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Hate Watch: Indians reject communally polarising call to #BoycottMuslims

Right-wing groups and trolls had made communal hashtags viral, but citizens have rejected the absurd call to socially boycott an entire community

01 Jul 2022

Hindutva GroupImage Courtesy: globalvillagespace.com

The attempts by hardline Hindutva groups and right-wing trolls to exploit the Udaipur horror and manipulate people to boycott Muslims and Muslim-owned businesses fell flat, when they went largely ignored by ordinary Indians. While Twitter posts got barely a like, there were less than 50 posts for any hashtag calling for such a communally polarising, and archaic call for excommunication.

On Friday morning, hashtags like ‘Boycott Muslims’ and ‘Boycott Muslim Businesses’ trended on Twitter, creating the impression that communal hatred was rising in the country. In fact tensions have been high ever since the brutal killing of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, by two hardline Islamists on June 28. The alleged killers Riyaz and Gos Mohammed claimed they punished Lal for sharing a post in support of ex-BJP leader Nupur Sharma. The duo was arrested shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, citizens of all faiths, including Muslims, condemned the heinous crime.

Unsurprisingly, both the anti-Islamic extremists and the Islamic hardliners tried to use this incident to their benefit. Both failed miserably.

In the case of the former, right-wing groups tried to call for a social boycott of Muslims and their businesses. This is reminiscent of earlier calls for an ‘economic boycott’ of Muslims earlier in March.

However, this tactic fell flat on its face when the trend died as soon as it appeared on social media. On Twitter, the only tweet that garnered around 300 likes was by ‘Julmi Jat’ on June 29. In it, the netizen said that he will not buy on-veg food from a Muslim person and for the government to stop “funding madrasas”. This was the only tweet that received likes in the hundreds.

The rest of the tweets earned barely one or two likes even a day after posting. The few that managed to gain the attention of people in the double digits either used “Udaipur Horror” as additional hashtags or appealed to the sympathetic masses.

One example is Shahshank Saini who talked about Islamic terrorism but only talked of a boycott in the hashtag.

Boycott Muslim

All other hateful posts also failed to ignite hate, with barely a like and no comment whatsoever. Some right-wingers talked about how they travelled miles away from their local Muslim shops to get the services they required. Even this was met with a cold response by people.

Boycott Muslim

Even bots using Hindu deities as their display picture failed to gain any reverence in their call for “safety” by asking people to identify the vendors they engage with.

Boycott Muslim

After the hijab controversy, Hindutva organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Jagarana Vedike, and Bajrang Dal in Karnataka set up banners outside temples urging them not to lease stalls to Muslims. Even the BJP-led state government had spoken in defence of the ban which further emboldened people to indulge in the discriminatory act.

Meanwhile, Islamic hardliners also failed to elicit any support for their extremist ideology. Muslim individuals as well as socio-cultural groups across India appealed for peace, and the community has distanced itself from extremist ideology.

Organisations like the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) and the Mufti-e-Varanasi condemned the brutal murder that violated not just Indian law but also Islamic law. Groups said that there is no place for such an extremist mindset in India and asked people to keep calm.

Addressing the Muslim community, the IMSD reminded that Blasphemy laws are unacceptable in a secular liberal constitutional democracy. Similarly, Jama Masjid, Delhi’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari also sent out a statement condemning the murder that ‘shook humanity’. Inn his letter, he said, “[The murder] is not only an act of cowardice but an act against Islam, unlawful and inhuman. I, myself and on behalf of the Muslims of India, with all the vehemence at our disposal, condemn this act.”

Related:

With calls for economic boycott of Muslims, are we at the precipice of a genocide?
Don’t stop at Muslim-owned dhabas, VHP, Bajrang Dal warn buses in Gujarat
Indian Muslims condemn Udaipur beheading, demand justice for victim
Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

Hate Watch: Indians reject communally polarising call to #BoycottMuslims

Right-wing groups and trolls had made communal hashtags viral, but citizens have rejected the absurd call to socially boycott an entire community

Hindutva GroupImage Courtesy: globalvillagespace.com

The attempts by hardline Hindutva groups and right-wing trolls to exploit the Udaipur horror and manipulate people to boycott Muslims and Muslim-owned businesses fell flat, when they went largely ignored by ordinary Indians. While Twitter posts got barely a like, there were less than 50 posts for any hashtag calling for such a communally polarising, and archaic call for excommunication.

On Friday morning, hashtags like ‘Boycott Muslims’ and ‘Boycott Muslim Businesses’ trended on Twitter, creating the impression that communal hatred was rising in the country. In fact tensions have been high ever since the brutal killing of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, by two hardline Islamists on June 28. The alleged killers Riyaz and Gos Mohammed claimed they punished Lal for sharing a post in support of ex-BJP leader Nupur Sharma. The duo was arrested shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, citizens of all faiths, including Muslims, condemned the heinous crime.

Unsurprisingly, both the anti-Islamic extremists and the Islamic hardliners tried to use this incident to their benefit. Both failed miserably.

In the case of the former, right-wing groups tried to call for a social boycott of Muslims and their businesses. This is reminiscent of earlier calls for an ‘economic boycott’ of Muslims earlier in March.

However, this tactic fell flat on its face when the trend died as soon as it appeared on social media. On Twitter, the only tweet that garnered around 300 likes was by ‘Julmi Jat’ on June 29. In it, the netizen said that he will not buy on-veg food from a Muslim person and for the government to stop “funding madrasas”. This was the only tweet that received likes in the hundreds.

The rest of the tweets earned barely one or two likes even a day after posting. The few that managed to gain the attention of people in the double digits either used “Udaipur Horror” as additional hashtags or appealed to the sympathetic masses.

One example is Shahshank Saini who talked about Islamic terrorism but only talked of a boycott in the hashtag.

Boycott Muslim

All other hateful posts also failed to ignite hate, with barely a like and no comment whatsoever. Some right-wingers talked about how they travelled miles away from their local Muslim shops to get the services they required. Even this was met with a cold response by people.

Boycott Muslim

Even bots using Hindu deities as their display picture failed to gain any reverence in their call for “safety” by asking people to identify the vendors they engage with.

Boycott Muslim

After the hijab controversy, Hindutva organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Jagarana Vedike, and Bajrang Dal in Karnataka set up banners outside temples urging them not to lease stalls to Muslims. Even the BJP-led state government had spoken in defence of the ban which further emboldened people to indulge in the discriminatory act.

Meanwhile, Islamic hardliners also failed to elicit any support for their extremist ideology. Muslim individuals as well as socio-cultural groups across India appealed for peace, and the community has distanced itself from extremist ideology.

Organisations like the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) and the Mufti-e-Varanasi condemned the brutal murder that violated not just Indian law but also Islamic law. Groups said that there is no place for such an extremist mindset in India and asked people to keep calm.

Addressing the Muslim community, the IMSD reminded that Blasphemy laws are unacceptable in a secular liberal constitutional democracy. Similarly, Jama Masjid, Delhi’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari also sent out a statement condemning the murder that ‘shook humanity’. Inn his letter, he said, “[The murder] is not only an act of cowardice but an act against Islam, unlawful and inhuman. I, myself and on behalf of the Muslims of India, with all the vehemence at our disposal, condemn this act.”

Related:

With calls for economic boycott of Muslims, are we at the precipice of a genocide?
Don’t stop at Muslim-owned dhabas, VHP, Bajrang Dal warn buses in Gujarat
Indian Muslims condemn Udaipur beheading, demand justice for victim
Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

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Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

Hardline Islamists killed the man in cold blood; area remains tense

29 Jun 2022

Udaipur man killed

In a shocking instance of growing intolerance, a Hindu man in Udaipur, Rajasthan was beheaded by two hardline Islamists on June 28, 2022 for sharing a post in support of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma. Although the accused Riyaz and Gos Mohammed were arrested shortly after the incident, the news has horrified many citizens for its blatant display of intolerance.

Supreme Tailors owner Kanhaiya Lal was working in his shop on Tuesday, when one man came up to him and attacked him with a cleaver. The other accused recorded the crime on his mobile phone. After slitting Lal’s throat in broad daylight, the two said that they had avenged the insult to Islam and threatened to “get” Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the same weapon.

All this because Lal shared a post on social media in support of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma who had earlier made derogatory remarks against Islam and Prophet Mohammed. According to The Hindu, Lal was already booked by the local police over his remarks on social media. At the time, he had told the police that he feared for his life and had closed shop for a week.

Tensions rose in the area upon learning about the heinous murder. Shopkeepers closed shops and stopped police from taking away the body until the accused were arrested and the victim’s family compensated with ₹ 50 lakh and a government job. The body was finally moved late at night.

Rajasthan police declared a state-wide internet shutdown for 24 hours and imposed Section 144 for a month. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to the people to maintain peace.

“I appeal to everyone not to try to spoil the atmosphere by sharing the video of this incident. By sharing the video, the criminal's purpose of spreading hatred in the society will be successful,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

 

 

Condemning the murder, he promised strict action against the accused. In a press meeting, Gehlot said that the manner of the crime was “beyond imagination”, reported The Hindu. Further, he said the investigation would be carried out under the case officer scheme. Accused will receive a speedy probe and fast trial in the court. He also appealed to Modi to issue an appeal for communal harmony and brotherhood, and declare that violence in any form would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry sent a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the city to “explore” any “terror angle” as per a tweet from Home Minister Amit Shah.

 

 

Many people have decried the brutal murder in the name of religion. Politicians, journalists and others condemned the incident wherein the accused so blatantly boasted of their act.

 

Indian Musims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has also condemned the attack saying, “We cannot have any sympathy for those extremist Muslims who espouse the ideals of the Taliban or ISIS,” adding, “IMSD reiterates its stand that there is no place for such an extremist mindset in India and that the culprits be handed the strictest possible punishment.” Further decrying hardliners and their calls for extreme actions against those accused of blasphemy, IMSD said, “We advise those who speak on behalf of Muslim issues to desist from making emotional, bigoted, intolerant and fanatical appeals in the name of religion. As citizens of this country, the Muslim cause is best served through appeals to the constitutional ethos rather than some pan-Islamic rallying together in the name of saving the honor of the prophet.”

