Tag Archives: Anti CAA protests

Sifting Evidence – A review of “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”: Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum

This review has been prepared by a  voluntary  citizens’  collective of academics and activists, anchored by Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum.

The review is based on a PDF of the  ‘book’,  Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, which went viral after the original publishers (Bloomsbury India) withdrew.  The PDF was widely circulated on social media by the book’s supporters, who believed its message must be spread far and wide. At the virtual book launch, BJP leader and Chief Guest, Kapil Mishra, tweeted “The book is public now”.

The review, titled Sifting Evidence, given below, is largely in tabular form, which makes for a quick read.

The book Delhi Riots 2020 was originally a fact-finding report by a group called GIA (Group of Intellectuals and Academicians), which was submitted to the Home Ministry on March 11th, 2020.  A version of it was accepted for publication by Bloomsbury India.  BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose hate speeches allegedly triggered the riots in February 2020, was a guest of honour at the book launch event held on August 22, 2020. On the day of the launch, Bloomsbury India decided to withdraw publication.

The authors claimed their freedom of expression was violated. But the facts are clear – there was no call to ban the Delhi Riots 2020 book. Established and reputable publishers get their reputation because they fact-check, and stay away from publishing material that may amount to libel. Other publishers may not care, and therefore do not achieve that reputation. Continue reading Sifting Evidence – A review of “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”: Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum

JNU Teachers Association condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid

Statement issued by JNUTA, representing the voices of JNU faculty 

The JNUTA condemns the arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police of former JNU student, Umar Khalid, under the draconian UAPA. This is yet another instance of the never ending witch hunt being conducted by the Delhi Police in the name of inquiring into the February 2020 riots in Delhi, an inquiry with which Umar Khalid had been voluntary cooperating. The JNUTA notes that Umar Khalid had also been one of those specially targeted during the vicious slander campaign unleashed against JNU in February 2016 and had then been charged with ‘sedition’. That smear campaign fuelled by sections of the media had put his life in danger and in 2018 he fortuitously survived a murderous attack against him. Since then he was supposed to be under the ‘protection’ of the Police and yet he is accused of having been part of a ‘conspiracy’ for instigating the violence in North-East Delhi. It is clear, therefore, that his safety is at risk even when he is in custody and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Continue reading JNU Teachers Association condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid

Nationwide condemnation of Delhi Police regarding their interrogation of Prof. Apoorvanand

We stand firmly with Apoorvanand, our friend and fellow member of the Kafila collective, as we do with all those being interrogated and framed by Delhi Police for the violence in Delhi. We also stand with all political prisoners of this  fascist regime. 

Before you read the statement below, endorsed by over a thousand people from different parts of India, take a look at this detailed expose of how the Delhi Police is trying desperately to cook up a conspiracy theory  that will leave the actual planners and executors of the anti Muslim pogrom in Delhi in January, to roam free, while arresting and intimidating hundreds of people who peacefully and non-violently protested the unconstitutional CAA.  Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta carefully dissects the anti CAA Whatsapp groups out of which the Delhi Police is trying to concoct a bizarre narrative, in The Wire.

Apoorvanand, Image courtesy Times of India

STATEMENT

On August 3, 2020 the Special Branch of the Delhi Police called in Prof. Apoorvanand, well-known writer, public speaker and Professor of Hindi at Delhi University, where he spent 5 hours, for an interrogation in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots. The police have seized his phone. This comes close on the heels of the interrogation of many other intellectuals and activists.

A day when authorities feel free to haul in the nation’s leading public voices to police stations, merely because they speak against the policies and ideology of the ruling government, is a day we must all be deeply concerned. Also, a day when we must overcome all fear, to stand up for each individual’s right to disagree, dissent, and thereby deepen our democracy. For this democracy today faces its most serious crisis since independence, far more critical than Indira Gandhi’s Emergency 45 years ago. As concerned citizens who love and value our democracy, and our country, we must speak out before it is too late and all voices of freedom are silenced forever.

Continue reading Nationwide condemnation of Delhi Police regarding their interrogation of Prof. Apoorvanand

Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

We, members of Faculty Feminist Collective JNU, stand in solidarity with all wrongfully arrested students, and in particular with JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal who were arrested on 23rd May 2020 by the Delhi Police. We demand the immediate release of all those wrongfully accused of playing a role in the anti-Muslim pogrom in northeast Delhi in February 2020.

It is clear to us that this spate of arrests during the lockdown is an attempt by the government to punish the voices raised in peaceful protest against the unconstitutional CAA and proposed NPR and NRC, all of which are meant to destroy the very idea of India as a democracy.

While forces close to and constituting the current regime openly called for violence against Muslims in the days leading up to the horrific incidents of February 2020, their role has not been investigated. Instead a large number of arrests (according to media reports, 800 arrests), mostly of Muslims, has been carried out, supposedly for their responsibility for the violence in which the larger number of deaths and injuries have in fact been suffered by Muslims. Many of those arrested are students, including Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Asif Iqbal Tanha of Jamia Milia Islamiya. Earlier, JNU student Sharjeel Imam was arrested for sedition for a speech at an anti- CAA protest, and the draconian UAPA has been slapped on him as well.

