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UAE Princess pushes for Sudheer Chaudhary’s name to be dropped from Abu Dhabi event

He is all set to speak at an even by ICAI, but pressure is mounting to drop his name from the list of speakers

22 Nov 2021

Zee News
Image Courtesy:muslimmirror.com
 

Sudhir Chaudhary, the controversial anchor from Zee News who is best known for his recent deeply communal show on “Zameen Jihad”, might not end up speaking at an upcoming event in Abu Dhabi. The push to drop his name came from none other than Princess Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim.

In a series of tweets, she urged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to drop Chaudhary’s name from the list of speakers for its Annual International Seminar that is scheduled to take place on November 25 and 26 at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar in Abu Dhabi.

 

 

Princess Hend who goes by the Twitter handle @LadyVelvel_HFQ and holds degrees in Architecture and Design Management from international universities, defended her decision to question Chaudhary’s inclusion tweeting, “Isn’t it a scandal when you bring a criminal indicted in his own country to speak in another about keeping your finance books straight when he was caught/filmed for collecting money illegally?” She further said, “When a criminal spews venom onto a society, that invites violence causing the burning of homes, businesses and mosques. A #MuslimHolocaust is started, together with the abuse of other minorities- Dalits/Sikhs as well. Police sit & watch. I will not welcome such hate in the UAE.”

 

 

She also tweeted a letter to the Chairman and Managing Committee of the ICAI, purportedly by other local members of the organisation that said Chaudhary “has been accused of manufacturing and spreading fake news, Islamophobia and communal hatred, doctoring tapes etc.” However, SabrangIndia could not authenticate this letter as the portion that was tweeted by Hend did not contain the letterhead or names of the members of ICAI who had supposedly written the letter. Moreover, it appears to be a letter requesting Chaudhary’s aname be dropped, and there is no confirmation available that such a decision has been taken. And though, in the tweet accompanying the letter Hend claims that Chaudhary was dropped from the event, his name and image still appear on the posters of the event.

However, what cannot be denied is that Chaudhary anchored the controversial show on “Zameen Jihad”, where he insinuated that a conspiracy was afoot by Muslims to usurp land owned by Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir. SabrangIndia’s sister organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have moved the National Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against the communally inflammatory content of this show, but our complaint could not be accepted due to a minor delay that permitted the statute of limitations to kick in.

Prior to that, during the students’ agitation at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), when Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid emerged as strong student leaders, Chaudhary was one of the senior-most people and decision-makers at Zee News. During a show on February 10, 2016, a video was played showing JNU students allegedly chanting the slogan "Pakistan Zindabad". However, this video was later proved to be doctored.

In fact, Vishwa Deepak, an output producer had quit the channel following this. In a letter to Zee News at the time, he had said, “How did we establish that Kanhaiya and his associates were chanting slogans when all we heard were voices coming from the darkness. Our biases made us hear Bhartiya Court Zindabad as Pakistan Zindabad.”

He then told Indian Express in an interview later that month, “We heard inaudible slogans from the grainy video. Editors at Zee News felt this sounded like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and that’s the caption we went with,” adding, “The video was grainy and there was a lot of sloganeering but most of which was not clearly audible. I heard ‘Bhartiya Court Zindabad’.” He then explained how the truth was twisted telling IE, “Then our editors came down to our section and told us it was a big story, it had to go on air and that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ could be heard. So we all agreed because the editors and other colleagues felt it was ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that was being chanted. We began to produce the show and because the audio was not clear, we added a bubble or blurb with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ written in it to guide our viewers on what we felt was being chanted.”

But by then the damage had been done. The Delhi Police, on February 11, 2016, filed FIRs against student leaders based on this video footage. A forensic report commissioned by the Delhi government found that three out of the seven videos were doctored. The examination was conducted by Hyderabad-based Truth Labs.

It later emerged that some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members had allegedly chanted “Pakistan Zindabad” to implicate the JNU student leaders, reported NewsLaundry. Then, in a curious twist, Zee News quickly switched to claiming that the ABVP members were chanting “Bharatiya Court Zindabad” when airing the same video on February 14!

But Zee News vehemently denied this claim of tapes being doctored by it, and Chaudhary went on air to berate the “Afzal Premi Gang” for accusing Zee News of doctoring tapes.

Prior to this, in November 2012, Chaudhary and his colleague Sameer Ahluwalia were arrested on charges of extortion when industrialist Naveen Jindal accused them of trying to extort a whopping Rs 100 crores from him. He was later released on bail and the case was withdrawn in 2018.

UAE Princess pushes for Sudheer Chaudhary’s name to be dropped from Abu Dhabi event

He is all set to speak at an even by ICAI, but pressure is mounting to drop his name from the list of speakers

Zee News
Image Courtesy:muslimmirror.com
 

Sudhir Chaudhary, the controversial anchor from Zee News who is best known for his recent deeply communal show on “Zameen Jihad”, might not end up speaking at an upcoming event in Abu Dhabi. The push to drop his name came from none other than Princess Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim.

In a series of tweets, she urged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to drop Chaudhary’s name from the list of speakers for its Annual International Seminar that is scheduled to take place on November 25 and 26 at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar in Abu Dhabi.

 

 

Princess Hend who goes by the Twitter handle @LadyVelvel_HFQ and holds degrees in Architecture and Design Management from international universities, defended her decision to question Chaudhary’s inclusion tweeting, “Isn’t it a scandal when you bring a criminal indicted in his own country to speak in another about keeping your finance books straight when he was caught/filmed for collecting money illegally?” She further said, “When a criminal spews venom onto a society, that invites violence causing the burning of homes, businesses and mosques. A #MuslimHolocaust is started, together with the abuse of other minorities- Dalits/Sikhs as well. Police sit & watch. I will not welcome such hate in the UAE.”

 

 

She also tweeted a letter to the Chairman and Managing Committee of the ICAI, purportedly by other local members of the organisation that said Chaudhary “has been accused of manufacturing and spreading fake news, Islamophobia and communal hatred, doctoring tapes etc.” However, SabrangIndia could not authenticate this letter as the portion that was tweeted by Hend did not contain the letterhead or names of the members of ICAI who had supposedly written the letter. Moreover, it appears to be a letter requesting Chaudhary’s aname be dropped, and there is no confirmation available that such a decision has been taken. And though, in the tweet accompanying the letter Hend claims that Chaudhary was dropped from the event, his name and image still appear on the posters of the event.

However, what cannot be denied is that Chaudhary anchored the controversial show on “Zameen Jihad”, where he insinuated that a conspiracy was afoot by Muslims to usurp land owned by Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir. SabrangIndia’s sister organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have moved the National Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against the communally inflammatory content of this show, but our complaint could not be accepted due to a minor delay that permitted the statute of limitations to kick in.

Prior to that, during the students’ agitation at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), when Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid emerged as strong student leaders, Chaudhary was one of the senior-most people and decision-makers at Zee News. During a show on February 10, 2016, a video was played showing JNU students allegedly chanting the slogan "Pakistan Zindabad". However, this video was later proved to be doctored.

In fact, Vishwa Deepak, an output producer had quit the channel following this. In a letter to Zee News at the time, he had said, “How did we establish that Kanhaiya and his associates were chanting slogans when all we heard were voices coming from the darkness. Our biases made us hear Bhartiya Court Zindabad as Pakistan Zindabad.”

He then told Indian Express in an interview later that month, “We heard inaudible slogans from the grainy video. Editors at Zee News felt this sounded like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and that’s the caption we went with,” adding, “The video was grainy and there was a lot of sloganeering but most of which was not clearly audible. I heard ‘Bhartiya Court Zindabad’.” He then explained how the truth was twisted telling IE, “Then our editors came down to our section and told us it was a big story, it had to go on air and that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ could be heard. So we all agreed because the editors and other colleagues felt it was ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that was being chanted. We began to produce the show and because the audio was not clear, we added a bubble or blurb with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ written in it to guide our viewers on what we felt was being chanted.”

But by then the damage had been done. The Delhi Police, on February 11, 2016, filed FIRs against student leaders based on this video footage. A forensic report commissioned by the Delhi government found that three out of the seven videos were doctored. The examination was conducted by Hyderabad-based Truth Labs.

It later emerged that some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members had allegedly chanted “Pakistan Zindabad” to implicate the JNU student leaders, reported NewsLaundry. Then, in a curious twist, Zee News quickly switched to claiming that the ABVP members were chanting “Bharatiya Court Zindabad” when airing the same video on February 14!

But Zee News vehemently denied this claim of tapes being doctored by it, and Chaudhary went on air to berate the “Afzal Premi Gang” for accusing Zee News of doctoring tapes.

Prior to this, in November 2012, Chaudhary and his colleague Sameer Ahluwalia were arrested on charges of extortion when industrialist Naveen Jindal accused them of trying to extort a whopping Rs 100 crores from him. He was later released on bail and the case was withdrawn in 2018.

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Three killed, 15 injured in explosion at a mosque in Afghanistan

Third explosion in mosque after Kandahar and Kunduz

13 Nov 2021

ExplosionImage Courtesy:mmnews.tv

An explosion took place in a mosque located in the Spinghar area of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers on November 12. Three people were reported to have been killed in the incident, while at least 15 were reported injured.