At the same time, divisive elements have taken a narrow perspective of this as an instance where ‘a Hindu man was murdered by two Muslims’. Despite the fact that the Muslim community in India has widely condemned the act, communal forces continue to push their agenda. In fact, netizens have rightly identified the core problem of this whole ordeal – hate.

 

 

 

Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

Hardline Islamists killed the man in cold blood; area remains tense

Udaipur man killed

In a shocking instance of growing intolerance, a Hindu man in Udaipur, Rajasthan was beheaded by two hardline Islamists on June 28, 2022 for sharing a post in support of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma. Although the accused Riyaz and Gos Mohammed were arrested shortly after the incident, the news has horrified many citizens for its blatant display of intolerance.

Supreme Tailors owner Kanhaiya Lal was working in his shop on Tuesday, when one man came up to him and attacked him with a cleaver. The other accused recorded the crime on his mobile phone. After slitting Lal’s throat in broad daylight, the two said that they had avenged the insult to Islam and threatened to “get” Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the same weapon.

All this because Lal shared a post on social media in support of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma who had earlier made derogatory remarks against Islam and Prophet Mohammed. According to The Hindu, Lal was already booked by the local police over his remarks on social media. At the time, he had told the police that he feared for his life and had closed shop for a week.

Tensions rose in the area upon learning about the heinous murder. Shopkeepers closed shops and stopped police from taking away the body until the accused were arrested and the victim’s family compensated with ₹ 50 lakh and a government job. The body was finally moved late at night.

Rajasthan police declared a state-wide internet shutdown for 24 hours and imposed Section 144 for a month. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to the people to maintain peace.

“I appeal to everyone not to try to spoil the atmosphere by sharing the video of this incident. By sharing the video, the criminal's purpose of spreading hatred in the society will be successful,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

 

 

Condemning the murder, he promised strict action against the accused. In a press meeting, Gehlot said that the manner of the crime was “beyond imagination”, reported The Hindu. Further, he said the investigation would be carried out under the case officer scheme. Accused will receive a speedy probe and fast trial in the court. He also appealed to Modi to issue an appeal for communal harmony and brotherhood, and declare that violence in any form would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry sent a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the city to “explore” any “terror angle” as per a tweet from Home Minister Amit Shah.

 

 

Many people have decried the brutal murder in the name of religion. Politicians, journalists and others condemned the incident wherein the accused so blatantly boasted of their act.

 

Indian Musims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has also condemned the attack saying, “We cannot have any sympathy for those extremist Muslims who espouse the ideals of the Taliban or ISIS,” adding, “IMSD reiterates its stand that there is no place for such an extremist mindset in India and that the culprits be handed the strictest possible punishment.” Further decrying hardliners and their calls for extreme actions against those accused of blasphemy, IMSD said, “We advise those who speak on behalf of Muslim issues to desist from making emotional, bigoted, intolerant and fanatical appeals in the name of religion. As citizens of this country, the Muslim cause is best served through appeals to the constitutional ethos rather than some pan-Islamic rallying together in the name of saving the honor of the prophet.”

At the same time, divisive elements have taken a narrow perspective of this as an instance where ‘a Hindu man was murdered by two Muslims’. Despite the fact that the Muslim community in India has widely condemned the act, communal forces continue to push their agenda. In fact, netizens have rightly identified the core problem of this whole ordeal – hate.

 

 

 

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Jharkand HC to hear PIL demanding NIA probe into Ranchi violence on June 24

The PIL filed by one Pankaj Yadav has has demanded NIA investigation into the entire incident. A division bench comprising chief justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad first heard the PIL on June 17

24 Jun 2022

Ranchi ViolenceImage: PTI

Jharkand high court has sought a detailed report from the state government on the intelligence failure of the state government reflected in the inability to control the procession in Ranchi on June 10.

Hearing a PIL seeking NIA probe into the violence which took place in Ranchi during a protest march on June 10 against the controversial statement given by BJP leader Nupur Sharma, the Jharkhand HC, on June 17 (last Friday) has sought a detailed report from the state government. The state government has also been directed to submit the intelligence report obtained by it ahead of the incident. The matter will now be heard on June 24.

 “The Jharkhand High Court, after looking at the FIR and press release issued by Democratic Party of India (SDPI), has sought a detailed report on the matter,” said petitioner’s advocate Rajiv Kumar. SDPI, a political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI), where it had said that how police opened fire on the children when there is a UPA Government in Jharkhand seeking action against the police and compensation to the family members of those who were killed in the incident, he added.

The court has also sought a reply from the Jharkhand government to explain how around 10,000 people assembled at a public place and the number of people who died in the incident as well as the rounds of bullets fired by the police.

According to petitioner, Kumar, the court also asked whether other measures like tear gas or water cannon were used by the police before resorting to firing or not. The court, however, said that it was not inclined to decide whether the posters of the riot suspects should be displayed in public places or not.

Meanwhile, the situation remained peaceful in Ranchi while Friday prayers were offered at different mosques in Ranchi under tight security, a week after the violence had occurred. Security forces were keeping a close vigil on sensitive areas through drones to avoid any untoward incident.

Jharkhand Police had been put on high alert following intelligence inputs that the protesters may take to the streets again last Friday after offering ‘Namaaz’ in different mosques in Ranchi. To avoid any untoward incident, the district administration has beefed up the security of religious places, besides putting barricades in at least 25 sensitive localities in the capital city.

In its detailed order, the Jharkand high court, dated June 17, 2022, has stated,

“This Court has heard the learned counsel for the parties and upon hearing, the directions are being passed upon the State to file affidavit replying the following questions:-

(i) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court as to whether the State Government was having any intelligence report about the movement of the processions of 8,000 to 10,000 people at the Mahatma Gandhi Road (Main Road at Ranchi).

“(ii) In case, there was intelligence report to that effect, then why the casualties have taken place and injury has been sustained by the Police Personnel including the Senior Superintendent of

Police as also the death has occurred, as per report.

“(iii) In case, there was no intelligence information, the State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court, why such a major failure on the part of the State was there

leading to disturbing the entire capital town of the State of Jharkhand where mob resorted to stone pelting and firing?

“(iv) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court, as to whether the initial means to restrain the gathering, i.e., lathi charge or use of water canon etc. hasbeen resorted to or not.

“(v) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court as to whether, the main accused persons named in the FIR have been apprehended or not and if yes, the details thereof, along with the parental and addresses be referred in the affidavit.

“(vi) The State of Jharkhand is also directed to apprise this Court about status of criminal records and the cases instituted against one Nawab Chisti of Mani Tola, P.S.-Doranda, Ranchi, who was running a ‘WHATSAPP’ group as also allegedly having closed connection with the Cabinet Minister & M.LA., as per the statement made at para-5 to the supplementary affidavit dated

June 16, 2022.

“(vii) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is further directed to apprise this Court, if any FIR has been instituted, then whether investigation has commenced in the cases, registered

against said Nawab Chisti, if yes then what is the status of such investigation.If the investigation has been completed, let a copy of the final form be produced by appending it to the affidavit to be filed on behalf of the State.

“(viii) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is to apprise this Court that under whose permission, the procession consisting of 8,000 to 10,000 people was allowed to be proceeded without any Police protection in the Main Road at Ranchi, known as Mahatma Gandhi Road.

If such permission was there, let the copy of such permission be appended to the affidavit to be filed. If there was no such permission, then how the District Administration as also the Police Administration had allowed such procession in the Main Road at Ranchi.

“(ix) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is further directed to apprise this Court as to what is the status of the criminal case instituted, as has been appended under Annexure-8

to the writ petition. Let the progress of the criminal investigation be produced under the sealed cover.

“(x) Apart from the above queries, let para-wise reply to the averment made in the writ petition as also the supplementary affidavit dated June 16, 2022 be also filed.”

The entire order of the Jharkand HC may be read here:

 

Related:

Ranchi: 2 dead and Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Right-wing calls Ranchi boy’s ordeal a “victim card” tactic

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!
Pooja Shakun Pandey, HMS has a long history of hate speech
UP: Media adds communal tone to Kanpur Qazi’s words

Jharkand HC to hear PIL demanding NIA probe into Ranchi violence on June 24

The PIL filed by one Pankaj Yadav has has demanded NIA investigation into the entire incident. A division bench comprising chief justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad first heard the PIL on June 17

Ranchi ViolenceImage: PTI

Jharkand high court has sought a detailed report from the state government on the intelligence failure of the state government reflected in the inability to control the procession in Ranchi on June 10.

Hearing a PIL seeking NIA probe into the violence which took place in Ranchi during a protest march on June 10 against the controversial statement given by BJP leader Nupur Sharma, the Jharkhand HC, on June 17 (last Friday) has sought a detailed report from the state government. The state government has also been directed to submit the intelligence report obtained by it ahead of the incident. The matter will now be heard on June 24.

 “The Jharkhand High Court, after looking at the FIR and press release issued by Democratic Party of India (SDPI), has sought a detailed report on the matter,” said petitioner’s advocate Rajiv Kumar. SDPI, a political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI), where it had said that how police opened fire on the children when there is a UPA Government in Jharkhand seeking action against the police and compensation to the family members of those who were killed in the incident, he added.

The court has also sought a reply from the Jharkhand government to explain how around 10,000 people assembled at a public place and the number of people who died in the incident as well as the rounds of bullets fired by the police.

According to petitioner, Kumar, the court also asked whether other measures like tear gas or water cannon were used by the police before resorting to firing or not. The court, however, said that it was not inclined to decide whether the posters of the riot suspects should be displayed in public places or not.

Meanwhile, the situation remained peaceful in Ranchi while Friday prayers were offered at different mosques in Ranchi under tight security, a week after the violence had occurred. Security forces were keeping a close vigil on sensitive areas through drones to avoid any untoward incident.

Jharkhand Police had been put on high alert following intelligence inputs that the protesters may take to the streets again last Friday after offering ‘Namaaz’ in different mosques in Ranchi. To avoid any untoward incident, the district administration has beefed up the security of religious places, besides putting barricades in at least 25 sensitive localities in the capital city.

In its detailed order, the Jharkand high court, dated June 17, 2022, has stated,

“This Court has heard the learned counsel for the parties and upon hearing, the directions are being passed upon the State to file affidavit replying the following questions:-

(i) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court as to whether the State Government was having any intelligence report about the movement of the processions of 8,000 to 10,000 people at the Mahatma Gandhi Road (Main Road at Ranchi).

