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MP Assembly passes ‘anti-love Jihad’ law by voice vote

Reportedly, the law was passed amidst continued opposition from the Congress

09 Mar 2021

MP

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly passed the Freedom of Religion Bill on March 8, through a voice vote, amidst chaos of opposing voices of the Congress and chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ from treasure Benches, reported Indian Express.

The law was passed as an ordinance in January, and since then 16 cases have been registered in the state. Home Minister Narottam Mishra told the press, "Any love that leads towards jihad, we will oppose it. Any love that offends our sentiments, we’ll oppose it. Any love who will make our daughters and sisters suffer, we’ll oppose it.” The Minister also addressed the opposition of Congress to the law, and said that he was saddened that the law was opposed on International Women’s Day. He accused Congress of appeasement politics and of spreading misinformation.

Heena Kavera, the Congress MLA from Balaghat, questioned the base behind framing this law, and asked if any survey has been conducted to substantiate the need for such a bill. “Considering there is already an act (MP Freedom of Religion Act-1968) against forced conversion, why is this new bill needed?… The total numbers of FIRs registered in this regard should be given out by the home minister while answering succulently,” reported IE.

On the other hand, BJP MLA Sitaram Sharma called for strengthening the law by stating that even social institutions should be allowed to register a complaint against forced conversion. The law allows blood relatives, siblings, guardians to file such complaints.

While Ordinance will soon become an Act, it has already been challenged before the apex court by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) along with similar laws passed by Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The petition has challenged all four laws on grounds that they are discriminatory, anti-women, and contravene the right to privacy and personal liberty of citizens by criminalising interfaith unions. Thus, CJP has prayed for the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act (2018), Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, Madhya Pradesh to Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019 to be declared anti-Constitutional and struck down.

A comparison of the various provisions of these laws may be read here.

Last month even Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed its version of the law called Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill to replace its ordinance promulgated in November 2020.

Related:

Love Azaad! What does freedom to love cost in contemporary India?

CJP’s Love Jihad amendment petition allowed by SC

“Love Jihad” laws curb individual and collective freedoms

MP Assembly passes ‘anti-love Jihad’ law by voice vote

Reportedly, the law was passed amidst continued opposition from the Congress

MP

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly passed the Freedom of Religion Bill on March 8, through a voice vote, amidst chaos of opposing voices of the Congress and chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ from treasure Benches, reported Indian Express.

The law was passed as an ordinance in January, and since then 16 cases have been registered in the state. Home Minister Narottam Mishra told the press, "Any love that leads towards jihad, we will oppose it. Any love that offends our sentiments, we’ll oppose it. Any love who will make our daughters and sisters suffer, we’ll oppose it.” The Minister also addressed the opposition of Congress to the law, and said that he was saddened that the law was opposed on International Women’s Day. He accused Congress of appeasement politics and of spreading misinformation.

Heena Kavera, the Congress MLA from Balaghat, questioned the base behind framing this law, and asked if any survey has been conducted to substantiate the need for such a bill. “Considering there is already an act (MP Freedom of Religion Act-1968) against forced conversion, why is this new bill needed?… The total numbers of FIRs registered in this regard should be given out by the home minister while answering succulently,” reported IE.

On the other hand, BJP MLA Sitaram Sharma called for strengthening the law by stating that even social institutions should be allowed to register a complaint against forced conversion. The law allows blood relatives, siblings, guardians to file such complaints.

While Ordinance will soon become an Act, it has already been challenged before the apex court by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) along with similar laws passed by Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The petition has challenged all four laws on grounds that they are discriminatory, anti-women, and contravene the right to privacy and personal liberty of citizens by criminalising interfaith unions. Thus, CJP has prayed for the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act (2018), Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, Madhya Pradesh to Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019 to be declared anti-Constitutional and struck down.

A comparison of the various provisions of these laws may be read here.

Last month even Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed its version of the law called Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill to replace its ordinance promulgated in November 2020.

Related:

Love Azaad! What does freedom to love cost in contemporary India?

CJP’s Love Jihad amendment petition allowed by SC

“Love Jihad” laws curb individual and collective freedoms

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Haryana: RTI reply reveals four ‘love jihad’ cases, no conviction over three years  

Out of the four cases, two were cancelled by the Police, a third was acquitted by a court and the fourth case is pending

04 Mar 2021

Haryana

An RTI query has revealed that only four cases were registered over alleged forceful religious conversions in six districts of Haryana over the last three years, reported The Indian Express.