Reuters reported that the explosion occurred near the pulpit of the mosque’s prayer leader just as he rose to deliver his sermon around 1:30 P.M local time. The mosque’s Imam was reportedly killed in the blast. However, unlike the two previous blasts in Kunduz and Kandahar where the worshipers were Shia, this time the blast took place in a Sunni mosque.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, Taliban spokesperson, Zahibullah Mujahid tweeted, “Three perpetrators of an explosion in a mosque in the Trail area of Spin Ghar district of Nangarhar province were arrested by the security forces today. Those criminals will be dealt with according to Islamic law and will be punished for their evil deeds.”

The blast in the Nangarhar mosque is the third such incident. SabrangIndia had previously reported on two other instances where blasts took place during Friday prayers in October this year. 

On October 8, at least 100 people were killed when a bomb went off in a mosque in Kunduz. Worshippers here hailed from the persecuted Hazara community and belonged to the Shia sect. 

Then on October 15, another bomb blast ripped through a mosque in Kandahar, killing 32 and injuring 53 people. Here too, worshippers belonged to the Shia community. 

Also, in early November, 19 people were reported killed and 50 injured in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul.

Related:

Afghanistan: 32 killed, 53 injured in bomb blast at Shiite mosque in Kandahar
Afghanistan: Bomb attack kills at least 100 at Shia mosque in Kunduz

Three killed, 15 injured in explosion at a mosque in Afghanistan

Third explosion in mosque after Kandahar and Kunduz

ExplosionImage Courtesy:mmnews.tv

An explosion took place in a mosque located in the Spinghar area of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers on November 12. Three people were reported to have been killed in the incident, while at least 15 were reported injured.

Reuters reported that the explosion occurred near the pulpit of the mosque’s prayer leader just as he rose to deliver his sermon around 1:30 P.M local time. The mosque’s Imam was reportedly killed in the blast. However, unlike the two previous blasts in Kunduz and Kandahar where the worshipers were Shia, this time the blast took place in a Sunni mosque.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, Taliban spokesperson, Zahibullah Mujahid tweeted, “Three perpetrators of an explosion in a mosque in the Trail area of Spin Ghar district of Nangarhar province were arrested by the security forces today. Those criminals will be dealt with according to Islamic law and will be punished for their evil deeds.”

The blast in the Nangarhar mosque is the third such incident. SabrangIndia had previously reported on two other instances where blasts took place during Friday prayers in October this year. 

On October 8, at least 100 people were killed when a bomb went off in a mosque in Kunduz. Worshippers here hailed from the persecuted Hazara community and belonged to the Shia sect. 

Then on October 15, another bomb blast ripped through a mosque in Kandahar, killing 32 and injuring 53 people. Here too, worshippers belonged to the Shia community. 

Also, in early November, 19 people were reported killed and 50 injured in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul.

Related:

Afghanistan: 32 killed, 53 injured in bomb blast at Shiite mosque in Kandahar
Afghanistan: Bomb attack kills at least 100 at Shia mosque in Kunduz

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Myanmar: American journalist Danny Fenster sentenced to 11-year jail term

Managing Editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, Fenster, was found guilty of “incitement and violations of immigration and unlawful associations laws”

12 Nov 2021

Danny FensterImage Courtesy:indianexpress.com

International media is headlining the excesses of military-ruled Myanmar, where a court has sentenced 37-year-old American journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in jail. According to Reuters, this was confirmed by Fenster’s lawyer, and the sentencing comes even after the United States called for his release from “unjust detention”.

Managing Editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, Fenster, was found guilty of “incitement and violations of immigration and unlawful associations laws”. According to his employers, this sentence was "the harshest possible under the law". Thomas Kean, Editor-in-Chief of Frontier Myanmar, one of the country's top independent news outlets, was quoted by Reuters saying, "There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges. Everyone at Frontier is disappointed and frustrated at this decision. We just want to see Danny released as soon as possible so he can go home to his family."

Fenster is reportedly, the “first Western journalist sentenced to prison in recent years in Myanmar”. On February 1, the country witnessed a military government take over after a coup against its elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 

According to Reuters, the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, is one of the country's top independent news sites and Fenster had previously worked for Myanmar Now, which focused on investigative news “but was banned after the military seized power.” He was arrested “as he was about to board a flight to the US on May 24” and was held at  “Yangon's notorious Insein prison, where hundreds of opponents of the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, were jailed, many beaten and tortured, during decades of dictatorship”, as per news reports. He has been also charged with Sedition and offences under the country's terrorism act earlier this week.

According to MyanmarNow.org, Danny Fenster was “accused of inciting unrest against Myanmar’s coup regime under Section 505a of the Penal Code, as well as breaching Section 13(1) of the Immigration Act and Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act.”  The Frontier Myanmar issued its statement on Friday detailing that Fenster was “handed a three-year prison term for the incitement charge, another three years for violating the Unlawful Associations Act and five years for the immigration charge, as well as a 100,000 kyat (US$56) fine.” It added that the “decision was announced this morning at a court inside Yangon's Insein Prison, following a trial that was closed to the public. The sentences imposed were the harshest possible under the law.” 

Frontier Myanmar and Myanmar Now had previously clarified that Fenster had resigned from Myanmar Now in July 2020 and joined Frontier Myanmar the following month. According to Myanmar Now, Than Zaw Aung, Fenster’s lawyer, said that the prosecution called a total of 13 witnesses to testify, while the defence team relied on the testimony of three witnesses and various documents to make its case, 

Thomas Kean, Frontier Myanmar's Editor-in-Chief told the media that, "There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges. His legal team clearly demonstrated to the court that he had resigned from Myanmar Now and was working for Frontier from the middle of last year."

Swe Win, the editor-in-chief of Myanmar Now and Fenster’s former employer said, “Danny has done nothing wrong at all. And Myanmar Now has done nothing wrong, either. I view the sentencing as a sheer political kidnapping of an American citizen in the junta’s efforts to gain leverage in dealing with the United States. Danny now must be viewed as a hostage, and as such, the Biden administration has to send a clear and strong message to the junta for this senseless act.” The report added that “Swe Win and two other editors, Nyein Chan and Aung Shin, are also accused of the same crimes as Fenster.”

Related:

Myanmar refugee children can now go to school in Mizoram
A simmering revolution, stories untold, a military crackdown: Myanmar

 

Myanmar: American journalist Danny Fenster sentenced to 11-year jail term

Managing Editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, Fenster, was found guilty of “incitement and violations of immigration and unlawful associations laws”

Danny FensterImage Courtesy:indianexpress.com

International media is headlining the excesses of military-ruled Myanmar, where a court has sentenced 37-year-old American journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in jail. According to Reuters, this was confirmed by Fenster’s lawyer, and the sentencing comes even after the United States called for his release from “unjust detention”.

Managing Editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, Fenster, was found guilty of “incitement and violations of immigration and unlawful associations laws”. According to his employers, this sentence was "the harshest possible under the law". Thomas Kean, Editor-in-Chief of Frontier Myanmar, one of the country's top independent news outlets, was quoted by Reuters saying, "There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges. Everyone at Frontier is disappointed and frustrated at this decision. We just want to see Danny released as soon as possible so he can go home to his family."

Fenster is reportedly, the “first Western journalist sentenced to prison in recent years in Myanmar”. On February 1, the country witnessed a military government take over after a coup against its elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 

According to Reuters, the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, is one of the country's top independent news sites and Fenster had previously worked for Myanmar Now, which focused on investigative news “but was banned after the military seized power.” He was arrested “as he was about to board a flight to the US on May 24” and was held at  “Yangon's notorious Insein prison, where hundreds of opponents of the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, were jailed, many beaten and tortured, during decades of dictatorship”, as per news reports. He has been also charged with Sedition and offences under the country's terrorism act earlier this week.

According to MyanmarNow.org, Danny Fenster was “accused of inciting unrest against Myanmar’s coup regime under Section 505a of the Penal Code, as well as breaching Section 13(1) of the Immigration Act and Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act.”  The Frontier Myanmar issued its statement on Friday detailing that Fenster was “handed a three-year prison term for the incitement charge, another three years for violating the Unlawful Associations Act and five years for the immigration charge, as well as a 100,000 kyat (US$56) fine.” It added that the “decision was announced this morning at a court inside Yangon's Insein Prison, following a trial that was closed to the public. The sentences imposed were the harshest possible under the law.” 

Frontier Myanmar and Myanmar Now had previously clarified that Fenster had resigned from Myanmar Now in July 2020 and joined Frontier Myanmar the following month. According to Myanmar Now, Than Zaw Aung, Fenster’s lawyer, said that the prosecution called a total of 13 witnesses to testify, while the defence team relied on the testimony of three witnesses and various documents to make its case, 

Thomas Kean, Frontier Myanmar's Editor-in-Chief told the media that, "There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges. His legal team clearly demonstrated to the court that he had resigned from Myanmar Now and was working for Frontier from the middle of last year."

Swe Win, the editor-in-chief of Myanmar Now and Fenster’s former employer said, “Danny has done nothing wrong at all. And Myanmar Now has done nothing wrong, either. I view the sentencing as a sheer political kidnapping of an American citizen in the junta’s efforts to gain leverage in dealing with the United States. Danny now must be viewed as a hostage, and as such, the Biden administration has to send a clear and strong message to the junta for this senseless act.” The report added that “Swe Win and two other editors, Nyein Chan and Aung Shin, are also accused of the same crimes as Fenster.”

