Pages

Saturday, 28 April 2012

महजबीं उर्फ मेघा की दर्दनाक दास्तां, धर्म परिवर्तन का दंश और मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति की लड़ाई


महजबीं उर्फ मेघा की दर्दनाक दास्तां, धर्म परिवर्तन का दंश और मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति की लड़ाई

एक्सकैलिबर स्टीवेंस विश्वास

मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति ( PVCHR )   धर्म परिवर्तन करने का दंश  झेल रही महजबीन उर्फ मेघा के साथ मजबूती से खड़ी है।आपने हमने धर्म परिवर्तन के लिए राजनीति और सामाजिक सत्ता की ओर से व्यक्ति और समूह के प्रति होने वाले अत्याचारों के बारे में बहुत सुना​ ​ होगा। पर बिना मां वाली घर में अकेली बेटी पर बाप के जुल्मो सितम के इंतहा हो जाने की वजह से धर्म परिवर्तन की यह अत्यंत दर्दनाक दास्तान है।मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति टीम ने इस सच को बेनकाब करके बेसहार बेटी का साथ निभाने का बीड़ा उठाया है। हम जानते हैं कि इस देश के ज्यादातर मुसलमान मूलनिवासी अस्पृश्यों के ही वंशज है , जिन्हें बौद्ध धर्म के अवसान और मनुस्मृति व्यवस्था की सत्ता से बचने के लिए इस्लाम की शरण लेनी पड़ी। आजादी के बाद हिंदुत्व अब अंध राष्ट्रवाद की शक्ल में मुंह बांए खड़ी है। पहले जो लड़की पिता के अत्याचारों से परेशान थीं, अब वह पूरे समाज के मुकाबले ेकदम अकेली खड़ी है। क्या मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति उसकी जीजिविषा को क्रोमिन देने के लिए पर्याप्त है?

मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिति के मुताबिक महजबीं उर्फ मेघा नागर उम्र 18 वर्ष] पिता क नाम अभय राम नागर, सुदामापुर, बज़रडीहा, वाराणासी की रहने वाली है।उसके पिता स्टेट बैंक आफ इंडिया मे असिस्टेंट मैनेजर हैं। जब वह लगभग पांच-छः वर्ष की ही थी, तब उसकी मां की मृत्यु हो गयी। घर मे कोई भाई बहन नही था।वह अप्ने माता-पिता की इकलौती संतान है। तब से आज तक की उसकी जिन्दगी अकेलेपन और दुःखो के बीच बीतती  रही। घर मुस्लिमबहुल इलाके मे था और उसके पिता घोर मुस्लिम विरोधी।लिहाजा पास पड़ोस से बातचीत और किसी तरह के संबंध की कोई गुंजाइश नही थी। बहुत बन्धन मे रहना पडता था। जैसे–जैसे वह बडी होती गयी, पिता का व्यवहार उसके प्रति और भी कठोर होता गया। उसके पिता बहुत ही गुस्से वाले आदमी! छोटी-छोटी बातों को लेकर गाली गलौज, मार-पीट शुरू कर देते। उनकी उससे बातचीत बहुत ही कम होती थी। उनके इस व्यवहार से उसके मन मे भी धीरे-धीरे उनके लिये एक कठोरता आती गयी और उसने तय कर लिया कि वह अपनी जिन्दगी इनकी मर्जी से नहीं जियेगी। 2010 में उसने इंटर पास किया। इसी बीच अपने मुस्लिम दोस्तों से मुस्लिम धर्म के बारे मे जानने को मिला। फैजुर्रहमान उर्फ राजू पुत्र लियाकत गनी अंसारी, जिसका घर उसके घर के सामने ही है, उसके परिवार के साथ उसकी अच्छी बनने लगी थी। जाहिर है कि उसके पिता को यह बिल्कुल पसन्द नहीं था। लेकिन  मेघा  ने उनकी गाली गलौज व मार पीट को नजरअन्दाज करना शुरू कर दिया था। वह अपने पिता के साथ बिल्कुल भी नहीं रहना चाहती थी। उनका व्यवहार उसके प्रति लगातार कठोर और असहनीय होता जा रहा था। कभी-कभी मारने पीटने के बाद कई कई दिनों तक उसे भूखा रखा जाता था। उसके ताऊ जो उसके साथ ही घर में रहते हैं, हमेशा उसके पिता को उसके खिलाफ भडकाते रहते, तब उसने तय कर लिया कि अब और अधिक सहन नहीं कर सकती। 7 मई 2011 को काजी-ए-शहर मुफ्ती गुलाम यसीन से फैजुर्रहमान (राजू) की सहायता से उसने इस्लाम धर्म कबूल कर लिया। यह बिना दबाव के लिया गया उसका निजी फैसला था।

यह घटना काफी समय तक उसने अपने पिता और परिवार से छुपाये रखी। काफी हिम्मत कर उसने यह बात एक दिन अपने पिता के सामने तब रखी, जब उसने 7 अगस्त 2011 को अखबार में छपने के लिये इश्तिहार दे दिया। उसके बाद उसके पिता,ताऊ व पुरे परिवार वालों ने उसे बहुत मारा-पीटा। कई दिन तक उसे भूखा रखा। उसके पिता ने खुदा को व उसके फैसले को बहुत गाली दी।लिहाजा अब महजबीं उर्फ मेघा उनके साथ रहने के लिये बिल्कुल भी तैयार नहीं थी। वह पुलिस चौकी बज़रडीहा अपनी शिकायत दर्ज कराने गयी तो थाना इंचार्ज ने उसे समझाया कि इतनी रात को कहा जाओगी, सुबह चली जाना। अभी घर जाओ। अगले दिन उसके पिता पुलिस चौकी गये और उनके कहने पर थानेदार ने महजबीं को फोन कर कहा कि अब तुम्हारे पिता तुम्हें परेशान नहीं करेंगे। हमने उन्हे समझा दिया है। अब तुम शिकायत लिखवाकर क्या करोगी?

