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129 persons arrested in Telinipara communal clashes; internet services suspended

Violent clashes took place in Telinipara, WB last Sunday after members of one community were taunted ‘corona’ by another

15 May 2020

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE

Days after clashes broke out between two communities at Telinipara in Hooghly district, the District Magistrate issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area and suspended internet services there, including broadband in the Chandannagar and Serampore subdivisions till 6 PM on Sunday. The decision to curb internet services was taken after fake news and misinformation about the clashes started circulating on social media platforms, The Indian Express reported.

A total of 129 people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the clashes that broke out in Telinipara after members of one community reportedly got into a verbal altercation with people of another community over why they were roaming around during the lockdown even after five members of their community had tested positive for Covid-19.

On Sunday, May 10, clashes broke out there after members of a community were taunted as “corona” by some people who belonged to another group, Scroll.in reported. Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humanyun Kabir said, “Some people were addressed as ‘corona’. And it all started from there. After a verbal spat, one group blocked another from entering a community bathroom in the Victoria Jute Mills area of Telinipara, which led to a fight.”

“Bombs were hurled and shops were ransacked on Sunday evening, Kabir said, adding that a huge team of police was sent there to control the situation. The police baton-charged people and fired 26 rounds of tear gas and ten rounds of rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

“We have initiated six cases in connection with spreading of inflammatory message through social media. We have identified some persons and have already served notices to them,” he added.

Post the incident, the Home Department of West Bengal had tweeted saying that the police would not allow any provocation and strict action would be taken against anyone who tried to create disturbance, including those who were posting and circulating false information.

 

 

The department also said that some people were “trying to spread the communal virus to further their political interests”. Speaking about the incident CM Mamata Banerjee said, “I have told police to take the strictest action. Those who violated the lockdown and indulged in communal clashes will be tried under the National Disaster Management Act. None will be spared. We will not see whether the person belongs to community A or B.”

The communal faultlines that tore apart minority dominated Telinipara were further deepened after the ruling party members openly blamed the minority for executing a conspiracy to spread the coronavirus to Hindus.

BJP MP from Chandannagar, Locket Chatterjee further added to the media-created stigma against the minorities saying, “I tried to get in touch with the police, but nobody answered my phone. I am not allowed to enter the area. Hindu homes have been burnt. There is nothing political about this. The clashes are happening from one side only.”

 

 

She told the media, “I’m trying to go into the area but the police isn’t allowing me even though this is my constituency. People depend on me and want my support. The Muslims are attacking Hindus. In the communal crisis, Muslims entered Hindu homes when it was raining heavily at night, they ransacked their homes and damaged their cars. There were bomb blasts too. The people who did it are corona positive and unwilling to go to a quarantine centre. That is why they want to spread it to Hindu areas. The police didn’t do anything about it.”

Right wing leaders are only stoking the communal fires by vilifying the minorities for the incident. The pattern of the incident is eerily reminiscent of the Delhi communal clashes which took place in the capital, not long ago, in the month of February where an anti-Muslim pogrom was orchestrated.

A senior official in the district administration at Telinipara informed that that around 150 houses and 50 shops had been damaged due to the violence. The official also said that the state government intends to offer compensation for the affected families of Telinipara.

 

Related:

Ahmedabad violence: Court pulls up cops for charging accused under Sec 307

Delhi HC again adjourns petition about police accountability for ‘indiscriminate’ arrests: Justice delayed?

129 persons arrested in Telinipara communal clashes; internet services suspended

Violent clashes took place in Telinipara, WB last Sunday after members of one community were taunted ‘corona’ by another

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE

Days after clashes broke out between two communities at Telinipara in Hooghly district, the District Magistrate issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area and suspended internet services there, including broadband in the Chandannagar and Serampore subdivisions till 6 PM on Sunday. The decision to curb internet services was taken after fake news and misinformation about the clashes started circulating on social media platforms, The Indian Express reported.

A total of 129 people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the clashes that broke out in Telinipara after members of one community reportedly got into a verbal altercation with people of another community over why they were roaming around during the lockdown even after five members of their community had tested positive for Covid-19.

On Sunday, May 10, clashes broke out there after members of a community were taunted as “corona” by some people who belonged to another group, Scroll.in reported. Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humanyun Kabir said, “Some people were addressed as ‘corona’. And it all started from there. After a verbal spat, one group blocked another from entering a community bathroom in the Victoria Jute Mills area of Telinipara, which led to a fight.”

“Bombs were hurled and shops were ransacked on Sunday evening, Kabir said, adding that a huge team of police was sent there to control the situation. The police baton-charged people and fired 26 rounds of tear gas and ten rounds of rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

“We have initiated six cases in connection with spreading of inflammatory message through social media. We have identified some persons and have already served notices to them,” he added.

Post the incident, the Home Department of West Bengal had tweeted saying that the police would not allow any provocation and strict action would be taken against anyone who tried to create disturbance, including those who were posting and circulating false information.

 

 

The department also said that some people were “trying to spread the communal virus to further their political interests”. Speaking about the incident CM Mamata Banerjee said, “I have told police to take the strictest action. Those who violated the lockdown and indulged in communal clashes will be tried under the National Disaster Management Act. None will be spared. We will not see whether the person belongs to community A or B.”

The communal faultlines that tore apart minority dominated Telinipara were further deepened after the ruling party members openly blamed the minority for executing a conspiracy to spread the coronavirus to Hindus.

BJP MP from Chandannagar, Locket Chatterjee further added to the media-created stigma against the minorities saying, “I tried to get in touch with the police, but nobody answered my phone. I am not allowed to enter the area. Hindu homes have been burnt. There is nothing political about this. The clashes are happening from one side only.”

 

 

She told the media, “I’m trying to go into the area but the police isn’t allowing me even though this is my constituency. People depend on me and want my support. The Muslims are attacking Hindus. In the communal crisis, Muslims entered Hindu homes when it was raining heavily at night, they ransacked their homes and damaged their cars. There were bomb blasts too. The people who did it are corona positive and unwilling to go to a quarantine centre. That is why they want to spread it to Hindu areas. The police didn’t do anything about it.”

Right wing leaders are only stoking the communal fires by vilifying the minorities for the incident. The pattern of the incident is eerily reminiscent of the Delhi communal clashes which took place in the capital, not long ago, in the month of February where an anti-Muslim pogrom was orchestrated.

A senior official in the district administration at Telinipara informed that that around 150 houses and 50 shops had been damaged due to the violence. The official also said that the state government intends to offer compensation for the affected families of Telinipara.

 

Related:

Ahmedabad violence: Court pulls up cops for charging accused under Sec 307

Delhi HC again adjourns petition about police accountability for ‘indiscriminate’ arrests: Justice delayed?

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One killed, one injured critically by lynch mob in Jharkhand

The men were attacked on suspicion of being goat thieves in Jharkhand’s Dumka district

12 May 2020

mob lynching

Even as India is moving through a lockdown, a man was lynched and another was seriously injured when a mob attacked them for allegedly trying to steal goats in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, reported The Telegraph India.

The incident took place at the Jhilmili village, which falls under the Kathikund police station. According to Superintendent of Police Ambar Lakra, initial investigations revealed that the villagers thrashed the two persons, Subhan Miya (40) and Dular Mridha with sticks after they were informed by neighbours that the men were stealing goats. Some villagers said they allegedly spotted Miya and Mridha cutting up the goat outside the village by some men who surrounded them and started calling them thieves. This is when a crowd gathered and the two were dragged into the village and tied to a tree and beaten up brutally.

SP Ambar Lakra said, “The two men were attacked when they were trying to steal goats grazing in the field. The villagers woke up after hearing the bleating of the goats. They surrounded the duo and beat them up. By the time police arrived at the spot, Subhan Miya was already dead.”

Dular Mirdha was taken to the Sadar hospital in a critical condition after the assault.

Kathikund police station officer-in-charge Tanvir Alam said that a “few people” had been taken into custody and a case had been lodged in the matter. He said, “Raids are on to arrest the others involved in the crime.”

Villagers said Mirdha had tried to escape when the duo were caught stealing. He was chased, pinned down to the ground and assaulted.

