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Bihar: Christian man beaten up on allegation of forced conversion

The words of  the man speaking from behind the camera makes it clear that the attackers were hardliners attacking a man for “insulting” and “converting” Lord Ram.

23 Jan 2023

attack on christians

A video has surfaced online that shows a man being manhandled and beaten up by a few men amidst a field. As per Twitter account called @HateDetector, this video is from Jandaha in Vaishali, Bihar where these men are Bajrang Dal members beating up a Christian man over allegations of religious conversion

A man can be heard saying, “whoever plays around (insults) our Ram, we will destroy him. Whoever tries to convert our Ram, we won’t spare him.” When an elderly woman tried to intervene, to stop the vigilantes from beating up the man, the man, presumably behind the camera, said, “this woman is intruding, hit her first.” She was pushed around. She kept begging them to not beat up the innocent man.

The man is seen being dragged around, his sweater being pulled out, while the two women try their best to protect him, begging for mercy.

 

 

To find out whether such claims of forcible conversions are in fact true, Citizens for Justice and Peace carried out extensive research. Hinduism saw the largest increase in new converts, according to statistics collected by The New Indian Express collated from government gazettes that contain official figures for the year 2020. Hinduism, says this analysis, was “adopted” by 47% of those who converted to a different religion in Kerala during the referred year. 241 of the 506 people who reported their change of religion with the government were Christians or Muslims who converted to Hinduism. Islam attracted 144 converts overall, compared to 119 converts to Christianity.

The majority of Dalit Christians, or Christian Cheramars, Christian Sambavas, and Christian Pulayas, made up 72% of the new Hindu converts. It was clear that the absence of quota and reservation advantages had led to the re-admittance of Hinduism by many Dalit Christians. Christianity lost 242 believers to the other two religions and attracted only 119 persons. Islam gained 144 new believers and lost 40 during the period. Buddhism received two new believers who switched from Hinduism.

In 2022, as many as 302 attacks against Christians reportedly took place in the first seven months, according to the United Christian Forum (UCF), which has collected data on the basis of distress calls it received on its helpline numbers. UCF’s data shows that the state of Uttar Pradesh has reported over 80 such instances – the highest – followed by Chhattisgarh, which reported 60 such cases.

CJP’s detailed analysis may be read here.

Related:

Anti-Conversion Laws: Are forced conversions a myth or reality?
Christian Group in Bengaluru Approach the DG of Police to seek protection against targeted violence
Over 300 attacks on Christians reported this year, over 2000 women, Adivasis and Dalits injured
Survey of Churches, anti conversion laws only empower radical mobs: Archbishop Peter Machado
Hate watch: Christians attacked during Sunday mass in Chhattisgarh; 9 hospitalised 

Bihar: Christian man beaten up on allegation of forced conversion

The words of  the man speaking from behind the camera makes it clear that the attackers were hardliners attacking a man for “insulting” and “converting” Lord Ram.

attack on christians

A video has surfaced online that shows a man being manhandled and beaten up by a few men amidst a field. As per Twitter account called @HateDetector, this video is from Jandaha in Vaishali, Bihar where these men are Bajrang Dal members beating up a Christian man over allegations of religious conversion

A man can be heard saying, “whoever plays around (insults) our Ram, we will destroy him. Whoever tries to convert our Ram, we won’t spare him.” When an elderly woman tried to intervene, to stop the vigilantes from beating up the man, the man, presumably behind the camera, said, “this woman is intruding, hit her first.” She was pushed around. She kept begging them to not beat up the innocent man.

The man is seen being dragged around, his sweater being pulled out, while the two women try their best to protect him, begging for mercy.

 

 

To find out whether such claims of forcible conversions are in fact true, Citizens for Justice and Peace carried out extensive research. Hinduism saw the largest increase in new converts, according to statistics collected by The New Indian Express collated from government gazettes that contain official figures for the year 2020. Hinduism, says this analysis, was “adopted” by 47% of those who converted to a different religion in Kerala during the referred year. 241 of the 506 people who reported their change of religion with the government were Christians or Muslims who converted to Hinduism. Islam attracted 144 converts overall, compared to 119 converts to Christianity.

The majority of Dalit Christians, or Christian Cheramars, Christian Sambavas, and Christian Pulayas, made up 72% of the new Hindu converts. It was clear that the absence of quota and reservation advantages had led to the re-admittance of Hinduism by many Dalit Christians. Christianity lost 242 believers to the other two religions and attracted only 119 persons. Islam gained 144 new believers and lost 40 during the period. Buddhism received two new believers who switched from Hinduism.

In 2022, as many as 302 attacks against Christians reportedly took place in the first seven months, according to the United Christian Forum (UCF), which has collected data on the basis of distress calls it received on its helpline numbers. UCF’s data shows that the state of Uttar Pradesh has reported over 80 such instances – the highest – followed by Chhattisgarh, which reported 60 such cases.

CJP’s detailed analysis may be read here.

Related:

Anti-Conversion Laws: Are forced conversions a myth or reality?
Christian Group in Bengaluru Approach the DG of Police to seek protection against targeted violence
Over 300 attacks on Christians reported this year, over 2000 women, Adivasis and Dalits injured
Survey of Churches, anti conversion laws only empower radical mobs: Archbishop Peter Machado
Hate watch: Christians attacked during Sunday mass in Chhattisgarh; 9 hospitalised 

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Temple fairs and the saga of economic boycott: Dakshina Kannada

The trend of disallowing non-Hindus from partaking in auction of stalls at temple fairs is a new low for Hindu fringe groups and temple authorities are being forced to follow suit

23 Jan 2023

boycott of Muslim vendors during the Panchalingeshwara temple fairRepresentation Image

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) gave a call for economic boycott of Muslim vendors during the Panchalingeshwara temple fair in Vittal town in Dakshina Kannada district. According to a Times Now report, the Muslim vendors were forced out by VHP workers.

VHP, along with Sri Ram Sene workers “evicted” the shop of a Muslim and the video of the same was also made available by Times Now. Those who did not vacate their shops after the call for boycott, taking law into their own hands, these VHP members forced them to vacate their shops.

The local correspondent of the channel confirmed that VHP had declared that “no Muslim vendors will be allowed near temple fair areas. This call was given in the beginning of January itself. He also said that the police had no arrested anyone from the VHJP or Sri Ram Sene for their culpability.”

 

 

It was also reported that the boycott banner was raised at a religious fair in Kavuru near Mangaluru city by VHP and Bajrang Dal early this month. The banner was put up on the premises of Sri Mahalingeshwara temple which comes under the Religious Endowment department where a fair was held between January 14 to 18, reported Siasat. “There is no scope for anyone who believes that worshiping an idol is ‘haram’,” the banner read.

These calls for boycotts are not the first of their kind. There are several reports in the news media of prominent Hindutva groups calling for such economic boycott of non-Hindus. Or in some cases specifically Muslims. Early in January, management committee of Sullia Sri Channakeshava Temple, Mangaluru had decided to have an open auction of the stalls irrespective of religion but after pressure mounting from  the local Hindutva group Hindu Hitarakshana Vedike, the temple management decided that Muslim vendors will not be allowed at the fair held between January 2 to January 12. 

Similarly, last November, 2022, during the Champa Shashti festival of Kukke Sri Subrahmanya temple as well, Non-Hindu traders were disallowed as per banners erected by the Hindu Jagaran Vedike. The temple management said that it had no part to play in the boycott but that they were following Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act whereby Rule 12 states that no property including land, building or site located near the institution shall be leased to non-Hindus.  reported Hindustan Times.

These diktats for boycotts from Hindutva groups caught on with temple fairs across the state last year. What had begun at a Shimoga temple and was followed by more in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi has spread to shrines in Tumkur, Hassan, Chikmagalur and other districts, reported The Telegraph. These included temples of Belur Channakeshava in Hassan, Siddhalingeshwara in Tumkur and the 800-year-old Bappanadu temple (built by Muslim merchant Bappa Beary of Kerala) which has been a symbol of communal harmony.

Banners had also erupted in front of Bappandu Durgaparameshwari Temple, Mangaladevi Temple and Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple in Dakshina Kannada.

Clearly, these calls for boycott have become the trend that these Hindutva group aim to spread across the state and possibly in many other BJP ruled states. As per the  traders associations in most of these places, Muslim vendors have been a part of these fairs for decades and this is the first time they have faced such a boycott.

Background

On the back of the ‘hijab’-driven controversy in the state, Karnataka first saw such brazen boycotts in March 2022. At the time, Citizens for Justice and Peace, had analysed the unconstitutionality of these acts that were silently left un=controverted by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State and Karnataka.

Also Read: With calls for economic boycott of Muslims, are we at the precipice of a genocide? Othering, ridicule and exclusion are just precursors to violence

The Bangalore-based unit of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had, in a representation to the chief minister Bommai and Governor Thavar Chand Gehlot, stated that,

“The boycott calls are sought to be given a fig leaf of legitimacy by referring to Rule 31(12) of the 2002 Rules of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997, which state that no property, including land, building or sites situated near the institution shall be leased out to non-Hindus. However as Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh pointed out this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the provision as Rule 31 only deals with long-term leases of immoveable property owned by a temple.  It does not deal with the short-term licences which would be used to allot stalls or spaces to vendors during a festival. Rule 7 also specifically prohibits sub-lease, leading one to the conclusion that the contract temple authorities enter into with traders can only be a licensing agreement. 

However, going beyond the question of whether the temple actions are justified by the rule 31(2) cited by the Hon’ble law minister, the larger questions is the constitutionality of the same. Both economic boycott and calling for economic boycott is violative of the constitutional promise of non-discrimination enacted in Article 15. Article 15, explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, besides race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15(2) further proclaims that no citizen be subject to any ‘restriction’ with regard to ‘access to shops’, ‘maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public’.

In a nutshell, the said call for boycott and boycott both violate fundamental rights conferred under articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Articles 21, 14 and 15 are all guarantors to every person has the right to life, equality and non-discrimination. Article 19 ensures freedom of movement and the right to undertake economic activity. While Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. Further under article 15(2), no citizen shall be subject to any restriction or condition with regards to access to shops or the used of roads and places of public resort maintained out of state funds or made for the use of general public, merely on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

Interestingly, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh apart from Uttar Pradesh have also seen similar blatant calls for a socio-economic boycott being left un-challenged by the senior echelons of the ruling party, allowing outfits like the VHP to function with impunity.

Related:

Don’t stop at Muslim-owned dhabas, VHP, Bajrang Dal warn buses in Gujarat

CJP moves NCM over hate crimes against Muslims in Madhya Pradesh

Why is iD dosa batter giving communal trolls indigestion?

Hate Watch: Hindutva group raises slogans outside Muslim-owned shop in Gujarat

Provocative poster in Delhi's Brahmpuri calls on Hindu landlords to not sell to Muslim buyers

Review of 2022: A year of discrimination & violence experienced by India's religious minorities

Temple fairs and the saga of economic boycott: Dakshina Kannada

The trend of disallowing non-Hindus from partaking in auction of stalls at temple fairs is a new low for Hindu fringe groups and temple authorities are being forced to follow suit

boycott of Muslim vendors during the Panchalingeshwara temple fairRepresentation Image

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) gave a call for economic boycott of Muslim vendors during the Panchalingeshwara temple fair in Vittal town in Dakshina Kannada district. According to a Times Now report, the Muslim vendors were forced out by VHP workers.

VHP, along with Sri Ram Sene workers “evicted” the shop of a Muslim and the video of the same was also made available by Times Now. Those who did not vacate their shops after the call for boycott, taking law into their own hands, these VHP members forced them to vacate their shops.

The local correspondent of the channel confirmed that VHP had declared that “no Muslim vendors will be allowed near temple fair areas. This call was given in the beginning of January itself. He also said that the police had no arrested anyone from the VHJP or Sri Ram Sene for their culpability.”

 

 

It was also reported that the boycott banner was raised at a religious fair in Kavuru near Mangaluru city by VHP and Bajrang Dal early this month. The banner was put up on the premises of Sri Mahalingeshwara temple which comes under the Religious Endowment department where a fair was held between January 14 to 18, reported Siasat. “There is no scope for anyone who believes that worshiping an idol is ‘haram’,” the banner read.

