may face a difficult election ten years from now. 

Mr. Modi has an opportunity to restore faith in harmony and secularism in the country. But there is little of hope that filters through his current strategy of silence on most issues of concern to the country, other than in a few public speeches where rhetoric and slogans substitute for substance.

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http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/divide-and-win/article6412685.ece#test
CHHATTISGARH
Marginalising Christians
Purnima S. Tripathi
CHHATISGARH’S Bastar region looks seductive in its tranquil beauty. The calm on the surface, however, is deceptive because the area is simmering with a hate campaign, spurred by the Hindutva organisations led by the VHP. There has always been a subterranean terror campaign against members of the minuscule Christian community in this region, but the arrival of a BJP-led government at the Centre has emboldened these organisations to such an extent that a particularly systematic campaign to drive Christians out of the State has begun. To make matters worse, even the police turn a blind eye; no first information reports (FIR) get registered and representations to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, or the police chief have no impact on the ground reality.
It all began on May 10 in Sirsiguda village when a meeting of the gram panchayat was convened and a resolution passed under Section 129(G) of the Chhattisgarh Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, which sought to “preserve the traditional cultural unity of the village; prohibit non-Hindu religious practitioners from either practising, preaching or propagating any other religion; banning the entry of non-Hindus in the area; and prohibiting the construction of any religious place without the prior permission of the gram panchayat”. The resolution stated that anyone violating these clauses would be liable for action. The resolution (a copy of which is with Frontline) was signed by the village sarpanch and other office-bearers of the gram panchayat. As many as 50 gram sabhas have passed similar resolutions.
The 50-odd Christian families in Sirsiguda village have been denied their PDS rations on the grounds that their ration cards are fake. They filed a complaint with to the district Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department on June 16. After the authorities arrived in the village to investigate the issue, those who deposed before them, mainly Christians, were beaten up by a group of 150-odd VHP activists, in full public view, with the local policemen remaining mute spectators. Even though an FIR naming the perpetrators of the violence was lodged the next day, so far no arrests have been made (Frontline has a copy of the FIR). The shops in the village refuse to sell their goods to the Christian families, who have been repeatedly warned by VHP activists to either convert to Hinduism or leave the place.

Description: http://www.frontline.in/multimedia/dynamic/02108/FL03_CHHATTISGARH__2108721g.jpg
Residents of Sirsiguda village gather for the special gram sabha which passed a resolution banning the entry of non-Hindu religious missionaries into the area. Photo:By Special Arrangement
Description: http://www.frontline.in/multimedia/dynamic/02108/FL03_CHHATTIS_BAST_2108722g.jpg
A Christian family in Sirsiguda, which was allegedly attacked by Hindutva activists. Photo:PAVAN DAHAT

Description: http://www.frontline.in/multimedia/dynamic/02108/FL03_CHHATTIS-SARP_2108747g.jpg
The Sirsiguda sarpanch with the gram sabha's proposal. Photo:PAVAN DAHAT
Arun Pannalal, president of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, told Frontline that this incident had triggered a chain reaction in the entire Bastar region. Efforts to apprise the Chief Minister and other senior Ministers have been in vain. “We have sought an appointment with the Chief Minister more than 50 times, but he has not given us time. Complaining to other State government officials has been of no help as they only give assurances and nothing changes on the ground,” Pannalal said. (The forum filed a writ petition in the Chhattisgarh High Court on September 5 challenging the constitutionality of the resolutions adopted by the village councils. On September 8, the court asked the State government to file its reply within three weeks.)
Attacks on Christians, systematic and in full knowledge of the authorities, have become frequent since the Modi government took office in New Delhi. On July 27, in Parapur village, where only two Christian families have been living for the past several years, Sukhram, 22, was beaten up by VHP activists and the police refused to register an FIR. Instead, his family was told either to compromise or to face the consequence. Intimidation and attacks have been happening in and around the Dhamtari area, which has a concentration of Christian families, too.
“No one is doing anything for us. We are totally helpless, at the mercy of Hindutva goons. The government does not listen to us, the police take no action, the political parties just don’t care. Where do we go? What do we do? We are not even allowed to pray in peace,” Pannalal said, conveying the despondency and frustration the community as a whole is experiencing in the State.
Attacks on Christians in Chhattisgarh are not a recent phenomenon. In January 2012, activists of the Hindu Dharam Sena created a ruckus in the Catholic Convent School in Korba, protesting against the principal not allowing Saraswati puja in the classroom. In February 2008, BJP Minister Renuka Singh led an attack on a Christian meeting at Fatakpur village in Sarguja district. Eleven pastors, accused of conversion, sustained injuries in the attack. They were arrested and later put in jail where they continue to remain. In June 2006, five practising Christian women from Bothili village in Durg district were disrobed at a public meeting by goons led by BJP MLA Pritam Sahu, who was accompanied by one Madanlal Sahu.
But the difference now is that with the BJP in power at the Centre, the attacks have become more brazen and the indifference of the authorities has become starker. Take for example the Sirsiguda gram panchayat resolution. The gram panchayat sabha is a local government meeting attended by local body representatives, but a copy of the resolution banning non-Hindus in the area was sent to the local VHP head. This raises serious concerns about the state officially encouraging non-state actors in matters as sensitive as religion. According to Chhattisgarh Christian Forum members, even the police are in cahoots with VHP functionaries. “In such a scenario, where do we go?” one of them asked.
“Physical violence was something that has been present over the years, but now structural violence also has begun, which is far more dangerous because it aims at systemically targeting Christian believers. This is more dangerous because Christianity has been in existence in the Bastar region for the last 100-125 years and to suddenly displace people, calling them outsiders, accusing them of conversion, is painful. It breeds hate, causes pain and frustration, and polarises society communally,” said Akhilesh Edgar, honorary regional secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, an organisation that has been taking up such issues with the State government over the years, without much success.
As for the role of the secular parties, “the less said, the better”, Edgar said. The CPI, however, has tried and intervened effectively sometimes, but the Congress could not care less, he said.
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ATTACKS On Christians
[AN ILLUSTRATIVE LIST OF INCIDENTS]

Christians not allowed -- A new cry in Bastar
VIJAYESH LAL
[Published in Indian Currents, New Delhi]


The quite tribal community in Bastar is under going a change. A change for the worse! Tribals are being increasingly communalized and conflicts are being reported from the area, which sometime turn violent and divide the tribal community further.

One such conflict was reported from Sirisguda village, Bastar in early July 2014. The village has a tiny presence of Christian Tribals for around 20 plus years. In the Bastar area, however, Christians have been present for the last 150 plus years.

In Sirisguda, there are 52 Christian families out of around 650. The Christians are scattered in various ‘para’s’ or mohallas in the village. But the Christians families had been facing social discrimination. They had been denied ration for over 2 months and their ration cards had not been renewed.

“Every time we went to the ration shop to get our share of rice as promised by the state government, people from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) would be sitting there and they would make sure that we do not get anything.” Said Shibu Ram Mandavi, a Christian from Sirisguda village.

“They would taunt us, curse us and ask us to renounce Christianity.” He added.

In order to renew the cards the VHP members along with the Panchayat officials asked the Christians to provide ‘chanda’ (donation) to the tune of 200 Rupees per family member towards the village devi (goddess) festival.

“We are poor people. How can we give 200 Rupees per person in our family in order to renew the cards? We told them that for years we had contributed to the festival willingly, and as much as we could, for we love being integrated with the village community, but they would not listen. They insisted on the amount and there was nothing we could do. Many of us are daily labourers, how could we afford the huge sum of money. So we continued on without food.” Mandavi said.

With the situation turning dire, the Christians then turned to the food inspector who was available in Jagdalpur, the nearest town and appealed to him to intervene. He did so by sending two officials to the village on June 15, 2014, to speak to the Panchayat officials and the Christians but the Panchayat people did not turn up for the meeting that was scheduled at the ration shop.

According to eyewitnesses, when the officials accompanied by the Christians approached the Panchayat members who were all huddled up along with VHP officials having their own meeting in a different location, they were attacked and chased away from the village. After this the Panchayat members and the VHP workers turned their ire towards the Christians.

“I was near the Panchayat Bhavan when I saw the food officials leave in a hurry. Suddenly I was surrounded by Panchayat members and people from the VHP who identified me as a Christian and called to each other to hit me. They abused me with filthy words, and started to beat me, cursing the Christian faith as well. They dragged me, beat me with their fists and legs, pushed me down on the ground and then jumped on me. Soon I lost consciousness and was later picked up by my wife accompanied by some other women.” Said Sukhram Kashyap, who works as a labour. He has not been able to go to work since the day he was beaten up and feels unwell most of the time.

That day 10 Christians including two women, Aiti and Kari, suffered injuries. One of them, Aitu Mandavi, suffered serious injuries and had his shoulder dislocated. While the 9 were treated at the local hospital, Aitu was carried to the district hospital where the care is better.

“I know these people who beat me. I grew up with them. Outsiders have polluted their mind and created divisions. Now the same people pressurize us to convert to Hinduism or be killed. They say they want to finish Christianity from Sirisguda” Kashyap said.

A day later i.e. on June 16, 2014, the Gram Sabha of Sirisguda met and passed a resolution under section 129 (G) of the Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Act outlawing all non-Hindu religions from Sirisguda. The VHP functionaries were present in this meeting and a copy of the resolution has been officially marked to ‘Respected Chairperson VHP, Jagdalpur’

The section 129 (G) 1 of the act gives power to the Gram Sabha in order to “Protect the peoples’ traditions, cultural identity, community resources and traditional way of dealing with disputes.” (Loose translation from Hindi)

Hence by equating Hinduism with ‘people’s traditions and cultural identity’ and outlawing all other faiths especially Christianity, the VHP has successfully fractured the Tribal community by polarising them on communal lines.

This was soon followed by similar resolutions from Badanji, Belar and Parapur Gram Sabhas and according to media reports; over 60 villages have adopted similar resolutions banning Christianity from their villages.

Christians approached the state administration and the chief secretary of the state Mr. Vivek Dhand, had assured them that these resolutions are ultra vires of the constitution and would be dealt with firmly. The collector, Mr. Ankit Anand has been on record on media saying similar things. But on the ground the situation is getting worse according to reports received.

Soon afterwards the meeting with the state administration, villagers in Parapur and Gadiya were threatened with Kandhamal like violence if they did not leave the village or do not convert to Hinduism. A week later the VHP struck beating up people in Parapur.
Sources say that the collector Mr. Anand has since changed his stance and only promises protection to the Christians while commenting that he cannot really do anything about the resolutions.

“What is being done is being done very systematically. The VHP, BJP and its allies have been moving in the area recently and have been telling the Tribals that their identity is Hindu and that the Christians are out to convert and enslave them.” Says Navneet Chand, a local political leader.

Last year members of the VHP accompanied by the local police and Tehsildar razed a Church in Gadiya village to the ground. “The Christians present in the Church were beaten up, women misbehaved with, Church property beoken and the altar desecrated.” Said Pastor Budhram on whose land the Church had been built after obtaining all due permissions. Today the faithful worship under plastic sheets near the broken down structure, as they have no building now.

“They have installed temples of Hanuman and sometimes Durga alongside the ancestor shrines of Tribals, telling them that this is needed to protect them from Christians. The VHP and BJP give money generously during Hindu festivals to local unemployed boys who are then formed into committees and serve as cadres for them. So we now have Tribals celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Utsav and other Hindu festivals, which was not the case in the past. When you get 25 – 30 thousand for celebrating each festival, why wont you?” He added.

But there is another angle as reported by other people in the region. The area of Lohandiguda, where most of these villages are, have been marked for a steel plant by the Tata Group. The project is expected to come up around 5000 acres of tribal land made up of 11 villages including the villages where the resolutions have been taken and the VHP has become recently active.

“There is a nexus between the VHP and the corporates to divide the tribal society in order to take the project further.” A local leader said on the conditions of anonymity. “The project has been stalled since 2005 and Christians are just collateral damage in this.” He said.

But for now the atmosphere in the Bastar area is tense, charged with communalism, as Christians wait for the administration to act and fulfil their constitutional mandate.