“(ii) In case, there was intelligence report to that effect, then why the casualties have taken place and injury has been sustained by the Police Personnel including the Senior Superintendent of

Police as also the death has occurred, as per report.

“(iii) In case, there was no intelligence information, the State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court, why such a major failure on the part of the State was there

leading to disturbing the entire capital town of the State of Jharkhand where mob resorted to stone pelting and firing?

“(iv) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court, as to whether the initial means to restrain the gathering, i.e., lathi charge or use of water canon etc. hasbeen resorted to or not.

“(v) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is directed to apprise this Court as to whether, the main accused persons named in the FIR have been apprehended or not and if yes, the details thereof, along with the parental and addresses be referred in the affidavit.

“(vi) The State of Jharkhand is also directed to apprise this Court about status of criminal records and the cases instituted against one Nawab Chisti of Mani Tola, P.S.-Doranda, Ranchi, who was running a ‘WHATSAPP’ group as also allegedly having closed connection with the Cabinet Minister & M.LA., as per the statement made at para-5 to the supplementary affidavit dated

June 16, 2022.

“(vii) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is further directed to apprise this Court, if any FIR has been instituted, then whether investigation has commenced in the cases, registered

against said Nawab Chisti, if yes then what is the status of such investigation.If the investigation has been completed, let a copy of the final form be produced by appending it to the affidavit to be filed on behalf of the State.

“(viii) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is to apprise this Court that under whose permission, the procession consisting of 8,000 to 10,000 people was allowed to be proceeded without any Police protection in the Main Road at Ranchi, known as Mahatma Gandhi Road.

If such permission was there, let the copy of such permission be appended to the affidavit to be filed. If there was no such permission, then how the District Administration as also the Police Administration had allowed such procession in the Main Road at Ranchi.

“(ix) The State of Jharkhand/Competent Authority is further directed to apprise this Court as to what is the status of the criminal case instituted, as has been appended under Annexure-8

to the writ petition. Let the progress of the criminal investigation be produced under the sealed cover.

“(x) Apart from the above queries, let para-wise reply to the averment made in the writ petition as also the supplementary affidavit dated June 16, 2022 be also filed.”

The entire order of the Jharkand HC may be read here:

 

Related:

Ranchi: 2 dead and Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Right-wing calls Ranchi boy’s ordeal a “victim card” tactic

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!
Pooja Shakun Pandey, HMS has a long history of hate speech
UP: Media adds communal tone to Kanpur Qazi’s words

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Blasphemy? The Loneliness of Saad Ansari

Do Muslims Really Have A Double Face; A Moderate One For Popular Consumption And A ‘Real’ One When They Are In A Majority?

23 Jun 2022

Saad Ansari
Saad Ansari arrested for sharing post, supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Image :Twitter

A frenzied crowd calling itself Ashiq-e-Rasool (Lovers of the Prophet) menacingly surrounds a house in Bhiwandi, a predominantly Muslim suburb in Mumbai. They are angry about a post which was put up by a young boy indirectly supporting BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, now suspended from the party for her uncharitable remarks on Prophet Muhammad. This young boy, an engineering student by the name of Saad Ansari is religiously agnostic and asked Muslims to grow up rather than behave like overgrown kids over the issue of blasphemy. In his post, he asked the following question to Muslims: “A 50 year old man marrying a 6-9 year old kid is clear child abuse….. I don’t know how you people support this. Will you give your 6-year-old daughter to a 50-year-old man? (Think about it)”.

There can be a number of ways in which Muslims could have responded to the anxiety of this young Muslim boy. They could have told him about the historical context when such marriages were common place or they could have argued (like many Barelvis do) that some of the things that the Prophet did is beyond human comprehension and hence it is futile to talk about them. But then, any rational and civic behaviour is too much to ask from some Muslims these days. They surrounded his house, abused and slapped him and forced him to recite the Shahada (the belief in oneness of God). Not content, they formally lodged a complaint against him on the basis of which he was arrested by the Mumbai police.

Saad Ansari is a young boy of exemplary courage and he must be saluted for that. But imagine the moral vacuousness of the crowd which forced him to chant the first Kalima. These are the same Muslims who repeat ad nauseam that Islam cannot be forced on anyone. They argue that Islam is about submission and that it spread through its teaching of justice and fairness rather than through force. And yet, they have no compunction to force it on one of their own who dares to question the dominant understanding of Islam. Do Muslims really have a double face; a moderate one for popular consumption and a ‘real’ one when they are in a majority? In the context of Bhiwandi, the majoritarian Muslim impulse was that it will not brook any sort of divergence from their understanding of the Prophet or Islam.

Moderate Muslims have consistently called out the intolerance within the Muslim community. Being Muslims, they know that without the space for dissent, the community would remain mired in a mentality which is truly antediluvian. It will never face up to modern challenges, like embracing modern ideas of dissent and freedom of expression.

Anyone who seeks to tinker with the dominant ideational pattern within Muslims is labelled as a heretic who is conspiring to defame the community. This is not just the story of Saad Ansari; it has been the story of many before him, including Hamid Dalwai and Asghar Ali Engineer. They too had to face social ostracism and what not from the community simply because they were arguing for social and religious reform.

When religious chauvinism overwhelms the mind, one does not simply demand laws on blasphemy but also primarily curbs any moderate or dissenting voices within the community. We can clearly see it is not just Nupur Sharma who is being threatened but also young Muslims like Saad are forced to keep silent, to remain in the little cocoon which has been made for them.

There was a lot of noise about Nupur Sharma but then we have complete silence on the issue of Saad Ansari. Where are the voices of Muslim journalists and social media influencers who always write about Muslim victimization? Why don’t they write about the threats and bullying of Saad Ansari? But then, it is too much to expect this from them. Instead of educating Muslims to dissociate from the politics of blasphemy, they were actively fanning it. The only Muslim there is to write about is the Muslim victim; all other issues of concern within the community have disappeared into thin air. 

More importantly, where are the Hindu liberals who were teaching the Muslim moderates to understand the pain of the community during the Nupur Sharma episode. Why are they not condemning what happened to Saad? Why are their pens silent now? We know why. Their pens only move when the victim is a Muslim and the aggressor is a Hindu. Incidents which happen with the likes of Saad do not fit their narrative and hence such stories are conveniently dropped. Intolerance is never a one- way street. If we have to call out the intolerance of the majority community, nothing should stop us from calling out the intolerance within also.

 Decades earlier, Hamid Dalwai was bold enough to realize and write about how both forms of intolerance feed upon each other and must be fought together. Moderate Muslims have always made this connection. Liberal Hindus would be better off without telling us what to do and what political positions to take. They are no one to lecture us on how to understand the pain of the Muslims in the given political context. As Muslims, we feel and experience this pain each passing day. But that has not blinded us to overlook what is happening in the community in the name of protecting Islam.

I pity those who bullied Saad into reciting the Kalima. If the intention was to re-instil faith into this Muslim youth, then they have already failed. For faith is not something which can be imposed from the outside. The obverse might actually happen. Saad will never to able to reconcile his faith in Islam as he has seen the thuggery that the followers of this religion are capable of.

-----

A regular contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia.

This article was first published on NewAgeIslam.com

Blasphemy? The Loneliness of Saad Ansari

Do Muslims Really Have A Double Face; A Moderate One For Popular Consumption And A ‘Real’ One When They Are In A Majority?

Saad Ansari
Saad Ansari arrested for sharing post, supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Image :Twitter

A frenzied crowd calling itself Ashiq-e-Rasool (Lovers of the Prophet) menacingly surrounds a house in Bhiwandi, a predominantly Muslim suburb in Mumbai. They are angry about a post which was put up by a young boy indirectly supporting BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, now suspended from the party for her uncharitable remarks on Prophet Muhammad. This young boy, an engineering student by the name of Saad Ansari is religiously agnostic and asked Muslims to grow up rather than behave like overgrown kids over the issue of blasphemy. In his post, he asked the following question to Muslims: “A 50 year old man marrying a 6-9 year old kid is clear child abuse….. I don’t know how you people support this. Will you give your 6-year-old daughter to a 50-year-old man? (Think about it)”.

There can be a number of ways in which Muslims could have responded to the anxiety of this young Muslim boy. They could have told him about the historical context when such marriages were common place or they could have argued (like many Barelvis do) that some of the things that the Prophet did is beyond human comprehension and hence it is futile to talk about them. But then, any rational and civic behaviour is too much to ask from some Muslims these days. They surrounded his house, abused and slapped him and forced him to recite the Shahada (the belief in oneness of God). Not content, they formally lodged a complaint against him on the basis of which he was arrested by the Mumbai police.

Saad Ansari is a young boy of exemplary courage and he must be saluted for that. But imagine the moral vacuousness of the crowd which forced him to chant the first Kalima. These are the same Muslims who repeat ad nauseam that Islam cannot be forced on anyone. They argue that Islam is about submission and that it spread through its teaching of justice and fairness rather than through force. And yet, they have no compunction to force it on one of their own who dares to question the dominant understanding of Islam. Do Muslims really have a double face; a moderate one for popular consumption and a ‘real’ one when they are in a majority? In the context of Bhiwandi, the majoritarian Muslim impulse was that it will not brook any sort of divergence from their understanding of the Prophet or Islam.

Moderate Muslims have consistently called out the intolerance within the Muslim community. Being Muslims, they know that without the space for dissent, the community would remain mired in a mentality which is truly antediluvian. It will never face up to modern challenges, like embracing modern ideas of dissent and freedom of expression.

Anyone who seeks to tinker with the dominant ideational pattern within Muslims is labelled as a heretic who is conspiring to defame the community. This is not just the story of Saad Ansari; it has been the story of many before him, including Hamid Dalwai and Asghar Ali Engineer. They too had to face social ostracism and what not from the community simply because they were arguing for social and religious reform.

When religious chauvinism overwhelms the mind, one does not simply demand laws on blasphemy but also primarily curbs any moderate or dissenting voices within the community. We can clearly see it is not just Nupur Sharma who is being threatened but also young Muslims like Saad are forced to keep silent, to remain in the little cocoon which has been made for them.

