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Police blocking roads, Shaheen Bagh protesters getting blamed

New affidavit filed before Supreme Court dispels several misconceptions about Shaheen Bagh protests

24 Feb 2020

Shaheen Bagh

As the petition against the Shaheen Bagh protest comes up for hearing before the Supreme Court, former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah has filed an affidavit setting the record straight on how it is not Shaheen Bagh protesters but actions and decisions of the Delhi Police that are causing ‘inconvenience’ to the general public.

In his submission Habibullah who accompanied SC appointed interlocutors Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran to the protest site at Shaheen Bagh on February 19, says, that the protest is and has always been peaceful. Explaining the choice of venue he says the protest site was chosen as “it is flanked on both sides by Shaheen Bagh colony (where a large number of them reside) and therefore chances of the threatened attacks on them are considerably less that they would have been if the protest had been held at any place away from the present site.”

He goes on to state that during his visit he inspected several barricades put up by the police at a great distance from the protest site and says that it was these unnecessary barricades that were causing the traffic related inconvenience. He says, “I noticed that there are numerous number of roads that have no connection with the protest that have been barricaded by the police unnecessarily, abdicating their responsibilities and duties and wrongly laying the blame on the protest.”

He then goes on to list these roads; 40 ft road parallel to GD Birla Road, 40 ft road as well as main road leading to Jamia Millia Islamia, New Friends Colony, maharani Bagh, Sukhdev Vihar etc., from the round-about at Kalindi Kunj metro station, access to Okhla via Okhla Barrage road, access from Noida on the Greater Noida Expressway (blocked by UP Police) and access from Akhardham Temple on Yamuna Bridge (blocked by UP Police) near sector 37 Noida. He says that if the unnecessary barricades are removed the “chaos complained of in the petition would cease.”

Habibullah reiterates in his petition that Shaheen Bagh protesters belong to different faiths and that there is a strong bond between them. He also says that protesters have been facing threats to their lives. The affidavit also points out that none of the residents or shopkeepers in the area have raised any objection to the protest as they empathise with the protesters. He concludes by saying, “Shaheen Bagh stands tall as a firm example of peaceful dignified dissent.”

The entire affidavit may be read here: 

 

Police blocking roads, Shaheen Bagh protesters getting blamed

New affidavit filed before Supreme Court dispels several misconceptions about Shaheen Bagh protests

Shaheen Bagh

As the petition against the Shaheen Bagh protest comes up for hearing before the Supreme Court, former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah has filed an affidavit setting the record straight on how it is not Shaheen Bagh protesters but actions and decisions of the Delhi Police that are causing ‘inconvenience’ to the general public.

In his submission Habibullah who accompanied SC appointed interlocutors Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran to the protest site at Shaheen Bagh on February 19, says, that the protest is and has always been peaceful. Explaining the choice of venue he says the protest site was chosen as “it is flanked on both sides by Shaheen Bagh colony (where a large number of them reside) and therefore chances of the threatened attacks on them are considerably less that they would have been if the protest had been held at any place away from the present site.”

He goes on to state that during his visit he inspected several barricades put up by the police at a great distance from the protest site and says that it was these unnecessary barricades that were causing the traffic related inconvenience. He says, “I noticed that there are numerous number of roads that have no connection with the protest that have been barricaded by the police unnecessarily, abdicating their responsibilities and duties and wrongly laying the blame on the protest.”

He then goes on to list these roads; 40 ft road parallel to GD Birla Road, 40 ft road as well as main road leading to Jamia Millia Islamia, New Friends Colony, maharani Bagh, Sukhdev Vihar etc., from the round-about at Kalindi Kunj metro station, access to Okhla via Okhla Barrage road, access from Noida on the Greater Noida Expressway (blocked by UP Police) and access from Akhardham Temple on Yamuna Bridge (blocked by UP Police) near sector 37 Noida. He says that if the unnecessary barricades are removed the “chaos complained of in the petition would cease.”

Habibullah reiterates in his petition that Shaheen Bagh protesters belong to different faiths and that there is a strong bond between them. He also says that protesters have been facing threats to their lives. The affidavit also points out that none of the residents or shopkeepers in the area have raised any objection to the protest as they empathise with the protesters. He concludes by saying, “Shaheen Bagh stands tall as a firm example of peaceful dignified dissent.”

The entire affidavit may be read here: 

 

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Sustaining Shaheen Bagh & Challenges that lie ahead

A peaceful and powerful movement articulated by Muslim women, thrice oppressed, it must reach out to others alienated, workers, farmers, Dalits and Adivasis

21 Feb 2020

Shaheen bagh

Salaam Shaheen Bagh! It has earned its name and is now recognised as an iconic example of the wave of Azadi2 movement that swept the country at this stage of the new millennium of India. It takes its place among the landmark tourist spots that dot the political landscape of Delhi like Parliament house, India Gate, Red Fort etc.  Its significance should be realised and treated as a historical entity. 

The Shaheen Bagh movement is an outgrowth of Delhi’s political legacy. Delhi, the political capital of India,  had seen many political movements that included the first war of Independence against the British around 1857, the Independence movement led by the Congress from the 1920’s until 1947, the pro-democracy movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan in the 70’s against the Congress rule, the Anna Hazare movement against Corruption around 2011..  

Its unique feature being that it is led by Muslim women (among the most underrepresented and forlorn segments of Indian society). It is unlike the typical political-party led stunt that take place and whimper away when the party bosses attain their goals. Starting as a novice in political acumen, it found its expression in the daily activity that engulfed it. It embraced the expression of Azadi that the students of JNU, Jamia Millia and other universities expounded. At a historical juncture of the highest youth unemployment in 40 years, and a juncture that saw the trampling of constitutional rights, it expressed itself as a voice of resistance to the diktats of Indian ruling polity.  It expressed the sisterhood of all religions and castes and gave room for all opposition voices to express themselves. It said NO to discriminatory laws CAA and NRC. It brought the anti-discriminatory articles of the Indian Constitution’s preamble to the front and asked for upholding them. It brought the bright colors of young mothers with children, old women and youth debating throughout the night seeking answers to the thorny issues that affected their lives. It countered the BJP leadership’s narrative fomenting hatred against the Muslim with a non-communal narrative posing existential needs and seeking their resolution. It stood its ground in the coldest winter that Delhi had seen for a century! 

Shaheen Bagh has sprouted many similar expressions of political dissidence across the country, led by women. They number in scores and are still emerging. It has fanned demonstrations and protest movements that were unheard of since I947.  Its appeal is reverberating in the hearts of all change- seeking underrepresented youth and citizens. 

It contributed to the massive win of the Delhi state elections of Feb 8 2020 by the AAP (Aam Admi Party (62/70 seats). The Delhi electorate gave a resounding defeat to the BJP ideology and in the process made it clear that they prefer amenities like Free Electricity and transportation, good education and Healthcare over bigotry and xenophobic patriotism.  This win has national repercussions as all parties that trod the soft-Hindutva approach towards garnering Hindu votes, will now rethink and reprioritize their strategies. 

SUSTENANCE : By virtue of being an Idea standing for a peaceful movement of dissidence against despotic rule by people of color (underrepresented women and youth), for restoration of anti-discriminatory provisions of the Indian constitution and for the realisation of the peoples essential needs, supported by people of all faith,  it is undying and indestructible. The idea however needs to be nourished and spread.

