Category Archives: Right watch

Saffron Terror

Nanded, in Maharashtra, is a town with a significant population of different faiths – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist. Nanded could well have become a new metaphor for secularism as practised in the Subcontinent, but this was not to be. Instead, Nanded has come to represent the emergent danger of a violent new brand of Hindu militancy, with due support from a section of the state machinery. A place that was once witness to the final days of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism’s Tenth Guru, has today metamorphosed into an epicentre of violent Hindutva. Indeed, Nanded represents the build-up of the violent fundamentalist Hinduism of the past half-century. The town has been witness to a new spate of acts that can be inarguably dubbed ‘terrorism’.

The inner workings of this new form of Hindutva were on show recently in two, evidently accidental, explosions in Nanded within a span of nine months, in April 2006 and February 2007. These blasts, which killed four people, took place at the houses of activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena. The arrival of Nanded on India’s ‘terror’ map was followed by media investigations into similar previous incidents, which also showed the involvement of Hindu youth in terrorist actions.

The new element here is the increasing similarity between Hindu militancy and ‘terrorism’ of other hues. Continue reading Saffron Terror

“IB’s bearded ‘jihadi’ moulvis trapping Muslims “

[Evidence is piling up – of a whole range of so-called encounters to actual ‘terrorist’ acts, conducted by police, intelligence agencies and their undercover agents. Different groups and organizations have been gathering evidence, meticulously documented, that shows clearly how police have gone about ‘fighting terrorism’ and in effect (if not by intent) actually created an atmosphere of terror for the minorities. Every time such a suggestion is made, predictably, there are howls from certain quarters. So we think this extremely important and silent work of documenting will eventually help to uncover the nefarious ways of these agencies. Often these are carried out in cahouts with the organizations of the Hindu Right. How many times have we not wondered about so-called terrorists who come out of a railway station, take a taxi to go and either blow up Akshardham temple or the Ayodhya ‘Ram Mandir’! What if their train was late? what if, they did not get a cab on time. What if….But does it really matter, with a gullible and all to complicit media to blow up police versions as ‘serious terrorist plots’? Here then, is a small story from The Kashmir Times. The characters mentioned in this story are not unfamiliar to those who follow how they were first recruited as ‘mukhbirs’ or informers and when they refuse to play along, they become ‘terrorists’ – exactly the way the ex-surrendered Afzal Guru was made into the ‘terrorist ‘who, even the Supreme Court felt should be hanged to satisfy the ‘collective conscience of the nation’ even though no evidence could be produced against him. So, much for the “world’s largest demcracy”. – AN ]

NEW DELHI, Sep 21: Next time, you confront a long bearded Maulana with some sob story extorting young men to take to ‘Jihad”. Beware! He could be an intelligence mole, hunting for fodder to the canon of “war on terrorism”. A former informer of Delhi Police’s Special Cell and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) now cooling heals in Delhi’ Tihar Jail is spilling beans.

Continue reading “IB’s bearded ‘jihadi’ moulvis trapping Muslims “

Hashimpura RTI replies expose State patronage of Impunity

[Courtesy: Vrinda Grover, Hashimpura Legal Advisory Committee.]

On 24th May 2007, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the communally motivated Hashimpura PAC custodial killings, victim families and survivors filed 615 RTI applications in Lucknow.

613 RTI applications were filed at the office of the D.G.P. at 1 Tilak Marg, Lucknow. Shri D.C.Pandey, DIG, who is the Public Information Officer (PIO). The survivors and families of the victims asked the State why the accused PAC men charged by a Delhi Sessions Court for the murder of 42 Muslim men, continue to be in active service of the PAC? Was any departmental inquiry initiated against them? Was any disciplinary action taken against them? Or were they rewarded with promotions in rank and emoluments? Were the 19 accused PAC men ever suspended from service? What were the grounds on which they were reinstated? They asked for copies of the annual Confidential Report (ACR) of each of the accused persons to be made available.

