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#346 [Permalink] Posted on 8th July 2018 15:55

abuzayd2k wrote:
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It is clear that Afzal Guru was put to death just to appease popular sentiments of the majority community - that was monumental injustice.

The turn out in his and Burhan Wani's last rites was of Kashmiri Muslims not Muslims in general. Hence I do not see how their case can be used by the majority community against Muslims of India in general.


You might say that the majority community of India, the Hindus, are persistently slapping the bill for partition of India on Indian Muslims and hence they can do the above also. I shall still not agree.


The only logic behind honouring the lynchers is sheer hatred of some majority community people against the minority community.


Yaqoub Memon's case is rather tragic one. If he surrendered to Indian authorities to spill the beans against those who planned the Mumbai bombings then there must have been in his mind a hope that he will be delt with leniently. This hope was belied.


The power that be, judicial and executive, might be smarting over their act of delivering justice but there is something that they lost in this process - the good will.


The bigots will use their strength against Muslims.

Bigots will use their weakness against Muslims.

Bigots will use your weakness against you.

Bigots will use your strength against you.

That is what they do.

Develop your own narrative about the issue and do not tow their line, I mean the line of the bigots. They have an agenda and it is nefarious. Bigots can never be trusted.


If you allow me then I can take this issue even further. I can tell you from personal experience - take advice from decent people only, people of Taqwa. When you take advice from Bigots then they will ask you to commit suicide. Believe me.


I am not saying that you are taking advice from them. But you certainly are taking their opinion seriously. Seriously it should be taken but always remember that they are bent upon harming you.


The least you can do is to take an enemy as an enemy.


Just think of why Allah SWT reminds us so many times that Iblis is our open enemy.


I have made this mistake several times that I took advice from people with questionable intentions. I incurred significant psychological damage every time. No more I am going to fall into their trap.


Believe me this is the mistake we are making at the moment at global level - worrying about the opinion of those forces that can easily be seen working against Islam and Muslims.


The least we can do is not to fall in their trap.
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#347 [Permalink] Posted on 8th July 2018 15:58

Muadh_Khan wrote:
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"I have given up on Indian Muslims uniting! I have dealt with many Indian Muslims (Ulama and laymen alike) and THEY HAVE NO IDEA about their predicament whatsoever. They carry on being divided and sectarian amongst themselves, completely oblivious of their vulnerabilities and their positions. I have never been to India and I have no idea why Indian Muslims are so obtuse. I have sat down with Indian Muslims for decades and overwhelming majority of them are absolutely oblivious to the dangers posed to their survival. This show the level of maturity of Indian Muslims, utterly divided, absolutely powerless, completely oblivious, totally clueless and unable to organise a two-way ticket raffle or a bun fight in a bakery! "


Most unfortunately this is true.

 
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#348 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2018 05:49
Maripat wrote:
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Professor Sahab:

I was actually playing devil's advocate, but you are absolutely correct in that we have to develop our own narrative through the company of those who are knowledgeable in these matters and stick to it unflinchingly.

There are a lot of good people out there among our Hindu brethren, but the bigots among them seem to be the most vociferous, and I agree with your sagacious advice about steering clear of them.
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#349 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd July 2018 10:31
Latest Muslim Lynching in India


The story of Akbar Khan’s lynching is too painful to bear. A man from the Hindutva brigade, Naval Kishore, himself rang the police at 12:41 am about the incident. Apparently, after beating Akbar and his friend to their heart’s content.

The police reached there at 1:15 am. Akbar Khan was alive at that time. But instead of carrying him to the hospital immediately, they first took him to that Naval Kishore’s house, had tea and snacks with him, while Akbar was crying in pain. The police then arranged for cows to be transported to a local cow shelter, gave bath to Akbar as he was covered by mud.

A woman saw police beating up Akbar intermittently. He was not considered a victim of lynching but an accused of cow smuggling. The police then took him to the police station where they spent some time completing formalities, while the hospital was only one kilometer away.