  •  It must strike a chord with all sections of society that feel alienated. The Industrial blue-collar workers and the white-collar Govt. employees, the Dalits in the village fighting against Oppression, the slum dweller seeking a decent shelter, the tribal  in the forests seeking preservation of hereditary rights, the unemployed Backward caste youth seeking employment opportunities, must all find shelter in the movement. The movement must voice and articulate their demands 
  • The movement must have political objectives, as it is only political power in the hands of uncorrupted and honest leadership geared to help the poor and bring systemic changes, that can realize and satisfy peoples demands.  
  • It must attain a coherent structure. Activists engaged in the protest movement, must construct a common agenda and develop rules of engagement between themselves and with the authorities.  This will lay the groundwork for a new political construct which will question all existing policies and procedures and seek to reformulate them so there is a meaningful transformation of existing tenets, and give birth to a new working order that will genuinely address all peoples problems.
  • It must engage with all opposition parties and channelise their energies towards meeting common goals. Opposition parties with vested interests will seek to lead and manipulate the movement towards their benefit and this needs to be guarded against. 
  • The movement must engage in all social issues of concern like Honour, racial, caste, and religious discrimination and oppression. It must stand against Dowry, Rape and exploitation of women.
  • It must work with the Indian global diaspora and seek their support for Indian transformation
  • It must take a progressive stand on international issues of concern… on the Environment, sustenance of Earth, global warming, Pandemic health issues etc. 


I hope the above points would serve as discussion nodes and generate further thinking

(The author can be reached at j[email protected])

 

Sustaining Shaheen Bagh & Challenges that lie ahead

A peaceful and powerful movement articulated by Muslim women, thrice oppressed, it must reach out to others alienated, workers, farmers, Dalits and Adivasis

Shaheen bagh

Salaam Shaheen Bagh! It has earned its name and is now recognised as an iconic example of the wave of Azadi2 movement that swept the country at this stage of the new millennium of India. It takes its place among the landmark tourist spots that dot the political landscape of Delhi like Parliament house, India Gate, Red Fort etc.  Its significance should be realised and treated as a historical entity. 

The Shaheen Bagh movement is an outgrowth of Delhi’s political legacy. Delhi, the political capital of India,  had seen many political movements that included the first war of Independence against the British around 1857, the Independence movement led by the Congress from the 1920’s until 1947, the pro-democracy movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan in the 70’s against the Congress rule, the Anna Hazare movement against Corruption around 2011..  

Its unique feature being that it is led by Muslim women (among the most underrepresented and forlorn segments of Indian society). It is unlike the typical political-party led stunt that take place and whimper away when the party bosses attain their goals. Starting as a novice in political acumen, it found its expression in the daily activity that engulfed it. It embraced the expression of Azadi that the students of JNU, Jamia Millia and other universities expounded. At a historical juncture of the highest youth unemployment in 40 years, and a juncture that saw the trampling of constitutional rights, it expressed itself as a voice of resistance to the diktats of Indian ruling polity.  It expressed the sisterhood of all religions and castes and gave room for all opposition voices to express themselves. It said NO to discriminatory laws CAA and NRC. It brought the anti-discriminatory articles of the Indian Constitution’s preamble to the front and asked for upholding them. It brought the bright colors of young mothers with children, old women and youth debating throughout the night seeking answers to the thorny issues that affected their lives. It countered the BJP leadership’s narrative fomenting hatred against the Muslim with a non-communal narrative posing existential needs and seeking their resolution. It stood its ground in the coldest winter that Delhi had seen for a century! 

Shaheen Bagh has sprouted many similar expressions of political dissidence across the country, led by women. They number in scores and are still emerging. It has fanned demonstrations and protest movements that were unheard of since I947.  Its appeal is reverberating in the hearts of all change- seeking underrepresented youth and citizens. 

It contributed to the massive win of the Delhi state elections of Feb 8 2020 by the AAP (Aam Admi Party (62/70 seats). The Delhi electorate gave a resounding defeat to the BJP ideology and in the process made it clear that they prefer amenities like Free Electricity and transportation, good education and Healthcare over bigotry and xenophobic patriotism.  This win has national repercussions as all parties that trod the soft-Hindutva approach towards garnering Hindu votes, will now rethink and reprioritize their strategies. 

SUSTENANCE : By virtue of being an Idea standing for a peaceful movement of dissidence against despotic rule by people of color (underrepresented women and youth), for restoration of anti-discriminatory provisions of the Indian constitution and for the realisation of the peoples essential needs, supported by people of all faith,  it is undying and indestructible. The idea however needs to be nourished and spread.

  •  It must strike a chord with all sections of society that feel alienated. The Industrial blue-collar workers and the white-collar Govt. employees, the Dalits in the village fighting against Oppression, the slum dweller seeking a decent shelter, the tribal  in the forests seeking preservation of hereditary rights, the unemployed Backward caste youth seeking employment opportunities, must all find shelter in the movement. The movement must voice and articulate their demands 
  • The movement must have political objectives, as it is only political power in the hands of uncorrupted and honest leadership geared to help the poor and bring systemic changes, that can realize and satisfy peoples demands.  
  • It must attain a coherent structure. Activists engaged in the protest movement, must construct a common agenda and develop rules of engagement between themselves and with the authorities.  This will lay the groundwork for a new political construct which will question all existing policies and procedures and seek to reformulate them so there is a meaningful transformation of existing tenets, and give birth to a new working order that will genuinely address all peoples problems.
  • It must engage with all opposition parties and channelise their energies towards meeting common goals. Opposition parties with vested interests will seek to lead and manipulate the movement towards their benefit and this needs to be guarded against. 
  • The movement must engage in all social issues of concern like Honour, racial, caste, and religious discrimination and oppression. It must stand against Dowry, Rape and exploitation of women.
  • It must work with the Indian global diaspora and seek their support for Indian transformation
  • It must take a progressive stand on international issues of concern… on the Environment, sustenance of Earth, global warming, Pandemic health issues etc. 


I hope the above points would serve as discussion nodes and generate further thinking

(The author can be reached at j[email protected])

 

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How a child's Slippers were used to terrorize a school: Bidar

21 Feb 2020

bidar sedition

Imagine a posse of policemen led by a senior officer with the rank of a Deputy Superintendent raiding a home looking for evidence in a case of sedition. You would think they were looking for terrorists, or for guns and ammunition or bombs and the material that makes them.

You would be hopelessly wrong. The police were looking for a child's slippers. The child in question was at home, a student in the sixth standard. The bewildered and terrified child dutifully answered the questions they asked: Did you lend your slippers to anyone? If so, to whom? Yes, she had lent her slippers to a friend. Why?

Because she knew her friend was poor and did not have slippers nice enough to wear on stage for a class play. Did you know what they were going to be used for? The child was puzzled. Slippers to wear of course, she wore them and returned them to me.

The child brought out the object of their interest. She watched the policemen smile at each other as they examined her slippers, turned them this way and that. Her slippers were triumphantly wrapped up and carried away by the police, a day's duty done, India saved in the nick of time by yet another act of sedition. Bizarre? Absurd?

Insane? Welcome to the Indian version of a Kafkaesque world, a reality, not a nightmare that you can wake up from and say, oh, thank goodness, it was just a bad dream.

Something like this actually happened on the night of January 31 in the town of Bidar in North Karnataka when a child was interrogated and her slippers taken as evidence in a case of sedition filed by the Bidar police against two women, Fareeda Begum and Nazbunissa.

It all started on January 21 when the children of Class 6 and 7 in the Shaheen School in Bidar performed a skit as part of their class activity on social issues. Discussions on contemporary topics and role play by students is part of the syllabus in most schools.

The developments around CAA are a topic of discussion with a significant number of parents, particularly in minority-populated areas, taking part in the protests. Children have become part of the discussion. There is nothing surprising about this.

We could not have imagined even a decade ago that a teen would shake the world, mobilizing millions of children in the battle against climate change. Here in India, thousands of children have been deeply impacted by the CAA and the hate-filled speeches of our leaders. They watch them, hear their speeches and are filled with dread.