Related:

Myanmar refugee children can now go to school in Mizoram
A simmering revolution, stories untold, a military crackdown: Myanmar

 

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News media to be liable for third party comments on social media posts: Australia HC

The court held that since the publisher was facilitating the comments by publishing a post, it will be held liable for such comments

02 Nov 2021

FB

In a significant pronouncement, the High Court of Australia, which is the country's apex court, has deemed publishers of news on social media to be responsible for the comments posted by other users on the post, as publishers of the comments. 

The bench conforming to this decision was a majority bench of Chief Justice Kiefel and Justices Keane and Gleeson. The dissenting judgements by Justice Edelman and Justice Steward expressed concerns that the media publishers will become liable for comments by third parties which may be unconnected to the content posted.

The implications in Australia could be that media houses will either start reviewing the comments before they appear on the post or they will turn off comments altogether.

Background

The appellants, Fairfax Media Publications, Nationwide News and Australian News Channel faced a defamation suit filed by an individual who claimed that as these media channels posted news stories about his incarceration in a juvenile justice detention case, a lot of third party Facebook users posted comments about him on the same, which were of a defamatory nature.

The High Court of Australia upheld the Court of Appeal order which held that “the acts of the appellants in facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments.”

The court’s observations

Since this was a case of defamation, the court examined the case in the background of tort of defamation. Hence, publication in cases of defamation is held to be a ‘bilateral act’ whereby publication is complete when the matter is accessed by a third party in a comprehensible form. The court relied on a judgement whereby it was held that a person is a publisher of defamatory matter if "by an act of any description" the person "intentionally assisted in the process" of communicating the matter containing content conveying the defamatory imputation to a third party, regardless of whether the person knows that the matter contains that content.

The court also held that an innocent disseminator is a publisher according to the common law of Australia. The court drew an analogy with live television and talk back radio for  comments on social media and held that “the operator of an "electronic bulletin board" posts material with the intention that third parties will comment on the material posted, the operator cannot escape being a publisher of the comments of those third parties”.

The court thus dismissed the appeals, and stated that each of the news media intentionally took a platform provided by another entity, Facebook, created and administered a public Facebook page, and posted content on that page and the posts on the page encouraged and facilitated publication of comments from third parties. By this inference, appellant news media have been deemed to be publishers of third party comments.

In the Indian context

Nasty and vile comments on posts by news media on social media are a common occurrence in India and a lot of users can be seen engaging in hateful banter in most cases. The news media is not held responsible for such comments, which in turn has encouraged the spread of hateful content through such comments. The time is probably ripe for an Indian court to take cognisance of this order of the Australia High Court to encourage the news media to be more responsible in their social media engagement, in order to limit hate content that already flows unchecked in India.

This will encourage news media to be responsible in their social media engagement, and probably turn off comments on their posts or regulate the same so that there is a curb on hate content on social media platforms.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

Hate Watch: Twitter user threatens Virat Kohli’s infant with rape, deletes accounts after outrage

Delhi Violence: Peace and Harmony Committee serves notice to Facebook

Tripura: Right-wing mobs vandalise mosques in response to the attack on minority Hindus in Bangladesh

News media to be liable for third party comments on social media posts: Australia HC

The court held that since the publisher was facilitating the comments by publishing a post, it will be held liable for such comments

FB

In a significant pronouncement, the High Court of Australia, which is the country's apex court, has deemed publishers of news on social media to be responsible for the comments posted by other users on the post, as publishers of the comments. 

The bench conforming to this decision was a majority bench of Chief Justice Kiefel and Justices Keane and Gleeson. The dissenting judgements by Justice Edelman and Justice Steward expressed concerns that the media publishers will become liable for comments by third parties which may be unconnected to the content posted.

The implications in Australia could be that media houses will either start reviewing the comments before they appear on the post or they will turn off comments altogether.

Background

The appellants, Fairfax Media Publications, Nationwide News and Australian News Channel faced a defamation suit filed by an individual who claimed that as these media channels posted news stories about his incarceration in a juvenile justice detention case, a lot of third party Facebook users posted comments about him on the same, which were of a defamatory nature.

The High Court of Australia upheld the Court of Appeal order which held that “the acts of the appellants in facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments.”

The court’s observations

Since this was a case of defamation, the court examined the case in the background of tort of defamation. Hence, publication in cases of defamation is held to be a ‘bilateral act’ whereby publication is complete when the matter is accessed by a third party in a comprehensible form. The court relied on a judgement whereby it was held that a person is a publisher of defamatory matter if "by an act of any description" the person "intentionally assisted in the process" of communicating the matter containing content conveying the defamatory imputation to a third party, regardless of whether the person knows that the matter contains that content.

The court also held that an innocent disseminator is a publisher according to the common law of Australia. The court drew an analogy with live television and talk back radio for  comments on social media and held that “the operator of an "electronic bulletin board" posts material with the intention that third parties will comment on the material posted, the operator cannot escape being a publisher of the comments of those third parties”.

The court thus dismissed the appeals, and stated that each of the news media intentionally took a platform provided by another entity, Facebook, created and administered a public Facebook page, and posted content on that page and the posts on the page encouraged and facilitated publication of comments from third parties. By this inference, appellant news media have been deemed to be publishers of third party comments.

In the Indian context

Nasty and vile comments on posts by news media on social media are a common occurrence in India and a lot of users can be seen engaging in hateful banter in most cases. The news media is not held responsible for such comments, which in turn has encouraged the spread of hateful content through such comments. The time is probably ripe for an Indian court to take cognisance of this order of the Australia High Court to encourage the news media to be more responsible in their social media engagement, in order to limit hate content that already flows unchecked in India.

This will encourage news media to be responsible in their social media engagement, and probably turn off comments on their posts or regulate the same so that there is a curb on hate content on social media platforms.

The complete order may be read here:

 

Related:

Hate Watch: Twitter user threatens Virat Kohli’s infant with rape, deletes accounts after outrage

Delhi Violence: Peace and Harmony Committee serves notice to Facebook

Tripura: Right-wing mobs vandalise mosques in response to the attack on minority Hindus in Bangladesh

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Sparse statements, but Pope’s gift to Modi speaks volumes

And Vatican’s Diwali greetings  call for fraternity to cope with crises

30 Oct 2021

 

modi

If it was to be about optics and strong messaging in soft syntax, the Vatican meeting of Pope Francis with visiting prime minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled it purpose. Mr Modi has probably insinuated himself into the good books of a section of Catholics in poll bound Goa and church stronghold Kerala. And Mr Modi finally has invited the Pope to visit India. No dates, but Indian church hopes it will be  before 2022 is over. 

The official visuals of the 55 minute meeting show Mr Modi, sporting a well-styled mid-length beard, performing his practiced manoeuvre of a hug with the Pontiff. Francis smiles and reciprocates. Gifts are exchanged and after which the two move on to a desk for a formal talk. With interpretation, the actual talks take perhaps 20 minutes. But there is some triumph in that it exceeded the scheduled 30 minutes. 

But did the Pope tell Modi of his concern at the persecution of Christians and Muslims, the  curtailment of human rights and civil liberties, and the desertification of the Constitutional landscape? And did Modi repeat his party’s charge that Christians disturb the peace by fraudulent conversions, Muslims are anti national, and civil society seditious? Not in these words. The Jesuit who is now Pontiff  has his own words for the occasion. 

Modi himself would not go beyond tweeting “Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India. @Pontifex.” His gift, officials tweeted, were a silver candelabra, and a book on India’s initiatives in Climate Change initiatives. Fitting gift, that book, for the Papal meeting is on  side-lines of the summit on that impending crisis, and the Pope’s own  oft voiced concern on what mankind has done to its home, the planet earth. 

It is in the Pope’s gift that optimists and activists seek meaning, and home. Francis gave a circular bronze casting illustrating the biblical verse “The wilderness will become a fruitful field”, a quotation from the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter  32, verse 15. 

No one is, of course, expecting miracles. Not even those who ensured that the Vatican, and Italian, media give comprehensive coverage in recent days to the gross violation  of human rights and religious freedom in India. Reports carry the action of non-state and state actors, including the Sangh Parivar, and  prosecution and investigating agencies currently cracking down on individuals and groups in a finely choreographed black opera. 

There will be no withdrawal immediately of the central investigations of a cardinal’s books, or an assurance that a lesser bishop will be absolved of  serial sexual assault. FCRA regulations are not expected to be softened. And the  state of Uttar Pradesh, ruled by an Indian pontiff no less, will not suddenly ask Sangh cadres to stop beating up pastors, assaulting nuns, and young Muslim men. 

But the Pope and his senior curia, such as his secretary of state who also met Mr Modi, are no doubt acutely aware of the Indian situation today even as the National Human Rights Commission or the National Minorities Commission who continue to be in a state of denial. The media has strongly spoken of the atmosphere of xenophobia. 

The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in its greetings on Deepavali, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue speaks of the need for solidarity and fraternity. It hopes the festival will “light up” lives, even in the midst of the anxiety and uncertainty arising from the pandemic. 