The police also said that a clash had broken out among the families of the victims and the attackers at the Sadar hospital, where Subhan Miya’s body was taken for a post-mortem.

As per The New Indian Express, the SP said that two people including the owner of the goat, had been arrested while the search for others was still on. He added that an FIR was lodged from both sides to reach into the depth of the matter.

“An FIR has been lodged from both sides, the villagers and also from the victim’s side. At least four persons have been named in the FIR along with 15 unknown people. Those who took the law into their hands will not be spared,” he said.

Related:

Christian man lynched by tribal animists in Odisha

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them

 

One killed, one injured critically by lynch mob in Jharkhand

The men were attacked on suspicion of being goat thieves in Jharkhand’s Dumka district

mob lynching

Even as India is moving through a lockdown, a man was lynched and another was seriously injured when a mob attacked them for allegedly trying to steal goats in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, reported The Telegraph India.

The incident took place at the Jhilmili village, which falls under the Kathikund police station. According to Superintendent of Police Ambar Lakra, initial investigations revealed that the villagers thrashed the two persons, Subhan Miya (40) and Dular Mridha with sticks after they were informed by neighbours that the men were stealing goats. Some villagers said they allegedly spotted Miya and Mridha cutting up the goat outside the village by some men who surrounded them and started calling them thieves. This is when a crowd gathered and the two were dragged into the village and tied to a tree and beaten up brutally.

SP Ambar Lakra said, “The two men were attacked when they were trying to steal goats grazing in the field. The villagers woke up after hearing the bleating of the goats. They surrounded the duo and beat them up. By the time police arrived at the spot, Subhan Miya was already dead.”

Dular Mirdha was taken to the Sadar hospital in a critical condition after the assault.

Kathikund police station officer-in-charge Tanvir Alam said that a “few people” had been taken into custody and a case had been lodged in the matter. He said, “Raids are on to arrest the others involved in the crime.”

Villagers said Mirdha had tried to escape when the duo were caught stealing. He was chased, pinned down to the ground and assaulted.

The police also said that a clash had broken out among the families of the victims and the attackers at the Sadar hospital, where Subhan Miya’s body was taken for a post-mortem.

As per The New Indian Express, the SP said that two people including the owner of the goat, had been arrested while the search for others was still on. He added that an FIR was lodged from both sides to reach into the depth of the matter.

“An FIR has been lodged from both sides, the villagers and also from the victim’s side. At least four persons have been named in the FIR along with 15 unknown people. Those who took the law into their hands will not be spared,” he said.

Related:

Christian man lynched by tribal animists in Odisha

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them

 

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Christian man lynched by tribal animists in Odisha

The incident that took place a month ago, reportedly left Kama Sodi in a coma for one and a half days

12 May 2020

christians

Woven in the tapestry of the country, religion in India, has always been a topic that is sensitive and unavoidable. Over the years, the poison of religious nationalism has crept into the remotest and most far-flung parts of the country. Minorities in India have always faced the wrath of the majority, but the problem has exacerbated since the BJP government coming into power.

Last month, a Christian man was almost killed by religious fanatics in Odisha, reported Countercurrents.org. A month after the incident, Kama Sodi is a sorry sight, with his body reduced to mere skin and bones. A resident of Kodalmetla village in Malkangiri, Sodi found it more difficult to survive after his childrens’ deaths when local religious goons threatened his and his wife's lives, only because they had found a faith that made sense to them.

Kama had run out of options to find a cure for his sickness. He met Kosha Muchaki who pastors the little congregation which meets at his uncle’s home. Through him he converted to Christianity.

On the March 11 2020, at around 1PM in the afternoon, 10 people including Kama had gathered at Mala’s home to pray. During the meeting, a few religious fanatics who were under the influence of alcohol, barged into the house. They created a chaos, beating up their own neighbours and accusing them of converting people to Christianity. What was astonishing was that they were the same people who had pointed out Kama and Mala to the Church. When their rage died down, they warned the Christians to never gather to pray again.

The next morning, when Sodi stepped outside his home, he was wrapped in fear. His home was surrounded by the same fanatics that had attacked him the previous night along with a few more locals who had joined in. They were all wielding bamboo sticks and had a tractor trolley with them. A few of them ran towards Kama and began to beat him up with the bamboo sticks while the others rushed into Kama’s home and started taking out Kama’s household items, including the TV, utensils, furniture etc. and loading it onto the trolley of the tractor. All Kama’s family could do was to scream and yell for help. Sadly, the spectators were held captive by fear and did not interfere. A few men then drove the tractor around 3kms away to a piece of land which belongs to Kama and dumped all the items there.

Sodi was beaten with sticks on his head, back and legs so mercilessly that he fell unconscious to the ground. He was later admitted to the Malkangiri BSS Government hospital where he received treatment for severe internal and external injuries for almost a week. He reportedly went into a coma for one and a half days.

According to Morning Star News, Sodi’s assailants were tribal animists, worshippers of the tribal religion. His wife, Bhimeshwari told the publication, “Even while suffering in their hands, my husband refused to give up his faith. They declared that they would allow a chance for him to live if he declared that he had renounced Christ. But my husband declined their offer and chose to suffer.”

Pastor Kosha Muchaki lodged a complaint with the Malkangiri Police station after he got to know about the incident. The police addressed the matter and spoke to the people who had harassed Sodi. They also made sure to return all the items that were taken away from Sodi’s house.

In a conversation with Persecution Relief, Pastor Kosha said, “After all these weeks, Kama is still in terrible pain. Most of the items that were taken out of the house were brought back damaged or destroyed, but he is very sure about his Christian faith.”

Not only this, Kama and his wife have also been shunned and are treated as untouchables in their ancestral village. The villagers don’t allow Sodi’s wife to draw water from the common bore-well in the village. Sodi wife said, “My husband and I close the doors and pray quietly; we are not afraid of tomorrow. We are socially banished from this village and have been treated as untouchables. They do not allow us to even walk on the road, and they believe that if we walk on it, it would be defiled. But our Lord is with us. We are seeking comfort in spending time with Lord Jesus.”

Now, the Covid-19 lockdown has added to Kama’s misery. Speaking to Persecution Relief, Kama said, “The fanatics are still threatening us, but where do we go? We have no other options!”

Bhimeshwari was hoping to work extra hours to earn some money while Sodi was recovering, but the lockdown quashed that idea. The things that assailants had thrown out also consisted of the little amount of foodgrains they had. When those were brought back, she saw that mud had piled up on them.

The small plot of land yields 20 to 30 bags of food grains, and what they are unable to sell they store as food for the remainder of the year, she said. Now those grains are gone, and villagers are ostracizing them economically, she said.

“Nobody wants to offer us work, and we are happy with whatever God provides us,” Sodi said. “I’m washing the mud off the few food grains I could gather from the floor and am cooking them for the children. My husband and I are having whatever leftovers there are once a day. The rest of the time, we would prefer to starve. If the children eat and go to sleep, we would be contented in that.”

 

Related:

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them

Jharkhand: Man lynched by mob on suspicion of theft, dies

Christian man lynched by tribal animists in Odisha

The incident that took place a month ago, reportedly left Kama Sodi in a coma for one and a half days

christians

Woven in the tapestry of the country, religion in India, has always been a topic that is sensitive and unavoidable. Over the years, the poison of religious nationalism has crept into the remotest and most far-flung parts of the country. Minorities in India have always faced the wrath of the majority, but the problem has exacerbated since the BJP government coming into power.

Last month, a Christian man was almost killed by religious fanatics in Odisha, reported Countercurrents.org. A month after the incident, Kama Sodi is a sorry sight, with his body reduced to mere skin and bones. A resident of Kodalmetla village in Malkangiri, Sodi found it more difficult to survive after his childrens’ deaths when local religious goons threatened his and his wife's lives, only because they had found a faith that made sense to them.

Kama had run out of options to find a cure for his sickness. He met Kosha Muchaki who pastors the little congregation which meets at his uncle’s home. Through him he converted to Christianity.

On the March 11 2020, at around 1PM in the afternoon, 10 people including Kama had gathered at Mala’s home to pray. During the meeting, a few religious fanatics who were under the influence of alcohol, barged into the house. They created a chaos, beating up their own neighbours and accusing them of converting people to Christianity. What was astonishing was that they were the same people who had pointed out Kama and Mala to the Church. When their rage died down, they warned the Christians to never gather to pray again.