घर आने के बाद  महजबीं  के पिता का व्यवहार काफी बदला हुआ था, गाली गलौज व मार-पीट का रवैया बदलकर उन्होंने उसे इमोशनल ब्लैकमेल करना शुरू कर दिया। उसने जब उनकी बात नहीं मानी, तब उस समय जब वह वकील से मिलने गयी थी (धर्म परिवर्तन को कानूनी रूप से जायज ठहराने की कार्यवाही हेतु), उसके पिता ने फैजुर्रहमान (राजू) और उसके पिता लियाकत गनी अंसारी पर उसको गायब करने का इल्जाम लगा दिया। जब वह वापस आयी तो मुहल्ले वालों ने उसे बताया कि उसके पिता ने इन लोगों के खिलाफ पुलिस कम्प्लेन लिखवा दी है। उसने यह बताने के लिये कि उसे कहीं गायब नहीं किया गया है, थाने गयी तो पुलिस वालों ने उसे बहुत उल्टा सीधा, भला बुरा कहा कि अगर अपने मन की करनी है तो जहां जी चाहे, चली क्यों नहीं जाती? बाप के घर  में  क्यों बैठी हो? और तुम्हारे पिता ने ऐसा कुछ नहीं किया है।  मुहल्ले वाले कुछ भी कहेंगे। तुमने उनका ठेका ले के रखा है? वहां से वह वापस वकील साहब के यहां गयी। उसने उन्हें बताया कि उसके मुसलमान होने का सबूत मांग रहे है। शहर-ए-मुफ्ती का प्रमाण पत्र व अखबार के इश्तिहार को नहीं  मान रहे है। वकील साहब से सलाह मशविरा कर तय किया कि वह फैजुर्रहमान (राजू) से निकाह कर लेगी। मशविरा करने के बाद उसने उसी दिन (21 अगस्त 2011) रात 10:30 बजे काजी-ए-शहर के यहां निकाह कर लिया।

इसके बाद से अभी तक (22 अगस्त 2011) वह अपने घर नही गयी और फैजुर्रहमान(राजू) और उसके पिता भी अपने घर नही जा सके है। लेकिन फैजुर्रहमान (राजू) के घर बात करने पर यह ज्ञात हुया कि पुलिस लगातार उसके घर पर दबिश दे रही है। रात-रात तक दरवाजा पीटा जाता है।

महजबीं बहुत परेशान है। क्यों उसके निजी फैसले का तमाशा बना दिया गया है? वह केवल यह चहती है कि इस मामले में किसी को परेशान न किया जाय।  वह बालिग है और अपनी मर्जी से निकाह का फैसला लेने के लिये स्वतंत्र है।वह जिससे चाहे निकाह कर सकती है। उसे और उसके शौहर तथा उनके परिवार वालो को और परेशान न किया जाय।

यह मामला मानवाधिकार जन निगरानी समिती के माध्यम से कोर्ट में गया। जहां से महजबीं को नारी संरक्षण केन्द्र भेज दिया गया।  पुनः अगली सुनवायी पर कोर्ट ने उसके बालिग होने के कारण यह आदेश दिया कि वह अपनी मर्जी से ज और जिसके साथ रहना चाहे, जा सकती है। परंतु हिंदुत्ववादी ताकतों से मिलकर उसके पिता ने उसका नारी संरक्षण केन्द्र से अपहरण करवा दिया और कोर्ट के फैसले को दर किनार करते हुये उसे जबर्दस्ती अपने साथ ले गये। पुनः हाई कोर्ट के हस्तक्षेप से उसे उसके पिता के चंगुल से आजाद कराकर उसके मर्जी से उसके पति के सुपुर्द कर दिया गया जो अपने पति के साथ आज खुशी से रह रही है।  


Bangaru Laxman sentenced to 4 years in jail for accepting bribe in sting


Bangaru Laxman sentenced to 4 years in jail for accepting bribe in sting

New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI): Former Bharatiya Janata Dal or BJP President Bangaru Laxman was sentenced on Saturday to four years in jail by a Delhi court for taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in a fictitious arms deal case 11 years ago.
Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora sentenced 72-year-old Bangaru, also a former Union minister, holding him guilty of taking the bribe from fake arms dealers to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.
The court awarded him the prison term, rejecting his plea for leniency and ordered that he be taken in custody to serve the sentence.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Bangaru, who had been caught on camera accepting the money in his chamber in the party headquarters and had to quit as its president shortly after the sting expose, which had created a huge political storm.
"Balancing the twin interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met, if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh for the offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the judge said.
"It is often said that the accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. 'Sab chalta hai' syndrome has led us to the present situation, where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal consideration. People are forced to pay for getting even the right things done at right time," he added.
The judge, in his 14-page order on quantum of the sentence, said it is time to "shun" the "sab chalta hai" (Everything goes) attitude and courts should deal strictly with persons found guilty of corruption.
"It is right time to shun this attitude. When Parliament, taking note of the grim situation, has taken first step to sternly deal with such persons by increasing the quantum of punishment which can be imposed, it is the turn of the court to follow suit, so as to implement the will and intention of the legislature by interpreting the provisions of the PC Act as per the dictates of the apex court," the judge said.
"The problem of large-scale and rampant corruption, more particularly, the political corruption is weakening the political body and damaging the supreme importance of the law, governing the society,"
"The wisdom in the saying 'crime never pays' is belied by the factual realities of the day. The crime scenario in our country is distressingly disturbing as it has shattered hopes of both the plebeian and intellectual society about a possible rejuvenation of a value-based society," the judge said.
The court had convicted Bangaru on Friday observing that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had established the case of accepting Rs one lakh bribe against him.
"Accused Bangaru Laxman stands convicted for the offence under Section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the judge had said.


NGOs for clause exemption - Meghalaya groups continue protest over voter enrolment



http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120428/jsp/frontpage/story_15426976.jsp#.T5wDPrNa5vY

NGOs for clause exemption
- Meghalaya groups continue protest over voter enrolment

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Shillong, April 27: Meghalaya's agitating social organisations today exhorted the state's political leaders to ask the Election Commission to "exempt clauses" as far as enrolment of voters is concerned in view of the presence of a minority indigenous population. "It is a matter of political will. If our politicians are really concerned about the state, they should approach the Election Commission and seek exemption from the guidelines as far as registration of voters is concerned. If Assam can be exempted from implementing the compulsory Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), similar exemption can also be extended to Meghalaya," HNYF general secretary Sadon K. Blah told reporters here.
He pointed out that Meghalaya was already a state protected under the Sixth Schedule and there were many directives from the Centre that the state government had never implemented.
Reiterating their demands, the organisations, which include the Khasi Students Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi-Jaintia & Garo People (FKJGP) and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), decided to go ahead with the three-day night road blockade (7pm till 5am) from Monday. Their demands include immediate suspension of the ongoing registration of voters, closure of the "special counters" for voter registration in the deputy commissioners' offices and reverting to the old system where a hearing took place at the village level (Dorbar Shnong) before a prospective elector's enrolment to ascertain his/her antecedents. The organisations have also demanded recognition of residential certificates issued by village headmen.
The major contention of the organisations is that non-Indians and migrants have found a place in the electoral rolls, which could pose a danger to the indigenous people.
Hence they also want the Centre to scrap the Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty, 1950 to stop the entry of non-Indian Nepalis. "It is very difficult to differentiate between an Indian and a non-Indian Nepali. If the treaty cannot be scrapped, Meghalaya should at least be exempted from it as the migration of Nepalis to our state is alarming," KSU president Daniel Khyriem said.
Last night, the government decided to replace the "special counters" in deputy commissioners' offices with voter facilitation cells.
Blah, however, questioned the idea behind the setting up of such cells. "These cells are meant to facilitate whom? These would only help outsiders attain an EPIC, as they would not have to go to the Dorbar Shnong for verification. How do you expect a deputy commissioner to know the antecedents of an individual who has come from outside?" he asked.
Yesterday afternoon, the state government had held parleys with the agitating groups but the talks remained inconclusive, as it could not offer any definite solution to their demands.