They also have access to platforms like YouTube and TikTok and watch the many shows by satirists and speeches and learn the slogans given by students in colleges and universities across the country against the CAA..."Azadi".

The script for the skit performed by the children was a cut-and-paste job from material in the public domain against the CAA, NRC and NPR. It included slogans, jokes and dialogues. 

A nine-year-old girl played the role of a mother and another played the role of her son. Ultimately in the skit, the mother convinces her son that nothing will happen to them and they will not have to leave the country. In the course of the performance, the mother says, "Yesterday, the boy who was selling tea is now asking for our papers. 

 I ask him, where is he born, where are his documents, if he doesn't show them, I will beat him with slippers...you boil and sell poisonous tea, we put the sugar of love in it. We will not show our documents." The performance was uploaded on a social media platform by a parent who is a journalist. Within a day, a local BJP leader filed a case against the management of the school. 

The police led by the Deputy Superintendent arrived at the school and demanded the children, around seven or eight of them, aged between nine and twelve years, should be called. The children were interrogated not once but five times. In violation of child protection laws, they were intimidated by men in uniform. 

The nine-year-old who played the role of the mother was a special target. On January 26, when the rest of India was celebrating the completion of 70 years of our constitution, in Bidar, two women were arrested - Nazbunissa, the 35-year-old mother of the child actor, and Fareeda, the principal of the school. 

They were arrested on charges of sedition, on charges of propagating communal disharmony between communities and had to spend a fortnight in jail before they were released. Five others, including the Chairman of the Society who was not even present in the town, are also accused. 

It is true that it is inappropriate in a children's performance for words such as "We will beat him with chappals" to be used even though there was no direct naming of the Prime Minister, the dialogue referring to a boy selling tea asking for documents when he could not produce his own educational qualifications was clear enough. 

 At best, the district educational authorities could have taken note and expressed their disapproval. 

In the bail order, the local court, which was given a transcript of the play, has held that there is no evidence in the play of communal disharmony or incitement of hatred against any community. 

 The court also mentions there is no evidence that the women arrested were involved since their names have not been mentioned in the FIR. 

Legal counsel for the women will surely move for cancellation of the charge of sedition in the next hearing. Perhaps it is at that stage that the police will produce their "evidence" – 

a child's slippers! What will the argument be? That the child was wearing slippers because she was intending to actually go to Delhi to beat the PM with those slippers? Or that she wore the slippers to gesture what she would do with them? Would it have been less seditious if she had been barefoot? 

Often, we do not fully realize the enormous cost that common citizens pay in these days of hate-filled politics. Such politics also generates an utter irrationality within the system, when the desire to please the rulers spreads like a plague among all levels of the bureaucracy, leading to the most bizarre actions which even the best satirists could not dream of. 

Such is the role of the police in this Bidar case. The statements of top leaders of the ruling regime inciting hatred, senior ministers like Amit Shah issuing threats every time they speak, have a most damaging impact on society and on systems of governance that impact the day-to-day lives of citizens. 

Apart from everything are the real lives of the women accused in the case. Fareeda Begum, around 50 years old, has worked hard as an educationist and has a reputation as a strict but extremely caring teacher, helping her students get good grades. 

She has been the main breadwinner of her family, bringing up her two daughters. Nazbunissa is a widow and has just this one daughter. Eager to get her a good education, Nazbunissa left her village and started working as a domestic worker in Bidar. 

Such is the intelligence of her daughter that she got through the entrance exam of the school and did well enough to earn herself a scholarship. She is talented in other fields too, which is why her classmates chose her to enact the role of the mother in the play.

 I met the two women in Bidar jail, along with my colleagues in the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA). I also met the child and the teachers and management of the Education Society that runs the school. It was heartbreaking to see the child. 

She was in the care of her mother's employer, a relative of one of the members of the school board. She was stoic; perhaps at this young age and through the hard times of poverty and dependence, she has learnt not to show her emotions in case it displeases those in positions of power over her and her mother. I spoke to her of inconsequential things. 

 But when I asked her whether she liked acting, her little face lit up and she said, "Oh yes, I do, I can act again if I am asked to, but now maybe I will not get that chance." 

The school, a minority-run institution, is most impressive with a socially diverse community of 9,000 students, more than half of whom belong to non-Muslim families. It has won several state awards, most notably for its programme entitled "Academic Intensive Care Unit" where they run an intensive educational programme for dropouts between classes 10-12. Such has been the success of this programme that many of the students have gone on to college where they have got good grades. 

 I was told by local journalists that the charges against the institution were also motivated by rival educational institutions, jealous of its success and recognition as one of the best in the region. 

The hypocrisy and double standards shown up by this case are equally glaring. Just a month earlier in December, after the Ayodhya verdict in the Supreme Court, the students in a school owned by an RSS-leader, the Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School in Kalladka near Mangalore, enacted a play in which the children put up a poster of the Babri Masjid and then tore it, symbolizing the demolition of the masjid amid slogans of "Jai Shri Ram". 

 The chief guests at the function included Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, who tweeted her approval, union minister Sadananda Gowda and many other state BJP leaders and ministers. The video shows the highly communal nature of the play enacting an event called grossly illegal by the Supreme Court. But no action was taken. 

A few weeks ago, the country witnessed slogans to shoot at traitors raised by the Minister of State for Finance in the Modi government. But not even an FIR was registered, not even after there were three actual incidents of shooting, clearly linked to the minister's incitement. 

The child in Bidar may be able to overcome and forget her trauma in the happiness of being united with her mother. But we should not forget. Popular resistance to such authoritarian abominations as the Bidar case, depends on our remembering.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and the article that also appeared on ndtv.com is being reproduced with her permission

 

How a child's Slippers were used to terrorize a school: Bidar

bidar sedition

Imagine a posse of policemen led by a senior officer with the rank of a Deputy Superintendent raiding a home looking for evidence in a case of sedition. You would think they were looking for terrorists, or for guns and ammunition or bombs and the material that makes them.

You would be hopelessly wrong. The police were looking for a child's slippers. The child in question was at home, a student in the sixth standard. The bewildered and terrified child dutifully answered the questions they asked: Did you lend your slippers to anyone? If so, to whom? Yes, she had lent her slippers to a friend. Why?

Because she knew her friend was poor and did not have slippers nice enough to wear on stage for a class play. Did you know what they were going to be used for? The child was puzzled. Slippers to wear of course, she wore them and returned them to me.

The child brought out the object of their interest. She watched the policemen smile at each other as they examined her slippers, turned them this way and that. Her slippers were triumphantly wrapped up and carried away by the police, a day's duty done, India saved in the nick of time by yet another act of sedition. Bizarre? Absurd?

Insane? Welcome to the Indian version of a Kafkaesque world, a reality, not a nightmare that you can wake up from and say, oh, thank goodness, it was just a bad dream.

Something like this actually happened on the night of January 31 in the town of Bidar in North Karnataka when a child was interrogated and her slippers taken as evidence in a case of sedition filed by the Bidar police against two women, Fareeda Begum and Nazbunissa.

It all started on January 21 when the children of Class 6 and 7 in the Shaheen School in Bidar performed a skit as part of their class activity on social issues. Discussions on contemporary topics and role play by students is part of the syllabus in most schools.

The developments around CAA are a topic of discussion with a significant number of parents, particularly in minority-populated areas, taking part in the protests. Children have become part of the discussion. There is nothing surprising about this.

We could not have imagined even a decade ago that a teen would shake the world, mobilizing millions of children in the battle against climate change. Here in India, thousands of children have been deeply impacted by the CAA and the hate-filled speeches of our leaders. They watch them, hear their speeches and are filled with dread.

