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Disturbed Areas Act: Guj HC issues notice to state gov’t

The plea moved by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind raises concerns over ghettoisation and deepening of communal divide

22 Jan 2021

GujaratImage: Wikimedia Commons


On Wednesday the Gujarat High Court issued notice to the Gujarat Government in connection with a petition filed by the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH) against the amendments to the Disturbed Areas Act. It also restrained the state government from issuing any further notifications under certain sections of the act that allow the state to designate an area as “disturbed area”.

Brief history of Disturbed Areas Act in Gujarat

The Act formally titled Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Properties and provision for Tenants from Eviction from Premises in the Disturbed Areas Act prohibits transfer of immovable property in placed designated “disturbed areas”. Panic driven sales are common in case of communal conflagrations.

Enacted in 1991 and modified in 2005, the Disturbed Areas Act as it is commonly referred to, says “Where the State Government, having regard to the intensity and duration of riot or violence of mob and such other factors in any area of the State is of opinion that public order in that area was disturbed for a substantial period by reason of riot or violence of mob, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette declare such area to be a disturbed area.” In order to transfer immovable property in a Disturbed Area, a person must make an application to the District Collector.

The Act applies to communally sensitive areas in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Surat, Godhra, and Kapadvanj. Fresh amendments were passed in July 2019 by the Gujarat Assembly, but held back allegedly by the Ministry of Home Affairs in January 2020. The ministry reportedly sought greater clarification as to the definition of “immovable property” and also sought to know if provisions of the act violate any other law and the Indian Constitution. In February 2020, large swathes of Khambhat town in Anand district were also placed under the Disturbed Areas Act for five years.

The proposed amendments reportedly gave greater power to the District Collectors to gauge whether the sale would lead to ‘polarisation’ or ‘improper clustering’ that had the potential to cause disturbance in future. It also allowed for imprisonment of people violating the act from anywhere between three to five years. The fine amount was also increased from the original Rs 1,000/- to Rs 1,00,000 or ten percent of the value of the property.

Plea by JUH and the HC’s latest Order

The petition moved by JUH says that these provisions essentially lead to communal segregation and ghettoisation, thus going against principles of secularism and communal harmony. JUH has challenged Sections 3, 4, 5, 5A, 6, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D of the Act.

Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh Shastri were hearing the petition, and in the order passed on Wednesday, the court restrained the Gujarat Government from issuing any notification under Sections 3(1) (ii) and (iii) of the Act that give the state the power to notify any area based on “improper clustering of persons of one community”.

The order said, “Ms. Manisha Lavkumar Shah, learned Government Pleader upon instructions has informed that as of date the Notification under Section 3 (1) (ii) and (iii) of the Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provisions for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from premises in the Disturbed Areas Act, 1991 (Amendment Act, 2020) has still not been issued and is at the stage of the assent of the Governor. Till the next date fixed, the respondent – State is restrained from issuing any Notification under the above provisions.”

The court also issued notice returnable by the next date of hearing i.e February 3 to the state government saying, “As there is a challenge to the provisions of the State enactment as being ultra vires, let notice be issued to the learned Advocate General for the date already fixed.” 

The entire Order may be read here.


Related:

Vadodara man booked for not disclosing religion during sale of property

After communal violence Gujarat’s Khambhat put under Disturbed Areas Act for 5 years

Disturbed Areas Act: Guj HC issues notice to state gov’t

The plea moved by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind raises concerns over ghettoisation and deepening of communal divide

GujaratImage: Wikimedia Commons


On Wednesday the Gujarat High Court issued notice to the Gujarat Government in connection with a petition filed by the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH) against the amendments to the Disturbed Areas Act. It also restrained the state government from issuing any further notifications under certain sections of the act that allow the state to designate an area as “disturbed area”.

Brief history of Disturbed Areas Act in Gujarat

The Act formally titled Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Properties and provision for Tenants from Eviction from Premises in the Disturbed Areas Act prohibits transfer of immovable property in placed designated “disturbed areas”. Panic driven sales are common in case of communal conflagrations.

Enacted in 1991 and modified in 2005, the Disturbed Areas Act as it is commonly referred to, says “Where the State Government, having regard to the intensity and duration of riot or violence of mob and such other factors in any area of the State is of opinion that public order in that area was disturbed for a substantial period by reason of riot or violence of mob, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette declare such area to be a disturbed area.” In order to transfer immovable property in a Disturbed Area, a person must make an application to the District Collector.

The Act applies to communally sensitive areas in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Surat, Godhra, and Kapadvanj. Fresh amendments were passed in July 2019 by the Gujarat Assembly, but held back allegedly by the Ministry of Home Affairs in January 2020. The ministry reportedly sought greater clarification as to the definition of “immovable property” and also sought to know if provisions of the act violate any other law and the Indian Constitution. In February 2020, large swathes of Khambhat town in Anand district were also placed under the Disturbed Areas Act for five years.

The proposed amendments reportedly gave greater power to the District Collectors to gauge whether the sale would lead to ‘polarisation’ or ‘improper clustering’ that had the potential to cause disturbance in future. It also allowed for imprisonment of people violating the act from anywhere between three to five years. The fine amount was also increased from the original Rs 1,000/- to Rs 1,00,000 or ten percent of the value of the property.

Plea by JUH and the HC’s latest Order

The petition moved by JUH says that these provisions essentially lead to communal segregation and ghettoisation, thus going against principles of secularism and communal harmony. JUH has challenged Sections 3, 4, 5, 5A, 6, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D of the Act.

Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh Shastri were hearing the petition, and in the order passed on Wednesday, the court restrained the Gujarat Government from issuing any notification under Sections 3(1) (ii) and (iii) of the Act that give the state the power to notify any area based on “improper clustering of persons of one community”.

The order said, “Ms. Manisha Lavkumar Shah, learned Government Pleader upon instructions has informed that as of date the Notification under Section 3 (1) (ii) and (iii) of the Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provisions for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from premises in the Disturbed Areas Act, 1991 (Amendment Act, 2020) has still not been issued and is at the stage of the assent of the Governor. Till the next date fixed, the respondent – State is restrained from issuing any Notification under the above provisions.”

The court also issued notice returnable by the next date of hearing i.e February 3 to the state government saying, “As there is a challenge to the provisions of the State enactment as being ultra vires, let notice be issued to the learned Advocate General for the date already fixed.” 

The entire Order may be read here.


Related:

Vadodara man booked for not disclosing religion during sale of property

After communal violence Gujarat’s Khambhat put under Disturbed Areas Act for 5 years

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PM Modi to attend Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations in Kolkata

Bose's grandnephews to talk about the threat of communalism, Mamata Banerjee to celebrate it as 'Desh Nayak Diwas' rejects BJP’s 'Parakram Divas'

22 Jan 2021

Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary

“Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong. Remember the eternal law: you must give, if you want to get…” words of the legendary freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, that are often quoted in remembrance on his birth anniversary January 23. This year marks the Bose's 125th birth anniversary celebrations, which will also  be one of the most important political events, as West Bengal is due to go to polls this summer. 

The political stage is set and it is the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is pulling all stops, in its attempt to defeat the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) incumbent state government. The two parties have already begun different ways to celebrate Bose’s anniversary. The Union government has announced that January 23 will be celebrated as 'Parakram Divas'. 
 

 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a national holiday which is yet to be announced on the eve of the day. Banerjee had announced that Bose's birth anniversary on January 23 will be celebrated as 'Desh Nayak Diwas' annually. According to news reports, she had expressed resentment over the Centre's decision to celebrate day as "Parakram Divas", and instead suggested it be celebrated as "Desh Nayak Diwas" or "Deshprem Diwas". According to a report in The Millennium Post, Banerjee said, "It is their (Centre's) discretion what they will announce, but we are not happy with the words they have used. I am told that even some members of Netaji's family are not happy." The Mamata Banerjee led government has officially rejected Centre’s decision of celebrating Netaji’s birthday as Parakram Diwas every year and will celebrate the day as 'Desh Nayak Diwas. ' Banerjee is to lead a procession in Kolkata on January 23.

Now as the PM himself is ready to lead the celebrations, a political messaging will be expected too. On January 23, according to a report in the Tribune two of Bose’s grandnephews, both public figures, will also speak on the threat posed by communalism to the unity of the country. Subash Chandra Bose’s commitment to secularism, and his rejection of right-wing hindutva is a matter of historical record, and has been quoted by CM Bannerjee before. 

This year again, the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB), headed by Sugata Bose, his grandnephew, will hold an event on January 23 to pay homage to the freedom fighter. According to the news report, this year, the Netaji Award instituted by the NRB will be conferred posthumously to Abid Hassan, Subhash Chandra Bose’s close associate. Abid Hassan, sailed with Bose in a German U-boat in 1943 on a voyage to South East Asia in the middle of World War II.