In reply to these RTI applications some information has been made available. The A.C.R. of the accused PAC men reveals that mass custodial killing of Muslims does not even invite a negative comment in the Report. To the contrary the ACR noting for the year 1987 gives the PAC accused a glowing
and congratulatory report. The career prospects of the accused were in no way hurt by the fact that the CBCID was enquiring into their role in the brutal killings of over 42 innocent Muslims. Further documents obtained through RTI disclose that they were suspended very briefly and then quickly reinstated in service on flimsy grounds. The attitude and approach both of the State and the Police Department sends a clear signal encouraging State impunity.

Continue reading Hashimpura RTI replies expose State patronage of Impunity

Of ‘Nation’ and Other Modes of Belonging

It might be appropriate to begin this piece with the story of an old man from the ‘East’. No, this ‘East’ is neither the East of the Orientalists, nor indeed the Biblical ‘East’ (as in the ‘three wise men from the East’). This old man hailed, rather, from Eastern part of the north Indian province of Uttar Pradesh (UP) – a purabiya as ‘easterners’ are referred to in spoken Hindi. This man, Mata Badal, belonged to some village in the Awadh region and worked as a gardener in the house in Dehra Dun where we grew up. (The tale of Dehra Dun, once part of Western UP and now the capital of the newly formed state of Uttarakhand itself reveals one more dimension of the reconfiguration of Indian identity in the last two decades.) Every other year Mata Badal used to take leave to go to his des (literally country or homeland). He would tell us that he did not like life here in this pardes or foreign land, where he had had to come in search for livelihood. As children we used to laugh at his ‘ignorance’: how silly of him, we often thought, that he does not even know that his desh is the whole of India.

What I did not realize then but have begun to feel increasingly now is that his des was emphatically not merely a linguistically fallen form of the purer, Sanskritik, desh. I realize now that it probably embodied a different mode of being and idea of belonging. Outside this des, he continued to live like an exile. It is also interesting and worth underlining that it was not merely his notion of belonging but also of all those who would refer to him as an ‘Easterner’ – for implicit in the notion of the purabiya is the idea of the frontier or horizon, beyond which what is East does not matter. Even ‘Calcutta’ (Kolkata), which for instance became the subject of so many folk songs of separation for the inhabitants of Eastern UP (as male members from those parts went off to Calcutta in search of jobs), did not figure, till very recently, within the lived geography of Western UP inhabitants. The concept of a national identity, embodied in the more Sanskritik term Desh, remained, I believe, largely fictive or at any rate, not quite relevant to the rhythm of daily lives of millions of people all over India.

Continue reading Of ‘Nation’ and Other Modes of Belonging

The Attack on Taslima Nasrin in Hyderabad

Dear All (apologies for cross posting on Kafila.org and the Sarai Reader List)

The recent attack on Taslima Nasreen has again shown how fragile the freedom of expression is in India today. It breaks whenever a sentimental reader or viewer has their ‘sentiments challenged’. Are all these worthy gentlemen who go about obstructing screenings and readings suffering from some early childhood trauma that makes it difficult for them to countenance growing up and acquiring the ability to listen to contrary point of view? How long are we to be held hostage to their infantile suffering?

What is worse is the fact that the people who attacked her, and have made public threats to kill her – activists and elected representatives belonging to MIM, a leftover of the Nizam’s hated Razakars, were arrested and then let off on bail. So, the message that the state sends out to these goons is – “threaten to kill, be taken to a police station to have a cup of tea, have your picture taken, be splashed in the media, go home and make some more threats.”