They arrived at hospital with Akbar at 4:00 am - 3 hours 45 minutes after they had ‘arrested’ him. By that time, he was declared ‘brought dead’ by the hospital. They said he died on the way. But the real reason is that they delayed taking him to the hospital. Had they brought him to the hospital immediately, he might have survived.

So it was not only the lynch mob, but the police itself which is the cause of his death. The concerned policemen should be tried for murder along with those lynch men.

I am aghast at the level our country has fallen and wonder to what level it will continue to fall. It seems like a bottomless pit....

- Via Arun Arya (on Facebook)
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#350 [Permalink] Posted on 24th July 2018 06:03
General Zameeruddin Shah Writes to the PM on Lynchings

LT GENERAL ZAMEERUDDIN SHAH | 23 JULY, 2018

A Veteran General And Former AMU VC Writes to the PM “In Anguish”

It takes three generations to forget

Hon'ble Prime Minister,

Jai Hind from a Longe Wala veteran of 1971.

You have known me since 2002 when I commanded the force which restored peace in Gujarat after the conflagration which engulfed the state. I met you several times when I was Vice Chancellor of AMU. I expressed my anguish twice to you. Once, for the treatment meted out to me by a Member of your Council of Ministers. I told you that an old soldier, and the head of a premier University deserved to be show more respect and courtesy. The second time I reported that some AMU ' parasites' were spreading the calumny, which the media had lapped up, that I had swindled 120 Crores of University funds. Your words gave me strength and confidence. You simply said ' Go and tell them that I have known you for 15 years'.

Sir, I am writing to express my anguish again about the treatment being meted out to deprived and weaker sections of society by the so called ' Gau Rakshaks'. You are the person who can put an end to this madness. Despite the recent stricture of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India there has been no abatement to this hate crime, principally because of complicity of some political leaders and the police. They need to take a lesson from the inclusive and even handed nature of our Armed Forces.

I am writing a book titled the ' Sarkari Mussalman' which is due for release shortly . I must quote why my family chose to stay in India

Partition was another trauma my family faced. Those members who owed loyalty to the Muslim league migrated to Pakistan. My immediate family, who had full faith in the inclusive nature and large heartedness of our society, decided to brave it out in India. Our confidence was not misplaced, till recently. There were no riots in our home town, Sardhana, ( Dist Meerut) principally because of the firm hold of my Nana (maternal grand father). He threatened swift retribution to any community which indulged in rioting. As a child I did, however hear horrific tales of the mayhem, arson and murder during partition. It affected me, though I never spoke about it. I could only drive out the ghost from my system after I entered the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. In this great institution I was warmly welcomed, treated fairly and experienced affirmative action, being the lone Muslim in my Course of about 250 cadets.

My wife and I took care to never talk about the horrors of partition to our children. It is a closed and forgotten chapter. But it took three generations to forget. My parents who experienced it, my siblings and myself who heard about it were affected. It did not affect our children as the matter was never discussed at home. It is there fore very important for parents not to sow the seeds of discord and hatred in the minds of their young children.This is the polluting danger of periodic communal riots that rock the country. It will take three generations for the aggrieved families to forget. Those adversely affected by riots would have no stake in the country of their birth.This would certainly impact on the closely woven social fabric of our country.'

I am writing to a person who possesses grit and determination and who is scrupulously honest. I am writing because of the deep impact, on me, by a quote of Nelson Mandela Jr ' In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends'.

Profound Regards.

Yours in Anguish,

Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah ( Veteran)


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#351 [Permalink] Posted on 28th July 2018 09:56
Hindu Women on Islam, Muslims, Pakistan


Here is a sample of women from the majority community in India who have got currency in India.

A Sadhvi (ascetic) type of young girl.

The latest venomous video going viral in India today.
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#352 [Permalink] Posted on 28th July 2018 18:10
Maripat wrote:
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Speechless!
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#353 [Permalink] Posted on 30th July 2018 11:37
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#354 [Permalink] Posted on 30th July 2018 11:56
Are Muslims Isolated and Helpless in India


Several years ago I asked Mr Khalid Masood about the attitude of his Samajwadi Party towards Muslims.