There was a lot of noise about Nupur Sharma but then we have complete silence on the issue of Saad Ansari. Where are the voices of Muslim journalists and social media influencers who always write about Muslim victimization? Why don’t they write about the threats and bullying of Saad Ansari? But then, it is too much to expect this from them. Instead of educating Muslims to dissociate from the politics of blasphemy, they were actively fanning it. The only Muslim there is to write about is the Muslim victim; all other issues of concern within the community have disappeared into thin air. 

More importantly, where are the Hindu liberals who were teaching the Muslim moderates to understand the pain of the community during the Nupur Sharma episode. Why are they not condemning what happened to Saad? Why are their pens silent now? We know why. Their pens only move when the victim is a Muslim and the aggressor is a Hindu. Incidents which happen with the likes of Saad do not fit their narrative and hence such stories are conveniently dropped. Intolerance is never a one- way street. If we have to call out the intolerance of the majority community, nothing should stop us from calling out the intolerance within also.

 Decades earlier, Hamid Dalwai was bold enough to realize and write about how both forms of intolerance feed upon each other and must be fought together. Moderate Muslims have always made this connection. Liberal Hindus would be better off without telling us what to do and what political positions to take. They are no one to lecture us on how to understand the pain of the Muslims in the given political context. As Muslims, we feel and experience this pain each passing day. But that has not blinded us to overlook what is happening in the community in the name of protecting Islam.

I pity those who bullied Saad into reciting the Kalima. If the intention was to re-instil faith into this Muslim youth, then they have already failed. For faith is not something which can be imposed from the outside. The obverse might actually happen. Saad will never to able to reconcile his faith in Islam as he has seen the thuggery that the followers of this religion are capable of.

-----

A regular contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia.

This article was first published on NewAgeIslam.com

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Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23

Varanasi Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who ordered video survey of mosque premises, among 619 judges transferred by Allahabad HC

22 Jun 2022

Gyanvapi

A Varanasi district court is all set to hear on June 23, a revision petition moved by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demands that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), the committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition. On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, but as the district judge was on leave, the application was moved before the court of the Additional District Judge (II) and it was admitted. This matter has now been admitted by the court and will be heard on June 23.

Readers would recall that VVSS had moved another petition on May 24, demanding a ban on the entry of Muslims in the Gyanvapi premises. But this petition that was originally moved before the court of civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, was subsequently transferred on May 25 by District Judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha to the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division) Mahendra Kumar Pandey.

This was after the Supreme Court transferred the case involving maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code from the court of judge Diwakar to the district judge. That matter is scheduled to be heard on July 4, while the matter in the fast-track court will be heard next on July 8. 

In related developments, civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the video survey of the mosque premises, and also ordered that the mosque area be sealed after a “Shivling” was found in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) has now been transferred. Diwakar had been receiving death threats in wake of his decisions. The transfer notification was issued by the Registrar General on June 20, and pertains to transfers of 213 civil judges (junior division), 285 additional district and sessions judges, and 121 civil judges (Senior division), reported Times of India. Diwakar is among 619 judicial officers transferred. He is to assume his next charge at the Bareilly district court by July 4.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities

Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

Gyanvapi case: Survey report findings leaked despite court’s warning

Gyanvapi case: District court adjourns hearings in maintainability suit till July 4

Gyanvapi case: Hearing continues on provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23

Varanasi Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who ordered video survey of mosque premises, among 619 judges transferred by Allahabad HC

Gyanvapi

A Varanasi district court is all set to hear on June 23, a revision petition moved by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demands that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), the committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition. On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, but as the district judge was on leave, the application was moved before the court of the Additional District Judge (II) and it was admitted. This matter has now been admitted by the court and will be heard on June 23.

Readers would recall that VVSS had moved another petition on May 24, demanding a ban on the entry of Muslims in the Gyanvapi premises. But this petition that was originally moved before the court of civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, was subsequently transferred on May 25 by District Judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha to the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division) Mahendra Kumar Pandey.

This was after the Supreme Court transferred the case involving maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code from the court of judge Diwakar to the district judge. That matter is scheduled to be heard on July 4, while the matter in the fast-track court will be heard next on July 8. 

In related developments, civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the video survey of the mosque premises, and also ordered that the mosque area be sealed after a “Shivling” was found in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) has now been transferred. Diwakar had been receiving death threats in wake of his decisions. The transfer notification was issued by the Registrar General on June 20, and pertains to transfers of 213 civil judges (junior division), 285 additional district and sessions judges, and 121 civil judges (Senior division), reported Times of India. Diwakar is among 619 judicial officers transferred. He is to assume his next charge at the Bareilly district court by July 4.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities

Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

Gyanvapi case: Survey report findings leaked despite court’s warning

Gyanvapi case: District court adjourns hearings in maintainability suit till July 4

Gyanvapi case: Hearing continues on provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

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Hate Offender: Who is Maulana Tauqeer Raza?

Ittehad-e-Millat Party chief Maulana Raza Khan from Bareilly keeps spitting Hindus against Muslims amidst the rising communal tensions

22 Jun 2022

tauqir raza

Hazrat Maulana Tauqueer Ahmed Raza Khan is Ittehad-e-Millat Council, Bareilly Sharif and a Congress ally who recently made a controversial statement by asking the Prime Minister to read Kalma while addressing a huge gathering at Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly. But this repeat hate offender has a history of making communally inflammatory statements.

While raising slogans such as “Gustaakhi ki ek hi sazaa… sar dhad se juda” (Translation: The only punishment for sinners is decapitation), he demanded for the arrest of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

As reported by Times Now, in his speech he said that the Muslims don’t have any hopes from the incumbent regime, and warned of approaching the United Nations to highlight the plight against the minority community in India.

Instigating the crowd, the Muslim cleric further threatened, “Jo mahaul aaj bareily mai dikhaya hai, agar meri baat par tavajju nahi di gayi toh inshallah Hindustaan ke har soobe mai yeh mahaul banakar dikhaya jaega” (Translation: If you ignore my words, the atmosphere you see in Bareily today, will be recreated in different parts of India.)

In an interview, he made yet another controversial statement on the two terrorists killed in Delhi’s infamous Batla House encounter of 2008. He reportedly claimed, “If an enquiry into the 2008 encounter took place, then people would know that the slain persons were actually martyrs.”

With respect to the Gyanvapi mosque issue he told Times of India, “Calling what was found in the Gyanvapi mosque a Shivling is actually making a mockery of Hinduism. There are many mosques in the country where there were temples before. Those temples were not razed... just converted (into mosques) when people adopted Islam. The mosques shouldn’t be touched, and if anything is done forcefully, Muslims will oppose the government.” He further said, “Muslims don’t need any legal fight as they have seen the judgment in the Babri mosque case. This time, we won’t appeal in any court. The PM is acting like Mahabharata's Dhritarashtra. He has not uttered a single word on this matter. He should decide whether he is with ‘justice’ or ‘injustice’. Hatemongers will find a Shivling at every mosque in the country with a fountain. If they have their way, they will encroach all of them. I would like to see where these people will stop. Muslims have remained quiet to ensure peace in the country.”

This is not the first time Maulana Tauqeer has made such communally inflammatory statements. In January 2022, while addressing a public rally in Bareilly, he had reportedly said, “I see the anger within my Muslim youths and I am afraid that the day this anger bursts out, the day I lose control over them… I want to warn my Hindu brothers that I’m scared that the day my Muslim youths are forced to take the law into their hands, you will not find a place to hide anywhere in India.”

Then again in April 2022, while addressing the issue of demolition of encroachments in Bareilly, he had said, “The day Muslims come to the streets, one must understand that they will be uncontrollable. Therefore, I warn the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular of consequences if he fails to correct this way of taking action with immediate effect,” reported the pioneer.

What’s concerning is that Raza, who aims to provoke Muslims against Hindus has a huge following. Fortunately, the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind (JUIH) has distanced itself from the controversial Islamic cleric, they even rejected his call for anti-Nupur Sharma protests on Sunday, June 19. Senior members of the JUIH passed a resolution to not engage in such protests, especially on Friday. The Muzaffarnagar district president of JUIH, Maulana Muhammed Nazar told TOI, “We held a meeting because Maulana Raza called for protests. We have nothing to do with him and would not heed to his call for protest.”

Related:

Jamiat rejects Maulana Tauqeer Raza’s call for protests on Sunday

Prakash Ambedkar calls off Aman March

What does Prakash Ambedkar hope to achieve by organising anti-Nupur Sharma protests?

 

Hate Offender: Who is Maulana Tauqeer Raza?

Ittehad-e-Millat Party chief Maulana Raza Khan from Bareilly keeps spitting Hindus against Muslims amidst the rising communal tensions

tauqir raza

Hazrat Maulana Tauqueer Ahmed Raza Khan is Ittehad-e-Millat Council, Bareilly Sharif and a Congress ally who recently made a controversial statement by asking the Prime Minister to read Kalma while addressing a huge gathering at Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly. But this repeat hate offender has a history of making communally inflammatory statements.

While raising slogans such as “Gustaakhi ki ek hi sazaa… sar dhad se juda” (Translation: The only punishment for sinners is decapitation), he demanded for the arrest of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

As reported by Times Now, in his speech he said that the Muslims don’t have any hopes from the incumbent regime, and warned of approaching the United Nations to highlight the plight against the minority community in India.

Instigating the crowd, the Muslim cleric further threatened, “Jo mahaul aaj bareily mai dikhaya hai, agar meri baat par tavajju nahi di gayi toh inshallah Hindustaan ke har soobe mai yeh mahaul banakar dikhaya jaega” (Translation: If you ignore my words, the atmosphere you see in Bareily today, will be recreated in different parts of India.)

In an interview, he made yet another controversial statement on the two terrorists killed in Delhi’s infamous Batla House encounter of 2008. He reportedly claimed, “If an enquiry into the 2008 encounter took place, then people would know that the slain persons were actually martyrs.”