According to the Tribune, Sugata, who teaches history at Harvard University, and was a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha member, is slated to give a speech on Saturday on the subject of “Netaji, Abid Hassan and the unity of India”. The report quotes him saying, “The treatment meted out to minorities is tragic and far removed from Netaji’s ideals.” Bose said this was the reason he will speak about “unity of India in the context of Netaji and Abid Hasan’s relationship.”

However, the news report added that Sugata has not been invited, neither for the seminar at National Library nor the exhibition on Bose at Victoria Memorial. Another grandnephew Chandra Bose, was quoted in the news report as saying “upholding the principle of secularism would be the best way to pay tribute to Netaji.”  

PM Modi is to attend both these events during his January 23 visit to Kolkata. According to an India Today report, the union government has decided that the date will be celebrated  every year as ‘Parakram Diwas’ to inspire the country. A permanent exhibition and a “Projection Mapping Show on Netaji will be inaugurated on the occasion” stated the report. A commemorative coin and postage stamp will also be released by the PM, who will also visit the National Library, Kolkata, where an international conference “Re-visiting the legacy of Netaji Subhas in the 21st century” and an Artists' Camp are being held. 

While political parties, continue to stake claim over the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose as West Bengal heads towards election, Bose’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff told Times Now the celebrations were done appropriately,"I hope it will be done in a fashion which is also appropriate to the person like him who was a person of thought, action and had great love for his country".

Anita Bose was quoted as saying, "He (Netaji) certainly doesn’t belong to one party, he belongs to one country and its people". She added, "All political parties are political so they would not do something which would harm them politically. I think there is nothing illegitimate about that and one might also say that it... Trinamool after all also tried to keep up the memory of Netaji. Of course, the Bengalis will be emotionally connected to Netaji, but still a political party will have its political interest in mind."

According to her, “In the past there were efforts to play down the importance of Netaji for the independence movement, but in more recent years, in more than a decade or so, the interest in Netaji has increased again. I feel very good by the fact that even young people or the middle-aged, are respecting him and remembering his contribution to India’s history." 

 

Related:

Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Will Rajbanshis play kingmaker in West Bengal assembly polls?

Pick up arms, take revenge before going to cops: Dilip Ghosh to Hindu youth

PM Modi to attend Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations in Kolkata

Bose's grandnephews to talk about the threat of communalism, Mamata Banerjee to celebrate it as 'Desh Nayak Diwas' rejects BJP’s 'Parakram Divas'

Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary

“Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong. Remember the eternal law: you must give, if you want to get…” words of the legendary freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, that are often quoted in remembrance on his birth anniversary January 23. This year marks the Bose's 125th birth anniversary celebrations, which will also  be one of the most important political events, as West Bengal is due to go to polls this summer. 

The political stage is set and it is the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is pulling all stops, in its attempt to defeat the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) incumbent state government. The two parties have already begun different ways to celebrate Bose’s anniversary. The Union government has announced that January 23 will be celebrated as 'Parakram Divas'. 
 

 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a national holiday which is yet to be announced on the eve of the day. Banerjee had announced that Bose's birth anniversary on January 23 will be celebrated as 'Desh Nayak Diwas' annually. According to news reports, she had expressed resentment over the Centre's decision to celebrate day as "Parakram Divas", and instead suggested it be celebrated as "Desh Nayak Diwas" or "Deshprem Diwas". According to a report in The Millennium Post, Banerjee said, "It is their (Centre's) discretion what they will announce, but we are not happy with the words they have used. I am told that even some members of Netaji's family are not happy." The Mamata Banerjee led government has officially rejected Centre’s decision of celebrating Netaji’s birthday as Parakram Diwas every year and will celebrate the day as 'Desh Nayak Diwas. ' Banerjee is to lead a procession in Kolkata on January 23.

Now as the PM himself is ready to lead the celebrations, a political messaging will be expected too. On January 23, according to a report in the Tribune two of Bose’s grandnephews, both public figures, will also speak on the threat posed by communalism to the unity of the country. Subash Chandra Bose’s commitment to secularism, and his rejection of right-wing hindutva is a matter of historical record, and has been quoted by CM Bannerjee before. 

This year again, the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB), headed by Sugata Bose, his grandnephew, will hold an event on January 23 to pay homage to the freedom fighter. According to the news report, this year, the Netaji Award instituted by the NRB will be conferred posthumously to Abid Hassan, Subhash Chandra Bose’s close associate. Abid Hassan, sailed with Bose in a German U-boat in 1943 on a voyage to South East Asia in the middle of World War II.

According to the Tribune, Sugata, who teaches history at Harvard University, and was a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha member, is slated to give a speech on Saturday on the subject of “Netaji, Abid Hassan and the unity of India”. The report quotes him saying, “The treatment meted out to minorities is tragic and far removed from Netaji’s ideals.” Bose said this was the reason he will speak about “unity of India in the context of Netaji and Abid Hasan’s relationship.”

However, the news report added that Sugata has not been invited, neither for the seminar at National Library nor the exhibition on Bose at Victoria Memorial. Another grandnephew Chandra Bose, was quoted in the news report as saying “upholding the principle of secularism would be the best way to pay tribute to Netaji.”  

PM Modi is to attend both these events during his January 23 visit to Kolkata. According to an India Today report, the union government has decided that the date will be celebrated  every year as ‘Parakram Diwas’ to inspire the country. A permanent exhibition and a “Projection Mapping Show on Netaji will be inaugurated on the occasion” stated the report. A commemorative coin and postage stamp will also be released by the PM, who will also visit the National Library, Kolkata, where an international conference “Re-visiting the legacy of Netaji Subhas in the 21st century” and an Artists' Camp are being held. 

While political parties, continue to stake claim over the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose as West Bengal heads towards election, Bose’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff told Times Now the celebrations were done appropriately,"I hope it will be done in a fashion which is also appropriate to the person like him who was a person of thought, action and had great love for his country".

Anita Bose was quoted as saying, "He (Netaji) certainly doesn’t belong to one party, he belongs to one country and its people". She added, "All political parties are political so they would not do something which would harm them politically. I think there is nothing illegitimate about that and one might also say that it... Trinamool after all also tried to keep up the memory of Netaji. Of course, the Bengalis will be emotionally connected to Netaji, but still a political party will have its political interest in mind."

According to her, “In the past there were efforts to play down the importance of Netaji for the independence movement, but in more recent years, in more than a decade or so, the interest in Netaji has increased again. I feel very good by the fact that even young people or the middle-aged, are respecting him and remembering his contribution to India’s history." 

 

Related:

Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Will Rajbanshis play kingmaker in West Bengal assembly polls?

Pick up arms, take revenge before going to cops: Dilip Ghosh to Hindu youth

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Farmers reject govt proposal for temporary suspension; talks to continue

After a meeting of all unions, it was concluded that they still want repealing of the laws

22 Jan 2021

farmers protest

Persistent with their stand, Farmers unions refuse to bow down and have rejected the government’s proposal of suspending implementation of farm laws for 18 months. The next round of talks is expected to take place today.

After the January 20 meeting between Union Minister for Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar and Farmer unions, Tomar announced this proposal to the public. During the meeting the unions said they would discuss it.

The January 21 meeting of all protesting farmers unions under Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of 41 protesting farmer unions, announced that full repeal of the laws and legislation for remunerative MSP remain their constant and pending demands, thus rejecting the government’s proposal of temporary suspension of implementation.

Meanwhile, on January 21, the apex court appointed committee on farm laws had a virtual meeting with 10 farmers organisations from Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. As per the press brief, the organisations gave their frank views on the laws and suggested improvement in implementation of the laws. 

farmers protest

Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) which represents the protesting farmers unions which have stationed themselves along the border of Delhi, had refused the SC mandate of participating in talks with the committee constituted by it. The committee had received a lot of backlash also because of its composition of members who had previously publicly expressed views in favour of the farm laws.

After more than 50 days of farmers protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament, there has more or less been a stalemate on the situation as the government refuses to relent and as farmers remain persistent on their demand of repeal of the laws.

 

Related:

Farmer leaders consider Centre’s proposal to suspend farm laws for 18 months

Farmers’ protest: SC issues notice on plea seeking reconstitution of Committee

Delhi Police to decide on Farmers’ entry into Delhi for Republic Day rally: SC

Why is NIA seeking to question Khalsa Aid, other volunteers now?

Farmers reject govt proposal for temporary suspension; talks to continue

After a meeting of all unions, it was concluded that they still want repealing of the laws

farmers protest

Persistent with their stand, Farmers unions refuse to bow down and have rejected the government’s proposal of suspending implementation of farm laws for 18 months. The next round of talks is expected to take place today.

After the January 20 meeting between Union Minister for Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar and Farmer unions, Tomar announced this proposal to the public. During the meeting the unions said they would discuss it.

The January 21 meeting of all protesting farmers unions under Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of 41 protesting farmer unions, announced that full repeal of the laws and legislation for remunerative MSP remain their constant and pending demands, thus rejecting the government’s proposal of temporary suspension of implementation.