Two cases were cancelled by the police after investigation, and the accused in the third case was acquitted by the court. The fourth case is still pending before a Haryana Court. 

RTI activist P P Kapoor told the IE, “A case lodged in Punhana police station of Mewat area on December 12, 2020 was cancelled after the police inquiry. Similarly, a case lodged in Ambala district has also been cancelled after a police probe while the accused in another case in the same district has been acquitted by the court. A case lodged in Samalkha police station of Panipat district on July 19, 2019 is still pending in court.”

P P Kapoor informed the media that he sought information under the Right to Information Act from district officials of Nuh (Mewat), Yamunanagar, Faridabad, Hisar, Panipat and Ambala, that have a considerable Muslim population. He specifically sought information regarding complaints and FIRs related to the cases of “love jihad”.

On being asked for a reaction to the RTI reply, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala in a recent interview to NDTV said that he does not agree with the term love jihad. “I don’t agree with this term called love jihad. We will get a law specifically for checking forceful religious conversion and we will support it. If anybody converts willingly by giving an affidavit, then there is no bar”, he said.

 

 

A young college student Nitika Tomar’s murder was caught on CCTV and the footage of her being shot dead outside her college in Ballabgarh in Haryana's Faridabad district went viral in October last year. This led to massive online rage demanding death for the accused, and running with hashtags of ‘love jihad’ and  #KshatriyaLivesMatter.

The accused men were identified as Muslims, and according to news reports, the victim’s family called this a case of 'love jihad'. Kapoor sought information from the Haryana DGP, State Commission for Women, and district police chiefs of various districts about FIRs of the nature of “love jihad” when Home Minister Anil Vij first announced about the government’s intention to bring a law on the issue in the wake of Nikita Tomar murder case, reported The Tribune.

Vij had commented, “The state government is considering bringing a legislation to deal with cases pertaining to love jihad. Attempts are being made by unscrupulous elements to force people to convert their religion through love jihad. In Faridabad’s Nikita murder case too, the victim’s family have alleged that Nikita was being forced to change her religion. So, we need to think about it.”

The IE also quoted a senior police official based in Haryana saying, “The police don’t have any data (at state level) on love jihad. Love jihad is a term coined by the politicians and media. So, the police, except in the cases involving atrocities on SC/STs, don’t maintain data according to the religion of the victim and the accused. For us, a crime is a crime. Since, love jihad is not defined in the IPC, how can we tell how many such cases took place.”

Related:

Haryana to form committee for law on love-jihad

Haryana: Nitika Tomar’s murder being used to fuel ‘love jihad’, hate politics?

Haryana: RTI reply reveals four ‘love jihad’ cases, no conviction over three years  

Out of the four cases, two were cancelled by the Police, a third was acquitted by a court and the fourth case is pending

Haryana

An RTI query has revealed that only four cases were registered over alleged forceful religious conversions in six districts of Haryana over the last three years, reported The Indian Express.

Two cases were cancelled by the police after investigation, and the accused in the third case was acquitted by the court. The fourth case is still pending before a Haryana Court. 

RTI activist P P Kapoor told the IE, “A case lodged in Punhana police station of Mewat area on December 12, 2020 was cancelled after the police inquiry. Similarly, a case lodged in Ambala district has also been cancelled after a police probe while the accused in another case in the same district has been acquitted by the court. A case lodged in Samalkha police station of Panipat district on July 19, 2019 is still pending in court.”

P P Kapoor informed the media that he sought information under the Right to Information Act from district officials of Nuh (Mewat), Yamunanagar, Faridabad, Hisar, Panipat and Ambala, that have a considerable Muslim population. He specifically sought information regarding complaints and FIRs related to the cases of “love jihad”.

On being asked for a reaction to the RTI reply, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala in a recent interview to NDTV said that he does not agree with the term love jihad. “I don’t agree with this term called love jihad. We will get a law specifically for checking forceful religious conversion and we will support it. If anybody converts willingly by giving an affidavit, then there is no bar”, he said.

 

 

A young college student Nitika Tomar’s murder was caught on CCTV and the footage of her being shot dead outside her college in Ballabgarh in Haryana's Faridabad district went viral in October last year. This led to massive online rage demanding death for the accused, and running with hashtags of ‘love jihad’ and  #KshatriyaLivesMatter.