Continue reading Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

Poetry of resistance against the suppression of dissent

On 16th May 2020, the Campaign against Witch-hunt of Anti-CAA Activists inaugurates its Poetry Week.  

Poetry bears witness. It records, it remembers. Resistance, indeed life itself, has long been sustained and nourished by the words of poets.
So, it is with poetry that we celebrate the inspiring movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and with the power of words fight the wrongful arrests and malicious prosecution of anti-CAA activists.
The first session will feature poets Aamir Aziz, Aquila, Neha and Rabiya of the Parcham Collective, Miya’h poet Shalim Hussain & Naveen Chourey
Host and anchor: Tanzil Rahman
FIRST SESSION
On 16th May | Saturday | 8 pm onwards
Register using this link

https://forms.gle/iUwV6FimHsWd6ZLY7

Over 1100 Feminists Condemn Crackdown on Women Activists in Delhi

Issued on 3 May, 2020

Over 1,100  feminsts across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders

DENOUNCE false narratives that try to link anti-CAA protests with the violence in Delhi.

DENOUNCE false narratives that try to link anti-CAA protests with the violence in Delhi.

DEMAND an immediate stop to targeting of Muslim women activists
under the shadow of the Covid 19 lockdown.

SEEK ACTION against actual perpetrators of violence, not peaceful protestors.

STAND FIRM with the conscience keepers of the nation

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the brazenly malicious attacks, arrests and intimidation by the Delhi Police of Muslim women, students and activists, as well as other citizens who have spoken up against the unconstitutional moves of the present ruling dispensation. Media reports that about 800 + anti-CAA protesters have been detained or arrested since the Covid 19 lockdown, which means they have had little or no access to lawyers and legal aid, and their families given no information of their whereabouts for extended periods after they were in custody. The impunity with which the Delhi Police is carrying out this sweep under direct orders from the Home Ministry is facilitated by the reduced media, public and legal scrutiny under the lockdown.

Continue reading Over 1100 Feminists Condemn Crackdown on Women Activists in Delhi

The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Part I – Comvid 14

PART I OF A THREE PART POST

The term Comvid 14 is gratefully borrowed from Tony Joseph who defined it in a Facebook post as Communalvirus (Comvid 2014), the incubation period for which could be as long as six to seven years. Over fifty percent of infected people remain asymptomatic carriers, the rest going into paroxysms of hate and violence, many also gravitating towards TV newsrooms, according to him.

Suffocating mythologies produced by Hindu supremacism blanket India today.

So first of all, a loud, ringing zindabad to all the courageous journalists, citizen reporters and social media activists whose determined work relentlessly exposes fake news, and counters genocidal journalism in India.

Suchitra Vijayan explains the term “journalism as genocide”:

Rwandan cultural anthropologist Charles Mironko analyzed confessions of a hundred genocide perpetrators. His work confirms the thesis that hate messages in the media had a direct effect on the dehumanization of the population that was subject to persistent slander. Several months of this behavior, in the absence of credible reporting, conditioned the population to hate, and kill.

It is all the dogged fact-checking and on-the-ground reporting that continues to let in the light, through the crack, the crack in everything –  as Leonard Cohen sang; the words that Gautam Navlakha referred to just before he surrendered to the National Investigating Agency, on the orders of the Supreme Court.

This is India today – the violent Hindu Rashtra of Savarkar and Golwalkar’s dreams, under the direct control of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.  And this Hindu Rashtra is built on predatory capitalism – a toxic cocktail, far deadlier than the biological virus that now haunts us.

Just as the pandemic is inflected in its effects differently in different global contexts, the three features of the crisis in India – the virus, the Muslim and the migrant – relate in a way that is specific to ‘here’. The virus has enabled and strengthened predatory capitalism here as it has globally, but it has also reproduced itself through Hindu supremacism, generating two monstrous mutations – Comvid 14 and Coronacapitalism.

And we who will fight and resist both? What of us, how are we to combine, come together, connect to other stories the virus tells us, find our way to other lanes down which it leads us? How will we find and inhabit  those fissures and chinks in which green things can grow, and solidarities, and compassion and hope?

But first, the two monstrous mutations – one in this part, the second in the next. Continue reading The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Part I – Comvid 14

Statement by concerned citizens against state crackdown for anti CAA protests

Statement by concerned citizens against witch-hunting of students and activists for anti CAA protests

The country right now is reeling through a grave crisis as a result of the novel Corona Virus and nearly a month long lock-down. We are all being asked to stay home and stay safe in order to break the chain of the deadly virus. We are shocked to know that in this midst of such a grave situation, the Delhi Police has arrested two students of Jamia Millia Islamia and several activists from localities of North-East Delhi who had participated in peaceful protests against the CAA. Even as we write this, more students and activists are being called for questioning and interrogation by the police on a daily basis.