Meanwhile, on January 21, the apex court appointed committee on farm laws had a virtual meeting with 10 farmers organisations from Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. As per the press brief, the organisations gave their frank views on the laws and suggested improvement in implementation of the laws. 

farmers protest

Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) which represents the protesting farmers unions which have stationed themselves along the border of Delhi, had refused the SC mandate of participating in talks with the committee constituted by it. The committee had received a lot of backlash also because of its composition of members who had previously publicly expressed views in favour of the farm laws.

After more than 50 days of farmers protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament, there has more or less been a stalemate on the situation as the government refuses to relent and as farmers remain persistent on their demand of repeal of the laws.

 

Related:

Farmer leaders consider Centre’s proposal to suspend farm laws for 18 months

Farmers’ protest: SC issues notice on plea seeking reconstitution of Committee

Delhi Police to decide on Farmers’ entry into Delhi for Republic Day rally: SC

Why is NIA seeking to question Khalsa Aid, other volunteers now?

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Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: Muslims for composite Indian nationalism

Changing names of places without understanding historical context is a sign of ignorance, not patriotism

20 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:thereports.in

As per the recent communiqué from Chief Minister of Haryana M.L. Khattar’s, the Government of Haryana has decided to change the name of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Hospital in Faridabad to Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hospital. So far we have witnessed the name changes by present ruling dispensation aplenty. Most of these changes involved the changing of names of roads/cities, which had names of Muslim rulers. Aurangzeb Road was changed to APJ Abdul Kalam, Allahabad to Prayagraj, Mughal Sarai to Pundit Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Faizabad to Ayodhya. In recent elections in Hyderabad, the UP Chief Minister Adiyanath Yogi said that the name of Hyderabad should be changed to Bhgyanagar. Shiv Sena, which was a long time ally of BJP, has been calling for name change of Aurangabad, Ahmadnagar, and Pune among others. While Shiv Sena has woken up to electoral advantages of name change from Muslim rulers names to Hindu rulers lately, BJP is adept to this game and playing it to the hilt. Its major propaganda has been against Muslim Kings (Temple destruction, forcible conversion, oppression of Hindu women etc.) and reflected on the present Muslim community.

What is different this time, in Haryana Governments’ move is that it is not the Muslim King whose name is being changed. It is the name of one of the great Indian Nationalists, one who stood rock solid against British rule, one who opposed the partition in the name of religion and one who was the devout follower of Father of the Nation: Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. He is also addressed as Badshah Khan or Bacha Khan with love and affection. He is also known as Frontier Gandhi.

He was a major leader from North West Frontier Province (NWFP), who due to his anti-British stance was jailed by the British and later also jailed by Pakistan authorities for his standing for plural, democratic values. Khan had founded Khudai Khidmatgar, which pledged to work for the nation, oppose British rule and follow the path of non-violence and amity. Khudai Khidmatgar’s agitation and resistance to British rule was best reflected in Kissa Khwani Bazar. This incident happened in Peshawar in 1930 when British armored vehicles trampled and shot the protesters, who were peacefully demonstrating.

Khan was the one who was totally against the concept of partition and when Congress leadership had to reluctantly accept the partition and NWFP was to be part of Pakistan, Khan said to Congress leadership, ‘you have thrown us to the wolves’. After partition many of his followers who migrated to Faridabad, built this hospital in the memory of their leader. Some of these followers of his who are still alive do say that they have no problems with the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but probably a new hospital can be built in his name sparing the cherished memory of one of the great freedom fighters, one who stood for his principles to the end.

The present ruling dispensation, which was not the part of freedom movement, wants to erase the imprint of Islam and Muslim’s contribution to the building of Indian nation. While medieval Muslims kings have been demonised to the hilt, now BJP seems to be turning its attention to the Muslims who were an inseparable part of the freedom movement. The understanding being spread is that Muslims had been separatists, and so Pakistan was demanded by them. This is a totally superficial understanding of the history of the Independence movement. The Muslim League which had its roots in the nawabs and landlords did not represent the majority of Indian Muslims. Surely Muslim League did succeed in attracting some middle class elements but the large majority of Muslims never supported it. Only elite, property owners and degree holders had the right to vote some of who stood with Muslim League while the average Muslims were with the freedom movement.

Muslim League did succeed in forming ministries in Sindh and Bengal in collaboration with Hindu Mahasabha but average Muslims kept aloof from its separatist politics. The point is that while Jinnah is known as the Muslim leader, it is not generally known that there were other Muslim leaders who were either part of national movements or through their organisations they supported the politics of freedom movement in opposition to the separatist politics of the communalists who believed in ‘two nation theory’, nation based on religion. Shamsul Islam in his book ‘Muslims against India’s partition’ brilliantly brings forth the politics of ‘Nation loving Muslims’ (as he calls those Muslims who stood with the values of Composite nationalism).

In response to Jinnah’s Pakistan resolution, Allahbaksh who was twice the premier of Sindh Province not only returned his titles to support the 1942 Quit India movement. He had earlier formed ‘Azad Muslim Conference’ to oppose the demand of partition of India. He organised this Conference to oppose the demand of partition with huge response from the average sections of Muslim community. Allah Baksh in his speech stressed that our religions may be different but we have to live as a joint family respecting the different opinions of our family members. There are many other significant leaders who had substantial following among Muslims and were for Hindu Muslim unity. Shibli Nomani, Hasrat Mohani, Ashfaqulla Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, Shaukutllah Ansari, Syed Abdullah Barelvi, Abdul Maziz Khwaja are some of these.

Similarly Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a tall leader who led the Congress number of times and it was under his President-ship of Congress in 1942 that the call of Quit India movement, the greatest anti- British campaign, was given. Many a Muslim organisation like Jamiat-E-Ulema Hind, Momin Conference, Majlis-E-Ahrare Islam, Ahle Hadis, Maualans of Barelvi and Deoband and many others stood unflinchingly to support national movement. Muslim League was totally against these Nationalist Muslims. 

Changing the name of the hospital in the memory of Bacha Khan symbolises the further growth of sectarianism where ruling party wants to undermine and erase the contribution of Muslim freedom fighters, who contributed immensely in the making of modern India. 

* The writer is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). 

Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons and Blasphemy Laws in Contemporary Times

Was Mughal Rule the period of India’s Slavery?

Kashi- Mathura: Will temple politics be revived?

Scapegoats and Holy Cows

Freedom of Religion: Indian Scenario

Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: Muslims for composite Indian nationalism

Changing names of places without understanding historical context is a sign of ignorance, not patriotism

Image Courtesy:thereports.in

As per the recent communiqué from Chief Minister of Haryana M.L. Khattar’s, the Government of Haryana has decided to change the name of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Hospital in Faridabad to Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hospital. So far we have witnessed the name changes by present ruling dispensation aplenty. Most of these changes involved the changing of names of roads/cities, which had names of Muslim rulers. Aurangzeb Road was changed to APJ Abdul Kalam, Allahabad to Prayagraj, Mughal Sarai to Pundit Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Faizabad to Ayodhya. In recent elections in Hyderabad, the UP Chief Minister Adiyanath Yogi said that the name of Hyderabad should be changed to Bhgyanagar. Shiv Sena, which was a long time ally of BJP, has been calling for name change of Aurangabad, Ahmadnagar, and Pune among others. While Shiv Sena has woken up to electoral advantages of name change from Muslim rulers names to Hindu rulers lately, BJP is adept to this game and playing it to the hilt. Its major propaganda has been against Muslim Kings (Temple destruction, forcible conversion, oppression of Hindu women etc.) and reflected on the present Muslim community.

What is different this time, in Haryana Governments’ move is that it is not the Muslim King whose name is being changed. It is the name of one of the great Indian Nationalists, one who stood rock solid against British rule, one who opposed the partition in the name of religion and one who was the devout follower of Father of the Nation: Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. He is also addressed as Badshah Khan or Bacha Khan with love and affection. He is also known as Frontier Gandhi.

He was a major leader from North West Frontier Province (NWFP), who due to his anti-British stance was jailed by the British and later also jailed by Pakistan authorities for his standing for plural, democratic values. Khan had founded Khudai Khidmatgar, which pledged to work for the nation, oppose British rule and follow the path of non-violence and amity. Khudai Khidmatgar’s agitation and resistance to British rule was best reflected in Kissa Khwani Bazar. This incident happened in Peshawar in 1930 when British armored vehicles trampled and shot the protesters, who were peacefully demonstrating.

Khan was the one who was totally against the concept of partition and when Congress leadership had to reluctantly accept the partition and NWFP was to be part of Pakistan, Khan said to Congress leadership, ‘you have thrown us to the wolves’. After partition many of his followers who migrated to Faridabad, built this hospital in the memory of their leader. Some of these followers of his who are still alive do say that they have no problems with the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but probably a new hospital can be built in his name sparing the cherished memory of one of the great freedom fighters, one who stood for his principles to the end.

