Modasa – It is just a Beginning

How Hindutva Supremacists are rushing to give themselves Clean Chit in terror related cases

(Picture : Courtesy – Indian Express)

Introduction

Whether investigations into Hindutva terror related cases are changing course? A series of apparently unconnected developments definitely strengthen the belief.

Close on the heels of renowned public prosecutor Rohini Salian’s revelations that she is being pressurised to go slow on the Malegaon bomb blast case (2008) and news of no of witnesses turning hostile in the Ajmer bomb blast case (2007) and sudden decision of the NIA to shift the Sunil Joshi murder case back to M.P,  has come the news that the NIA has finally decided to close the Modasa bomb blast case citing ‘insufficient evidence’.

As is being rightly said it is the first concrete indication that with the assumption of power by the BJP investigations into Hindutva terror related cases a shift in emphasis is visible. Perhaps an indication of the changed times is the statement by a senior Minister that there is ‘nothing like Hindu terror in the country’ despite being aware of the fact that the NIA, the premier investigating agency formed after 2008 terror attack in Mumbai to focus on terror related cases, is handling at least a sixteen high profile cases supposedly involving Hindutva terrorists and many of their top bosses are still under scanner.

Bomb blast at Modasa, part of Sabarkantha district then and recently made into a separate district, which witnessed one death and injuries to many, is one of the least explored bomb blast in the country. The following write-up tries to discuss the blast, discusses the prevalent ambience then when bombs were discovered at different places without anyone claiming responsibility for it, the interim findings of the NIA when it took over the particular case during the UPA II regime and the announcement by the then home minister P Chidambaram that the central probe agency has achieved a “breakthrough” in the 2008 Modasa (Gujarat) blast case.

The sudden turnaround by the NIA is baffling and incomprehensible, to say the least. Continue reading “Modasa – It is just a Beginning”

Praful Bidwai Is No More

Praful Bidwai is no more. He died in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening due to a cardiac arrest, With his death we have lost the ‘best left-wing journalist’ in this part of South Asia whose articles appeared in many newspapers and magazines in the subcontinent and in the middle east and was frequently published by The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique as well. Praful will be missed by thousands and thousands of his readers (this pen pusher included) who were ‘groomed’ by him in a career spanning more than four decades. For them he was one such voice who remained uncompromising in his strident criticism of communal fundamentalisms of various kinds and the crony capitalism which is having a field day these days. He was a leading voice for nuclear disarmament and peace as well and had written extensively on it. It was a strange coincidence that we met last in the capital when a memorial meeting was organised by Communist Party of India to remember the legendary Comrade Govind Pansare who was assassinated few days back. He was to speak in the meeting. The meeting was yet to start and I could steal some time to talk to him. He told he is working on a book – which was near completion – on the left movement in the country and had interviewed many activists associated with the movement to listen to their understanding of challenges before the left. And in that connection he had long meeting with Com Pansare – once in Kolhapur and one possibly in Mumbai. He shared his fascination about the energies he still had at that age for ‘the cause’. Few days after the meeting, there was a call from him asking for a phone number of a dalit activist which incidentally I did not have. Yes, that was the last time I spoke to him.

Continue reading “Praful Bidwai Is No More”

Withdraw police case against Prof Kancha Ilaiah and revoke the ban on Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle : People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

Public Statement issued by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) on 6 June, 2015

A case has been filed by the Hyderabad police against well known Dalit writer and academic Kancha Ilaiah on a complaint by Vishwa Hindu Parishad members for hurting their religious sentiments. The complaint was filed on the basis of Ilaiah’s article Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada? (Is God a democrat?) published in a Telugu daily on May 9. In the said article Ilaiah had argued that the possibility of democracy, or its lack inside different religious groups depend on the conception of their God(s). The VHP activists have accused Prof Ilaiah of comparing Hindu gods with God in Christianity and Islam, and of ridiculing their worship. Police have filed a case under sections 153A and 295A which prescribe imprisonment upto three years for spreading enmity among groups of people and outraging religious feelings. The police action against Ilaiah has come around the same time that the IIT Madras has derecognised a student group Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle that organises discussions around socio-cultural and political issues. The group was derecognised after an anonymous complaint against it was filed with the central HRD ministry. While many political parties and groups have justifiably come out in support of the APSC, it is surprising that Prof Ilaiah has received little solidarity. Both these incidences are a proof of the aggressive intent of Hindutva forces to attack any discourse which publicly questions their castiest, Brahminical and majoritarian understanding of Indian society. Successes of Mr Narendra Modi in the recent elections have emboldened them further . Continue reading “Withdraw police case against Prof Kancha Ilaiah and revoke the ban on Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle : People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism”

No To Ambedkar-Periyar in ‘Modern Day Agraharam’?