These calls for boycotts are not the first of their kind. There are several reports in the news media of prominent Hindutva groups calling for such economic boycott of non-Hindus. Or in some cases specifically Muslims. Early in January, management committee of Sullia Sri Channakeshava Temple, Mangaluru had decided to have an open auction of the stalls irrespective of religion but after pressure mounting from  the local Hindutva group Hindu Hitarakshana Vedike, the temple management decided that Muslim vendors will not be allowed at the fair held between January 2 to January 12. 

Similarly, last November, 2022, during the Champa Shashti festival of Kukke Sri Subrahmanya temple as well, Non-Hindu traders were disallowed as per banners erected by the Hindu Jagaran Vedike. The temple management said that it had no part to play in the boycott but that they were following Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act whereby Rule 12 states that no property including land, building or site located near the institution shall be leased to non-Hindus.  reported Hindustan Times.

These diktats for boycotts from Hindutva groups caught on with temple fairs across the state last year. What had begun at a Shimoga temple and was followed by more in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi has spread to shrines in Tumkur, Hassan, Chikmagalur and other districts, reported The Telegraph. These included temples of Belur Channakeshava in Hassan, Siddhalingeshwara in Tumkur and the 800-year-old Bappanadu temple (built by Muslim merchant Bappa Beary of Kerala) which has been a symbol of communal harmony.

Banners had also erupted in front of Bappandu Durgaparameshwari Temple, Mangaladevi Temple and Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple in Dakshina Kannada.

Clearly, these calls for boycott have become the trend that these Hindutva group aim to spread across the state and possibly in many other BJP ruled states. As per the  traders associations in most of these places, Muslim vendors have been a part of these fairs for decades and this is the first time they have faced such a boycott.

Background

On the back of the ‘hijab’-driven controversy in the state, Karnataka first saw such brazen boycotts in March 2022. At the time, Citizens for Justice and Peace, had analysed the unconstitutionality of these acts that were silently left un=controverted by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State and Karnataka.

Also Read: With calls for economic boycott of Muslims, are we at the precipice of a genocide? Othering, ridicule and exclusion are just precursors to violence

The Bangalore-based unit of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had, in a representation to the chief minister Bommai and Governor Thavar Chand Gehlot, stated that,

“The boycott calls are sought to be given a fig leaf of legitimacy by referring to Rule 31(12) of the 2002 Rules of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997, which state that no property, including land, building or sites situated near the institution shall be leased out to non-Hindus. However as Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh pointed out this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the provision as Rule 31 only deals with long-term leases of immoveable property owned by a temple.  It does not deal with the short-term licences which would be used to allot stalls or spaces to vendors during a festival. Rule 7 also specifically prohibits sub-lease, leading one to the conclusion that the contract temple authorities enter into with traders can only be a licensing agreement. 

However, going beyond the question of whether the temple actions are justified by the rule 31(2) cited by the Hon’ble law minister, the larger questions is the constitutionality of the same. Both economic boycott and calling for economic boycott is violative of the constitutional promise of non-discrimination enacted in Article 15. Article 15, explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, besides race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15(2) further proclaims that no citizen be subject to any ‘restriction’ with regard to ‘access to shops’, ‘maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public’.

In a nutshell, the said call for boycott and boycott both violate fundamental rights conferred under articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Articles 21, 14 and 15 are all guarantors to every person has the right to life, equality and non-discrimination. Article 19 ensures freedom of movement and the right to undertake economic activity. While Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. Further under article 15(2), no citizen shall be subject to any restriction or condition with regards to access to shops or the used of roads and places of public resort maintained out of state funds or made for the use of general public, merely on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

Interestingly, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh apart from Uttar Pradesh have also seen similar blatant calls for a socio-economic boycott being left un-challenged by the senior echelons of the ruling party, allowing outfits like the VHP to function with impunity.

Related:

Don’t stop at Muslim-owned dhabas, VHP, Bajrang Dal warn buses in Gujarat

CJP moves NCM over hate crimes against Muslims in Madhya Pradesh

Why is iD dosa batter giving communal trolls indigestion?

Hate Watch: Hindutva group raises slogans outside Muslim-owned shop in Gujarat

Provocative poster in Delhi's Brahmpuri calls on Hindu landlords to not sell to Muslim buyers

Review of 2022: A year of discrimination & violence experienced by India's religious minorities

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CJP complains against misinformed vitriol by Shankar Gaikar: Maharashtra

Gaikar twisted both Maratha and Islamic history to push his communally divisive agenda

23 Jan 2023

Hate Speech

On January 20, Citizens for Justice and Peace complained to the SDPO, Boisar and Addl SP, Palghar and DGP of Maharashtra to register a complaint against the hate speech given by Senior Vishwa Hindu Prasad, Shankar Gaikar. In the said speech, given at a Shaurya Path Sanchalan Event held at Boisar district of Maharashtra, he made derogatory statements and spewed hate against the Muslims by attacking their culture and history.

In the complaint, CJP has highlighted that the communal and hate spewing speech delivered by Gaikar who espouses a hard, right-wing, exclusionist ideology, through which he has targeted and othered the Muslim Community. He has made deliberate attempts of instigating and provoking his audience by bringing in a version of Maratha history and Islamic history to suggest, prejudicially, a history of conflict.

With an aim of spreading social disharmony, Gaikar can be heard making Islamophobic statements throughout the video, such as, “Kisi mei itni takat nahi hindu ki beti utha kar le jae. Kururta unke khoon mei basi hai yeh dhayan mei rakho. Hindu kabhi krur nahi hota, hindu har samay shrur hota hai, who saamne se ladhta hai. (No one has the power to take away the daughter of a Hindu. Keep inmind that the bitterness is in their blood. Hindu is never cruel, Hindu is always angry, and hefights from the front.)” “Gaddari ka kaam kabhi Hindu karta nahi hai. (Hindus never function with treachery.)”

It is pertinent to note that this is not the first time that Gaikar has made troubling claims and Islamophobic comments. In year 2017, Shankar Gaikar stoked up a controversy by demanding that the recruitment of Kashmiri Muslim youth in the security forces be stopped. Gaikar alleged that there were incidents of theft of weapons and ammunitions from the security forces. According to him, these weapons were used against our own forces. So, he demanded that the recruitment of Muslim youths from Kashmir should stop. In the year 2019, post the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Shankar Gaikar said that, “I feel proud to have participated in the cleansing of sins with the demolition of the Babri Masjid”.

Through the complaint to the Maharashtra police, CJP has sought swift and stringent action against Gaikar under certain sections of the IPC in view to the overall unsafe atmosphere for the Muslim community that is being generated through the systemic and the perpetrated use of hate speech and writing within the country.

The entire complaint can be read here:

Related:

CJP IMPACT: NCM ACTS ON CJP’S COMPLAINT AGAINST GENOCIDAL SPEECH OF BJP MLA HARIBHUSHAN BACHAUL

CJP complains to Karnataka Police against Pragya Thakur’s hate speech

CJP complaint to DGP, Maharashtra and NCM against Misleading and Islamophobic speech by Kalicharan

Maharashtra: Shankar Gaikar gives anti-Muslim speech at Shaurya Path Sanchalan event

 

CJP complains against misinformed vitriol by Shankar Gaikar: Maharashtra

Gaikar twisted both Maratha and Islamic history to push his communally divisive agenda

Hate Speech

On January 20, Citizens for Justice and Peace complained to the SDPO, Boisar and Addl SP, Palghar and DGP of Maharashtra to register a complaint against the hate speech given by Senior Vishwa Hindu Prasad, Shankar Gaikar. In the said speech, given at a Shaurya Path Sanchalan Event held at Boisar district of Maharashtra, he made derogatory statements and spewed hate against the Muslims by attacking their culture and history.

In the complaint, CJP has highlighted that the communal and hate spewing speech delivered by Gaikar who espouses a hard, right-wing, exclusionist ideology, through which he has targeted and othered the Muslim Community. He has made deliberate attempts of instigating and provoking his audience by bringing in a version of Maratha history and Islamic history to suggest, prejudicially, a history of conflict.

With an aim of spreading social disharmony, Gaikar can be heard making Islamophobic statements throughout the video, such as, “Kisi mei itni takat nahi hindu ki beti utha kar le jae. Kururta unke khoon mei basi hai yeh dhayan mei rakho. Hindu kabhi krur nahi hota, hindu har samay shrur hota hai, who saamne se ladhta hai. (No one has the power to take away the daughter of a Hindu. Keep inmind that the bitterness is in their blood. Hindu is never cruel, Hindu is always angry, and hefights from the front.)” “Gaddari ka kaam kabhi Hindu karta nahi hai. (Hindus never function with treachery.)”

It is pertinent to note that this is not the first time that Gaikar has made troubling claims and Islamophobic comments. In year 2017, Shankar Gaikar stoked up a controversy by demanding that the recruitment of Kashmiri Muslim youth in the security forces be stopped. Gaikar alleged that there were incidents of theft of weapons and ammunitions from the security forces. According to him, these weapons were used against our own forces. So, he demanded that the recruitment of Muslim youths from Kashmir should stop. In the year 2019, post the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Shankar Gaikar said that, “I feel proud to have participated in the cleansing of sins with the demolition of the Babri Masjid”.

Through the complaint to the Maharashtra police, CJP has sought swift and stringent action against Gaikar under certain sections of the IPC in view to the overall unsafe atmosphere for the Muslim community that is being generated through the systemic and the perpetrated use of hate speech and writing within the country.

The entire complaint can be read here:

Related:

CJP IMPACT: NCM ACTS ON CJP’S COMPLAINT AGAINST GENOCIDAL SPEECH OF BJP MLA HARIBHUSHAN BACHAUL

CJP complains to Karnataka Police against Pragya Thakur’s hate speech

CJP complaint to DGP, Maharashtra and NCM against Misleading and Islamophobic speech by Kalicharan

Maharashtra: Shankar Gaikar gives anti-Muslim speech at Shaurya Path Sanchalan event

 

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Yet again, hate-filled speech delivered by RSS man, Ishwar Lal: Rajasthan

Through his speech at a at a Trishul Deeksha event, Laldemands for the conversion of 30,000 mosques into temples, boycott of Halal items

23 Jan 2023

Muslim Community
Image Courtesy:muslimmirror.com

A video has been gaining attention on social media wherein RSS Pracharak, Ishwar Lal can be heard spewing hate against the religious minorities in India, especially the Muslim community. The said speech was given by Lal at a Trishul Deeksha event, held in Lohwat, Rajasthan. The speech, link for which is attached below, makes several offensives statements against the minority communities, encourage problematic and divisive mentalities and give a communal and divisive touch to our history and present. At many points, the speaker has unfairly brought in the culture of Islam and made hateful statements regarding the traditions of Muslims, and calls for the boycott of Halal products. The said event was organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. Ishwar Lal is also the Sanghatan Mantri of the VHP.  

Through this speech, Lal had dehumanised Muslims, made misleading and provocative statements, and also made the unlawful and provocative calls for converting 30,000 mosques into temples, all with the aim of pushing the exclusionary agenda of Hindutva outfits. 

The speech 

Ishwar Lal begins with his communal diatribe by bringing in the baseless issue of temples demolished in the past, and says, “Bharat ke Andar tees hazar mandir hai jin ko todh kar unke upar kya bana die Masjide. Kitni Sankhya hai? 30,000. (Thirty thousand temples in India were destroyed and mosques were built on them. What is the number? 30,000.)”

He then provokes his audience by saying, “Bolo wapis mandir banana hai ki nahi banana hai? Ram jika toh bana diya, lekin abhi 30,000 baaki hai unko mandir banana hai. (Do you want to convert them back to temples or not? We made the Ram temple, but still, 30,000 temples remain. We have to convert them into temples.)” Wapis apna sthan hum ko lena hai. Aur uska naam hai Bajrang Dal. [We have to take back our lands. The name (of the organisation) is Bajrang Dal]

Lal then brings in the issue of citizenship and says, “Pakistan aur Bangladesh se bhagae hue Hinduyonko India mei Nagrikta milna chahie ya nahi milna chahie? Nagrikta dilane wale sangathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (Hindus who were thrown out of Pakistan and Bangladesh should get citizenship in India or not? the name of the organization that will help them get citizenship is Bajrang Dal.)”