They also have access to platforms like YouTube and TikTok and watch the many shows by satirists and speeches and learn the slogans given by students in colleges and universities across the country against the CAA..."Azadi".

The script for the skit performed by the children was a cut-and-paste job from material in the public domain against the CAA, NRC and NPR. It included slogans, jokes and dialogues. 

A nine-year-old girl played the role of a mother and another played the role of her son. Ultimately in the skit, the mother convinces her son that nothing will happen to them and they will not have to leave the country. In the course of the performance, the mother says, "Yesterday, the boy who was selling tea is now asking for our papers. 

 I ask him, where is he born, where are his documents, if he doesn't show them, I will beat him with slippers...you boil and sell poisonous tea, we put the sugar of love in it. We will not show our documents." The performance was uploaded on a social media platform by a parent who is a journalist. Within a day, a local BJP leader filed a case against the management of the school. 

The police led by the Deputy Superintendent arrived at the school and demanded the children, around seven or eight of them, aged between nine and twelve years, should be called. The children were interrogated not once but five times. In violation of child protection laws, they were intimidated by men in uniform. 

The nine-year-old who played the role of the mother was a special target. On January 26, when the rest of India was celebrating the completion of 70 years of our constitution, in Bidar, two women were arrested - Nazbunissa, the 35-year-old mother of the child actor, and Fareeda, the principal of the school. 

They were arrested on charges of sedition, on charges of propagating communal disharmony between communities and had to spend a fortnight in jail before they were released. Five others, including the Chairman of the Society who was not even present in the town, are also accused. 

It is true that it is inappropriate in a children's performance for words such as "We will beat him with chappals" to be used even though there was no direct naming of the Prime Minister, the dialogue referring to a boy selling tea asking for documents when he could not produce his own educational qualifications was clear enough. 

 At best, the district educational authorities could have taken note and expressed their disapproval. 

In the bail order, the local court, which was given a transcript of the play, has held that there is no evidence in the play of communal disharmony or incitement of hatred against any community. 

 The court also mentions there is no evidence that the women arrested were involved since their names have not been mentioned in the FIR. 

Legal counsel for the women will surely move for cancellation of the charge of sedition in the next hearing. Perhaps it is at that stage that the police will produce their "evidence" – 

a child's slippers! What will the argument be? That the child was wearing slippers because she was intending to actually go to Delhi to beat the PM with those slippers? Or that she wore the slippers to gesture what she would do with them? Would it have been less seditious if she had been barefoot? 

Often, we do not fully realize the enormous cost that common citizens pay in these days of hate-filled politics. Such politics also generates an utter irrationality within the system, when the desire to please the rulers spreads like a plague among all levels of the bureaucracy, leading to the most bizarre actions which even the best satirists could not dream of. 

Such is the role of the police in this Bidar case. The statements of top leaders of the ruling regime inciting hatred, senior ministers like Amit Shah issuing threats every time they speak, have a most damaging impact on society and on systems of governance that impact the day-to-day lives of citizens. 

Apart from everything are the real lives of the women accused in the case. Fareeda Begum, around 50 years old, has worked hard as an educationist and has a reputation as a strict but extremely caring teacher, helping her students get good grades. 

She has been the main breadwinner of her family, bringing up her two daughters. Nazbunissa is a widow and has just this one daughter. Eager to get her a good education, Nazbunissa left her village and started working as a domestic worker in Bidar. 

Such is the intelligence of her daughter that she got through the entrance exam of the school and did well enough to earn herself a scholarship. She is talented in other fields too, which is why her classmates chose her to enact the role of the mother in the play.

 I met the two women in Bidar jail, along with my colleagues in the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA). I also met the child and the teachers and management of the Education Society that runs the school. It was heartbreaking to see the child. 

She was in the care of her mother's employer, a relative of one of the members of the school board. She was stoic; perhaps at this young age and through the hard times of poverty and dependence, she has learnt not to show her emotions in case it displeases those in positions of power over her and her mother. I spoke to her of inconsequential things. 

 But when I asked her whether she liked acting, her little face lit up and she said, "Oh yes, I do, I can act again if I am asked to, but now maybe I will not get that chance." 

The school, a minority-run institution, is most impressive with a socially diverse community of 9,000 students, more than half of whom belong to non-Muslim families. It has won several state awards, most notably for its programme entitled "Academic Intensive Care Unit" where they run an intensive educational programme for dropouts between classes 10-12. Such has been the success of this programme that many of the students have gone on to college where they have got good grades. 

 I was told by local journalists that the charges against the institution were also motivated by rival educational institutions, jealous of its success and recognition as one of the best in the region. 

The hypocrisy and double standards shown up by this case are equally glaring. Just a month earlier in December, after the Ayodhya verdict in the Supreme Court, the students in a school owned by an RSS-leader, the Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School in Kalladka near Mangalore, enacted a play in which the children put up a poster of the Babri Masjid and then tore it, symbolizing the demolition of the masjid amid slogans of "Jai Shri Ram". 

 The chief guests at the function included Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, who tweeted her approval, union minister Sadananda Gowda and many other state BJP leaders and ministers. The video shows the highly communal nature of the play enacting an event called grossly illegal by the Supreme Court. But no action was taken. 

A few weeks ago, the country witnessed slogans to shoot at traitors raised by the Minister of State for Finance in the Modi government. But not even an FIR was registered, not even after there were three actual incidents of shooting, clearly linked to the minister's incitement. 

The child in Bidar may be able to overcome and forget her trauma in the happiness of being united with her mother. But we should not forget. Popular resistance to such authoritarian abominations as the Bidar case, depends on our remembering.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and the article that also appeared on ndtv.com is being reproduced with her permission

 

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Macabre Reality! Delhi police says it assaulted students to safeguard them

In the 800-page chargesheet in the December 15 Jamia violence case, the police have tried to wash their hands off all their crimes

21 Feb 2020

Jamia Students

Trying to save face, the Delhi police has used self-effacing words to justify their role on the raid that they conducted on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) on December 15.

In the first chargesheet the police filed in court last week, it said, “In order to safeguard students and to identify the violent protestors and to keep them out of the campus, tear gas shells and moderate force was used to disperse and push back this assembly (sic).”

It adds, “Small component of police force also had entered into the campus and managed to vacate the campus off the unruly mob. During stone pelting and stampede, some students sustained injuries who were immediately sent to hospital for medical aid.

The chargesheet has been filed under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code.  

Also, the information in the first chargesheet suggests that the police haven’t found any actionable evidence against any student of JMI. Three JMI students have been named in the chargesheet but haven’t been arrested yet.

The chargesheet names a total of 18 people, 17 from the neighbourhood and the remaining 18th person being Sharjeel Imam who the police has described as an “instigator” based on the statement of a witness who was allegedly provoked by Sharjeel’s speeches. Sharjeel is also facing charges of sedition in another matter.

In a bid to justify the police excesses, the chargesheet also stated, “Different groups entered the campus and started pelting stones on the police force from three sides. The police kept on warning the protesters to disperse peacefully but they were adamant and kept on pelting stones from inside the campus. The same is visible on CCTV and media photos.”

Hinting at their altruism they wrote, “The rioting mob was repeatedly warned that stone-pelting endangers the life and property of students inside and all demonstrators should vacate the campus peacefully.”

The police is set to file a supplementary chargesheet. The first chargesheet reads, “Further investigation is proceeding. The role of the leaders, including student leaders who instigated, is being established. Supplementary chargesheet will be filed.”

While the police had kept mum about its role in the violence on the fated day, things blew over after the Jamia Coordination Committee released a video showing the police entering the library and indiscriminately beating up the students. Two videos were released subsequently by the police in which it said it could be seen that the students had stones in their hands. However, the police has maintained its stand saying that the video showing them charging students does not prove the innocence of those present in the library at the time.