Minister’s job at Writers’: Tell ‘what kind of woman’ a teacher is


http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120428/jsp/frontpage/story_15429054.jsp#.T5wDnrNa5vY

Minister's job at Writers': Tell 'what kind of woman' a teacher is

OUR BUREAU
Calcutta, April 27: Writers' Buildings was used today by a senior minister to tell everyone "what kind of a woman (kemon mahila)" a teacher was because she allegedly dared to wag a finger and raise her voice at a Trinamul politician who is president of her college.
Subrata Mukherjee, a high-profile minister in the Mamata Banerjee government and the former mayor of Calcutta, also paraded a tenant and publicised the tenant's private dispute with the teacher's family to launch one of the fiercest state-sponsored attacks against an individual Bengal has ever seen.
If the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor for circulating an Internet joke set unparalleled limits on personal freedom, today's performance from the seat of power sent several messages:
If you don't toe the line laid down by supporters of the ruling party, be prepared for your entire life to be put under merciless scrutiny — no matter whether you are in public life or not;
No matter how private a dispute and no matter how irrelevant it is to governance or to any other form of administration, the state will make the issue its voyeuristic business;
Having dug up some dirt —imaginary or otherwise — the state will lend its space, time and voice to publicise the controversy and malign the target;
If any of the target's relatives is a government employee, a minister will personally refer to the post and then leave his fate twisting in the wind without issuing a direct threat.
All these and more unfolded at Writers' in two instalments — the first minutes after chief minister Mamata Banerjee vacated the podium outside her office for minister Mukherjee.
The minister fielded questions on Debjani Dey, the college teacher who suffered an injury allegedly when a former Trinamul MLA and the current president of the institute, Arabul Islam, flew into a rage in the staff room because of dissent over a nominee to a union council and his hand hit a jug that slammed into her chin.
The jug episode itself may or may not have been an accident but the run-up and the aftermath were symptomatic of the disease that set in when the Left was in power and appeared to be thriving even under Trinamul which had promised change.
At Writers', after the initial round of responses, Mukherjee again addressed reporters from the press corner on the same floor, this time along with an elderly man. Mukherjee held aloft copies of the person's purported police complaints against his landlords — the family of Dey.
"Je mahila abhijog korchhen, angul tulchhen, tini ke sheita example hishebe rakhchhi(The woman who is complaining, raising her finger… I am presenting this as an example of who she is)," Mukherjee said.
"This man is Debashish Ghosh, a tenant of Debjani Dey. Tini kemon mahila eta shabar jana uchit (everyone should know what kind of woman she is)," the minister said and proceeded to enlighten Bengal on what is essentially a private dispute.
"For one year he has been mentally tortured by her and her family members. She had threatened him to vacate the premises by May this year or she would have thrown him out. He has complained to the police eight times. He has even filed court cases. Police did nothing because of political reasons," Mukherjee said.
The minister then revealed why a personal dispute is of immense public interest. "This woman has gone public talking against Arabul, Trinamul, and even Mamata Banerjee. This (issue) has become the talk of the town. It has become a political issue," Mukherjee said.
Dey's husband Sabyasachi Sarkar is a WBCS officer who works in Mukherjee's panchayat department. The minister announced that from the podium.
When a reporter asked Mukherjee "where he (Sarkar) is (posted)", the minister responded: "Ask where he will be."
The minister did not elaborate but little analytical skills are needed to figure out what he meant.
Dey, who was part of a teachers' delegation that called on the governor this evening seeking security, reacted with dismay outside Raj Bhavan.
"Do I have to pay such a price because I dared to protest? What a state are we living in? It is my college. If I don't protest there, where will I? Have we lost the voice of protest? I have faith in the chief minister," said Dey.
Dey and nine other teachers of Bhangar Mahavidyalaya today lodged a written complaint with the additional superintendent in the absence of the district police chief at the South 24-Parganas police superintendent's office.
They named Arabul and accused him of assaulting Dey and intimidating other teachers.
"The complaint is being forwarded to Bhangar police station," superintendent Praveen Tripathi told The Telegraph. "At the police station, the officers would go through the content and take necessary action."
"The complaint marks the beginning of the legal process and this is very important," said a senior police officer.
This afternoon, Mukherjee had referred to the absence of a police complaint. "If someone is hit by a jug, she would be injured. Then she should go to the police with a medical report and lodge a complaint. Instead of complaining to the police, she went to the media," he said.
When Mukherjee appeared in the press corner around 4.30pm, Ghosh, the Deys' tenant at New Alipore, defended Arabul. "He (Arabul) is right. She is that sort of woman. She wags her finger at me and bangs the table." Mukherjee nodded in agreement.
Dey was aghast when told about the allegations. "He is a tenant of my father. I don't know him much. I live in my father's house in New Alipore with my husband because his job is transferable…. I fail to understand why my personal life is being dragged into this. My husband's professional life is also being dragged in. My personal life has become hell. I'm struggling to cope with so much pressure," she said.
How did only Ghosh land up at Writers' when there are hundreds of thousands of tenancy disputes in the state?
Ghosh told The Telegraph he immediately felt the urge to meet the chief minister "after reading newspaper reports about this mahila".
"This morning, I went to her Kalighat house and submitted a written complaint. In the afternoon, I received a call from the chief minister's office (CMO) and I turned up at Writers' Buildings. I met the chief minister and apprised her of my problem. Then Subrata Mukherjee turned up and he asked me if I would like to share my problem with the media. I did," Ghosh said.
CMO insiders said they receive over 100 letters daily on an average and the officers concerned respond depending on the content. In case of issues relating to health, the appeals are immediately attended to. The rest are considered on a case-to-case basis.
Minister Mukherjee did not forget to mention that he holds teachers in high esteem. "I am ready to touch the feet of a teacher. But if he happens to be a CPM worker, my language will change," Mukherjee said.
Dey isn't a CPM member. But many teachers saw in her harassment a tendency to brand all forms of dissent as the voice of the Opposition.


Bill extends time limit for quota to SC/ST, OBCs in Central institutions



Dalits Media Watch
News Updates28.04.12
 
Bill extends time limit for quota to SC/ST, OBCs in Central institutions- The Hindu
Court appreciates SP for ending caste animosity- The Hindu
SC quashes reservation based promotion for SC/ST in Uttar Pradesh- NEWS Track INDIA
Electric shock in hostel kills tribal student- The Times Of India
Girl raped, murdered in Kanpur- The Times OF India
'Schools not following the admission schedule'- The Times OF India
Sc/St case lodged in meghalaya cm niece suicide - The Asian Age
 
 
The Hindu
Bill extends time limit for quota to SC/ST, OBCs in Central institutions
 
Quota for OBCs will be fully implemented in three years: Sibal
 
The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed a crucial Bill that extends the time limit from three to six years for providing reservation to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes in the Central education institutions.
 