The next morning, when Sodi stepped outside his home, he was wrapped in fear. His home was surrounded by the same fanatics that had attacked him the previous night along with a few more locals who had joined in. They were all wielding bamboo sticks and had a tractor trolley with them. A few of them ran towards Kama and began to beat him up with the bamboo sticks while the others rushed into Kama’s home and started taking out Kama’s household items, including the TV, utensils, furniture etc. and loading it onto the trolley of the tractor. All Kama’s family could do was to scream and yell for help. Sadly, the spectators were held captive by fear and did not interfere. A few men then drove the tractor around 3kms away to a piece of land which belongs to Kama and dumped all the items there.

Sodi was beaten with sticks on his head, back and legs so mercilessly that he fell unconscious to the ground. He was later admitted to the Malkangiri BSS Government hospital where he received treatment for severe internal and external injuries for almost a week. He reportedly went into a coma for one and a half days.

According to Morning Star News, Sodi’s assailants were tribal animists, worshippers of the tribal religion. His wife, Bhimeshwari told the publication, “Even while suffering in their hands, my husband refused to give up his faith. They declared that they would allow a chance for him to live if he declared that he had renounced Christ. But my husband declined their offer and chose to suffer.”

Pastor Kosha Muchaki lodged a complaint with the Malkangiri Police station after he got to know about the incident. The police addressed the matter and spoke to the people who had harassed Sodi. They also made sure to return all the items that were taken away from Sodi’s house.

In a conversation with Persecution Relief, Pastor Kosha said, “After all these weeks, Kama is still in terrible pain. Most of the items that were taken out of the house were brought back damaged or destroyed, but he is very sure about his Christian faith.”

Not only this, Kama and his wife have also been shunned and are treated as untouchables in their ancestral village. The villagers don’t allow Sodi’s wife to draw water from the common bore-well in the village. Sodi wife said, “My husband and I close the doors and pray quietly; we are not afraid of tomorrow. We are socially banished from this village and have been treated as untouchables. They do not allow us to even walk on the road, and they believe that if we walk on it, it would be defiled. But our Lord is with us. We are seeking comfort in spending time with Lord Jesus.”

Now, the Covid-19 lockdown has added to Kama’s misery. Speaking to Persecution Relief, Kama said, “The fanatics are still threatening us, but where do we go? We have no other options!”

Bhimeshwari was hoping to work extra hours to earn some money while Sodi was recovering, but the lockdown quashed that idea. The things that assailants had thrown out also consisted of the little amount of foodgrains they had. When those were brought back, she saw that mud had piled up on them.

The small plot of land yields 20 to 30 bags of food grains, and what they are unable to sell they store as food for the remainder of the year, she said. Now those grains are gone, and villagers are ostracizing them economically, she said.

“Nobody wants to offer us work, and we are happy with whatever God provides us,” Sodi said. “I’m washing the mud off the few food grains I could gather from the floor and am cooking them for the children. My husband and I are having whatever leftovers there are once a day. The rest of the time, we would prefer to starve. If the children eat and go to sleep, we would be contented in that.”

 

Related:

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them

Jharkhand: Man lynched by mob on suspicion of theft, dies

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101 adults arrested, 9 minors detained in Palghar lynching case

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh warns against giving incident a communal colour

20 Apr 2020

LynchedImage Courtesy:thequint.com

The Palghar police have nabbed 110 people in the matter of the lynching by villagers of three men that took place there on Thursday night. This includes 101 adults who have been remanded to custody and 9 minors who have also been detained in connection with the case. Anil Deshmukh, the Home Minister of Maharashtra warned against communalising the incident and said that an enquiry had been ordered in the matter, reported The Indian Express.

Gaurav Singh, Police Superintendent of Palghar said that the investigation was currently focused on identifying the sources of rumours that spread in the tribal village of Gadchinchle where the incident took place after the villagers allegedly mistook the victims to be thieves and lynched them.

“An inquiry will soon be conducted to ascertain what measures were taken by policemen who reached the scene and had taken the victims into a police van,” he said.

The victims, identified as two sadhus of the Juna Akhara, Chike Maharaj Kalpavruksh Giri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) were seen wearing faded saffron dhotis and kurtas in the video of the incident that was being circulated. They were identified as being from an ashram in Kandivali who were travelling to Surat to attend a funeral. The third victim was Nilesh Telgade (30), the driver of the van they were travelling in.

The 101 adults arrested are in 12-day police custody and the 9 minors have been sent to an observation home.

In his tweet, state home minister Anil Deshmukh said that the police fired two rounds and yet the crowd did not come under control. He said that there were some people who were trying to take advantage of the incident by giving it a political twist through a communal angle.

Twitter had gone abuzz with hashtags like #JusticeforHinduSadhus and several right-wing leaders expressed their displeasure over the incident. Some Hindutva associated handles then tried to instigate a communal angle prompting Deshmukh to tweet that the attackers and the victims belonged to the same religion.

In this matter, the Inspector General of Police (Konkan Range) also suspended two policemen, Kasa Police station’s Assistant police inspector Anandrao Kale and sub-inspector Sudhir Katare, for alleged dereliction of duty. CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police have arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself.” Uddhav Thackeray added, “Nobody guilty in this heinous crime and shameful act will be spared and they will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible.”
 

Related:

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them


Over 4.3 lakh migrants from Assam stranded across India

101 adults arrested, 9 minors detained in Palghar lynching case

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh warns against giving incident a communal colour

LynchedImage Courtesy:thequint.com

The Palghar police have nabbed 110 people in the matter of the lynching by villagers of three men that took place there on Thursday night. This includes 101 adults who have been remanded to custody and 9 minors who have also been detained in connection with the case. Anil Deshmukh, the Home Minister of Maharashtra warned against communalising the incident and said that an enquiry had been ordered in the matter, reported The Indian Express.

Gaurav Singh, Police Superintendent of Palghar said that the investigation was currently focused on identifying the sources of rumours that spread in the tribal village of Gadchinchle where the incident took place after the villagers allegedly mistook the victims to be thieves and lynched them.

“An inquiry will soon be conducted to ascertain what measures were taken by policemen who reached the scene and had taken the victims into a police van,” he said.

The victims, identified as two sadhus of the Juna Akhara, Chike Maharaj Kalpavruksh Giri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) were seen wearing faded saffron dhotis and kurtas in the video of the incident that was being circulated. They were identified as being from an ashram in Kandivali who were travelling to Surat to attend a funeral. The third victim was Nilesh Telgade (30), the driver of the van they were travelling in.

The 101 adults arrested are in 12-day police custody and the 9 minors have been sent to an observation home.

In his tweet, state home minister Anil Deshmukh said that the police fired two rounds and yet the crowd did not come under control. He said that there were some people who were trying to take advantage of the incident by giving it a political twist through a communal angle.

Twitter had gone abuzz with hashtags like #JusticeforHinduSadhus and several right-wing leaders expressed their displeasure over the incident. Some Hindutva associated handles then tried to instigate a communal angle prompting Deshmukh to tweet that the attackers and the victims belonged to the same religion.

In this matter, the Inspector General of Police (Konkan Range) also suspended two policemen, Kasa Police station’s Assistant police inspector Anandrao Kale and sub-inspector Sudhir Katare, for alleged dereliction of duty. CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police have arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself.” Uddhav Thackeray added, “Nobody guilty in this heinous crime and shameful act will be spared and they will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible.”
 

Related:

Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them


Over 4.3 lakh migrants from Assam stranded across India

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Kabul Gurudwara Attack being used to stir Anti-Muslim sentiment

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Gurudwara in Kabul, the Anti-Muslim IT cells in India have gone into overdrive to stir up communal hate. As Sikhs, we refuse to be a part of this rhetoric!

30 Mar 2020

Kabul gurudwaraImage: AP

On March 25, 2020, while the world was figuring out ways to battle COVID-19, suicide bombers and assailants armed with guns attacked Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, Afghanistan resulting in 26 lives lost and leaving many injured. The terrorists are believed to be affiliates of IS.