see – http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=90746

Continue reading The Attack on Taslima Nasrin in Hyderabad

‘Bal Thackeray’s Big Heart’ : Bombay Riot Victims Pe Mat Ro

It is difficult to say how many journos or politicos managed to have a look at the recent meeting between Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister of Maharashtra ; his deputy Mr R.R. Patil, who also handles the home ministry and Bal Thackeray, the octogenarian leader of the Shiv Sena, at Matoshree, the house of the Thackerays. It was reported that the Congress high command had specifically asked Mr Deshmukh to visit the Sena Supremo to thank him for his support to Ms Pratibha Patil in the Presidential election.As was expected the meeting went well. While the two sides formally maintained that not much should be read into their convergence of views over the Marathi Manushi’s candidature for the august post, it was evident that a new chemistry was unfolding itself between the long time adversaries. At least one could gather it from the exchanges they had or the body language of the leaders. “You have a big heart.” Vilasrao Deshmukh is learnt to have told Balasaheb Thackeray. The Sena chief’s prompt reply was worth noting: ” I have a big heart indeed, but people fail to understand this.”( Indian Express, July 19, 2007) Continue reading ‘Bal Thackeray’s Big Heart’ : Bombay Riot Victims Pe Mat Ro

Can The Real Shekhawat Ever Stand Up ?

(“There will be a Gujarat-like situation in Rajasthan if the State Government did not stop its ‘appeasement of Muslims’ and ‘anti-Hindu’ policies.”
– Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, former Rajasthan chief minister, Gangapur on 23 April, The Hindu, 30 April 2002)

The elections for the post of the President of India have rather opened up a free for all what is known in colloquial Hindi as Khula Khel Farrukhabadi. The saffron sympathetic journos in the media have rather taken upon themselves the onerous task of excavating the past of the UPA candidate for the post Ms Pratibha Patil. Days in and days out we are being bombarded with stories laced with usual melodrama about alleged acts of omission and commission on part of the presidential nominee of UPA.

Continue reading Can The Real Shekhawat Ever Stand Up ?

Hardline Hindutva : On The Wane ?

(…A report prepared by one of the national secretaries of the BJP Mr Prabhat Jha analysing the election results to UP, ( Bhaskar, 12 June 2007) provide enough proof of the pathetic situation in which the party itself finds today. This report would be presented before the national executive meeting of the BJP to be held in last week of June and much fireworks are expected there…) Media personnel bearing sympathy with the Hindutva cause – who are in decisive positions at various levels – have an uncanny ability of deflecting the attention of the public from the pathetic situation in which the Sangh Parivar finds itself today – morally as well as organisationally.May it be the Parivar‘s sermonising on Character building going tatters a la the Babubhai Kataras or the Bangaru Laxmans or the Dileep Judeos, or the Party with a difference tag becoming a joke of the decade or the ‘disciplined’ infighting at various levels becoming a public spectacle, these pen/bytepushers make feverish attempts to maintain the aura intact. Of course there are moments when it is next to impossible for them to push the real issues under the carpet or present a rosy picture of the disorientation in which the parent formation and its affiliated organisation find themselves today. Interestingly recent results to byelections in different states or assembly elections to UP and Goa have helped brought the issue to the fore. And the world at large is finding that the countdown has finally begun for Political Hindutva – the ideology of hatred and exclusion formulated by the Savarkars and Golwalkars. Continue reading Hardline Hindutva : On The Wane ?

Art, Creativity and the Flow of Life – Radha R

[Radha R is an alumnus 1990 B.(Fine) Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts , MSU, Baroda. In the piece below, she reflects on important issues of art and life in the wake of the recent happenings in Baroda. AN]

When I last left the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda where I was a painting student between 1985 and 1990 my heart was already heavy with the image of the saffron neo -Hindutva flag fluttering over what was to be my last Navrathri Garbha in a long time to come…

Post Godhra , I once stayed awake in a train that passed by Baroda station at 2a.m just to see how it felt to see once more the platforms upon which I had spent many a day sketching …There was a gloom to the light, an eeriness in the pools of shadows that were insomniac people squatting there perhaps holding in zones of impenetrably dark memories …Beneath the clock, those huddled up and sleeping resembled the dead…

In the same trip just a couple of months since the killings I walked restlessly through the crowds in the Old City around the Ahmedabad railway station … The roads were crowded …the markets were crowded…people of communities that were the murdering and the murdered thronged the centres where goods were exchanged with a briskness that bewildered the imagination …

In the midst of all this, where was history?