Khalid Masood at that time was still enjoying the status of a Cabinet Minister in the UP Government lead by Mr Akhilesh Yadav.

It was a distressing time for Muslims for the Modi Government had already taken command in the Center.

Khalid's answer was astounding for me. Samajwadi Party (SP) was known to be nearly a Muslim Party in some vague sense. The main leader, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been enduring for years the epithet of Mullah Mulayam for his overt Muslim support.

Khalid told me that the then thinking in SP was that who so ever will side with Muslims will do damage to his political interests.

That was then.

More recently in the India Today Conclave held in Mumbai veteran media baron Arun Poorie was interviewing Sonia Gandhi of the Indian National Congress. He asked as to why Rahul Gandhi was projecting the overtly Hindu image by visiting temples with fan fare. Sonia Gandhi said that they were being talked of as a Muslim party.

Scene three.

A Dalit leader advised Muslim men not to wear the Muslim cap and Muslim women not to wear burqa while coming to their rallies.

That covers three main opposition, the majority of the opposition chunk, in India.

Nearly full opposition has effectively dissociated itself from Muslims.

Another big milestone in the progressively worse news coming from the Indian society about Muslims.

This is the stark and extremely unpleasant reality and it must be acknowledged.

Now to think that Muslims have been forsaken in India and they are left with no dock to anchor is another matter.

Allah SWT is the only real Helper in this world and sooner the Muslims of India realize that better it will be for them.

It is loud and clear message to them that they are left with zero support base in Indian mainstream secular political establishment.
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#355 [Permalink] Posted on 30th July 2018 19:04
Maripat wrote:
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These people have no fear of law.
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#356 [Permalink] Posted on 30th July 2018 20:33
You run an organisation called Rashtravadi Muslim-Mahila Sangh. Is it associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's Muslim Rashtriya Manch or any political party?

No, I don't have a tie up with any party or any organisation. But I am very inspired by Mohan Bhagwat ji, especially his working style. The RSS has existed since before him and its working was very different then. But now it's different.

www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/07/20/triple-talaq-muslim-lawy...
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#357 [Permalink] Posted on 31st July 2018 06:24
Why are Indian Muslims silent ?


In an article in The Print " Their silence is not helping Indian Muslims, they must speak up ", Shivam Vij tells Indian Muslims not to be afraid and speak out against atrocities on them.
With due respect, Vij does not know realities. So let me explain.
Muslims are scared because they do not have the gun ( though there are a few exceptions ) whereas the police force is armed.
It has been the unwritten policy of the Indian police force to recruit very few Muslims. Thus, in UP, where about 18% of the population is Muslim, an RTI query revealed that the number of Muslims in the UP police is negligible, 2% sub inspectors, 3% head constables! and 4% constables.
Despite all our claim of being secular, the truth is that in India most Hindus are communal, and so are most Muslims. Secularism is a feature of modern industrial societies as in Western countries, but India is still semi-feudal ( as evident from the rampant casteism&communalism still prevalent ).
Now since most Hindus are communal, and since the police force is overwhelmingly Hindu, and since the police have guns, it follows that Muslims are often at the receiving end whenever some incident occurs. Since Muslims have been demonised as terrorists and fanatics, they are often 'encountered' by the police, as happened near Bhopal, or as alleged in the Batla House incident.
How can one expect unarmed people to speak out in this situation when they know that doing so may invite further retaliation by an armed organisation ? Can anyone fight with the state ? Can Gujarati Muslims or those living in Western UP dare to speak out ? Could Jews speak out during Nazi rule ? It is alleged that 'encounter' orders have been orally issued in UP. Only a fool will speak out in this atmosphere.
And who will listen to Muslims even if they speak out ? Almost 80% people in India are Hindus, and most Hindus are communal. When they hear of lynching of Muslims, most Hindus are indifferent, or inwardly happy. One terrorist less.
That is why Muslims are silent even on hearing of lynchings and other atrocities. Discretion is the better part of valour.