---------------------------------

Adventists seek inquiry after local members converted to Hinduism


Asroi (India)/Silver Spring (MD/USA), 03.09.2014 / Adventist Review/APD
Reconversion ceremony prompts fears that hardline Hindus are compelling people to switch faiths
Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders have appealed to Indian authorities to investigate the possible forced reconversion of Adventists to Hinduism in a northern Indian village.
Forced conversion is illegal in India, and a reconversion ceremony last week in Asroi, located about 110 miles (175 kilometers) south of India’s capital, New Delhi, raised fears in the wider Christian community that hard-line Hindus were compelling people to switch faiths in a part of the world that can be especially challenging for missionaries.
“We have made a petition to the local civic authority and to even higher levels for an inquiry,” said T. P. Kurian, Communication director for the church’s Southern Asia Division.
He added: “May I urge you to keep this matter in prayer.”
The last members of the Asroi church switched to Hinduism at an August 26 ceremony, Church leaders said Sunday. The church, which opened with 33 members in 2005, had about six regular attendees left when the reconversion ceremony took place.
“It is obvious from sources that there are some Hindu fundamental groups behind this havoc who have forced these believers to go back to their previous faith,” said Mohan Bhatti, communication director for the Northern India Union, citing a report from a four-member Adventist delegation that visited the village last week.
Church Under Police Watch
Indian media reported that dozens of active and non-active Adventists had reconverted at the ceremony, and that hardliners had turned the Asroi church into a temple to the Hindu god Shiva, replacing its cross with an idol. The reports included a photo of two men hanging a poster of Shiva on a church wall.
Description:  Shiva poster being put up inside the church in Asroi near Aligarh

A Shiva poster being put up inside the church in Asroi near Aligarh

Photo ©) The Times of India
But the visiting delegation found no evidence that the church had been disturbed.
“The idol of Shiva was not found there, and the church has not been turned into a temple,” the delegation said in the report. “It seems that a poster of Shiva was brought and raised up there for a few moments with the purpose of filming and publishing.”
The report added: “The church building is kept under police surveillance by civil administration to avoid any untoward incident. We have the freedom to conduct our weekly worship service.”
Bhatti said an official inquiry was needed “into this very sensitive issue that may cause disharmony in the community.”

The Asroi church’s history stretches back to 2001, when 33 villagers accepted the Adventist faith, according to local Adventist leaders. Land for the church was purchased in 2004, and Maranatha Volunteers International, a nonprofit organization, built the church the next year.
Church attendance dipped in the following years. Two families stopped attending in 2007, leaving 20 people at Sabbath services. Only five to seven people were attending regularly when the reconversion ceremony took place.
It was unclear how many former Adventists reconverted. Indian news media, citing Hindu activists at the ceremony, put the figure at 72, although this could not be reconciled with the lower membership figure offered by Church leaders.
The loss of the last church members surprised the pastor, said S.P. Singh, a local Adventist leader who was on the delegation that visited the church.
“The local pastor, Vikas Paswan, has been taking care of the church for 10 years,” he said. “He conducted Sabbath worship regularly. He didn’t have any idea that this could happen in the future.”
He called on church members to pray for the pastor and the Asroi church.
“Our pastor needs our fervent prayers in this unfavorable situation,” he said. “Let’s encourage them with our prayers and support.”
The Adventist Church has opened its own inquiry into the situation.

Khem Chandra, who attended the reconversion ceremony and is a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a nationalist Hindu group, said it was quite clear what had happened.
“They left by choice, and today they have realized their mistake and want to come back,” he told The Times of India in remarks published Thursday. “We welcome them.”
Chandra said had met with eight local Adventist families repeatedly over the years and urged them to rethink their faith.
The notion that the reconversions were voluntary was greeted with skepticism.
“It is the right of an individual to convert to any religion of his choice, but such mass conversions imply political, social and physical coercion and threat of violence,” said John Dayal, a member of the National Integration Council, a group of top politicians and public figures formed 50 years ago to find ways to resolve problems that divide Indian society. Dayal spoke to UCA News an independent Catholic news site.
Former Adventists Speak Out

One former Adventist interviewed by the Times of India said that disenchantment with India’s caste system had led him to Adventism and then back to Hinduism.
“As Hindus we had no status and were restricted to doing menial jobs, but even after remaining a Christian for 19 years, we saw that no one came to us from their community,” villager Anil Gaur said. “There was no celebration of Bada Din [Christmas]. The missionaries just built a church for us in the vicinity where some of the villagers got married. That was all."
Singh, the delegation member who visited the church last week, said in the report to the Northern Indian Union that he had made three previous trips to the church and that during one of them, in 2012, he had overseen its repairs and made sure it received carpets, songbooks, New Testaments, and materials for a pulpit.
Another former Church member, Rajendra Singh, 70, told the newspaper that a physical scare outside the village’s church had convinced him to leave.
"While sleeping outside the church one day I suffered a paralytic attack,” he said. “I found myself unable to move. It happened last year, and since then I have been thinking that it may have been Mata Devi's punishment for abandoning my faith.”
Chandra, the Hindu activist, expressed hope that a first Hindu temple would soon be opened in the village, perhaps even in the Adventist church.
"We will think about the church building. It belongs to the missionaries, but the ground on which it stands belongs to Hindustan,” he said. “We will not compromise on our dharti [earth]. We will meet the villagers and decide about the temple.” (Editor: Andrew McChesney for Adventist Review [AR] and APD)
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Sena, Christian evangelist’s followers clash in UP village

Express News Service | Allahabad | July 8, 2014 1:39 am

Description: shiv-sena-480

Shiv Sainiks reached the spot to protest against alleged religious conversions.

SUMMARY

Police have registered counter cases in this connection and arrested 10 people.
Three persons were injured in a clash that broke out between Shiv Sena members and a Christian evangelist and his supporters in Saraiyya village in Jaunpur district, police said Monday. The clash took place on Sunday when Shiv Sainiks reached the spot to protest against alleged religious conversions.
Police have registered counter cases in this connection and arrested 10 people, including the evangelist, Lalchandra Rajbhar, and the district head of Shiv Sena, Achhey Lal Tiwari, on charges of rioting.
Police said the place was being used for offering prayers and there have been no reports of any religious conversions as alleged. Shiv Sainiks had earlier given a letter to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate seeking permission to stage protest at the site. However, the administration denied it.
According to police, the incident occurred when Lalchandra Rajbhar, a resident of Saraiyya village, was holding a prayer meeting in an enclosure on Sunday morning. Around 10.30 am, Shiv Sainiks, led by Tiwari, reached the spot and began protesting. Some policemen deployed at the spot tried to resolve the issue.
However, soon arguments led to fisticuffs and stone pelting. Apart from Tiwari, another Shiv Sainik Manoj Tiwari and Pramod Rajbhar, one of Lalchandra’s followers, were injured.
Senior officials rushed to the spot with additional reinforcements and PAC was also deployed. Police used force to disperse the crowd. Around the same time, former district BJP convenor, Harendra Prasad Singh, also reached the spot. He, too, was detained but later released.
“Both the sides have given complaints and we have lodged FIRs accordingly. At least 10 people have been arrested. A few others are absconding,” said police. Superintendent of Police (Jaunpur), Pramod Kumar, said: “The fight was between the Shiv Sainiks and those offering prayers. The BJP leader had nothing to do with it. We are keeping a watch. Further investigations are on.”

Yet another communal clash in UP
Jul 07, 2014 | 
A communal clash took place in Sarraiya village in Jaunpur on Sunday on the issue of religious conversions. Additional forces have been called in from adjoining districts in view of the prevailing tension in the area. According to reports reaching here, some Christian missionaries were visiting the Sarraiya village and local Shiv Sena leaders alleged that the missionaries were forcibly converting low caste Hindus to Christianity.
The Shiv Sena workers surrounded the village and supporters of the missionary group and Shiv Sena workers clashed with each other. As the news spread, local BJP leaders also rushed to the spot and staged a demonstration.
Timely intervention by the police prevented the situation from taking a violent turn The police spokesman said that 12 persons had been taken into custody in connection with the clashes and senior police official were camping in the village.

Pastor severely beaten up mob at Madhya Pradesh
Jun 30 2014 Dewas, Madhya Pradesh,
A Pastor was severely beaten by a mob of about 150 assailants during an afternoon prayer meeting at Killoda Village at Madhya Pradesh, India on Monday, the 30th of June, 2014. The pastor was later arrested along with a member of his church and charged under the MP Freedom of Religion Act Sec.3, 4 and 5. The incident took place when the pastor was at his church member's house to conduct a prayer meeting at around 2:00 pm. 

The local RSS leader along with the mob came to the house and caught the pastor and started beating him up profusely. He was verbally abused for being an adivasi and for using people from higher castes to convert the village into Christianity. They also got hold of the member and beat him up after which he escaped and ran to the nearby village. Seeing how the mob was beating up the pastor, the member's family managed to take the pastor inside their house and locked the doors to protect him from the raging mob that was waiting to get hold of the pastor again. 

Meanwhile, the police was called and the Pastor was arrested while the church member was was also arrested the next day.

Church Demolished in Chhatisgarh
Jun 24 2014 Bhilai, Durg, Chhattisgarh
On 24 June in Bhilai, Durg, suspected Hindu extremists demolished an independent church of a Pastor Santosh Roa. . According to local sources, the thatched building of the church was completely destroyed.  Some villagers claimed that the building was destroyed by a cyclone. The area Christians, however, maintained that it was the hands of the extremists as only the church was damaged in the area by the so called 'cyclone'.  Moreover, the local Hindu extremists have threatened to harm Pastor Roa if he continues to conduct a worship meeting in the area several times in the past.

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Two Christian Women Arrested in Chhattisgarh 


On August 8 in Sakti, Raigarh, two Christian women, Jyoti Pal and Manju Modu were arrested under Section 4 of the Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Act.

The arrest took place when the two women were conducting a healing prayer meeting and prayed for some sick patients when the Hindu extremists alleged that they were forcefully converting people to Christianity, reported area pastor Raju Yadav.

After the intervention of the area church leaders, the Christians were released on bail.
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Pastor Arrested in Chhattisgarh 

At Koranga, Jashpur, Hindu extremists forcefully pulled out Pastor Virendar Bhaskar from an independent church while he was conducting a Sunday worship meeting and accused him of forceful conversion and of terming the Hindu gods as evil spirit on August 17. 

Our correspondent, Rev. Kalerdan Tirkey reported that Pastor Bhaskar was arrested under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.  However, the local villagers and believers testified at the Kunkuri police station that the allegation against the pastor was false, reported our correspondent. The pastor was released on bail on August 28.



Christians Hospitalized in India after Attack for Objecting to Discrimination

Hindu extremist-instigated mob beats one man unconscious.

June 23, 2014 
NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Ten Christians in India’s Chhattisgarh state whose faith cost them their food rations were hospitalized last week after a Hindu extremist mob attacked them for objecting to the discrimination, sources said.
One of the Christians fell unconscious and two women were among those hospitalized in the attack on about 100 Christians on June 16 in Sirisguda, Bastar town, Jagdalpur, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
“I received a hard blow on my head, and thereafter a couple of extremists started to jump on me, beating me up with sticks, punching and kicking me all over my body and my head and telling me I deserve to die because I am a Christian,” Aitu Mandavi, who fell unconscious and remained in a coma for two days, told Morning Star News.
Christians from 52 families from the Brethren, Bastar and Bethsheba churches at about 1 p.m. approached the food inspector in Jagdalpur, about 40 kilometers (24 miles) far from their village, to inquire about the denial of two months of food rations. Two government officials went to the village to appease local leaders. Hindu extremists chased the two officials from the village, however, and later filed a false complaint at Badanji police station against Christians for attacking Hindus, Christian leaders said.
“The manhandling of the government representatives by the villagers is evidence of the level of impunity that the perpetrators enjoy,” attorney Tehmina Arora of Alliance Defending Freedom-India told Morning Star News. “The intentional victimization of the 52 families using the public distribution system on account of their faith is inhumane.”
Instigated by the Hindu extremists, at about 3 p.m. a large mob brandishing sticks and stones attacked Christians gathered at the office of the food inspector, sources said.
“The extremists shouting Hindu slogans suddenly rushed in and started beating the Christians with sticks and stones, punching and kicking whomever they could catch,” the Rev. Bhupendra Khora told Morning Star News.
The attacked Christians, including women and children, started to run in different directions to avoid the attack, but the Hindus struck them while spewing verbal abuse, victims said.
Besides his head injuries, Mandavi’s left hand was broken, his right elbow was fractured, his sternum was severely injured, and he sustained abrasions on his legs and bruising all over his body. The other nine Christians sustained injuries to their heads, hands and legs, as well as abrasions.
The extremists dragged two women, identified only as Aiti, 40, and Kari, 45, to the ground and stood on them as they hit their genitals.
“ADF-India denounces these actions that affect the civil liberties of the religious minorities in the country,” Tehmina said.
The unconscious Mandavi was initially denied treatment, but after police intervention he was admitted to the district hospital, and the other nine injured Christians were admitted to the local hospital.
The village head had denied the food rations to the 52 low-income Christians families, sources said.
“The local Christians have been discriminated based on their faith for the past several months,” pastor Khora said. “It has been very difficult for them to live without the rations being allowed to be distributed to them.”
Attorney Songsingh Jhali said the village head continued to bully area Christians after the attack.
“The next day after the incident, the village head called a public meeting where it was sternly resolved that no entry should be given to an outsiders in the village – and that everyone in the village should embrace Hinduism or their lands would be seized,” Jhali said.
The Christians, however, refused to be bullied into renouncing their faith.
“They may kill us, but we are not going to leave Jesus who loves us,” one Christian told Morning Star News.
Police have filed a First Information Report against the assailants, but at press time no arrest had been made.