The present ruling dispensation, which was not the part of freedom movement, wants to erase the imprint of Islam and Muslim’s contribution to the building of Indian nation. While medieval Muslims kings have been demonised to the hilt, now BJP seems to be turning its attention to the Muslims who were an inseparable part of the freedom movement. The understanding being spread is that Muslims had been separatists, and so Pakistan was demanded by them. This is a totally superficial understanding of the history of the Independence movement. The Muslim League which had its roots in the nawabs and landlords did not represent the majority of Indian Muslims. Surely Muslim League did succeed in attracting some middle class elements but the large majority of Muslims never supported it. Only elite, property owners and degree holders had the right to vote some of who stood with Muslim League while the average Muslims were with the freedom movement.

Muslim League did succeed in forming ministries in Sindh and Bengal in collaboration with Hindu Mahasabha but average Muslims kept aloof from its separatist politics. The point is that while Jinnah is known as the Muslim leader, it is not generally known that there were other Muslim leaders who were either part of national movements or through their organisations they supported the politics of freedom movement in opposition to the separatist politics of the communalists who believed in ‘two nation theory’, nation based on religion. Shamsul Islam in his book ‘Muslims against India’s partition’ brilliantly brings forth the politics of ‘Nation loving Muslims’ (as he calls those Muslims who stood with the values of Composite nationalism).

In response to Jinnah’s Pakistan resolution, Allahbaksh who was twice the premier of Sindh Province not only returned his titles to support the 1942 Quit India movement. He had earlier formed ‘Azad Muslim Conference’ to oppose the demand of partition of India. He organised this Conference to oppose the demand of partition with huge response from the average sections of Muslim community. Allah Baksh in his speech stressed that our religions may be different but we have to live as a joint family respecting the different opinions of our family members. There are many other significant leaders who had substantial following among Muslims and were for Hindu Muslim unity. Shibli Nomani, Hasrat Mohani, Ashfaqulla Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, Shaukutllah Ansari, Syed Abdullah Barelvi, Abdul Maziz Khwaja are some of these.

Similarly Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a tall leader who led the Congress number of times and it was under his President-ship of Congress in 1942 that the call of Quit India movement, the greatest anti- British campaign, was given. Many a Muslim organisation like Jamiat-E-Ulema Hind, Momin Conference, Majlis-E-Ahrare Islam, Ahle Hadis, Maualans of Barelvi and Deoband and many others stood unflinchingly to support national movement. Muslim League was totally against these Nationalist Muslims. 

Changing the name of the hospital in the memory of Bacha Khan symbolises the further growth of sectarianism where ruling party wants to undermine and erase the contribution of Muslim freedom fighters, who contributed immensely in the making of modern India. 

* The writer is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). 

Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons and Blasphemy Laws in Contemporary Times

Was Mughal Rule the period of India’s Slavery?

Kashi- Mathura: Will temple politics be revived?

Scapegoats and Holy Cows

Freedom of Religion: Indian Scenario

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Farmers wiser than the Prime Minister: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader claimed that the new farm laws will put the entire agriculture sector in the hands of three or four crony capitalists

19 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is emerging as one of the most outspoken Opposition party leaders lending his support to the farmers’ protest, which is now nearing its second month at the Delhi border. Gandhi has stayed away from the main protest sites as the farmers themselves do not want a political colour to be added to their movement, but has been a part of a number of solidarity events across the country. So much so that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members have named Rahul Gandhi in their verbal attacks, and have asked him to answer for various political developments in the country, as if he is the man in power.

Gandhi has so far brushed aside personal attacks and is becoming the voice of the Opposition which has been eerily quiet at the moment. Any Left party leaders at the protest are there in their capacity as activists, and are well known labour and farm union leaders themselves.

"The three Farm Laws are designed to destroy Indian agriculture," Gandhi said, adding that the fact that more people did not understand this was a "tragedy unfolding in the country." He lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what he called were tactics to “tire the farmers out”. He said the farmers were more knowledgeable and knew more about farm laws than even the Prime Minister. The only option was to repeal the laws, he said, however adding a caveat that the plan was still to benefit a few farmers. He said that these farm laws are not just an assault on farmers but also on the middle class and every single youngster in the country needs to understand that. He alleged that the Centre’s new farm laws have been designed to destroy Indian agriculture. Gandhi said that he will keep fighting to provide justice to 62 crore hard-working farmers and labourers.

The Congress leader claimed that the new farm laws will put the entire agriculture sector in the hands of three or four crony capitalists. He said that there is just one solution to end the farmers’ protest and that is the withdrawal of the three newly enacted farm laws. The farmers he said are fighting for the nation, not for themselves,  and the Indian middle class citizenry needs to understand that. According to Gandhi, there was media manipulation underway and the Union government he alleged was “keeping the nation misinformed”.

Gandhi’s press conference, and presence on the ground is an interesting marker, when most BJP leaders are busy in pre-election campaigns, or at official functions and inaugurations, and the Prime Minister himself has not yet had a press conference, nor has he addressed the farmers protesting at Delhi borders. 

Gandhi however, has said at every forum possible that the three contentious farm laws will have to be repealed by the government. He also released a booklet titled ‘Kheti ka Khoon’ or ‘Murder of Farming’ on the issue. Gandhi said the farmers protest was one of the many issues that highlighted the “tragedy unfolding today in the country. The government wants to ignore issues and misinform the country. I’m not going to speak about farmers alone as it is only part of the tragedy. It’s important for youngsters. This is not about the present but the future.” The farmers are the patriots, who are protecting the livelihood of 60 percent of the country, he said adding that this was reason enough to support farmers, “the farmers are more intelligent and aware than the prime minister.”

Gandhi also lashed out at  BJP president JP Nadda who wanted Gandhi to answer a series of questions that he asked in a long thread on Twitter. The BJP chief started off with a taunt tweeting, "Now that Mr Rahul Gandhi has returned from his monthly vacation, I would like to ask him some questions. I hope he will answer them in today's Press Conference," and unrolled the ‘questionnaire’.

"Who is he? Why should I answer him," Gandhi shot back adding, “Is he my professor? I will answer to the country." Nadda had asked Gandhi about Coronavirus, and China, and farmer protests. He of course invoked Nehru and alleged that Gandhi was "provoking and misleading" farmers. 

Gandhi of course could not resist commenting on the ongoing conversations and accusations over Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami’s leaked whatsapp chats. He demanded that the leaked information about the Balakot strike be probed, and that the  source and recipient of the secret information must be booked. “Sensitive defence information before Balakot was given to a journalist. Even the pilots get such information at the last moment. Top five people (the prime minister, the defence minister, the home minister, the IAF chief and the NSA) had this information. Someone out of them gave him this information. This is criminal. We must find out who gave and the process of the probe should begin but it will not because the PM must have given the information,” alleged Gandhi, adding “If Arnab Goswami knew, I believe Pakistan also knew.”

Related:

Centre postpones farm law talks to Jan 20
Jai Kisan, say veteran jawans now stationed on Delhi’s borders in solidarity with farmers
Kisan Parade will showcase floats and tableaus reflecting state of agriculture: SKM
Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Farmers wiser than the Prime Minister: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader claimed that the new farm laws will put the entire agriculture sector in the hands of three or four crony capitalists

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is emerging as one of the most outspoken Opposition party leaders lending his support to the farmers’ protest, which is now nearing its second month at the Delhi border. Gandhi has stayed away from the main protest sites as the farmers themselves do not want a political colour to be added to their movement, but has been a part of a number of solidarity events across the country. So much so that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members have named Rahul Gandhi in their verbal attacks, and have asked him to answer for various political developments in the country, as if he is the man in power.

Gandhi has so far brushed aside personal attacks and is becoming the voice of the Opposition which has been eerily quiet at the moment. Any Left party leaders at the protest are there in their capacity as activists, and are well known labour and farm union leaders themselves.

"The three Farm Laws are designed to destroy Indian agriculture," Gandhi said, adding that the fact that more people did not understand this was a "tragedy unfolding in the country." He lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what he called were tactics to “tire the farmers out”. He said the farmers were more knowledgeable and knew more about farm laws than even the Prime Minister. The only option was to repeal the laws, he said, however adding a caveat that the plan was still to benefit a few farmers. He said that these farm laws are not just an assault on farmers but also on the middle class and every single youngster in the country needs to understand that. He alleged that the Centre’s new farm laws have been designed to destroy Indian agriculture. Gandhi said that he will keep fighting to provide justice to 62 crore hard-working farmers and labourers.

The Congress leader claimed that the new farm laws will put the entire agriculture sector in the hands of three or four crony capitalists. He said that there is just one solution to end the farmers’ protest and that is the withdrawal of the three newly enacted farm laws. The farmers he said are fighting for the nation, not for themselves,  and the Indian middle class citizenry needs to understand that. According to Gandhi, there was media manipulation underway and the Union government he alleged was “keeping the nation misinformed”.