“Both Christians and Hindus, can bring the light of hope in people’s lives in such challenging times”. There have been silver linings of solidarity and fraternity. The power of solidarity through assisting the needy, more so with an interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope. Bringing light together in people’s lives through interreligious solidarity also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society,” the statement said. 

It is incumbent upon religious and community leaders to nurture the spirit of fraternity among their followers with a view to helping them walk and work together with the people of other religious traditions, most especially during crises and calamities of every kind,” the Council statement concluded.

It is the verse illustrated in the bronze casting that theologians in the human rights family see refences to a hope of better governance in the land. It is, of course, not exactly the Raj Dharam mantra that the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee sought to remind the then chief minister of Gujarat in the 2002 pogram against the Muslim community. The Pope doesn’t speak in such language. Jesus himself spoke in parables. The connect resonates. 

In the mouth of the Prophet Isiah, the most prolific predicter from the age before the birth of Jesus,  is the vision of an age of peace and prosperity after the end of the prevailing tribulations. As explained by a Biblical commentary,  the beginning of the chapter says “That magistrates should do their duty in their places, and the powers answer the great ends for which they were ordained of.” 

And on the 12th verse, the subject of the gift, the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament says it gives a comprehensive prophesy of hope, “the destruction of the false would be followed by the realization of the true.

 "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places.”

What more can people hope for, even those who do not believe in Abhramic Deity and prophesies of the Old Testament. To the believer, this is a chastisement of all that injures the people. 

The following is  Chapter 32 of Isiah in the Old Testament, which makes for salutary reading for everyone, Christian’s including:

.The Kingdom of Righteousness 

 

32 See, a king will reign in righteousness

and rulers will rule with justice.

2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind

and a refuge from the storm,

like streams of water in the desert

and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,

and the ears of those who hear will listen.

4 The fearful heart will know and understand,

and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

5 No longer will the fool be called noble

nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

6 For fools speak folly,

their hearts are bent on evil:

They practice ungodliness

and spread error concerning the Lord;

the hungry they leave empty

and from the thirsty they withhold water.

7 Scoundrels use wicked methods,

they make up evil schemes

to destroy the poor with lies,

even when the plea of the needy is just.

8 But the noble make noble plans,

and by noble deeds they stand.

 

The Women of Jerusalem

 

9 You women who are so complacent,

rise up and listen to me;

you daughters who feel secure,

hear what I have to say!

10 In little more than a year

you who feel secure will tremble;

the grape harvest will fail,

and the harvest of fruit will not come.

11 Tremble, you complacent women;

shudder, you daughters who feel secure!

Strip off your fine clothes

and wrap yourselves in rags.

12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,

for the fruitful vines

13 and for the land of my people,

a land overgrown with thorns and briers—

yes, mourn for all houses of merriment

and for this city of revelry.

14 The fortress will be abandoned,

the noisy city deserted;

citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,

the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,

15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,

and the desert becomes a fertile field,

and the fertile field seems like a forest.

16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,

his righteousness live in the fertile field.

17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;

its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,

in secure homes,

in undisturbed places of rest.

19 Though hail flattens the forest

and the city is levelled completely,

20 how blessed you will be,

sowing your seed by every stream,

and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

Sparse statements, but Pope’s gift to Modi speaks volumes

And Vatican’s Diwali greetings  call for fraternity to cope with crises

 

modi

If it was to be about optics and strong messaging in soft syntax, the Vatican meeting of Pope Francis with visiting prime minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled it purpose. Mr Modi has probably insinuated himself into the good books of a section of Catholics in poll bound Goa and church stronghold Kerala. And Mr Modi finally has invited the Pope to visit India. No dates, but Indian church hopes it will be  before 2022 is over. 

The official visuals of the 55 minute meeting show Mr Modi, sporting a well-styled mid-length beard, performing his practiced manoeuvre of a hug with the Pontiff. Francis smiles and reciprocates. Gifts are exchanged and after which the two move on to a desk for a formal talk. With interpretation, the actual talks take perhaps 20 minutes. But there is some triumph in that it exceeded the scheduled 30 minutes. 

But did the Pope tell Modi of his concern at the persecution of Christians and Muslims, the  curtailment of human rights and civil liberties, and the desertification of the Constitutional landscape? And did Modi repeat his party’s charge that Christians disturb the peace by fraudulent conversions, Muslims are anti national, and civil society seditious? Not in these words. The Jesuit who is now Pontiff  has his own words for the occasion. 

Modi himself would not go beyond tweeting “Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India. @Pontifex.” His gift, officials tweeted, were a silver candelabra, and a book on India’s initiatives in Climate Change initiatives. Fitting gift, that book, for the Papal meeting is on  side-lines of the summit on that impending crisis, and the Pope’s own  oft voiced concern on what mankind has done to its home, the planet earth. 

It is in the Pope’s gift that optimists and activists seek meaning, and home. Francis gave a circular bronze casting illustrating the biblical verse “The wilderness will become a fruitful field”, a quotation from the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter  32, verse 15. 

No one is, of course, expecting miracles. Not even those who ensured that the Vatican, and Italian, media give comprehensive coverage in recent days to the gross violation  of human rights and religious freedom in India. Reports carry the action of non-state and state actors, including the Sangh Parivar, and  prosecution and investigating agencies currently cracking down on individuals and groups in a finely choreographed black opera. 

There will be no withdrawal immediately of the central investigations of a cardinal’s books, or an assurance that a lesser bishop will be absolved of  serial sexual assault. FCRA regulations are not expected to be softened. And the  state of Uttar Pradesh, ruled by an Indian pontiff no less, will not suddenly ask Sangh cadres to stop beating up pastors, assaulting nuns, and young Muslim men. 

But the Pope and his senior curia, such as his secretary of state who also met Mr Modi, are no doubt acutely aware of the Indian situation today even as the National Human Rights Commission or the National Minorities Commission who continue to be in a state of denial. The media has strongly spoken of the atmosphere of xenophobia. 

The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in its greetings on Deepavali, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue speaks of the need for solidarity and fraternity. It hopes the festival will “light up” lives, even in the midst of the anxiety and uncertainty arising from the pandemic. 

“Both Christians and Hindus, can bring the light of hope in people’s lives in such challenging times”. There have been silver linings of solidarity and fraternity. The power of solidarity through assisting the needy, more so with an interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope. Bringing light together in people’s lives through interreligious solidarity also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society,” the statement said. 

It is incumbent upon religious and community leaders to nurture the spirit of fraternity among their followers with a view to helping them walk and work together with the people of other religious traditions, most especially during crises and calamities of every kind,” the Council statement concluded.

It is the verse illustrated in the bronze casting that theologians in the human rights family see refences to a hope of better governance in the land. It is, of course, not exactly the Raj Dharam mantra that the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee sought to remind the then chief minister of Gujarat in the 2002 pogram against the Muslim community. The Pope doesn’t speak in such language. Jesus himself spoke in parables. The connect resonates. 

In the mouth of the Prophet Isiah, the most prolific predicter from the age before the birth of Jesus,  is the vision of an age of peace and prosperity after the end of the prevailing tribulations. As explained by a Biblical commentary,  the beginning of the chapter says “That magistrates should do their duty in their places, and the powers answer the great ends for which they were ordained of.” 

And on the 12th verse, the subject of the gift, the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament says it gives a comprehensive prophesy of hope, “the destruction of the false would be followed by the realization of the true.

 "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places.”

What more can people hope for, even those who do not believe in Abhramic Deity and prophesies of the Old Testament. To the believer, this is a chastisement of all that injures the people. 

The following is  Chapter 32 of Isiah in the Old Testament, which makes for salutary reading for everyone, Christian’s including:

.The Kingdom of Righteousness 

 

32 See, a king will reign in righteousness

and rulers will rule with justice.

2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind

and a refuge from the storm,

like streams of water in the desert

and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,

and the ears of those who hear will listen.

4 The fearful heart will know and understand,

and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

5 No longer will the fool be called noble

nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

6 For fools speak folly,

their hearts are bent on evil:

They practice ungodliness

and spread error concerning the Lord;

the hungry they leave empty

and from the thirsty they withhold water.

7 Scoundrels use wicked methods,

they make up evil schemes

to destroy the poor with lies,

even when the plea of the needy is just.

8 But the noble make noble plans,

and by noble deeds they stand.

 

The Women of Jerusalem

 

9 You women who are so complacent,

rise up and listen to me;

you daughters who feel secure,

hear what I have to say!

10 In little more than a year

you who feel secure will tremble;

the grape harvest will fail,

and the harvest of fruit will not come.

11 Tremble, you complacent women;

shudder, you daughters who feel secure!

Strip off your fine clothes

and wrap yourselves in rags.

12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,

for the fruitful vines

13 and for the land of my people,

a land overgrown with thorns and briers—

yes, mourn for all houses of merriment

and for this city of revelry.

14 The fortress will be abandoned,

the noisy city deserted;

citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,

the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,

15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,

and the desert becomes a fertile field,

and the fertile field seems like a forest.

16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,

his righteousness live in the fertile field.

17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;

its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,

in secure homes,

in undisturbed places of rest.