Pastor, Believers Beaten up in Madhya Pradesh
 Jun 14 2014 Katni, Murshidābād
Gayatri Nagar, Katni, Hindutv extremists manhandled Christians and tore up Bibles. About 15 extremists from the Bajrang Dal attacked the Pastor and few believers from Brethren church when they were coming out from one believer's house after a prayer. 

The extremists surrounded them, started to verbally abuse them for their faith in Christ and pushed them around. Thereafter, the extremists snatched their bags, took out the Bibles and tore it up threatening them "not to pray again in the area in the future." 

The Christians, however, did not file a police complaint against the attackers.
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Five Christians Arrested in Madhya Pradesh 

On Sept 12, police arrested five Christians after they were accused of forceful conversion and of luring people to convert to Christianity by offering monetary benefits in Barwa, Khargoan.  About 10 Christians from Thlarau Bo Zawngtu Team (TBZ) were on their way to conduct a prayer meeting in one believer's house when the Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal stopped them in front of the house, questioned them and told them not to pray in the area, reported our correspondent Pu Lalngurliana Sailo. 

"We just reached the believer's place when two people standing outside the house prohibited us from entering into the house, told us to go back and not to pray." Mimi, one team member, told EFI NEWS. 

Thereafter, the Christians prayed a small prayer outside the house and started heading back home on their motor cycles. However, by that time about 20 extremists swelled up near the spot.  "They let the first few of us go but barred two Christians, Sawmtea and Zonuna who were coming at the last." Mimi said.

Realizing that the two Christians were stopped, two Christians from the team went back to the spot when the extremists started slapping them, verbally abused them for their faith and accused them of forceful conversion and offering Rs 1 lakh to each family to convert to Christianity and took them to the police station.  The rest of the Christians went ahead and waited for their friends in the house of one believer in the same area when the police went and took another three Christians to the police station. 

Altogether seven Christians including two women were questioned in the police station. Five were arrested under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code for knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse, and sent them to jail on the next day .The two women were released without any charges filed against them.

Speaking on the incident, Rev. Zaithanga, Field Director of TBZ told EFI News, "The accusations against our workers were baseless. They went to the area after they were invited by one believer to pray in his house. There was no case of forceful conversion and we did not offer money to anyone to convert them."

The Christians were released on bail around 6 p.m on Tuesday afternoon ( 16 Sept)  Tension prevails in the area and the Christians were relocated for safety measures at press time. Kindly pray that the Christians will stand strong amid persecution and kindly pray for the ministry of TBZ. 


Christians Repeatedly Attacked in Bihar 


On August 30 in Balwanazir, Kaliyanganj, about five Hindu extremists forcefully entered into the house of Shri Lal Khatiyan, questioned them on who has visited them, called them pagans and started to beat them up.

The Christians in the area were not allowed to visit anyone's home nor entertain anyone in their home," area pastor Laxmi Prasad told EFI News. The couple later received hospital treatment.  Later that day, about 100 extremists with sticks stood in each corner of the village to make sure that no Christian go out from the village to file a police complaint and threatened to cut into pieces anyone who dare venture out to report the attack against the couple. 

From May 26, the Christians were beaten up, ostracized and harassed because of their faith and their prayer hall was shut down where the extremists threatened to kill and bury anyone who opens the church door in the premises, said Pastor Ajayan, area leader from the Evangelical Team of India. 

--------   

Christian girl beaten up in Uttar Pradesh
 

On August 7 in Jalanpur, Haridwar, Hindu extremists allegedly from Rashtriya Swamyamseval Sangh beat up the minor daughter of Pastor Pyare Lal ji from an Independent church while she coming back from her school and later pelted stones at the Pastor Lalji's house . The Christians fled in fear.  "I was away in a nearby village when the incident took place. The extremists have threatened to harm me several times in the past if I did not stop conducting worship meetings.†Pastor Pyare Lal ji told EFI News.  The Christians filed a police complaint. However, no action was taken against the attackers. 

       -----------
Christians Detained, Beat up in Uttar Pradesh


On August 30 in Kulesra, Greater Noida, police detained 13 Christians after the Hindu mob forcefully stop a fasting prayer meeting and accused the main pastor of forceful conversion.

According to our correspondent, Rev. Wilson Joseph, two persons barged into the fasting prayer conducted by Pastor Sanjay Singh from Calvary Temple and told him to stop the meeting.  Thereafter, about 100 Hindu mob swelled up near the church and started to verbally abuse the Christians, beat them up and took five pastors to the Surajpur Thana.  Later, the mob came back to the church, beat up the Christians and took three more pastors to the police station. 

The mob demanded the arrests of the eight Christians when another five Christians arrived at the spot. The mob along with two police officer beat up the five Christians. One believer, Shibu Abrabram sustained a severe injury on his left ear and he was not able to hear thereafter. 

"The police, however, maintained that they have beat up the Christians to please the Hindu mob as a mean of protection for the Christians." Advocate Promod Singh from the Christian Legal Association told EFI News and added that the police claimed the Hindu extremist groups, RSS, BJP and the Arya Samaj to be behind the attacked.

After the intervention of the area Christian leaders, the Christians were released without any charges filed against them. "There was no case of forceful conversion, people come to the church by their own choice." Rev. Wilson said adding that worship meeting is going under tense situation. 



Indian Express investigations
Part-I: Over 600 ‘communal incidents’ in UP since LS results, 60% near by poll seats
Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | Moradabad | Posted: August 5, 2014
A third of all “communal” incidents recorded by police in Uttar Pradesh in the 10 weeks following the Lok Sabha election results have occurred in — or on the fringes of — 12 assembly constituencies that are scheduled to go to polls over the next few months.
If a larger circle is imagined — covering broadly the region around these constituencies — this proportion rises to two-thirds, police records scrutinised by The Indian Express show.
The records show a running strand of attempts made by an aggressive BJP, a desperate SP, and a flagging BSP to turn every clash involving individuals from the two largest religious communities into a communal issue.
There is also clear evidence of provocation in areas where Dalits and Muslims live together, leading to communal polarisation.
Between May 16 — when UP delivered a spectacular tally to the BJP in the Lok Sabha — and July 25, 605 low-key clashes took place which police identified as “communal” in nature. Nearly 200 of these occurred in or around the 12 constituencies, and another 200 in the broader region.
In the Terai, Eastern UP and Bundelkhand regions, each of which is home to two of the 12 seats, 29, 16, and 6 incidents respectively were recorded.
Records of more than 400 communal incidents in and around the constituencies show that tensions arose out of broadly six issues. The most common were construction activities involving masjids, madrasas and kabristans (graveyards); and the use of loudspeakers for prayers (120 instances each).
Issues of land led to communal tensions in about 70 cases; alleged incidents of cow slaughter in 61 cases; and alleged incidents of elopement and eve-teasing or harassment involving men and women of different communities in 50-odd cases. Minor accidents triggered communal incidents in some 30 cases.
MLAs at these 12 assembly seats contested the Lok Sabha elections and have become MPs. Polls to the vacant seats are due within six months.
Five of these seats — Saharanpur Nagar, Bijnor, Kairana, Thakurwada and Gautam Buddh Nagar — are in Western UP, where the largest number of 259 communal incidents were recorded. Fifty-three incidents took place in Awadh, where the Lucknow East assembly seat will go to polls.
    
In mid-July, in Bijnor’s Keeratpur area, a delegation met the district administration to demand that the construction of a gate on the Bijnor-Haridwar highway be stopped because the top of the gate was beginning to resemble an Islamic “minar”. The administration has now stopped work on the gate, but at a local mandir barely 10 metres away, a practice has begun of weekly recitals of Hanuman Chalisa, at which the gathering is told of the construction.
Septuagenarian Jakhir Ahmed, who has kept a small shop next to the gate for three decades, said, “Construction had been on for months. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, protesters showed up, demanding its demolition.”
A senior official of the district administration, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “There is a constant pressure from one group to keep issues burning. We get daily complaints about issues, many of which are old. But they are being pursued on a day-to-day basis. And wherever possible, politics is being introduced.”
On June 20, in Rampur village of Bijnor’s Nagina region, Muslims objected to a DJ playing music in the community hall of the village. The music was turned off, but the following day, a clash broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Police and local people are still not sure how the trouble began.
Five days later, in Noorpur Chiperi village 50 km away
in the Sherkot area of the same district, residents objected to music beign played at a birthday party for the nephew of pradhan Mahavir Singh. Here too, the music was turned off, but some local dailies reported that Hindus and Muslims had clashed. The following day, the police arrested a Muslim man for allegedly intruding into a temple and damaging the mandir’s property.
When The Indian Express visited Noorpur Chiperi, a Dalit-dominated village, the pradhan brushed aside the incident. “It was a misunderstanding based on wrong information. We have no problems.”
Not far away, in the Gulabbadi area of Moradabad town, where Dalits and Muslims live in almost equal numbers, police have begun to receive anonymous calls about the construction of a minar in a masjid. The masjid in question is deep inside a narrow street, lined by buildings standing cheek-by-jowl, and crisscrossed overhead by a thick jumble of hanging power cables.
On July 1, four loudspeakers on the second-floor roof of the mosque were raised to a height of three feet for Ramzan. The calls to the local police and district administration have, however, been complaining of “attempts to raise a new minar, leading to the setting of a precedent”.
Only a fortnight earlier, police and protesters had clashed in Kant, 35 km from the town, after the administration brought down a newly set up loudspeaker in a Dalit temple.
According to a senior police official, the incidents “reveal how closely communities are keeping a watch on issues that have potential for communal clashes”. The loudspeakers of the Moradabad masjid have been returned to their original height. DIG, Moradabad Zone, Gulab Singh, said, “Even small issues like motorbike accidents involving Hindus and Muslims is leading to mobs gathering. No one seems willing to see reason.”
     
Express investigation part-II: My loudspeaker versus your loudspeaker
Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | Saharanpur/ Bijnor/ Moradabad | Posted: August 6, 2014 1:52 am | Updated: August 9, 2014 9:20 am
Holiyan, and residents of the area had objected to the volume of the temple’s loudspeaker. The local police shrugged off the attack as the result of personal enmity between Saini and someone called Salim. But a full week after the incident, The Indian Express observed five armed policemen still patrolling the area.
In the 10 weeks after May 16, when the new government took over in Delhi, police in Uttar Pradesh recorded 605 incidents of “communal” nature, two- thirds of them in and around 12 assembly constituencies headed to bypolls. In this communal tinderbox, the humble loudspeaker emerged as a potent catalyst for tensions.
Traditionally used for propaganda, provocation and posturing, the loudspeaker was transformed into an effective instrument of polarisation. Police records of
over 600 communal incidents during this period scrutinised by The Indian Express show some 120 of them were triggered by the use of loudspeakers at places of worship — the largest contributor, alongside construction activities involving masjids, madrasas and kabristans, to tensions.
Ten incidents occurred in Muzaffarnagar; nine each in the districts of Bijnor, Meerut and Moradabad. Loudspeakers triggered eight incidents each in Amroha and Saharanpur; seven each in Sambal and Bareilly; and six in Shamli. Five incidents each were witnessed in Baghpat, Rampur, Bahraich and Balrampur.
Mitron aaj to tumhare mandiron se speaker utar rahe hain, ek na huye to kal yeh tumhare ghar main ghuske tumhari izzat utarenge. Isliye bolta hoon, apni taakat dikha do. To sab milte hain, shaam 6 baje Bageshwar mandir. (Friends, today, they are removing speakers from your temples; if you do not unite, tomorrow they will enter your homes and humiliate you. This is why I say, demonstrate your strength. So let us meet at 6 pm at the Bageshwar temple.)
— Message sent out on WhatsApp, allegedly by Vijay Kumar Mittal, head of the Bageshwar temple committee in Saharanpur.
  