The Bill also seeks to add a proviso that if there are Central educational institutions in a tribal area, the State seats in those institutions shall have reservation for the SCs, the STs and the OBCs. The State seats refer to seats allocated for eligible students of the State in which the Central educational institution is situated.
 
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Bill, 2010, was adopted by voice vote after Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal assured members that the 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs would be fully implemented in the Central institutions well within the three years' extended time period. Besides, 27 per cent for the OBCs, the national policy provides for reservation of 15 per cent seats for the SCs and 7.5 per cent seats for the STs.
 
The Bill says that if the total number of reserved seats exceeds 50 per cent then there shall be no reservation for the OBCs and the total percentage of reserved seats shall be reduced to 50 per cent in all areas except the specified north-east region.
 
The implementation of the Act, took effect from 2008 calendar year, says the amended Bill and thus, the time frame has been extended till 2014.
 
Some of the Central Educational Institutions, particularly medical institutions and the Delhi University, found it difficult to adhere to the time limit of three years for creation of requisite physical and academic infrastructure owing to various reasons beyond their control, the Minister explained.
 
The Principal Act (the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006), requires institutions to increase the total number of seats in such a manner that the number of unreserved seats (general category) is not reduced due to reservation for OBCs.
 
This was based on the number of seats available for general category before the Act was passed.
 
The Principal Act states that in case the Central government decides that a Central educational institution is not able to increase the seats to its annual permitted strength due to financial, physical or academic limitation, it may allow such institutions to increase the seats within three years. The Bill increases the time period to six years.
 
It states that reservation of seats shall begin in 2007, while the new Bill amends this to 2008. Thus, the time-frame has been extended to 2014 from 2010.
 
Responding to demands for increasing the percentage of reservation and provide it in accordance to the population of communities, Mr. Sibal said the Bill concerns concerned only the Central institutions and States were free to take decisions on increasing reservation in state institutions as such.
 
"If required, States can make more reservations. You talk to your Chief Ministers. This Act only applies to the Central education institutions,'' he told members from Tamil Nadu and Orissa.
 
The Hindu
Court appreciates SP for ending caste animosity
 
The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday appreciated Madurai Superintendent of Police Asra Garg (31) for efforts taken by him in putting an end to long pending hostility between Caste Hindus and Dalits of Villoor near here through talks.
 
Justice D. Hariparanthaman recorded his appreciation for the SP and his team of policemen while closing a writ petition filed last year by Villoor Panchayat President S. Subbulakshmi seeking a judicial enquiry into the incidents that led to a police firing in the village on May 1.
The case was closed with the concurrence of the petitioner as well as the respondents after recording the contents of a status report filed by the SP, according to whom some forms of untouchability was in existence in the village, inhabited by Agamudairs and Dalits, from time immemorial.
 
Mr. Garg said that Dalits were not allowed to ride their vehicles through streets occupied predominantly by Caste Hindus in the village. Double tumbler system was also practised in tea shops and Dalits could not dare to sit on the benches in the local eateries.
 
Abhorring such practices, he said: "I feel that we should realise that God never made man that he may consider another man as an untouchable. And to say that a single human being, because of his birth, becomes an untouchable, unapproachable or invisible is to deny God."
On April 30 last year, the local police received a complaint that a 22-year-old Dalit G. Thangapandi was assaulted by Caste Hindus when he attempted to ride a two-wheeler through their street. A case was registered on the basis of the complaint and five of them were arrested on May 1.
 
"Since the matter seemed to be a serious one involving untouchability, I visited the village in the afternoon on May 1 in order to assess the actual situation. After I left, a few Dalit houses were damaged by a big mob of Agamudiar community people.
 
"On hearing about this, again I returned to the village. While I was approaching the area with a few policemen, suddenly another crowd armed with weapons such as swords and stones started attacking us. Because of being outnumbered, we retreated back to the Villoor police station.
 
"Finally, they surrounded the police station and attacked it. As all other legal steps taken by us did not yield any result, in order to protect our lives and the police station, myself and my PSO (personal security officer) fired a few ammunition rounds (in the air) under which the miscreants ran away," the SP said.
 
Stating that as many as seven criminal cases had been registered in connection with the firing incident, he said that a team of policemen headed by him recently took efforts to bring about peace between the two warring groups by holding a series of peace committee meetings.
The efforts bore fruit as leaders from both the communities signed an agreement on April 24 agreeing to iron out their differences and live peacefully. It was also resolved that all out efforts would be taken to ensure that no form of untouchability should be practised in the village.
The other terms of the agreement stated that Dalits should not be forced to perform menial jobs. At the same time, they must not prevent any individual who willingly assists Caste Hindus and exaggerate small personal and trivial issues as a communal problem.
 
"They (Dalits) shall also ensure that if any such anti-social element indulges in magnifying trivial issues and disturbs communal harmony, they shall themselves hand him over to the police… It is therefore humbly submitted that this status report may kindly be accepted and this court may pass any order as it may deem fit," the SP concluded.
 
NEWS Track INDIA
SC quashes reservation based promotion for SC/ST in Uttar Pradesh
 
New Delhi, Apr 27 (ANI): In a major jolt to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed the reservation based promotion for socially backward classes (SC/ST) in the state.
 
Discussing the Supreme Court's verdict in New Delhi on Friday, advocate Sanjeev Kumar said reservation would no longer be a criterion for promotion and it would now take place on the basis of seniority.
 
"The Supreme Court has quashed the rule 8A and also quashed the reservation in promotion. Now there will be one seniority list and the promotion will be given according to the seniority list so the judgment of the Lucknow bench has been upheld by the Supreme Court," said Sanjeev Kumar, an advocate.
 
"The judgment of the Allahabad High Court has been set aside by the Supreme Court because it had, on the first day of hearing, upheld the rule 8A and without calling counter affidavit from the respondents so the Supreme Court has set aside the judgment of the Allahabad High Court," added Kumar.
 
He further condemned the introduction of the reservation policy by Mayawati in 2008 and said that all top posts were filled by SC/ST's and they were given undue favour.
 
"See in the state of UP there was 21 percent reservation for scheduled castes and two percent for scheduled tribes. So according to the reservation policy and the quota for the SC/ST they were getting but what happened in 2007 again this Mayawati government introduced rule 8A means the consequential seniority so the SC/ST were entitled for consequential seniority also," Kumar said.
 
The verdict has come as a blow to Mayawati who had implemented the policy.
The order of providing consequential promotion to SC/ST persons was issued by Mayawati in 2008 and it was quashed by the Allahabad High Court after which her government moved to the apex court.
 
In 2011, the Allahabad High Court had scrapped the policy after several writ petitions by individuals and organisations were filed. Soon a Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed in the apex court.
 