Gandhi’s press conference, and presence on the ground is an interesting marker, when most BJP leaders are busy in pre-election campaigns, or at official functions and inaugurations, and the Prime Minister himself has not yet had a press conference, nor has he addressed the farmers protesting at Delhi borders. 

Gandhi however, has said at every forum possible that the three contentious farm laws will have to be repealed by the government. He also released a booklet titled ‘Kheti ka Khoon’ or ‘Murder of Farming’ on the issue. Gandhi said the farmers protest was one of the many issues that highlighted the “tragedy unfolding today in the country. The government wants to ignore issues and misinform the country. I’m not going to speak about farmers alone as it is only part of the tragedy. It’s important for youngsters. This is not about the present but the future.” The farmers are the patriots, who are protecting the livelihood of 60 percent of the country, he said adding that this was reason enough to support farmers, “the farmers are more intelligent and aware than the prime minister.”

Gandhi also lashed out at  BJP president JP Nadda who wanted Gandhi to answer a series of questions that he asked in a long thread on Twitter. The BJP chief started off with a taunt tweeting, "Now that Mr Rahul Gandhi has returned from his monthly vacation, I would like to ask him some questions. I hope he will answer them in today's Press Conference," and unrolled the ‘questionnaire’.

"Who is he? Why should I answer him," Gandhi shot back adding, “Is he my professor? I will answer to the country." Nadda had asked Gandhi about Coronavirus, and China, and farmer protests. He of course invoked Nehru and alleged that Gandhi was "provoking and misleading" farmers. 

Gandhi of course could not resist commenting on the ongoing conversations and accusations over Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami’s leaked whatsapp chats. He demanded that the leaked information about the Balakot strike be probed, and that the  source and recipient of the secret information must be booked. “Sensitive defence information before Balakot was given to a journalist. Even the pilots get such information at the last moment. Top five people (the prime minister, the defence minister, the home minister, the IAF chief and the NSA) had this information. Someone out of them gave him this information. This is criminal. We must find out who gave and the process of the probe should begin but it will not because the PM must have given the information,” alleged Gandhi, adding “If Arnab Goswami knew, I believe Pakistan also knew.”

Related:

Centre postpones farm law talks to Jan 20
Jai Kisan, say veteran jawans now stationed on Delhi’s borders in solidarity with farmers
Kisan Parade will showcase floats and tableaus reflecting state of agriculture: SKM
Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

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Jharkhand scholarship scam: District welfare official suspended

This is the first punitive step taken by the state against an official, after it launched an investigation into the illegal diversion of scholarship fund

19 Jan 2021

Jharkhand scholarship scam

 

The Jharkhand government has suspended a key district welfare official in Dhanbad for not following due process and accepting applications without verification for the Centre’s pre-Matric scholarships for poor minority students, according to the Indian Express.

The order placing Dhanbad District Welfare Officer Dayanand Dubey under suspension said that the suspension was “with immediate effect for not following due process in conducting any inquiry resulting in illegal disbursement of the scholarship amount”.

This step was taken after the state government initiated a probe into the illegal diversion of the scholarship funds, by a nexus of government, bank and school officials. The Jharkhand State Co-operative Bank has also frozen the accounts of two banking correspondents in the capital city of Ranchi for their alleged involvement in the scam, reported the Indian Express.

An FIR was registered in Dhanbad in November last year that accused a computer operator at the District Welfare Office of allegedly registering schools on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) for the scholarship without Dayanand Dubey’s signature.

The inquiry into this corruption web was first launched on the basis of Indian Express reports that found that the nexus colluded to dupe parents and students, and set up fake beneficiaries, while genuine applicants were left out across various districts- Ranchi, Latehar, Ramgarh, Lohardaga and Sahibganj and Dhanbad.

Speaking to the media, the ADM Dhanbad had revealed that the accused persons siphoned off the funds in three ways. In the first method they enrolled fake students by obtaining the User ID’s and passwords by taking school principals or school nodal officers for the scholarship into confidence and got the money transferred into their accounts. In the second method, they got fake user ID’s and passwords on the basis of forged documents into the NSP, without the knowledge of the schools and in connivance of the welfare department officials, and siphoned off the money. In the third method, they got scholarship funds, transferred from the welfare department of Dhanbad in the name of schools located outside Dhanbad.

Advocate Shadab had also apprised SabrangIndia last year that this scam was spread in almost all parts of India but had been reported first in Jharkhand. An inkling of this fraud first emerged when students of different schools in Jharkhand were being asked to furnish various documents like bank account details, Aadhar, etc. He added that everyone from the top level officials in the Government to low ranked officers in Banks and State departments were involved.

 

Related:

Jharkhand Scholarship Scam: ADM calls for phone records for investigation

Jharkhand scholarship scam: District welfare official suspended

This is the first punitive step taken by the state against an official, after it launched an investigation into the illegal diversion of scholarship fund

Jharkhand scholarship scam

 

The Jharkhand government has suspended a key district welfare official in Dhanbad for not following due process and accepting applications without verification for the Centre’s pre-Matric scholarships for poor minority students, according to the Indian Express.

The order placing Dhanbad District Welfare Officer Dayanand Dubey under suspension said that the suspension was “with immediate effect for not following due process in conducting any inquiry resulting in illegal disbursement of the scholarship amount”.

This step was taken after the state government initiated a probe into the illegal diversion of the scholarship funds, by a nexus of government, bank and school officials. The Jharkhand State Co-operative Bank has also frozen the accounts of two banking correspondents in the capital city of Ranchi for their alleged involvement in the scam, reported the Indian Express.

An FIR was registered in Dhanbad in November last year that accused a computer operator at the District Welfare Office of allegedly registering schools on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) for the scholarship without Dayanand Dubey’s signature.

The inquiry into this corruption web was first launched on the basis of Indian Express reports that found that the nexus colluded to dupe parents and students, and set up fake beneficiaries, while genuine applicants were left out across various districts- Ranchi, Latehar, Ramgarh, Lohardaga and Sahibganj and Dhanbad.

Speaking to the media, the ADM Dhanbad had revealed that the accused persons siphoned off the funds in three ways. In the first method they enrolled fake students by obtaining the User ID’s and passwords by taking school principals or school nodal officers for the scholarship into confidence and got the money transferred into their accounts. In the second method, they got fake user ID’s and passwords on the basis of forged documents into the NSP, without the knowledge of the schools and in connivance of the welfare department officials, and siphoned off the money. In the third method, they got scholarship funds, transferred from the welfare department of Dhanbad in the name of schools located outside Dhanbad.

Advocate Shadab had also apprised SabrangIndia last year that this scam was spread in almost all parts of India but had been reported first in Jharkhand. An inkling of this fraud first emerged when students of different schools in Jharkhand were being asked to furnish various documents like bank account details, Aadhar, etc. He added that everyone from the top level officials in the Government to low ranked officers in Banks and State departments were involved.

 

Related:

Jharkhand Scholarship Scam: ADM calls for phone records for investigation

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Tandav controversy: Convenient distraction from an on ground crisis?

Makers and the web streaming service have been accused of insulting Hindu gods on the series  

18 Jan 2021

Tandav

It is a typical masala sprinkled political drama web series, yet Tandav, the show now airing on Amazon Prime, is now facing major criminal action after days of trolling over ‘hurting religious sentiments. Bar and Bench reports that now the Uttar Pradesh police have filed a case against the creators of the web series, after BJP leader Kapil Mishra sent a legal notice to Amazon.  

 

 

The web series is a fictional story of political power play. According to news reports it is being alleged that makers and the web streaming service have insulted Hindu gods on the series. The police case was filed just hours after the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) sought a response from Amazon Prime on a complaint filed by Maharashtra BJP MLA Ram Kadam. The trolling of the series, its acting cast, and its makers has been going on since it first aired a few days ago. People have been calling for a ban on the series and alleged it has hurt their religious sentiments. Now official action against the filmmakers has followed. 

The show has been directed by Ali Abbas Zaffar, written by Gaurav Solanki and has a star cast of prominent film actors including Dimple Kapadia, Saif Ali Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil Grover, Anup Soni, Kumud Mishra, Gauahar Khan, Kritika Kamra, Sandya Mridul and many more. The director, producer and writer of the series and Amazon's head of India Original Content, have now been accused of promoting religious enmity and defiling a place of worship. According to a report in NDTV, a complaint has been filed at Lucknow's Hazratganj police station by a sub-inspector who is also posted there. 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's media adviser Shalabh Mani Tripathi shared a copy of the FIR, warning the makers to be ready for arrest, he posted on Twitter. “There is no tolerance for playing with people's sentiments.. in yogiji’s Uttar Pradesh case has been registered under serious sections against the team of Tandav… be prepared for arrest soon." 