Source : Justice Markandeya Katju on Facebook
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#358 [Permalink] Posted on 31st July 2018 06:48
Their Silence is Hurting Them


Shivam Vij in The print on Muslims of India


There is nothing like a community speaking for itself. ‘Jo dar gaya, woh mar gaya’.

I asked Muslim friends in Uttar Pradesh what has changed for them since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, and particularly since Yogi Adityanath became chief minister in 2017.

There is a general environment of fear, they said. There has been no big riot, but anything can happen anytime. They are at the mercy of the most majoritarian government ever. As the fake charges against Dr Kafeel Khan in Gorakhpur showed, even a good Muslim is a bad idea.

Such fear is more over-powering than an actual riot. It is a sword hanging over them, it can fall any time. The Hindutva-inclined Hindus describe this situation as ‘showing Muslims their place’.

This fear manifests itself the most in trains. Many Muslims say they avoid taking meat or even eggs during train travel. And if someone asks their name, they become nervous. They wonder why a stranger is asking their name.

The incidents of lynching of Muslims across north India have made this fear all too real. All you have to say is “Gau Mata!” and summon a mob to beat a Muslim man to death. The charges of cow smuggling or beef eating do not need to be proved. Once a Hindu says the cow is under threat, it must be.
A loud silence

It is curious that a community facing such persecution on the basis of religion is so silent. There have been few protests by Muslims against these acts of communal persecution. You see the protests by Marathas, Jats, Patels and Dalits – and you notice how Muslims make the least noise against the injustice meted out to them.

What is the reason for this silence? It is mostly fear, my friends said. Nobody wants to stand up and speak out for fear of further reprisal. This has been happening for a long time. Since the fall of the Babri Masjid, there have been fewer and fewer Muslims wanting to speak as Muslims in mainstream public discourse.

The Hindustani proverb about fear comes to mind – “jo dar gaya, who mar gaya”. If you cower with fear, you might as well be dead.

This silence is costly. In the absence of Muslims speaking as Muslims for Muslims in public discourse, their advocacy is done by liberals and secularists. The voice of these left-liberal activists suffers from credibility when Muslims themselves are silent. In any case, the “Hindu secularist” is more delegitimised by years of propaganda than the Indian Muslim.

There is nothing like a community speaking for itself. When a community does so, it is most difficult to delegitimise its voice. It becomes difficult to do whataboutery or pretend that no one lynched a man.
Strategic silence

The silence is also strategic. Muslims realise that the BJP and its Hindutva ideology want them to assert themselves, and then use it to tell Hindus, ‘Look how Muslims are being so assertive!’ The sight of a Muslim is an opportunity for communal polarisation. Muslims have internalised the idea that they must keep quiet.

This strategy has had some success. The BJP had hoped Muslims would rise up and protest in a big way against its campaign on triple talaq. This would have helped the BJP show them as regressive and polarise against them. Muslims, like secular parties and activists, largely remained quiet over it.

Yet the BJP uses Muslims as a dartboard to polarise anyway. One result of this strategic silence is that opportunist mullahs seeking 15 minutes of fame have occupied TV studios. They dance to the tune Hindutva wants them to, playing the bad, intolerant Muslim. From TV and Twitter, from statements by BJP leaders to anonymous WhatsApp content, the Hindutva machinery polarises anyway.

The BJP needs ‘bad Muslims’ for polarisation – a Muslim who defends beef eating, a Muslim who defends misogynist family laws, a Muslim who gets provoked into violence, a Muslim who commits a petty crime, and so on. Hindutva politics requires Muslims to abide by the law more than a Hindu needs to. Hindutvawaadis have a right to break the law and get away with it, but if a Muslim does something wrong, the entire community is to be blamed.

However, if Muslims appear to be on the right side of the moral argument, the BJP will not be able to blame them. After all, Dr Kafeel Khan had to be given bail when enough noise was made about his case. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to give lip-service to the lynching issue when enough noise is made. You don’t have to be an Azam Khan to speak up.
Constitutional claim

Muslims increasingly feel their voice wouldn’t be heard, and that protesting would have no impact. The BJP has risen to power without seeking the votes of Muslims. The BJP workers who go around canvassing don’t even enter Muslim-dominated localities.