Continuing with his misinformed statement, Lal says, “Yeh jo humare desh ke aaju baaju ke bhaaghai- yeh Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangadesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Sumantra, Java, Indonesia, Malayasia- yeh sab kiske the? Humare the. (The countries that are in our neighborhood, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Sumantra, Java, Indonesia, Malayasia- who did they belong to? They were ours.)” “Humari kamzoori ke karan tut tut ke alag ho gaye. Bolo inn hisso ko wapis lena hai ya nahi lena? Bhujao mei dum paida karna hoga. Yaad rakhna, majboot banoge toh hisse wapis aenge. (They were divided because of our weaknesses. Do you want to take them back or not? We need to strengthen ourselves. Remember, these parts will only come back if we are strong)”

Then, pushing the exclusionary and divisive agenda of Hindutva outfits, Lal then says, “Desh ko akhand banana wale sanghathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The name of the organization that will work towards uniting these parts is Bajrang Dal.)”

Attacking the minorities and the secular essence encouraged by our Constitution, Lal says, “Ghar mei kutta ata hai, billi ghuss jaati hai. Aur kayi ghar mei toh Muslim aur Isaiyon ko laa laakar tum bithate ho. Jo mandir ko todhta hai jo gae ko marta hai. Gaeka maas khata hai. (We allow dogs and cats inside our house. And in many homes, you all allow Muslims and Christians. The ones who broke our temples. The one who kills our cows. The one who eats cows.)”

Referring to the existing caste system and the Hindutva motivated agenda of forced conversions, Lal says, “Daadhi rakhta hai aur Muche saaf karta hai, usko tum ghar mei laake bithate ho. Aur humare jaati kabhai, jogae ki pooja karta hai, ghar mei diya jalata hai, tirth yatra karta hai, who humare ghar mei nahi aa sakta. (He keeps a beard but not a moustache. You make them sit in your homes. But our brothers of the same caste, who worships the cow, blow an earthen candle, and go on a religious pilgrimage, can’t visit our homes.)” 

Mandir mei nahi jaa sakta. Godhi par nahi beth sakta. Samshaan Ghat par hum usse ghusne nahi dete. Bolo yahi aisi maan sikta hui, toh yeh varn humse tut karudhar jaega ya nahi jaega? (Cannot enter temples. Cannot sit on a horse. We do not let them enter our cremation ground. If we keep such a mentality, then this section will go away from us or not?)”

Making more exclusionary and offensive statements, Lal says, “Aur iska andar Muslim ghussghuss ke bolo ‘Jai Bheem aur Jai Meem’ ke naare lagate hai ya nahi lagate? Bheem toh humari hi tha, yeh ‘Meem’ kaha se aagaya beech mei? (And Muslims will get into [these groups] and raise the slogan of ‘Jai Bheem Jai Meem’, don’t they? Bheem was our own, but where did these ‘Meem’ (Muslims) come from?)”

Pushing their agenda of ban on Halal and Halal products, the speaker then says, “Bharat ke andar Halal khareedte ho. Halal likhi hui cheez ko mat lena. Varna uska paisa kisko milta hai? Musalmaano ko milta hai. Usko bandh karwane wale sangathan ka naam kya hai? Bajrang Dal. (You buy Halal products. Never buy products that are ‘Halal’. Who gets that money? It goes to Muslims. What’s the name of the organization that stops this? Bajrang Dal.)”

Bringing in another issue communalized by the Hindu outfits, Lal says that, “Jansankhya niyantran ka anon lagu karna padega. Nahi toh yeh phir mandir tut jaenge. Jansankya niyantran kaanon lagu karwane wale sangathan ka naam kyahai? Bajrang Dal.(Population control bill has to be enacted. Otherwise, the temples will against be destroyed. The organization that will help enact the Population Control law is Bajrang Dal.)”

The speech ends with the speaker promoting the idea of establishing a Hindu nation and says, “Bharat ko Hindu rashtra banana wali sangathan ki kalpana leke jo chal rahe hai uss sangathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The organization that will made Indian a Hindu nation is Bajrang Dal.)”

The video can be viewed here:

Previous Instances of hate speech by IshwarLal

Ishwar  Lal is a repeat offender and hate speech on his Youtube channel has been reported by CJP and taken down by YouTube in the past. At another event held in the month of January, near Rajasthan, a video gained attentionon social media wherein Ishwar Lal can be heard making stunning, provocative claims in a speech laced with disinformation. The entire thirty nine minute of the speech is replete with hate speech against minorities, egregious lies, and occasional misogyny and deliberate fear-mongering. He raises familiar bogeys of ‘Love Jihad’ and reiterates disinformation like Muslims brought untouchability to India and that with rising population Muslims will take over temples from Hindus in the coming decades. 

Several 'Trishul' distribution programs have apparently taken place in rural Jodhpur, some of which have been addressed by Ishwar Lal. These incidents are said to have taken place in Balesar, Rampura, Odiyan, and Dechu, among other places.

CJP has also alerted and complained to authorities in Rajasthan on this disturbing trend over past weeks all over the state as they have the potential of not just causing social disharmony but also disrupting harmonious relations within villages and towns. Apart from all else, they render the minority community vulnerable to stigma, ghettoisation and even physical attack.

Related:

Hate Speech in Rajasthan spirals, polls at year end

Maharashtra: At Shaurya Path Sanchalan event, Shankar Gaikar makes anti-Muslim statements

Worship Swords instead of books or pens: Pramod Muthalik

Hate watch: “Keep your knives sharp” says terror accused Pragya Thakur

Following Pragya Thakur's example, SadhviAastha Maa justifies keeping weapons/knife at home

Karnataka: Hate speech increased fourfold, moral policing by Hindu vigilantes on the rise

Review of 2022: A year of discrimination & violence experienced by India's religious minorities

‘Love Jihad’ the priority, not ‘small issues like roads, drains: BJP Karnataka Naleen Kumar Kateel

 

Yet again, hate-filled speech delivered by RSS man, Ishwar Lal: Rajasthan

Through his speech at a at a Trishul Deeksha event, Laldemands for the conversion of 30,000 mosques into temples, boycott of Halal items

Muslim Community
Image Courtesy:muslimmirror.com

A video has been gaining attention on social media wherein RSS Pracharak, Ishwar Lal can be heard spewing hate against the religious minorities in India, especially the Muslim community. The said speech was given by Lal at a Trishul Deeksha event, held in Lohwat, Rajasthan. The speech, link for which is attached below, makes several offensives statements against the minority communities, encourage problematic and divisive mentalities and give a communal and divisive touch to our history and present. At many points, the speaker has unfairly brought in the culture of Islam and made hateful statements regarding the traditions of Muslims, and calls for the boycott of Halal products. The said event was organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. Ishwar Lal is also the Sanghatan Mantri of the VHP.  

Through this speech, Lal had dehumanised Muslims, made misleading and provocative statements, and also made the unlawful and provocative calls for converting 30,000 mosques into temples, all with the aim of pushing the exclusionary agenda of Hindutva outfits. 

The speech 

Ishwar Lal begins with his communal diatribe by bringing in the baseless issue of temples demolished in the past, and says, “Bharat ke Andar tees hazar mandir hai jin ko todh kar unke upar kya bana die Masjide. Kitni Sankhya hai? 30,000. (Thirty thousand temples in India were destroyed and mosques were built on them. What is the number? 30,000.)”

He then provokes his audience by saying, “Bolo wapis mandir banana hai ki nahi banana hai? Ram jika toh bana diya, lekin abhi 30,000 baaki hai unko mandir banana hai. (Do you want to convert them back to temples or not? We made the Ram temple, but still, 30,000 temples remain. We have to convert them into temples.)” Wapis apna sthan hum ko lena hai. Aur uska naam hai Bajrang Dal. [We have to take back our lands. The name (of the organisation) is Bajrang Dal]

Lal then brings in the issue of citizenship and says, “Pakistan aur Bangladesh se bhagae hue Hinduyonko India mei Nagrikta milna chahie ya nahi milna chahie? Nagrikta dilane wale sangathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (Hindus who were thrown out of Pakistan and Bangladesh should get citizenship in India or not? the name of the organization that will help them get citizenship is Bajrang Dal.)”

Continuing with his misinformed statement, Lal says, “Yeh jo humare desh ke aaju baaju ke bhaaghai- yeh Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangadesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Sumantra, Java, Indonesia, Malayasia- yeh sab kiske the? Humare the. (The countries that are in our neighborhood, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Sumantra, Java, Indonesia, Malayasia- who did they belong to? They were ours.)” “Humari kamzoori ke karan tut tut ke alag ho gaye. Bolo inn hisso ko wapis lena hai ya nahi lena? Bhujao mei dum paida karna hoga. Yaad rakhna, majboot banoge toh hisse wapis aenge. (They were divided because of our weaknesses. Do you want to take them back or not? We need to strengthen ourselves. Remember, these parts will only come back if we are strong)”

Then, pushing the exclusionary and divisive agenda of Hindutva outfits, Lal then says, “Desh ko akhand banana wale sanghathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The name of the organization that will work towards uniting these parts is Bajrang Dal.)”

Attacking the minorities and the secular essence encouraged by our Constitution, Lal says, “Ghar mei kutta ata hai, billi ghuss jaati hai. Aur kayi ghar mei toh Muslim aur Isaiyon ko laa laakar tum bithate ho. Jo mandir ko todhta hai jo gae ko marta hai. Gaeka maas khata hai. (We allow dogs and cats inside our house. And in many homes, you all allow Muslims and Christians. The ones who broke our temples. The one who kills our cows. The one who eats cows.)”

Referring to the existing caste system and the Hindutva motivated agenda of forced conversions, Lal says, “Daadhi rakhta hai aur Muche saaf karta hai, usko tum ghar mei laake bithate ho. Aur humare jaati kabhai, jogae ki pooja karta hai, ghar mei diya jalata hai, tirth yatra karta hai, who humare ghar mei nahi aa sakta. (He keeps a beard but not a moustache. You make them sit in your homes. But our brothers of the same caste, who worships the cow, blow an earthen candle, and go on a religious pilgrimage, can’t visit our homes.)” 

Mandir mei nahi jaa sakta. Godhi par nahi beth sakta. Samshaan Ghat par hum usse ghusne nahi dete. Bolo yahi aisi maan sikta hui, toh yeh varn humse tut karudhar jaega ya nahi jaega? (Cannot enter temples. Cannot sit on a horse. We do not let them enter our cremation ground. If we keep such a mentality, then this section will go away from us or not?)”

Making more exclusionary and offensive statements, Lal says, “Aur iska andar Muslim ghussghuss ke bolo ‘Jai Bheem aur Jai Meem’ ke naare lagate hai ya nahi lagate? Bheem toh humari hi tha, yeh ‘Meem’ kaha se aagaya beech mei? (And Muslims will get into [these groups] and raise the slogan of ‘Jai Bheem Jai Meem’, don’t they? Bheem was our own, but where did these ‘Meem’ (Muslims) come from?)”

Pushing their agenda of ban on Halal and Halal products, the speaker then says, “Bharat ke andar Halal khareedte ho. Halal likhi hui cheez ko mat lena. Varna uska paisa kisko milta hai? Musalmaano ko milta hai. Usko bandh karwane wale sangathan ka naam kya hai? Bajrang Dal. (You buy Halal products. Never buy products that are ‘Halal’. Who gets that money? It goes to Muslims. What’s the name of the organization that stops this? Bajrang Dal.)”

Bringing in another issue communalized by the Hindu outfits, Lal says that, “Jansankhya niyantran ka anon lagu karna padega. Nahi toh yeh phir mandir tut jaenge. Jansankya niyantran kaanon lagu karwane wale sangathan ka naam kyahai? Bajrang Dal.(Population control bill has to be enacted. Otherwise, the temples will against be destroyed. The organization that will help enact the Population Control law is Bajrang Dal.)”

The speech ends with the speaker promoting the idea of establishing a Hindu nation and says, “Bharat ko Hindu rashtra banana wali sangathan ki kalpana leke jo chal rahe hai uss sangathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The organization that will made Indian a Hindu nation is Bajrang Dal.)”