The accused men were identified as Muslims, and according to news reports, the victim’s family called this a case of 'love jihad'. Kapoor sought information from the Haryana DGP, State Commission for Women, and district police chiefs of various districts about FIRs of the nature of “love jihad” when Home Minister Anil Vij first announced about the government’s intention to bring a law on the issue in the wake of Nikita Tomar murder case, reported The Tribune.

Vij had commented, “The state government is considering bringing a legislation to deal with cases pertaining to love jihad. Attempts are being made by unscrupulous elements to force people to convert their religion through love jihad. In Faridabad’s Nikita murder case too, the victim’s family have alleged that Nikita was being forced to change her religion. So, we need to think about it.”

The IE also quoted a senior police official based in Haryana saying, “The police don’t have any data (at state level) on love jihad. Love jihad is a term coined by the politicians and media. So, the police, except in the cases involving atrocities on SC/STs, don’t maintain data according to the religion of the victim and the accused. For us, a crime is a crime. Since, love jihad is not defined in the IPC, how can we tell how many such cases took place.”

Related:

Haryana to form committee for law on love-jihad

Haryana: Nitika Tomar’s murder being used to fuel ‘love jihad’, hate politics?

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Every citizen of India is Hindu, or so claims UP CM Yogi Adityanath

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath makes claims all Indians are “Hindu” while accusing the Congress party of indulging in divisive politics in Kerala.

26 Feb 2021

Yogi Adityanath

Addressing the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on February 24, 2021 Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed, during the budget session, that every person visiting Haj from India is identified as a ‘Hindu’ rather than an ‘Indian,’ said Swarajya news.

“Hindu, is not a religion but a way of life and culture. Sanatan is a religion. We are all proud of our identity,” said Adityanath while talking about the ‘cultural pride’ of “akhand Bharat.”

It may be mentioned that his words violate the Preamble of the Indian Constitution that recognises India as a sovereign, secular republic as well as fundamental rights of Indian citizens that allows them to practice any religion of one’s choice. Notedly, indigenous people from central India have been long demanding a separate identity of ‘Sarna’ religion that is distinct from Hinduism and Hindutva, while retaining their Indian nationality.

During the two and a half hour speech, Amar Ujala said that he told Samajwadi Party (SP) members to learn about Ram, Krishna and Shankar from freedom fighter and leader Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and carry forward his legacy. “It's better we follow those traditional values. Otherwise, the public will express its views,” said Adityanath.

Adityanath also brought up other recent incidents such as the construction of the Ayodhya temple which he called important for India's cultural identity.

“People from across the world congratulated us on the rituals observed at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya on 5 August, 2020. We were able to carry out these rituals and related work during the spread of coronavirus and related restrictions and protocol,” he said.

Again, Adityanath’s statement disregards the Babri masjid violence that went on for many years. According to media reports, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegedly used the fundraising drives for the Ram temple as a means to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

The Chief Minister went on to dismiss the Hathras and Unnao sexual assault cases as conspiracies that were given the colour of caste. According to Adityanath, 85 percent of the tweets regarding such incidents were from Pakistan, Bangladesh. Alluding to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi without naming her, he said that people who cannot differentiate between sugarcane and mango crops spread misinformation from Delhi.

Over the months, SabrangIndia covered incidents where journalists, politicians faced FIRs for “spreading fake news” about the Unnao case. Similarly, in October 2020, sanitation workers from the Valmiki community in Uttar Pradesh went on strike to demand justice for the Hathras victim’s families.

Regardless, Adityanath went on to attack the Opposition party stating that the BJP government had worked towards indigenous vaccines with two more vaccines on the way. Adityanath said these vaccines are being given free of cost, and exported to allied countries as well while the Congress attempted divisive politics in Kerala.

“They go to Kerala and speak another language,” he said to which Congress MLAs objected.

Nonetheless, the Chief Minister went on to say that he considered Kerala the centre of Sanatan faith, where Adi Shankaracharya was born.

“Instead of Lashkar-e-Taiba we are facing dangers from Indian organizations. What kind of political behaviour is this? What is the mindset to question India's organizations in front of foreign ambassadors, discourage army personnel? It is this mindset that has threatened national security,” he claimed.

Regarding the UP leader’s “divisive” comment, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that in the last five years, no communal riots have taken place in Kerala while UP has the highest number of communal riots in the country.

Related:

Unnao reports: Twitter handles of Barkha Dutt's portal, 7 others booked

Uttar Pradesh: Where women live in fear

Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB

Valmiki sanitation workers go on strike demanding justice in Hathras case

Every citizen of India is Hindu, or so claims UP CM Yogi Adityanath

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath makes claims all Indians are “Hindu” while accusing the Congress party of indulging in divisive politics in Kerala.

