The recently concluded assembly elections in U.P were marked once again by an intensified debate on ‘Vote Bank Politics’. The debate was not provoked by the emergence of any new trends in political mobilization but was the standard fare that is dished out by so called commentators, experts, political analysts and people who not only think that they have inside information about how entire communities think and react, they also claim that there are agencies capable of engineering conditions that programme these communities to go and vote for this or that party.
The essential argument behind this discourse hinges on two presuppositions, one that particular religion or caste based communities can be mobilised and made to move in one pre-determined direction and two that this becomes possible because such communities react and behave as one individual and therefore all that is required is to catch hold of a handful of community leaders and you can as good as have the entire community in your pocket. Continue reading The Myth of the Muslim Vote Bank→
This public statement comes via Manisha Sethi; see full list of signatories at the end.
Twenty-seven year old Qateel Siddiqi, arrested in November 2011 by the Special Cell for his alleged Indian Mujahideen links, has been killed in Yerwada Central jail in Pune today. The murder has ostensibly been carried out fellow inmates for unknown reasons. Qateel had been shifted to Yerwada only a few days ago after the Maharashtra ATS had taken his custody for a test identification parade.
Qateel’s killing raises several important questions:
– Siddiqi was kept in high security anda jail and not in the common barracks. How then did the attack take place?
– Could the attack have taken place without the complicity, even if passive, of the Yerwada jail authorities?
– Given the claim of the investigating agencies that Qateel was the key to unraveling the IM network, what happens now to those investigations?
This release comes from the JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION
It has been over two weeks that Fasih Mahmood was practically disappeared from his residence in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as an engineer. On 13 May, Sunday, Mahmood was taken away by a group of Indian and Arab men, all in civil dress, and their house searched, while his wife, Nikhat Perveen, was held in a room by an Arab woman. Continue reading Produce Fasih Mahmood before an Indian Court, NOW: JTSA→
Jamal Kidwai tells the (continuing) story of the Partition through family memories:
As children we would invariably be divided into Pakistani and Hindustani groups. We would have long arguments about who would win the next war, whether Imran Khan was a better all-round cricketer than Kapil Dev; we would even divide ourselves into Indian and Pakistani teams when it came to playing cards, scrabble, cricket or antakshari. These competitions and arguments brought small but interesting victories. Like once when in the course of an argument, a Pakistani cousin pulled out a tube of Colgate toothpaste, a far slicker plastic tube than our usual Indian toothpaste which came in tin tubes and was easily rusted. He was taunting us about the quality of the toothpaste tube which, of course, proved how backward India was compared to Pakistan. At this point one of us from the Indian team noticed that ‘their’ tube had a mark ‘Made in India’. Nothing gave us more joy than that and the Pakistani team was not only defeated but was left embarrassed for the rest of the holidays. (Material wealth and consumer goods was one area where Pakistan, with its imported goods from the US, was far more ‘developed’ than India and it gave us great pleasure to puncture that aspiration.) [Read the full article.]
This release comes from theJAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION
15th April 2012
After extracting US apology over Shahrukh Khan, the Indian Government owes several apologies too
The Indian government has rejected the ‘mechanical apology’ being offered by the US for detaining the super star Shahrukh Khan at the airport for 90 minutes too long. The US Deputy Chief of Mission has been summoned, and institutional mechanisms to ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident.
Now, may we ask the hyper active and sensitive Indian government to tender apologies—and genuine apology please, not a mechanical one—for detaining (illegally), incarcerating, torturing—in short, destroying and tearing apart the lives of hundreds of its own citizens in supposedly fighting terror.
Update:If you’re on Twitter please help make #Ghalib trend @ Twitter India – Tweet his sher’s!
That is what it has come down to. DNA reports that according to Maharashtra police, a Ghalib couplet on a piece of paper is proof the Students Islamic Movement of India is into the business of mass violence:
Of the several affidavits — filed in court asking for the ban on the group to continue — accessed by DNA, one by inspector Shivajirao Tambare of Vijapur Naka, Solapur, cites a Ghalib verse — as part of evidence — to show how dangerous SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) is.
In September 2001, the central government banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) through a notification. Since then, the ban has become a convenient pretext for the police and investigative agencies to arbitrarily pick, detain and then arrest and frame Muslim youth, ostensibly on charges of carrying on the activities of the banned organization. Sections 3, 10, 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA 1967) have been invoked against scores, if not hundreds of Muslim youth across the country. Some of these men had been active in SIMI prior to its ban; some had outgrown the organization because they had crossed 30 years—the age limit for membership in the organization; some were guilty of having acquaintances, friends or relatives who had been involved or had been office bearers in SIMI. On most occasions, the cases against former members or purported activists of SIMI have rested on seizure of banned literature, namely copies of magazines published by SIMI before the ban. The flimsiness of evidence –and the sketchiness of charges— has resulted in dozens of acquittals; but equally true is the fact that the overwhelming nature of the ‘war on terror’ discourse and its institutional structures has allowed the conviction of many even in face of glaring lack of evidence.