With respect to the Gyanvapi mosque issue he told Times of India, “Calling what was found in the Gyanvapi mosque a Shivling is actually making a mockery of Hinduism. There are many mosques in the country where there were temples before. Those temples were not razed... just converted (into mosques) when people adopted Islam. The mosques shouldn’t be touched, and if anything is done forcefully, Muslims will oppose the government.” He further said, “Muslims don’t need any legal fight as they have seen the judgment in the Babri mosque case. This time, we won’t appeal in any court. The PM is acting like Mahabharata's Dhritarashtra. He has not uttered a single word on this matter. He should decide whether he is with ‘justice’ or ‘injustice’. Hatemongers will find a Shivling at every mosque in the country with a fountain. If they have their way, they will encroach all of them. I would like to see where these people will stop. Muslims have remained quiet to ensure peace in the country.”

This is not the first time Maulana Tauqeer has made such communally inflammatory statements. In January 2022, while addressing a public rally in Bareilly, he had reportedly said, “I see the anger within my Muslim youths and I am afraid that the day this anger bursts out, the day I lose control over them… I want to warn my Hindu brothers that I’m scared that the day my Muslim youths are forced to take the law into their hands, you will not find a place to hide anywhere in India.”

Then again in April 2022, while addressing the issue of demolition of encroachments in Bareilly, he had said, “The day Muslims come to the streets, one must understand that they will be uncontrollable. Therefore, I warn the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular of consequences if he fails to correct this way of taking action with immediate effect,” reported the pioneer.

What’s concerning is that Raza, who aims to provoke Muslims against Hindus has a huge following. Fortunately, the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind (JUIH) has distanced itself from the controversial Islamic cleric, they even rejected his call for anti-Nupur Sharma protests on Sunday, June 19. Senior members of the JUIH passed a resolution to not engage in such protests, especially on Friday. The Muzaffarnagar district president of JUIH, Maulana Muhammed Nazar told TOI, “We held a meeting because Maulana Raza called for protests. We have nothing to do with him and would not heed to his call for protest.”

Related:

Jamiat rejects Maulana Tauqeer Raza’s call for protests on Sunday

Prakash Ambedkar calls off Aman March

What does Prakash Ambedkar hope to achieve by organising anti-Nupur Sharma protests?

 

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Hindu Sena distributes swords in the support of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal

An event was organised in Delhi’s Rajouri garden to show support for the fomer BJP leaders who had made Islamophobic comments

21 Jun 2022

distributes swords

On June 19, 2022, a hardline outfit and regular hate offender group named Hindu Sena reportedly organised an event at Vishwagiri temple in Rajouri Garden on Sunday in support of suspended and sacked BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, reported the New Indian Express.

The event, organised by the outfit's National president Vishnu Gupta and its Delhi president Deepak Malik, began with the recitation of Hanuman Chalisa and reportedly ended with swords being distributed. Interestingly, while Malik reportedly denied any such claims of swords being distributed, Gupta didn't.

Malik reportedly said, “We did not distribute swords. People brought swords from their homes as symbols of support for Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jinda.” He claimed that Sena colleagues had brought only three-four swords from a gurudwara and gifted them to people just for clicking photographs, reported the New Indian Express. But Gupta openly said, “We distributed the swords for the protection of our Hindu women. This was only for the purpose of self-defence.” He further claimed that Hindu Sena had distributed around 10,000 in Delhi NCR, reported by the New Indian Express.

Shockingly, the event was allegedly organised without police permission because it was an indoor and personal programme, claimed Malik. It has been reported that a senior police officer shall be inquiring into the said event.

distributes swords

Amidst all this, it is important to remember that people are prohibited by law from carrying such weapons under the Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules 1962 . The use of such sharp-edged deadly weapons for disrupting public harmony or creating an environment of fear attracts punishment under the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) as well as the IPC. They are neither allowed to be carried in public places or in public transport. However, A Trishul, for example, is a sharp object and could be used as a weapon. Indeed, its significance in religion comes from it being a weapon wielded by prominent Hindu deities. And though there is no religious mandate for carrying one, these tridents, often their smaller versions, are being distributed by right-wing groups often during socio-cultural or religious gatherings.

You may read more about the legal definition of weapon, and how right-wing groups find ways to subvert the law here.

Hindu Sena's track record

Recently on June 11, the right-wing group claimed that Delhi Police had detained 12 of its volunteers during a march organised in support of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Vishnu Gupta told The Quint, “If Ms Nupur Sharma has said something wrong they should take legal action and not terrorise the society with stone pelting. The Indian Government must investigate such rioters under NSA and also investigate international fundings to such rioters."

On March 6, 2022, the Hindu Sena, which is reportedly affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), allegedly also declared support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Hindu Sabha members allegedly chanted slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat-Russia Dosti Zindabad’ as they marched in Connaught Place, central Delhi with saffron, Indian and Russian flags in hand. It also supported the ban of hijab inside classrooms, a controversy that hindered education of Muslim girls in Karnataka for at least a month.

Before this in 2019, the Hindu Sena even celebrated Queen Victoria’s birth anniversary, claiming that the British brought India together as a nation! In yet another example, the members of Hindu Sena held a protest on Valentine’s Day in Coimbatore as they reportedly ripped the cards and set them on fire outside the Coimbatore district collector’s office in February 2020.

In January 2021, a protest was organised by Hindu Sena against farmers at Singhu border who gave them an ultimatum to clear the area. In September 2021, the Delhi Police had arrested five members of the Hindu Sena for allegedly vandalising the official residence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi in New Delhi.

The group's journey has been traced by The Hindu, “The fringe group, Hindu Sena, which came into existence in 2011, started with 50 members. Though it registered a steady growth till 2014 to boast a membership of 4 lakh, it added only another 1 lakh new members over the past six years.” According to Gupta, the Hindu Sena accepts members “who are already trained in Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh shakhas” or those who “want a Hindu Rashtra”, and that the outfit now has presence in 16 states, and over 10 lakh people have joined it through social media platforms.

Related:

Ukraine invasion: Hindu Sena marches in support of Russia!
How is the Assam gov't allowing Pravin Togadia’s trishul distribution?
Right-wing’s dangerous obsession with mosques and dargahs peaks during Ramzan
Sheath the swords, while there is still time!
Gujarat:  Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad is stage for anti-Muslim abuse, trident distribution
Trishul Diksha

Hindu Sena distributes swords in the support of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal

An event was organised in Delhi’s Rajouri garden to show support for the fomer BJP leaders who had made Islamophobic comments

distributes swords

On June 19, 2022, a hardline outfit and regular hate offender group named Hindu Sena reportedly organised an event at Vishwagiri temple in Rajouri Garden on Sunday in support of suspended and sacked BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, reported the New Indian Express.

The event, organised by the outfit's National president Vishnu Gupta and its Delhi president Deepak Malik, began with the recitation of Hanuman Chalisa and reportedly ended with swords being distributed. Interestingly, while Malik reportedly denied any such claims of swords being distributed, Gupta didn't.

Malik reportedly said, “We did not distribute swords. People brought swords from their homes as symbols of support for Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jinda.” He claimed that Sena colleagues had brought only three-four swords from a gurudwara and gifted them to people just for clicking photographs, reported the New Indian Express. But Gupta openly said, “We distributed the swords for the protection of our Hindu women. This was only for the purpose of self-defence.” He further claimed that Hindu Sena had distributed around 10,000 in Delhi NCR, reported by the New Indian Express.

Shockingly, the event was allegedly organised without police permission because it was an indoor and personal programme, claimed Malik. It has been reported that a senior police officer shall be inquiring into the said event.

distributes swords

Amidst all this, it is important to remember that people are prohibited by law from carrying such weapons under the Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules 1962 . The use of such sharp-edged deadly weapons for disrupting public harmony or creating an environment of fear attracts punishment under the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) as well as the IPC. They are neither allowed to be carried in public places or in public transport. However, A Trishul, for example, is a sharp object and could be used as a weapon. Indeed, its significance in religion comes from it being a weapon wielded by prominent Hindu deities. And though there is no religious mandate for carrying one, these tridents, often their smaller versions, are being distributed by right-wing groups often during socio-cultural or religious gatherings.

You may read more about the legal definition of weapon, and how right-wing groups find ways to subvert the law here.

Hindu Sena's track record

Recently on June 11, the right-wing group claimed that Delhi Police had detained 12 of its volunteers during a march organised in support of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Vishnu Gupta told The Quint, “If Ms Nupur Sharma has said something wrong they should take legal action and not terrorise the society with stone pelting. The Indian Government must investigate such rioters under NSA and also investigate international fundings to such rioters."

On March 6, 2022, the Hindu Sena, which is reportedly affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), allegedly also declared support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Hindu Sabha members allegedly chanted slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat-Russia Dosti Zindabad’ as they marched in Connaught Place, central Delhi with saffron, Indian and Russian flags in hand. It also supported the ban of hijab inside classrooms, a controversy that hindered education of Muslim girls in Karnataka for at least a month.

Before this in 2019, the Hindu Sena even celebrated Queen Victoria’s birth anniversary, claiming that the British brought India together as a nation! In yet another example, the members of Hindu Sena held a protest on Valentine’s Day in Coimbatore as they reportedly ripped the cards and set them on fire outside the Coimbatore district collector’s office in February 2020.

In January 2021, a protest was organised by Hindu Sena against farmers at Singhu border who gave them an ultimatum to clear the area. In September 2021, the Delhi Police had arrested five members of the Hindu Sena for allegedly vandalising the official residence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi in New Delhi.

The group's journey has been traced by The Hindu, “The fringe group, Hindu Sena, which came into existence in 2011, started with 50 members. Though it registered a steady growth till 2014 to boast a membership of 4 lakh, it added only another 1 lakh new members over the past six years.” According to Gupta, the Hindu Sena accepts members “who are already trained in Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh shakhas” or those who “want a Hindu Rashtra”, and that the outfit now has presence in 16 states, and over 10 lakh people have joined it through social media platforms.

Related:

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Hate Buster! Muslim women did not break protocol by remaining seated during Vande Mataram

Images and videos of Muslim women at a Municipal meeting in Muzaffarnagar went viral after they refused to stand up when their colleagues sang Vande Mataram

21 Jun 2022

National AnthemImage Courtesy: Twitter

Claim: A few Muslim women insulted the National Anthem by remaining seated while it was sung at a Muzaffarnagar Municipality Board meeting

Busted! The National Song i.e Vande Mataram was being sung at the event, and not the National Anthem. As there is no protocol surrounding the National Song, it is not mandatory to stand up when it is sung.