Yogi Adityanath

Addressing the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on February 24, 2021 Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed, during the budget session, that every person visiting Haj from India is identified as a ‘Hindu’ rather than an ‘Indian,’ said Swarajya news.

“Hindu, is not a religion but a way of life and culture. Sanatan is a religion. We are all proud of our identity,” said Adityanath while talking about the ‘cultural pride’ of “akhand Bharat.”

It may be mentioned that his words violate the Preamble of the Indian Constitution that recognises India as a sovereign, secular republic as well as fundamental rights of Indian citizens that allows them to practice any religion of one’s choice. Notedly, indigenous people from central India have been long demanding a separate identity of ‘Sarna’ religion that is distinct from Hinduism and Hindutva, while retaining their Indian nationality.

During the two and a half hour speech, Amar Ujala said that he told Samajwadi Party (SP) members to learn about Ram, Krishna and Shankar from freedom fighter and leader Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and carry forward his legacy. “It's better we follow those traditional values. Otherwise, the public will express its views,” said Adityanath.

Adityanath also brought up other recent incidents such as the construction of the Ayodhya temple which he called important for India's cultural identity.

“People from across the world congratulated us on the rituals observed at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya on 5 August, 2020. We were able to carry out these rituals and related work during the spread of coronavirus and related restrictions and protocol,” he said.

Again, Adityanath’s statement disregards the Babri masjid violence that went on for many years. According to media reports, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegedly used the fundraising drives for the Ram temple as a means to gauge its popularity in different regions of the state of West Bengal.

The Chief Minister went on to dismiss the Hathras and Unnao sexual assault cases as conspiracies that were given the colour of caste. According to Adityanath, 85 percent of the tweets regarding such incidents were from Pakistan, Bangladesh. Alluding to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi without naming her, he said that people who cannot differentiate between sugarcane and mango crops spread misinformation from Delhi.

Over the months, SabrangIndia covered incidents where journalists, politicians faced FIRs for “spreading fake news” about the Unnao case. Similarly, in October 2020, sanitation workers from the Valmiki community in Uttar Pradesh went on strike to demand justice for the Hathras victim’s families.

Regardless, Adityanath went on to attack the Opposition party stating that the BJP government had worked towards indigenous vaccines with two more vaccines on the way. Adityanath said these vaccines are being given free of cost, and exported to allied countries as well while the Congress attempted divisive politics in Kerala.

“They go to Kerala and speak another language,” he said to which Congress MLAs objected.

Nonetheless, the Chief Minister went on to say that he considered Kerala the centre of Sanatan faith, where Adi Shankaracharya was born.

“Instead of Lashkar-e-Taiba we are facing dangers from Indian organizations. What kind of political behaviour is this? What is the mindset to question India's organizations in front of foreign ambassadors, discourage army personnel? It is this mindset that has threatened national security,” he claimed.

Regarding the UP leader’s “divisive” comment, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that in the last five years, no communal riots have taken place in Kerala while UP has the highest number of communal riots in the country.

Related:

Unnao reports: Twitter handles of Barkha Dutt's portal, 7 others booked

Uttar Pradesh: Where women live in fear

Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB

Valmiki sanitation workers go on strike demanding justice in Hathras case

Related Articles


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Revisiting Northeast Delhi a year after the February 2020 pogrom

Senior activists, lawyers and experts working on-ground with Delhi pogrom survivors discuss with SabrangIndia the progress, or the lack of it, in the case of communal attacks in Northeast Delhi

25 Feb 2021

Delhi violence

People from varying sections of society must mobilise to hold both the central and Delhi government responsible for the ordeals of February 2020 riot survivors from Northeast Delhi, said a diverse panel of speakers during a virtual conference titled Delhi Carnage: One Year Later organised by SabrangIndia. The discussion was held to mark the first anniversary of the brute violence.

Supreme Court Senior Counsel C. U. Singh, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, social activist Aasif Mujtaba and renowned journalist Teesta Setalvad discussed on February 24, 2021 the legal and overall accountability of the State, the judicial response to the incident, reparation and compensation provided to survivors.

Singh, who independently released a fact-finding report, collating all the available and published data around the Delhi pogrom, said there were aspects of the judicial response that were seriously disappointing, particularly the attempt to create a mythical conspiracy and to make one central FIR – number 59 – into a “conspiracy FIR”. He said the administration reverse engineered by working backwards from a pre-conceived concept that pogrom victims planned and perpetrated the attack on themselves and suffered huge fatalities, injuries and horrific loss of property.