19 Though hail flattens the forest

and the city is levelled completely,

20 how blessed you will be,

sowing your seed by every stream,

and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

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News of anti-Christian violence precedes Modi in Vatican call

Will the October 30 meeting, in any way, mitigate the hate and violence that Indian Christians have been subject to, especially since 2014?

28 Oct 2021

modi

It is now official. The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference has confirmed that Pope Francis, known to the Catholic community of the world as the Holy Father, will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Vatican this Saturday, October 30. It is a courtesy call by Mr. Modi, who will be in Rome for a scheduled international conference. The meeting will take place reportedly at 8.30 P.M for 30 minutes.

The high-profile scheduled meeting of US President Joe Biden with the Pope, has invited global interest because of the issue of a woman’s right to have an abortion, and the Catholic Church’s stringent pro-life policy. A Modi-Francis meet will get eyeballs on the issue of persecution of Christians in many states in India. The custodial death of octogenarian and ailing Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy is much too recent to have receded from anyone’s memory. It was the Modi regime that incarcerated the activist priest known in India and the world for his outstanding work on the rights and dignity of India’s indigenous peoples (Adivasis).

The Vatican is acutely aware of the human rights and freedom of faith situation in India. Even before the Vatican officially confirmed the courtesy call of Mr. Modi, the information portals of the headquarters of the universal Catholic Church had carried a long report on the survey of churches in Karnataka. The Archbishop of Bangalore, Peter Machado, had in a press conference denounced the survey as likely to fan further persecution at the hands of militant and violent extremists.

And Mr. Modi himself has been urged by the Church to use his power to see that these elements stop attacking communities, churches and educational institutions. The latest such letter to Mr. Modi was written by Bhopal Archbishop Leo Cornelio who said the prime minister must “take effective steps to contain rising violence against Christians.”

No one really expects a miraculous end to the persecution of religious minorities in India after this meet. The Indian government simply does not acknowledge international criticism of its human rights situation. Its persistent defence has been that India has a secular Constitution, and it has institutions such as the courts, the National Human Rights Commission and the minority commissions as guarantors of the rights of citizens. It ignores even the criticism from the United Nations (UN) that the constitutional institutions have themselves suffered massive erosion during Mr. Modi’s term in office.

The Christian community makes up make up 2.3 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population, and can be said to politically influential in Goa, Kerala and three small states in the North East, namely Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. The rest of the population in most of these states (except Kerala where the Muslim minority is also a significant factor) are mostly Hindus.

Much is being made of impending elections in Goa with the BJP hoping that Modi’s meeting with the Pope will appease the Catholic voters, who make up a quarter of the state. The BJP has been in power for many years, but with the Congress, AAP and Trinamool Congress in the fray this time, BJP hopes that weaning away even a section of the Catholic vote may help it retain power.

Insiders say that the Indian government pushed hard for the visit to the Vatican to happen, with Kerala Bishops playing a key role. And yet, Mr. Modi has for seven years resisted repeated requests by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) to invite the Pope on an official visit. Pope Francis, who has come as close to home as Sri Lanka, is said to be keen to meet the Christian community in India.

From Modi’s point of view, it would have been strange for him to spend three days in Rome without making a courtesy visit to the Vatican which is in reality not much bigger than a district of Rome though it is a sovereign state with Pope Francis as its Head of State. Though it is not entirely clear which back-channel interlocutors made this courtesy meeting possible, but several important Malayalee leaders of the BJP, including a state governor, have been intermediaries between the Kerala church and the Prime Minister’s office.

Mr. Modi, had to listen to US vice president, Kamala Harris, stress democracy and human rights when he called on her during his United Nations visit. The Pope may not be so direct, perhaps, but his position on human rights, freedom of faith and expression, are well known. He is a Jesuit, and the community is passionate about issues of development, rights and justice. Fr Stan Swamy, who was unjustly incarcerated by this regime was a Jesuit too.

India has been indicted in various international indices for its human rights record, and in particular for the persecution of Muslims and Christians.

The Indian Christian community is not expecting an immediate change in the ground situation or the Sangh Parivar and BJP attitude. It does hope that the judicial process will uphold the rights of all minorities, as also those of Dalits and Adivasis amongst whom the Church works.

The September October season has seen the most vicious attacks and curbs in the Christian community, apart from the continuing debasing of the much larger Muslim population.

The Bhopal Archbishop wrote to the prime minister just two days ago, on October 26– days after Hindustan Times had announced Mr. Modi’s Vatican visit. “Very recently certain individuals and groups have stepped up a hate campaign against minority groups, especially Christians,” he said.  

He pointed to the harassment of two Catholic nuns in the Mau district of Uttar Pradesh on October 10. A Hindutva mob took the Ursuline Franciscan Sisters Gracy Monteiro and Roshi Minj from a Mau bus stand to the nearest police station accusing them of illegal religious conversion. They were kept in the police station for over six hours without any formal complaint. [This was carried by Sabrangindia in an exclusive interview with the Nuns.]

In this letter, Archbishop Cornelio also cited the hate speech case of BJP legislator Rameshwar Sharma, who appealed to Hindus in a speech to “stay away” from Christians and Muslims, stressing that contact would destroy Hindus. Such public discourse from elected representatives seemed to be a “deliberate attempt to whip up communal hatred against minority communities is a matter of great concern for everyone.”

Rising religious fundamentalism and hatred, the prelate said, is “a threat to the growth of the nation,” the Archbishop wrote to Mr. Modi.

Various Christian organisations, including UFI, United Christian Forum and Persecution Relief have documented 305 attacks on Christians spread over 21 states since the beginning of the year. BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 66 incidents followed by Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh (47), tribal people’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-ruled Jharkhand (30) and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh (26), according to data collected since January. Karnataka, another BJP-ruled state in the south, also witnessed a spurt in violence against Christians with 32 incidents.

Will the October 30 meeting, in any way, mitigate the hate and violence that Indian Christians have been subject to, especially since 2014?

 

Related:

Madhya Pradesh: Mob gives Catholic school 15 days to install a statue of goddess Saraswati

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

Chhattisgarh: A dead woman’s ‘ghar wapsi’ before final rites were allowed

Will Karnataka soon enact a tough "anti-conversion law”?

News of anti-Christian violence precedes Modi in Vatican call

Will the October 30 meeting, in any way, mitigate the hate and violence that Indian Christians have been subject to, especially since 2014?

modi

It is now official. The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference has confirmed that Pope Francis, known to the Catholic community of the world as the Holy Father, will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Vatican this Saturday, October 30. It is a courtesy call by Mr. Modi, who will be in Rome for a scheduled international conference. The meeting will take place reportedly at 8.30 P.M for 30 minutes.

The high-profile scheduled meeting of US President Joe Biden with the Pope, has invited global interest because of the issue of a woman’s right to have an abortion, and the Catholic Church’s stringent pro-life policy. A Modi-Francis meet will get eyeballs on the issue of persecution of Christians in many states in India. The custodial death of octogenarian and ailing Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy is much too recent to have receded from anyone’s memory. It was the Modi regime that incarcerated the activist priest known in India and the world for his outstanding work on the rights and dignity of India’s indigenous peoples (Adivasis).

The Vatican is acutely aware of the human rights and freedom of faith situation in India. Even before the Vatican officially confirmed the courtesy call of Mr. Modi, the information portals of the headquarters of the universal Catholic Church had carried a long report on the survey of churches in Karnataka. The Archbishop of Bangalore, Peter Machado, had in a press conference denounced the survey as likely to fan further persecution at the hands of militant and violent extremists.

And Mr. Modi himself has been urged by the Church to use his power to see that these elements stop attacking communities, churches and educational institutions. The latest such letter to Mr. Modi was written by Bhopal Archbishop Leo Cornelio who said the prime minister must “take effective steps to contain rising violence against Christians.”

No one really expects a miraculous end to the persecution of religious minorities in India after this meet. The Indian government simply does not acknowledge international criticism of its human rights situation. Its persistent defence has been that India has a secular Constitution, and it has institutions such as the courts, the National Human Rights Commission and the minority commissions as guarantors of the rights of citizens. It ignores even the criticism from the United Nations (UN) that the constitutional institutions have themselves suffered massive erosion during Mr. Modi’s term in office.

The Christian community makes up make up 2.3 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population, and can be said to politically influential in Goa, Kerala and three small states in the North East, namely Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. The rest of the population in most of these states (except Kerala where the Muslim minority is also a significant factor) are mostly Hindus.

Much is being made of impending elections in Goa with the BJP hoping that Modi’s meeting with the Pope will appease the Catholic voters, who make up a quarter of the state. The BJP has been in power for many years, but with the Congress, AAP and Trinamool Congress in the fray this time, BJP hopes that weaning away even a section of the Catholic vote may help it retain power.

Insiders say that the Indian government pushed hard for the visit to the Vatican to happen, with Kerala Bishops playing a key role. And yet, Mr. Modi has for seven years resisted repeated requests by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) to invite the Pope on an official visit. Pope Francis, who has come as close to home as Sri Lanka, is said to be keen to meet the Christian community in India.

From Modi’s point of view, it would have been strange for him to spend three days in Rome without making a courtesy visit to the Vatican which is in reality not much bigger than a district of Rome though it is a sovereign state with Pope Francis as its Head of State. Though it is not entirely clear which back-channel interlocutors made this courtesy meeting possible, but several important Malayalee leaders of the BJP, including a state governor, have been intermediaries between the Kerala church and the Prime Minister’s office.