…Tucked out of sight under which fold of skin?

Where were the wounds that hemorrhaged their ways into our hearts?

Who was the expert plastic surgeon? Who wielded the Airbrush of erasure to such frightening perfection?

The skin before the TV was after all always correctly fair, almost, blemishless and perfect …save for a small blue vein that dammed up and spilt over the edges within which it was sought to be held and that stubbornly showed itself up from within the layers of the skin… History now calls it the Narmada Bachao Andolan…

… I have never ever felt like going back to a landscape where the scars of personal trauma now mingled inextricably with the suppurating welts of collective suffering…

FOR THE STUDENTS OF FACULTY OF FINE ARTS AND THEIR ACTING DEAN-

Continue reading Art, Creativity and the Flow of Life – Radha R

A Modest Proposal to End All Controversies on Freedom of Expression in India

(apologies for cross posting on Commons Law and Reader List)

As we know well by now from the freedom loving sentiments (that are expressed loudly and frequently) by all sections of the guardians of social order in India, (that is Bharat, that is Hindustan), the real reason why certain insignificant documentary independent and student films, contemporary art exhibitions in university campuses and performances are banned, and their heinous perpetrators arrested has to do with the general populations right to sleep undisturbed each night and not to see anything other than cricket matches, news about cricket matches, election analyses, kaun banega crorepati, Abhishek Bacchan’s wedding, and yoga on TV.

Why should anyone in their right mind want to see, read, listen to or even think about anything else?

Consider the folly that some students in Kottayam have recently contemplated, making a film on of all things ‘Homosexuality’ .

Or, of the students in the Fine Arts Department of M.S.University in Baroda who went ahead and organized an exhibition of student work that contained offensive erotic imagery.

Both of these moves have been met with swift and timely responses. The offending students in Kerala have been expelled by the Christian educational institutition where they were enrolled, and the offending art student in Vadodara, one Chandramohanm has been arrested by the local police at the urging of Hindutva minded citizens.

There are only two things we need to learn from incidents of this nature. The first is as follows –

Actually, all that people need to do is to insist that only the self appointed guardians of public morality (of all stripes and shades) have the right to appear in any broadcast, exhibition, film or other forms of mediated communication. We need every channel to broadcast morally cleansed reality TV all the time. How else will this nation boldly venture where none other has gone before – into that heaven of bliss and freedom known as ennui for the billions.

Continue reading A Modest Proposal to End All Controversies on Freedom of Expression in India

Gujarat Fake Encounters: The Spin Doctoring has Begun

The Gujarat Fake Encounter Story is rapidly being scripted along the familiar lines of the ‘Corrupt Policeman-Corrupt Politician-Underworld Links’ nexus. While this may be true, (and I do not doubt that Narendra Modi, who holds the ‘Home’ portfolio in Gujarat, must not be entirely un-involved in this matter) it would be unfortunate if the Gujarat ‘fake encounter killings’ , like ‘fake encounter’ stories in Kashmir, Delhi or elsewhere are now spun into ‘systemic aberrations’. Rather, they should be seen as evidence of how the system actually works, and how efficient it is.

Continue reading Gujarat Fake Encounters: The Spin Doctoring has Begun

Fake Killing(s) : People As Trophies

Truth is finally out.

People who had a faint glimmer of hope about Kausar Bi’s whereabouts finally know that she is no more. As the counsel for the Gujarat government himself admitted before the Supreme Court, she was killed, burnt and her ashes were thrown in some field. But it does not throw light on the fact that who killed her ?

It appears that Gujarat government wants to buy time to divulge the information. But the CID report filed by Ms Geeta Johri is very clear on this aspect.The interim report of the IG (CID) Geeta Johri – who investigated the case as per instruction from the Supreme Courst – know that Kausarbi was personally strangulated to death by D.H.Vanjara in the very presence of his wife and son (Bhaskar, 28 th April 2007).
Imagine the head of the Anti Terrorism Squad, who till the other day functioned as DIG killing an innocent woman and using his position to cover up the crime.