There is no question of the BJP giving a Muslim a ticket to contest. As a result, Muslims have no access to power, and the state behaves as if Muslims are not among the stakeholders. This is the reality, never mind the claims of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.

Muslims may have the least access to power today, but there are many others who feel virtually disenfranchised, such as Jats in Haryana, Yadavs in UP and Bihar, tribals in Jharkhand and Dalits across India.

The government of the day is not the state. There is a constitutional claim that Muslims have over the state. Giving up this claim is suicidal.
No political leadership

Another reason for this silence is that the community has forgone the idea of having a political leadership of its own, at least in north India. In post-Partition India, it is a bad idea to have a ‘Muslim party’. As Asaduddin Owaisi knows, it immediately attracts comparison with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

But Muslims particularly gave up their voice and leadership since the fall of the Babri Masjid. They were persuaded by ‘secular’ parties that allying with caste politics will be in their best interest, thereby becoming the last coach of the secular train.

This will soon change. Millennial Muslim youth were not born when the Babri Masjid fell, so they don’t have that fear which secular parties exploited. This is a generation who have Owaisi’s videos on their smartphones because they like that Owaisi speaks up for them.

Owaisi’s greatest contribution is that he is telling Muslim youth to stand up and be themselves, and not live in fear like the Babri Masjid generation. The smartphone generation of north Indian Muslims is looking at start-ups and self-realisation, not resigning themselves to the fate of electoral politics. The days of the ‘sarkari Musalman’ making hay in the secular parties are short-lived.

Muslims will still need to vote for secular parties. Some Muslims have floated the suicidal idea that the community should boycott the 2019 elections. Doing so will only give the BJP 400 seats in Parliament.
Non-electoral politics

It is true that ‘secular’ parties today are unable to give voice to the problems faced by Muslims because the moment they do so, it will help the BJP polarise.

That’s all the more reason why Muslims need to have their own voice. And, there needs to be a distinction between electoral politics and non-electoral politics.

Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Hardik Patel, Chandrashekhar Azad are only some of the recent names who have made some impact in politics without flirting with political parties. The political parties came running thereafter.

The Dalit movement, for instance, does not depend on how many Dalits are ministers.

What Indian Muslims need the most is to assert their constitutional rights regardless of electoral politics, make interventions in the mainstream public spaces, speaking as Muslims and for Muslims, and not rely on secular parties or activists to have their voice heard.

Source : The Print

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#359 [Permalink] Posted on 31st July 2018 07:51
Lynchings and 2019 Elections


Badri Raina


There is the Brahminical belief that the surest way to cross the perilous Vaitarni river on the way to heaven is to hang by the tail of a cow.

Well, what do you know, this seems equally true of crossing the majority mark in the Lok Sabha.

Consider the statement by an RSS leader that cow-related lynching will stop only if people ceased to consume beef. Clearly, Indresh Kumar seems privy to things on the ground that we merely speculate about.

An even more explicit admonition has come from Vinay Katiyar: Muslims ought not to touch cows. What could be a more no-nonsense enunciation of the right-wing political bottom line.

Had the cow been wholly a subject of faith and not of politics, Kiren Rijiju, a cabinet minister at the Centre, could hardly be spared by the lynch mobs, having declared that he eats beef and will continue to do so. Or Manohar Parrikar, chief minister of Goa, for saying beef will be available in the state. Nor would the fortunes of beef-eating Meghalaya have remained unaffected had the Bharatiya Janata Party’s political stakes there not been so high.

The lynchings then are explicitly the front line of forces seeking to retain power in 2019 – a campaign where the political is brutally intended to ride on a fake spiritual.

You may shout hoarse that this cynical praxis not only conceals the failure of the Narendra Modi government on multiple fronts, but bids fair to cause a grievous long-festering wound to the body politic. For whom it is fatally important to hold on to the reins of state power – a well-defined and well-understood political-ideological legacy informing that imperative – anything is par for the course. Any new fake morality may be constructed to keep the hoi polloi from smelling the rot.