Mohammed Minhajuddin and Mohammed Mustafa were grievously injured during the assault by the police. Minhajuddin lost an eye to the police excesses that had taken place that day. Mustafa was mercilessly beaten; both his hands were severely fractured and his body was covered in bruises.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had met with the students who were part of the police excesses that fateful night. Shayaan Mujeeb whose legs were injured in the violence has demanded a Rs. 2 crore compensation for his treatment and future medical expenses.

On Wednesday, more than 90 students and staff members filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking an independent intervention in the matter. They did so against an interim order of the Delhi High Court where it refused to direct the police to register FIRs against the police personnel who entered the JMI campus on December 15, 2019.

Their petition reads, “All the 93 complaints made to the police are lying with Delhi police, who are refusing to register FIR/FIRs.” They have called the ongoing investigation of the Delhi HC “biased” stating that it is only based on the FIR filed by the police on the students.

The Delhi police claims it had entered the campus to “safeguard” students. But how can the statements of the students be disregarded in this case, especially when there is video evidence of the brutality? Also, how can it justify its action by claiming that there were suspected rioters in the campus? Without following protocol, the police fired tear gas shells and charged students with batons without isolating the alleged rioters. How can they not be held culpable for this?

While the police is trying to portray itself to be holier-than-thou and trying to deny even the presence of evidence, will the Court take matters into its hands and grant justice to the wronged?


Related:

Delhi HC seeks Centre, police stand on injured Jamia student compensation plea
Shocking Expose: Video shows Delhi Police assaulting students in Jamia library
Jamia students allegedly attacked by police, again!

 

Macabre Reality! Delhi police says it assaulted students to safeguard them

In the 800-page chargesheet in the December 15 Jamia violence case, the police have tried to wash their hands off all their crimes

Jamia Students

Trying to save face, the Delhi police has used self-effacing words to justify their role on the raid that they conducted on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) on December 15.

In the first chargesheet the police filed in court last week, it said, “In order to safeguard students and to identify the violent protestors and to keep them out of the campus, tear gas shells and moderate force was used to disperse and push back this assembly (sic).”

It adds, “Small component of police force also had entered into the campus and managed to vacate the campus off the unruly mob. During stone pelting and stampede, some students sustained injuries who were immediately sent to hospital for medical aid.

The chargesheet has been filed under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code.  

Also, the information in the first chargesheet suggests that the police haven’t found any actionable evidence against any student of JMI. Three JMI students have been named in the chargesheet but haven’t been arrested yet.

The chargesheet names a total of 18 people, 17 from the neighbourhood and the remaining 18th person being Sharjeel Imam who the police has described as an “instigator” based on the statement of a witness who was allegedly provoked by Sharjeel’s speeches. Sharjeel is also facing charges of sedition in another matter.

In a bid to justify the police excesses, the chargesheet also stated, “Different groups entered the campus and started pelting stones on the police force from three sides. The police kept on warning the protesters to disperse peacefully but they were adamant and kept on pelting stones from inside the campus. The same is visible on CCTV and media photos.”

Hinting at their altruism they wrote, “The rioting mob was repeatedly warned that stone-pelting endangers the life and property of students inside and all demonstrators should vacate the campus peacefully.”

The police is set to file a supplementary chargesheet. The first chargesheet reads, “Further investigation is proceeding. The role of the leaders, including student leaders who instigated, is being established. Supplementary chargesheet will be filed.”

While the police had kept mum about its role in the violence on the fated day, things blew over after the Jamia Coordination Committee released a video showing the police entering the library and indiscriminately beating up the students. Two videos were released subsequently by the police in which it said it could be seen that the students had stones in their hands. However, the police has maintained its stand saying that the video showing them charging students does not prove the innocence of those present in the library at the time.

Mohammed Minhajuddin and Mohammed Mustafa were grievously injured during the assault by the police. Minhajuddin lost an eye to the police excesses that had taken place that day. Mustafa was mercilessly beaten; both his hands were severely fractured and his body was covered in bruises.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had met with the students who were part of the police excesses that fateful night. Shayaan Mujeeb whose legs were injured in the violence has demanded a Rs. 2 crore compensation for his treatment and future medical expenses.

On Wednesday, more than 90 students and staff members filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking an independent intervention in the matter. They did so against an interim order of the Delhi High Court where it refused to direct the police to register FIRs against the police personnel who entered the JMI campus on December 15, 2019.

Their petition reads, “All the 93 complaints made to the police are lying with Delhi police, who are refusing to register FIR/FIRs.” They have called the ongoing investigation of the Delhi HC “biased” stating that it is only based on the FIR filed by the police on the students.

The Delhi police claims it had entered the campus to “safeguard” students. But how can the statements of the students be disregarded in this case, especially when there is video evidence of the brutality? Also, how can it justify its action by claiming that there were suspected rioters in the campus? Without following protocol, the police fired tear gas shells and charged students with batons without isolating the alleged rioters. How can they not be held culpable for this?

While the police is trying to portray itself to be holier-than-thou and trying to deny even the presence of evidence, will the Court take matters into its hands and grant justice to the wronged?


Related:

Delhi HC seeks Centre, police stand on injured Jamia student compensation plea
Shocking Expose: Video shows Delhi Police assaulting students in Jamia library
Jamia students allegedly attacked by police, again!

 

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SC mediators arrive at Shaheen Bagh, gov't stooges try to delegitimise protests

Pro-regime TV channels and social media trolls attempt to question authenticity of protest alleging Shaheen Bagh women were ‘tutored’ by CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad

19 Feb 2020

teesta setalvad

On Wednesday, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandra, the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court reached Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to mediate with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

On Wednesday, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandra, the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court reached Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to mediate with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

Hegde told media persons, “We have come here according to the order of Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody's cooperation.” Addressing protesters Ramachandran said, “Supreme Court has said that you have the right to protest. The law (CAA) has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like right to use roads, open their shops.”

However, there was drama earlier in the day after BJP’s IT Cell head Amit Malvia tweeted a video showing CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad at the protest site. He alleged that Setalvad was ‘tutoring’ the protesters, a claim Setalvad shoots down. According to Setalvad, she was asked to come in to just begin a widespread democratic process “to generate widespread involvement in questions that need to be addressed following the SC historic order of Feb 17. And CJP spent five hours yesterday in helping initiate a process that went on through the night.”

The women of Shaheen Bagh have now identified a series of questions that need to be addressed. These are:

1) Will changing the style or kind of protest change or weaken it? 

2) The protesters feel most comfortable and safe at Shaheen Bagh as this is their home. Who will guarantee the safety of the protesters, especially the women, at another location?  

3) Protesters are only occupying half a kilometer. Is the opening up of half the highway/road where Shaheen Bagh is, a possible solution?https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

4) If public or vehicles are attacked at another location, who will take responsibility for that?

5)  If the protesters are not heard at Shaheen Bagh, will they be heard anywhere else?

 

teesta at shaheen bagh

Responding to allegations made by Malvia and a few television news channels she said,

“The disgusting attempts by some pro BJP and govt TV channels to dare suggest malicious motives in CJP's involvement in a pre-mediation process is nothing short of a despicable and desperate attempt to deny Shaheen Bagh women protesters their agency. Can anyone dare suggest that women who have sat through Delhi s bitter cold for 65 days can be tutored? It's demeaning and a diversion.”