The video can be viewed here:

Previous Instances of hate speech by IshwarLal

Ishwar  Lal is a repeat offender and hate speech on his Youtube channel has been reported by CJP and taken down by YouTube in the past. At another event held in the month of January, near Rajasthan, a video gained attentionon social media wherein Ishwar Lal can be heard making stunning, provocative claims in a speech laced with disinformation. The entire thirty nine minute of the speech is replete with hate speech against minorities, egregious lies, and occasional misogyny and deliberate fear-mongering. He raises familiar bogeys of ‘Love Jihad’ and reiterates disinformation like Muslims brought untouchability to India and that with rising population Muslims will take over temples from Hindus in the coming decades. 

Several 'Trishul' distribution programs have apparently taken place in rural Jodhpur, some of which have been addressed by Ishwar Lal. These incidents are said to have taken place in Balesar, Rampura, Odiyan, and Dechu, among other places.

CJP has also alerted and complained to authorities in Rajasthan on this disturbing trend over past weeks all over the state as they have the potential of not just causing social disharmony but also disrupting harmonious relations within villages and towns. Apart from all else, they render the minority community vulnerable to stigma, ghettoisation and even physical attack.

Related:

Hate Speech in Rajasthan spirals, polls at year end

Maharashtra: At Shaurya Path Sanchalan event, Shankar Gaikar makes anti-Muslim statements

Worship Swords instead of books or pens: Pramod Muthalik

Hate watch: “Keep your knives sharp” says terror accused Pragya Thakur

Following Pragya Thakur's example, SadhviAastha Maa justifies keeping weapons/knife at home

Karnataka: Hate speech increased fourfold, moral policing by Hindu vigilantes on the rise

Review of 2022: A year of discrimination & violence experienced by India's religious minorities

‘Love Jihad’ the priority, not ‘small issues like roads, drains: BJP Karnataka Naleen Kumar Kateel

 

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Lawyers' Group files criminal complaint against UP CM over brute state action against CAA protesters

Strongman chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Adityanath, the aggressive man in saffron robes faces a criminal complaint filed by the Guernica 37 Chambers at the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor as he made his way to Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum. His visit ends today.

20 Jan 2023

yOgi

New Delhi: A specialist group of international criminal and human rights lawyers have filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath ahead of his visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum. Adityanath’s visit, from January 16. The visit ends today, January 20.

The group, Guernica 37 Chambers, have filed the complaint against him “for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh” – during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The group, in its press release, has invoked the “principle of universal jurisdiction” in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code. The group has singled out Adityanath and his administration’s treatment of protesters, noting that the suppression of protests could amount to crimes against humanity.

Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in his state to suppress widespread protests against the adoption of the amended Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 in India. As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country.

The group notes that it has “sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command” and singles out Adityanath’s speeches in this connection.

“The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes.”

The lawyers also note that following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, “which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India,” many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. However, it says, UP Police violently cracked down on protesters.

“In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly also killed 22, peaceful protesters, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained,” it said.

The lawyers have also alleged that “domestic avenues to address these crimes have remained unsuccessful” alongside international avenues as India has not acceded to the individual complaints mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) human rights treaties nor has it ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The UP authorities, it notes, have so far “ignored calls by victims’ families, human rights groups, domestic courts and the UN mandate holders” to investigate and prosecute these violations.

Multiple reports by sections of the media at the time had noted how minors and the poorest of people were allegedly beaten by police. The criminal complaint also lays down the argument that as CM and home minister, Adityanath as the final executive authority in the state of UP over police conduct also failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.

Sabrangindia had reported on a well-documented report by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) that had totalled a staggering 350 FIRs having been filed against at least 1,05,000 people during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Uttar Pradesh. What' was particularly significant was that  almost all of these FIRs were filed between December 19 and December 20, 2019! The civil rights advocacy group compiled the report titled Struggle for Equal Citizenship in UP and its Costs: A saga of omnibus FIRs, loot, arrests and harassment of Muslim minority that showcases the Uttar Pradesh state government’s treatment of the peaceful anti-CAA protesters.

In year 2019, there were nation-wide demonstrations against the CAA-2019, an amendment to India’s 1955 Citizenship Law, that has been analysed as being deeply partisan because though it allowed Indian citizenship to be granted to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, it did not extend the same benefits to Muslims. Interestingly,  for all its purported good intentions of ‘helping people facing persecution in their home (solely Islamic) countries’, the CAA-2019 did not make any provisions to help persecuted minorities from Sri Lanka and Myanmar, two countries in its immediate neighbourood.

Meanwhile, states that had governments led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a massive crackdown against these protests. “However, police action carried out in Uttar Pradesh was unprecedented. Lives were lost. Properties were destroyed. Protestors and bystanders were tortured, arrested. Many are still incarcerated even after two years,” said the report prepared by Jamia Millia Islamia Research Scholar Safoora Zargar and student activist Asif Iqbal Tanha.

Using verified information available in the public domain, the report had also calculated that FIRs had been filed against around 5,000 named individuals and over 1,00,000 unknown persons. About 3,000 people were illegally arrested, many of whom were from the Muslim community. The report alleged that the arrested people were put in jail under fabricated charges and remain there even now that in early 2022, close to two years plus after the nationwide protests.

The report had also documented how the state had also, by its brute actions, snatched away the lives of 23. The deceased were mostly bystanders, largely daily wage labourers between 40 to 45 years of age, and the sole breadwinners of their families. However, there was one Mohammad Sageer in Varanasi who died at the young age of 8. The school-going child was the youngest victim to have died in the stampede that followed the police lathi-charge at an CAA-NRC protest on December 20, 2019. As per the report, “Sageer was gleefully playing with his friends on the narrow bylanes of Dharara locality when a group of protesters came running to protect themselves from the lathi-charge set off by Uttar Pradesh police. Sageer was left choking and unconscious after getting trampled by the crowd. He was very critical by the time he was picked up and rushed to the hospital. The child, the youngest of four brothers, succumbed to injuries in a hospital on the same day.”

Similarly, Rampur’s Faiz Khan died on the same day after he suffered a bullet wound to his clavicle. Khan had joined the protesting crowd after taking his 14-year-old niece Samia to the hospital. Amidst the tear-gassing, the 25-year-old was trying to help an old man to safety. Nine districts that reported such deaths, namely – Bijor, Firozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, Sambhal, and Varanasi. Firozabad alone reported as many as seven deaths. In terms of police action, Meerut’s belated scrap dealer Mohsin’s family said that the authorities refused to act or even register their complaint. On that day, Mohsin had gone to get extra fodder for the buffaloes just in case the markets shut down.

Accountability International

Now international lawyers are demanding accountability from an Indian state that has failed to answer to its citizens.

India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also, in 2021 ordered an inquiry into the allegations in 2021. If the move by the international lawers group is successful, the opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes, it says.

At the time, in 2019-2020, the Uttar Pradesh government had also  threatened protesters with ‘recovery’ of their property as ‘property damage’ from those it had identified as culpable protesters in late 2019. The Supreme Court in 2021 had asked the Uttar Pradesh government not to take action on earlier notices sent to protesters.

Guernica 37 Chambers had also before this, filed a formal submission with the United States government seeking targeted sanctions against Adityanath, for his role in extra judicial killings allegedly committed by the state’s police forces between 2017 and 2021.

The press release dateline London, dated January 17, 2023, issued by Guernica 37 Chambers (that describes itself as a ‘specialist group of International Criminal and Human Rights lawyers with a socially committed and multi-Disciplinary Outlook) states that 

“Guernica 37 Chambers filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against Chief Minister of the State Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) India, -- attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, between 16 and 20 January 2022,-- for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh. 

“Guernica 37 Chambers in London filed this morning a criminal complaint under the principle of universal jurisdiction as provided in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code before the General Prosecutor in Switzerland against the Chief Minister and Home Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2023. 

“Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh to suppress protests against the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India. 

“As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country. 

“There is a sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command. The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes. 

“Following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India, many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. Members of the UP police violently separated the protesters in order to break up their protest and punish them for their opposition to the new law. In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly killed 22 protestors, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained. The criminal complaint argues that as the Chief Minister and Home Minister, Yogi Adityanath as the final executive authority in the state of UP over police conduct also failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes. 

“Domestic avenues to address these crimes have remained unsuccessful alongside international avenues as India has not acceded to the individual complaints mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) human rights treaties nor has it ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The UP authorities have so far ignored calls by victims’ families, human rights groups, domestic courts and the UN mandate holders to investigate and prosecute these violations. The escalation of violence and impunity requires urgent actions to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“The opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes and recognition of the status of the victims, that they have thus far failed to receive at the domestic or international levels, and it will further serve as evidence that the culture of impunity will not be tolerated.” 

It remains to be seen where and how the Swiss authorities will respond.


Related:

Guernica 37 Chambers Press Release

Anti-CAA-NRC protests in UP: Horrors of a police-state

Supreme Court takes UP gov't to task over notices issued to anti-CAA protesters

Hijab ban: Multiple Dimensions

Allahabad HC seeks govt response in Dr Kafeel Khan’s plea against his termination

Umar Khalid Bail: Prosecution equates NE Delhi riots ‘conspirators’ to 9/11 culprits

Lawyers' Group files criminal complaint against UP CM over brute state action against CAA protesters

Strongman chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Adityanath, the aggressive man in saffron robes faces a criminal complaint filed by the Guernica 37 Chambers at the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor as he made his way to Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum. His visit ends today.

yOgi

New Delhi: A specialist group of international criminal and human rights lawyers have filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath ahead of his visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum. Adityanath’s visit, from January 16. The visit ends today, January 20.

The group, Guernica 37 Chambers, have filed the complaint against him “for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh” – during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The group, in its press release, has invoked the “principle of universal jurisdiction” in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code. The group has singled out Adityanath and his administration’s treatment of protesters, noting that the suppression of protests could amount to crimes against humanity.

Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in his state to suppress widespread protests against the adoption of the amended Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 in India. As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country.

The group notes that it has “sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command” and singles out Adityanath’s speeches in this connection.

“The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes.”

The lawyers also note that following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, “which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India,” many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. However, it says, UP Police violently cracked down on protesters.

“In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly also killed 22, peaceful protesters, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained,” it said.

The lawyers have also alleged that “domestic avenues to address these crimes have remained unsuccessful” alongside international avenues as India has not acceded to the individual complaints mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) human rights treaties nor has it ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The UP authorities, it notes, have so far “ignored calls by victims’ families, human rights groups, domestic courts and the UN mandate holders” to investigate and prosecute these violations.

Multiple reports by sections of the media at the time had noted how minors and the poorest of people were allegedly beaten by police. The criminal complaint also lays down the argument that as CM and home minister, Adityanath as the final executive authority in the state of UP over police conduct also failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.

Sabrangindia had reported on a well-documented report by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) that had totalled a staggering 350 FIRs having been filed against at least 1,05,000 people during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Uttar Pradesh. What' was particularly significant was that  almost all of these FIRs were filed between December 19 and December 20, 2019! The civil rights advocacy group compiled the report titled Struggle for Equal Citizenship in UP and its Costs: A saga of omnibus FIRs, loot, arrests and harassment of Muslim minority that showcases the Uttar Pradesh state government’s treatment of the peaceful anti-CAA protesters.

In year 2019, there were nation-wide demonstrations against the CAA-2019, an amendment to India’s 1955 Citizenship Law, that has been analysed as being deeply partisan because though it allowed Indian citizenship to be granted to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, it did not extend the same benefits to Muslims. Interestingly,  for all its purported good intentions of ‘helping people facing persecution in their home (solely Islamic) countries’, the CAA-2019 did not make any provisions to help persecuted minorities from Sri Lanka and Myanmar, two countries in its immediate neighbourood.

Meanwhile, states that had governments led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a massive crackdown against these protests. “However, police action carried out in Uttar Pradesh was unprecedented. Lives were lost. Properties were destroyed. Protestors and bystanders were tortured, arrested. Many are still incarcerated even after two years,” said the report prepared by Jamia Millia Islamia Research Scholar Safoora Zargar and student activist Asif Iqbal Tanha.

Using verified information available in the public domain, the report had also calculated that FIRs had been filed against around 5,000 named individuals and over 1,00,000 unknown persons. About 3,000 people were illegally arrested, many of whom were from the Muslim community. The report alleged that the arrested people were put in jail under fabricated charges and remain there even now that in early 2022, close to two years plus after the nationwide protests.