Mr. Modi, had to listen to US vice president, Kamala Harris, stress democracy and human rights when he called on her during his United Nations visit. The Pope may not be so direct, perhaps, but his position on human rights, freedom of faith and expression, are well known. He is a Jesuit, and the community is passionate about issues of development, rights and justice. Fr Stan Swamy, who was unjustly incarcerated by this regime was a Jesuit too.

India has been indicted in various international indices for its human rights record, and in particular for the persecution of Muslims and Christians.

The Indian Christian community is not expecting an immediate change in the ground situation or the Sangh Parivar and BJP attitude. It does hope that the judicial process will uphold the rights of all minorities, as also those of Dalits and Adivasis amongst whom the Church works.

The September October season has seen the most vicious attacks and curbs in the Christian community, apart from the continuing debasing of the much larger Muslim population.

The Bhopal Archbishop wrote to the prime minister just two days ago, on October 26– days after Hindustan Times had announced Mr. Modi’s Vatican visit. “Very recently certain individuals and groups have stepped up a hate campaign against minority groups, especially Christians,” he said.  

He pointed to the harassment of two Catholic nuns in the Mau district of Uttar Pradesh on October 10. A Hindutva mob took the Ursuline Franciscan Sisters Gracy Monteiro and Roshi Minj from a Mau bus stand to the nearest police station accusing them of illegal religious conversion. They were kept in the police station for over six hours without any formal complaint. [This was carried by Sabrangindia in an exclusive interview with the Nuns.]

In this letter, Archbishop Cornelio also cited the hate speech case of BJP legislator Rameshwar Sharma, who appealed to Hindus in a speech to “stay away” from Christians and Muslims, stressing that contact would destroy Hindus. Such public discourse from elected representatives seemed to be a “deliberate attempt to whip up communal hatred against minority communities is a matter of great concern for everyone.”

Rising religious fundamentalism and hatred, the prelate said, is “a threat to the growth of the nation,” the Archbishop wrote to Mr. Modi.

Various Christian organisations, including UFI, United Christian Forum and Persecution Relief have documented 305 attacks on Christians spread over 21 states since the beginning of the year. BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 66 incidents followed by Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh (47), tribal people’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-ruled Jharkhand (30) and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh (26), according to data collected since January. Karnataka, another BJP-ruled state in the south, also witnessed a spurt in violence against Christians with 32 incidents.

Will the October 30 meeting, in any way, mitigate the hate and violence that Indian Christians have been subject to, especially since 2014?

 

Related:

Madhya Pradesh: Mob gives Catholic school 15 days to install a statue of goddess Saraswati

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

Chhattisgarh: A dead woman’s ‘ghar wapsi’ before final rites were allowed

Will Karnataka soon enact a tough "anti-conversion law”?

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'Nothing but communal pretense': Op-ed in Dhaka Tribune

'Every year, during Durga Puja, this aggravation takes place without fail'.

19 Oct 2021

communal violence

We all have a responsibility to protect each other. Since I am not a minority, but privileged, I and all of us belonging from that privilege have that responsibility as well. Being under the pretense that, every year, Muslims do not cause any disturbance during Durga Puja and connecting this year’s violence to the alleged disrespect of the Quran is selective narrative at its peak.

Every year, during Durga Puja, this aggravation takes place without fail. I can’t recall a single year where a murti wasn’t smashed or the puja mondol was not broken. What we are seeing right now is not a recent phenomenon -- communal violence has been going on for decades and almost always has the majority as the aggressors.

You think what happened this year was an exception? Think again, remembering what happened in Shalla this March or what happened in Comilla in November last year. Keeping in mind, these are the ones which reached the news; there are numerous incidents like this throughout the year, and the perpetrators almost always go scot-free without any form of punishment or retaliation.

What has happened this year is truly heart-breaking. If you want others to respect your religion, you have to respect theirs as well. If you condemn the torture against Muslims in China, India, and Palestine, and then treat Hindu minorities the same way in Bangladesh, that’s downright hypocritical. And frankly, that’s not even the teaching of Islam either. Things can be planted and people do the worst of things in the name of religion. No one in their right mind would want to sabotage their own religious festivities.

For argument’s sake, even if someone did, you can’t blame an entire community for that or ruin their festive time of the year. If you want to be a decent human being -- and for the majority’s argument’s sake, a “good Muslim” -- the priority should be to condemn the Muslims who are provoking and creating such violence in the name of religion, not deflecting the blame with the classic “not all men,” “not all white people” ideology.

They are the citizens of this country foremost, and our siblings connected through this soil. They should not be fearful during their festivals or any other time of year.

Hate will create more hate; this has been proven right time after time. When we look back at history, the Calcutta killings in August of 1946 provoked the Noakhali riots in October of that very year. The riot was bloody, and Hindus were murdered by Muslims and forcibly converted in Noakhali.

To resonate with that, a far worse riot manifested in Bihar just weeks later, where Muslims were massacred by Hindus. Thus, this domino effect has been progressing through history till now. Until we can embrace each other as siblings of this soil and river, we can’t really expect harmony.

Just imagine yourself in their shoes right now: Your ancestral home, your place of worship is under potential attack, and all you can do is watch helplessly as your family members hide their valuables in fear of a mob attack, praying while heavily armed law enforcers form barricades -- for them, it was this year’s Durga Puja.

You think that just because you didn’t participate in it, you are not part of the problem? Think again. Recall the last time you may have either ridiculed or shamed someone for their religion, even if it was behind their backs. You didn’t? Okay, then think about the last time you defended them when your loved ones were being bigoted against them.

It’s time to reflect and to start discussions -- albeit, uncomfortable discussions -- with people around you who might have questionable ideologies regarding minorities. It’s high time we ask how to make our Hindu friends or acquaintances or colleagues what we can do to make them feel safer.

I have witnessed countless social media posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement or Palestinians; it’s not like these issues don’t deserve the attention, but the sheer reluctance and negligence to spread awareness about our own people who are abusing minorities is the root of the problem. I have no words to convey my apology and shame.

I unequivocally condemn the communal violence taking place in the country and sincerely hope that the coming days are better. If we want to bring change and awareness, the first step is to take responsibility, and accept that there is a rot in the system.

A direct quotation from Sayan Roy that I can’t help but share: “Today my mom and brother returned from Hazigong, Chandpur -- one of the most violent parts of the country where they witnessed everything right in front of their eyes. When they entered our home, I witnessed something that I couldn’t believe myself. My mom wasn’t wearing any Shakha or Shindur. My dad called her and told her not to wear those while traveling. She was in so much fear. I couldn’t bear to witness that. This is 2021, not 1971. After 50 years of independence, this is where we are.”

Tahia Farhin Haque is a freelance contributor. Acknowledgements, snippets from virtual interactions with Shafiqul Alam, Farhan Rahman, Priota Iftekhar, Fariha Mansur and Aonkita Dey.

This article was first published in dhakatribune.com and may be read here

'Nothing but communal pretense': Op-ed in Dhaka Tribune

'Every year, during Durga Puja, this aggravation takes place without fail'.

communal violence

We all have a responsibility to protect each other. Since I am not a minority, but privileged, I and all of us belonging from that privilege have that responsibility as well. Being under the pretense that, every year, Muslims do not cause any disturbance during Durga Puja and connecting this year’s violence to the alleged disrespect of the Quran is selective narrative at its peak.

Every year, during Durga Puja, this aggravation takes place without fail. I can’t recall a single year where a murti wasn’t smashed or the puja mondol was not broken. What we are seeing right now is not a recent phenomenon -- communal violence has been going on for decades and almost always has the majority as the aggressors.

You think what happened this year was an exception? Think again, remembering what happened in Shalla this March or what happened in Comilla in November last year. Keeping in mind, these are the ones which reached the news; there are numerous incidents like this throughout the year, and the perpetrators almost always go scot-free without any form of punishment or retaliation.

What has happened this year is truly heart-breaking. If you want others to respect your religion, you have to respect theirs as well. If you condemn the torture against Muslims in China, India, and Palestine, and then treat Hindu minorities the same way in Bangladesh, that’s downright hypocritical. And frankly, that’s not even the teaching of Islam either. Things can be planted and people do the worst of things in the name of religion. No one in their right mind would want to sabotage their own religious festivities.

For argument’s sake, even if someone did, you can’t blame an entire community for that or ruin their festive time of the year. If you want to be a decent human being -- and for the majority’s argument’s sake, a “good Muslim” -- the priority should be to condemn the Muslims who are provoking and creating such violence in the name of religion, not deflecting the blame with the classic “not all men,” “not all white people” ideology.

They are the citizens of this country foremost, and our siblings connected through this soil. They should not be fearful during their festivals or any other time of year.

Hate will create more hate; this has been proven right time after time. When we look back at history, the Calcutta killings in August of 1946 provoked the Noakhali riots in October of that very year. The riot was bloody, and Hindus were murdered by Muslims and forcibly converted in Noakhali.

To resonate with that, a far worse riot manifested in Bihar just weeks later, where Muslims were massacred by Hindus. Thus, this domino effect has been progressing through history till now. Until we can embrace each other as siblings of this soil and river, we can’t really expect harmony.