“It’s a real Alice in Wonderland situation where everything is exactly the reverse of what it was,” said Singh.

He expressed disappointment that the judiciary has been compliant and very hands-off on the whole thing, despite seeing this unfold right from the start. He pointed out that even a year after the incident, people continue to get roped in, arrested and then ultimately get bail due to complete lack of evidence, long after severe punishment. Ordinary bail orders have just begun to get passed amounting to a serious breach of personal liberties.

However, he said there are rays of hope from every now and then when magistrates and session courts do “remarkable work in individual bail cases.” Further, he advocated the use of civil reparation through civil suits against the powerful perpetrators and guilty policemen, that should run parallel with criminal cases.

Similarly, Ms Karat talked about total State culpability while focusing on three aspects: role of Delhi police and the Home Ministry, the dismissal of evidence and the delay in court hearings.

“The Delhi police and the Home Ministry were complicit in allowing a lot of the violence. There was a deliberate delay or lacunae in police deployment. The fact that decisions were taken or deliberately delayed, for example the imposition of curfew, and Section 144 is stark. Besides the content of the infamous chargesheet in FIR 59 is shocking,” she said.

She stressed that the local police received over 13,000 distress calls from citizens but officials simply did not answer any of them. Obviously, they were instructions not to, as these are elementary standard operating procedures. The Police said, in their defence that they could not respond because they were overstretched. At the same time, their data shows “it was a deliberate ploy” said Karat.

Aasif Mujtaba, an engineering graduate from IIT closely involved in the relief and rehabilitation was one of the speakers. He felt both, anguished and bitter. He sharply addressed the question on nomenclature and demanded that the attack be referred to as a “pogrom” and not a “riot”.

“We should start calling it a full-scale pogrom,” he said referring to data from February 23, 2020 to February 24, 2020.

Having been present in the area on February 25, he recounted moments when Muslim men said they were forced to take off their pants off to prove they were Muslims. Many people were driven out of their homes while as many as 19 places of Muslim worship were damaged.

A boy living in the area gave Mujtaba a recording of him calling the local SHO a Karawalnagar who told him, “You wanted azadi? This is the azadi we are giving to you.” Further, the activist talked about videos where police were seen participating in the violence.

Brinda Karat has taken several steps in connection with the hate speech, build-up and police manipulation of the charge sheet related to the Delhi pogrom. This has ensured that official date has become available through the police affidavits filed in response. Ms Karat has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, praying for directions for the implementation of Section 141 of the CrPC asking for details of those people arrested and regarding the role of police. By July-end, she received an answer that the court has not found any evidence to substantiate the claim that police were in collusion with the violence against minority communities. This, despite the fact that Karat talked of videos and other evidence that was not heard in court.

Ms Karat had also approached the police and magistracy for filing an FIR under section 153 of the CrPC on the hateful and inciteful speech of Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma, all office bearers and even ministers in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Though first such steps were taken in January 2020, there has been a tardy and delayed response a year later. “It is his delay, deliberate delay that is shocking,” Karat asserted.

 “There is a total subversion of justice. State culpability is being concealed by the fact that the government is confident that they are not answerable even to the courts of India,” she said. She has also called for an independent judicial commission inquiry into the attack. “Investigations have been delayed because all available evidence shows the political agenda of the ruling dispensation at play,” said Karat.

Drawing parallels between the Delhi 2020 pogrom and Gujarat 2002 pogrom, Teesta Setalvad referred to a part of Karat’s report that said junior intelligence officers wrote to higher echelons about the build-up to a communal atmosphere and asked for more personnel to maintain control. However, higher officials did not respond, which is what happened in Gujarat as well.

Aasif Mujtaba concurred asking, “In entirety the police were complicit with riots. So, a big question that comes to mind is who are we to call on when the police kill?”

Regarding casualties, he said that 39 out of 54 deaths were of Muslims while there are only two reported deaths of Hindus. More than 90 percent property that was damaged belonged to Muslims. Nearly 50 percent of people arrested were Muslims while of the 755 cases, police investigation is pending for 400 cases.

“Even when it comes to investigation, police are doing it with a biased mindset,” he said.

In turn, Singh said that the only way to expose this theory, is to test it on prima facie basis and then expedite the trial. This is why investigations are not being completed, he said.