The report had also documented how the state had also, by its brute actions, snatched away the lives of 23. The deceased were mostly bystanders, largely daily wage labourers between 40 to 45 years of age, and the sole breadwinners of their families. However, there was one Mohammad Sageer in Varanasi who died at the young age of 8. The school-going child was the youngest victim to have died in the stampede that followed the police lathi-charge at an CAA-NRC protest on December 20, 2019. As per the report, “Sageer was gleefully playing with his friends on the narrow bylanes of Dharara locality when a group of protesters came running to protect themselves from the lathi-charge set off by Uttar Pradesh police. Sageer was left choking and unconscious after getting trampled by the crowd. He was very critical by the time he was picked up and rushed to the hospital. The child, the youngest of four brothers, succumbed to injuries in a hospital on the same day.”

Similarly, Rampur’s Faiz Khan died on the same day after he suffered a bullet wound to his clavicle. Khan had joined the protesting crowd after taking his 14-year-old niece Samia to the hospital. Amidst the tear-gassing, the 25-year-old was trying to help an old man to safety. Nine districts that reported such deaths, namely – Bijor, Firozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, Sambhal, and Varanasi. Firozabad alone reported as many as seven deaths. In terms of police action, Meerut’s belated scrap dealer Mohsin’s family said that the authorities refused to act or even register their complaint. On that day, Mohsin had gone to get extra fodder for the buffaloes just in case the markets shut down.

Accountability International

Now international lawyers are demanding accountability from an Indian state that has failed to answer to its citizens.

India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also, in 2021 ordered an inquiry into the allegations in 2021. If the move by the international lawers group is successful, the opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes, it says.

At the time, in 2019-2020, the Uttar Pradesh government had also  threatened protesters with ‘recovery’ of their property as ‘property damage’ from those it had identified as culpable protesters in late 2019. The Supreme Court in 2021 had asked the Uttar Pradesh government not to take action on earlier notices sent to protesters.

Guernica 37 Chambers had also before this, filed a formal submission with the United States government seeking targeted sanctions against Adityanath, for his role in extra judicial killings allegedly committed by the state’s police forces between 2017 and 2021.

The press release dateline London, dated January 17, 2023, issued by Guernica 37 Chambers (that describes itself as a ‘specialist group of International Criminal and Human Rights lawyers with a socially committed and multi-Disciplinary Outlook) states that 

“Guernica 37 Chambers filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against Chief Minister of the State Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) India, -- attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, between 16 and 20 January 2022,-- for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh. 

“Guernica 37 Chambers in London filed this morning a criminal complaint under the principle of universal jurisdiction as provided in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code before the General Prosecutor in Switzerland against the Chief Minister and Home Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2023. 

“Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh to suppress protests against the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India. 

“As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country. 

“There is a sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command. The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes. 

“Following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India, many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. Members of the UP police violently separated the protesters in order to break up their protest and punish them for their opposition to the new law. In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly killed 22 protestors, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained. The criminal complaint argues that as the Chief Minister and Home Minister, Yogi Adityanath as the final executive authority in the state of UP over police conduct also failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes. 

“Domestic avenues to address these crimes have remained unsuccessful alongside international avenues as India has not acceded to the individual complaints mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) human rights treaties nor has it ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The UP authorities have so far ignored calls by victims’ families, human rights groups, domestic courts and the UN mandate holders to investigate and prosecute these violations. The escalation of violence and impunity requires urgent actions to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“The opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes and recognition of the status of the victims, that they have thus far failed to receive at the domestic or international levels, and it will further serve as evidence that the culture of impunity will not be tolerated.” 

It remains to be seen where and how the Swiss authorities will respond.


Related:

Guernica 37 Chambers Press Release

Anti-CAA-NRC protests in UP: Horrors of a police-state

Supreme Court takes UP gov't to task over notices issued to anti-CAA protesters

Hijab ban: Multiple Dimensions

Allahabad HC seeks govt response in Dr Kafeel Khan’s plea against his termination

Umar Khalid Bail: Prosecution equates NE Delhi riots ‘conspirators’ to 9/11 culprits

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Hate Watch: Notice served to BJP MLA Raja Singh for hate speech at Ajmer Dargah: Hyderabad

A failure to comply with the notice could result in the MLA's arrest as per Section 41 A (3) and (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

20 Jan 2023

Hate watch

Hyderabad: The Mangalhat police station on Thursday served a notice to Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh in connection with a “provocative speech” made at Ajmer Dargah last year. The complainant in the case is Syed Mahmood Ali and is registered at the Kanchanbagh police station under Section 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case was investigated by Mangalhat police station after it was re-registered under its limits.

Following investigations, Raja Singh has been directed by Mangalhat police station to not commit any offenses in the future, not tamper with any of the evidences in the current case. He has also been directed to not threaten, induce or coerce any person acquainted with the facts of the case.

Further, Singh, an elected member of the Telangana state assembly, will have to cooperate with the investigation and have to appear before the court whenever ordered to do so. All documents regarding the case have to be produced by Singh and he has been ordered to not destroy any evidence in connection with the case. Any failure to comply with the notice could result in the MLA’s arrest as per Section 41 A (3) and (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Who is Raja Singh?

T Raja Singh has been consistently, like several of his partymen, following his tried and tested way of becoming popular l on social media via video clips of speeches that are incendiary and peddle hate. Since 2018 right until now, this trend by the BJP MLA has been meticulously documented.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has continuously tracked, and complained about this hate offender for years. In February, 2019 CJP’s Hate Watch team had identified how one false rumour has proliferated, and prompted a hate-filled speech by Raja Singh that was broadcast via Facebook. The CJP had highlighted Singh’s influential position as a sitting member of the Telangana Legislative Assembly as well as a party whip in the state, noting that he had half a million followers on Facebook. This incident took place right after the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir collapsed, and ahead of the Amarnath Yatra scheduled for July-August. 

Way back, five years ago, in 2018, Singh had posted on his Facebook account explicitly asking his followers not to buy anything from the “terrorist Kashmiris” for the annual Amarnath Yatra and Citizens for Justice and Peace (cjp.org.in) had complained to the platform, Facebook. By July 2019, the video had been viewed 3,00,000 times. Singh has also had FIRs registered against him for promoting enmity between groups but Facebook continued to entertain his account harbouring venomous content. CJP had also discovered in 2019 that his page which was supposedly taken down, was not the case and his official page was active. The CJP was invited to a Roundtable on Online Hate Speech: Facebook Community Standards, on February 5, 2019 where during the question answer session with Facebook’s Varun Reddy, the CJP team showed examples of hate speech, like the page of Raja Singh, which was not taken down even after repeated reporting.

The record continues. In year 2020, Raja Singh was among the central figures named in an August Wall Street Journal report that documented how Facebook ignored hate speech by BJP leaders to protect its business interests in India. By March of that year, they concluded Singh not only had violated the company’s hate-speech rules but qualified as dangerous, a designation that takes into account a person’s off-platform activities. By March 2021, when Facebook finally concluded that Raja Singh had violated its own Community standards (Objectionable Content) and Violence and Criminal Behaviour rules, he was removed from FB. However, the hate words of this offender are also spread via so called “fan pages” named Tiger Raja Singh Fan Club and T Raja Singh Samarthak Jalgaon PRK Group which collectively have lakhs of followers.

UP Election campaign of BJP garners hate offenders

During to the run up to last year’s state elections in the north Indian state, around February 15, 2022, a video showing T Raja Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Goshamahal Assembly of Hyderabad, Telangana, threatening Uttar Pradesh’s Hindu voters with dire consequences if the Adityanath-led BJP government is not re-elected, began circulating on social media. He was then heard and seen warning the voters that if they do not vote for a “Yogi-government” then their houses will be identified and destroyed with bulldozers and JCBs.

Singh, a serial hate speech maker, said, “Jo log Bharatiya Janata Party ko vote nahi karte unko mai kehna chahunga ki Yogi ji ne hazaron ki sankhya mein JCBs, bulldozers mangwa liye hai. Uttar Pradesh ki awr nikal chuke hai. Election ke baad mein jo jo log Yogi ji ko support nahi kare, unn sabhi areas ko identify kiya jayega. Aur pata hain na JCBs aur bulldozers kiske liye use mein aate hai? Toh mai Uttar Pradesh ke un gaddaaron ko kehna chahunga, jo ye chahte hai ki firse Yogi ji mukhya mantri na bane, toh beta agar Uttar Pradesh mein rehna ho toh Yogi-Yogi kehna hoga, nahi toh Uttar Pradesh chhod ke tumlogon ko bhaagna hoga.

This threat, ostensibly telling Hindu voters that they will be severely punished if they do not vote for BJP,  translates as, “To those who do not vote for Bharatiya Janata Party, I want to tell them that Yogi ji has ordered JCBs and bulldozers in thousands. These have already left for Uttar Pradesh. After the election, the areas of each person who did not support Yogi ji will be identified. And you know right what JCBs and bulldozers are used for? So, I want to say this to those traitors of Uttar Pradesh who do not want that Yogi ji becomes the Chief Minister again – beta (child) if you want to live in Uttar Pradesh then you have to say ‘Yogi-Yogi’ (support Yogi), otherwise you people will have to run out of Uttar Pradesh.”

At the time, while the Election Commission (EC) issues notice, it appeared to be lax in follow up. Once this video went viral the Election Commission issued a notice to T Raja Singh, for his statement. Issued on Wednesday, the notice put on record that Raja was seen and heard in the video clip saying, “Those who do not vote for the BJP, I would like to tell them that Yogiji has arranged thousands of JCB bulldozers…” The ECI told Singh to give his explanation within 24 hours on why action should not be initiated against him for allegedly violating the model code of conduct, the Indian Penal Code, and the Representation of the People Act.

Raja Singh’s use, in intimidatory speech of the ‘bulldozer threat” was clearly part of a collective party effort to garner support for the publicly announced policy of the Adityanath government –then seeking re-election to its second term – of ‘bulldozing graveyards’ and the ‘mafia’ –in a crude and brazen misnomer (reference) for the state’s Muslims. The 2022 state election in Uttar Pradesh (UP) had seen several such speeches being made, including those by other BJP MLAs from the state like Brij Bhushan Singh from Kaiserganj.

Background

Even before the complaints on social media platforms, in 2016, Mohammed Irfan Quadri, a Hyderabad-based social activist-turned-politician filed a complaint against BJP MLA from Goshamahal Raja Singh. Quadri’s complaint to the police was about the vitriolic videos of Raja Singh in general; however, he mentioned three videos as examples in his complaint. In one speech, Raja Singh warned Muslims against slaughtering cows, and threatened that if they continued to, they would be slaughtered in the same way. Five years later, on December 17, 2021, Raja Singh was acquitted by a Special Court that specifically examines cases against lawmakers in the state. At the time, The News Minute had undertaken a detailed investigation on the reasons why the evidence did not hold. The TNM analysis concluded that the  court had two reasons to acquit Raja Singh — firstly, the police had skipped a procedure that required recording the material evidence properly; and the more serious reason — the police did not ask for sanction from the government to prosecute the MLA before or after filing the chargesheet. To prosecute an elected representative in certain cases, a sanction is needed from the government concerned.

Significantly this MLA, Raja Singh has about 101 criminal cases registered against Thakur Raja Singh Lodh, popularly known as T Raja Singh, who is a habitual offender when it comes to communal hate speech against Muslims. Of these, Raja Singh has been convicted in just one single case till date. In fact, he has been acquitted in a majority of the hate speech cases booked against him. And the way he escapes conviction is usually on ‘technical grounds’. Media speculation is rife about whether a lack of will from the state government led by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) ensures that Raja Singh does not get convicted.

What are the crimes of Raja Singh?

From referring to old Hyderabad as a mini-Pakistan to calling Rohingya Muslims ‘terrorists who should be shot’, to calling for the burning down of theatres that screened the Bollywood film Padmaavat in 2018, Raja Singh makes the news under the ‘controversy’ tagline often. His most recent controversy was when he warned comedian Munawar Faruqui against coming to Hyderabad to perform his stand-up act. Singh also stoked angry agitations and protests over his remarks against Prophet Mohammed.