As things stand today the story of the encounter killing of Soharabuddin Sheikh in cold blood, followed by similar killing of his friend Tulsiram Prajapati and later his own wife Kausar Bi is getting murkier everyday.More... Continue reading Fake Killing(s) : People As Trophies

Narendra Modi and Mallika Sarabhai

The Modi administration in Gujarat wants some more censorship, this time the programme is not even about the Gujarat riots:

Modi spent some precious time explaining to Ahluwalia that the TV project on development issues — including women’s empowerment, health, youth and human rights — was done without consulting the state even though these are state subjects.

And, so deep-rooted is Modi’s dislike for Sarabhai — because she has been at odds on various issues including the communal riots — that he is not leaving matters at that.

The BJP on Tuesday announced that it will stage a protest at the Doordarshan office here over Mallika’s project which gets two hours of airtime every day. Local producers are already up in arms against the project. [Times of India]

Here is a previous example of the price that Sarabhai has to pay fro speaking up against Modi.

Amnesty report on the fifth anniversary of the Gujarat carnage

Here. (.pdf)

1. The direct victims of that violence and their relatives continue to face serious challenges and obstacles in securing justice;

2. An overwhelming number of the criminal cases relating to the Gujarat violence remain un-investigated and unresolved, or closed with the result that the majority of he perpetrators of the violence have gone unpunished and remain at large in the state – this is despite the reopening of 1,594 cases for reinvestigation after the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) order in August 2004;

3. The plight of those internally displaced from their homes as a result of the violence is continuing one. As many as 5,000 families are living in “relief colonies” without basic amenities or official recognition from the Government of Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat however continues to assert that all those displaced as a result of the violence have been rehabilitated;

4. Human rights defenders, tenaciously engaged in pursuing justice for the victims of the violence, face frequent harassment;

5. There is an ongoing practice of social and economic boycotting of Muslim communities in the state.

The BJP CD

“That day is not far away when we will be afraid to even call ourselves Hindu, and you will never be able to find a Sohanlal, Mohanlal, Atmaram or Radhekrishan anywhere. Wherever we look, we will only see Abbas, Naqvi, Rizvi, and Maulvi”.

Siddharth Varadarajan shares the contents of the Bhartiya Janta Party’s now-withdrawn campaign CD in the Uttar Pradesh polls.

Goa: Communal Tinderbox Waiting To Explode?

The demolition of a mosque which housed a madarsa also, is still fresh in the minds of Samshad Begum Anarbi.She had built the structure singlehandedly with some help from community members as well. In fact, the idea was to build a mosque and a madrasa where people could pray and young children could study Arabic. The whole structure was built on a government land, which came under the Twenty Point Programme.

On February 24, last year the Savordem panchayat issued a notice in which they stated that the structure is illegal and would be demolished within seven days. Samshad Anarbi immediately approached the directorate of Panchayats and could manage to get a stay order from it. When the locals learnt about it, they attacked the building at night and demolished the structure.

Continue reading Goa: Communal Tinderbox Waiting To Explode?

Apko Goli Kisne Mari?

[I wrote the following report in July 2002 when a group of us -including some present-day Kafila writers – worked in a riot relief camp in Vatwa, Ahmedabad. Before Gujarat, and this report, I was an unhappy student of Chemistry in Delhi University, un-sure of what i wanted to do post-graduation. I’m not saying that I chose to become a journalist specifically after the Gujarat riots; but this was the first long report I had ever written, and revealed to me the possibilities of journalism – not as a tool of communication and dissemination, but as a means to make the world intelligible to one’s self. Gujarat in 2002 did something to you that could not pin-point, but having left you knew that something profound had changed. Re-reading it (before posting), I found myself ( as a journalist) a little embarrassed by some of the conclusions I drew, some of the sentences I constructed, and some of the grammar I bridged. But I have resisted the urge to correct it beyond a spell-check.]