The JAMIA TEACHERS SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION (JTSA) profiles here one such case, which came to be known as the Jaipur blasts case, even though the accused were not charged with either conspiracy or execution of bomb blasts in Jaipur in 2008. So what were these men guilty of? According to the FIR and chargesheet, they were responsible for carrying out activities of the banned SIMI. How and why did these men come to be identified with the Jaipur blasts? Theirs is a terrible and tragic tale of frame up by the Rajasthan police. It is above all testimony to the employment of UAPA against alleged or former members of SIMI and of the manner in which rule of law is subverted, violated and discarded as soon as the ‘T’ word is uttered.
When the riots broke out in 2002 in Ahmedabad, after the burning of the Godhra coach, I was in the tenth standard. I remember listening to the news in the morning, just after which my best friend Ketan had called me and asked “Why did you guys do this?” I didn’t know how to respond to that. I think I just laughed it out and we began discussing what was happening in the city. My father took the phone away from me. I was preparing for my board exams and was just about to leave for one of the last days of school, after which we would go on a study leave. My father, who had experience with riots, told my two elder sisters and me to not go to school and stay at home that day. Continue reading Reflections of a Refugee from Modi’s Gujarat: Reza Noorani→
On 7 March, Delhi Police arrested Delhi-based journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi on charges of being part of the plot to kill an Israeli diplomat’s wife in Delhi on 13 February. Many have expressed concern that Kazmi is being falsely implicated. Give below is the text of a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner by the DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS, followed by a statement from theINTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS, and thereafter by a statement issued by a group of citizens.
9 March 2012
The Commissioner of Police,
To mine the detritus of the Gujarat pogrom for positive stories may seem like sacrilege. But when memories are dredged up to mark a decade of the horrors of 2002, a little blasphemy could help balance the account books.
Mostly what we recount of Gujarat 2002 is deaths. Yet, more than the murder and mayhem, the pogrom stood out for an unprecedented scale of sexual violence that Muslim women were subjected to. George Fernandese in his capacity as the Union defence minister had explained to the Parliament after a quick tour of Gujarat that women raped or molested during riots was not surprising or exceptional. I will not go here into the polemics of why violating women’s sexuality is considered a means of dishonouring a community,
There’s an untold story about how the community handled sexual violence. If the dominant community legitimised rape driven by its insecurities and politics that stemmed from history and identity issues, it was perhaps for the first time that the persecuted community reacted to rape in a progressive way.
Rape is double-edged sword, first leading to physical violation and second to social ostracisation in most societies. Which is common to mask the identity of rape victims for fear of social stigma. Strangely, during the 2002 riots, Muslim women, some of them burqa clad and most of them from tightly-knit rural communities never betrayed the kind of shame or guilt that rape victims are expected to show. What was their fault? Why should the victim feel shame and guilt? And so it was that many of them did not cloak their identities, and instead chose to come out publicly to demand justice. Continue reading Three Stories of Resilience from Gujarat: Ayesha Khan→
Mihir Srivastava is very upset that the debate on Batla House refuses to die down. In his view, his piece in India Today – “Inside the Mind of the Bombers – appearing soon after the ‘encounter’ should have settled the debate once and for all. But he was surprised that it wasn’t received as a resolution. He is even more upset that deluded liberals (read Arundhati Roy) are no longer on talking terms with him.
“In the Batla House case, which I reported much the same way I had reported so many of the cases they were happy with, it is just that the facts I saw and reported did not mesh with what they wanted to believe.”
This is simply not true. The many stories that deluded liberals approved of, according to, Mr. Srivastava, and which he cites to bolster his own reputation, are in fact very different from his India Today’s ‘story’. His expose on the Red Fort terror attack in Tehelka, for example, critically examined the evidence produced by the police, verified and cross checked the statements made by the accused in court and even brought out the discrepancies in the observations made by the court and its eventual judgement which upheld the death sentence of Md. Arif alias Ashfaq alias Abu Hamad. ‘Wrong Man to the Gallows’ is an example of good investigative journalism, not because it confirms our worst suspicions about the ways in which investigative agencies frame innocents, but because it painstakingly pieces together evidence and doesn’t get swamped under nationalist hyperbole spun by the mainstream media to take a cold, hard look at the evidence. Continue reading Batla House and the problem with the deluded journalist: Manisha Sethi→
The photograph above is that of a small protest by People’s Watch yesterday, in Madurai, for justice and reparations in Gujarat. Such demonstrations were held across India. Nothing irks the Narendra Modi Fan Brigade than remembering. Move on, they say, move on, forget it. It happened. The struggle of man against power, said Milan Kundera, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
The short film below, about making a memorial at Gulberg Society in Ahemdabad, was put out by the Teesta Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust in 2008. Yesterday, tenth anniversary of the day Gujarat began to burn for a few weeks in 2002, Sabrang Trust held a meeting at what is now the Gulberge Memorial. Given below the film is the text read out by Justice Hosbet Suresh read out at the Memorial meeting, which was webcast live by Sabrang Trust.