Following public protests, on August 25, 2022 Singh became the first public representative to be booked under the Preventive Detention (PD) Act by the Hyderabad Police. The 45-year-old Goshamahal legislator was then detained under Act no 1 of 1986 on the same day, and was sent to the Cherlapally Central Prison.

India has hate speech laws to prevent discord among religious communities. The law allows a citizen to seek punishment for anyone who creates a disruption in social harmony “on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language or caste.” India prohibits hate speech by several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and by other laws which put reasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression. A person indulging in hate speech is usually booked under section 153A or 295A of the IPC. The BJP legislator has several cases booked against him under these two sections.

Under section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), “No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under Chapter VI or under section 153A of Indian Penal Code or  Section 295A or sub section (1) of section 505 of the Indian Penal Code…except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or of the State Government.” Section 153A refers to ‘Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence’; and 295A refers to ‘Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’. In several of the cases against Raja Singh — which tend to fall under these sections — the police have either not sought permission from the state government, or they haven’t received the requisite sanctions.

Lone successful conclusion

It is only in one case booked in 2015 at the Bollaram police station regarding a beef festival organised at Osmania University that Raja Singh was convicted in 2020. He was sentenced to one month rigorous imprisonment and a Rs 5,000 fine. However he was also granted bail in the case. 

Witnesses turned hostile

According to the TNM report, among the several cases against Raja Singh, one particular case was booked at the Shahinayathgunj Police Station in 2010. This pertained not to hate speech alone but actual physical attack and Raja Singh was allegedly involved. According to reports on the case, on March 30, 2010 a mob led by Raja Singh attacked a CRPF officer and vandalised a police vehicle. This mob also set fire to a mosque at Gandhi Galli, and to the gates of another mosque, apart from vandalising a paan shop and setting it on fire.

Of the 11 witnesses in this case, several turned hostile during trial. The star witness in the case, Ismail, also the defacto complainant in the case, denied any knowledge of the case during trial even stating that 12 years ago he had signed and handed over a blank paper to the Shahinayathgunj Police Station at the behest of the police officers! Naturally, the Prosecution declared him hostile. Thereafter, eight other witnesses in the case who were the panch witnesses in the case did not support the version of the prosecution. 

This case also had two police personnel as witnesses. Muniratnam, a police constable, told the court that a mob of 300 persons had pelted stones when the police tried to stop the procession. However, he also said that he could not identify any of those who were in the procession.

Finally, the last witness was Mazher Mohd Khan, who was one of the investigating officers. He deposed that the crime was registered by him as per statement of the witnesses against unknown offenders. However, he had registered a case against unknown offenders 12 years ago but since none of the witnesses could identify the accused as the ones involved, the court acquitted all those accused in the case, including Raja Singh.

There were more physical attacks by Raja Singh, nevertheless chosen by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be its since successful candidate in the state polls. The same day that he was acquitted in the Gandhi Galli attack case, in 2010, two more cases were booked against Raja Singh and others at the Afzalgunj police station. Two different cases were booked on March 30, 2010 for attacking the Gandhi Galli Mosque and setting fire to the gate of the Bahadur Jung Mosque. In both these cases too, Raja Singh and others were acquitted 12 years later by the Special Court for MPs and MLAs in 2021. According to the defence, in these two cases too the prosecution failed to prove the accused as guilty.

The fear of reprisals, a tardy ad hostile system is notorious for not just prolonging trials but rendering witnesses hostile. Repeat offenders like Raja Singh, who appear to have no difficulty in garnering professional legal support, triumph and hate-spilling continues, unabated.


Related:

Hate Offender: Hyderabad BJP MLA T Raja Singh threatens UP voters

At a VHP event in Rajasthan, hate speeches are made and religious minorities are termed as “top enemies”

Hate-Offender Raja Singh granted conditional bail, investigations into offences continue

Prophet remarks: 4 hurt in protests against BJP MLA Raja Singh

Facebook takes down T. Raja Singh’s account

 

Hate Watch: Notice served to BJP MLA Raja Singh for hate speech at Ajmer Dargah: Hyderabad

A failure to comply with the notice could result in the MLA's arrest as per Section 41 A (3) and (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

Hate watch

Hyderabad: The Mangalhat police station on Thursday served a notice to Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh in connection with a “provocative speech” made at Ajmer Dargah last year. The complainant in the case is Syed Mahmood Ali and is registered at the Kanchanbagh police station under Section 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case was investigated by Mangalhat police station after it was re-registered under its limits.

Following investigations, Raja Singh has been directed by Mangalhat police station to not commit any offenses in the future, not tamper with any of the evidences in the current case. He has also been directed to not threaten, induce or coerce any person acquainted with the facts of the case.

Further, Singh, an elected member of the Telangana state assembly, will have to cooperate with the investigation and have to appear before the court whenever ordered to do so. All documents regarding the case have to be produced by Singh and he has been ordered to not destroy any evidence in connection with the case. Any failure to comply with the notice could result in the MLA’s arrest as per Section 41 A (3) and (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Who is Raja Singh?

T Raja Singh has been consistently, like several of his partymen, following his tried and tested way of becoming popular l on social media via video clips of speeches that are incendiary and peddle hate. Since 2018 right until now, this trend by the BJP MLA has been meticulously documented.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has continuously tracked, and complained about this hate offender for years. In February, 2019 CJP’s Hate Watch team had identified how one false rumour has proliferated, and prompted a hate-filled speech by Raja Singh that was broadcast via Facebook. The CJP had highlighted Singh’s influential position as a sitting member of the Telangana Legislative Assembly as well as a party whip in the state, noting that he had half a million followers on Facebook. This incident took place right after the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir collapsed, and ahead of the Amarnath Yatra scheduled for July-August. 

Way back, five years ago, in 2018, Singh had posted on his Facebook account explicitly asking his followers not to buy anything from the “terrorist Kashmiris” for the annual Amarnath Yatra and Citizens for Justice and Peace (cjp.org.in) had complained to the platform, Facebook. By July 2019, the video had been viewed 3,00,000 times. Singh has also had FIRs registered against him for promoting enmity between groups but Facebook continued to entertain his account harbouring venomous content. CJP had also discovered in 2019 that his page which was supposedly taken down, was not the case and his official page was active. The CJP was invited to a Roundtable on Online Hate Speech: Facebook Community Standards, on February 5, 2019 where during the question answer session with Facebook’s Varun Reddy, the CJP team showed examples of hate speech, like the page of Raja Singh, which was not taken down even after repeated reporting.

The record continues. In year 2020, Raja Singh was among the central figures named in an August Wall Street Journal report that documented how Facebook ignored hate speech by BJP leaders to protect its business interests in India. By March of that year, they concluded Singh not only had violated the company’s hate-speech rules but qualified as dangerous, a designation that takes into account a person’s off-platform activities. By March 2021, when Facebook finally concluded that Raja Singh had violated its own Community standards (Objectionable Content) and Violence and Criminal Behaviour rules, he was removed from FB. However, the hate words of this offender are also spread via so called “fan pages” named Tiger Raja Singh Fan Club and T Raja Singh Samarthak Jalgaon PRK Group which collectively have lakhs of followers.

UP Election campaign of BJP garners hate offenders

During to the run up to last year’s state elections in the north Indian state, around February 15, 2022, a video showing T Raja Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Goshamahal Assembly of Hyderabad, Telangana, threatening Uttar Pradesh’s Hindu voters with dire consequences if the Adityanath-led BJP government is not re-elected, began circulating on social media. He was then heard and seen warning the voters that if they do not vote for a “Yogi-government” then their houses will be identified and destroyed with bulldozers and JCBs.

Singh, a serial hate speech maker, said, “Jo log Bharatiya Janata Party ko vote nahi karte unko mai kehna chahunga ki Yogi ji ne hazaron ki sankhya mein JCBs, bulldozers mangwa liye hai. Uttar Pradesh ki awr nikal chuke hai. Election ke baad mein jo jo log Yogi ji ko support nahi kare, unn sabhi areas ko identify kiya jayega. Aur pata hain na JCBs aur bulldozers kiske liye use mein aate hai? Toh mai Uttar Pradesh ke un gaddaaron ko kehna chahunga, jo ye chahte hai ki firse Yogi ji mukhya mantri na bane, toh beta agar Uttar Pradesh mein rehna ho toh Yogi-Yogi kehna hoga, nahi toh Uttar Pradesh chhod ke tumlogon ko bhaagna hoga.

This threat, ostensibly telling Hindu voters that they will be severely punished if they do not vote for BJP,  translates as, “To those who do not vote for Bharatiya Janata Party, I want to tell them that Yogi ji has ordered JCBs and bulldozers in thousands. These have already left for Uttar Pradesh. After the election, the areas of each person who did not support Yogi ji will be identified. And you know right what JCBs and bulldozers are used for? So, I want to say this to those traitors of Uttar Pradesh who do not want that Yogi ji becomes the Chief Minister again – beta (child) if you want to live in Uttar Pradesh then you have to say ‘Yogi-Yogi’ (support Yogi), otherwise you people will have to run out of Uttar Pradesh.”

At the time, while the Election Commission (EC) issues notice, it appeared to be lax in follow up. Once this video went viral the Election Commission issued a notice to T Raja Singh, for his statement. Issued on Wednesday, the notice put on record that Raja was seen and heard in the video clip saying, “Those who do not vote for the BJP, I would like to tell them that Yogiji has arranged thousands of JCB bulldozers…” The ECI told Singh to give his explanation within 24 hours on why action should not be initiated against him for allegedly violating the model code of conduct, the Indian Penal Code, and the Representation of the People Act.

Raja Singh’s use, in intimidatory speech of the ‘bulldozer threat” was clearly part of a collective party effort to garner support for the publicly announced policy of the Adityanath government –then seeking re-election to its second term – of ‘bulldozing graveyards’ and the ‘mafia’ –in a crude and brazen misnomer (reference) for the state’s Muslims. The 2022 state election in Uttar Pradesh (UP) had seen several such speeches being made, including those by other BJP MLAs from the state like Brij Bhushan Singh from Kaiserganj.

Background

Even before the complaints on social media platforms, in 2016, Mohammed Irfan Quadri, a Hyderabad-based social activist-turned-politician filed a complaint against BJP MLA from Goshamahal Raja Singh. Quadri’s complaint to the police was about the vitriolic videos of Raja Singh in general; however, he mentioned three videos as examples in his complaint. In one speech, Raja Singh warned Muslims against slaughtering cows, and threatened that if they continued to, they would be slaughtered in the same way. Five years later, on December 17, 2021, Raja Singh was acquitted by a Special Court that specifically examines cases against lawmakers in the state. At the time, The News Minute had undertaken a detailed investigation on the reasons why the evidence did not hold. The TNM analysis concluded that the  court had two reasons to acquit Raja Singh — firstly, the police had skipped a procedure that required recording the material evidence properly; and the more serious reason — the police did not ask for sanction from the government to prosecute the MLA before or after filing the chargesheet. To prosecute an elected representative in certain cases, a sanction is needed from the government concerned.

Significantly this MLA, Raja Singh has about 101 criminal cases registered against Thakur Raja Singh Lodh, popularly known as T Raja Singh, who is a habitual offender when it comes to communal hate speech against Muslims. Of these, Raja Singh has been convicted in just one single case till date. In fact, he has been acquitted in a majority of the hate speech cases booked against him. And the way he escapes conviction is usually on ‘technical grounds’. Media speculation is rife about whether a lack of will from the state government led by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) ensures that Raja Singh does not get convicted.

What are the crimes of Raja Singh?

From referring to old Hyderabad as a mini-Pakistan to calling Rohingya Muslims ‘terrorists who should be shot’, to calling for the burning down of theatres that screened the Bollywood film Padmaavat in 2018, Raja Singh makes the news under the ‘controversy’ tagline often. His most recent controversy was when he warned comedian Munawar Faruqui against coming to Hyderabad to perform his stand-up act. Singh also stoked angry agitations and protests over his remarks against Prophet Mohammed.

Following public protests, on August 25, 2022 Singh became the first public representative to be booked under the Preventive Detention (PD) Act by the Hyderabad Police. The 45-year-old Goshamahal legislator was then detained under Act no 1 of 1986 on the same day, and was sent to the Cherlapally Central Prison.