 

 

Soon after Tripathi’s message, scores of Bharatiya Janata Party politicians amplified that demand. According to NDTV, the policeman who filed the complaint stated he had alerted senior officers about numerous Twitter comments critical of Tandav's content, and was ordered to watch it. The complaint states that 17 minutes into the first episode, "people dressed up in a very bad manner (sic) to represent Hindu gods and goddesses and have been shown to speak in a very uncalled for language... that hurts religious sentiments". It added that in the same episode there are "conversations that lead to caste conflict, there are similar scenes in many other episodes. In the web series, the character of the person occupying the high post of India's Prime Minister has been shown in a very indecent manner... The series depicts lower and higher castes and scenes that insult women, and the intent... seems to be to hurt religious feelings of one community and to spread conflict”.

However, those who have watched Tandav, without wearing a sensitive religious lens will know that it is yet another web series which is based on politics, the biggest national obsession after cricket. 

It in fact can be panned for its superficial portrayal of politics, and of caste equations, and most of all its abysmally myopic treatment of key female characters. The series is surely deserving of a film and television critique and analysis of its formulaic treatment, trite dialogues, some hamming by even seasoned actors, no thanks to its weak writing, however it is not a political documentary. It is a merely fictional story, that is a thinly veiled take on real life social events that have taken place years apart. While it eerily foretells the ongoing farmers revolution, and notes the students movement that had united the country during the anti-CAA agitation, it fails to showcase either with any depth at all. The focus remains on dynasty politics, which too though beautifully shot, is superficial. But politicians are upset anyway.

Of course it also shows the police as politicaly controlled puppets who respond to “orders from above”, there are Muslim students are shown as protestors who are then attacked by cops, there is a hint of a farmers/workers’ protest, there is media manipulation, but all that is seen in real life everyday now. And then there is, what the trolls have been frothing about, a Muslim actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, playing a  Hindu student leader Shiva Shekhar who in turn is playing an abstract fictional adaptation of a Hindu god in a fictional college play. Perhaps trolls were triggered by memories of  student leaders such as Kanhaiya Kumar, or of the attack on JNU and Jamia students, or maybe they were upset that Tigmanshu Dhulia plays a Prime Minister who is killed by his son Samar Pratap Singh, played by Saif Ali Khan. Khan plays a villain, as do many other characters in various degrees. For the record the worst depiction in Tandav is of the women characters who are all treated as eye candy, or muses, at best, or as powerless yet scheming villains at worst. But the trolls are not upset by that filmmaking flaw at all, for now. 

Tandav is far from being a nuanced depiction of Indian politics, or of the social people powered movements now underway. However, the question to be asked is, why is the political leadership giving so much traction to a fictional web series? What is this buzz of activity against Tadav, meant to distract us from?

 

Related:

Love Jihad Ordinance criminalises interfaith unions, assault on Article 21: Petitioner 

Take action against 'Swami' for hate speech: Subhashini Ali to UP Police

Muslim man asked about "origin", beaten up in Ahmedabad

Tandav controversy: Convenient distraction from an on ground crisis?

Makers and the web streaming service have been accused of insulting Hindu gods on the series  

Tandav

It is a typical masala sprinkled political drama web series, yet Tandav, the show now airing on Amazon Prime, is now facing major criminal action after days of trolling over ‘hurting religious sentiments. Bar and Bench reports that now the Uttar Pradesh police have filed a case against the creators of the web series, after BJP leader Kapil Mishra sent a legal notice to Amazon.  

 

 

The web series is a fictional story of political power play. According to news reports it is being alleged that makers and the web streaming service have insulted Hindu gods on the series. The police case was filed just hours after the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) sought a response from Amazon Prime on a complaint filed by Maharashtra BJP MLA Ram Kadam. The trolling of the series, its acting cast, and its makers has been going on since it first aired a few days ago. People have been calling for a ban on the series and alleged it has hurt their religious sentiments. Now official action against the filmmakers has followed. 

The show has been directed by Ali Abbas Zaffar, written by Gaurav Solanki and has a star cast of prominent film actors including Dimple Kapadia, Saif Ali Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil Grover, Anup Soni, Kumud Mishra, Gauahar Khan, Kritika Kamra, Sandya Mridul and many more. The director, producer and writer of the series and Amazon's head of India Original Content, have now been accused of promoting religious enmity and defiling a place of worship. According to a report in NDTV, a complaint has been filed at Lucknow's Hazratganj police station by a sub-inspector who is also posted there. 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's media adviser Shalabh Mani Tripathi shared a copy of the FIR, warning the makers to be ready for arrest, he posted on Twitter. “There is no tolerance for playing with people's sentiments.. in yogiji’s Uttar Pradesh case has been registered under serious sections against the team of Tandav… be prepared for arrest soon." 

 

 

Soon after Tripathi’s message, scores of Bharatiya Janata Party politicians amplified that demand. According to NDTV, the policeman who filed the complaint stated he had alerted senior officers about numerous Twitter comments critical of Tandav's content, and was ordered to watch it. The complaint states that 17 minutes into the first episode, "people dressed up in a very bad manner (sic) to represent Hindu gods and goddesses and have been shown to speak in a very uncalled for language... that hurts religious sentiments". It added that in the same episode there are "conversations that lead to caste conflict, there are similar scenes in many other episodes. In the web series, the character of the person occupying the high post of India's Prime Minister has been shown in a very indecent manner... The series depicts lower and higher castes and scenes that insult women, and the intent... seems to be to hurt religious feelings of one community and to spread conflict”.

However, those who have watched Tandav, without wearing a sensitive religious lens will know that it is yet another web series which is based on politics, the biggest national obsession after cricket. 

It in fact can be panned for its superficial portrayal of politics, and of caste equations, and most of all its abysmally myopic treatment of key female characters. The series is surely deserving of a film and television critique and analysis of its formulaic treatment, trite dialogues, some hamming by even seasoned actors, no thanks to its weak writing, however it is not a political documentary. It is a merely fictional story, that is a thinly veiled take on real life social events that have taken place years apart. While it eerily foretells the ongoing farmers revolution, and notes the students movement that had united the country during the anti-CAA agitation, it fails to showcase either with any depth at all. The focus remains on dynasty politics, which too though beautifully shot, is superficial. But politicians are upset anyway.

Of course it also shows the police as politicaly controlled puppets who respond to “orders from above”, there are Muslim students are shown as protestors who are then attacked by cops, there is a hint of a farmers/workers’ protest, there is media manipulation, but all that is seen in real life everyday now. And then there is, what the trolls have been frothing about, a Muslim actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, playing a  Hindu student leader Shiva Shekhar who in turn is playing an abstract fictional adaptation of a Hindu god in a fictional college play. Perhaps trolls were triggered by memories of  student leaders such as Kanhaiya Kumar, or of the attack on JNU and Jamia students, or maybe they were upset that Tigmanshu Dhulia plays a Prime Minister who is killed by his son Samar Pratap Singh, played by Saif Ali Khan. Khan plays a villain, as do many other characters in various degrees. For the record the worst depiction in Tandav is of the women characters who are all treated as eye candy, or muses, at best, or as powerless yet scheming villains at worst. But the trolls are not upset by that filmmaking flaw at all, for now. 

Tandav is far from being a nuanced depiction of Indian politics, or of the social people powered movements now underway. However, the question to be asked is, why is the political leadership giving so much traction to a fictional web series? What is this buzz of activity against Tadav, meant to distract us from?

 

Related:

Love Jihad Ordinance criminalises interfaith unions, assault on Article 21: Petitioner 

Take action against 'Swami' for hate speech: Subhashini Ali to UP Police

Muslim man asked about "origin", beaten up in Ahmedabad

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Love Jihad Ordinance criminalises interfaith unions, assault on Article 21: Petitioner to Allahabad HC

Objecting to the submissions made by the Uttar Pradesh Government, the petitioner has submitted that marriage between adults should not concern the state or social watchdogs

18 Jan 2021

Love Jihad

The petitioner challenging the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has submitted a reply to the State Government’s defense aimed at preventing any form of unlawful conversion actuated by elements of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, by marriage, etc.

According to LiveLaw, the petitioner has submitted, “If a person exercises the freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution to marry somebody of his or her choice, and in that process, one partner chooses to change their religion immediately prior to marriage, that should not be the matter of concern for the State of any social watchdogs.”

One of the petitioners, Advocate Saurabh Kumar, represented by Advocates Devesh Saxena, Shashwat Anand and Vishesh Rajvanshi, in his rejoinder affidavit has also stated the detrimental impacts on the Article 21 protection. It states, “The impugned Ordinance is nothing but legal sanction to the criminalisation of inter-faith marriages. It is a direct assault on Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees personal liberty and the right to life.”

Referring to the Preamble of the impugned Ordinance, the petitioner said that the law equates marriage with misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement and fraudulent means. Amongst other things, it seeks to prohibit what it calls “unlawful conversion by marriage”. 

The rejoinder reads, “The state's concern about forcible conversions is understandable as it could involve several crimes, such as wrongful confinement, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, threat of divine displeasure etc. But the fact remains that there are enough laws on the statute book (Indian Penal Code) that are adequate to convict those accused of the crime or tackle coercive conversion.”