This release was put out on 24 February 2012 byHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
(New York) – Authorities in India’s Gujarat state are subverting justice, protecting perpetrators, and intimidating those promoting accountability 10 years after the anti-Muslim riots that killed nearly 2,000 people, Human Rights Watch said today. The state government has resisted Supreme Court orders to prosecute those responsible for the carnage and has failed to provide most survivors with compensation.
The violence in Gujarat started on February 27, 2002, when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was attacked by a Muslim mob and caught fire, killing 59 people. In a retaliatory spree by Hindu mobs, hundreds of Muslims were slaughtered, tens of thousands were displaced, and countless Muslim homes were destroyed. Continue reading A decade on, Gujarat justice incomplete: Human Rights Watch→
The Imam of the Delhi Jama Masjid has issued a statement that calls upon the Muslim voters of Uttar Pradesh to vote for the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav. A whole lot of poll experts are going to rejig their forecasts to factor in this new and hitherto unexpected development.
We would be told that this call is going to alter the political equations in UP in a very profound manner. We will be told that the Muslim electorate is going to shift to the SP and that this shift will create serious problems for the Bahujan Samaj Party in its bid for a comeback and for the Congress that is making serious efforts to emerge as Number Two.
The assumption behind these two assertions is that Muslims who voted for these parties in the last election are going to desert them now because of the statement issued by the Imam of Jama Masjid of Delhi.
Given below is the text of a press statement issued today by thePEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, Rajasthan. The Hindi original is followed by an English translation.
प्रेस विज्ञप्ति सलमान रूश्दी के कार्यक्रम रद्द होने पर निराशा दिनांक: 20.01.2012
सलमान रूष्दी के जयपुर आने के कार्यक्रम के सम्बन्ध में जब कंछ मुस्लिम संगठनों ने हिंसक विरोध की चेतावनी दी थी तभी पी.यू.सी.एल. ने तुरन्त उसके विरोध में अपना वक्तव्य दिया था और कुछ प्रभावषाली मुस्लिम संगठनो तथा उस समाज के प्रबुद्ध नागरिकों से सम्पर्क कर उनसे विस्तृत चर्चायें की थीं। उन्होने भी हमारे दृष्टिकोण को समझा था और किसी प्रकार के हिंसक विरोध के सम्बन्ध में अपनी असहमति भी प्रकट की थी। परन्तु वह सलमान रूष्दी का जयपुर आगमन पर अपने विरोध के स्वरो को मुखरित करने के अधिकार को सुरक्षित रखना चाहते थे। इसमें कोई आपत्ति भी नहीं हो सकती थी परन्तु ऐसे विरोध की सीमायें कहॉं तक हांेगी इस पर चर्चा जारी थी। इसी बीच सरकार की ओर से यह वक्तव्य दिया गया कि सलमान रूष्दी के आने से कानून और व्यवस्था की स्थिति बिगड़ सकती है। इसलिए उनके आने पर पाबंदी लगाने पर विचार किया जा रहा है। पी.यू.सी.एल. ने सरकार के इस रवैये का जमकर विरोध किया था और इस पर एक प्रदर्षन भी आयोजित किया था। मुस्लिम संगठनों से इसके बाद विस्तृत चर्चा हुई और उन्होने भी यह स्वीकार किया कि कानून और व्यवस्था की स्थिति नहीं बिगड़ने देगें। लेकिन लगता है कि सरकारों को यह प्रयास रूचिकर नहीं लगे और आज सलमान रूष्दी ने ई-मेल सन्देष भेेजकर अपना कार्यक्रम रद्द करते हुए यह कहा है कि उन्हें राज्य सरकार से सन्देष प्राप्त हुआ है कि कुछ उग्रवादी तत्व किसी अन्य प्रदेष से आकर उनकी जान लेने की कोषिष कर सकते हैं। हंालाकि उन्होने स्वयं इस प्रकार की खबर को सन्देहात्मक बताया है परन्तु अपना कार्यक्रम रद्द करने का यही कारण बताया है। Continue reading ‘सलमान रूश्दी के कार्यक्रम रद्द होने पर निराशा’; PUCL regrets cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s visit to Jaipur→
This is a film by RAJEEV YADAV and SHAHNAWAZ ALAMof the Uttar Pradesh unit of thePEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES
This is to introduce our documentary film ‘PARTITION REVISITED’ on the Rudrapur riot of 2nd October 2011, where four persons were killed. Policemen and mobs led by leaders of the Bhartiya Janta Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party had ransacked shops and settlements of Muslims in their third successful attempt within two years to stoke communal violence. The riot, which took place on Gandhi Jayanti, led to a massive outmigration of the victimised community, reminding one of the days of the 1947 Partition. This film focuses on precisely this yet unnoticed phenomenon that we could trace out in this first-ever state-sponsored communal riot since the formation of the hill state of Uttarakhand, engineered by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, which has been working for a long time in this area to arouse anti-Muslim sentiments in the Bengalis, Sikhs & Panjabi Hindus who settled in Rudrapur after the Partition to India. At a time when the state is going to polls this riot assumes an electoral importance.