Sikhs have stepped up to help the world in various crisis situations time and again. As a child, I learnt the importance of Sewa and universal love from Guru Granth Saheb, and like me, most Sikhs live by these principles no matter the situation. It was therefore, disheartening and devastating when I heard about the terror attack. However, what followed is even more distressing. As the hashtag #AntiCAA_ProCorona started trending on Twitter, no doubt the work of IT cells with the agenda of spreading communal hatred, I saw more and more tweets directing hate towards the Muslim community using the Kabul attack as a weapon.

According to these tweets (which I refuse to share here as I do not want them to have even more visibility), the Muslims from India opposed CAA so that minorities like Sikhs in Afghanistan could not come to India and then they have targeted these Sikhs in a planned manner. The fact that one of the terrorist’s identity has been confirmed as a Muslim man hailing from Kerala, is added to these arguments. Further, multiple tweets with this exact same message are being posted, “Even in your distant dreams, don’t ever think that Sikhs are different to Hindus.  They are a part of greater Hindu identity. We share our Gurus, we share our centuries old customs and traditions, we share the same blood. #AntiCAA_ProCorona”.

First, let me clear up the logical fallacies in the above statements and arguments.

  1. Not only Muslims, but members of all communities have opposed CAA and NRC which would adversely affect anyone who does not have documents to prove where their parents were born or may not have their own documents- which includes anyone who does not have these documents due to poverty, illiteracy, home births in rural areas; transgender and queer people who have had to leave their homes; Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi people who might not have access to such documentation, and many others.

  2. The basis of opposing CAA is that it is inherently unconstitutional and coupled with NRC, it can harm citizens as we have seen in the case of Assam NRC where hundreds of people are still in detention camps or battling to prove their citizenship with limited resources. Opposition to CAA is NOT to prevent minorities from other countries from seeking asylum in India. Asylum must in fact be extended to all those in need irrespective of religion, without excluding any religion/caste/race.

  3. The conspiracy theory that Indian Muslims have conspired to attack Sikhs in Kabul is baseless. Terrorists are terrorists. Due to the actions of a few, an entire community cannot be branded as terrorists. It is 2020 and I cannot believe we still need to clarify this!

  4. As for the argument that Sikhs are a part of Hinduism- solidarity is appreciated, but erasure of our identity is not. Sikhs are entirely different from Hindus. We are not a part of the Hindu identity. Sikhism rejects caste, customs, and Hindu traditions like fasting, janeu (holy thread worn by Brahmins), and worship of idols. We do not share Gurus. Hindus are our brothers, yes, but our identity is separate and we do not want to be used for Anti-Muslim propaganda.

The concerted efforts to promote communal hate by the propaganda producing machinery needs to be brought to its knees, and if anyone can do it, we can. All over India, Muslims have been sending messages of love to Sikhs and have condemned the terror attack on the Gurudwara in Kabul.

 

 

I urge Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus alike, to be the voices of reason that need to be heard at this juncture. The world is teetering on the threshold of permanent change. Once we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, these battles to preserve love and harmony will become even more important. I refuse to let communal hate poison the new world we are desperately trying to build. Sikhs will oppose and refuse, always, to have anything to do with spreading hate.

We are gearing up to protect ourselves from a country-wide health crisis that is affecting the poor and disenfranchised with disproportionate severity. As we buckle up for the implications of the nationwide lockdown, I call upon my fellow Sikhs to continue their irreplaceable service and spread the message of harmony even as we grieve the attack in Kabul. This is the time for solidarity and service. This is the time for the Sewa sentiment of the Sikhs to be adopted by all. This is no time for spreading hate, and there will never be a time for it in the future either. We will make sure of it.

 

Related articles:

  1. 26 killed in ISIS terror attack on Gurudwara in Kabul

  2. Sikh-Muslim friendships started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji

  3. CAA-NPR-NRC protests cut across all religious and communal divides

  4. 'Seva', the Sikh langar, from Bhai Kanhaiya to Delhi Violence, 2020

  5. Draped in yellow, Malerkotla rises against the CAA-NPR-NRC

 

Kabul Gurudwara Attack being used to stir Anti-Muslim sentiment

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Gurudwara in Kabul, the Anti-Muslim IT cells in India have gone into overdrive to stir up communal hate. As Sikhs, we refuse to be a part of this rhetoric!

Kabul gurudwaraImage: AP

On March 25, 2020, while the world was figuring out ways to battle COVID-19, suicide bombers and assailants armed with guns attacked Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, Afghanistan resulting in 26 lives lost and leaving many injured. The terrorists are believed to be affiliates of IS.

Sikhs have stepped up to help the world in various crisis situations time and again. As a child, I learnt the importance of Sewa and universal love from Guru Granth Saheb, and like me, most Sikhs live by these principles no matter the situation. It was therefore, disheartening and devastating when I heard about the terror attack. However, what followed is even more distressing. As the hashtag #AntiCAA_ProCorona started trending on Twitter, no doubt the work of IT cells with the agenda of spreading communal hatred, I saw more and more tweets directing hate towards the Muslim community using the Kabul attack as a weapon.

According to these tweets (which I refuse to share here as I do not want them to have even more visibility), the Muslims from India opposed CAA so that minorities like Sikhs in Afghanistan could not come to India and then they have targeted these Sikhs in a planned manner. The fact that one of the terrorist’s identity has been confirmed as a Muslim man hailing from Kerala, is added to these arguments. Further, multiple tweets with this exact same message are being posted, “Even in your distant dreams, don’t ever think that Sikhs are different to Hindus.  They are a part of greater Hindu identity. We share our Gurus, we share our centuries old customs and traditions, we share the same blood. #AntiCAA_ProCorona”.

First, let me clear up the logical fallacies in the above statements and arguments.

  1. Not only Muslims, but members of all communities have opposed CAA and NRC which would adversely affect anyone who does not have documents to prove where their parents were born or may not have their own documents- which includes anyone who does not have these documents due to poverty, illiteracy, home births in rural areas; transgender and queer people who have had to leave their homes; Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi people who might not have access to such documentation, and many others.

  2. The basis of opposing CAA is that it is inherently unconstitutional and coupled with NRC, it can harm citizens as we have seen in the case of Assam NRC where hundreds of people are still in detention camps or battling to prove their citizenship with limited resources. Opposition to CAA is NOT to prevent minorities from other countries from seeking asylum in India. Asylum must in fact be extended to all those in need irrespective of religion, without excluding any religion/caste/race.

  3. The conspiracy theory that Indian Muslims have conspired to attack Sikhs in Kabul is baseless. Terrorists are terrorists. Due to the actions of a few, an entire community cannot be branded as terrorists. It is 2020 and I cannot believe we still need to clarify this!

  4. As for the argument that Sikhs are a part of Hinduism- solidarity is appreciated, but erasure of our identity is not. Sikhs are entirely different from Hindus. We are not a part of the Hindu identity. Sikhism rejects caste, customs, and Hindu traditions like fasting, janeu (holy thread worn by Brahmins), and worship of idols. We do not share Gurus. Hindus are our brothers, yes, but our identity is separate and we do not want to be used for Anti-Muslim propaganda.

The concerted efforts to promote communal hate by the propaganda producing machinery needs to be brought to its knees, and if anyone can do it, we can. All over India, Muslims have been sending messages of love to Sikhs and have condemned the terror attack on the Gurudwara in Kabul.

 

 

I urge Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus alike, to be the voices of reason that need to be heard at this juncture. The world is teetering on the threshold of permanent change. Once we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, these battles to preserve love and harmony will become even more important. I refuse to let communal hate poison the new world we are desperately trying to build. Sikhs will oppose and refuse, always, to have anything to do with spreading hate.

We are gearing up to protect ourselves from a country-wide health crisis that is affecting the poor and disenfranchised with disproportionate severity. As we buckle up for the implications of the nationwide lockdown, I call upon my fellow Sikhs to continue their irreplaceable service and spread the message of harmony even as we grieve the attack in Kabul. This is the time for solidarity and service. This is the time for the Sewa sentiment of the Sikhs to be adopted by all. This is no time for spreading hate, and there will never be a time for it in the future either. We will make sure of it.