On July 23, four days before riots broke out between Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur city, nearly 2,500 Hindus answered the message, gathering quickly at Kothwai Nagar, 5 km outside the city. On the previous night (July 22), loudspeakers at the temple had blared Shiv Katha, disturbing scores of Muslims at their night- time Ramzan namaaz. Some 300 Muslim families live in the Hindu-dominated area, and an argument broke out between the two communities on Behat Road before the police were called in. The night passed peacefully, but the next morning, the WhatsApp message went out.
On the same day, in Nehtaur in adjoining Bijnor district, two Muslim men attacked a Hindu pandit called Rajesh Singh Saini with a knife. Saini’s temple is in the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of
The incidents spiked sharply after June 16, when \Hindu mobs poured out on the streets of Kant, Moradabad, after a newly installed loudspeaker at a Dalit temple was removed.
Between May 16 and June 16, only 17 incidents were recorded — all but one of which were in the western UP districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Amroha, Sambhal and Moradabad. After June 16, however, and especially after Ramzan began on June 30, there was a spurt in communal incidents, which also spread rapidly eastward.
In nearly all of these 120 cases, a familiar pattern was seen: temple loudspeakers competed with loudspeakers of the azaan; and a new and aggressive Hindu insistence on the right to use loudspeakers triggered Muslim reaction.
OUTSIDERS, RUMOUR, DENIAL
Vijay Kumar Mittal of Saharanpur’s Bageshwar temple committee — also an activist of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — denied having sent the WhatsApp message that, besides exhorting Hindus to “unite”, contained several offensive references to Muslims. Police are yet to establish where the message originated.
Eyewitness accounts of Muslims, corroborated by police officials, suggest that the majority among the 2,500-strong Hindu mob that gathered at the temple were outsiders. Said a Muslim man in Saharanpur who
identified himself as Nazir, “We have never had such problems in the past. If it (the loudspeaker) was loud, we would request that the volume be turned down, and the pujari would oblige. But this Ramzan, it was impossible to conduct our prayers.
“We informed administration officials because we did not want conflict. But an agitating mob showed up the next day. There were very few locals in that mob. I don’t know what would have happened had the administration not intervened.”
Nazir was among members of the community who gathered for afternoon prayers not far from Bageshwar temple amid curfew in Saharanpur.
Kapil Mishra, a member of the Bageshwar temple committee, said, “The loudspeaker will remain where it is, and the Shiv Katha will continue. The temple uses loudspeakers only occasionally. What about the masjid? Their radio (loudspeaker) blares throughout the year. Have we ever objected?”
Assembled inside the temple, Mishra and other members of the temple committee described an alleged attack by Muslims on a priest. “Muslims attacked the
pandit of the Shankaracharya temple and injured him. This is what is happening to us wherever the Mohammedans are in a position of strength,” they said.
However, the local police station has no record of any such attack. About the July 23 incident, Kothwai Nagar police have recorded in the station
registry that following rumours of a loudspeaker being removed in Bageshwar temple, both communities had gathered on the main road, but the district administration had settled the matter and urged both sides to maintain peace.
At Muzaffarnagar, Balraj Singh, the Bajrang Dal’s regional coordinator for western UP, told The Indian Express: “Why do Muslims object to mandirs using loudspeakers? They don’t want Hindus to express themselves. They want to subjugate us. We are being denied the right that they enjoy. That is why they are making an issue out of mandirs using loudspeakers.”
Balraj Singh said he had just returned from clamped- down Saharanpur.
POLITICIANS’ OPPORTUNITY
At 7 pm on July 23, barely half an hour after the knifing of priest Rajesh Singh Saini in Nehtaur, Bijnor, Karan Singh Saini, the BJP’s Nehtaur in-charge, arrived at the local police station along with 200 others. Gathering the crowd had been easy, he said, because everyone knew pressing charges against Muslims would be difficult.
“The news spread to nearby areas, and we decided to meet at the police station. We knew it would be difficult to press charges against a Muslim because the Samajwadi Party government patronises Muslims,” Karan Singh Saini said.
Soon afterward, a “Muslim” delegation led by the SP’s local unit in-charge arrived at the police station, seeking an “amicable” compromise. Police, however, charged both groups, much to the dismay of the Hindu population in the area. The station registry recorded that the incident involved two individuals of the Hindu and Muslim community, both of whom were under the influence of alcohol, and that an FIR had been registered.
Later, standing in the one-room home where Rajesh Saini is recovering from his injuries, a neighbour said, “The SP government patronises them (Muslims). We are the victims, but get charged.”
Everyone in the room agreed, and several people recounted incidents of attacks on priests during Ramzan. The Indian Express could not confirm any of these incidents. The police have no record of such attacks.
  
Express investigation part-III: Dalit-Muslim divide deepens, goes rural
Muzaffarnagar/saharanpur/bijnor | Posted: August 7, 2014 3:05 am | Updated: August 9, 2014 9:20 am
On Monday morning, a minor argument over widening a village road resulted in a violent clash between Muslims and Dalits in Katauli Kala in the Deogaon police station area of Azamgarh district. SP (City), Vinod Kumar, said there was no history of tension between the two communities in that area.
However, according to diary entry at Rani Ki Sarai police station in Sonvar village of the same district, on July 4, an argument between a Muslim family and a Dalit family over the boundaries of their fields resulted in a communal clash in which eight people were injured.
Data from police stations across Uttar Pradesh scrutinised by The Indian Express show that out of 605 communal incidents in the state in the 10 weeks beginning with the Lok Sabha election results of May 16, 68 — or every ninth incident — involved Muslims and Dalits.
Forty-eight of these 68 incidents — over 70 per cent — took place in and around 12 assembly constituencies where byelections are due.
Part 1 of this Investigation, published on August 5, showed that about 400 of the 605 communal incidents between May 16 and July 25 occurred in or around assembly constituencies whose representatives have now become MPs, necessitating bypolls by mid- November.
Part 2, published on August 6, showed how groups and political parties have transformed loudpeakers at places of worship into powerful instruments of communal polarisation, leading to clashes between Hindus and Muslims. In as many as 120 of the 600-odd communal incidents, police records of which were analysed by The Indian Express, the trigger for violence was found to lie in a clash involving the use of loudspeakers in masjids and temples.
The clashes between Muslims and Dalits signal a fracture in the BSP’s once-potent social engineering experiment. One fallout of the weakening of the BSP’s Dalit-Muslim coalition has been that the party’s mixed leadership in these areas has found it difficult to take sides — and individual leaders have often rushed to
align with their respective religious groups, alienating members of the other group.
Tensions between Dalits and Muslims began, in several cases, after a relationship between, or elopement of, couples from the two communities. In many of these cases, local BJP units and leaders emerged as the “protector” of Dalits, police records show.
Village Gaineridan, Police Station Jahanabad, Pilibhit; May 20: A Muslim family took away by force their girl, who had married a Jatav boy. Local BJP leaders demanded security for the Hindu family and the return of the girl, leading to tensions.
Village Lisadi, Police Station Lisadi Gate, Meerut; May 30: The local BJP leadership got involved after a Jatav girl eloped with a Muslim boy.
Village Ashapur, Police Station Kotwali, Faizabad; June 2: A game of cricket between Muslim and Rawat boys ended in a fight, in which BJP workers got involved. A case has been registered.
Village Neta Nagar, Police Station Karari, Kaushambi; June 6: Local BJP leaders got involved after an incident of stonethrowing between Pasi and Muslim groups. Hindus complained to police, and an FIR was registered against the Muslims.
Village Kasba, Police Station Thana Bhavan, Shamli; July 14: BJP leaders led protests after a Khatik girl eloped with a Muslim boy.
Mohalla Naurangabad East, Police Station Sikanderarao, Hathras; July 15: BJP leaders led a protest roadblock after a Jatav girl committed suicide, allegedly after having been raped by a Muslim man.
Mohalla Malkand, Police Station Bilgram, Hardoi; July 17: An object that looked like a Shiv linga was found while digging near a kabaristan, following which Hindus put up a flag at the spot and began worship. Police intervened after Muslims protested; the local BJP leadership was present.
Indeed, the aggressiveness of Dalit populations has been a significant aspect of the communal tension in the state, and especially in Western UP, in this period. In the July 25 Saharanpur riot — in which Sikhs clashed with Muslims — half of all incidents of arson and violence took places in Dalit and Muslim areas.
According to a senior police officer who was involved in tackling the fallout of the riot, Dalit rioters were involved in around 70 per cent of cases of destruction of property. In Kalasi Lane on the outskirts of Saharanpur town, an area that is surrounded by Muslim and Dalit neighbourhoods, only three shops in a shopping complex were set on fire — all belonging to Muslim tailors. All the suspects that police have in the case are Dalits.
Of all the non-Muslims who were arrested for the violence in Saharanpur, only 2 per cent were Sikhs — most of the rest were Dalit Hindus.
The second significant — and new — aspect of the ongoing phase of communal tensions in UP is the intensity and spread of the violence in areas that are completely or predominantly rural. Rumour has played a role in polarisation, alongwith instruments of propaganda and posturing such as loudspeakers.
In several cases, communal tensions have polarised communities that have had no history of animosity, and have lived in harmony for decades.
In Muzaffarnagar’s Kheti Viran, 80-year-old Ijhar Hussain, the oldest person in the village, described how the family had decided to leave after Partition, but had been persuaded by Hindu neighbours to return from the railway station. Years later, Hussain’s uncle, Miyan Majahir Hussain, then the biggest landlord in the village, donated the piece of land on which a Ravidas mandir stands today.
Kheti Viran is run as a single administrative unit along
with its twin Badarpur. Together, the two villages are home to 4,500 families, Hindu and Muslim in the ratio of 60:40. A majority of Hindus are Dalits.
On July 11, around 6.30 pm, village elders in Kheti Viran reprimanded a Muslim neighbour for tying his buffaloes next to the gate of the Ravidas mandir. Within a half hour, a 600-strong mob had gathered at the temple. Most in the crowd were Dalits from Badarpur, who had heard that Muslims had forcibly removed the temple’s loudspeaker.
“Someone had spread a rumour in Badarpur that Muslims had damaged the temple’s loudspeaker,” pradhan Jag Sooran Singh said. Local BSP leaders — facing a statewide erosion in their party’s Dalit-Muslim base — tried to get involved, as did the local BJP unit. But Kheti Viran pushed back.
Two weeks after the July 11 incident, villagers insisted there was no divide. They recounted an incident after last year’s riots in Muzaffarnagar, when a tractor was burnt not far from the village, and both communities had taken it in turns to patrol the perimeter of Kheti.
And yet, several villagers told The Indian Express that they were disturbed that the old bhaichaara had been replaced by tanaav, and that so many people had responded to the rumour about the loudspeaker. On August 6, in Part 2 of this Investigation, The Indian Express had reported how a provocative WhatsApp message, purportedly sent by a local VHP leader in Saharanpur, had triggered a near riot, with 2,500 Hindus willing to confront Muslims in the street.
A 40-minute drive from Kheti Viran, towards the east, is Kheti Sarai village. There, a few metres away from the compound in which the local Ravidas mandir and Shiv mandir stand, a new madrasa has come up. Students come from as far away as Assam.
On June 18, two days after a fullscale riot took place in Kant, Moradabad, 25-odd students of the madrasa, all in the age group of 12-18 years, allegedly forced their way into the Ravidas mandir and damaged the loudspeaker.
According to the Dalits, who make up 40 per cent of the village, the local BSP MLA, Maulana Jameel, has been visiting the madrasa frequently and patronizing the Muslims of the area. Jameel had been arrested for allegedly inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar last year.
According to Manavendra Singh, the former pradhan of Kheti Sarai who played a role in cooling tensions, the BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Bijnor, Bharatendra Singh, had wanted to visit the village to address a gathering. But Manavendra Singh had refused to cooperate.
Manavendra Singh said he was associated with the BJP himself, but “I don’t want any issue in this village. We are living in really bad days.”
He added, “A lot of people from Muzaffarnagar town wanted to visit the village to show solidarity with the Hindus. I ensured with the help of the police that nobody actually came here.”

Mewat still tense after communal rioting; fear of ‘converting it into another Muzaffarnagar’ looms large

Submitted by TwoCircles.net on 16 June 2014

Polarization has already begun and there are fears of future rioting as both sides accuse the police of biased actions.