Just imagine yourself in their shoes right now: Your ancestral home, your place of worship is under potential attack, and all you can do is watch helplessly as your family members hide their valuables in fear of a mob attack, praying while heavily armed law enforcers form barricades -- for them, it was this year’s Durga Puja.

You think that just because you didn’t participate in it, you are not part of the problem? Think again. Recall the last time you may have either ridiculed or shamed someone for their religion, even if it was behind their backs. You didn’t? Okay, then think about the last time you defended them when your loved ones were being bigoted against them.

It’s time to reflect and to start discussions -- albeit, uncomfortable discussions -- with people around you who might have questionable ideologies regarding minorities. It’s high time we ask how to make our Hindu friends or acquaintances or colleagues what we can do to make them feel safer.

I have witnessed countless social media posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement or Palestinians; it’s not like these issues don’t deserve the attention, but the sheer reluctance and negligence to spread awareness about our own people who are abusing minorities is the root of the problem. I have no words to convey my apology and shame.

I unequivocally condemn the communal violence taking place in the country and sincerely hope that the coming days are better. If we want to bring change and awareness, the first step is to take responsibility, and accept that there is a rot in the system.

A direct quotation from Sayan Roy that I can’t help but share: “Today my mom and brother returned from Hazigong, Chandpur -- one of the most violent parts of the country where they witnessed everything right in front of their eyes. When they entered our home, I witnessed something that I couldn’t believe myself. My mom wasn’t wearing any Shakha or Shindur. My dad called her and told her not to wear those while traveling. She was in so much fear. I couldn’t bear to witness that. This is 2021, not 1971. After 50 years of independence, this is where we are.”

Tahia Farhin Haque is a freelance contributor. Acknowledgements, snippets from virtual interactions with Shafiqul Alam, Farhan Rahman, Priota Iftekhar, Fariha Mansur and Aonkita Dey.

This article was first published in dhakatribune.com and may be read here

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'Hindu brothers and sisters, don't be afraid, we are with you'

A harmony rally was held by Awami League on Tuesday morning

19 Oct 2021

Awami League

The ruling Awami League has called its workers and supporters to unite against communal violence.

"Together with the people of the country, we will resist the evil forces under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina," General Secretary Obaidul Quader told a party event on Tuesday.

Communal tensions have gripped Bangladesh over the past few days following allegations of the Quran being dishonoured at a puja pavilion in Comilla on October 13, triggering violence in several districts across the country.

At least six people were killed and scores have been injured in attacks on Hindu homes, temples and Durga Puja venues over the past seven days in several places across the country.

On Tuesday, the Awami League held a "harmony rally" in front of its headquarters on the Bangabandha Avenue in Dhaka.

"Hindu brothers and sisters, don't be afraid. You have Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League with you. The Sheikh Hasina-government is a pro-minority one," he told the rally.

Awami League will remain vigilant until the communal forces are wiped out. Party workers across the country are prepared to confront these evil quarters, he added.

Awami League, as well as its affiliated entities and linked organizations, will organize similar events across the country.

After an emergency meeting at the party chief’s office in Dhanmondi on Monday, General Secretary Obaidul Quader announced the rally for Tuesday.

The central leader of Awami League also announced that, they will also start an organizational tour across the country from November 5.

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinaattended the meeting through video conferencing from her official residence.

This article was first published in dhakatribune.com and may be read here

'Hindu brothers and sisters, don't be afraid, we are with you'

A harmony rally was held by Awami League on Tuesday morning

Awami League

The ruling Awami League has called its workers and supporters to unite against communal violence.

"Together with the people of the country, we will resist the evil forces under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina," General Secretary Obaidul Quader told a party event on Tuesday.

Communal tensions have gripped Bangladesh over the past few days following allegations of the Quran being dishonoured at a puja pavilion in Comilla on October 13, triggering violence in several districts across the country.

At least six people were killed and scores have been injured in attacks on Hindu homes, temples and Durga Puja venues over the past seven days in several places across the country.

On Tuesday, the Awami League held a "harmony rally" in front of its headquarters on the Bangabandha Avenue in Dhaka.

"Hindu brothers and sisters, don't be afraid. You have Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League with you. The Sheikh Hasina-government is a pro-minority one," he told the rally.

Awami League will remain vigilant until the communal forces are wiped out. Party workers across the country are prepared to confront these evil quarters, he added.

Awami League, as well as its affiliated entities and linked organizations, will organize similar events across the country.

After an emergency meeting at the party chief’s office in Dhanmondi on Monday, General Secretary Obaidul Quader announced the rally for Tuesday.

The central leader of Awami League also announced that, they will also start an organizational tour across the country from November 5.

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinaattended the meeting through video conferencing from her official residence.

This article was first published in dhakatribune.com and may be read here

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Bangladesh: Mass strike called on October 23 to protest attacks on minorities

Bangladeshis stand in solidarity with their Hindu compatriots, even as violence against the minority community continues in places

19 Oct 2021

ProtestImage Courtesy:asianews.it

Protests continue in Bangladesh as thousands of citizens stand in solidarity with their Hindu compatriots in the wake of violence against the minority community. International media has covered how for the past few days Bangladeshis, across religions are seeking justice for their Hindu fellow citizens who have borne the brunt of recent communal attacks during Durga puja.

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, a mass strike and protest rally has been called for “in districts and sub-districts across the country” by the  Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Parishad to “condemn, protest and condemn communal attacks and want the overall security of religious-ethnic minority population.” Citizens of the country are taking to the streets demanding safety of Bangladeshi Hindus, and taking their campaign online with hashtags such as SaveBangladeshiHindus.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/lydIXAKov8e4B_NtFCT9URQRT82m4U7l8ZVqr3kUYJbt7ApOdslWNdW4m59WlGdrMOAXrVbbNAHtuaoMT0h6dRDfJ74ntuWZTdMHYtcstkgjpU2bR-H3x_moy4wRe_yjp6WubDe-=s1600

According to a report in Al Jazeera, the mob attacks on Hindu temples and clashes with police in various parts of Bangladesh "have left  at least six people, including two Hindus, dead and more than 100 injured.” Local police told the media that “more than 200 attackers beat and stabbed to death an executive member of the temple committee in the southern town of Begumganj” at a time when the final ceremonies of the Durga Puja festival were being carried out. Shahidul Islam the district police chief told AFP  that on Saturday another Hindu man’s body was found near a pond next to the temple. Four others were killed late on Wednesday “when police opened fire on a crowd of about 500 people attacking a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several towns hit by the disturbances” stated Reuters.

Fresh violence in Bangladesh reported 

Fresh violence in Bangladesh was reported when a mob attacked houses belonging to members of the community at a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj Upazila. The trigger for the violence, police said, was a Facebook post with “religiously abusive content,” believed to have been made by a Hindu man. According to a report in HT, Mohammad Sadequl Islam, the chairman of the local Union Parishad, said, “Around 65 houses were torched during the attack on Sunday night, resulting in at least 20 houses being completely burnt down.” He alleged, the mob was of “local units of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.”

Hindus comprise around 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 165 million population and have been shaken and left fearful since violence also broke out in the nation’s capital Dhaka, and the port city of Chittagong. High-speed mobile phone internet services were shut and police resorted to fire “tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of brick-throwing Muslim protesters”. Protests have continued in the country and according to news reports at least 150 Hindus were injured across Bangladesh. According to  community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, “At least 80 makeshift temples had been attacked” in Noakhali, Bangladesh. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) called on the Gov't of Bangladesh “to ensure the safety of all Hindus and bring the perpetrators to justice”.

Radharamn Das, Vice President , ISKCON, Kolkata, announced a “1-day protest & prayer meetings for victims in Bangladesh on 23 Oct, in almost 150 countries at all ISKCON centers”.

Bangladesh Police have reportedly detained at least 300 suspects in connection with the riots. However, attacks targeting Hindus continue in Bangladesh despite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina making a strong statement that the guilty will be punished regardless of their religion. Bangladesh Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday said that the attacks on Durga Puja pandals were “pre-planned” adding that those found involved will be given “exemplary” punishment.

The Indian right-wing adds communal fuel

Many right-wing influencers from India have meanwhile decided to add communal fuel to what is happening across the border in Bangladesh. Most recently, they have shared a video from Tripura and claimed it is of the ongoing violence against Hindus minorities  in Bangladesh 

The image shared was originally posted by Twitter handle @UnityCouncilBD of the ‘Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council’. It claimed the violence was  from Rangpur. However a fact check by Alt news revealed that “the samee video was shared by a Facebook page named ‘Social Tripura Network’. The news ticker in Bengali flashing at the bottom says that the incident took place in ‘মরাছড়া বাজার’ or Mara Cherra Bazar which is in Karatichhara, Tripura.” The cause of the fire was yet to be determined though “ some locals suspected that the fire started from the mandap, others think that a short circuit in one of the shops caused the fire outbreak.”