6th July 2002

When I arrive in Ahmendabad, 3 months have passed since the grisly horror of Febuary, but the scars are still there for all to see. All except for the State Government i.e., which continues to turn a blind eye to the plight of the victims. The people of Gujarat are a study in numbness, a numbness which hangs heavy in the air, and affects all who touch it, including myself. After a point, the sight of burnt buildings and broken localities no longer produce a feeling of outrage and horror, and instead I lapse into a mood of hollow despair. Continue reading Apko Goli Kisne Mari?

2 top cops had faked ‘Modi plot’ killing of ‘LeT man’

…says the Asian Age.

The interim report submitted to the Supreme Court, a copy of which is with this newspaper, states that top ATS (anti-terrorist squad) officers, including senior IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian, had gone to Hyderabad and spent a couple of days interacting with the local police there. Two fake numberplates starting with the series AP-11 were made in Hyderabad by the Gujarat police. The Gujarat and Andhra police personnel then travelled in private cars with fake numberplates. Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bibi were travelling in a M.J. Travels bus (# KA05 AF5051) from Hyderabad to Sangli on November 23, 2005 The bus was intercepted at Tandola village at around 1.30 am. At least six bus passengers as well as the driver have testified, on the basis of pictures shown to them, that Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bibi were co-travellers and had been picked up by the policemen. All the passengers, however, said that three people were picked up from the bus.

One down, dozens more to go. Every now and then, India’s otherwise inefficient police arrest or ‘encounter’ terrorists of the Lashkar. Who will uncover all their stories, who will remove the curtain from this stage of lies?

Powerful Bomb Explosion in Nanded : Milli Gazette

One person was killed on the spot and another severely injured when a powerful explosion took place in the house of Shivram Manganarikar at Shastri Nagar, Nanded. The explosion is suspected to be caused by the accidental blast of a bomb that was either stored or was being manufactured.According to reports, the explosion took place at around 12:30 on Friday night. Shivram Mangnarikar is a retired school teacher whose house was severely damaged due to the explosion. One youth called Pandurang Bhagwan Anilkandwar, aged 30 years, was killed on the spot. Another youth, Gyaneshwar Manikwar, was severely injured with 70 percent burns. The explosion was so powerful that the shutter of the front-side shop was thrown off to a distance of 40 feet. The windows were burnt and glass cracked. The household belongings were scattered everywhere with blood and flesh. Walls were cracked and the site is in total disarray.

Continue reading Powerful Bomb Explosion in Nanded : Milli Gazette

Golwalkar Guruji : Super Human Or Less Than Human



He was known as ‘guruji’ (revered teacher). I find that at least in some vernacular papers he is being referred to as ‘shreeguruji’. The addition of shree to his title guruji makes him nearly sacred, an avatar of sorts. Within the Maharashtrian context this has an additional meaning or signification. Mystic gurus are often referred to as ‘shreeguruji’. You can see thus that there has been rather subtle glorification of Golwalkar, the new appellation making him stand a little above the human level.

GPD (March 25, 2006, EPW GPD, An Occasion for RSS)

I
It is said that masses have very short memories. For them it is easy to send today’s icon into oblivion without much hair splitting or it is still easier for them to hail yesterday’s monster as today’s development man.
But do classes or their intellectuals also suffer from similar amnesia? Looking at the important role played by them in the running of the society/state it is expected that they appear different. A recent writeup by one of the think-tanks of the right (Sudhindra Kulkarni, who also happened to be a ‘ghost writer’ for the ex deputy PM and was supposedly responsible for the ‘iron leaders’ speech at Jinnah Mausoleum) in the Sunday Express (11 th Feb 20007) belies this expectation. One could also decipher that it is a deliberate ploy by the writer to obfuscate things. It is equally possible that he is trying to present his wishful thinking as in-depth analysis before the masses.

Continue reading Golwalkar Guruji : Super Human Or Less Than Human