By M Reyaz, TwoCircles.net,
Tauru, Haryana: “Tarau was like an island, as it did not see any communal clashes after partition, not even in 1992-93 (when the Babari Mosque was demolished), but the trust has now been breached and may never be repaired,” says Bipin Kumar Makker, a shopkeeper from the town of Tauru, in Haryana’s Mewat district, about 40 Km from Gurgaon.
At a different place in the same town, surrounded by elder Meo Muslims, Haji Hanif, Pradhan (village headman) of Dalabas village, on the other hand is still unable to grapple with the new situations. “We have lived together in harmony for ages. Often our trade, business and properties are in partnerships. Perhaps instigated by some outsiders, the gap between two communities is now deepening,” he says.

Description: Tauru, Mewat
Last Sunday morning, June 8, the sleepy town of Tauru, one of the five blocks in Mewat district, saw communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims for the first time in its history since partition. Although prompt action by the district officials and clamping of curfew could curtail the damages, but polarization has already begun and there are fears of retaliation from both sides as they accuse the police of bias. As we visited the town on Saturday there was palpable fear and Meos were afraid to even escort us towards the market in the Hindu dominated locality.
What began as a ‘normal’ accident on a road on Sunday morning – normal as it was an accident and had no premeditated intentions and certainly not the first or the only accident - soon turned into communal frenzy as rumor mill began spreading false claims of Hindu and Muslim youth being killed.

Description: Tauru, Mewat
Haji Hanif, Pradhan of Dalabas village (in yellowish Kurta) and Saddique Ahmed (in white Kurta), Sarpanch of Chila village, along with other villagers.
Around 7 AM a dumper (a kind of truck) mowed down two men on a bike, killing one of them, Danveer Singh, 22, on the spot while the other was seriously injured and later admitted to the hospital. People soon gathered on the spot and thrashed the driver Raees, 35, and helper Mubarak, 18. (They both are still being treated in a hospital in Gurgaon.)

Description: Fwd:
While the two persons on the bike – one of whom died on the spot, the only casualty – belonged to the majority community, the truck driver and his aid belonged to the Meo-Muslim community, who comprises 70% of the district population, but are in minority in the town. Most of the Muslim population is in surrounding villages.
Media quoted police officer saying that soon rumour spread that the duo were beaten to death enraging the Meo community, who gathered at the marketplace and allegedly looted several shops. Shopkeepers in the market also reiterated the same version, as we took a walk across the town, accusing the local Muslim leaders, including son of former MP and INLD leader Zakir Hussain and son of another INLD leader and former MLA Sahida Khan for leading the mob. Similar rumour of death of two Hindu boys also spread among Hindu communities. Allegedly social media, mobile and internet were used to spread remours on both sides.

Description: Former MLA and INLD leader Sahida Khan with fellow members of the Meo community.
Former MLA and INLD leader Sahida Khan with fellow members of the Meo community.
The members of the Meo community have, however, refuted the accusations and alleged that it was some elements of the RSS and other right wing Hindutva forces who had instigated the riot in an attempt to communally polarize the region few months before the Assembly election.
Advocate Hashim Khan, out rightly rejected that the police version saying that Meos were not the first one to attack. He said that it was not the case of just one driver beaten on the pretext of accident, but the mob gathered at the spot, stopped every passing bike or dumpers and thrashed them if they found them to be Muslims. They even damaged some vehicles, he alleged, pointing that while the town is mostly inhabited by Hindus, Muslims live in nearby villages and hence it’s not possible for them to immediately gather at a place. It took them few hours to reach the spot, they point out.

Description: (R-L) Advocate Ramzan Chaudhary, Haji Hanif, Pradhan of Dalabas village, Advocate Hashim Khan and Liyaqat Ali, Sarpanch of Dwarka village.
(R-L) Advocate Ramzan Chaudhary, Haji Hanif, Pradhan of Dalabas village, Advocate Hashim Khan and Liyaqat Ali, Sarpanch of Dwarka village.
Sahida Khan said that as he is a native of the place, on Sunday (June 8) as the situation was getting out of control, he reached the spot along with other elders and tried to calm everyone down. He denies instigating the mob and said that on the contrary, he helped form a 11 member Peace Committee after a Panchayat of 5000 Meo to mediate and come to an amicable solution. There appeared simmering anger among youth, but they have since Sunday been restrained.
Locals have been questioning the dubious role of a local doctor, Dr RP Sharma and local leader Sunil Jindal. Questions are also being raised on Haryana State President and former Education Minsiter, Ram Bilas Sharma, who on Thursday allegedly said in a meeting in Pathredi village (reported in Amar Ujala and other local media houses), “Tension lene ka nahi dene ka time hai (It’s time to give tension and not take it!) .” They have also alleged that Bhiwani- Mahendergarh MP, Dharamvir Singh, who was earlier with the Congress but this time won on the BJP ticket, along with other local BJP leaders are instigating the people.

Description: Shopkeepers were spending time by playing cards on Saturday (In stripped Tee Shirt is Praveen kumar Makker).
Shopkeepers were spending time by playing cards on Saturday (In striped T-Shirt is Praveen Kumar Makker).
Eye witness in the market claimed that many in the Meo mob were carrying arms and opened indiscriminate fire. Irrespective of who began the scuffle, stone pelting began from both sides and some rounds were also fired, seriously injuring about 15 people, some of whom are still in hospital. Both sides deny carrying any arms buy accuse other side of fire arms violations.
A 12-year old boy Rohit, who was hit by a bullet in abdomen, is back home now after initial treatment. The bullet has got enmeshed in the rib cage and doctor says, it is risky to remove it and so he will live with it all his life (it has been de-poisoned and so will not cause any harm as such)

Description: Rohit at his home with his father Poonam Prakash.
Rohit at his home with his father Poonam Prakash.

His father Poonam Prakash said that hearing the sound of what he thought was fire-crackers he went out to see out of curiosity and was hit by a bullet. His mother, Kiran Devi had earlier told Indian Express that he was out to buy groceries.
When TCN visited the Tauru town on Saturday afternoon, several shopkeepers were huddled together and playing cards. In meek voices some shopkeepers accepted that they are suffering losses, and that politics should end and amicable solution, should be sought, but added that the decisions can only be taken by leaders.
According to reports, several shops were looted; glasses smashed with lathis, and vehicles were damaged. A shopkeeper, Anil Taneja claimed that his mobile shop was looted and articles worth almost three lakh was stolen. Hari Karishna, who has a sweet shop in the market, claimed that his shop was looted, cartons of cold-drinks were taken away and refrigerator was damaged. They even showed few marks of bullets and alleged that some people were carrying AK-47, rifles and other arms.

Description: Main market of Tauru remained closed for a week and opened only on Sunday.
Main market of Tauru remained closed for a week and opened only on Sunday.
Praveen Makker said, “Even Hindu communities have arms, but we urged the community people to maintain restraint as the vandalism was done in a spur of moment in communal frenzy by some illiterate people, many of whom come to our shops and often buy stuff on credit.”
In protest, the market guild had announced that all shops would remain shut until culprits are arrested and illegal arms are seized. Although denied by shopkeepers, Meos claimed that the shopkeepers’ guild had informally announced that anyone found selling goods to Muslims would be fined Rs 11000.

Description: Tauru, Mewat
Although investigation is still on and it is difficult to assess the amount of damage at this point, but the fact is that the 4-5 shops found most damaged all belonged to Muslims. In the old main market of the town, a two-story newly built cloth showroom of one Afseel has been completely gutted in fire, while another on the main road “Delhi Readymade Garments” too was damaged.

Description: The completely gutted showroom of Afseel in the main market of Tauru.
The completely gutted showroom of Afseel in the main market of Tauru.

By afternoon on June 8, curfew was clamped. Yet in the evening two mosques, both in the Hindu dominated localities (Most of the Muslim inhabitants of the area had migrated during partition) were burnt. Broken switch boards, charred wooden pieces and burnt pages of Quran still stuck on the floor, although they were immediately cleaned by the local administration, tell a different story. Several Hindus we spoke to in the locality alleged that mosque might have been burnt by Meos themselves or might have accidentally caught fire.

Description: Dilapidated Jama Masjid, Tauru.
Dilapidated Jama Masjid, Tauru.

Description: The attached room of Imam in Qureshiya mosque
The attached room of Imam in Qureshiya mosque
There are allegations of attack on the temple too. Priest of the Temple Baldev Krishna claimed that a mini bus (Tata 407) load full of Meos attacked the temple. But when we visited it, except few marks of alleged stone pelting and contradicting statements, no conclusive evidence was found.

Description: Priest of the Temple Baldev Krishna.
Priest of the Temple Baldev Krishna.
Saddique Ahmed, Sarpanch of Chila village, was one of the handful of elderly men allowed to offer the Friday prayer at the old Jama Masjid, within the walking stretch of the local police station, under the watch of the Superintendent of Police. He told TCN that that as they were on the way some of them were attacked. When police tried to push them back, they ushered few women in front, he alleged.
From Tuesday onward curfew was relaxed during the day time, but shops still remained shut till Saturday. Pointing to the women in Sarees on road in the evening carrying containers of milk, Advocate Hashim said that that although they have declared virtual boycott of Muslims, we have not stopped from selling milk to them and their women feel quite safe in coming to our localities to collect it.

Description: Hindu women going back to their homes after buying milk on Saturday evening.
Hindu women going back to their homes after buying milk on Saturday evening.
From Sunday most of the shops have opened after assurance by the administration of impartial investigation. Speaking to TCN on Saturday evening, Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Chand Verma had assured that all shops would open from Monday. He had also informed that so far 12 cases have been registered, but their immediate priority has been restoring peace. He added that the situation is still tense, but he is hopeful that the normalcy would soon return. He said that in few days he will review the situation and remove the night curfew too.

Description: Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Chand Verma.
Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Chand Verma.

While the Hindus alleged that police is not taking action, Meos have alleged that police is acting in a biased manner and are harassing poor villagers in the name of raids. By Friday, at least in two villages of Panchgaon and Dwarka police had conducted raids, purportedly to catch the perpetrators. Residents have accused the police of breaking into the house, passing derogatory comments and smashing doors, pots, cars, refrigerators, mirrors, beds and whatever came on the way as they detained some of the youth.On Saturday afternoon, as TCN visited some of these houses we noticed the high-handedness of the police.

Description: Broken door of a house in Dwarka village near Tauru town that was raided by police.
Broken door of a house in Dwarka village near Tauru town that was raided by police.

Description: Tauru, Mewat

Description: Tauru, Mewat
Advocate Ramzan Chaudhary, a local civil rights activist, who is also associated with the Aam Aadmi Party, and is seeing these cases, have accused the police of acting partially. “While raids are being conducted in Muslim localities and youth are being detained, we are yet to see a single raid or detention of any Hindu.”

Description: Tauru, Mewat
DC Verma assured TCN that he has asked the police officials to maintain restraints and see to it that general citizens are not harassed.
As the assembly election is due in Haryana in few months, like Muzaffarnagar, we see an attempt at communal polarization in Mewat. Advocate Choudhary accused the vested interests of communalizing Mewat for political gains. The right wing Hindutva forces are have been emboldened by the “Muzaffarnagar experiment,” and are hence trying to spread the same technique from Maharashtra to Haryana, which are going to polls, civil rights activists have alleged.
When TCN asked the Deputy Commissioner, if the riot was an attempt at converting Mewat into another Muzaffarnagar (a district in Western Uttar Pradesh that saw communal riots in September last year), he explained that the two communities here have lived in harmony here and it is unlikely that such polarization would take place. Talking to TCN, he described the communal frenzy as an aberration that occurred in the “spur of the moment” due to rumours.

Description: Writing on the wall in a predominantly Hindu locality behind Jama Masjid of the time when no hostility existed.
Writing on the wall in a predominantly Hindu locality behind Jama Masjid of the time when no hostility existed.

The Deputy Commissioner has stationed himself in the Tauru and acted swiftly that averted major outbreak of riot. One company of RAF, two of CRPF and three of BSF were soon deployed, in addition to about 1,000 Haryana Police personnel.
Polarization has already begun in the district though. This is not a case in isolation. In April BJP and INLD workers had clashed during voting (April 10). Later Wajid (28), a Meo youth was found dead. While taking us to the home of Rohit, the boy who was hit by bullet and lives behind the Jama Masjid, Praveen Makker alleged, “Same leaders who come seeking for votes instigated the mob,” adding, “For us election has already occurred on June 8, and the result would be known soon.”