Whether discussing issues of contemporary concern among students, raising debates around them on the campus – taking inspiration from the ideas of leading social revolutionaries of 20th century – should be construed as an act of creating ‘social disharmony’ or ‘spreading hatred’ ?

Any sane person would rather reject this weird proposal but it appears that the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) think otherwise. It was evident in the way they acted on an anonymous complaint regarding the activities of a group of students in IIT Madras which calls itself ‘Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle’ (APSC) – which comprises mainly of dalit, bahujan and adivasi students. Perhaps they were worried that the particular students group, has been critical about PM Modi’s policies and has been raising issues of caste, communalism as well as corporate loot of resources and challenging the ‘development’ narrative which is popular these days among a section of people. The impetuosity with which they acted when they wrote to the management of the Institute can also be gauged from the fact that in this process they violated the recommendations of the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) itself which has ‘barred’ organisations from taking action on such (anonymous) complaints.

As of now the issue of ‘derecognition’ of APSC by the IITM management, has snowballed into a major controversy, with issues of curtailment of freedom of expression, infringement of autonomy of educational institutions and dominance of caste in higher education all coming to the fore. Continue reading “No To Ambedkar-Periyar in ‘Modern Day Agraharam’?”

Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

Even as the communal cauldron in UP is kept on the boil, there is news that the RSS has launched a campaign to tie Rakhis to lakhs of Hindu men, asking them to pledge to protect their sisters from Muslim men and “love jehad.” The VHP has been running a helpline urging Hindus to approach them “if your daughter is being harassed by Muslim boys.” And a khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar has imposed a ban on mobile phones and jeans for girls, claiming that these result in ‘eve-teasing’.

Woven into the above events is an old, familiar theme – that of patriarchal restrictions packaged as ‘protection’. In the wake of the anti-rape movement that followed December 16 2012, the streets of Delhi and many other parts of India had resounded with the voices of women declaring ‘Don’t take away our freedoms in the name of ‘protection’ – protect our right to fearless, fullest freedom instead’. Those women had raised their voice demanding freedom from sexual violence – and also freedom from rape culture that advices women to dress decently to avoid rape; and freedom from the khap panchayats, freedom even from the restrictions imposed by one’s own fathers and brothers.

Continue reading “Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan”

What is ‘communal’? The problem of false equivalence: Sheba Tejani

Guest post by SHEBA TEJANI

Although the BJP has attempted to build a campaign around the issue of “vikas” during this election, the hate filled fumes of “communalism” keep slipping through the cracks. Last week, we heard Ramdas Kadam say that Modi would find a permanent solution for recalcitrant Muslims and ship them off to Pakistan, which he would also incidentally destroy in six months. Giriraj Singh wanted to send everyone who opposed Modi to Pakistan. A video clip showed Praveen Togadia inviting his audience in Bhavnagar to evict Muslims and forcibly occupy their homes, openly encouraging criminal activity. FIRs have been filed against Kadam and Togadia after the Election Commission took note of their speeches while Singh has been barred from campaigning.

But then some would say other candidates and parties are no better and make similarly incendiary remarks: Shazia Ilmi, AAP’s candidate from Ghaziabad recently urged a group of Muslims to be more “communal” and less “secular” in deciding whom to vote for. She urged them to defend their own interests and to vote for one of “their own”, including Arvind Kejriwal in that category. Continue reading “What is ‘communal’? The problem of false equivalence: Sheba Tejani”

Jamaate-E-Islami’s Tryst With Politics – Tilting at the Electoral Windmills: Fahad Hashmi

Guest Post by FAHAD HASHMI

‘It was all very well to say “Drink me”, but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll look first,” she said, “and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not”; for she had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that, if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked “poison,” it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.’

(Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland)

Continue reading “Jamaate-E-Islami’s Tryst With Politics – Tilting at the Electoral Windmills: Fahad Hashmi”