 

Related articles:

  1. 26 killed in ISIS terror attack on Gurudwara in Kabul

  2. Sikh-Muslim friendships started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji

  3. CAA-NPR-NRC protests cut across all religious and communal divides

  4. 'Seva', the Sikh langar, from Bhai Kanhaiya to Delhi Violence, 2020

  5. Draped in yellow, Malerkotla rises against the CAA-NPR-NRC

 

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26 killed in ISIS terror attack on Gurudwara in Kabul

Fear that anti-Muslim sentiments could derail interfaith relations amidst Covid-19 pandemic

26 Mar 2020

attack on sikhs

One of the most heartbreaking visuals, were beamed from Kabul, of the funeral of the innocent Sikh worshipers who were killed by terrorists who had stormed into and laid siege in a gurudwara during morning prayers. 

The attack has shaken the Sikh community worldwide, and especially in India where members of the community have been hailed for being first responders in any crisis. The Sikh community has also stood in open solidarity with other Indian communities, especially the Muslims. Sikhs were the first to open community kitchens at the anti-Caa-NRC-NPR protests, and were hailed for their generosity, and humane gestures. They also came forward to help victims of the nati-mulsim riots in North-East Delhi. 

This assault on the community that practises service to all humnaity has deeply hurt the Muslim community in India. “The murderous attack on Kabul gurudwara is criminal, ISIS is deadlier than Corona,” Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission, is one of the first Muslim leaders from India, to publicly condemned the attack. He called for  the severest punishment for those who planned and supported the attack. “Arrest these criminals and execute them at the earliest,” said Dr Khan, a well-known Islamic scholar who has studied at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, and was president of the apex All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat for many years. “ISIS is a fanatic organisation which relies on the ideas of Khawarij outlaws who reared their heads in early Islam and were rejected by Muslims,” he said.

According to a Guardian report, the terrorists killed, “at least 25 worshippers, including women and children, and injured many others,” On Wednesday March 25. The victims had been held hostage and the siege continued for hours in the local Gurudwara  where the Sikhs, a minority community in Afghanistan, lived.

Dr Khan offered condolences and,  “begged forgiveness of Sikh brothers and sisters.” He said that all Muslims stood with the Sikh community in this moment of their grief and were praying for the victims. 

The victims were cremated in Kabul on Thursday, March 26. “In tears. Helpless in mourning. Funeral pyre of 25 out of 26 innocent Sikh being lit in #Kabul right now. Yesterday as they worshiped for good health for all across globe amidst #COVID19, Pakistan backed terrorists gunned them mercilessly. What was their crime? #WaheGuru help us!” tweeted journalist Ravinder Singh Robin.

 

 

According to reports nearly 200 people were in the complex when the heavily armed terrorists stormed the morning worship at the gurdwara, and began shooting and throwing bombs, said news reports. The attackers were later killed by  Afghan forces.

Many leaders condemned this attack and said they stood in solidarity with the entire Sikh community. Kerala chief minister Pinari Vijayan said: “

Deeply saddened to learn of the attack against a Guruduwara in Kabul. We strongly condemn this reprehensible & cowardly act. Our thoughts are with all those affected. In times of crisis, Sikh community members are often the first responders. The world should stand with them now.”

Dr Khan added  that, “ISIS is deadlier than the Corona virus and should be mercilessly exterminated from the face of the earth. Anyone, Muslim or otherwise, supporting ISIS is an enemy of Islam, Muslims and humanity.” 

However, there were some who swooped down on this tragedy and started fanning hate between the two communities. Bharatiya Janata Party politician Kapil Mishra led the virtiol and posted, “ काबुल में 11 सिखों की हत्या, गुरुद्वारे पर हमला दुःख, दर्दनाक, अमानवीय... अक्षम शाहीन बाग में लंगर बांटने वाले आज क्या सोच रहे होंगे ?”  

He was openly taunting the Sikh volunteers who had stood in solidarity with the women of Shaheen Bagh as they peacefully protested against the  Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 

Other Right Wing voices fanned the hate speech with more taunts.  “Sikh brothers serving Langer to these jihadi elements at Shaheenbaug opposing CAA should awaken to the reality that jihadis didnt even spare a 3 year old child in Kabul,” said Shriraj Nair who identifies himself as a VHP spokesman.

However, this they were shut down instantly, shamed publicly,  and reported by social media users from all communities. 

26 killed in ISIS terror attack on Gurudwara in Kabul

Fear that anti-Muslim sentiments could derail interfaith relations amidst Covid-19 pandemic

attack on sikhs

One of the most heartbreaking visuals, were beamed from Kabul, of the funeral of the innocent Sikh worshipers who were killed by terrorists who had stormed into and laid siege in a gurudwara during morning prayers. 

The attack has shaken the Sikh community worldwide, and especially in India where members of the community have been hailed for being first responders in any crisis. The Sikh community has also stood in open solidarity with other Indian communities, especially the Muslims. Sikhs were the first to open community kitchens at the anti-Caa-NRC-NPR protests, and were hailed for their generosity, and humane gestures. They also came forward to help victims of the nati-mulsim riots in North-East Delhi. 

This assault on the community that practises service to all humnaity has deeply hurt the Muslim community in India. “The murderous attack on Kabul gurudwara is criminal, ISIS is deadlier than Corona,” Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission, is one of the first Muslim leaders from India, to publicly condemned the attack. He called for  the severest punishment for those who planned and supported the attack. “Arrest these criminals and execute them at the earliest,” said Dr Khan, a well-known Islamic scholar who has studied at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, and was president of the apex All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat for many years. “ISIS is a fanatic organisation which relies on the ideas of Khawarij outlaws who reared their heads in early Islam and were rejected by Muslims,” he said.

According to a Guardian report, the terrorists killed, “at least 25 worshippers, including women and children, and injured many others,” On Wednesday March 25. The victims had been held hostage and the siege continued for hours in the local Gurudwara  where the Sikhs, a minority community in Afghanistan, lived.

Dr Khan offered condolences and,  “begged forgiveness of Sikh brothers and sisters.” He said that all Muslims stood with the Sikh community in this moment of their grief and were praying for the victims. 

The victims were cremated in Kabul on Thursday, March 26. “In tears. Helpless in mourning. Funeral pyre of 25 out of 26 innocent Sikh being lit in #Kabul right now. Yesterday as they worshiped for good health for all across globe amidst #COVID19, Pakistan backed terrorists gunned them mercilessly. What was their crime? #WaheGuru help us!” tweeted journalist Ravinder Singh Robin.

 

 

According to reports nearly 200 people were in the complex when the heavily armed terrorists stormed the morning worship at the gurdwara, and began shooting and throwing bombs, said news reports. The attackers were later killed by  Afghan forces.

Many leaders condemned this attack and said they stood in solidarity with the entire Sikh community. Kerala chief minister Pinari Vijayan said: “

Deeply saddened to learn of the attack against a Guruduwara in Kabul. We strongly condemn this reprehensible & cowardly act. Our thoughts are with all those affected. In times of crisis, Sikh community members are often the first responders. The world should stand with them now.”

Dr Khan added  that, “ISIS is deadlier than the Corona virus and should be mercilessly exterminated from the face of the earth. Anyone, Muslim or otherwise, supporting ISIS is an enemy of Islam, Muslims and humanity.” 

However, there were some who swooped down on this tragedy and started fanning hate between the two communities. Bharatiya Janata Party politician Kapil Mishra led the virtiol and posted, “ काबुल में 11 सिखों की हत्या, गुरुद्वारे पर हमला दुःख, दर्दनाक, अमानवीय... अक्षम शाहीन बाग में लंगर बांटने वाले आज क्या सोच रहे होंगे ?”  

He was openly taunting the Sikh volunteers who had stood in solidarity with the women of Shaheen Bagh as they peacefully protested against the  Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 

Other Right Wing voices fanned the hate speech with more taunts.  “Sikh brothers serving Langer to these jihadi elements at Shaheenbaug opposing CAA should awaken to the reality that jihadis didnt even spare a 3 year old child in Kabul,” said Shriraj Nair who identifies himself as a VHP spokesman.

However, this they were shut down instantly, shamed publicly,  and reported by social media users from all communities. 