If the opposition political forces are seeking to come together, there is reason to believe that this time around, they are not doing so merely to unseat a government. They seem cognizant of the fact that unseating this government may be coterminous with saving the secular and lawful Republic.

There is a news report that the Congress is open to helping install a woman prime minister. Word to the wise indeed.

Time for change, above all else. The fate of the nation must not be allowed to hang by the horn of a cow, nor may women, as Uddhav Thackeray has said, continue to be rated below the bovine.

Badri Raina taught English literature at Delhi University

Source : Wire dot In
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#360 [Permalink] Posted on 1st August 2018 15:33
There is No Disputing the 'Emergency-Like' Situation in the Country


Mahtab Alam and Neha Mehrotra
The state apparatus, either directly or otherwise, has been attacking activists, journalists and dissidents. If an Emergency has not been declared, it is palpable in many spheres.
29/Jul/2018

In the last few months, there has been much debate on the current political scenario of the country and whether it amounts to an “Emergency-like situation”. The ranks of those who reject such a comparison include not just those who subscribe to the ruling party’s ideology, but also critics of the current regime.

“We should not talk about what we’re experiencing today as an undeclared Emergency. I lived through the Emergency and it was much worse. There are nasty things going on here, but don’t use false, phony and misleading parallels,” said Ramachandra Guha earlier this month, while answering a question at the first edition of ‘The Wire Dialogues’, where he was in conversation with Karan Thapar.

“If it was an Emergency, you and I wouldn’t be speaking here in Delhi. So let’s not go into hyperbolic comparisons,” added Guha.

Others have noted the fact that, unlike during the Emergency, the entire opposition has not been sent behind bars, nor have scores of political activists been arrested. However, a look at the number of arrests, acts of intimidation and attacks on socio-political activists and voices of dissent – directly by the state apparatus, or with its active support – in just the past two months tells a different story. People might be ‘free to speak’ in Delhi, but for those living outside the national capital, it has become extremely difficult to raise their voice, or for that matter, even crack jokes. A simple survey of reported incidents shows that in the last few months, more than 60 such cases have been reported across the country.

Not concentrated in a region

What is striking is that the attacks on democratic rights are not concentrated in a single region, but spread across the country, permeating across north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh to south Indian ones like Tamil Nadu and Telangana and the north eastern states of Assam and Tripura. Journalists, activists, artists and academics comprise the largest portion of those under attack. While the activists and journalists tend to be from small, regional language publications, the academics affected tend to be from English-speaking backgrounds.

Moreover, while attacks on journalists and activists stem from their exposé of corruption in some form or another, academics are targeted for their expression of critical ideas, with the label ‘Maoist’ thrown around quite often. In other words, every day people holding left or liberal political views are repeatedly branded as ‘urban Naxals’ and ‘anti-nationals’.

Here is an indicative list of incidents and a quick analysis of what is going on in different parts of the country.

Take the case of Kunal Kamra, a Mumbai-based stand-up comedian whose work pokes fun of the left, right and centre. He was scheduled to perform on August 11 at MS University in Vadodara, but the event was cancelled after the administration received complaints from a group of former students who claimed that the stand-up comedian was an ‘anti-national’.

Many believe that the recent conviction of young political activist Hardik Patel and two of his colleagues should also be seen in the context of the continued attack on dissident political activists. Apart from Kamra and Patel, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani is also a case in point. He has repeatedly been targeted by both state as well as non-state actors, not just in his home state, but elsewhere as well. Mevani has been barred from holding meetings and addressing rallies. He is also the object of villification by pro-government TV channels.

On July 5, Rajeev Yadav, a Lucknow-based activist and writer received a threat over his mobile. He alleges that Kandharpur police station in-charge Arvind Yadav called him and hurled abuses at him, allegedly threatening him with dire consequences if he wrote anything about police encounters without proof. The caller allegedly threatened to pick him up from his home anytime. It should be noted here that according to figures given by UP to the National Human Rights Commission, 45 persons have been killed in encounters between January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. Rajeev Yadav and his organisation ‘Rihai Manch’ have been at the forefront of exposing these encounters and documenting cases filed under the draconian National Security Act.