He has also objected to the proviso to Section 3 of the impugned ordinance in as much as it lays down that “reconversion” to a person's previous religion is not illegal, even if it is vitiated by fraud, force, allurement, misrepresentation and so on. “Through this peculiar provision, the law seems to contradict its own vicious theories of forceful conversions and breach of public order”, his submission reads.

The affidavit by the petitioner also comes down heavily on the Ordinance as it is anti-women. “In the framing of the love jihad narrative, Hindu women are only gullible victims, who have been made to stray away from the fold of their clan and community. They are not consenting adults free to make their own choices — good or bad. It is an idea that feeds the need of all patriarchal societies to control ‘sisters and daughters’ — never independent women — and their sexuality”, it reads.

As the Uttar Pradesh Government, in its counter affidavit to the writ petition filed in the court had declared that “community interest is on a much higher pedestal than agreement of two individuals who enter into wedlock”, the petitioner has contended that this proposition overturns the spirit of the Constitution and implies that no two individuals can make a decision regarding their marriage partners without seeking the sanction of the community they are a part of.

The Government had also placed on record that the judgment Salamat Ansari and Ors vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors 2020 SCC Online All 1382 is not good law. Arguing the other way round, the petitioner has disagreed and submitted that judgment passed in Salamat Ansari case lays down a good law and is backed up by various judicial precedents and pronouncement of the Supreme Court, and it will wrong and misconceived to state that the said decision requires consideration.

LiveLaw reported that the rejoinder submitted by the petitioner questioned the Rev Stanislaus judgment that upheld the anti-conversion laws of Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. He has contended that the said case is different from the one at hand in as much as the two State acts were silent on inter-faith marriages and the Supreme Court too had not commented upon that.

The Uttar Pradesh Government had claimed in its affidavit that it is incorrect to label the impugned Ordinance as “Love-Jihad Ordinance” as it did not target any particular religion and was equally applicable to all forms of forced conversion, not just interfaith marriages.

The petitioner has however contended a scrutiny of the statistics submitted by the Government in court presents a different picture. Ever since the Ordinance came into effect on November 28, 86 people were booked and 79 of them are Muslims and all these 79 have been accused of similar offences — allegedly enticing a woman and forcing her to convert to Islam.

Further, he has submitted that the records show that the UP Police has registered 14 cases and made 51 arrests, of whom 49 are in jail. In all such cases, the women involved are adults.

The Allahabad High Court is set to hear the batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Ordinance today, on January 18.

Related:

Allahabad HC to hear petitions challenging the Love Jihad law

Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Love Jihad Ordinance criminalises interfaith unions, assault on Article 21: Petitioner to Allahabad HC

Objecting to the submissions made by the Uttar Pradesh Government, the petitioner has submitted that marriage between adults should not concern the state or social watchdogs

Love Jihad

The petitioner challenging the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has submitted a reply to the State Government’s defense aimed at preventing any form of unlawful conversion actuated by elements of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, by marriage, etc.

According to LiveLaw, the petitioner has submitted, “If a person exercises the freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution to marry somebody of his or her choice, and in that process, one partner chooses to change their religion immediately prior to marriage, that should not be the matter of concern for the State of any social watchdogs.”

One of the petitioners, Advocate Saurabh Kumar, represented by Advocates Devesh Saxena, Shashwat Anand and Vishesh Rajvanshi, in his rejoinder affidavit has also stated the detrimental impacts on the Article 21 protection. It states, “The impugned Ordinance is nothing but legal sanction to the criminalisation of inter-faith marriages. It is a direct assault on Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees personal liberty and the right to life.”

Referring to the Preamble of the impugned Ordinance, the petitioner said that the law equates marriage with misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement and fraudulent means. Amongst other things, it seeks to prohibit what it calls “unlawful conversion by marriage”. 

The rejoinder reads, “The state's concern about forcible conversions is understandable as it could involve several crimes, such as wrongful confinement, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, threat of divine displeasure etc. But the fact remains that there are enough laws on the statute book (Indian Penal Code) that are adequate to convict those accused of the crime or tackle coercive conversion.”

He has also objected to the proviso to Section 3 of the impugned ordinance in as much as it lays down that “reconversion” to a person's previous religion is not illegal, even if it is vitiated by fraud, force, allurement, misrepresentation and so on. “Through this peculiar provision, the law seems to contradict its own vicious theories of forceful conversions and breach of public order”, his submission reads.

The affidavit by the petitioner also comes down heavily on the Ordinance as it is anti-women. “In the framing of the love jihad narrative, Hindu women are only gullible victims, who have been made to stray away from the fold of their clan and community. They are not consenting adults free to make their own choices — good or bad. It is an idea that feeds the need of all patriarchal societies to control ‘sisters and daughters’ — never independent women — and their sexuality”, it reads.

As the Uttar Pradesh Government, in its counter affidavit to the writ petition filed in the court had declared that “community interest is on a much higher pedestal than agreement of two individuals who enter into wedlock”, the petitioner has contended that this proposition overturns the spirit of the Constitution and implies that no two individuals can make a decision regarding their marriage partners without seeking the sanction of the community they are a part of.

The Government had also placed on record that the judgment Salamat Ansari and Ors vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors 2020 SCC Online All 1382 is not good law. Arguing the other way round, the petitioner has disagreed and submitted that judgment passed in Salamat Ansari case lays down a good law and is backed up by various judicial precedents and pronouncement of the Supreme Court, and it will wrong and misconceived to state that the said decision requires consideration.

LiveLaw reported that the rejoinder submitted by the petitioner questioned the Rev Stanislaus judgment that upheld the anti-conversion laws of Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. He has contended that the said case is different from the one at hand in as much as the two State acts were silent on inter-faith marriages and the Supreme Court too had not commented upon that.

The Uttar Pradesh Government had claimed in its affidavit that it is incorrect to label the impugned Ordinance as “Love-Jihad Ordinance” as it did not target any particular religion and was equally applicable to all forms of forced conversion, not just interfaith marriages.

The petitioner has however contended a scrutiny of the statistics submitted by the Government in court presents a different picture. Ever since the Ordinance came into effect on November 28, 86 people were booked and 79 of them are Muslims and all these 79 have been accused of similar offences — allegedly enticing a woman and forcing her to convert to Islam.

Further, he has submitted that the records show that the UP Police has registered 14 cases and made 51 arrests, of whom 49 are in jail. In all such cases, the women involved are adults.

The Allahabad High Court is set to hear the batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Ordinance today, on January 18.

Related:

Allahabad HC to hear petitions challenging the Love Jihad law

Love Jihad, Conversions and Laws curbing Freedoms

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

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Sabrang

Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Lines blur between church and state as President of India becomes first contributor to the fund to build the temple in Ayodhya

16 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust (SRTKT) kickstarted its fundraising drive to construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya this week, but according to a report in The Telegraph, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using this drive to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP members were reportedly distributing receipts for donation amounts in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 100 and Rs 1,000. They were also reportedly collecting details of donors. The Telegraph quoted a source saying that this database of donors would serve as a “dipstick survey” of supporters in the state.

This raises several concerns given how this will help the BJP ascertain not only who its supporters are, but also help them figure out those who did not donate, thus enabling their targeting. West Bengal is perhaps the state that the BJP covets the most and with state assembly elections due in a few months, areas from where there have been fewer donors could be in the party’s crosshairs. Non-donors could face intimidation, and this fear itself might make people make donations even if they do not support the cause.

Meanwhile, this week President Ramnath Kovind became the first person to make a donation to the trust set up for building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. NDTV reported that Kovind donated Rs 5 lakhs for temple construction after SRTKT co-president Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, paid a visit to him along with temple construction committee chief Nripendra Misra, VHP working president Alok Kumar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kulbhushan Ahuja.

News agencies quoted Kumar as saying, “He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate the drive.”

Now, while there is no law to prevent persons holding public offices from making monetary donations in their private capacity to any cause, when the President of India donates to a cause that has a deeply communal and violent history, it appears to send a message.

Carnatic musician and activist TM Krishna tweeted, “Donating to a temple is not the issue, that is his right. But the signal that donating to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya sends out to the citizens of this country is something the President seems to have forgotten, or may be he did not forget.”

 

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also made a donation and even tweeted about it from his official account saying, “It is the luckiest day of my life. I feel like I have accomplished what I needed to as a human being.” He further said, “My family is also offering one brick.”

 

Once again, the issue is not a donation to a cause, but to publicise it, that too using official channels appears to normalise the blurring of lines between one’s personal and professional lives.

It is also noteworthy, that though the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of handing over the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, it also held that the demolition of the mosque was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”.

 

Related:

Ayodhya scam: 4 held for embezzlement from Ram temple trust
The judiciary is abandoning its duties: NAPM on the Babri Masjid judgment
CBI court's Babri Masjid demolition judgment challenged 

Ram Mandir fundraising campaign a tool to gauge BJP’s popularity in Bengal?