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Meghalaya: Four arrested in Bara Bazar ethnic violence case

Men had gone on a stabbing spree against non-tribals after clashes is wake of the killing of a KSU member in East Khasi Hills district

26 Mar 2020

shilong

The Meghalaya Police have arrested four men in connection with a series of stabbings of non-tribals in Shillong’s Bara Bazar area. On February 29, Rupchand Dewan, a vegetable vendor originally hailing from Assam’s Barpeta district was stabbed to death in the incident. Another vegetable vendor Jaddu Choudhury from Silchar was also stabbed, but survived.

Many of the vendors who hawk their wares in this market are ethnic Bengalis belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities. The stabbing spree was a part of a series of retaliatory attacks against non-tribal people in Meghalaya after Lurshai Hynniewta, a resident of Khliehshnong Sohra, was killed in clashes that broke out in Ichamati village located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya between members of the Khasi Students Union (KSU) and non-tribals. The violence took place at a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) where KSU, that opposes the CAA demanded the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) at Ichamati. 

Following the clashes a curfew had been imposed in the region. A total of 12 people have been arrested in connection with the case so far.

In 1979, when the “anti-foreigner” sentiment swept across Assam, a parallel movement against Bengalis began in Meghalaya. The derogatory word Dkhar was used for ethnic Bengalis, who were mainly Hindu settlers. Violence broke out in October 1979 after two Khasi boys allegedly desecrated an image of a Bengali Hindu deity. Bengali owned businesses and shops were subsequently shut down forcible and over 20,000 Bengalis were forced to flee the state.

Even today, Bengalis are viewed as outsiders and ethnocentric groups fear their influx will spoil the demography of the state. 

 

Related:

Turmoil in the North East: Ethnic divide widens in Meghalaya

Turmoil in the North East: The demand for Bangalistan

Turmoil in the North East: A Bru Story

Turmoil in the North East: The Naga Pact and its ramifications

Meghalaya: Four arrested in Bara Bazar ethnic violence case

Men had gone on a stabbing spree against non-tribals after clashes is wake of the killing of a KSU member in East Khasi Hills district

shilong

The Meghalaya Police have arrested four men in connection with a series of stabbings of non-tribals in Shillong’s Bara Bazar area. On February 29, Rupchand Dewan, a vegetable vendor originally hailing from Assam’s Barpeta district was stabbed to death in the incident. Another vegetable vendor Jaddu Choudhury from Silchar was also stabbed, but survived.

Many of the vendors who hawk their wares in this market are ethnic Bengalis belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities. The stabbing spree was a part of a series of retaliatory attacks against non-tribal people in Meghalaya after Lurshai Hynniewta, a resident of Khliehshnong Sohra, was killed in clashes that broke out in Ichamati village located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya between members of the Khasi Students Union (KSU) and non-tribals. The violence took place at a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) where KSU, that opposes the CAA demanded the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) at Ichamati. 

Following the clashes a curfew had been imposed in the region. A total of 12 people have been arrested in connection with the case so far.

In 1979, when the “anti-foreigner” sentiment swept across Assam, a parallel movement against Bengalis began in Meghalaya. The derogatory word Dkhar was used for ethnic Bengalis, who were mainly Hindu settlers. Violence broke out in October 1979 after two Khasi boys allegedly desecrated an image of a Bengali Hindu deity. Bengali owned businesses and shops were subsequently shut down forcible and over 20,000 Bengalis were forced to flee the state.

Even today, Bengalis are viewed as outsiders and ethnocentric groups fear their influx will spoil the demography of the state. 

 

Related:

Turmoil in the North East: Ethnic divide widens in Meghalaya

Turmoil in the North East: The demand for Bangalistan

Turmoil in the North East: A Bru Story

Turmoil in the North East: The Naga Pact and its ramifications

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Interview

Those who saw death and destruction, won't be reassured by mere talk

Hindutva forces trying to cause social rupture between communities 

26 Mar 2020

dr zafrul

Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities says, Delhi Minority Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. That the Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi did not step in when needed, has made matters worse. While it is known that  the compensation offered to riot victims is not adequate, even the measly amount is not accessible for many who have lost documents and not been able to file complaints. The assessment of damage is a mammoth task and long term relief planning will have to put in place. With Covid-19 lockdown most of this work has slowed down too. However, things hopefully will get back on track as volunteers and NGOs continue to step forward when the authorities fail to do enough.
 

In an exclusive interview with Sabrang India, he spoke to Karuna John.

 

The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) has been mapping the damage caused in North-East Delhi. Please share your assessment of the extent of damage .

Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) started the assessment of riot victims and their losses as part of its fact-finding committee’s work. The pressing reason was that we were getting reports that area Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) were rejecting forms, that police were not registering (First Information Reports) FIRs or was clubbing many complaints with one FIR, which meant that some, or many, victims will not get justice and compensation. So we designed elaborate assessment forms and our volunteers are going house-to-house and to camps, to fill the forms at the doorstep of the victims. We are also giving receipts, while SDMs were not giving receipts. We plan to track those victims who do not get compensation and will use our assessment forms to get them their dues. The work has been slowed down at present due to the curfew restrictions as a result of the Corona epidemic. It will pick up speed once the situation becomes normal.
 

What is the extent of damage that still needs to be documented?

It is still not possible to offer any figures, but it is known that some people could not file their compensation forms, some fled to their far-away villages or moved to live with their relatives in other parts of Delhi. We have placed 40 notice boards in the North East district with helpline numbers so that people know how to approach us.
 

DMC


Survivors have lost livelihoods. What attempts are being made to help them re-start work?

The DMC is not mandated to do such kind of work. What we did was to intervene with the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to enhance the compensation announced and to cover more aspects, and this was done by the government within days. Still the compensation in our view is not adequate. The Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi should have stepped in but it has not. Private individuals and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are playing a very good role to fill this gap. Victims are being assisted to stand again on their feet and their houses and shops are being repaired by private and NGO help and we are coordinating and helping such activity.
 

Trust between the two communities has been lost. Muslims no longer feel safe enough to return to their old neighbourhoods. What is the solution to this intense ghettoisation in already crowded areas, which have their own challenges?

We are trying through our Peace Committee members in the area to intervene where possible but this is a Himalayan task since people who have seen their kin murdered, attacked and their houses and shops burnt will not be reassured by mere talk. I think people from the majority community should come forward to rebuild the burnt bridges. This is all the more important since we are getting reports that majority community people in some affected pockets are preventing the return of victims to their homes. It is a matter of sorrow that both the state and Union governments are not taking initiatives in this direction. This is a big challenge not only in the North East district of Delhi but in most parts of the country where Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities.
 

What are the challenges that survivors now have to deal with when the Covid-19 lockdown has been enforced till mid-April?

Most of the victims belong to the poor class who owned small businesses or were daily wage-earners. For such people, who do not have any assets or savings to fall back on, these next few weeks will be very difficult. They need sustained help during this period. We will try that the current phase of help continues until the end of April at least.
 

What about restrictions faced by relief workers due to the lockdown?

Relief workers and volunteers are still active but on a lower scale since Corona scare works both ways: victims do not want to come in contact with strangers and volunteers are apprehensive of going into congested slums where the possibility of infection is high. Also, problems of restricted movement as a result of strict curfew are restricting movements and work of volunteers. I think the momentum of the work will bounce back once the epidemic scare dies down.
 

Riot survivors have lost ID documents when their homes were gutted. How can they avail any government-aided relief?

This is the reason why compensation forms of some victims have not been accepted. DMC forms and volunteers are not demanding such documents. People can take time and procure copies of documents when things get normal. Where needed, we will not desist from intervention with concerned authorities to force them to issue duplicate copies of lost documents and for fair compensation to be paid to them. 
 

Is the DMC launching any relief work for the lockdown period?

The DMC is not mandated to do relief work on its own. We are working with some NGOs and individuals and helping them to carry out this work. If need be, we will intervene with the government.
 

Has the Commission called for more funds to meet increased needs due to the Covid-91 pandemic?

No. We have not taken any such step.
 

Why is Delhi Police picking up youth from N-East Delhi, have they responded to the Commission’s warning? How many youth are missing from that area?

This is a real problem that police are picking up youth randomly, pressuring them to accept their “guilt” or to implicate others. We have taken notice of this. We have not received any reply so far or maybe some reply has come but could not reach us because our offices like other Govt. offices are totally locked at present. 