Similarly, Roop Rekha Verma, the former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University was charged by the UP police and the university administration for the violence that occurred earlier this month. It seems that her only ‘crime’ was to be a staunch critic of the RSS and to have lent her support to the protesting students two days prior to the incident.

In July last year, the UP police arrested eight senior activists, including former IPS officer and advocate of police reforms S.R. Darapuri, when they were trying to hold a previously-scheduled convention in Lucknow against rising cases of atrocities against Dalits. Darapuri has been also been critical of the newly enacted Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA). He says it is a draconian law with provisions harsher than the existing Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and gives police such powers as have not been granted by any law in the state till now.

The crackdown on protesters and Dalit activists in the wake of the Bharat Bandh on April 2 is another case in point. Three minors were charged with ‘attempt to murder’ and had to languish in a Meerut jail for more than a month. In Meerut alone, 300 Dalits were arrested and 1,000 were named. Here, Dalit leader and founder of Bhim Army Chandrasekhar Azad’s case must also be considered. Despite not being charged, he has been jailed for over a year now.

In Tamil Nadu, actor Mansoor Ali Khan and environmentalist Piyush Manush were arrested for making ‘inflammatory’ speeches against the expansion of Salem airport and the construction of an eight-lane expressway since it would encroach agricultural lands. Khan had said, “We should not let officers take our lands and should be united to oppose them.” He also claimed that if the highway is laid, he would hack eight people. A complaint was made against Khan, who was arrested for making inciting speeches.

Moreover, on July 3, Tamil documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi’s house was raided by plainclothes policemen. This happened shortly after the release of the trailer for her documentary Orutharun Varela (Nobody Came) on Cyclone Okhi, where she talks about the negligence of the Tamil Nadu state government and the apathy of the Indian Navy towards victims and their families. Last year, Bharathi’s film on the plight of manual scavengers, Kakkoos, also faced similar issues. Bharathi received several rape and death threats following the release of the film and the police, instead of coming to her defence, added to her harassment by disrupting several screenings of the film. Adding to this was the crackdown and brutal killing of 13 people (May 2018) protesting against the Sterlite Copper unit in Thoothukudi, Tamilnadu.

Earlier this month, Kathi Mahesh, a Telugu Dalit film critic was booked by the Telangana police for allegedly making statements “disrespecting” Hindu deities. On July 9, he was “externed” from Hyderabad for six months. This was done after some members of Hindutva organisations including the Bajrang Dal, accused Mahesh, of making “derogatory” and “offensive” comments about the Ramayana during a debate on a local news channel.

Similarly attacks, attempts at intimidation, and the filing of cases against journalists and writers like Narayan Dhar and Priyatosh Das (both Tripura), Sandeep Sharma (Madhya Pradesh), Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh (both Bihar), Rana Ayyub (Mumbai), Ravish Kumar (Delhi), Patricia Mukhim (Shillong), Biplab Mondal, Prajna Saha and Manas Chattopadhyay (all West Bengal), Venu Balakrishnan (Kerala), Kamal Shukla (Chhattisgarh), Tapodhir Bhattacharjee (Assam) provide ample evidence of the fact that freedom of expression today is under attack.

It is important to note that the attacks are not just limited to political activists, but also affect writers, journalists and artists. Even ordinary citizens are not spared and can be charged with sedition. On July 21, a woman named Geeta Pachauri was charged with sedition in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) for allegedly raising ‘anti-India’ slogans while she was protesting against the demolition of her house.

Senior journalists John Dayal and Ajoy Bose in an introduction to the 2018 edition of their book (originally Published in 1977) For Reasons Of State: Delhi Under Emergency, make a very pertinent point while concluding their discussion about the Emergency, then and now. “Ultimately, regardless of the similarities and differences between then and now and whether one is worse than the other, the time has come once again to recall the assault on the democratic rights of people more than four decades ago. Because even though no Emergency has been declared today, its presence is palpable – felt by the rich and the poor, in the universities and the factories,” they conclude.

Source : Wire.in
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