Category Archives: Right watch

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

In support of MF Husain

MF Husian’s troubles seem to be increasing by the day. The latest one is over Bharat Mata. In protest against those protesting and acting against MF Husian, I have decided to put up an image of the ‘offending’ Bharat Mata painting. I urge all bloggers to do the same if you want freedom of speech preserved in India. (From here.)

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Also see this statement.

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

Textbook Fascism of the Hindu Kind?

Textbooks are back in news. This time it is the turn of the Social Sciences book for Class x students prepared by the Rajasthan Madhyamik Shiksha Board, Ajmer. One needs to remember that this book results from the decision of the Rajasthan government to reject the new National Curriculum Framework for School Education 2005 evolved by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). All BJP-ruled states had declared that they would prepare their own textbooks as the books prepared by the NCERT were biased according to them. It would be interesting to see, therefore as to how they fight out the bias of the NCERT books in the books prepared by their own objective teams.

This is how the Rajasthan social sciences experts do it. The first chapter of the book seeks to introduce the students to the basics of the Indian Culture: Our culture is known as Arya sanskriti, Bharatiya sanskriti and Hindu sanskriti. Lest there be any confusion in the minds of the readers, the book explains it further: in fact these three nomenclatures are synonyms.

Continue reading Textbook Fascism of the Hindu Kind?

How Adityanath Wants To Do A Modi ?

What was common between the itinerary of Ashok Singhal, International President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad; Major General Bharat Keshar Singh, President of Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh; the Shankaracharya of Puri Nishalananda, Jagadguru Madhwacharya Shri Vishesh Teerth ( Udupi), Jagadguru Ramananandacharya Vasudevacharya and Subramaniam Swamy during the last week of December. Interestingly all of them were part of a three day Virat Hindu Mahasammelan (22-24 th Dec 2006) held at Gorakhpur, UP which was formally organised to deliberate on the ‘Challenges Before Hinduism’.

Of course the way the deliberations unfolded it was clear to even a layperson that it had nothing to do with challenges before Hinduism – neither of the spiritual or the temporal kind – rather it was a gathering to chalk out a political programme couched in religious parlance to further the agenda of Hindutva – the strategy of the political Hinduism.

An important feature of this Mahasammelan was that it was organised parallel to the National Executive Meeting of the BJP at Lucknow.Interestingly while the media was more focussed on the deliberations of the National Executive meeting or was busy reporting about intraparty squabbles , not many people even deemed it necessary to report or comment on this massive gathering of people in the heart of Eastern UP which was rather queering the pitch for the new battles lying ahead before Hindutva.And the moving force behind this jamboree of non-descript Sadhus or Hindutva politicos was a young BJP MP Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur who also happens to be the anointed successor to the Goraksha Peeth based in Gorakhpur itself.More...
Continue reading How Adityanath Wants To Do A Modi ?

Hindu Terrorism

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According to the report, Panse’s motive was to avenge the deaths of Hindus killed in terror attacks. Panse was convinced that the mastermind behind these attacks were underworld dons Abu Salem and Dawood Ibrahim.

The report says that Panse was “pained” by the terrorist attacks in Delhi and Varanasi. He felt that Hindus would be “treated as hijras” if they failed to take any action.

Feeling that retaliation was necessary to uphold Hindu honour, Panse decided after the Varanasi blasts to engineer explosions in Muslim-dominated areas in central Maharashtra with the target of killing at least 300-400 Muslims in each incident.

A closer look at all the recent blasts that have occurred in central Maharashtra reveal a pattern which seems to fit with Panse’s plan. All blasts (including the ones in Malegaon on September 8 ) occurred between 1.45pm and 2.00pm at the most prominent mosque in these towns, just after the Friday prayers, when attendance is maximum. [Tehelka]

And as far as hijras are concerned, weren’t they supposed to rule in Kaliyug anyway?

One Question

It is a matter of great satisfaction that our sluggish justice delivery system has bestirred itself and through a process of daily hearings found 100 people guilty of the conspiracy for the Bombay blasts. Almost 90% of them were Muslims, they as well as the remainder, have all been served their just desserts.