Communal Attacks on Muslims of Pune: Fact Finding Committee  Report
                                                                                                                                                      Pune June, 20, 2014

This fact finding exercise was coordinated by National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations  (NCHRO).  Human right activists from different regions of India participated in this inquiry. They are,
 Reny Ayline, National Secretary,  NCHRO, New Delhi, Prof A.Marx, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Chennai, Prof. G.K. Ramasamy, Peoples Democratic Forum, Bangalore, Adv. Y.K. Shabana, Committee for Protection of Democeatic Rights,  Mumbai, 5. Adv. Babita Kesharwani, Mumbai, Sudhir Dhawale, Editor ‘Vidrohi’ , Mumbai, Rupali Jadhav, Kabir Kala Manch,Pune.

This team is in Pune for the past three days visiting different places in and around Pune where Muslims and their properties were attacked from May 31 onwards.The team visited Hadapsar where the muslim techie Sheik Mohsin was beaten to death and places such as Handewadi, Syed Nagar, Kale Padel, Loni, Uruli Devaichi, Landewadi, Bosery where people were beaten, bakeries, shops, hotels,houses and places of worship that belonged to Muslims were ransacked. We met the victims and their near and dear, owners of the lost properties, injured persons and religious leaders and recorded their statements.

We  also met the district collector of Pune Mr.Saurav Rai, deputy collector Mr.Suresh D Jadhav, Hadapsar police senior inspector Mr. B.K.Bandharkar and crime branch senior inspector Mr. Gopinath Patil who is investigating the June 2 incidents. We discussed with the officers in detail about the attacks, action taken and the general situation today in this area.

The Incidents

It all started in the last week of May when some fringe Hindu outfits, mainly one Hindu Rahtra Sena ( HRS) led by a maverick by name Dhananjay Desai protested with road rokos and demonstrations against a derogatory face book posting mollifying  the iconic king Shivaji and the Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray with morphed photographs. The agitation turned violent from May 31.  The protestors, who were initially only targeting government properties such as buses, later started pelting stones, looting and burning shops and  religious places of the minority community in and  around  Pune city. The collector said that more than 250 government buses were damaged.

On may 31in Handewadi two madarasas and two masjids were attacked. When the attack took place there were children  working on their lessons  inside the buildings. A masjid under construction by one Salim Memon was badly damaged. The Majid e Chudeja was partly burnt  and the Imam was left with a head injury. The manager of the Memon masjid Mr. Mohammed Aziz Sheik said that the attackers, all youths came in two wheelers shouting “Jai Bhavani” and “Jai Maharashtra”  with deadly weapons in their hands such as cricket bats, iron bars and talwars. Between 9 and 10 pm three such attacks took place at half an hour intervals. In the last phase about 50 to 70 armed goons participated in the attack. Though the manager called  the police  and cried for help, they came only at about 12 pm after the attackers left safely.

More or less at the same time about 35 armed  activists of the Hindutva outfit came by motor cycles shouting in the same manner attacked  Rose bakery, Bangalore bakery and Maharashtra bakery  in Loni. All of these belongs to Muslims. Glass doors, fridges and glass show cases were damaged. The owner of Rose bakery one Shaban Sulaiman Shaik said that Rs 35,000 cash was also looted from his shop. A near by mosque known as Alamgir  masjid was also stoned.

At the same time in Landewadi Bosseri the Madina masjid and a nearby Muslim kabarsthan (graveyard) were attacked. The masjid was not only attacked but also burnt using petrol which they brought with them. About 35 children in the age group of 12 to 17 were in the upstairs of the masjid at that time. They actually jumped out  to the next building and escaped. The imam  of the masjid one Mohammed Alam had broken his leg when he tried to jump out. He is still under treatment. Four two heelers which stood before the masjid were also burnt. Even the dead were not shown mercy. The graves  and a small  worshiping  shed in the grave yard were ransacked. In Noor Mohalla at Bosery about 40 houses were stoned from outside. Glass windows and  doors were damaged. About 25 bykes were attacked and broken to pieces.

All these attacks were in the same pattern. In all the instances the police came only after the attack was over. When the Landewadi masjid was burnt the fire service came to the place only after two hours when everything is burnt already.  The fire station is situated just below the masjid.

Even after such series attacks were made against Muslims of the area neither the district administration nor the police took serious note of it. The deputy collector said that they promulgated some prohibitary order. But they had not cared to deploy more special forces in places were Muslims are living in large numbers.

This led to massive attacks on June 2.  In Kale Padel, Syed Nagar , Hadapsar main market  a number of bakeries, shops and hotels were ransacked and burnt. Not only the showrooms, but also the baking machines, fridges, tempos, four wheelers and bicycles which were used to carry the products were attacked, broken to pieces and burnt.  Patel bakery, Welcome bakery, Paradise bakery, Hotel Sahara are some of the bakeries and  shops that our team visited. The houses near by Hotel Sahara  inhabited by Dalit Buddhists were also attacked. One Neela Badukombe and anotherMaruthi Shinde Baba, all dalits said that they are living there for nearly 50 years and this is the first time they were attacked.

In Kasbapet a clash occurred between the Hindu extremists who came to attack a masjid and muslim youths  who tried to prevent them. Four Hindu extremists were  injured , two of them with severe injuries. In this connection six Muslim youths are arrested.

In the Hadapsar main market area the Nalband masjid was stoned. One fruit shop owned by Abdul Kabeer and a banana godown owned by Abdul Rafi Bagwan  were burnt out. In Uruli Devaichi the Jama majid was attacked. A fridge and a water tank and some other things were broken. No case was registered yet. All these attacks took place between 9 and 11 pm. Slogan shouting armed goons who came in two wheelers did all these things.

It was at this time the worst thing happened.  At about 9 pm Mohsin Shaik (28), a pious young muslim techie from Solapur working as a manager in a  textile firm in the nearby area left the Shine Anjuman masjid in Unnati nagar after saying his night prayer. His friend Riyaz Ahmed Mubarak Shendru was on the pillion. When they crossed few hundred meters from the mosque a gang of 30 to 40 armed goons came  in the bikes shouting slogans. Seeing them Mohsin stopped his bike and moved aside. The armed gang seeing these young man sporting a bird and wearing a skull cap  began to attack  with hockey sticks, wooden stumps, iron bars and bats. Mohsin’s friend managed to escape with injuries. But Mohsin, the only bread winner of his middle class family succumbed to death after he was brought to a hospital.

At the end of the street two other Muslim youths Izaz Yusuf Bagwan and  Ameer Shaik were  witnessing the attack on Mohsin with fear and awe in their eyes. The gang then targeted these men who ran away and escaped with injuries  and fractures  on their bodies. Out of fear Izaz immediately ran to his native village. Our team met Ameer Shaik who gave a graphical picture of what happened on the other day. Ameer’s hand is broken. He is married and blessed with two children. He is a scrap merchant. But after this incident nobody is ready to trade with him. His future is bleak.

A compensation amount of Rs 5,00,000 is given to Mohsin’s family by the state govt. The collector told us that a central govt relief of Rs 3 lakhs and another 5 lakh  rupees from the state riot relief fund will be paid in  due course. But no compensation is paid till today to the injured persons  and  to those who lost their properties in the attack. The sub collector said that only if a proposal for compensation is sent from the commissioner of police it will be considered.  But no such effort is made in this direction by the police department. Regarding the injured, the sub collector told that any amount of compensation will be paid only to those who were in the hospital for more than a week. But out of the seven people injured only one was in the hospital for more than a week. Others, out of fear left the hospital within a few days.

There are about 20 FIR s are filed in Hadapsar, Boseri, Munuva, Loni and Vagoli police stations. The investigating officer said that 23 persons were arrested for June 2 incidents. In total about  200 people were arrested .When we asked him whether all those arrested are members of HRS, he replied that it could not be said  because that fringe outfit never keeps any documents regarding its membership. When we asked  whether the govt has any proposal to ban HRS the collector replied that only if a proposal comes from the commissioner of police the govt would consider it.

The maverick leader of HRS Dhananjay Desai is now behind the bars. He is now investigated from the conspiracy angle in the riots and the attack on Mohsin.

The HRS first came into focus when it carried an attack on the office of a Marathi television channel in 2007 protesting their coverage of an incident involving a Hindu minor girl who had eloped with a Muslim boy. Then they protested against the arrest of army officials who were involved in Malegaon blasts and other such terrorist activities.
Desai has 22 cases registered against him in Mumbai and Pune. While three of the cases are related to dacoity and possession of arms, nearly all the rest pertain to hate speeches made by him. 
 It is said that the HRS chief Dhananjay Desai has a following of nearly 4,000 youths across Pune district. They are well organised  and ideologically motivated. Most of these youths are from poor families and are unemployed. To tend to his supporters, many of whom are from economically weaker backgrounds, Desai brokers settlements in disputes mainly related to land and other properties.

The HRS is very active in Hadapsar and  Landewadi area. Six months back they conducted public meetings in Landewadi in which hate speeches were freely spoken against muslims.

Our team found that in total 40 houses and 20 masjids were attacked.  Out of these 20  five masjids were  burnt.  In total 35 two wheelers and five tempos were destroyed.  29 bicycles were burnt. 10 thelas were also broken to pieces.  Seven people are injured and  one person killed. We estimate that the total losses suffered by Muslims  amount to 4.5 crores.

Observations

1.Maharashtra  is in a sense the headquarters of  the Hindutva  exiremist thoughts from the days of Savarkar. In the recent times  the Malegoan and Nandid  bomb blasts, the involvement  of the army people in Hindutva terrorism  and the mystery surrounding the killing of the honest police officer Karkare who investigated the Hindutva terrorist activities  in Maharashtra are some of the facts we have to bear in mind. We understand that some peace loving people  and organisations have attracted the attention of the Maharashtra govt regarding the underground activities of the terrorist organisations based on Hindutva logic. But the Maharashtra govt had not taken  such concerns and complaints seriously. In fact we understand that both the revenue and police officials are more sympathetic towards rightwing Hindutva forces and their ideologies. But we feel that if such attitude continues more such attacks on  minority communities will take place in the near future.

2. Historically Pune was the epicentre of the marata rule.  12 % of the population  are Muslims. For the past 15 years right wing forces are very active in this area. Hate crime and religious fanaticism  are on the rise; On 5 January 2004 a group calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune . The attack was the preliminary culmination in a series of increasingly disturbing and destructive events that were triggered by the publication of James W. Laine's Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India. Since the author had thanked the library as well as some of the scholars working there the right wing extremists took such an extreme step. On January 13, 2010, RTI activist Satish Shetty was assassinated in Talegaon, about 40 km away from Pune. In the same year, out of nine social activists killed all over India, five were murdered in the areas neighbouring Pune. On July 8, 2013 one Prakash Gondhale, a social activist and a strong opponent of Hindutva  hate politics was murdered. HRS members were arrested for his murder. In 2013 August 20, the well known atheist Dr Narendra Dabolkar was shot dead by some men on motor bikes  . Nobody was arrested till today.  When everybody is pointing the  Hindutva outfits for the ghastly murder,  the Mharashtra govt has given clean chit to the Hindutva movements in the court. Then who are the culprits? The govt has no answer for it.

3.Though Hindutva terrorist organisations are very active in Maharashtra the state govt has not taken enough attention of it. Most of the govt officials and police personnel and the vernacular media are sympathetic towards them. Though the officials as well as the home minister expressed that there is a proposal to ban HRS immediately after Mohsin’s murder, now they are retracting from it. We are also of the opinion that banning organisations are not the solution. Instead the govt should be very firm against hate speeches against certain section of the people. Having an organisation in the name of “Hindu National Army” (English translation of HRS) is against the fundamental tenets of our constitution.

4.The attacks against muslims of Pune by HRS and other such Hindutva minded people are well planned. Though Mohsin was killed randomly for sporting a beard and wearing a skull cap, there is a well planned conspiracy behind his killing and the attacks on muslims. Both on May 31 and June 2 at the same time, that is, between 9 and 11 pm  so many places were attacked which are separated by large distances. The same group could not have done all these things. Clearly some high command had assigned duties to different groups to target different places. So this is a well planned attack . There is a conspiracy behind it.

5. Though Mohsin’s murder was  the worst part of the violence, the state govt as well as the media focuses only on this. But behind this so many planned attacks against the muslim places of worship and on their economic activities. This is a very serious matter of concern.

6. Muslim public, religious leaders and political  representatives expressed their concern about the time and background in which these attacks happened. A change of overnment has taken place. An extreme right wing leader who boasts himself as a “Hindu Natioanalist” have took the reign of the country. In such a background the attacks have happened. Nobody in the central govt has condemned it. The BJP Member of Parliament from Pune, Anil Shirole, spoke of how “some amount of repercussions” after the posts on social media was “natural”. Instead of distancing the party and the government from such attacks, Mr. Shirole seems to have done just the opposite.The Jamat e Islami leader Prof Asar Ali Warsi was very much concerned about such statements. We are much worried about such a fear developing among the largest minority in India.