As many as two hundred thousand officers and employees in 56 government departments such as power and irrigation bore the brunt as they waited for the apex court's verdict.
The newly elected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minsiter Akhilesh Yadav had also stood against such reservation and dubbed it as 'unnecessary'. (ANI)
 
The Times Of India
Electric shock in hostel kills tribal student
 
Keonjhar: A 12-year-old tribal student was killed by electric shock in SC/ST department-run Kadakala High School, under Banspal block on Wednesday evening.
 
The Class VI student was identified as Gurucharan Munda, a resident of Nuagaon village. According to police, Gurucharan was electrocuted while climbing on to his cot at night in the school hostel when he accidentally touched the solar light wire hanging near his bed.
 
Gurucharan was rushed to Keonjhar district headquarter hospital, where he was declared dead. "The student died of electrocution. A postmortem has been conducted. We are investigating the incident and have registered an UD case," said Nayakote police station IIC S K Kisan.
 
Parents of the deceased student alleged the accident took place due to the negligence of the school authorities.
 
"Assistant district welfare officer is inquiring into the incident. After investigation action will be taken against those found guilty," said district welfare officer Basanta Kumar Sethy.
There are about 430 students in the hostel.
 
The Times OF India
Girl raped, murdered in Kanpur
 
KANPUR: A 16-year-old girl was abducted on gun-point, raped and murdered by her neighbour in Kripalpur village, situated under the jurisdiction of Jahanabad police in Fatehpur district on Wednesday night.
 
The girl had gone to see the 'jaimal' ceremony of the daughter of Ram Pratap in the same village.
 
She was abducted by her neighbour Rajesh on gun-point. He took her to an isolated spot, raped and strangulated her to death.
 
A few hours later, when she did not turn up, her parents launched a hunt. The girl's body was recovered from the fields in the outskirts of the village on Thursday morning.
 
The police launched a manhunt for Rajesh and arrested him from the outskirts of the village. The girl's family members lodged a named FIR against Rajesh, who was found loitering in the vicinity of 'jaimal' ceremony venue on Wednesday evening. The police also recovered a country-made gun from his possession. He was sent to jail.
 
Superintendent of police RK Chaturvedi said that the accused, who was arrested on Thursday morning, had confessed his involvement in the crime.
 
The body of the girl was sent for post-mortem examination. It bore multiple injury marks on head, throat and eyes. She died possibly due to strangulation.
 
The Times OF India
'Schools not following the admission schedule'
 
MANGALORE: Representatives of various organizations including Ahinda, an organization of backward, minority and dalits, and Federation of Education Resource Centres conducted visits to seven unaided primary schools in the city to check whether the rules related to admission are followed strictly. 

As per a circular issued by the department of public instructions on December 8, 2011, schools are supposed to start distributing application forms from April 20 and the third final list of students to be admitted should be published on May 16. However, it was found during the visits that many institutions did not adhere to the rules properly and some institutions had already admitted students flouting the directions in the circular. 

Authorities of some schools did not even know about the circular issued by the department. A major aspect noticed by the representatives during the visits is that there was very less takers for Kannada medium schools. Canara Lower Primary School headmistress Mohini said that teachers were forced to search and find children of labourers from construction sites to fill the available seats in the school. 

In a memorandum submitted to deputy commissioner NS Channappa Gowda, organization representatives pointed out that the circular issued by the department with regard to the implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has not been adhered to by some schools. 

Ahinda working president P Lolaksha said that department's instructions were not followed and admission process had been started in many schools prior to the prescribed date. "None of the schools have published in their notice board the number of available seats and the schedule for the admission process. As per the circular, the last date to distribute admission application forms is April 30. However, it is unfortunate that many of the institutes have already completed the process. RTE Act insists that 25% of the available seats should be reserved for poor students, but institutes have already filled their seats," he added. 

The circular also instructs schools to display on notice board the maximum fee to be collected from parents. "It was found during the visit that some schools have already collected anything between Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,600 from parents," he said. Further, he pointed out, that the department had not taken any initiatives to make schools adhere to rules regarding admission. FERC president Umesh Nirmal, Campaign Against Child Labor co-ordinator Renny D'Souza, Ahinda president Purushotham Poojari and Mangalore ERC president Kamala Gowda participated in the school visit programme and later submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.
 
The Asian Age
Sc/St case lodged in meghalaya cm niece suicide
 
The police has registered a case under the SC/ST Act against the staff and management of Amity University in connection with the alleged suicide of MBA student Dana Sangma, niece of Meghalya chief minister Mukul Sangma.

The mobile phone and answersheet of Dana, who allegedly took her life in her hostel room on April 24, have also been seized, the police said.

The first year MBA student is said to have taken the extreme step after being allegedly humiliated by an invigilator who claimed to have caught her cheating in the exams.

The police has invoked the SC/ST Act beside pressing abetment to suicide charge (306 IPC) against the staff and management of Amity University at Punchgaon campus, Gurgaon in the case.

No arrest has been made so far. Due to the sensitivity of the case, the investigation has been handed over to ACP Ravinder Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (south) Hamid Akhtar said.

The Meghalaya CM had described his niece's suicide a "result of discrimination" by the institute authorities.

"Primary evidence suggests that the girl was thrown out of the examination hall after investigators found her with a mobile phone," he had said.
 


-- 
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
...................................................................
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC. 


More than one involved in Aadhaar scam: Cops



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/12905038.cms


More than one involved in Aadhaar scam: Cops

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 05.28AM IST

HYDERABAD: Talking to TOI, UIDIA deputy director general Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who landed in the city on Friday evening, said that they stumbled upon the fraud on April 20 when it was noticed that Ali has made 30,000 enrolments in just a span of two months, a feat that would normally take two years. "After a closer verification, we found that the operator has enrolled over 800 people in the physically disabled quota and the state government was immediately alerted," the DDG said.

Even though so far only the cards enrolled by Mohammed under the disabled quota proven to be fake, investigating agencies are suspecting that a major share of the 30,000 cards issued by him could also fall in the same category as no operator can enroll 30,000 genuine people in a span of two months.

The preliminary probe by the investigating agencies has revealed that majority of the 30,000 cards enrolled by the accused have been dispatched to the `individuals' but UID officials say that as per their knowledge none of the cards in the physically disabled quota have been dispatched.

Police officials are tight lipped about the entire episode but according to sources, Ali told them during the interrogation that he executed the fraud along with other associates for money. "Looking at the size of enrolment, there is more than one person involved in the fraud," the Deputy DG said. Police are now trying to crosscheck whether there was a terror angle to the fraud.

In response to the incident, UID has temporarily blocked all the 30,000 cards enrolled by Mohammed and they have stopped enrolment of people under physically disabled quota throughout the nation. Ajay Bhushan Pandey said that once they are through with this probe in Hyderabad, they will check the enrolments of all other regions in the country. In addition to the deputy director general, UIDAI's chairman Nandan Nilekani is also sending another senior staff member to Hyderabad to look into the technical loopholes in the enrolment process.