India has hate speech laws to prevent discord among religious communities. The law allows a citizen to seek punishment for anyone who creates a disruption in social harmony “on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language or caste.” India prohibits hate speech by several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and by other laws which put reasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression. A person indulging in hate speech is usually booked under section 153A or 295A of the IPC. The BJP legislator has several cases booked against him under these two sections.

Under section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), “No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under Chapter VI or under section 153A of Indian Penal Code or  Section 295A or sub section (1) of section 505 of the Indian Penal Code…except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or of the State Government.” Section 153A refers to ‘Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence’; and 295A refers to ‘Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’. In several of the cases against Raja Singh — which tend to fall under these sections — the police have either not sought permission from the state government, or they haven’t received the requisite sanctions.

Lone successful conclusion

It is only in one case booked in 2015 at the Bollaram police station regarding a beef festival organised at Osmania University that Raja Singh was convicted in 2020. He was sentenced to one month rigorous imprisonment and a Rs 5,000 fine. However he was also granted bail in the case. 

Witnesses turned hostile

According to the TNM report, among the several cases against Raja Singh, one particular case was booked at the Shahinayathgunj Police Station in 2010. This pertained not to hate speech alone but actual physical attack and Raja Singh was allegedly involved. According to reports on the case, on March 30, 2010 a mob led by Raja Singh attacked a CRPF officer and vandalised a police vehicle. This mob also set fire to a mosque at Gandhi Galli, and to the gates of another mosque, apart from vandalising a paan shop and setting it on fire.

Of the 11 witnesses in this case, several turned hostile during trial. The star witness in the case, Ismail, also the defacto complainant in the case, denied any knowledge of the case during trial even stating that 12 years ago he had signed and handed over a blank paper to the Shahinayathgunj Police Station at the behest of the police officers! Naturally, the Prosecution declared him hostile. Thereafter, eight other witnesses in the case who were the panch witnesses in the case did not support the version of the prosecution. 

This case also had two police personnel as witnesses. Muniratnam, a police constable, told the court that a mob of 300 persons had pelted stones when the police tried to stop the procession. However, he also said that he could not identify any of those who were in the procession.

Finally, the last witness was Mazher Mohd Khan, who was one of the investigating officers. He deposed that the crime was registered by him as per statement of the witnesses against unknown offenders. However, he had registered a case against unknown offenders 12 years ago but since none of the witnesses could identify the accused as the ones involved, the court acquitted all those accused in the case, including Raja Singh.

There were more physical attacks by Raja Singh, nevertheless chosen by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be its since successful candidate in the state polls. The same day that he was acquitted in the Gandhi Galli attack case, in 2010, two more cases were booked against Raja Singh and others at the Afzalgunj police station. Two different cases were booked on March 30, 2010 for attacking the Gandhi Galli Mosque and setting fire to the gate of the Bahadur Jung Mosque. In both these cases too, Raja Singh and others were acquitted 12 years later by the Special Court for MPs and MLAs in 2021. According to the defence, in these two cases too the prosecution failed to prove the accused as guilty.

The fear of reprisals, a tardy ad hostile system is notorious for not just prolonging trials but rendering witnesses hostile. Repeat offenders like Raja Singh, who appear to have no difficulty in garnering professional legal support, triumph and hate-spilling continues, unabated.


Related:

Hate Offender: Hyderabad BJP MLA T Raja Singh threatens UP voters

At a VHP event in Rajasthan, hate speeches are made and religious minorities are termed as “top enemies”

Hate-Offender Raja Singh granted conditional bail, investigations into offences continue

Prophet remarks: 4 hurt in protests against BJP MLA Raja Singh

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If you kill one of us, we will kill thousands of yours: Bajrang Dal

This statement was made in retaliation to the murder of one of its workers in Assam whereby it has claimed that the murderers were “jihadis”

19 Jan 2023

Bajrang Dal

Bajrang Dal has issued an ultimatum that it will seek revenge as one of its workers was killed in Assam. A Bajrang Dal convenor, Ankit Pandey, while speaking to the media in Banda Uttar Pradesh, said that they were burning effigies of “Islamic hardliners”.

He further said that in order to spread terror plans are being made and hence we are burning effigies and a memorandum is also being sent to the President of India.

Further, as a message to “fundamentalists” he said, “khoon ka badla khoon hoga. Wo ek marenge hum unke hazaar marenge aur ab ye Babur ki auladein apni aukaat me rehkar desh me rahe” (there will be an eye for an eye. If they kill one of us, we will kill thousands. These children of Babur need to be shown their place in this country”)

On January 7, a 16-year-old Bajrang Dal worker, Sambhu Koiri was allegedly hacked to death in Karimganj, Assam

On January 16, even Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the parent organization of Bajrang Dal, issued a statement that it will hold a two-day protest all over the country. "In the last 2 years, 9 Karyakartas of Bajrang Dal have been killed and 32 attacked by Jihadis. We only protested respecting constitutional values. But it should not be considered our weakness. If the youths stand in reaction, then the responsibility will be entirely on those fundamentalists who provoke the Muslim community meaninglessly," said VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain in a self-recorded video.

VHP has claimed that the murder was committed by “jihadis”.

Related:

Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

K’taka: Bajrang Dal allegedly demonstrated outside a mosque

Maharashtra: At Shaurya Path Sanchalan event, Shankar Gaikar makes anti-Muslim statements

Provocative poster in Delhi's Brahmpuri calls on Hindu landlords to not sell to Muslim buyers

If you kill one of us, we will kill thousands of yours: Bajrang Dal

This statement was made in retaliation to the murder of one of its workers in Assam whereby it has claimed that the murderers were “jihadis”

Bajrang Dal

Bajrang Dal has issued an ultimatum that it will seek revenge as one of its workers was killed in Assam. A Bajrang Dal convenor, Ankit Pandey, while speaking to the media in Banda Uttar Pradesh, said that they were burning effigies of “Islamic hardliners”.

He further said that in order to spread terror plans are being made and hence we are burning effigies and a memorandum is also being sent to the President of India.

Further, as a message to “fundamentalists” he said, “khoon ka badla khoon hoga. Wo ek marenge hum unke hazaar marenge aur ab ye Babur ki auladein apni aukaat me rehkar desh me rahe” (there will be an eye for an eye. If they kill one of us, we will kill thousands. These children of Babur need to be shown their place in this country”)

On January 7, a 16-year-old Bajrang Dal worker, Sambhu Koiri was allegedly hacked to death in Karimganj, Assam

On January 16, even Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the parent organization of Bajrang Dal, issued a statement that it will hold a two-day protest all over the country. "In the last 2 years, 9 Karyakartas of Bajrang Dal have been killed and 32 attacked by Jihadis. We only protested respecting constitutional values. But it should not be considered our weakness. If the youths stand in reaction, then the responsibility will be entirely on those fundamentalists who provoke the Muslim community meaninglessly," said VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain in a self-recorded video.

VHP has claimed that the murder was committed by “jihadis”.

Related:

Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

K’taka: Bajrang Dal allegedly demonstrated outside a mosque

Maharashtra: At Shaurya Path Sanchalan event, Shankar Gaikar makes anti-Muslim statements

Provocative poster in Delhi's Brahmpuri calls on Hindu landlords to not sell to Muslim buyers

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Hindu College, denies entry to students wearing burqas, sparks protests: UP

The chief proctor of a college in Moradabad, which recently implemented a "strict dress code," has stated that students wearing burqas will not be allowed entry to the campus. He added that they can remove the burqa and wear it again after stepping out of the campus.

19 Jan 2023

Hindu College, denies entry to students wearing burqas, sparks protests: UP
Image: Zee News

Hindu College in Uttar Pradesh has sparked protests after denying entry to students wearing burqas. The decision to not allow students to enter the college while wearing the traditional Muslim veil has been met with backlash and calls for the rule to be reversed. The college's administration has yet to comment on the situation.

On Wednesday, January 18, more than a dozen students of Hindu College in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh who were wearing burqas were denied entry to the college unless they removed their burqas, leading the students to protest by staging a sit-in outside the main gate for almost 40 minutes. The chief proctor of the college, A P Singh, stated that the college has implemented a strict dress code since January 1 and that each student was informed in advance about it. He added that the college's decision is that no student will be allowed to enter the premises if they are not wearing the college uniform.

Thereafter, Indian Express reported that, while the students continued to protest, college teachers, including Professor Shalini Rai, attempted to persuade them to comply with the new dress code, but the students refused to comply. Later, activists from the youth wing of the Samajwadi Party joined the protesters, stating that denying entry to these students would create a sense of insecurity. The activists also criticized the new dress code as discriminatory, saying that it had a hidden political motive to target a specific community and questioned why Muslim women were being restricted by sartorial rules while Sikhs were allowed to wear turbans and kirpans in colleges. Aslam Chaudhary, the leader of the Moradabad youth wing of the Samajwadi Party, announced that the protest against the new dress code will continue.

The chief proctor, Singh, also told The Indian Express that the college management's decision for the dress code applies to all students regardless of their religion. He also emphasised that the college is willing to find solutions for any other issues the students may have, and that the dress code has been in effect since January 1st and is being strictly enforced starting January 14th. The protesting students, who mostly did not attend classes on Thursday, announced their intentions to continue opposing the dress code. A student representative said they would determine their next steps in the next couple of days.

Karnataka virus spreads to Uttar Pradesh

This controversy first erupted in December 2021, in the Udupi district of Karnataka, with physical protests by Udupi’s Muslim women students began their physical protests outside the Government Women’s PU college to assert their right to wear a hijab inside classrooms. This was after teenagers were banned from entering classrooms because of their hijabs by their teacher. In the New Year, January 2022, the women again tried to enter their classes having checked college rules that did not ban hijabs. However, they were once again prevented from entering the room.

The controversy drew significant attention in the state as right-wing student groups at various colleges staged protests, wearing saffron scarves, against Muslim women's use of hijabs. The state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defended its stance, stating that it was simply enforcing a government resolution on uniforms within the classroom uniformly.

On February 2, 2022, there were additional reports of student aggression towards hijabs in Kundapura, Udupi, Bhadravathi and Shivmogga in the state of Karnataka. The issue of girls wearing hijabs in classrooms first emerged in December 2021, when a teacher at a government pre-university college instructed six girls not to wear hijabs in the classroom. When the girls attempted to attend classes despite this, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) gathered wearing saffron scarves and protested against the veil. Similar protests also occurred in Chikamagaluru and Mangaluru.

Other UP Colleges on same track

Last February, following the controversy in Karnataka an Aligarh college followed suit. The Dharma Samaj College in Aligarh pasted a notice stating that students who do not wear the prescribed uniform will not be allowed to enter the campus, while it doesn't mention anything about hijab being banned. This directive was issued two days after a group of students wearing saffron scarves held a protest in the campus and called for a ban on hijabs on the college premises in southern Karnataka.

In Jaunpur, too, in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a region known as Purvanchal, a Muslim girl was allegedly asked to leave class by a professor in UP for wearing a hijab in February 2022. The incident had followed a series of actions against hijab-wearers in Karnataka that have gone unaddressed, and now the matter seems to have escalated and spread to other states.

Related:

Two more hijab controversies in Karnataka

UP professor throws Muslim girl out of class for wearing hijab!

 

 

Hindu College, denies entry to students wearing burqas, sparks protests: UP

The chief proctor of a college in Moradabad, which recently implemented a "strict dress code," has stated that students wearing burqas will not be allowed entry to the campus. He added that they can remove the burqa and wear it again after stepping out of the campus.

Hindu College, denies entry to students wearing burqas, sparks protests: UP
Image: Zee News

Hindu College in Uttar Pradesh has sparked protests after denying entry to students wearing burqas. The decision to not allow students to enter the college while wearing the traditional Muslim veil has been met with backlash and calls for the rule to be reversed. The college's administration has yet to comment on the situation.

On Wednesday, January 18, more than a dozen students of Hindu College in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh who were wearing burqas were denied entry to the college unless they removed their burqas, leading the students to protest by staging a sit-in outside the main gate for almost 40 minutes. The chief proctor of the college, A P Singh, stated that the college has implemented a strict dress code since January 1 and that each student was informed in advance about it. He added that the college's decision is that no student will be allowed to enter the premises if they are not wearing the college uniform.