Setalvad has been in the regime’s crosshairs ever since 2002 when she dared to expose the complicity of the Gujarat state administration’s top brass in allowing unchecked spread of anti-minority violence in wake of the Godhra train burning incident. Now that the former Gujarat Chief Minister is the country’s Prime Minister, is it any surprise that his ‘devotees’ would engage in a virtual smear campaign against Setalvad in a wider attempt to delegitimise the protests against their pet projects like CAA-NRC-NPR that are blatantly anti-minorities?  

 

SC mediators arrive at Shaheen Bagh, gov't stooges try to delegitimise protests

Pro-regime TV channels and social media trolls attempt to question authenticity of protest alleging Shaheen Bagh women were ‘tutored’ by CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad

teesta setalvad

On Wednesday, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandra, the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court reached Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to mediate with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

On Wednesday, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandra, the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court reached Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to mediate with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

Hegde told media persons, “We have come here according to the order of Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody's cooperation.” Addressing protesters Ramachandran said, “Supreme Court has said that you have the right to protest. The law (CAA) has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like right to use roads, open their shops.”

However, there was drama earlier in the day after BJP’s IT Cell head Amit Malvia tweeted a video showing CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad at the protest site. He alleged that Setalvad was ‘tutoring’ the protesters, a claim Setalvad shoots down. According to Setalvad, she was asked to come in to just begin a widespread democratic process “to generate widespread involvement in questions that need to be addressed following the SC historic order of Feb 17. And CJP spent five hours yesterday in helping initiate a process that went on through the night.”

The women of Shaheen Bagh have now identified a series of questions that need to be addressed. These are:

1) Will changing the style or kind of protest change or weaken it? 

2) The protesters feel most comfortable and safe at Shaheen Bagh as this is their home. Who will guarantee the safety of the protesters, especially the women, at another location?  

3) Protesters are only occupying half a kilometer. Is the opening up of half the highway/road where Shaheen Bagh is, a possible solution?https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

4) If public or vehicles are attacked at another location, who will take responsibility for that?

5)  If the protesters are not heard at Shaheen Bagh, will they be heard anywhere else?

 

teesta at shaheen bagh

Responding to allegations made by Malvia and a few television news channels she said,

“The disgusting attempts by some pro BJP and govt TV channels to dare suggest malicious motives in CJP's involvement in a pre-mediation process is nothing short of a despicable and desperate attempt to deny Shaheen Bagh women protesters their agency. Can anyone dare suggest that women who have sat through Delhi s bitter cold for 65 days can be tutored? It's demeaning and a diversion.”

Setalvad has been in the regime’s crosshairs ever since 2002 when she dared to expose the complicity of the Gujarat state administration’s top brass in allowing unchecked spread of anti-minority violence in wake of the Godhra train burning incident. Now that the former Gujarat Chief Minister is the country’s Prime Minister, is it any surprise that his ‘devotees’ would engage in a virtual smear campaign against Setalvad in a wider attempt to delegitimise the protests against their pet projects like CAA-NRC-NPR that are blatantly anti-minorities?  

 

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Thousands stage a march in Chennai against CAA-NPR-NRC

A collective of Muslim outfits and around 15,000 people marched in a bid to secure their future in the country

19 Feb 2020

Protest against CAA

Marching from Kalaivanar to the Tamil Nadu Secretariat in Chennai, members of various Muslim outfits on Wednesday staged a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Defying the orders of the Madras High Court which ordered an interim stay on the protest stating no proper authorization for the same from the police. State additional advocate general SR Rajagopal had told the court that the application seeking police permission for the protests should have been made five days prior, but in this case, the permission was only sought on Monday for the protest on Wednesday.

He also said that under the Madras City Police Act, Section 41 had been imposed banning any kind of protest in the city for 15 days starting February 13.

The massive anti-CAA rally began where people were seen moving to Chepauk, the last stop of the rally where make-shift stage has been set up for an address.

 

 

 

 

The collective of these outfits have demanded that in the ongoing session that is to end tomorrow, the State Assembly adopt a resolution against the CAA.

At Chennai’s Shaheen Bagh in Washermanpet, around 3,000 women have been staging a protest against the CAA-NPR-NRC. Earlier, CM E Palaniswami had requested the Muslims to cooperate saying, “The state government would not allow any acts against minorities and would stand as a shield for them”, reported NDTV.

Reportedly, on Tuesday he had said that the CAA fell under the domain of the Central government, possibly implying that the State government could not or would not pass a resolution demanding its review and revocation.


Related:

Madhya Pradesh won’t implement NPR: CM Kamal Nath
Ghatnandur Gram Panchayat in Beed passes resolution against CAA-NRC
Telangana issues Census notification, sparks fear of NPR-NRC
Maharashtra Gram Panchayat passes resolution against CAA-NRC-NPR

 

Thousands stage a march in Chennai against CAA-NPR-NRC

A collective of Muslim outfits and around 15,000 people marched in a bid to secure their future in the country

Protest against CAA

Marching from Kalaivanar to the Tamil Nadu Secretariat in Chennai, members of various Muslim outfits on Wednesday staged a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Defying the orders of the Madras High Court which ordered an interim stay on the protest stating no proper authorization for the same from the police. State additional advocate general SR Rajagopal had told the court that the application seeking police permission for the protests should have been made five days prior, but in this case, the permission was only sought on Monday for the protest on Wednesday.

He also said that under the Madras City Police Act, Section 41 had been imposed banning any kind of protest in the city for 15 days starting February 13.

The massive anti-CAA rally began where people were seen moving to Chepauk, the last stop of the rally where make-shift stage has been set up for an address.

 

 

 

 

The collective of these outfits have demanded that in the ongoing session that is to end tomorrow, the State Assembly adopt a resolution against the CAA.

At Chennai’s Shaheen Bagh in Washermanpet, around 3,000 women have been staging a protest against the CAA-NPR-NRC. Earlier, CM E Palaniswami had requested the Muslims to cooperate saying, “The state government would not allow any acts against minorities and would stand as a shield for them”, reported NDTV.

Reportedly, on Tuesday he had said that the CAA fell under the domain of the Central government, possibly implying that the State government could not or would not pass a resolution demanding its review and revocation.


Related:

Madhya Pradesh won’t implement NPR: CM Kamal Nath
Ghatnandur Gram Panchayat in Beed passes resolution against CAA-NRC
Telangana issues Census notification, sparks fear of NPR-NRC
Maharashtra Gram Panchayat passes resolution against CAA-NRC-NPR

 

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8 Christians falsely accused of forced conversion acquitted in MP

They had been falsely accused of converting 60 children who they were escorting to a Bible Camp

19 Feb 2020

Conversion

Eight people, including six men and two women falsely accused of forcibly converting children to Christianity in Madhya Pradesh in May 2017 were found not guilty by the Ratlam Sessions Court. The final judgment in the case was delivered on February 19, 2020.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that represented the eight Christians accused of conversion issued a press statement saying, “On May 22, 2017 they were escorting the children to a Bible camp in Nagpur when the railway police separated the young children from them.  What followed was a tale of unspeakable harassment of the children and the accused at the hands of the authorities.” The statement added, “The ADF India legal team had to fight at every stage to secure them justice. They had to move the High Court to reunite the children with their parents. They had to persist for 3 months to secure the bail of the accused. And now, they have secured their acquittal.”

The charges were baseless as the parents of the children were Christian themselves, so there was no question of conversion. Many of them hail from the Bhil Adivasi community. MP has strict anti-conversion laws that require those wishing to convert have to give prior notice and police can investigate to check if the conversions are forced. 