MAHARASHTRA RTI RULES AMENDMENT passed by Assembly. What lies ahead?



MAHARASHTRA RTI RULES AMENDMENT passed by Assembly. What lies ahead?


24 April 2012, Mumbai: We had a tiny window of hope that Maharashtra's amended RTI Rules would not be tabled in the assembly. This hope was because many of us (led by Julio Ribeiro and Narayan Varma) had formally approached the Chief Minister and opposition leaders in both houses, and made submissions in writing. We had hoped that even if the amendment was tabled, it would be stalled by the opposition parties due to continuous campaigning by our activist colleagues such as Anil Galgali (9820130074) and Bhaskar Prabhu (9892102424).
 
But today is a sad day for RTI activists and information seekers in Maharashtra. Anil Galgali told us this evening that this small window of hope has closed. Galgali, who today met Mr Avrari, Under Secretary of General Administration Department (GAD), was informed that the rule changes had been passed in the state assembly. The gazette copy will be made available on Monday 30th April, Mr Avrari said.
 
 
 
The original rules were modeled closely after the Central RTI Rules, and FACILITATED the use of RTI Act by the common man. The new rules CURTAIL the use of the Act, and give the public information officer (PIO) UNNECESSARY DISCRETIONARY POWERS to restrict and harass the RTI user. These new rules will therefore increase the scope for conflicts and lead to an increased number of appeals.
 
MAHARASHTRA'S NEW RULES SAY:
 
(i)                 Request for information must nor ordinarily exceed 150 words
 
(ii)               Request for information must relate to one subject matter only. If necessary, separate applications must be made if it relates to more than one.
 
(iii)             Public Information Officer (PIO) must allow the person inspecting the documents to take a pencil only. All other writing instruments must be deposited with the PIO.
 
OUR MAIN OBJECTIONS:
 
a)      THE GOVERNMENT ADDED THESE RULES SECRETIVELY without any discussion in the public domain. We did not come to know of this from any government source. We were informed by Advocate Vinod Sampat, who saw this notification in a publication he had picked up outside City Civil Court. There should have a public consultation of stakeholders, as mandated by Section 4(1)(c), which says, "Every public authority shall - publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public."
 
b)      THE 150-WORD RULE may handicap the majority of Maharashtra's people – less educated people living in slums and villages – who lack the skills for drafting an RTI application within a word limit of 150 words. We also object to the arbitrary nature of this rule change. (By what process was the 150 word-limit arrived at? Why not 250 words? Or 10 words for that matter? Unless it is based on study and judicious reasoning, this rule is arbitrary.)
 
c)      THE SINGLE-SUBJECT-MATTER RULE gives the PIO unnecessary discretionary powers. Different RTI applicants and PIOs may interpret "single subject matter" in different ways, and this will cause endless disputes and delays in getting information. For example: If an RTI applicant asks the Municipal Commissioner's office for copies of complaints, and the papers showing action taken on them, relating to impure water supply in A, B and C wards. An uncooperative PIO can argue that this RTI application has three subject matters, as each ward is a separate "subject matter". Another man in his position can argue that complaints are one subject matter, and the actions taken on complaints are a different subject matter. Sir, based on our common experiences, we anticipate that the PIOs and appellate authorities will be drawn into such hair-splitting, diverting their attention from the intent of the RTI Act.
 
MANY STATES, MANY RULES
 
Is Maharashtra the only state to have passed such restrictive rules? No. Similar rule changes have been passed in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, and attempts have been made in other states also, such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
 
What is objectionable is that many state governments and other competent authorities have framed rules that are against the letter and spirit of the Act.Two extreme examples are the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Orissa, which have invented bizarre reasons to put information beyond the common man's grasp. The citizens of these states suffer from numerous disabilities while seeking information under the RTI Act.
 
 
 
Rules must always facilitate the use of the laws. It is unlawful to make RTI Rules that restrict the use of the RTI Act. Competent Authorities such as State governments, State Legislatures and Judiciary are empowered by Section 27 to "make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act." , The latest rules are against the spirit of rule-making. This is all the more surprising as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was Minister-of-State (MOS) for DOPT, the central monitoring body for RTI Act 2005.
 
RTI activists across the country need to unitedly push for uniform rules that are in harmony with Central RTI Rules per these directions issued by DOPT in April 2011: http://tinyurl.com/Harmonize-RTI-Rules-DOPT-GR
 
As long as RTI activists in different states do not support each other in the battle for information, state governments and other competent authorities will continue to frame RTI rules to hobble information seekers.
 