In a twisted fairy tale that the Delhi Police is trying to weave, these activists are now being implicated in cases related to the communal violence in Delhi that took place in February. A riot in which the minorities suffered the maximum damage, both in terms of lives and livelihoods, has now become a pretext for the Delhi Police to further witch-hunt activists, most of whom also come from the minority community. Continue reading Statement by concerned citizens against state crackdown for anti CAA protests

Delhi Elections and the Difficult Terrain of Antifascist Struggle

 

Three incidents of firing in four days – two in Jamia Millia Islamia and one in Shaheen Bagh – quickly followed open calls to violence (‘goli maro saalon ko‘) by Union minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and the demonization of Shaheen Bagh protesters by BJP MP Pravesh Verma (‘the protesters will enter your homes and rape and kill your daughters’ if Modi and Shah aren’t there). In the case of the Shaheen Bagh shooter, Kapil Gujjar, the Delhi Police (which has till date not managed to find out the JNU attacker Komal Sharma’s affiliation) was quick to link him to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – an allegation expressly denied by his father. All these episodes, so obviously set up, basically aimed at provoking the protesters into committing some violence that the lapdog television channels would then play up, in their usual hysterical style (some of them may even have appeared on air in police uniform!), to vitiate the atmosphere.

On the very first shooting, one such channel did indeed keep doing precisely that till long after the identity of the shooter (in the clip above) had been clearly established. The clips were circulating almost instantaneously and you can hear the gunman shouting Delhi Police zindabad, and there was little chance of mistaking him for an anti-CAA protester. The channel knew exactly what it was doing and at whose behest but kept on at it till 9 o’clock at night.

Continue reading Delhi Elections and the Difficult Terrain of Antifascist Struggle

Muslims held hostage by a criminal state apparatus in UP – a report on Sambhal

Sustained reportage by dogged and principled journalists and investigation by citizens’ groups have gradually begun to illuminate the terrible darkness around anti CAA protests in UP over December 2019. Every single one of these has exploded the narrative fostered by the UP government, police and compliant local media, of violent mobs destroying public property and attacking police.

We have all noted that massive marches against the CAA have taken place all over the country, but have “turned violent” only in BJP ruled states. The various reports that are now emerging, reveal the extent to which the UP police either acted as a violent mob itself, or used police informers or local RSS organizations to start stone pelting and other such acts to disrupt non-violent marches, and to provide an excuse for violent police action.

A public hearing on state action in UP will be held in Delhi on January 16th, 2020, bringing together all the information collected by different groups of people who have visited different parts of the state.

Here we present the report on Sambhal.

SAMBHAL

A team went to Sambhal from Karwan-e-Mohabbat on 2 January, 2020, consisting of Ayesha Kidwai, Farida Khan, Navsharan Singh, Nivedita Menon, Sandeep Yadav, Sumit Gupta, Tanika Sarkar and Varna Balakrishnan. Continue reading Muslims held hostage by a criminal state apparatus in UP – a report on Sambhal

Two international statements in solidarity with anti CAA protests in India

  1. From UMASS and Five Colleges

We, the undersigned members and alumni of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Five College Area write in solidarity and support of the protests in India and elsewhere against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, and express our complete rejection of this act.

We are deeply concerned about the violence against students in India’s universities, particularly at Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi and at Aligarh Muslim University. The crackdown on universities has produced shocking images of violence, including tear-gassing hostel rooms and libraries, brutal and illegal violence in police detention, communally charged comments against students, and assault on female protestors. We condemn both the illegal crackdown on dissent, and the particularly communal and gendered nature of this crackdown, unequivocally support and admire the protesters who continue to take to the streets.

We are also extremely dismayed by the ongoing repression in the states of North-East India and Kashmir, and call on the Indian state to cease its internet shut-down. While this internet shut down has made communications and precise reports of the situation on the ground difficult, the news that has filtered through, regarding repression of protests in Tripura, Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh is extremely troubling. In this light, we also express our serious concern over the recent detainment and torture of Assam activist Akhil Gogoi, a sustained and vocal critic of the Citizenship Amendment Bill/Act, under the UAPA and NIA acts.   

Read the full statement here.  

2. From students, faculty and alumni of Syracuse University, Hamilton College, Colgate University, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and Ithaca College, and the broader Central New York community.

As members of the Central New York community concerned about the brutal police violence against students at Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, two public universities with a predominantly Muslim minority student body, we join millions of students in at least 15 cities across India to express our solidarity with students protesting the Bharatiya Janata party’s
anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

#SOSJamiaAMU and #RejectCAA represent the grassroots student movement protesting the CAA, recently passed by the upper and lower houses of the Indian parliament. The CAA grants
Indian citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted minorities seeking refuge in India from selected neighboring countries. This combined with the National Register of Citizens of India (NRC),
which is aimed at the disenfranchisement and detention of undocumented immigrants, equips the Hindu nationalist government to institutionalize ethnic cleansing of Muslim minorities. This systematic targeted violence is carried alongside increasing instances of lynchings of Muslims and caste-oppressed people. Further, the seemingly spontaneous resistance to the CAA out of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia must be understood with respect to the history of these two universities as post-Partition Muslim-serving institutions.

Read the full statement here.