Thereafter, Indian Express reported that, while the students continued to protest, college teachers, including Professor Shalini Rai, attempted to persuade them to comply with the new dress code, but the students refused to comply. Later, activists from the youth wing of the Samajwadi Party joined the protesters, stating that denying entry to these students would create a sense of insecurity. The activists also criticized the new dress code as discriminatory, saying that it had a hidden political motive to target a specific community and questioned why Muslim women were being restricted by sartorial rules while Sikhs were allowed to wear turbans and kirpans in colleges. Aslam Chaudhary, the leader of the Moradabad youth wing of the Samajwadi Party, announced that the protest against the new dress code will continue.

The chief proctor, Singh, also told The Indian Express that the college management's decision for the dress code applies to all students regardless of their religion. He also emphasised that the college is willing to find solutions for any other issues the students may have, and that the dress code has been in effect since January 1st and is being strictly enforced starting January 14th. The protesting students, who mostly did not attend classes on Thursday, announced their intentions to continue opposing the dress code. A student representative said they would determine their next steps in the next couple of days.

Karnataka virus spreads to Uttar Pradesh

This controversy first erupted in December 2021, in the Udupi district of Karnataka, with physical protests by Udupi’s Muslim women students began their physical protests outside the Government Women’s PU college to assert their right to wear a hijab inside classrooms. This was after teenagers were banned from entering classrooms because of their hijabs by their teacher. In the New Year, January 2022, the women again tried to enter their classes having checked college rules that did not ban hijabs. However, they were once again prevented from entering the room.

The controversy drew significant attention in the state as right-wing student groups at various colleges staged protests, wearing saffron scarves, against Muslim women's use of hijabs. The state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defended its stance, stating that it was simply enforcing a government resolution on uniforms within the classroom uniformly.

On February 2, 2022, there were additional reports of student aggression towards hijabs in Kundapura, Udupi, Bhadravathi and Shivmogga in the state of Karnataka. The issue of girls wearing hijabs in classrooms first emerged in December 2021, when a teacher at a government pre-university college instructed six girls not to wear hijabs in the classroom. When the girls attempted to attend classes despite this, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) gathered wearing saffron scarves and protested against the veil. Similar protests also occurred in Chikamagaluru and Mangaluru.

Other UP Colleges on same track

Last February, following the controversy in Karnataka an Aligarh college followed suit. The Dharma Samaj College in Aligarh pasted a notice stating that students who do not wear the prescribed uniform will not be allowed to enter the campus, while it doesn't mention anything about hijab being banned. This directive was issued two days after a group of students wearing saffron scarves held a protest in the campus and called for a ban on hijabs on the college premises in southern Karnataka.

In Jaunpur, too, in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a region known as Purvanchal, a Muslim girl was allegedly asked to leave class by a professor in UP for wearing a hijab in February 2022. The incident had followed a series of actions against hijab-wearers in Karnataka that have gone unaddressed, and now the matter seems to have escalated and spread to other states.

Related:

Two more hijab controversies in Karnataka

UP professor throws Muslim girl out of class for wearing hijab!

 

 

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Close to a month after ‘Pathaan’ hysteria, Modi cautions his partymen

Speaking the national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the prime minister obliquely reprimanded his aggressive party voices

19 Jan 2023

Pathaan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned BJP leaders from making unnecessary and attention-grabbing statements about films and personalities. He stated during the BJP National Executive meeting in New Delhi, “No one should make unnecessary comments that would overshadow the hard work we do.”

This comes amidst calls for boycotting Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone's upcoming film "Pathaan" by some senior BJP leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narrotam Mishra and Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur. Mishra had taken issue with the color of a costume worn by Padukone in the film's song "Besharam Rang" and called for its rectification.

A right-wing organization in Chandigarh also called for the film to be banned and for criminal action to be taken against its makers. The Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Prasoon Joshi, has already announced that the makers of the film were asked to make advised changes and submit a revised version. This follows last year's protests by a Hindu outfit against Aamir Khan's "Laal Singh Chaddha" in Uttar Pradesh, who accused the actor of making fun of deities.  Pathaan is scheduled to be released in India on January 25, 2023, coinciding with India’s Republic Day in IMAX, 4DX and standard formats along with dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Advance bookings for the film appear to be substantial.

Clearly, after the controversy wound its course, the prime minister has spoken.

Close to a month back, as reported widely on December 21, Prominent BJP leaders paved the way calling for the boycott of the movie basis a song where “saffron” colour donned by the actress and “green” colour donned by the actor have become a point of contention.

As soon as the promotional song ‘Besharam Rang’ of the movie Pathan was released, certain individuals and groups within the saffron political ideology began to employ various methods to boycott the movie. They chose to nitpick the color of the outfit worn by the lead actress, Deepika Padukone, which was orange in color. This led to a series of hateful comments stating that saffron is a holy colour for Hindus and that her outfit and scenes with Shahrukh Khan are "objectionable" and will not be tolerated. This bigotry is selective and apparent. In the history of cinema, many actresses have worn bikinis of various colours and shot all kinds of scenes with actors, but these have quietly been overlooked. The selective targeting of a film with a Muslim actor in the lead is clear.

But this does not deter the saffron brigade at all. What becomes concerning for the filmmakers is when prominent political leaders call for the boycott over this issue. The production house and actors involved have not responded to this hate tirade, and rightfully so, as such objections do not warrant their time and energy. They aim to entertain the masses.

 Elected officials and union minister’s in Modi’s cabinet were not far behind. Ramdas Athawale, the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said, “We don’t have any problem with Pathan except that it uses the phrase, ‘Besharam Rang’, in a song for the saffron colour. Saffron is not only the colour of the BJP or the Shiv Sena, but it’s the colour of the clothes that Gautam Buddha wore. About 2,500 years ago, it emerged as a colour of peace. Hence it is also an insult to Buddhism. If they don’t remove the word, besharam, our party will also agitate against the film. No colour is besharam and such a reference should be removed.”

Madhya Pradesh Home Minster Narottam Mishra was the first to begin this tirade. He had said, “The film 'Pathaan' is full of faults & based on toxic mentality. Lyrics of song 'Besharam Rang' and saffron and green clothes worn in the song need to be corrected or else we will take decision on whether to let the film's screening happen in MP or not”

 

Related:

Saffron brigade manufactures hateful controversy around SRK’s ‘Pathaan’

Close to a month after ‘Pathaan’ hysteria, Modi cautions his partymen

Speaking the national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the prime minister obliquely reprimanded his aggressive party voices

Pathaan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned BJP leaders from making unnecessary and attention-grabbing statements about films and personalities. He stated during the BJP National Executive meeting in New Delhi, “No one should make unnecessary comments that would overshadow the hard work we do.”

This comes amidst calls for boycotting Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone's upcoming film "Pathaan" by some senior BJP leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narrotam Mishra and Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur. Mishra had taken issue with the color of a costume worn by Padukone in the film's song "Besharam Rang" and called for its rectification.

A right-wing organization in Chandigarh also called for the film to be banned and for criminal action to be taken against its makers. The Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Prasoon Joshi, has already announced that the makers of the film were asked to make advised changes and submit a revised version. This follows last year's protests by a Hindu outfit against Aamir Khan's "Laal Singh Chaddha" in Uttar Pradesh, who accused the actor of making fun of deities.  Pathaan is scheduled to be released in India on January 25, 2023, coinciding with India’s Republic Day in IMAX, 4DX and standard formats along with dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Advance bookings for the film appear to be substantial.

Clearly, after the controversy wound its course, the prime minister has spoken.

Close to a month back, as reported widely on December 21, Prominent BJP leaders paved the way calling for the boycott of the movie basis a song where “saffron” colour donned by the actress and “green” colour donned by the actor have become a point of contention.

As soon as the promotional song ‘Besharam Rang’ of the movie Pathan was released, certain individuals and groups within the saffron political ideology began to employ various methods to boycott the movie. They chose to nitpick the color of the outfit worn by the lead actress, Deepika Padukone, which was orange in color. This led to a series of hateful comments stating that saffron is a holy colour for Hindus and that her outfit and scenes with Shahrukh Khan are "objectionable" and will not be tolerated. This bigotry is selective and apparent. In the history of cinema, many actresses have worn bikinis of various colours and shot all kinds of scenes with actors, but these have quietly been overlooked. The selective targeting of a film with a Muslim actor in the lead is clear.

But this does not deter the saffron brigade at all. What becomes concerning for the filmmakers is when prominent political leaders call for the boycott over this issue. The production house and actors involved have not responded to this hate tirade, and rightfully so, as such objections do not warrant their time and energy. They aim to entertain the masses.

 Elected officials and union minister’s in Modi’s cabinet were not far behind. Ramdas Athawale, the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said, “We don’t have any problem with Pathan except that it uses the phrase, ‘Besharam Rang’, in a song for the saffron colour. Saffron is not only the colour of the BJP or the Shiv Sena, but it’s the colour of the clothes that Gautam Buddha wore. About 2,500 years ago, it emerged as a colour of peace. Hence it is also an insult to Buddhism. If they don’t remove the word, besharam, our party will also agitate against the film. No colour is besharam and such a reference should be removed.”

Madhya Pradesh Home Minster Narottam Mishra was the first to begin this tirade. He had said, “The film 'Pathaan' is full of faults & based on toxic mentality. Lyrics of song 'Besharam Rang' and saffron and green clothes worn in the song need to be corrected or else we will take decision on whether to let the film's screening happen in MP or not”

 

Related:

Saffron brigade manufactures hateful controversy around SRK’s ‘Pathaan’

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Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

Asim even spoke to the media and said he was beaten only because someone said “all mullas are thieves”

19 Jan 2023

Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

After Asim Hussain was beaten up by two men on board a train, Hussain has ben arrested on charges of sexual harassment by the UP Police. On January 14, a video had surfaced where Asim, a scrap dealer, travelling on Padmavat Express was brutally assaulted in the train.

Asim said, “they were shouting 'This Mullah is a thief', they took off my shirt & beat me with a belt, pulled my beard, asked me to chant Jai Shree Ram”. He said that some men got on the train at Hapur station. Someone, after looking at Asim said “this mulla is a thief. All mullas are thief” Mulla is used as a derogatory term used to refer to Muslim men.

Asim said that suddenly they started beating him and removed his clothes and beat him more. He said that they even took all the money he had on him.

The Railway Police arrested two accused Suraj and Satish.

 

 

Asim said that there was no other reason that served as a provocation to assault him and they just kept saying “Mullas are thieves”.

 

 

Reportedly, Asim has now been arrested in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh on charges of sexual harassment. No more details regarding this case are available.

Related:

K’taka: Bajrang Dal allegedly demonstrated outside a mosque

Moral policing: Mob assaults a young man for talking to a girl in MP

Anti-Muslim targeting continues in UP, another historical Mosque is demolished

Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

Asim even spoke to the media and said he was beaten only because someone said “all mullas are thieves”

Muslim man beaten on board a train in UP, booked for sexual harassment

After Asim Hussain was beaten up by two men on board a train, Hussain has ben arrested on charges of sexual harassment by the UP Police. On January 14, a video had surfaced where Asim, a scrap dealer, travelling on Padmavat Express was brutally assaulted in the train.

Asim said, “they were shouting 'This Mullah is a thief', they took off my shirt & beat me with a belt, pulled my beard, asked me to chant Jai Shree Ram”. He said that some men got on the train at Hapur station. Someone, after looking at Asim said “this mulla is a thief. All mullas are thief” Mulla is used as a derogatory term used to refer to Muslim men.

Asim said that suddenly they started beating him and removed his clothes and beat him more. He said that they even took all the money he had on him.

The Railway Police arrested two accused Suraj and Satish.

 

 

Asim said that there was no other reason that served as a provocation to assault him and they just kept saying “Mullas are thieves”.

 

 

Reportedly, Asim has now been arrested in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh on charges of sexual harassment. No more details regarding this case are available.

Related:

K’taka: Bajrang Dal allegedly demonstrated outside a mosque

Moral policing: Mob assaults a young man for talking to a girl in MP

Anti-Muslim targeting continues in UP, another historical Mosque is demolished

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