Warm Regards,
Krish
9821588114


The Spectre Of Fascism By Rohini Hensman




The Spectre Of Fascism
By Rohini Hensman
23 April, 2012
Countercurrents.org
BOOK REVIEW
Godse's Children: Hindutva Terror in India by Subhash Gatade (New Delhi: Pharos Media and Publishing), 2011; pp. 400, Rs 360.
The Saffron Condition: Politics of Repression and Exclusion in Neoliberal India by Subhash Gatade (Gurgaon: Three Essays Collective), 2011; pp. 475, Rs 500
If the message of both these books had to be summed up in one sentence, it would be this: The spectre of fascism is haunting India. Godse's Children (hereafter GC) concentrates on the phenomenon of Hindutva terrorism, while The Saffron Condition (hereafter TSC) is divided into three sections: Saffronization and the Neoliberal State, Logic of Caste in New India, and State and Human Rights. There is thus an area of overlap between the two, with Hindutva terror also appearing in TSC, but treated in far greater detail in GC.
'What could be said to be the first act of terrorism in independent India?' asks Gatade, and replies, 'Everybody would agree that the killing of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by a Hindu fanatic called Nathuram Godse constitutes the first terrorist act in independent India' (GC 41). If 'terrorism' is defined as violence or threats of violence against civilians in pursuit of a political goal, then the assassination of Gandhi could indeed be seen as a terrorist act. The point being made here is that terrorism is not something new for the Hindutva agenda of creating a 'Hindu Rashtra' in India: it was always part of it. The author outlines the conspiracy between members of the Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and V.D.Savarkar to eliminate Gandhi. An interesting fact that emerges is that the successful assassination was only the last of at least five attempts starting in 1934. This lays to rest the idea that it was Gandhi's support for Partition that motivated the killing. Gandhi was a devout Hindu and fairly conservative socially; what made Hindu nationalists hate him so much that they made repeated attempts to kill him and finally succeeded? 'In fact, the idea of people's amity cutting across boundaries of race, religion, sex, etc., which Gandhi upheld all his life was..anathema to the exclusivist, Hindu supremacist world view of the members of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha. And, while "nation" was a racial/religious construct in the imagination of the Hindutva forces, for Gandhi and the rest of the nationalists it was a territorial construct or a bounded territory comprising of different communities' (GC 44).
The assassination of Gandhi could not prevent India from adopting a predominantly secular, democratic constitution. Another way of working for a Hindu nation was to launch periodical massacres of Muslims and, more rarely, other minorities, including the Nellie massacre of 1983 in which an estimated 3,300 Muslim men, women and children were killed. These have in popular parlance been called 'riots', but this is a misnomer since it suggests a spontaneous outbreak of violence, whereas all investigations show these events to be carefully planned and executed; 'pogroms' would be a more accurate description. As Gatade points out, one of the most disturbing aspects of these pogroms is that the ringleaders and all but a very few of the lower-level perpetrators have never been punished. Furthermore, 'the same citizenry which is categorically opposed to terrorism would exhibit a strange sense of ambivalence towards such indiscriminate violence and arson' (GC 62). Where the victims of terror are minorities or Dalits, impunity has been the rule.
This is the background against which Hindutva terror in the narrower sense emerges. The incidents mentioned in GC (including those where the terrorists killed themselves by accident, training was imparted to would-be terrorists, and blasts were designed to frame Muslims) are numerous. Including instances quoted from S.M. Mushrif's book Who Killed Karkare? the list would go something like this: training camp in the use of gelatin sticks (Pune, Maharashtra, 2000); training camp in handling weapons and making bombs (Bhonsala Military School, Nasik, Maharashtra, 2001); a series of bomb attacks on mosques and madrasas (Saharanpur, U.P., 2002); firearms training camp (Bhopal, M.P., 2002); bombs planted at a Muslim gathering (Bhopal, 2002); manufacture and use of bombs in the Gujarat carnage (2002); weapons training camp for women (Kanpur, U.P., 2003); bombing of mosque (Parbhani, Maharashtra, 2003); bombing of madrasa and mosque (Purna, Maharashtra, 2004); bombing of mosque (Jalna, Maharashtra, 2004); accidental blast while handling explosives (Nanded, Maharashtra, 2006); deadly bombing of a Muslim festival (Malegaon, Maharashtra, 2006); deadly bombing of the India-Pakistan Samjhauta Express (Haryana, 2007); Mecca Masjid blast (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, 2007); Ajmer Sharif blast (Ajmer, Rajasthan, 2007); detonators delivered to Muslim merchants (Wardha, Maharashtra, 2007); another accidental blast (Nanded 2007); bomb planted outside mosque (Pen Highway, Maharashtra, 2007); explosion at New Bus Stand (Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu, 2008); bomb attack on RSS office (Tenkasi, 2008); explosion at auditorium (Thane, Maharashtra, 2008); bomb discovered and defused at auditorium (Vashi, Maharashtra, 2008); bomb at cinema (Panvel, Maharashtra, 2008); accidental explosion (Kanpur, 2008); live bomb recovered from Belgaum-Hubli road (Karnataka, 2008); bomb blast at court (Hubli, Karnataka, 2008); bombing of marketplace (Malegoan 2008); bomb blast in marketplace (Modasa, Gujarat, 2008); low-intensity blast (Kanpur, 2008); bombing of church (Lalitpur, Nepal, 2009); explosion at Margao (Goa, 2009); live bomb defused (Sancole, Goa, 2009); bomb blast at primary health centre (Kanpur, 2010).
For anyone who has not been following the news about Hindutva terrorist attacks, the sheer number and wide geographical distribution of these attacks is astonishing, and indicates, as the author suggests, a turn from communal pogroms to terror attacks as the favoured strategy for 'the reactionary political project of building fascism' (GC 320-21). It is apparent that at least in the 21 st century, Hindutva terror has been far more active in India than Islamist terror. Why, then, has this fact not been appreciated more widely? The answer to this question is extremely disturbing, and opens up the possibility that other terrorist attacks too that have been attributed to Muslims have actually been perpetrated by Hindutva terrorists.
In the overwhelming majority of these cases, Muslims were the first to be blamed for the terror attacks. Here is one instance of the Kafkaesque manner in which innocent Muslims have been framed by the police: 'The prosecution had claimed that the accused were arrested following a gunfight near Gurgaon-Delhi road on 1 July 2005. Delhi police had informed the court that the four accused in the car had tried to flee when they were asked to stop. It was also claimed that the accused opened fire on the police team. After the encounter, which lasted for a few minutes, the team was arrested by the police and an army combat uniform, fake currency of Rs 50,000 and a sketch of Palam Air Force Station were "recovered" from their possession. The judge discovered to his utter surprise that there was no such encounter on the intervening night of 1-2 July 2005, and an absolutely fake encounter story had been manufactured sitting in the office of the Special Staff led by Sub-inspector Ravindra Tyagi' (GC 276). Similar stories are repeated in case after case: police personnel, often acting in collusion with intelligence agencies, arrest, incarcerate and torture innocent Muslims. (Appendix VI, GC 359, is an account of what was done to one of these victims.) Years later, when their cases finally come to trial, they are acquitted, but not before their lives have been ruined and their families devastated. Meanwhile, the real culprits are left free to kill again.
The honorouble exception to this rule was Hemant Karkare, chief of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad from January 2008. Meticulously following the clues in a spate of terrorist attacks, including especially the 2008 terror attack in Malegoan, Karkare began to unearth evidence against and arrest members of a Hindutva terrorist network comprising sadhvis and swamis, former and current military personnel, and other right-wing activists. One would think that he would be honoured for helping to make Maharashtra safe by putting terrorists behind bars, and there were indeed some who treated his work with the greatest respect and admiration. But leaders of the BJP, RSS, VHP and Shiv Sena called him a traitor, demanded that he be dismissed as ATS chief, and issued him with death threats (GC 141-44, 148-49).
Karkare was killed during the 26 November 2008 terror attacks in Bombay, and evidence uncovered by his widow Kavita, Vinita Kamte (the widow of Ashok Kamte, another police officer killed along with him) and S.M.Mushrif revealed that the official account of his death was completely unreliable, fuelling speculation that he had been assassinated by Hindutva activists. Gatade quotes from an article in Hardnews which emphasises that the bullets which killed Karkare were never identified, and their trajectory – from the top of the shoulder downwards rather than from the front, back or side – suggests that they were fired by one of the police personnel inside the vehicle with him rather than by any terrorist outside (GC 152-53). He concludes that it is crucial there should be a separate commission of enquiry into the death of Karkare and the other police officers killed with him, a demand that has been echoed by others.