Justice has not only been done, more importantly, at least as far as our 24X7 media is concerned, it also appears to have been done. Every one knew from day one, who those fellows were, now the courts are saying that as well. So once these two basic requirements of appearance and deed have been met the national conscience, so gravely disturbed over the last several decades, can heave a collective sigh of relief and all men of good faith can take a well deserved rest.

One question, however, continues to bother me. Continue reading One Question

Malegaon Bomb Blasts : Need for a Fresh Probe

It was rather an unusual type of protest on the streets of Malegaon. But hardly anyone outside the town could even know about it. Protesters donned same kind of hoods which police places on the heads of arrested criminals. They also wore black bands around their arms in a show of protest against official attempts to portray the victims as terrorists. But neither any of those ‘breaking news channels’ nor any of those citizen journos, deemed it necessary to at least report the incident.
The venue for the sit-ins were those very spots which had witnessed bomb blasts on 8 th September – namely Bara Kabristan and Hamidia mosque- where around forty innocent people breathed their last and hundreds of people got injured. (Ref : The Milli Gazette, 1-15 December 2006)


Of course, the unique sit-in was part of the ongoing protest campaign by the townspeople. In fact, the city observed a complete bandh on the 14 th November as part of its protest against the attitude of the police and authorities. It was a day when Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, came to visit the town to lay the foundation stone of a hospital. People very well knew that if the hospital would have come up as scheduled, many innocent lives could have been saved on that fateful day.
Continue reading Malegaon Bomb Blasts : Need for a Fresh Probe

Action Alert – Communal harmony activists arrested in Karnataka

[From Clifton from Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore]

Friends,

Most of you are aware of the Sangh Parivar’s attempts to destroy the secular fabric in Karnataka by targeting the Baba-Datta shrine on Bababudangiri near Chikmagalur, a shrine that is an example of syncretic traditions in the state, attracting people of different faiths. You are also aware of the role of this present coalition government in supporting and promoting these activities of the Sangh Parivar. Now the government has given permission to the Sangh Parivar to conduct the Shobha Yatra and about 300 activists of the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike who reached Chikmagalur to protest this have been arrested today (02.12.2006).

Continue reading Action Alert – Communal harmony activists arrested in Karnataka

Population control in Gujarat

Narendra Modi, the architect of a pogrom in which the Vishwa Hindu Parishad mobs killed around two thousand Muslim Indians in 2002, onec made a controversial statement saying that Muslims reproduce so as to turn five of them into twenty five, thus increasing their population. This is conventional wisdom an old cliche of the Hindu right that tries to scare you into believeing that Muslims are going to outnumber Hindus by the time an Indian lands on the moon. Modi later claimed, with intellectual honesty typical of the Hindu right, that he was quoted out of context, that he was merely talking of population control, with no reference to any community in particular. What those of us outside Gujarat didn’t get to know is that he backed up his claim with a ‘massive’ population control programme. Continue reading Population control in Gujarat

Kherlanji, Aligarh and the Provincial Armed Constabulary

The horrific massacre at Kherlanji and the protests that have followed have, once again, raised troubling questions on the impartiality of the Police force. The following is an article that i wrote for Frontline in the aftermath of the Aligarh riots in April 2006. The article finally didn’t make it – not because of a conspiracy of silence – but because another correspondent had already filed; but I think it might answer the “What were the police doing?” question that we often find ourselves asking.

*

“The mob is frenzied and frightening. But you can run from the mob. You can’t run away from a police bullet,” says Sarfaraz Khan, a resident of Aligarh. When he heard the mob coming, Khan’s son, Shadab pulled down the shop shutters and headed home, but never made it. As he scrambled up long slope that separates Muslim settlement at Tantan Para Farsh from the Hindu settlement at Kanvari Farsh, Shadab was cut down by a bullet that sliced through his neck with clinical precision. He was nineteen. By afternoon on the 6 April 2006, police firing in the riot hit town of Aligarh had claimed three more casualties: Naved was 16, Sarfaraz was 22, and Azam was 24 years old. Another 17 people were wounded. Continue reading Kherlanji, Aligarh and the Provincial Armed Constabulary