Tag Archives: Communal violence

The Violence in Delhi, Politics and ‘Heroism of the Ordinary’


What is there to say? What can one say that has not already been said umpteen times before – during earlier rounds of communal violence elsewhere – and in Delhi this time?

The political class, true to its character, has revealed as it has so many times in the past, that when it comes to matters like communal violence, it is simply paralyzed – perhaps with the exception of the Left in states where it was strong enough to impact things.  For all its failures in other respects, this was one where the Bengal Left, for instance, too had in the past shown great promptness in nipping such possibilities in the bud. Most often this was done, not by relying only on the administrative power of the state, but with  the entire party machinery moving into action. Kerala too has had a similar record. But those instances apart, especially in states of the Northern or Western India, there hasn’t been much to write home about. What entering the political domain does to you is illustrated so starkly by the fate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its utter capitulation to what it imagines to be the ‘Hindu sentiment’.

Continue reading The Violence in Delhi, Politics and ‘Heroism of the Ordinary’

Bhagat Singh Then and Now: Harsh Mander

Guest post by HARSH MANDER

Eighty five years ago, on 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh walked bravely, proudly to the gallows, his two young colleagues Rajguru and Sukhdev by his side. His lustre continues undimmed as an icon for succeeding generations, so that it is easy to forget he was only 23 years old. Subhash Bose spoke then of Bhagat Singh as a ‘symbol of the new awakening among youth’. Nehru saw in him ‘a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to another dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere’. His popularity rivalled that of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the decades after his passing, in times of public ferment, despair, confusion and anger, successive generations in India have found their own inheritors of young Bhagat Singh’s mantle, men and women embodying defiant youthful idealism and dissent, young people battling for social and economic equality, for true freedom, sparks that once again set aflame a beleaguered wearied country battling the darkness of the times.

Continue reading Bhagat Singh Then and Now: Harsh Mander

A Consummate Hanging Bares Gaping Holes in Nation State’s Democratic Facade : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar

At 7AM on 30 July, 2015, the Republic of India hanged a man named Yakub Memon. By all means, though without anyone’s planning, the hanging turned out to be the endpoint of a consummate exercise. Three judges of the highest court of the land sat through the night, right up to two hours before the execution to decide on the last petition of the condemned convict. The highest law official of the central government came to put forth arguments against the petition at two thirty in the morning, while some of the most respected and best legal minds of the country argued for it. Even before this post mid night hearing, the case of Mr Memon had been through more than one round of curative and review petitions in the Supreme Court, and mercy petitions with the President of the Republic. Much earlier, in fact more than twenty years ago, the Mumbai police had carried out perhaps the most painstaking, and detailed investigation of independent India into the 12 March, 1993 blasts; cracking the case within two days and filing a 10,000 page charge sheet within eight months. The trial involving 123 accused, 684 witnesses and voluminous material evidence ran for ten years. After Mr Memon’s guilt and conviction were established by the trial court, his appeals had gone on in the Supreme Court for nearly a decade. Two years ago the then Government of India had hanged Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri convicted in the Parliament attack case, without informing his family, and refused to hand his dead body to them. Nothing of that shameful behaviour was repeated this time. What more could the criminal justice system of the country have done in the case of Mr Memon! Yet, his execution has left behind more questions on the institutional biases, and ideological underpinnings of the Indian state, than perhaps any other execution. Continue reading A Consummate Hanging Bares Gaping Holes in Nation State’s Democratic Facade : Sanjay Kumar

A Women’s Charter for Delhi Elections: Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Guest Post by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

The elections in Delhi are approaching.

Violence, as well as discrimination against women, and sheer denial of women’s dignity and rights, has been a huge concern for Delhi’s citizens.

This is the time when women are looking towards the political parties, to see what place women’s rights and freedoms have on their agenda.

We are disturbed to see that while most parties pay lip service to the cause of women’s rights, they blithely field candidates accused of violence against women, and they play to the patriarchal gallery on a range of issues, ignoring the voices of the women’s movement.