Thus there is abundant evidence that the police and intelligence agencies are heavily infiltrated by accomplices in Hindutva terror. But the rot goes higher. The author points out that many bomb blasts (e.g. the Samjhauta Express blasts) are timed to sabotage India-Pakistan talks, the timing of which would not be known to lower-level functionaries; these planners and masterminds would be much higher in the state apparatus. He also observes that in BJP-ruled states, the trail of Hindutva terror inevitably goes cold even when policemen pick it up, demonstrating political involvement of the Hindutva forces at the highest levels. Among ' disguised terrorists ' the author includes elements in the media who 'take the handouts of intelligence agencies as gospel truth' instead of pointing out the 'inconsistencies and loopholes galore in them'. 'Honourable exceptions apart, the dominant media is hugely biased in favour of Hindutva ' (GC 336-37). Bar associations too have engaged in the unethical practice of refusing to represent Muslims accused of terrorism, even when these cases have been patently false. Gatade mentions two courageous lawyers who challenged this ban and faced physical violence as a consequence (GC 169-70), but strangely leaves out Shahid Azmi, who was shot dead in Bombay in 2010 after he had proved to the satisfaction of the court that his client, Fahim Ansari, had been framed by the police in the November 26 terror attacks.
Supposedly secular political parties have not taken up the challenge either. The only senior Congress Party leaders who have spoken out openly against Hindutva terror – Digvijay Singh and P.Chidambaram – were not supported by others in the party, supposedly in order not to antagonise ordinary Hindus (GC 325-26, 329-30). But it is hard to believe that the party is unaware of the distinction between the religion, Hinduism, and the political ideology of Hindutva. The result of Congress softness on Hindutva terror is that in Congress-ruled states too, innocent Muslims have been incacerated and tortured for terrorist acts they did not commit, while the perpetrators have been free to kill again. 'The most disturbing aspect of this phenomenon,' writes the author, 'is that even the Left, especially its mainstream version, failed to rise to the occasion' (GC 24).
There is a striking resemblance between this situation and pre-Nazi Germany as described by Arthur Rosenburg in his essay 'Fascism as a Mass Movement' (translated by Jairus Banaji in Historical Materialism20(1), 2012). Here it is pointed out that the fascist ideology which was later exploited by Hitler and the Nazis was widely prevalent decades earlier. In the case of India, the corresponding ideology is communalism. Unless Gatade's urgent call for 'an uncompromising struggle against communalism' (GC 342) is heeded, India could be heading in the same direction.
The resemblance with Nazism is even more striking in Gujarat under Narendra Modi, as the author points out in chapters entitled 'Auschwitz of Our Times' (TSC 42) and 'Modi's Gujarat' (TSC 52). The horrific gang rapes and mass murders of Muslims in 2002, accompanied by arson attacks on everything owned by them or associated with them including places of worship, would qualify the statewide pogrom as a crime against humanity if not genocide as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The continuing ghettoisation and persecution of Muslims, the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators (which is being challenged in court by courageous survivors and their supporters), and 'the absence of remorse among people of the state' (TSC 59) are all indicators of fascism as a mass movement. The indocrination of children by means of falsified history text-books (including the glorification of Hitler) (TSC 109-111) constitutes an attempt to pass on this ideology to a new generation. The inevitable destruction of the rule of law is exemplified by the failure of the authorities to intervene when a young dalit woman student was gang-raped repeatedly by six of her teachers at a government teacher training college (TSC 60-65). We might add that prominent industrialists hailing Modi as a future prime minister and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan acting as brand ambassador for Modi's Gujarat indicates that certain sections of the elite favour fascism.
The author repeatedly makes the point that while fully-fledged fascism might be the preserve of the Sangh Parivar, the soft communalism of other parties including Congress (the hostility of some members to religious conversions, for example) provides fertile soil for extremism to grow. Almost universal acceptance of a society hierarchically structured by caste is another factor facilitating this growth. Systematic discrimination against Dalits, forcing them to engage in demeaning occupations like manual scavenging, and frequent gang-rapes, mass murder and arson attacks, indicate that the evils of untouchability and caste oppression are far from being eradicated. But what could the remedies be? The section on the logic of caste (TSC 207-324) examines this question.
The author also asks why, despite facing very similar oppression, Dalits and Muslims have failed to unite. On the contrary, Dalits and Adivasis have in some cases been recruited as storm-troopers in communal pogroms (e.g. in Gujarat), although others have acted in solidarity with Muslims. Dalit intellectual Kancha Illiah has blamed this on Muslim intellectuals who have been indifferent to the issues of caste and untouchability, but Gatade correctly observes this cannot explain how the same Dalits who had been the targets of casteist Hindutva violence since the anti-reservation riots of the early 1980s could find common cause with their oppressors (TSC 223). He suggests this is a classic case of the submergence of the Dalit identity within the 'larger canopy' of Hindu identity, and points out the parallel with the large-scale participation of Hindu women in the pogroms following the demolition of the Babri Mosque, despite the fact that Hindutva is similarly oppressive towards women. Dalits, he explains, have only two paths to social mobility: either to reject the religious edifice that sanctifies the caste system and seek an alternative identity, or to climb the social hierarchy by imitating the dominant castes. Their absorption within the 'Brahminical-Fascist project of the Parivar' (TSC 230) is an example of the latter.
Gatade examines the experiment of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in a particularly nuanced and illuminating way, showing that it has genuinely improved the position of Dalits in UP, and yet, by forming alliances with the BJP, soft-pedalling the activities of the Sangh Parivar, and Mayawati's endorsement of Modi, has also served the Hindutva agenda. The conclusion seems to be that although state power can indeed be used to advance the interests of Dalits, the drive to capture it at any cost leads to adjustments that in the end undermine the cause of Dalit empowerment. The transition from a 'Bahujan' to a 'Sarva Jan' identity exemplifies the way in which electoral politics have affected the party's agenda.
The continued prevalence of atrocities against Dalits and the ways in which the Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955) and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (1989) are routinely subverted are eerily reminiscent of the ways in which those who rape and kill Muslims manage to get away with it. And in this case too, the role of 'civil society' is not edifying: 'Civil society…is complicit in perpetuating caste based inequalities, indignities and violence against SCs'. The author comments that so long as 'caste inequality is accepted both in theory and practice, a legal constitution has no bearing on the ethical foundation of caste-based societies' (TSC 270). It seems to follow that abolition of caste is the only solution, and reservations as a form of affirmative action were instituted in this belief. Yet sixty years later, not only do Dalits still suffer discrimination and violence, but they are themselves split along caste lines and caste remains all-pervasive. A weakness of the book is that it does not discuss possible alternative strategies such as a campaign for equal opportunities legislation, which would also have the merit of bringing together Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims.
The last section of TSC deals with a variety of ways in which the state attacks human rights: through legislation like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which allows the armed forces to violate human rights with impunity, extra-judicial killings, torture, clamping down on social protests, incarcerating human rights defenders and so on. The struggles of Irom Sharmila, on hunger strike against AFSPA for over a decade, and Binayak Sen, a human rights defender and doctor serving the poor, are described.
Gatade belongs to the small section of left-wing writers and activists who take the task of combating the growth of fascism in India seriously. These important books should be read widely. However, a detailed index with sub-sections would have been helpful in both, since they are collections of articles, and pursuing a theme becomes difficult if the researcher has to go through several items in order to find a particular one. Hopefully this will be remedied in future editions.
Rohini Hensman is a writer and researcher active in workers' rights, women's rights, anti-communal and anti-war movements. Rohini can be reached at: rohinihensman@yahoo.co.uk