Over the last few days, a tweet has gone viral claiming that four Muslim women present at a meeting of the Muzaffarnagar Municipality Board, insulted the National Anthem by not standing up when other members rose to sing it.

Subsequent similar tweets revealed that what was being sung was not the National Anthem i.e Jana Gana Mana, but the National Song i.e Vande Mataram, as can be clearly heard in the video shared with this tweet:

However, given how the people who refused to stand up were Muslim women, that too those who were sporting burqas, the controversy spun out of control, and soon gained a communal hue, harking back to the controversy surrounding Muslims and Vande Mataram, that first emerged in September 2006.

At that time, Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind chief Mahmood Madani had claimed that Muslims “cannot and should not” sing Vande Mataram and threatened to move court if forced to recite it. He told media persons, “Muslims are firm in their resolve that they cannot and should not sing Vande Mataram and they should not be forced to do so,” adding, “The Centre hasn't made the recitation of the song mandatory and the states should also follow that. If forced to sing, we will protest it by peaceful means. We will take this issue to court.”

Elaborating on how singing the song was in contravention with Islamic beliefs Madani pointed to stanzas in the song that mention Indian deity Durga, and that Muslims were forbidden from worshipping anyone other than Allah. Rediff.com quoted him as saying, “Ibadat sirf ek Khuda ki hoti hai (only God is worshipped), Vande Mataram is a tribute to Goddess Durga, therefore, we cannot recite it.”

Protocol surrounding Vande Mataram

But leaving religious beliefs aside, it is important to note here that while there is a protocol to be followed when it comes to the National Anthem, there is no such protocol pertaining to the National Song. This is in fact as per a formal submission made by the government before the Rajya Sabha in November 2016. In response to a question raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Vikas Mahatme, about rules regarding singing or playing of the National Song, Kiren Rijiju, who was then a Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs responded with a written submission that said, “Government has not framed any rules or issued instructions laying down circumstances in which the National Song may be sung or played.”

The answer may be viewed here: 

A few months later, in February 2017, a Supreme Court Bench headed by then Justice Deepak Mishra and also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, found that though Article 51A (fundamental duties) of the Constitution requires to promote the National Anthem and the National Flag, “The Article does not refer to National Song. It only refers to National Flag and National Anthem. Therefore, we do not intend to enter into any debate as far as the National Song is concerned.” The court therefore refused to entertain a petition by BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay demanding directions from the top court to the government to frame a national policy to promote Vande Mataram. His plea to make reciting the National Anthem compulsory in offices, courts and legislative houses and Parliament was also declined.

Latest PIL related to Vande Mataram

Now, the same Ashwini Upadhyay has once again moved court demanding that the National Song - Vande Mataram be given the same status as the National Anthem – Jana Gana Mana. He has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Delhi High Court to this effect and also sought direction to the Centre and State Governments to ensure that 'Jana-Gana-Mana' and 'Vande Mataram' are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day. The division bench of acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta, on May 26, sought the Centre’s response in the matter within six weeks, and the next date of hearing is November 9.

Vande Mataram and the Indian Freedom Struggle

The song was originally a poem that was part of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1882 novel Anadamath, and offered praise to the motherland. It played a role in uniting freedom fighters, and the British even banned it from being sung in public. Thus, singing Vande Mataram became an act of defiance against the British colonial rulers and the song became an integral part of India’s Independence movement and therefore its history and culture. Over the years, it has been sung to many different tunes – from the pacier version associated with the freedom movement to the slower version played on Doordarshan early every morning.

Related:

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Hate Buster: Harsha Jingade’s sister does not support calls to boycott Muslim businesses
Hate Buster: Why is the right wing so scared of Sai Baba of Shirdi?

Hate Buster! Muslim women did not break protocol by remaining seated during Vande Mataram

Images and videos of Muslim women at a Municipal meeting in Muzaffarnagar went viral after they refused to stand up when their colleagues sang Vande Mataram

National AnthemImage Courtesy: Twitter

Claim: A few Muslim women insulted the National Anthem by remaining seated while it was sung at a Muzaffarnagar Municipality Board meeting

Busted! The National Song i.e Vande Mataram was being sung at the event, and not the National Anthem. As there is no protocol surrounding the National Song, it is not mandatory to stand up when it is sung.

Over the last few days, a tweet has gone viral claiming that four Muslim women present at a meeting of the Muzaffarnagar Municipality Board, insulted the National Anthem by not standing up when other members rose to sing it.

Subsequent similar tweets revealed that what was being sung was not the National Anthem i.e Jana Gana Mana, but the National Song i.e Vande Mataram, as can be clearly heard in the video shared with this tweet:

However, given how the people who refused to stand up were Muslim women, that too those who were sporting burqas, the controversy spun out of control, and soon gained a communal hue, harking back to the controversy surrounding Muslims and Vande Mataram, that first emerged in September 2006.

At that time, Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind chief Mahmood Madani had claimed that Muslims “cannot and should not” sing Vande Mataram and threatened to move court if forced to recite it. He told media persons, “Muslims are firm in their resolve that they cannot and should not sing Vande Mataram and they should not be forced to do so,” adding, “The Centre hasn't made the recitation of the song mandatory and the states should also follow that. If forced to sing, we will protest it by peaceful means. We will take this issue to court.”

Elaborating on how singing the song was in contravention with Islamic beliefs Madani pointed to stanzas in the song that mention Indian deity Durga, and that Muslims were forbidden from worshipping anyone other than Allah. Rediff.com quoted him as saying, “Ibadat sirf ek Khuda ki hoti hai (only God is worshipped), Vande Mataram is a tribute to Goddess Durga, therefore, we cannot recite it.”

Protocol surrounding Vande Mataram

But leaving religious beliefs aside, it is important to note here that while there is a protocol to be followed when it comes to the National Anthem, there is no such protocol pertaining to the National Song. This is in fact as per a formal submission made by the government before the Rajya Sabha in November 2016. In response to a question raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Vikas Mahatme, about rules regarding singing or playing of the National Song, Kiren Rijiju, who was then a Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs responded with a written submission that said, “Government has not framed any rules or issued instructions laying down circumstances in which the National Song may be sung or played.”

The answer may be viewed here: 

A few months later, in February 2017, a Supreme Court Bench headed by then Justice Deepak Mishra and also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, found that though Article 51A (fundamental duties) of the Constitution requires to promote the National Anthem and the National Flag, “The Article does not refer to National Song. It only refers to National Flag and National Anthem. Therefore, we do not intend to enter into any debate as far as the National Song is concerned.” The court therefore refused to entertain a petition by BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay demanding directions from the top court to the government to frame a national policy to promote Vande Mataram. His plea to make reciting the National Anthem compulsory in offices, courts and legislative houses and Parliament was also declined.

Latest PIL related to Vande Mataram

Now, the same Ashwini Upadhyay has once again moved court demanding that the National Song - Vande Mataram be given the same status as the National Anthem – Jana Gana Mana. He has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Delhi High Court to this effect and also sought direction to the Centre and State Governments to ensure that 'Jana-Gana-Mana' and 'Vande Mataram' are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day. The division bench of acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta, on May 26, sought the Centre’s response in the matter within six weeks, and the next date of hearing is November 9.

Vande Mataram and the Indian Freedom Struggle

The song was originally a poem that was part of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1882 novel Anadamath, and offered praise to the motherland. It played a role in uniting freedom fighters, and the British even banned it from being sung in public. Thus, singing Vande Mataram became an act of defiance against the British colonial rulers and the song became an integral part of India’s Independence movement and therefore its history and culture. Over the years, it has been sung to many different tunes – from the pacier version associated with the freedom movement to the slower version played on Doordarshan early every morning.

Related:

Hate Buster: Mob protesting Nupur Sharma’s anti-Prophet comments did not kill Kolkata policeman
Hate Buster: Conspiracy theories about Taj Mahal collapse, yet again
Hate Buster: Nope! Eating from Muslim-owned restaurants does not cause impotence
Hate Buster: Harsha Jingade’s sister does not support calls to boycott Muslim businesses
Hate Buster: Why is the right wing so scared of Sai Baba of Shirdi?

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JNU’s Sharad Baviskar allegedly harassed and assaulted!

The professor was quizzed on NRC during his abduction

20 Jun 2022

 Sharad BaviskarImage Courtesy: marathi.hindustantimes.com

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) assistant professor Sharad Baviskar lodged an FIR on June 19, 2022 against goons for abducting and assaulting him over a traffic dispute. According to The Telegraph, he was repeatedly questioned about his opinion on the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

On the intervening night of June 17 and June 18, the French teacher was chased by a vehicle near the Netaji Subhas Place flyover while driving back to his campus quarters from north Delhi’s Burari Chowk.

The assailants bumped into his car and stopped him near the Delhi Cantonment Metro station, where the men demanded that Baviskar pay them ₹ 2 lakh for allegedly breaking their car window. He was forcibly taken away when he suggested approaching the police station. Thereafter, the professor was subjected to a variety of abuse from having his beard pulled to being interrogated on his political stand regarding various political issues such as NRC.

The NRC, along with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR) was among the set of schemes laid out by the Centre in late 2019, purportedly to weed out illegal immigrants by identifying genuine citizens in the country. Announced just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the laws had sparked widespread protest in India as people feared that the combination of these laws would affect Indian Muslims and declare them as illegal immigrants. Appearing as the leaders of these protests at the time were the JNU students. Years later, Baviskar says he was harassed while being questioned on this topic.

According to the newspaper, the eight to nine assailants made videos of his ordeal wherein he suffered punches, blows from a hot rod and had his shirt torn. His colleagues at the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) condemned the manner in which he was confined to a residence in south Delhi and held prisoner for over three hours.

As he tried to reason with his abductors to free him, he was subjected to verbal abuse, physical assault, threats and financial extortion. According to The Telegraph, Baviskar saw a stationary silver Audi and later a Range Rover at the place he was taken to, although the assailants took away his spectacles.