7.Spreading of rumours and false propaganda played an important role in the escalation of violence.  We should not forget  that such  circulation of some fake vedio clippings triggered violence against Muslims in Mussafarnagar. Recently, the cyber cell of the Mumbai police identified 650 such hate pages/websites.

8. We want to mention here that not all Hindus are cultivating hate against the minorities. But the Hindutva outfits are spreading hate among the Hindus  to polarise the majority against a particular minority. The Hindus of Bhima Kortgaon  village actually resisted the attempt of  HRS when they tried to attack a mosque there. This culture of  communal harmony  should be nurtured and developed.  Writers, thinkers  and politicians with secular  views should work in this direction.

Demands

1. A central special investigation team (SIT)  should be formed to investigate the atrocities on muslims of Pune in June 2014. Reputed officers should be included in the team.

2.A fast tract court should be formed  and a special public prosecutor should be appointed in consultation with the victims to try the cases .

3. At least  Rs 25 lakhs should be paid as compensation  to the family of Mohsin.

4. A committee should be formed under the district collector which should study the actual damages  incurred by the minorities  and they should be compensated accordingly.

5. We are worried about  the fact that the govt officials are oriented against the minority communities. Sensitisation programmes for the police as well as revenue officials are to be conducted on issues related to minorities. In places where muslims are largely populated   muslim officers  and police personal  should be sufficiently deployed.

6. The communal violence bill  should be made as an act as early as possible.

7. The police and other officials who didn’t take action against the culprits should be  found out and necessary action should be taken against them. Action should be taken against the Vandewadi fire service personnel for wilful negligence of duty.

8.The cyber cell should expedite investigation  and arrest those responsible for the mischievous  posts in the social media. 

TARGETTED ATTACK ON MUSLIMS IN RAJASTHAN
Women and children of Ismail Vaas ,Village Sirmoli, Alwar, were brutally attacked and beaten up by the ‘Cobra Police’ on July 4th night.  The police did not even spare an eight pregnant woman using lathis, their boots to attack them and using highly abusive and sexist language.  One of the policeman put the bonnet of his gun in a ten year old’s mouth when he tried to protect his mother.
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(In 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs had approved raising of 10 CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) to meet the challenges being posed by naxalites. CoBRA Battalions are trained and adept in multi tasking skills operations in the most arduous terrain. CoBRA personnel are trained in guerrilla warfare, field engineering, tracking of explosives, jungle survival techniques along with ops tactics to fight insurgents. Specialized training programme includes jungle warfare, Ops planning and execution, physical endurance, map reading and GPS, intelligence, heli-slithering)
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6 months ago a new SP Vikas Kumar was posted in Alwar. He formed a special unit of COBRA police in Alwar. Alwar district is a peaceful district and has no history of naxal activities.
During the last six months COBRA police has been raiding into villages belonging to the Meo community (a tribal Muslim community) and the modus operandi has been to take 50-100 menn to the police station, take motorcycles, show them as stolen and then release them and return the motor cycles as for 99% of them papers were produced. Police has been extracting huge amount of bribes from the community and at the same time terrorising them and spreading in the media that stolen vehicles have been found in the Mewat areas. All raids have been done past midnight usually or early hours around 3-4am.
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On July 4, in the month of Ramzan, 50-60 Cobra policemen led by IPS trainee, Adarsh Siddhu entered the Ismail Vaas ,Village Sirmoli around 8.30pm and attacked women and children with batons. Many women were stripped, an eight month pregnant woman was kicked with boots and batons, children snatched and thrown on the floor and all household goods broken and food items spread on the floor. They then broke the glasses of the Bolero and took it with them, later shown as recovered with liquor.
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The Communalisation Agenda

Ancient caste system worked well, ICHR head says
Akshaya Mukul, TNN | Jul 15, 2014



NEW DELHI: The newly-appointed chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) Yellapragada Sudershan Rao appears to be a votary of the caste system. In a blog written in 2007, Rao had said that the "positive aspects of Indian culture are so deep that the merits of ancient systems would be rejuvenated."

In the blog-article titled, 'Indian Caste System: A Reappraisal', he wrote: "The (caste) system was working well in ancient times and we do not find any complaint from any quarters against it. It is often misinterpreted as an exploitative social system for retaining economic and social status of certain vested interests of the ruling class"

He added, "Indian Caste system, which has evolved to answer the requirements of civilization at a later phase of development of culture, was integrated with the Varna system as enunciated in the ancient scriptures and dharmasastras."


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Choice of ICHR chief reignites saffronisation debate

ANITA JOSHUA

The government has zeroed in on a man few in history circles have heard of

Eminent historian Romila Thapar’s article questioning the academic credentials of the new Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, has brought the spotlight back on the institution that was at the centre of the saffronisation debate during the first National Democratic Alliance government.
The government has zeroed in on a man few in history circles have heard of. The appointment was made quietly in the week the Human Resource Development Ministry was preoccupied with the stand-off between the UGC and Delhi University over the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme.
A blogger for several years now, Prof. Rao, who was former Head of the Department of History and Tourism Management, Kakatiya University, articulated his world view in the Chairperson’s Diaryposted on the ICHR website.
Stating that he owed everything to “PujyaSri, Mahamahopadhyaya, Dr. K. Sivananda Murtyji”, Prof. Rao noted that research sponsored and conducted by the ICHR is guided by modern schools of historiography of the West. Though he has stated that he was never an RSS member, historians like D.N. Jha insist he shares the Sangh’s view in maintaining that Indian intellectual and spiritual achievements have no parallel.
Historian D.N. Jha has questioned ICHR chairman Yellapragada Sudershan Rao’s eagerness to fix a date of the Mahabharata. Prof. Jha said Marxist historians were not alone in questioning the historicity of the text. “Our own ancestors, including the great 13th Century philosopher Madhavacharya, questioned it.”
Flagging Prof. Rao’s blog of 2007 vintage on the “Indian Caste System”, Prof. Jha quipped: “He wants to bring it back. But then Narendra Modi cannot become Prime Minister under that system.” In his blog on caste system, Prof. Rao did not see it as a social evil, maintaining that the rigidity and distortions that crept into it were the result of Muslim invasions and subsequent rule.
Maintaining that all such appointments are invariably political in nature, history professor T.K. Ventakasubramanian, who was appointed ICHR member secretary by NDA in 1998, said while Prof. Rao was free to hold his views on history, the issue at hand is the fact that his writings have not been put to professional scrutiny. “It sends a wrong signal to have a person like him head the ICHR, which is supposed to give a national direction to an objective and scientific writing of history.”







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NARENDRA BISHT
INTERVIEW
‘Ramayana, Mahabharata Are True Accounts Of The Period...Not Myths’
The new chairman of ICHR argues that faith and reason can go hand in hand in the writing of history.

























The media describes him as an RSS man and the author of the Mahabharata Project, but very little is known about the mild-mannered historian from Telangana in academic circles.Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, the new chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), describes himself as a colonial historian and argues that faith and reason can go hand in hand in the writing of history.
You have lashed out against Marxist historians and their interpretation of history. Why is the writing of history a Right vs Left debate?
I think it is time to think about India’s history from an Indian perspective. For the last 60 years, our writing and understanding of history has been influenced by the West. Indian research has been far too dependent on the West to write its own history. We are dependent on their translations and interpretation. And, these are my personal views, history writing in India is Euro-centric and imperialistic. The ICHR, I understand, is in the process of acquiring digital records from centres of history in the US and Europe. This will not only give us access to our own records but will also aid us in writing history from our perspective.
You have been appointed by the BJP government. Don’t you think institutions such as the ICHR should be free of politics?






“Indian research’s been far too dependent on the West to write its own history. We need an Indian perspective.”




The MoU (memorandum of understanding) prepared by the founding fathers of ICHR gave the powers to the government to appoint heads of social and historical institutes. I have no qualms in admitting that these appointments are political. Have previous heads of social institutes been questioned about their appointments? Why are these questions asked only about me? The government has been formed by a democratic process. It has been elected by the people. To question that is to question democracy itself. Unlike other social institutes, the ICHR attracts a lot of attention because history is an important subject. But history belongs to the people. We have not shown or written a comprehensive history of India to the people of India. History is by the people, for the people and of the people.
You are the author of the Mahabharata project? What is the project about?
There is a certain view that the Mahabharata or the Ramayana are myths. I don’t see them as myths because they were written at a certain point of time in history. They are important sources of information in the way we write history. What we write today may become an important source of information for the fut­ure in the future. When analysed, of course, they could be declared to be true or false. History is not static. It belongs to the people, it’s made by the people. Similarly, the Ram­ayana is true for people...it’s in the collective memory of generations of Indians. We can’t say the Ramayana or the Mahabharata are myths. Myths are from a western perspective.
What does that mean?
For us, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are true accounts of the periods in which they were written.
But shouldn’t the writing of history be rooted in historical evidence and research?
Western schools of thought look at material evidence of history. We can’t produce material evidence for everything. India is a continuing civilisation. To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people. We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For instance, the Ramayana mentions that Rama had travelled to Bhad­ra­chalam (in Andhra Pradesh). A look at the people and the fact that his having lived there for a while is in the collective memory of the people cannot be discounted in the search for material evidence. In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.
Are you for correcting the writing of history?
I won’t put it that way. But real history has to come through. I am a follower of truth. The ICHR should encourage research about India and Greater India—from Southeast Asia all the way to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. There is enough archaeological evidence to show the connect of our civilisation there.

What is your view on Ayodhya?
Is it not a fact that mosques as structures came to be in India in 1000 AD? Is it not a fact that the mosque was built by a lieutenant of Babur? A historian can only enlighten people on the facts of history. Historians can at best say evidence of earlier remains of a Hindu structure are there. Conflicting views are created by political leaders. If Ayodhya is not the place of Ram, where did he live? Looking at the present structures in Ayodhya, we can see people still living the way that finds a mention in the Ramayana. Historians can only give their opinion to enlighten people.
Doesn’t correcting history pose a problem? Why only cast it in the context of two communities? How about Dalits and untouchability?
The question of untouchability is relatively recent, as recent as 3,000 years. And it has its basis in the economy. It was not based on social status. Did we hear of untouchability before this period of 3,000 years? Let me give you an example. Sage Vishwamitra went to a Dalit hut and asked for dog’s meat as he was hungry. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are replete with instances of different castes, did we find a mention of untouchability there?
As a historian, are you trying to give a religious interpretation to history?




“Untouchability is relatively recent, as recent as 3,000 years. It has its basis in the economy, not social status.”




I am a Hindu and a Brahmin. To be a Hindu isn’t a religion. In my personal practices, I can adopt religious practices of the community to which I belong—as a Shaivite or a Vaishnavite. But that is not what being a Hindu is about. Reli­gi­ons are recent manifestations. I feel the­re’s only Sanatana Dharma. There was no conflict between communities or on religious lines as there was only one sanatana dharma. Now there are several reasons for conflict to take place. Besides, Muslims are the only ones who have retained their distinct culture. Can Christians or Muslims say all religions are one? A Hindu can say that. There was no conflict when there was sanatana dharma, Conflict or contests came about when temples were destroyed and mosques built on the sites in medieval times.
Didn’t Hindus destroy Buddhist monuments?
I agree. But Buddhism was on the wane then, in decline. But were thousands of people killed as they were in the raids to the Somnath temple? I won’t use the word corrections here. But the real history has to come up.
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RSS takeover of top research, cultural bodies
by Kavitha Iyer  Jul 4, 2014

The new chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research, Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, has an interesting blog post from 2013, about 'Ayodhya and History'.
"All thinking men -- religious activists, intellectuals, politicians, professional historians and archaeologists- are divided into at least three groups; a) those who stand for the Hindu cause, b) those who stand for the Mosque and c) the majority of others who support an amicable settlement of the controversy. In influencing the public opinion in favour of Muslim community, the ‘secular’ historians and ‘progressive’ intelligentsia make concerted endeavor in support of the Muslim cause. They further condemn all those who sympathize the Hindu cause as Hindu fundamentalists and ‘saffron brigade’."
Rao goes on to argue that modern history -- which he claims has received disproportionate attention and legitimacy -- will be unable to provide answers to the Ayodhya issue since "Ayodhya stood even before the modern genre of history was born."