Related

'Zero tolerance for communal violence': Dhaka Tribune editorial
Don’t consider yourselves as minorities: Sheikh Hasina reassures Hindus

Bangladesh: Mass strike called on October 23 to protest attacks on minorities

Bangladeshis stand in solidarity with their Hindu compatriots, even as violence against the minority community continues in places

ProtestImage Courtesy:asianews.it

Protests continue in Bangladesh as thousands of citizens stand in solidarity with their Hindu compatriots in the wake of violence against the minority community. International media has covered how for the past few days Bangladeshis, across religions are seeking justice for their Hindu fellow citizens who have borne the brunt of recent communal attacks during Durga puja.

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, a mass strike and protest rally has been called for “in districts and sub-districts across the country” by the  Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Parishad to “condemn, protest and condemn communal attacks and want the overall security of religious-ethnic minority population.” Citizens of the country are taking to the streets demanding safety of Bangladeshi Hindus, and taking their campaign online with hashtags such as SaveBangladeshiHindus.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/lydIXAKov8e4B_NtFCT9URQRT82m4U7l8ZVqr3kUYJbt7ApOdslWNdW4m59WlGdrMOAXrVbbNAHtuaoMT0h6dRDfJ74ntuWZTdMHYtcstkgjpU2bR-H3x_moy4wRe_yjp6WubDe-=s1600

According to a report in Al Jazeera, the mob attacks on Hindu temples and clashes with police in various parts of Bangladesh "have left  at least six people, including two Hindus, dead and more than 100 injured.” Local police told the media that “more than 200 attackers beat and stabbed to death an executive member of the temple committee in the southern town of Begumganj” at a time when the final ceremonies of the Durga Puja festival were being carried out. Shahidul Islam the district police chief told AFP  that on Saturday another Hindu man’s body was found near a pond next to the temple. Four others were killed late on Wednesday “when police opened fire on a crowd of about 500 people attacking a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several towns hit by the disturbances” stated Reuters.

Fresh violence in Bangladesh reported 

Fresh violence in Bangladesh was reported when a mob attacked houses belonging to members of the community at a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj Upazila. The trigger for the violence, police said, was a Facebook post with “religiously abusive content,” believed to have been made by a Hindu man. According to a report in HT, Mohammad Sadequl Islam, the chairman of the local Union Parishad, said, “Around 65 houses were torched during the attack on Sunday night, resulting in at least 20 houses being completely burnt down.” He alleged, the mob was of “local units of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.”

Hindus comprise around 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 165 million population and have been shaken and left fearful since violence also broke out in the nation’s capital Dhaka, and the port city of Chittagong. High-speed mobile phone internet services were shut and police resorted to fire “tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of brick-throwing Muslim protesters”. Protests have continued in the country and according to news reports at least 150 Hindus were injured across Bangladesh. According to  community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, “At least 80 makeshift temples had been attacked” in Noakhali, Bangladesh. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) called on the Gov't of Bangladesh “to ensure the safety of all Hindus and bring the perpetrators to justice”.

Radharamn Das, Vice President , ISKCON, Kolkata, announced a “1-day protest & prayer meetings for victims in Bangladesh on 23 Oct, in almost 150 countries at all ISKCON centers”.

Bangladesh Police have reportedly detained at least 300 suspects in connection with the riots. However, attacks targeting Hindus continue in Bangladesh despite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina making a strong statement that the guilty will be punished regardless of their religion. Bangladesh Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday said that the attacks on Durga Puja pandals were “pre-planned” adding that those found involved will be given “exemplary” punishment.

The Indian right-wing adds communal fuel

Many right-wing influencers from India have meanwhile decided to add communal fuel to what is happening across the border in Bangladesh. Most recently, they have shared a video from Tripura and claimed it is of the ongoing violence against Hindus minorities  in Bangladesh 

The image shared was originally posted by Twitter handle @UnityCouncilBD of the ‘Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council’. It claimed the violence was  from Rangpur. However a fact check by Alt news revealed that “the samee video was shared by a Facebook page named ‘Social Tripura Network’. The news ticker in Bengali flashing at the bottom says that the incident took place in ‘মরাছড়া বাজার’ or Mara Cherra Bazar which is in Karatichhara, Tripura.” The cause of the fire was yet to be determined though “ some locals suspected that the fire started from the mandap, others think that a short circuit in one of the shops caused the fire outbreak.”

Related

'Zero tolerance for communal violence': Dhaka Tribune editorial
Don’t consider yourselves as minorities: Sheikh Hasina reassures Hindus

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Killing of British MP Sir David Amess was terrorism: Metropolitan Police

The Conservative MP was stabbed multiple at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, at midday on Friday

16 Oct 2021

Conservative MP Sir David Amess Image Courtesy:bbc.com

The murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess is being treated as a terrorist incident by the police. He was stabbed multiple times at a meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, at midday on Friday.  A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and police say that a knife was recovered and detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

The Metropolitan Police said, "There was a potential link to Islamist extremism reported BBC news." When he was attacked, the 69-year-old leader who represented Southend West, was meeting his constituents during “a constituency surgery”, an event described by the BBC as one were “voters can meet their MP and discuss concerns”. It was held at a  church. The Metropolitan Police has said, "The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing," adding, “Early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism." Sir David had been an MP since 1983 and was the father of five. News reports pointed out that he is the second serving MP to be killed in the past five years, after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

According to the BBC, the investigators have also asked the general public to come forth with “any information or with footage from CCTV, dash cams or video doorbell”. Meanwhile, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer laid flowers at the scene of crime, on Saturday morning. Boris Johnson hailed Sir David as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, while former prime minister Theresa May said his death was “heartbreaking”, adding it was “a tragic day for our democracy” reported the Guardian. Many other leaders also paid their respects to David Amess who is being hailed as a “much loved parliamentarian.” It has been reported that investigators “will be delving deeply into the life of the suspect to understand how he reached this mindset and whether this was an attack by a "lone actor" or someone who is part of a network.”

The Guardian reported that health secretary, Sajid Javid, said he was devastated at the loss of “a great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role”, while friend and MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, called him “an amazing, kind man who knew what mattered in life” who had served his community with “his whole heart”. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said, “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most. Today, it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague.”

Reuters reported that “UK’s interior minister Priti Patel, and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer were among those to lay flowers in tribute to Amess at the scene of the murder.” Politicians described the attack as “an assault on democracy”. Patel told the media that “security for lawmakers, known as MPs, was being reviewed and strengthened” and “All measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members. We live in an open society, a democracy. We cannot be cowed by any individual."

According to Reuters, “in Westminster, where lawmakers do much of their work in parliament, armed police are on patrol. But in their electoral districts, known as constituencies, more often than not there is no security.”

Related:

Islamophobia: Lessons from Canada on how to respond heinous hate crime
Afghanistan: Bomb attack kills at least 100 at Shia mosque in Kunduz
India abstains from voting on resolution at UNHRC on Gaza violence
Indian diaspora unfurls ‘Resign Modi’ banner in London on August 15

 

Killing of British MP Sir David Amess was terrorism: Metropolitan Police

The Conservative MP was stabbed multiple at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, at midday on Friday

Conservative MP Sir David Amess Image Courtesy:bbc.com

The murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess is being treated as a terrorist incident by the police. He was stabbed multiple times at a meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, at midday on Friday.  A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and police say that a knife was recovered and detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

The Metropolitan Police said, "There was a potential link to Islamist extremism reported BBC news." When he was attacked, the 69-year-old leader who represented Southend West, was meeting his constituents during “a constituency surgery”, an event described by the BBC as one were “voters can meet their MP and discuss concerns”. It was held at a  church. The Metropolitan Police has said, "The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing," adding, “Early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism." Sir David had been an MP since 1983 and was the father of five. News reports pointed out that he is the second serving MP to be killed in the past five years, after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

According to the BBC, the investigators have also asked the general public to come forth with “any information or with footage from CCTV, dash cams or video doorbell”. Meanwhile, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer laid flowers at the scene of crime, on Saturday morning. Boris Johnson hailed Sir David as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, while former prime minister Theresa May said his death was “heartbreaking”, adding it was “a tragic day for our democracy” reported the Guardian. Many other leaders also paid their respects to David Amess who is being hailed as a “much loved parliamentarian.” It has been reported that investigators “will be delving deeply into the life of the suspect to understand how he reached this mindset and whether this was an attack by a "lone actor" or someone who is part of a network.”

The Guardian reported that health secretary, Sajid Javid, said he was devastated at the loss of “a great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role”, while friend and MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, called him “an amazing, kind man who knew what mattered in life” who had served his community with “his whole heart”. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said, “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most. Today, it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague.”

Reuters reported that “UK’s interior minister Priti Patel, and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer were among those to lay flowers in tribute to Amess at the scene of the murder.” Politicians described the attack as “an assault on democracy”. Patel told the media that “security for lawmakers, known as MPs, was being reviewed and strengthened” and “All measures are being put in place for the security of MPs so that they can carry on with their duties as elected democratic members. We live in an open society, a democracy. We cannot be cowed by any individual."

According to Reuters, “in Westminster, where lawmakers do much of their work in parliament, armed police are on patrol. But in their electoral districts, known as constituencies, more often than not there is no security.”

Related:

Islamophobia: Lessons from Canada on how to respond heinous hate crime
Afghanistan: Bomb attack kills at least 100 at Shia mosque in Kunduz
India abstains from voting on resolution at UNHRC on Gaza violence
Indian diaspora unfurls ‘Resign Modi’ banner in London on August 15

 

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