“Zafar Agha was replaced by ex-MP and senior Journalist Santosh Bharatiya. However, M Saleem claimed that Sanjeev Bhatt could not attend the programme due to time constraint and the award may be given to him some other time. While referring to Santosh Bhartiya, being awarded in place of Zafar Agha, M. Saleem said that he has been nominated for the award and nobody has been replaced for the same. The organizer kept totally mum about both Zafar Agha and Jagdish Tytler. ” [Link]
On 3 December, an open letter signed by some of us, and posted here on Kafila, had appealed to seven distinguished individuals to not accept the Maulana Mohd. Ali Johar Award, to be given on 10 December at the India Islamic Cultural Centre. We had reasoned that since the eighth awardee was Jagdish Tytler, they should not share an award and a platform with someone accused of organising mass murder of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984.
Yesterday evening, the general secretary of the Maulana Jauhar Academy, M. Saleem, emailed one of the signatories, Mahtab Alam. The email contained a scanned copy of a letter sent by Jagdish Tytler to M Saleem, which said that Tytler would not attend the award ceremony so as to not embarrass the the other awardees and the organisers, because of this boycott campaign. He, however, stressed on his innocence in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, and, notably, did not say that he would not accept the award. He would only not attend the ceremony. M. Saleem has also not announced whether he is withdrawing his decision to give the award to Mr Tytler. For more details on what has transpired in the last few days, please see Mahtab Alam’s article, Beware of the Sarkari Musalmaan.
In the current issue of the English fortnightly, Milli Gazette (1-15 December), it is reported that on 10 December 2011, former union minister Jagdish Tytler will be awarded with seven others in a function at India Islamic Culture Centre, Delhi, by Maulana Mohammad Jauhar Ali Academy. The other names were those of Dr. S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India; Sanjeev Bhat, Indian Police Service officer (Gujarat); senior journalist Zafar Agha; Mohd. Najeeb Ashraf Chaudhri, chief income tax commissioner; Maulana Mohd. Haseeb Siddiqui, chairman of the Deoband Nagar Palika Parishad; Nusrat Gwalliori, a Delhi-based Urdu poet, and Begum Rehana AR Andre, a social activist and educationist based in Mumbai.
The award has been named after Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, a key figure of the Indian freedom movement, a leader of the Khilafat movement and one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia, a prestigious central university in Delhi. The award is given on his birth anniversary every year. Though the reasons for honouring these people were not mentioned in the Milli Gazette report, the Academy’s general secretary explained that every year, the academy honours individuals in recognition of their extra-ordinary contribution in the field of journalism, politics, social service and so on. This year they chose Jagdish Tytler for his contribution to politics! Continue reading Beware of the Sarkari Musalmaan: Mahtab Alam→
You can add your name to this appeal in the comments section.
Delhi, 3 December 2011
According to a news report in the Milli Gazette of 1 December 2011, Jagdish Tytler, an accused in the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984, will be awarded the Maulana Mohd Ali Jauhar Award on 10 December 2011 at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi. Seven others will share this award. The undersigned appeal to the other seven awardees to not accept the award as a mark of protest against honouring Mr Tytler, whose contribution in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom has been recorded by several fact-finding reports, including those by PUCL and PUDR.
Stung by the SIT report which concluded that Ishrat Jahan was executed in cold blood, former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai—hard-pressed to defend his affidavit to the Supreme Court that Ishrat was a Lashkar operative—has stooped to now slandering the girl’s personal life suggesting that her checking into different hotels with “another man” was definitely suspicious. Perhaps, Mr. Pillai wishes us to believe that all those young women who travel and work independently are ‘suspicious’ and could have terrorist links. Continue reading Shame on G.K. Pillai: Women demand an apology for his sexist comments→