Description: BJP-Delhi-rally-Naresh-06
Young rightwing supporters at a rally in New Delhi. Firstpost/ Naresh Sharma
A retired history professor, Rao has penned several articles arguing that stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are truthful accounts of history. According to his blog page, he has interests in Indian mythology, Vedic literature, Sanatana Dharma, 'Bharatiya Sanskriti', among other subjects. Raoreportedly told The Telegraph that he hopes to push projects to rewrite ancient history to document the “continuous Indian civilisation”, including the period of the two epics.
"The stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata cannot be termed a-historical just because there is not enough archaeological hard evidence," Rao said, adding,“A lot of historical material has come through cultural, anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic studies in the last 60 years about the continuous Indian civilisation. The findings can be compiled by researchers. I think the ICHR should support historians interested in doing work on these aspects."
Rao's elevation is the first of the many NDA decisions that will determine who will lead India's top research, educational and cultural institutions. Asked if he foresees a flood of RSS-sympathetic appointments to these institutions, former ICHR chairperson and historian S Settar retorts, "Do you doubt it? I don't."
Settar was ICHR chairman from 1996 to 1999, and was witness to a gradual Hindutva takeover of socio-cultural research organisations in the late 1990s. After the UPA assumed office in 2004, Settar was also on a review committee that examined NCERT books published by the BJP government. The committee discussed the safronisation of the texts at length and recommended replacing them.
Speaking to Firstpost, Settar says, "There are many rightist corners hungry to get into the ICHR. But in any case, it is such an incompetent organisation -- the Leftists have used it as a platform for their ideology and friends, and now the rightists will want to use it for their ideology and friends."
ICHR will hardly be the only institution to see top-level changes given the BJP's track record in power. In 1999, not long after the NDA government was sworn in, a slew of appointments were made, including some on the very first day after then HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi assumed office.
The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) got a new chairman, Prof B R Grover who soon became notorious for punishing any historical research project or institution perceived as "hostile" to the ruling government or its saffron view of history.
The new Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) head at the time was M L Sondhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP who would later, ironically, be summarily replaced after he complained repeatedly and publicly of pressure from an RSS cabal within the ICSSR. Sondhi, considered close to then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, famously complained that the RSS faction in the institution, led by Devendera Swaroop, a former editor of RSSmouthpiece Panchajanya, was hindering a proposed Indo-Pak social scientists' meet ahead of the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit in Agra.
Also among MM Joshi's early appointees was RSS sympathiser G C Pande, a Sanskrit scholar and ancient India historian, who became head of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla . The University Grants Commission (UGC) top job was handed to Dr Hari Gautam, who soon after introduced courses in Jyotir Vigyan or 'Vedic astrology' and Hindu karmakand or rituals. The move raked up a debate on whether the UGC, the institution that controls higher education institutes across the country, was legitimising superstition.
And it is these institutions and their impending appointments that will be closely tracked by activists and academicians who will be keeping a close eye on the research projects they undertake, and changes they institute in curriculum and historiography.
One of the many who has long opposed political intervention in historiography is Fr Cedric Prakash of NGO Prashant in Ahmedabad. Prakash and fellow activists in Gujarat have for some years now campaigned against communalisation of textbooks, including approaching the courts against a slanted view of history.
"Fascist and fundamentalist forces have consistently tampered with the educational system of their country when in power; propagating a particular ideology through school text books is a very easy way to manipulate receptive minds.The Gujarat Government led by the BJP has done this systematically during the past many years: minorities have been demonised, patriarchy is eulogized and history is conveniently tampered with. Hindu mythology is called history," says Fr Prakash who says He says there are several instances of inaccuracies and omission of important events. The saffron takeover of major institutions is part of the RSS-BJP design, says Prakash.
How exactly does it matter who heads the ICHR, ICSSR, UGC or other government bodies involved in research and advanced studies?
Settar says much of the research work emerging from the ICHR lacks interpretation. It is merely an exercise of judgment in selecting documents -- those averse to Gandhi could suppress documents about the father of the nation or those averse to Ambedkar could suppress critical documentation about that leader, Settar offers as an example. What is selected, prioritised for publication, what is omitted, all of this impacts the setting of the agenda and socio-political discourse that follows. Some projects in ICHR have been dragging for nearly 25 years.
In other institutions, as well,, from priority funding for projects, granting of fellowships, getting publications out on time, aiding other institutions' and universities' research work, the decisions taken by the chairpersons of these organisations have wide-ranging impact.
One example to cite would be the scuttling of two volumes of the 'Towards Freedom' project of ICHR in 1999, following insistence by the RSS caucus within the committee that the texts, both by renowned historians, KN Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar, be reviewed.
Activist Teesta Setalvad, who founded Communalism Combat, which has also taken up cudgels against intellectual fascism and politically-motivated historiography, says the fear is of a vision of history that is narrow and exclusivist. "We could see a repeat of the first NDA government-led RSS assault on independent historical research," she says. "This is part of an intractable political project, lacking rigour of historical research, that wants to decide how we view India."
The appointment of Y Sudershan Rao to the ICHR is only the first of more appointments to follow. Apart from the ICHR, ICSSR, the NIAS in Shimla, the UGC, here are other institutions to watch closely in coming months: The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), the National Book Trust, NCERT, Films Development Corporation, Censor Board, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi, to name a few. Also to watch: Likely expansion plans for the network of Shishu Mandir schools and Vidya Bharati schools, and funding patterns for other schools including those run by the VHP.
In his blog post about Ayodhya, Rao bemoans the politicisation of history, writing "Revisiting the past with preconceived notions and vested interests leads to misinterpretation of historical facts. Since independence, volumes are written by the teams of scholars owing allegiance to either side of the issue. In this milieu, the worst sufferer could be history as a scientific discipline and historiography as a technical craft."
If history is any indication, these words may soon prove to be ironic, indeed.





 Attack on Freedom of Expression


Bangalore: Five youngsters detained for circulating anti-Modi message on WhatsApp


CNN-IBN
May 25, 2014
Bangalore: Five students were on Saturday detained by Bangalore Police for allegedly circulating anti-Narendra Modi messages on smartphone messenger WhatsApp.
All the five youngsters hail from Bhatkal in Karnataka. While four of them were released on Sunday, one was handed over to Belgaum Police.
An FIR has been registered against Waqas by the Khanapur police in Belgaum district.

This comes after a young shipping professional from Goa was booked for a Facebook post criticising Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.

This comes after a young shipping professional from Goa was booked for a Facebook post criticising Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi. Devu Chodankar, who is absconding, had written on a Facebook forum that if Modi came to power, Christians would lose their identity in south Goa.


teamherald@herald-goa.com

PANJIM: An anti-Narendra Modi comment on social networking site during the Lok Sabha election campaign could land Devu Chodankar 33-year-old marine engineer in jail, with police insisting on his custodial interrogation while accusing him of trying to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.
The District and Sessions Court also rejected Chodankar’s anticipatory bail plea after the police in their prayer asked for his custodial interrogation to establish the motive and want to arrest him to recover cyber forensic evidence and more importantly to find out if there was any motive to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.
Businessman Atul Pai Kane had lodged a complaint against Chodankar over his postings/comments made on the Goa Plus Group on Facebook. Based on the complaint the police have filed a case under sections 153 and section 295 A IPC, sec 123 of representation of Peoples Act and sec 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act 2000 is registered upon a complaint filed by.
Police Inspector Rajesh Job of the cyber cell, in his complaint filed before the court said, “Custodial interrogation of the accused is very much essential to find out any motive of larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.” Chodankar in his Facebook post had said that “if Modi is elected as a Prime Minister, Christians will lose their identity in South Goa,” and that “there is imminent threat of holocaust as it happened in Gujarat through the garb of cunning government policies of Parrikar.” The post was later withdrawn.

teamherald@herald-goa.com

PANJIM: An anti-Narendra Modi comment on social networking site during the Lok Sabha election campaign could land Devu Chodankar 33-year-old marine engineer in jail, with police insisting on his custodial interrogation while accusing him of trying to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.
The District and Sessions Court also rejected Chodankar’s anticipatory bail plea after the police in their prayer asked for his custodial interrogation to establish the motive and want to arrest him to recover cyber forensic evidence and more importantly to find out if there was any motive to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.
Businessman Atul Pai Kane had lodged a complaint against Chodankar over his postings/comments made on the Goa Plus Group on Facebook. Based on the complaint the police have filed a case under sections 153 and section 295 A IPC, sec 123 of representation of Peoples Act and sec 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act 2000 is registered upon a complaint filed by.
Police Inspector Rajesh Job of the cyber cell, in his complaint filed before the court said, “Custodial interrogation of the accused is very much essential to find out any motive of larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the State.” Chodankar in his Facebook post had said that “if Modi is elected as a Prime Minister, Christians will lose their identity in South Goa,” and that “there is imminent threat of holocaust as it happened in Gujarat through the garb of cunning government policies of Parrikar.” The post was later withdrawn.















Attack on human rights defenders and civil society’s activism

Lens on foreign funds to NGOs featuring on IB report
TNN | Jul 5, 2014,

NEW DELHI: There is more trouble for NGOs receiving foreign funds in India. The government has decided to closely scrutinize flow of funds to all such NGOs against whom an adverse report has been received from IB. A meeting was held by home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday where a presentation on visa policy and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) was made by foreigners division of the ministry.

The government has already put Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation under scanner and made it mandatory for them to take permission from MHA before pumping any funds in India.

A leaked IB report had recently alleged that protests against development projects fuelled by certain foreign-funded NGOs had caused a presumptive loss of 2-3% to India's GDP. It had also named a string of NGOs including Greenpeace India, Cordaid, Amnesty and ActionAid as those fuelling such protests through a network of local organizations such as PUCL and Narmada Bachao Andolan among others.
A senior home ministry official said, "During the meeting it was discussed that FCRA implementation should be tightened and there should be greater scrutiny of thoseNGOs about whom the government has an adverse report."

Government has also asked for a sensitisation programme to be initiated for NGOs to coax them to conform to FCRA regulations. "The home minister appreciated the FCRA Outreach Seminars in different parts of the country and desired that all Non Government Organisations (NGOs) receiving foreign funds are sensitized about the compliance with FCRA Act and rules," said a home ministry spokesperson.

The meeting also discussed visa policy in detail and stressed on developmental aspects of the same to promote tourism and other economic activities. "Rajnath Singh appreciated the need to strengthen security while facilitating legitimate travelers and instructed that Immigration, Visa, Foreigners Registration and Tracking (IVRFT) Project should be implemented at the earliest," the spokesperson said.

During the meeting, it was explained to the Minister that the integrated online visa system presently covers 148 Indian Missions and the online foreigners' registration system inside India has reached 80 per cent coverage.

NGOs in India receive foreign donations in excess of Rs 10,000 crore annually from over 150 countries. The IB report alleged that the "areas of action" of the foreign-funded NGOs include anti-nuclear, anti-coal and anti-Genetically Modified Organisms protests. Apart from stalling mega industrial projects including those floated by POSCO and Vedanta, these NGOs have also been working to the detriment of mining, dam and oil drilling projects in north-eastern India, it said.

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Annexure : Panchayat Order in Bastar, Chattisgarh (Translated)
OFFICE OF GRAM PANCHAYAT, SIRSIGUDA
District Panchayat Tokapal, Bastar, (Chhattisgarh)
Today on 10-5-2014, a Special Gram Sabha was convened by Gram Panchayat Sirsiguda.

Subject - The Gram Sabha was convened for the purpose of maintaining and preserving the traditional cultural and religious unity of Sirsiguda village and the same was presided over by Shri Mahadev and Sarpanch and other distinguished citizens and to perform worship, PaathmelaMandai with faith and conviction for Gram Devi Mata which is being celebrated for thousands of years according to traditional gaiety and fervor.

According to the well-known beliefs amongst the villagers, some outsider religious preachers are converting innocent tribal Hindus by spreading untouchability. Simultaneously the Gods and Goddesses of the villages are being described as sinners. Due to non-cooperation of villagers the cultural traditions of the village is being violated and a wide gap is also coming up in the way of social unity. Keeping such a situation in view, all the distinguished citizens of the village discussed the matter under Section 129 D Section 7 in this specially convened Gram Sabha.

1.     It was decided to maintain and preserve the traditional cultural unity of the village.
2.     To prohibit the Religious preachers other than those of Hindu religion to preach or profess other religions. They are totally debarred from holding prayers meet and deliver discourses.
3.     To prohibit construction of any religious place without prior permission of Village Panchayat.
4.     Whoever does any act in this regard without permission of Village Panchayat shall be liable.

This Resolution is adopted unanimously. Hence you are requested to maintain peace and calm in the village treating this Resolution as final and binding with due respects.
Sd/-                sd/-                                         sd/-
President