As regards the missing persons, we do not know the numbers but it is a fact that some people are still missing. Most probably they were killed and dumped somewhere, like in nallas (sewers). I understand that some bodies are still lying in hospitals because these could not be identified by anyone. Hence the actual number of the violence victims is yet not known in exact terms.

Those who saw death and destruction, won't be reassured by mere talk

Hindutva forces trying to cause social rupture between communities 

dr zafrul

Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities says, Delhi Minority Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. That the Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi did not step in when needed, has made matters worse. While it is known that  the compensation offered to riot victims is not adequate, even the measly amount is not accessible for many who have lost documents and not been able to file complaints. The assessment of damage is a mammoth task and long term relief planning will have to put in place. With Covid-19 lockdown most of this work has slowed down too. However, things hopefully will get back on track as volunteers and NGOs continue to step forward when the authorities fail to do enough.
 

In an exclusive interview with Sabrang India, he spoke to Karuna John.

 

The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) has been mapping the damage caused in North-East Delhi. Please share your assessment of the extent of damage .

Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) started the assessment of riot victims and their losses as part of its fact-finding committee’s work. The pressing reason was that we were getting reports that area Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) were rejecting forms, that police were not registering (First Information Reports) FIRs or was clubbing many complaints with one FIR, which meant that some, or many, victims will not get justice and compensation. So we designed elaborate assessment forms and our volunteers are going house-to-house and to camps, to fill the forms at the doorstep of the victims. We are also giving receipts, while SDMs were not giving receipts. We plan to track those victims who do not get compensation and will use our assessment forms to get them their dues. The work has been slowed down at present due to the curfew restrictions as a result of the Corona epidemic. It will pick up speed once the situation becomes normal.
 

What is the extent of damage that still needs to be documented?

It is still not possible to offer any figures, but it is known that some people could not file their compensation forms, some fled to their far-away villages or moved to live with their relatives in other parts of Delhi. We have placed 40 notice boards in the North East district with helpline numbers so that people know how to approach us.
 

DMC


Survivors have lost livelihoods. What attempts are being made to help them re-start work?

The DMC is not mandated to do such kind of work. What we did was to intervene with the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to enhance the compensation announced and to cover more aspects, and this was done by the government within days. Still the compensation in our view is not adequate. The Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi should have stepped in but it has not. Private individuals and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are playing a very good role to fill this gap. Victims are being assisted to stand again on their feet and their houses and shops are being repaired by private and NGO help and we are coordinating and helping such activity.
 

Trust between the two communities has been lost. Muslims no longer feel safe enough to return to their old neighbourhoods. What is the solution to this intense ghettoisation in already crowded areas, which have their own challenges?

We are trying through our Peace Committee members in the area to intervene where possible but this is a Himalayan task since people who have seen their kin murdered, attacked and their houses and shops burnt will not be reassured by mere talk. I think people from the majority community should come forward to rebuild the burnt bridges. This is all the more important since we are getting reports that majority community people in some affected pockets are preventing the return of victims to their homes. It is a matter of sorrow that both the state and Union governments are not taking initiatives in this direction. This is a big challenge not only in the North East district of Delhi but in most parts of the country where Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities.
 

What are the challenges that survivors now have to deal with when the Covid-19 lockdown has been enforced till mid-April?

Most of the victims belong to the poor class who owned small businesses or were daily wage-earners. For such people, who do not have any assets or savings to fall back on, these next few weeks will be very difficult. They need sustained help during this period. We will try that the current phase of help continues until the end of April at least.
 

What about restrictions faced by relief workers due to the lockdown?

Relief workers and volunteers are still active but on a lower scale since Corona scare works both ways: victims do not want to come in contact with strangers and volunteers are apprehensive of going into congested slums where the possibility of infection is high. Also, problems of restricted movement as a result of strict curfew are restricting movements and work of volunteers. I think the momentum of the work will bounce back once the epidemic scare dies down.
 

Riot survivors have lost ID documents when their homes were gutted. How can they avail any government-aided relief?

This is the reason why compensation forms of some victims have not been accepted. DMC forms and volunteers are not demanding such documents. People can take time and procure copies of documents when things get normal. Where needed, we will not desist from intervention with concerned authorities to force them to issue duplicate copies of lost documents and for fair compensation to be paid to them. 
 

Is the DMC launching any relief work for the lockdown period?

The DMC is not mandated to do relief work on its own. We are working with some NGOs and individuals and helping them to carry out this work. If need be, we will intervene with the government.
 

Has the Commission called for more funds to meet increased needs due to the Covid-91 pandemic?

No. We have not taken any such step.
 

Why is Delhi Police picking up youth from N-East Delhi, have they responded to the Commission’s warning? How many youth are missing from that area?

This is a real problem that police are picking up youth randomly, pressuring them to accept their “guilt” or to implicate others. We have taken notice of this. We have not received any reply so far or maybe some reply has come but could not reach us because our offices like other Govt. offices are totally locked at present. 

As regards the missing persons, we do not know the numbers but it is a fact that some people are still missing. Most probably they were killed and dumped somewhere, like in nallas (sewers). I understand that some bodies are still lying in hospitals because these could not be identified by anyone. Hence the actual number of the violence victims is yet not known in exact terms.

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Delhi HC asks govt to expedite DNA testing of Delhi riot victim

The government was unable to present legal provision which requires court orders to conduct DNA test

25 Mar 2020

delhi violence

The High Court has directed the state government to expedite DNA testing of bodies of riot victims without waiting for court orders to that effect. The Court was hearing a petition moved by the parent of child who has been missing since February 25, 2020 when rioting took place in North East Delhi. 

The man has been waiting to have a DNA test confirm whether the charred remains recovered two days later belong to his son. The Court, however, noted that there was no need for the government to wait for the court’s orders to go on with the DNA testing as there was no legal provision or prerequisite to that effect.

DNA samples had already been collected from the family members as well as from the body suspected to belong to the petitioner’s son. The testing was, however, not initiated as the government was waiting for court orders for the same. The petitioner submitted that delay in the DNA testing would make it difficult for his missing person to be traced. Delhi government’s counsel submitted that it is only in the cases of a direction being given by a Court that priority is granted to such cases; but failed to put forth a legal provision to this regard.

The Court then asked the respondents to expedite the process of the DNA testing and provide the report to the petitioner as soon as it is received while also filing an affidavit in court confirming the same. The Court then specifically asked the respondents to take a call on the basis of urgency of each case and not wait for court’s order.
 

The Delhi High Court order can be read here: 

 

Delhi HC asks govt to expedite DNA testing of Delhi riot victim

The government was unable to present legal provision which requires court orders to conduct DNA test

delhi violence

The High Court has directed the state government to expedite DNA testing of bodies of riot victims without waiting for court orders to that effect. The Court was hearing a petition moved by the parent of child who has been missing since February 25, 2020 when rioting took place in North East Delhi. 

The man has been waiting to have a DNA test confirm whether the charred remains recovered two days later belong to his son. The Court, however, noted that there was no need for the government to wait for the court’s orders to go on with the DNA testing as there was no legal provision or prerequisite to that effect.

DNA samples had already been collected from the family members as well as from the body suspected to belong to the petitioner’s son. The testing was, however, not initiated as the government was waiting for court orders for the same. The petitioner submitted that delay in the DNA testing would make it difficult for his missing person to be traced. Delhi government’s counsel submitted that it is only in the cases of a direction being given by a Court that priority is granted to such cases; but failed to put forth a legal provision to this regard.

The Court then asked the respondents to expedite the process of the DNA testing and provide the report to the petitioner as soon as it is received while also filing an affidavit in court confirming the same. The Court then specifically asked the respondents to take a call on the basis of urgency of each case and not wait for court’s order.
 

The Delhi High Court order can be read here: 

 

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Delhi Pogrom victims need your help more than ever

A group of volunteers has been raising funds for families displaced during the Delhi Pogrom. With less than ideal provisions of relief camps and the imminent threat of COVID-19, these families need your help now!