Lines blur between church and state as President of India becomes first contributor to the fund to build the temple in Ayodhya

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust (SRTKT) kickstarted its fundraising drive to construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya this week, but according to a report in The Telegraph, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using this drive to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP members were reportedly distributing receipts for donation amounts in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 100 and Rs 1,000. They were also reportedly collecting details of donors. The Telegraph quoted a source saying that this database of donors would serve as a “dipstick survey” of supporters in the state.

This raises several concerns given how this will help the BJP ascertain not only who its supporters are, but also help them figure out those who did not donate, thus enabling their targeting. West Bengal is perhaps the state that the BJP covets the most and with state assembly elections due in a few months, areas from where there have been fewer donors could be in the party’s crosshairs. Non-donors could face intimidation, and this fear itself might make people make donations even if they do not support the cause.

Meanwhile, this week President Ramnath Kovind became the first person to make a donation to the trust set up for building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. NDTV reported that Kovind donated Rs 5 lakhs for temple construction after SRTKT co-president Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, paid a visit to him along with temple construction committee chief Nripendra Misra, VHP working president Alok Kumar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kulbhushan Ahuja.

News agencies quoted Kumar as saying, “He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate the drive.”

Now, while there is no law to prevent persons holding public offices from making monetary donations in their private capacity to any cause, when the President of India donates to a cause that has a deeply communal and violent history, it appears to send a message.

Carnatic musician and activist TM Krishna tweeted, “Donating to a temple is not the issue, that is his right. But the signal that donating to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya sends out to the citizens of this country is something the President seems to have forgotten, or may be he did not forget.”

 

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also made a donation and even tweeted about it from his official account saying, “It is the luckiest day of my life. I feel like I have accomplished what I needed to as a human being.” He further said, “My family is also offering one brick.”

 

Once again, the issue is not a donation to a cause, but to publicise it, that too using official channels appears to normalise the blurring of lines between one’s personal and professional lives.

It is also noteworthy, that though the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of handing over the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, it also held that the demolition of the mosque was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”.

 

Related:

Ayodhya scam: 4 held for embezzlement from Ram temple trust
The judiciary is abandoning its duties: NAPM on the Babri Masjid judgment
CBI court's Babri Masjid demolition judgment challenged 

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Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads

Farmer leaders said they will not budge from their demand for repeal of the three laws and legalisation of MSP

16 Jan 2021

farmers protest

Stalemate between farmer leaders and Union Ministers continued after the January 15, 2021 meeting wherein both parties remained firm on their stand regarding the three agriculture laws of the central government.

Members agreed to hold the next meeting on January 19 after hour-long talks wherein farmers kept demanding the repeal of the laws and the government kept proposing amendments.

Ministers recommended that leaders form their own informal group to draft a proposal for discussion. However, Unions refused the suggestion stating that few leaders talked during recent talks with central officials.

Incidentally, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President and All India Kisan Coordination Committee Chairperson Bhupinder Singh Mann refused to join the court-appointed four-member committee on January 14 saying that “I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab”. He announced his decision shortly before the committee was to hold its first virtual meeting.

On behalf of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM,) farmer leader Darshan Pal welcomed Mann's decision to leave the committee and called on other members to follow suit.

According to the Indian Express, farmers on Friday raised the issue of FIRs against protesting farmers, Income Tax raids on arhtiyas (commission agents) and NIA notices to three transporters sending buses to Delhi and a journalist. They alleged that the central government was attacking farmer supporters and told Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, “We are farmers, not your political rivals.”

Later in the day, Pal said in a press release that farmers were encouraged by the increasing support at the national and international level. People across India burned copies of the three laws on various festivals on January 13 and January 14. “This movement is becoming nationwide and a mass movement. We thank all the organizations and individuals who have supported the farmer movement in any form,” said Pal.

The farmer leader further said that peasants would not be satisfied by a court decision on the matter of the three laws.

“The Lok Sabha is the house of leaders elected by the people of India. These laws have been made by Parliament too and should be repealed, this is our demand,” said Pal.

Regarding the January 26 Farmers Republic day parade, the SKM said, “Many misconceptions are being spread about the Kisan Republic parade. We are making it clear that we have no motive to harm the parade of the Government of India. The detailed plan for this parade will be revealed at a meeting of farmers' organizations on January 17 and only after the hearing of the Supreme Court on 18 January.”

Accordingly, the organisation condemned inflammatory statements by the Sikhs for Justice organisation and urged farmers to be aware of such organizations.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Mumbai for Farmers organisation and other progressive organizations announced a huge rally and general meeting on January 16. The SKM appealed for maximum participation for the event.

Moreover, in response to the Court’s anti-women-dubbed remark, a batch of women from Jalgaon district in the state will leave for Delhi soon. A “Kisan Jyoti Yatra” started from Pune on January 12 to reach Delhi on January 26.

Similarly, over 500 farmers went to the Shahjahanpur border from Kerala. Tamil Nadu farmers also responded to the Indian government's claim that southern state farmers support these laws by burning copies of the laws.

In Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, there are frequent tractor marches while farmers in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh observe continuous dharnas.

In Odisha, the “Kisan Delhi Chalo Yatra” started from Odisha on January 15. The yatra will reach the Delhi border on January 21 via West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh.

 

Related:

NIA summons farmers union leader Baldev Singh Sirsa for questioning

Khalistani, anti-farmer elements have infiltrated protests: Centre to SC

Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers

Banned organisations in India

Maharashtra farmers plan large-scale protest leading upto Jan 26

Are the new farm laws constitutional?

Do farmers’ demands benefit India’s hungry population?

Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads

Farmer leaders said they will not budge from their demand for repeal of the three laws and legalisation of MSP

farmers protest

Stalemate between farmer leaders and Union Ministers continued after the January 15, 2021 meeting wherein both parties remained firm on their stand regarding the three agriculture laws of the central government.

Members agreed to hold the next meeting on January 19 after hour-long talks wherein farmers kept demanding the repeal of the laws and the government kept proposing amendments.

Ministers recommended that leaders form their own informal group to draft a proposal for discussion. However, Unions refused the suggestion stating that few leaders talked during recent talks with central officials.

Incidentally, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President and All India Kisan Coordination Committee Chairperson Bhupinder Singh Mann refused to join the court-appointed four-member committee on January 14 saying that “I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab”. He announced his decision shortly before the committee was to hold its first virtual meeting.

On behalf of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM,) farmer leader Darshan Pal welcomed Mann's decision to leave the committee and called on other members to follow suit.

According to the Indian Express, farmers on Friday raised the issue of FIRs against protesting farmers, Income Tax raids on arhtiyas (commission agents) and NIA notices to three transporters sending buses to Delhi and a journalist. They alleged that the central government was attacking farmer supporters and told Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, “We are farmers, not your political rivals.”

Later in the day, Pal said in a press release that farmers were encouraged by the increasing support at the national and international level. People across India burned copies of the three laws on various festivals on January 13 and January 14. “This movement is becoming nationwide and a mass movement. We thank all the organizations and individuals who have supported the farmer movement in any form,” said Pal.

The farmer leader further said that peasants would not be satisfied by a court decision on the matter of the three laws.

“The Lok Sabha is the house of leaders elected by the people of India. These laws have been made by Parliament too and should be repealed, this is our demand,” said Pal.

Regarding the January 26 Farmers Republic day parade, the SKM said, “Many misconceptions are being spread about the Kisan Republic parade. We are making it clear that we have no motive to harm the parade of the Government of India. The detailed plan for this parade will be revealed at a meeting of farmers' organizations on January 17 and only after the hearing of the Supreme Court on 18 January.”

Accordingly, the organisation condemned inflammatory statements by the Sikhs for Justice organisation and urged farmers to be aware of such organizations.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Mumbai for Farmers organisation and other progressive organizations announced a huge rally and general meeting on January 16. The SKM appealed for maximum participation for the event.

Moreover, in response to the Court’s anti-women-dubbed remark, a batch of women from Jalgaon district in the state will leave for Delhi soon. A “Kisan Jyoti Yatra” started from Pune on January 12 to reach Delhi on January 26.

Similarly, over 500 farmers went to the Shahjahanpur border from Kerala. Tamil Nadu farmers also responded to the Indian government's claim that southern state farmers support these laws by burning copies of the laws.

In Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, there are frequent tractor marches while farmers in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh observe continuous dharnas.

In Odisha, the “Kisan Delhi Chalo Yatra” started from Odisha on January 15. The yatra will reach the Delhi border on January 21 via West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh.

 

Related:

NIA summons farmers union leader Baldev Singh Sirsa for questioning

Khalistani, anti-farmer elements have infiltrated protests: Centre to SC

Women farmers, students write open letter against SC's comment on women farmers

Banned organisations in India

Maharashtra farmers plan large-scale protest leading upto Jan 26

Are the new farm laws constitutional?

Do farmers’ demands benefit India’s hungry population?

Related Articles


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