The professor also recollected how they used his credit card at a petrol pump near Nehru Place and withdrew ₹ 33,500 using his debit card. After he was finally let free, Baviskar wrote a Facebook post about the whole experience and said, “I survived! Was kidnapped on my way back to JNU. Suffered a trauma! had to hand over my car, my purse and my person as they were many! My credit card is stolen! My fault was that the goons didn't like JNU. They all claimed to be Modi supporters! They called me anti-national!  Somehow managed to reach JNU after an ordeal! I have no faith in the system. Will trust people! Goodnight!”

Overall, the accused are charged with abduction, robbery, voluntarily causing hurt and common intention at Naraina police station. Meanwhile, the JNUTA voiced solidarity with Baviskar in the following words, “Throughout this extremely traumatic ordeal, Baviskar displayed exemplary courage and dignity that is inspiring for the JNU community, which stands unitedly in support of his complaint. The JNUTA expects that the Delhi police will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to apprehend the culprits at the earliest and in guaranteeing the safety and security of him and his family. The JNUTA also expects that the JNU administration will take up the redressal of Prof. Baviskar’s grievance with the police in all sincerity.”

Aside from being a professor, Baviskar also wrote ‘Bhura’ an autobiographical book that talks about his journey from rural Maharashtra to a professor in JNU. He was also called to speak at an atheist conference in Pune. However, the same was disallowed by the police citing objections from anonymous sources. Baviskar has also been involved with the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) that focuses on ridding the society of superstition. The MANS was headed by thinker Narendra Dabholkar, who was allegedly assassinated by Hindutva extremists in 2013.

Related:

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JNU must withdraw order making the university out of bounds for Sucheta De: AICCTU
Delhi HC adjourns hearings in bail pleas of Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam
AICCTU leader Sucheta De removed from JNU campus!

JNU’s Sharad Baviskar allegedly harassed and assaulted!

The professor was quizzed on NRC during his abduction

 Sharad BaviskarImage Courtesy: marathi.hindustantimes.com

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) assistant professor Sharad Baviskar lodged an FIR on June 19, 2022 against goons for abducting and assaulting him over a traffic dispute. According to The Telegraph, he was repeatedly questioned about his opinion on the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

On the intervening night of June 17 and June 18, the French teacher was chased by a vehicle near the Netaji Subhas Place flyover while driving back to his campus quarters from north Delhi’s Burari Chowk.

The assailants bumped into his car and stopped him near the Delhi Cantonment Metro station, where the men demanded that Baviskar pay them ₹ 2 lakh for allegedly breaking their car window. He was forcibly taken away when he suggested approaching the police station. Thereafter, the professor was subjected to a variety of abuse from having his beard pulled to being interrogated on his political stand regarding various political issues such as NRC.

The NRC, along with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR) was among the set of schemes laid out by the Centre in late 2019, purportedly to weed out illegal immigrants by identifying genuine citizens in the country. Announced just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the laws had sparked widespread protest in India as people feared that the combination of these laws would affect Indian Muslims and declare them as illegal immigrants. Appearing as the leaders of these protests at the time were the JNU students. Years later, Baviskar says he was harassed while being questioned on this topic.

According to the newspaper, the eight to nine assailants made videos of his ordeal wherein he suffered punches, blows from a hot rod and had his shirt torn. His colleagues at the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) condemned the manner in which he was confined to a residence in south Delhi and held prisoner for over three hours.

As he tried to reason with his abductors to free him, he was subjected to verbal abuse, physical assault, threats and financial extortion. According to The Telegraph, Baviskar saw a stationary silver Audi and later a Range Rover at the place he was taken to, although the assailants took away his spectacles.

The professor also recollected how they used his credit card at a petrol pump near Nehru Place and withdrew ₹ 33,500 using his debit card. After he was finally let free, Baviskar wrote a Facebook post about the whole experience and said, “I survived! Was kidnapped on my way back to JNU. Suffered a trauma! had to hand over my car, my purse and my person as they were many! My credit card is stolen! My fault was that the goons didn't like JNU. They all claimed to be Modi supporters! They called me anti-national!  Somehow managed to reach JNU after an ordeal! I have no faith in the system. Will trust people! Goodnight!”

Overall, the accused are charged with abduction, robbery, voluntarily causing hurt and common intention at Naraina police station. Meanwhile, the JNUTA voiced solidarity with Baviskar in the following words, “Throughout this extremely traumatic ordeal, Baviskar displayed exemplary courage and dignity that is inspiring for the JNU community, which stands unitedly in support of his complaint. The JNUTA expects that the Delhi police will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to apprehend the culprits at the earliest and in guaranteeing the safety and security of him and his family. The JNUTA also expects that the JNU administration will take up the redressal of Prof. Baviskar’s grievance with the police in all sincerity.”

Aside from being a professor, Baviskar also wrote ‘Bhura’ an autobiographical book that talks about his journey from rural Maharashtra to a professor in JNU. He was also called to speak at an atheist conference in Pune. However, the same was disallowed by the police citing objections from anonymous sources. Baviskar has also been involved with the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) that focuses on ridding the society of superstition. The MANS was headed by thinker Narendra Dabholkar, who was allegedly assassinated by Hindutva extremists in 2013.

Related:

Education in India being ‘edited’ to suit a right-wing syllabus... one chapter at a time
JNU must withdraw order making the university out of bounds for Sucheta De: AICCTU
Delhi HC adjourns hearings in bail pleas of Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam
AICCTU leader Sucheta De removed from JNU campus!

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Erasure, Dumbing & Collapse of a Nation: India 2022

18 Jun 2022

Gujarat Riots

The really good professor of history and the social sciences tells us that the partisan or selective narrative underlying communalism – manipulation of religion towards political ends involves not just an incorrect or perverted history telling but deliberate erasure.[1] Such erasure and exclusion buttressed by an overwhelmingly vicious construct of a state that is both exclusivist and discriminatory is tantamount to criminality. It assumes an attack on democracy itself as the cultural rights of every section to find their cultures and histories reflected in the collective narrative of nation-building is deliberately snatched away.

No wonder then that the project of the re-fashioning of India’s texts by the Modi 2.0 regime involves the erasure of social ruptures like the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim carnage as also narratives around ‘Struggles for Equality’ (how Tawa Matsya Sangh fought for the rights of displaced forest dwellers of Satpura forest of Madhya Pradesh) and explorations into ‘Democratic Politics’ (wherein people’s movements and pressure groups influence politics) itself. Among the other erasures are significant mentions of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and his appraisal of India’s first “engineering feat” (Bhakra Nangal dam), the Cold War and Mughal Courts.

And remember, these are the third set of erasures since 2017 as a detailed investigation by The Indian Express (Ritika Chopra, June 18, 2022) informs us, with a staggering total of 1,334 changes in 182 textbooks being made. The changes have been made in India’s premier textbook writing governmental agency, the National Council for Educational Research & Training (NCERT) and effected in its history, political science and sociology text books for Classes 6-XII.

Serious students of both history and political science are both informed and aware of how silencing and erasure are precursors to physical exclusion and extermination from societies and nations. Decades, close to centuries after a rapacious white population grabbed material resources and cultural validation from native, American Indian, Inca, Maori, Adivasi populations, serious acknowledgement and rectification, while happening in parts, remains a pipe dream. Propagandist, fascist regimes feel comfortable with re-fashioning historical contexts and understanding by removing any possibility of knowledge systems that buffet against propaganda working. The first step is cleansing the history, political science and social sciences text with content that explores and deepens these explorations with nuance.

Independent India’s tryst with textbook writing and history telling has reflected the evolution of a state as we have experienced it, a flawed democracy, acknowledging some exclusions, attempting periodic inclusions and corrections. Even as that experiment was afoot, and subaltern populations organised and grappled with getting their struggles read as a wider Indian people’s history –the struggles over land and agriculture by Adivasis and peasants under British colonial rule were barely recognised by post-Independent India’s history-telling, neither were the depressed caste child’s historical experience with caste exclusion—India was hurtled backwards by an ideology that sought to re-fashion the fundamentals on which we stood.

Post 1998-1999 we witnessed the first attempts to convert the Indian republic into a hegemonistic, mono-cultural theist state (NDA I under Atal Behari Vajpayee,1999-2004). Then, in 2000, this author had, in a long research paper recounted how “the votaries of hegemonised history had violently disrupt the Dussehra celebrations in Tamil Nadu (October 1998) that have always burnt effigies of Ram, not Ravana, as part of “their” glorious past and tradition… The project launched to ‘Hinduise’/Brahmanise history is also a project aimed to stifle democracy, variations and dissent in the rich area of culture and tradition and impose, in its stead,  a set of “moral and religio-cultural dos and don’ts” on a land and culture that had, hitherto defied such strait-lacing  nomenclatures.”[2]

The post-2017 cultural project of the same ideological orientation takes earlier efforts aggressively further. The changes in the texts are justified once again, in the name of un-burdening of the young mind, disturbed by two years of the pandemic. The NCERT has also claimed that the rationalisation was required to prune “overlapping or similar content” or “content which is irrelevant in the present context.” The subjectivity behind this assessment is there for all to see. Since when are the ruptures that have erupted in our recent history irrelevant? Is not the very purpose behind the study of History and Political Science as a discipline is to be informed about all aspects, even the violent ruptures of the past?

The portions that have been erased tell a bald and sordid tale, the crude desire of the rulers to ensure that an unthinking, unquestioning, population, un-enriched by accounts of the Indian people’s struggles with power, exclusion and injustice remains just that: khaki shorts and saffron shirts of a hollowed out regime.

But first, the details of the passages in the NCERT texts that were clearly pinching a falsified narrative sought to be built by the present regime. The latest passages to go include references to the Gujarat 2002 carnage where, in the Std 12 text there is detailed referencing of the reprisal killings of Muslims in the state under the then government’s watch after the mass arson of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra.

A former chief justice of India, Justice JS Verma’s scathing criticism of the Gujarat government’s failure to control the violence has now been relegated to the dustbin of history! The second page (now removed) carries a collage of three newspaper reports along with an excerpt of the NHRC’s annual report (2001-2002) on the Gujarat government’s (mis)handling of the riots.