We, the undersigned would like to put the following concerns on the agenda of the Delhi elections, and we ask the political parties contesting Delhi elections to respond to them with urgency and seriousness. We appeal to all women voters to place this charter before every candidate and every party campaigner, and ask them for a clear position on each of its points.

1. We are alarmed at the spiralling of communal violence towards the Delhi elections. We are shocked that, instead of nabbing those who are fuelling the violence in a planned way, the Delhi Police has instead beaten up and brutalised innocent women in Trilokpuri. Above all, we are appalled at the attempts to justify communal, caste, racial or homophobic/transphobic violence in the name of ‘protecting women’. We assert that women are invariably rendered most unsafe by such violence. We seek a commitment that no party will promote leaders – either as candidates or as campaigners – who are accused of stoking violence against women, as well as communal, caste, racial or homophobic/transphobic violence. Specifically, we do not want the notorious 1984 duo Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, we do not want to see Gugan Singh (who made communal speeches in Bawana) or Sunil Vaidya (who incited riots at Trilokpuri), or Somnath Bharti (charge-sheeted for racist and anti-women violence at Khirki) to be candidates or campaigners. Continue reading A Women’s Charter for Delhi Elections: Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

सामूहिक अपराध और जवाबदेही

मुज्ज़फरनगर की सांप्रदायिक हिंसा की जिम्मेदारी तय करने का मसला पेचीदा होता जा रहा है.क़त्ल हुए हैं,बलात्कार की रिपोर्ट है, घर लूटे और बर्बाद किए गए हैं.हजारों मुसलमान अपने घरों और गावों से बेदखल कर दिए गए हैं.यह सब कुछ अपने आप तो नहीं हुआ होगा.किसी भी अपराध के मामले में इंसाफ की प्रक्रिया की शुरुआत अभियुक्तों की पहचान और उनकी नामजदगी से होती है.मुज्ज़फरनगर के हिंदू ग्रामीणों को इस पर ऐतराज है.उनका दावा है कि शिकायतें, जो मुस्लिम उत्पीड़ितों ने दर्ज कराई हैं और जिनके आधार पर अभियुक्तों को चिह्नित किया गया है,गलत हैं.वे और उनके लोग निर्दोष हैं और इसलिए पुलिस को धर पकड़ की अपनी कार्रवाई से बाज आना चाहिए.

अभियुक्तों को गिरफ्तार करने गई पुलिस पर हमले किए जा रहे हैं और पकड़े गए लोगों को छुड़ा लिया जा रहा है.हथियारों के साथ औरतें सड़क पर हैं,कहते हुए कि वे अपने बच्चों और मर्दों के साथ नाइंसाफी नहीं होने देंगी.किसी तुलना के लिए नहीं,लेकिन ऐसे सामूहिक प्रतिरोध के बारे में राय कायम करने एक लिए क्या हम किसी दहशतगर्द हमले में शक की बिना पर किसी मुस्लिम बस्ती में की जा गिरफ्तारी के इसी तरह के सामूहिक विरोध की कल्पना कर सकते हैं?उस समय हम उसे उस समूह की  अविचारित सामूहिक प्रतिक्रिया ही मानेंगे. Continue reading सामूहिक अपराध और जवाबदेही

अकोट में साम्‍प्रदायिक हिंसा: एक पूर्व नियोजित साजिश

Guest post by Sharad Jaiswal, Amir Ajani and others

DSC0036223 नवम्‍बर, वर्धा से गये एक जांचदल, जिसमें महात्‍मा गांधी अंतरराष्‍ट्रीय हिंदी विश्‍वविद्यालय के अध्‍यापक, छात्र, वर्धा के सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता और पत्रकार सम्मिलित थे, ने अकोट (जिला अकोला) का दौरा किया। पिछले 23 अक्‍टूबर को अकोट ताल्‍लुका में साम्‍प्रदायिक हिंसा की घटना हुई थी जिसमें 4 लोग मारे गये थे एवं कई लोग घायल हुए थे। मुस्लिम समुदाय के 22 घरों को आग के हवाले कर दिया गया था और लगभग 25 दुकानों को जलाया गया था। मरने वालों में सभी निम्‍नमध्‍यवर्गीय पृष्‍ठभूमि से थे।