25 Mar 2020

delhi

10 month old Baby Maryam’s story was shared by many, as the youngest victim of violence in Delhi Pogrom. She was beaten with sticks and hurled on the road. He collar bone was broken. Her father Sarfaraz’s car was burnt.  Dushyant A  put out a Call For Action to raise funds for Maryam’s family, and the fundraising then snowballed as other volunteers and media picked it up. Barkha Dutt also covered the story and put out the call for fundraising.

These fundraising efforts started by Dushyant A during, and in the aftermath of the Delhi Pogrom which took place between February 24 and 27, 2020, were swiftly joined by multiple people who stepped forward to help. Citizen volunteers like Nupur Singh RiatSwati D’souzaMinu Jain and on ground co-ordinator Doctor Muheet Saifi, started raising awareness about more families that were affected and urging people to donate via their posts on Twitter. This core team is supported by 10 volunteers who undertake in-person field visits, interact with the victimized families, raise funds, and handle the administrative tasks involved.

The volunteers liaise with and obtain leads from journalists and legal teams who are on ground with the victims and citizen volunteers engaged in relief efforts. Some victims who receive help may also share stories of other families in need and these are then included in the relief efforts once a due process of verification is followed. Once the volunteers asses the scale of losses suffered and verify bank details, the calls to action are shared on social media. Since the donations are deposited directly in the victim’s bank accounts, there is no middle man and the process is quicker.

The quick and accessible aid is evident in the story of Salman and Wasim. Volunteer Hasiba Amin shared their story in a Tweet on March 10, 2020.
 


Within 3 days, the volunteers raised enough funds and supplies to start rebuilding and re-stocking the store. This story also highlights the intent behind this fundraising effort. People lost their livelihoods. They are not looking for money, they are looking for means to get back to work and start earning their bread like they used to.

Ibran, for example, worked as a field blood collector for a Pathology Lab. He relied on his bike to reach people’s homes to provide this medical service. A mob destroyed his bike and he could no longer continue his work. When his story was shared, people came forward with offers of not just funds, but even donating their own vehicles to him.

 

 

Again, within 3 days, he had received enough funds and could resume work immediately. Every day that someone cannot earn for their family, can be very hard not just financially but emotionally as well. All people are looking for, are the means to restore their homes and livelihoods, and resume their lives with dignity.

As of March 17, 2020, the informal core team with its numerous volunteers, has raised about 1.42 crore for more than 80 families, with the funds being deposited directly into the bank accounts of the victims. This is no small feat, and yet, there is a long way to go.

With the looming threat of COVID-19, it has become even more critical that families be able to survive and live in hygienic conditions, and provide their members with enough food as trade and economic activities slowly shut down. These families have borne the brunt of a communal Pogrom and now they face a bigger threat of poverty and vulnerability to disease. Even after being victimized by communal hatred, they still hope to see the good in people, and need continued efforts on our parts to support them. One of the people who received donations, Shahzad, put it poignantly, “I, Shahzad Zaidi, on behalf of my family, from the bottom of my heart, thank those who are helping us through this difficult time. I promise that once I stand on my feet again, I will also extend help to others in the same way. I am witnessing people from every religion extending their help to me even when they don’t know me in person. I salute their humanity. May God keep you safe from all evil.”

The volunteers are still looking for donations and help to rehabilitate more families. The verified fundraisers can be found on any of the following Twitter handles:

Dushyant A - https://twitter.com/atti_cus

Nupur Singh Riat - https://twitter.com/thoumayestnow

Swati D’souza - https://twitter.com/Sw0oti

Minu Jain - https://twitter.com/minu_jain

Doctor Muheet Saifi - https://twitter.com/saifizoology

In these difficult times, if you are able to, please donate or reach out to the affected families in Delhi. If you cannot help monetarily, please amplify the volunteer efforts and help them increase their reach by spreading the word. Shahzad has faith in humanity. Let us strive to keep this faith alive.

 

Related articles:

  1. Delhi violence: Mapping the damage
  2. Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona
  3. States announce relief measures; Centre still mum on economic aid for Covid-19
  4. Burqas, Bindis, and Bangles: The Femme Revolution of India

 

Delhi Pogrom victims need your help more than ever

A group of volunteers has been raising funds for families displaced during the Delhi Pogrom. With less than ideal provisions of relief camps and the imminent threat of COVID-19, these families need your help now!

delhi

10 month old Baby Maryam’s story was shared by many, as the youngest victim of violence in Delhi Pogrom. She was beaten with sticks and hurled on the road. He collar bone was broken. Her father Sarfaraz’s car was burnt.  Dushyant A  put out a Call For Action to raise funds for Maryam’s family, and the fundraising then snowballed as other volunteers and media picked it up. Barkha Dutt also covered the story and put out the call for fundraising.

These fundraising efforts started by Dushyant A during, and in the aftermath of the Delhi Pogrom which took place between February 24 and 27, 2020, were swiftly joined by multiple people who stepped forward to help. Citizen volunteers like Nupur Singh RiatSwati D’souzaMinu Jain and on ground co-ordinator Doctor Muheet Saifi, started raising awareness about more families that were affected and urging people to donate via their posts on Twitter. This core team is supported by 10 volunteers who undertake in-person field visits, interact with the victimized families, raise funds, and handle the administrative tasks involved.

The volunteers liaise with and obtain leads from journalists and legal teams who are on ground with the victims and citizen volunteers engaged in relief efforts. Some victims who receive help may also share stories of other families in need and these are then included in the relief efforts once a due process of verification is followed. Once the volunteers asses the scale of losses suffered and verify bank details, the calls to action are shared on social media. Since the donations are deposited directly in the victim’s bank accounts, there is no middle man and the process is quicker.

The quick and accessible aid is evident in the story of Salman and Wasim. Volunteer Hasiba Amin shared their story in a Tweet on March 10, 2020.
 


Within 3 days, the volunteers raised enough funds and supplies to start rebuilding and re-stocking the store. This story also highlights the intent behind this fundraising effort. People lost their livelihoods. They are not looking for money, they are looking for means to get back to work and start earning their bread like they used to.

Ibran, for example, worked as a field blood collector for a Pathology Lab. He relied on his bike to reach people’s homes to provide this medical service. A mob destroyed his bike and he could no longer continue his work. When his story was shared, people came forward with offers of not just funds, but even donating their own vehicles to him.

 

 

Again, within 3 days, he had received enough funds and could resume work immediately. Every day that someone cannot earn for their family, can be very hard not just financially but emotionally as well. All people are looking for, are the means to restore their homes and livelihoods, and resume their lives with dignity.

As of March 17, 2020, the informal core team with its numerous volunteers, has raised about 1.42 crore for more than 80 families, with the funds being deposited directly into the bank accounts of the victims. This is no small feat, and yet, there is a long way to go.

With the looming threat of COVID-19, it has become even more critical that families be able to survive and live in hygienic conditions, and provide their members with enough food as trade and economic activities slowly shut down. These families have borne the brunt of a communal Pogrom and now they face a bigger threat of poverty and vulnerability to disease. Even after being victimized by communal hatred, they still hope to see the good in people, and need continued efforts on our parts to support them. One of the people who received donations, Shahzad, put it poignantly, “I, Shahzad Zaidi, on behalf of my family, from the bottom of my heart, thank those who are helping us through this difficult time. I promise that once I stand on my feet again, I will also extend help to others in the same way. I am witnessing people from every religion extending their help to me even when they don’t know me in person. I salute their humanity. May God keep you safe from all evil.”

The volunteers are still looking for donations and help to rehabilitate more families. The verified fundraisers can be found on any of the following Twitter handles:

Dushyant A - https://twitter.com/atti_cus

Nupur Singh Riat - https://twitter.com/thoumayestnow

Swati D’souza - https://twitter.com/Sw0oti

Minu Jain - https://twitter.com/minu_jain

Doctor Muheet Saifi - https://twitter.com/saifizoology

In these difficult times, if you are able to, please donate or reach out to the affected families in Delhi. If you cannot help monetarily, please amplify the volunteer efforts and help them increase their reach by spreading the word. Shahzad has faith in humanity. Let us strive to keep this faith alive.

 

Related articles:

  1. Delhi violence: Mapping the damage
  2. Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona
  3. States announce relief measures; Centre still mum on economic aid for Covid-19
  4. Burqas, Bindis, and Bangles: The Femme Revolution of India

 

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