Unsurprisingly, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous “raj dharma” remark in this section has also been removed: “My one message to the Chief Minister (of Gujarat) is that he should follow ‘raj dharma’. A ruler should not make any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of caste, creed and religion.” Vajpayee had said this at a press conference in Ahmedabad in March 2002 with Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, sitting by his side. The two had been visiting the 12,000-populated Shah-e-Alam camp in Ahmedabad.[i]

The passages in the NCERT texts that have been deleted, existed as attempts to educate young populations of ruptures that threaten the Republic, to learn from those that affect marginalized sections in the past. The bald desire to erase any references to serious flaws in the young Indian nation’s past is nothing short of a political project to prevent pining of accountability and the deepening of democracy. Few youth born over the past decades recall the horrors of 2002 or 1984, much like Partition related violence which has been relegated to selective community memory.

What we are seeing now is the re-fashioning of the Republic into a crude structure of a brute state, armed by an excitable mob, fed on propaganda not the rational discipline of history. Future textbooks will further this project. Any modern or cohesive identity of the nation or its people, secular and egalitarian as our Constitution outlines, has been fractured and dismembered to rubble, where narrow, chauvinist, misogynist identities have been encouraged to come to the fore.

This project to de-historicise history is not happening in isolation, it is accompanied by a destructive, violent present. It is the publicised images of the bulldozer leitmotif from MP’s Khargone to Delhi’s Jahangirpuri to UP’s Sahranpur, Kanpur and Prayagraj (Allahabad) that capture the period of history that we in India are living through. While television channels and sections of social media have recorded these as they selectively target the Indian Muslim, the narrative of the ruler seeks to erase even this brute exclusion and re-fashioning.

India 2022 is witnessing the ripping through, or ripping apart of the Indian nation as it was once constructed. The re-writing of history and political science texts is matched by the brutal violent ruptures of so many parts of north and central India, on the ground. Lynchings of minorities, criminalizing of their protests and dissent, socio-economic boycotts of their businesses, stigmatizing and demonizing of food and culture, selective demolishing of homes and properties.

Between the erasure post-Independent social ruptures of a violent kind (that targeted lives of marginalized minorities) and present day active violent, re-fashioning, there is a sordid connection.

The attempt to build a false narrative of modern Indian history and the birth of the nation that has little or no connection with reality. ‘The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.’  India as we have known it truly stands on the brink.

 

[1] KN Panikkar,  A Concerned Indian’s Guide to Communalism and the ICHR volume on Towards Freedom, 1940: A Documentary History of the Freedom Struggle.

[2] Cultural Identities and Education Located in the Learning of History, Teesta Setalvad (presented at the CBCI seminar, Mumbai in November 2000)

[i] Incidentally the supposedly independent statutory body, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also removed its own 2002 report and follow up reports from its website: https://nhrc.nic.in/press-release/nhrc-makes-preliminary-comments-and-recommendations-government-gujarat-and-government

Erasure, Dumbing & Collapse of a Nation: India 2022

Gujarat Riots

The really good professor of history and the social sciences tells us that the partisan or selective narrative underlying communalism – manipulation of religion towards political ends involves not just an incorrect or perverted history telling but deliberate erasure.[1] Such erasure and exclusion buttressed by an overwhelmingly vicious construct of a state that is both exclusivist and discriminatory is tantamount to criminality. It assumes an attack on democracy itself as the cultural rights of every section to find their cultures and histories reflected in the collective narrative of nation-building is deliberately snatched away.

No wonder then that the project of the re-fashioning of India’s texts by the Modi 2.0 regime involves the erasure of social ruptures like the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim carnage as also narratives around ‘Struggles for Equality’ (how Tawa Matsya Sangh fought for the rights of displaced forest dwellers of Satpura forest of Madhya Pradesh) and explorations into ‘Democratic Politics’ (wherein people’s movements and pressure groups influence politics) itself. Among the other erasures are significant mentions of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and his appraisal of India’s first “engineering feat” (Bhakra Nangal dam), the Cold War and Mughal Courts.

And remember, these are the third set of erasures since 2017 as a detailed investigation by The Indian Express (Ritika Chopra, June 18, 2022) informs us, with a staggering total of 1,334 changes in 182 textbooks being made. The changes have been made in India’s premier textbook writing governmental agency, the National Council for Educational Research & Training (NCERT) and effected in its history, political science and sociology text books for Classes 6-XII.

Serious students of both history and political science are both informed and aware of how silencing and erasure are precursors to physical exclusion and extermination from societies and nations. Decades, close to centuries after a rapacious white population grabbed material resources and cultural validation from native, American Indian, Inca, Maori, Adivasi populations, serious acknowledgement and rectification, while happening in parts, remains a pipe dream. Propagandist, fascist regimes feel comfortable with re-fashioning historical contexts and understanding by removing any possibility of knowledge systems that buffet against propaganda working. The first step is cleansing the history, political science and social sciences text with content that explores and deepens these explorations with nuance.

Independent India’s tryst with textbook writing and history telling has reflected the evolution of a state as we have experienced it, a flawed democracy, acknowledging some exclusions, attempting periodic inclusions and corrections. Even as that experiment was afoot, and subaltern populations organised and grappled with getting their struggles read as a wider Indian people’s history –the struggles over land and agriculture by Adivasis and peasants under British colonial rule were barely recognised by post-Independent India’s history-telling, neither were the depressed caste child’s historical experience with caste exclusion—India was hurtled backwards by an ideology that sought to re-fashion the fundamentals on which we stood.

Post 1998-1999 we witnessed the first attempts to convert the Indian republic into a hegemonistic, mono-cultural theist state (NDA I under Atal Behari Vajpayee,1999-2004). Then, in 2000, this author had, in a long research paper recounted how “the votaries of hegemonised history had violently disrupt the Dussehra celebrations in Tamil Nadu (October 1998) that have always burnt effigies of Ram, not Ravana, as part of “their” glorious past and tradition… The project launched to ‘Hinduise’/Brahmanise history is also a project aimed to stifle democracy, variations and dissent in the rich area of culture and tradition and impose, in its stead,  a set of “moral and religio-cultural dos and don’ts” on a land and culture that had, hitherto defied such strait-lacing  nomenclatures.”[2]

The post-2017 cultural project of the same ideological orientation takes earlier efforts aggressively further. The changes in the texts are justified once again, in the name of un-burdening of the young mind, disturbed by two years of the pandemic. The NCERT has also claimed that the rationalisation was required to prune “overlapping or similar content” or “content which is irrelevant in the present context.” The subjectivity behind this assessment is there for all to see. Since when are the ruptures that have erupted in our recent history irrelevant? Is not the very purpose behind the study of History and Political Science as a discipline is to be informed about all aspects, even the violent ruptures of the past?

The portions that have been erased tell a bald and sordid tale, the crude desire of the rulers to ensure that an unthinking, unquestioning, population, un-enriched by accounts of the Indian people’s struggles with power, exclusion and injustice remains just that: khaki shorts and saffron shirts of a hollowed out regime.

But first, the details of the passages in the NCERT texts that were clearly pinching a falsified narrative sought to be built by the present regime. The latest passages to go include references to the Gujarat 2002 carnage where, in the Std 12 text there is detailed referencing of the reprisal killings of Muslims in the state under the then government’s watch after the mass arson of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra.

A former chief justice of India, Justice JS Verma’s scathing criticism of the Gujarat government’s failure to control the violence has now been relegated to the dustbin of history! The second page (now removed) carries a collage of three newspaper reports along with an excerpt of the NHRC’s annual report (2001-2002) on the Gujarat government’s (mis)handling of the riots.

Unsurprisingly, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous “raj dharma” remark in this section has also been removed: “My one message to the Chief Minister (of Gujarat) is that he should follow ‘raj dharma’. A ruler should not make any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of caste, creed and religion.” Vajpayee had said this at a press conference in Ahmedabad in March 2002 with Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, sitting by his side. The two had been visiting the 12,000-populated Shah-e-Alam camp in Ahmedabad.[i]

The passages in the NCERT texts that have been deleted, existed as attempts to educate young populations of ruptures that threaten the Republic, to learn from those that affect marginalized sections in the past. The bald desire to erase any references to serious flaws in the young Indian nation’s past is nothing short of a political project to prevent pining of accountability and the deepening of democracy. Few youth born over the past decades recall the horrors of 2002 or 1984, much like Partition related violence which has been relegated to selective community memory.

What we are seeing now is the re-fashioning of the Republic into a crude structure of a brute state, armed by an excitable mob, fed on propaganda not the rational discipline of history. Future textbooks will further this project. Any modern or cohesive identity of the nation or its people, secular and egalitarian as our Constitution outlines, has been fractured and dismembered to rubble, where narrow, chauvinist, misogynist identities have been encouraged to come to the fore.

This project to de-historicise history is not happening in isolation, it is accompanied by a destructive, violent present. It is the publicised images of the bulldozer leitmotif from MP’s Khargone to Delhi’s Jahangirpuri to UP’s Sahranpur, Kanpur and Prayagraj (Allahabad) that capture the period of history that we in India are living through. While television channels and sections of social media have recorded these as they selectively target the Indian Muslim, the narrative of the ruler seeks to erase even this brute exclusion and re-fashioning.

India 2022 is witnessing the ripping through, or ripping apart of the Indian nation as it was once constructed. The re-writing of history and political science texts is matched by the brutal violent ruptures of so many parts of north and central India, on the ground. Lynchings of minorities, criminalizing of their protests and dissent, socio-economic boycotts of their businesses, stigmatizing and demonizing of food and culture, selective demolishing of homes and properties.

Between the erasure post-Independent social ruptures of a violent kind (that targeted lives of marginalized minorities) and present day active violent, re-fashioning, there is a sordid connection.

The attempt to build a false narrative of modern Indian history and the birth of the nation that has little or no connection with reality. ‘The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.’  India as we have known it truly stands on the brink.

 

[1] KN Panikkar,  A Concerned Indian’s Guide to Communalism and the ICHR volume on Towards Freedom, 1940: A Documentary History of the Freedom Struggle.

[2] Cultural Identities and Education Located in the Learning of History, Teesta Setalvad (presented at the CBCI seminar, Mumbai in November 2000)

[i] Incidentally the supposedly independent statutory body, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also removed its own 2002 report and follow up reports from its website: https://nhrc.nic.in/press-release/nhrc-makes-preliminary-comments-and-recommendations-government-gujarat-and-government

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