“Justice has finally been done!” reacted Mrs. Tehmina Arora, Director, ADF India. She went on to add, “But we must not forget the toll that such false cases take on the families. No one should be targeted for their faith. The anti-conversion laws are tools to harass and target Christians and should be repealed since they restrict the freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”

 

 

8 Christians falsely accused of forced conversion acquitted in MP

They had been falsely accused of converting 60 children who they were escorting to a Bible Camp

Conversion

Eight people, including six men and two women falsely accused of forcibly converting children to Christianity in Madhya Pradesh in May 2017 were found not guilty by the Ratlam Sessions Court. The final judgment in the case was delivered on February 19, 2020.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that represented the eight Christians accused of conversion issued a press statement saying, “On May 22, 2017 they were escorting the children to a Bible camp in Nagpur when the railway police separated the young children from them.  What followed was a tale of unspeakable harassment of the children and the accused at the hands of the authorities.” The statement added, “The ADF India legal team had to fight at every stage to secure them justice. They had to move the High Court to reunite the children with their parents. They had to persist for 3 months to secure the bail of the accused. And now, they have secured their acquittal.”

The charges were baseless as the parents of the children were Christian themselves, so there was no question of conversion. Many of them hail from the Bhil Adivasi community. MP has strict anti-conversion laws that require those wishing to convert have to give prior notice and police can investigate to check if the conversions are forced. 

“Justice has finally been done!” reacted Mrs. Tehmina Arora, Director, ADF India. She went on to add, “But we must not forget the toll that such false cases take on the families. No one should be targeted for their faith. The anti-conversion laws are tools to harass and target Christians and should be repealed since they restrict the freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”

 

 

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I am a Love Jihadi: KP Sasi to Kerala church Cardinal

Syro-Malabar church synod had attracted scathing criticism in January for their comments about Christian girls being lured by Muslim youth. Now a film-maker responds with an open letter to the Cardinal.

18 Feb 2020

KP Sasi

Earlier this year, top clergy members of Kerala’s Syro - Malabar Church had set the cat among the pigeons when they claimed that Love Jihad was rampant in the state and as many as 12 Christian women had fallen prey to it.

The synod or council of bishops headed by Cardinal George Alencherry had allegedly claimed that Muslim youth would first lure impressionable Christian girls, then marry and forcible convert them to Islam. Some of these women were forced or manipulated into joining terrorist groups while some ended up dead.

Interestingly, the police all but shot down the claim. DGP Loknath Behera told mediapersons, “There is no data to hint at the existence of love jihad. I haven’t received any complaint so far. If there is any complaint, we will monitor it.”

The church’s stand has since then attracted scathing criticism. The latest salvo comes from film-maker, cartoonist and writer. In an open letter to Cardinal Alencherry that appears on Countercurrents, Sasi says, “Sir, I read the statement initiated by you representing Syro Malabar Church, first with amusement, and then with deep concern, not for the already marginalised status of Islam in India, but for the status of your own Church. Your statement pointed out that many Christian girls are `lured’ by the Muslims through `Love Jihad’. It also pointed out that among the 21 people from Kerala recruited by IS a couple of years back, almost half were converted from the Christian community.”

Sasi goes on to say, “You are responsible for generating a fear psychosis among the Christian community in Kerala by targeting the Muslims by saying:  `It is a reality that ‘Love Jihad’ is happening in Kerala in a planned manner targeting Christian girls. Christian girls are killed in the name of love jihad’. I do understand that this statement from a responsible person like you representing one of the highest positions in the Church hierarchy is a major disruption of inter faith relationship among the common Christians and Muslims in Kerala.” 

He asks, “Why is a Cardinal Bishop siding with the Kerala State BJP and the Sangh Parivar in Kerala to attack the Muslims with an already disproven subject like `love jihad’?” Sasi adds, “What is not acceptable to many in Kerala is also the implications of your statement on the ordinary Hindu, Christian and Muslim people of Kerala. When you say that Christian girls are being `lured’ by Muslim youths, you are only insulting the Christian girls.”

Sasi concludes by saying, “This open letter is not meant to question your integrity, faith or your role as a Christian leader, since you are a much bigger person than me. This letter is only an appeal not to enjoy the walk through the blood of other communities.”

The entire letter may be read here

I am a Love Jihadi: KP Sasi to Kerala church Cardinal

Syro-Malabar church synod had attracted scathing criticism in January for their comments about Christian girls being lured by Muslim youth. Now a film-maker responds with an open letter to the Cardinal.

KP Sasi

Earlier this year, top clergy members of Kerala’s Syro - Malabar Church had set the cat among the pigeons when they claimed that Love Jihad was rampant in the state and as many as 12 Christian women had fallen prey to it.

The synod or council of bishops headed by Cardinal George Alencherry had allegedly claimed that Muslim youth would first lure impressionable Christian girls, then marry and forcible convert them to Islam. Some of these women were forced or manipulated into joining terrorist groups while some ended up dead.

Interestingly, the police all but shot down the claim. DGP Loknath Behera told mediapersons, “There is no data to hint at the existence of love jihad. I haven’t received any complaint so far. If there is any complaint, we will monitor it.”

The church’s stand has since then attracted scathing criticism. The latest salvo comes from film-maker, cartoonist and writer. In an open letter to Cardinal Alencherry that appears on Countercurrents, Sasi says, “Sir, I read the statement initiated by you representing Syro Malabar Church, first with amusement, and then with deep concern, not for the already marginalised status of Islam in India, but for the status of your own Church. Your statement pointed out that many Christian girls are `lured’ by the Muslims through `Love Jihad’. It also pointed out that among the 21 people from Kerala recruited by IS a couple of years back, almost half were converted from the Christian community.”

Sasi goes on to say, “You are responsible for generating a fear psychosis among the Christian community in Kerala by targeting the Muslims by saying:  `It is a reality that ‘Love Jihad’ is happening in Kerala in a planned manner targeting Christian girls. Christian girls are killed in the name of love jihad’. I do understand that this statement from a responsible person like you representing one of the highest positions in the Church hierarchy is a major disruption of inter faith relationship among the common Christians and Muslims in Kerala.” 

He asks, “Why is a Cardinal Bishop siding with the Kerala State BJP and the Sangh Parivar in Kerala to attack the Muslims with an already disproven subject like `love jihad’?” Sasi adds, “What is not acceptable to many in Kerala is also the implications of your statement on the ordinary Hindu, Christian and Muslim people of Kerala. When you say that Christian girls are being `lured’ by Muslim youths, you are only insulting the Christian girls.”

Sasi concludes by saying, “This open letter is not meant to question your integrity, faith or your role as a Christian leader, since you are a much bigger person than me. This letter is only an appeal not to enjoy the walk through the blood of other communities.”

The entire letter may be read here

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Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

Dalit and Adivasi forest workers express solidarity with anti-CAA activists as even they rarely have 70-year-old documents to stake claim to forest land.

17 Feb 2020

Adivasi

Recently a contingent of 23 Dalit and Adivasi forest workers from Lakhimpur Khikri, Sonbhadra and Manikpur arrived in New Delhi to express solidarity with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The visiting contingent comprised members of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP).

Just like the protests at Shaheen Bagh are predominantly led by women, the movement for forest rights in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra region has been spearheaded by women. AIUFWP deputy general secretary Roma Malik, as well as senior union members like Sokalo Gond, Rajkumari Bhuiya, Kismatiya Gond and many others met with protesters at Shaheen Bagh, where folk singers from Sonbhadra also sang songs of protest.

Shaheen

shaheen bagh

Amir Khan, an activist working with the union said, “The Indian state is playing same tactics to exclude or disenfranchise these oppressed groups despite Forest Rights Act 2006, which guaranteed their claim over forest and its resources through Individual and Community Forest claim. These are similar pattern of NRC wherein they have been asked to share their 3 generations documents i.e. 75-year land records to have a claim on their Forest and its resources.”

