( Photo Courtesy : Indian Express)
Guest Post by Gurpreet Singh
India which has always claimed to be a victim of terrorism for all these years owe answers for one of the worst terrorist incident that is hardly discussed by the anti terror activists across the world either due to silence over Hindutva violence or Islamophobia that continues to grow in the post 9/11 environment.
Ten years have passed as the families of the victims of Samjhauta blasts continue to wait for justice.
On February 18, 2007 explosions aboard Samjhauta rail express that connects India and Pakistan left 68 people dead and about 50 injured. At least 42 of the victims were Pakistani citizens most of them returning to their home country after visiting relatives in India. The rail service was started to connect the families divided by partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and promote people to people contact between the neighbouring nations that have gone to two major wars in 1965 and 1971. Continue reading India owes answers to the world for Samjhauta blasts : Gurpreet Singh
There are a few photographs which the bigwigs of the Hindutva Brigade/Sangh Parivar would like to be erased from public memory. One such photograph shows Sadhvi Pragya, an ex-member of the ABVP, sitting with Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Rajnath Singh and few others. As it was later revealed they had gathered to console the widow of a BJP leader from MP, who had just died.
Public memory is very short but one can stretch it a bit to recollect the tremendous consternation in BJP/RSS circles when Sadhvi Pragya was arrested by the Anti Terrorist Squad led by the legendary police office Hemant Karkare on 23 October, 2008 for her alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast. This photograph had suddenly gone viral when there were denials by many leaders of the saffron brigade that they had never met her.
Now that the NIA, the federal agency established by the government to combat terror in India, has given a ‘clean chit’ to Sadhvi Pragya and few of her accomplices, should one expect that all those photographs showing her proximity to various leaders of the saffron establishment would be prominently exhibited? It must be remembered that leaders of BJP have even claimed that it was an act of “treason” to arrest her.
(Read the remaining article here : http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/why-exoneration-of-sadhvi-pragya-should-worry-everyone-who-stands-for-justice-1463399413.html)
Guest Post by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S.)
People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
Invites You to a Convention on
Degradation of Criminal Justice System
A fair, transparent and functional criminal justice system is essential for any democracy. It is necessary for the basic security of citizens, and also for creating conditions under which citizens can live a life of freedom. Unfortunately India’s criminal justice system has been undergoing a prolonged process of corruption by dominant class and caste interests. Rather than upholding justice in a fair and symmetric manner, it is often seen to be working for the powerful and the rich. After the victory of the BJP in the general elections of 2014, the communal manipulation of institutions of justice and police has been intensified. Within weeks of the election, selective leaks were made to derail Gopal Subramanium’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Earlier this year Public Prosecutor Ms Rohini Salian revealed that she was pressurized to soften the case against members of Hindutva terror groups accused in the Malegaon blast. Retired Sessions Judge Jyotsana Yagnik, who convicted Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case was targeted with threatening phone calls and letters. Prosecution witnesses in several such cases, including the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case, have been changing their statements. Such incidents indicate a systematic political attempt to undermine the autonomous functioning of the criminal justice system by pressurizing or otherwise influencing the police, investigating agencies, public prosecution and the judiciary.
Why is there such a big gap between the liberal and social-democratic promises of the Constitution of India and the reality of the criminal justice system? What specific dangers do the majoritarian and authoritarian politics of the Hindutva forces present to this system? How can democratic forces counter this process of degradation? The Convention is a means of starting a long-term debate and a program of advocacy for an impartial system of criminal justice.
Dec 12-13, 2015
Gandhi Peace Foundation, D. D. U. Marg, New Delhi
People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)
Murder of another rational voice against communalism and superstition
The respected and loved Kannada scholar and writer MM Kalburgi was murdered by two unidentified men on August 30 at his home in Dharwad. The seventy seven year scholar was actively researching Vachanas literature of early Kannada and literature produced during the Adil Shahi period in Northern Karnataka. He was a source of wisdom for many students and scholars, and his killers gained access posing as students. He was also a vocal critic of religious superstitions and had been targeted by fundamentalists within his own Lingayat community and by Hindutva organisations. He had received many threats and his house had been attacked with stones and bottles. He was given police protection, which was withdrawn only days before his murder.
Professor Kalburgi’s cold-blooded murder has caused widespread shock and dismay in the literary and intellectual circles of Karnataka. Many protests involving ordinary citizens have been held in Bangalore and Dharwad. At least one Hindutva Bajrang dal activist has publicly welcomed the assassination, warned another rationalist of Karnataka, Prof KS Bhagwan of the same fate.
Prof Kalburgi’s killing comes after the murders of two other prominent critics of religious superstitions. Dr Narender Dabholkar was killed in 2013 in Pune. Trade Unionist and Communist Govind Pansare was killed in Kolhapur in February this year. There are uncanny similarities in the modus operandi of all three cases. It is likely that as in the earlier cases, the police will fail to solve Prof Kalburgi’s murder. Continue reading P.A.D.S. Statement on the killing of Prof MM Kalburgi – a sane voice against communalism and superstition