साम्‍प्रदायिक हिंसा की पृष्‍ठभूमि :

साम्‍प्रदायिक हिंसा की पृष्‍ठभूमि 19 अक्‍टूबर को तैयार की जाती है। पूरे अकोट ताल्‍लुके में 65 मंडल देवी के लगाये गये थे। प्रत्‍येक मंडल का संबंध किसी न किसी जातीय समाज से रहता है। मसलन माली समाज, कुनबी समाज, धोबी समाज आदि। धोबी और भोई समाज के एक मंडल, जिसके कर्ताधर्ता बजरंग दल, शिवसेना, विश्‍व हिंदू परिषद के लोग थे, के पास से निकलते हुए एक मुस्लिम बच्‍चे ने गलती से वहाँ पर थूक दिया। उसके साथ उसका हमउम्र दोस्‍त भी था। उसका थूक देवी की प्रतिमा को छुआ तक नहीं लेकिन पर्दे पर उसके कुछ छींटे जरूर पड़े। उस बच्‍चे को मंडल के लोगों ने पकड़ लिया और उसकी पिटाई करने के बाद वहीं पर बैठा लिया। इतनी देर में जब कुछ शोर-शराबा हुआ तो लोगों की भीड़ वहाँ पर एकत्र हुई और मामले को समझने के लिए शोएब नाम का व्‍यक्ति भी वहाँ पर पहुँचा और उसने कुछ हस्‍तक्षेप भी किया और मंडल के लोगों को समझाने की भी कोशिश की। उसने बच्‍चे की उम्र का भी हवाला दिया। बच्‍चे की उम्र 7-8 साल की थी। मंडल के लोगों की तरफ से यह भी कहा गया कि आज ये देवी की प्रतिमा पर थूक रहे हैं कल हमारे मुँह पर थूकेंगे। बहरहाल शोएब ने किसी तरह से मामले को शांत कराया और बच्‍चे को मंडल के लोगों से मुक्‍त कराया। इस घटना की चर्चा लगभग आधे घण्‍टे के बाद आस-पास के इलाके में फैल चुकी थी। एजाज नामक टेलर जिसकी घटना स्‍थल से कुछ दूर पर ही दुकान थी मंडल के लोगों के पास आया और उसने जानना चाहा कि मामला क्‍या है और उसके बाद वह भी लौटकर अपनी दुकान पर वापस आ गया। Continue reading अकोट में साम्‍प्रदायिक हिंसा: एक पूर्व नियोजित साजिश

‘Every eye-witness said there was no death before the police intervened’

This release comes from the PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, Rajasthan

Gopalgarh (Bharatpur, Mewat) Police Firing Incident
Preliminary Findings of the Fact Finding Team released in the Press Conference on 19th Sept, 2011

Photo credit: PUCL Rajasthan

This preliminary report of the PUCL team pertains to the incident of the police firing in Gopalgarh, district Bharatpur, Rajasthan. As per the media reports, the police resorted to firing to quell rioting mobs. The government has acknowledged eight deaths and 23 injured in this incident. Following this, the PUCL, Rajasthan constituted a Fact Finding Team to conduct independent inquiry into this incident. The team comprised Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, PUCL, Professor Shail Mayaram (Delhi), Professor Yogendra Yadav(Delhi), Ms. Nishat Hussain (Vice President, PUCL, Rajasthan) Mr. Sawai Singh (Organising Secretary PUCL, Rajasthan), Mr. Noor Mohammed (PUCL, Alwar), Mr Virendra Vidrohi (PUCL, Alwar), Adv. Ramjan Chowdhary (PUCL, Mewat district, Haryana), Mr Gaurav Srivastava(PUCL intern). Mr. Neelabh Mishra, Editor, Outlook (Hindi) and a section of progressive members of the Gurjar and Meo community also accompanied and assisted the fact finding team. Continue reading ‘Every eye-witness said there was no death before the police intervened’