On Sunday, a group of women protesters from Shaheen Bagh also organized a rally to march to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “After Amit Shah offered to talk to protesters to help the protesters gain better understanding of CAA, the protesting women including ‘dadis’ decided to tell him that they were neither ignorant nor confused about the CAA. They know that it is unconstitutional and want it to be scrapped. In fact, they said they could help Amit Shah understand the Constitution. That is why they wanted to march to the MHA,” said Khan explaining the reason behind yesterday’s rally. But the police prevented the protesters from marching to the MHA. “First, he offers to talk, then he does not come to meet the protesters, and when they try to visit him, the police who reports to him, stop them,” Khan wonders aloud.

Some images from the rally may be viewed here: 

Shaheen Bagh|

Shaheen Bagh

The protesters at Shaheen Bagh have put forward three key demands:

-        That the un-Constitutional and highly discriminatory CAA be scrapped

-        That all arrested anti-CAA protesters be released immediately and compensation be paid to families of those killed in police firing and crackdowns

-        The Supreme Court hears the petitions against CAA

In wake of back-to-back instances of armed men discharging their weapons on peaceful protesters, first outside Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) and then at Shaheen Bagh, where a majority of the protesters are women, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) had come together in solidarity with the peaceful protesters and condemned the attacks on them.

The attacks on the protesters, as well as the inflammatory speeches that incited these attacks, violate several serious sections of the law. Hate speech violates Section 153 (a) (b) (c) and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 295 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC). These speeches and violent attacks also violate Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

Dalit and Adivasi forest workers express solidarity with anti-CAA activists as even they rarely have 70-year-old documents to stake claim to forest land.

Adivasi

Recently a contingent of 23 Dalit and Adivasi forest workers from Lakhimpur Khikri, Sonbhadra and Manikpur arrived in New Delhi to express solidarity with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The visiting contingent comprised members of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP).

Just like the protests at Shaheen Bagh are predominantly led by women, the movement for forest rights in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra region has been spearheaded by women. AIUFWP deputy general secretary Roma Malik, as well as senior union members like Sokalo Gond, Rajkumari Bhuiya, Kismatiya Gond and many others met with protesters at Shaheen Bagh, where folk singers from Sonbhadra also sang songs of protest.

Shaheen

shaheen bagh

Amir Khan, an activist working with the union said, “The Indian state is playing same tactics to exclude or disenfranchise these oppressed groups despite Forest Rights Act 2006, which guaranteed their claim over forest and its resources through Individual and Community Forest claim. These are similar pattern of NRC wherein they have been asked to share their 3 generations documents i.e. 75-year land records to have a claim on their Forest and its resources.”

On Sunday, a group of women protesters from Shaheen Bagh also organized a rally to march to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “After Amit Shah offered to talk to protesters to help the protesters gain better understanding of CAA, the protesting women including ‘dadis’ decided to tell him that they were neither ignorant nor confused about the CAA. They know that it is unconstitutional and want it to be scrapped. In fact, they said they could help Amit Shah understand the Constitution. That is why they wanted to march to the MHA,” said Khan explaining the reason behind yesterday’s rally. But the police prevented the protesters from marching to the MHA. “First, he offers to talk, then he does not come to meet the protesters, and when they try to visit him, the police who reports to him, stop them,” Khan wonders aloud.

Some images from the rally may be viewed here: 

Shaheen Bagh|

Shaheen Bagh

The protesters at Shaheen Bagh have put forward three key demands:

-        That the un-Constitutional and highly discriminatory CAA be scrapped

-        That all arrested anti-CAA protesters be released immediately and compensation be paid to families of those killed in police firing and crackdowns

-        The Supreme Court hears the petitions against CAA

In wake of back-to-back instances of armed men discharging their weapons on peaceful protesters, first outside Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) and then at Shaheen Bagh, where a majority of the protesters are women, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) had come together in solidarity with the peaceful protesters and condemned the attacks on them.

The attacks on the protesters, as well as the inflammatory speeches that incited these attacks, violate several serious sections of the law. Hate speech violates Section 153 (a) (b) (c) and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 295 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC). These speeches and violent attacks also violate Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Sabrang

Shocking Expose: Video shows Delhi Police assaulting students in Jamia library

Jamia police assault video: This 44-second video reveals policemen wearing anti-riot gear, entering the library. There were around 10-20 students inside when cops thrashed the students with batons and pushed them outside the hall.

16 Feb 2020

Jamia

Jamia students have been widely speaking about thus traumatic experience but, to date, no statutory body, has initiated any independent probe.

Just two months after the alleged police brutality inside Jamia campus, another CCTV footage has emerged showing policemen beating up students.

On December 15, a protest against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) turned violent after protesters allegedly pelted stones at the police and set public buses on fire. While there were serious allegations that the police entered the college library and beat up the students, who weren’t protesting, no FIR has, to date been registered, nor a probe ordered.

On Saturday, February 15, another such video was released by the Jamia students. The 44-second video showed policemen wearing anti-riot gear, entering the library. There were around 10-20 students inside as cops thrashed the students with batons and pushed them outside the hall.

While sharing the video clipping on the micro blogging site, Twitter,   the Jamia Coordination Committee has claimed that the incident took place on the first floor of MA, MPhil section inside Old Reading Hall on December 15. The tweet also said, “Shame on you Delhi Police.”

Sabrangindia has also learned of a huge destruction of library books and manuscripts during the police assault bit authorities refuse to confirm this.

 

 

Jamia authorities confirmed that the video was from inside the library but haven’t released an official statement yet.

RP Meena, DCP (south-east) is reported by The Indian Express to have said,  “The case is being probed by the crime branch. We will check whether the video is with them and also the authentication of the video. We can comment once the video is checked.”

Special Commissioner (Crime) Praveer Ranjan assured that the police will investigate the latest video. “We have taken cognizance of the latest video (of December 15) of Jamia Millia Islamia University which has surfaced now, we will investigate it,” Ranjan told reporters.

 

Shocking Expose: Video shows Delhi Police assaulting students in Jamia library

Jamia police assault video: This 44-second video reveals policemen wearing anti-riot gear, entering the library. There were around 10-20 students inside when cops thrashed the students with batons and pushed them outside the hall.

Jamia

Jamia students have been widely speaking about thus traumatic experience but, to date, no statutory body, has initiated any independent probe.

Just two months after the alleged police brutality inside Jamia campus, another CCTV footage has emerged showing policemen beating up students.

On December 15, a protest against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) turned violent after protesters allegedly pelted stones at the police and set public buses on fire. While there were serious allegations that the police entered the college library and beat up the students, who weren’t protesting, no FIR has, to date been registered, nor a probe ordered.

On Saturday, February 15, another such video was released by the Jamia students. The 44-second video showed policemen wearing anti-riot gear, entering the library. There were around 10-20 students inside as cops thrashed the students with batons and pushed them outside the hall.

While sharing the video clipping on the micro blogging site, Twitter,   the Jamia Coordination Committee has claimed that the incident took place on the first floor of MA, MPhil section inside Old Reading Hall on December 15. The tweet also said, “Shame on you Delhi Police.”

Sabrangindia has also learned of a huge destruction of library books and manuscripts during the police assault bit authorities refuse to confirm this.

 

 

Jamia authorities confirmed that the video was from inside the library but haven’t released an official statement yet.

RP Meena, DCP (south-east) is reported by The Indian Express to have said,  “The case is being probed by the crime branch. We will check whether the video is with them and also the authentication of the video. We can comment once the video is checked.”

Special Commissioner (Crime) Praveer Ranjan assured that the police will investigate the latest video. “We have taken cognizance of the latest video (of December 15) of Jamia Millia Islamia University which has surfaced now, we will investigate it,” Ranjan told reporters.

 

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