“If you start with a premise that riots were a culmination of anti-CAA riots… then suddenly there is a reverse burden on victims to prove they were not a part of this conspiracy. All reports need to be collated and see if there is an overall pic that emerges,” he said.

Singh said that if the judiciary cares at all for this huge chunk of society, it will expedite trials to dismiss conspiracy theories against victims.

To this, Setalvad added that there is also a need for special prosecutors of higher integrity and calibre and a monitoring of cases by the constitutional courts.

Meanwhile, Karat stated that on top of silencing victims and selectively omitting statements that named BJP members, it was the Delhi AAP government had provided a pathetic rehabilitation package for residents.

“Rehabilitation is a sham. Widows say they want to earn their livelihood. The central government is not in the least involved in a single rehabilitation. The rehabilitation money is totally inadequate,” said Karat.

Adding to this, Singh said that compensation is given for the tragedy victims suffer, and should not be given on an earning capacity basis.

According to Mujtaba, all victims were to be given Rs. 10 lakh. However, he said that the government's intention was to simply provide money rather than to honour people’s dignity. The money people received in-hand was far too little to deal with economic and health problems.

Convent schools in the area were at full capacity and private schools said they could not afford to lower fees following the coronavirus lockdown.

“Did Delhi government or the Centre bother to talk to these kids? The government never had intention to safeguard these people. Last year, a man at Jafrabad asked for my help to find his family. It took us six hours to get help from a single officer,” said Mujtaba.

Regarding administrative silence, Setalvad said that even the National Human Rights Commission panel remains silent on the issue of rehabilitation.

Similarly, Karat said that the question of relief is important to constantly make governments accountable. For example, Mohammed Waqeel, a man blinded by an acid attack last year was not included in the permanently disabled list of the AAP government, thus disallowing him due compensation. Further, a second survey showed that children of the affected area required financial help to get back in schools.

“People [residents of Northeast Delhi] keep on saying that they never had to face this communal hatred and this hate is manufactured,” said Karat.

Even today, police have to be called repeatedly to prevent hate-elements using premises of religious places of worship like the existing Hanuman mandirs in the area yelling provocative comments and inciting violence. Asif mentioned an instance that took place on February 23, 2021, where a section of the local people were talking about holding a 'Vijay Diwas' (Victory Day) on the occasion of the one-year anniversary.

“This is an example of a horrific assault on the Constitution of India... It has shown us a mirror of the future… If we don’t come together today for the issues of Northeast Delhi, I don’t know if we’ll be around tomorrow when the rest of India has to face this. This is an urgent battle. We need a bigger effort,” said Karat.

Setalvad concluded the event by remembering the many people from the Muslim community, who incarcerated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for standing up for their community: Umar Khalid, Gulfishan, Ishrat Jahan and others.

“This is like turning narrative on its head. To use UAPA at a time like this and to construct a conspiracy is very unfortunate because December 2019 and January 2020 was rife with politics of protest and love in the streets inspired by Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. And then we had to battle the politics of hate,” she said.


Related:

Delhi HC seeks response in plea seeking quashing of DMC’s report on Delhi riots

Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence

Delhi violence: Government pays compensation to over 2,000 affected

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

 

Revisiting Northeast Delhi a year after the February 2020 pogrom

Senior activists, lawyers and experts working on-ground with Delhi pogrom survivors discuss with SabrangIndia the progress, or the lack of it, in the case of communal attacks in Northeast Delhi

Delhi violence

People from varying sections of society must mobilise to hold both the central and Delhi government responsible for the ordeals of February 2020 riot survivors from Northeast Delhi, said a diverse panel of speakers during a virtual conference titled Delhi Carnage: One Year Later organised by SabrangIndia. The discussion was held to mark the first anniversary of the brute violence.

Supreme Court Senior Counsel C. U. Singh, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, social activist Aasif Mujtaba and renowned journalist Teesta Setalvad discussed on February 24, 2021 the legal and overall accountability of the State, the judicial response to the incident, reparation and compensation provided to survivors.

Singh, who independently released a fact-finding report, collating all the available and published data around the Delhi pogrom, said there were aspects of the judicial response that were seriously disappointing, particularly the attempt to create a mythical conspiracy and to make one central FIR – number 59 – into a “conspiracy FIR”. He said the administration reverse engineered by working backwards from a pre-conceived concept that pogrom victims planned and perpetrated the attack on themselves and suffered huge fatalities, injuries and horrific loss of property.

“It’s a real Alice in Wonderland situation where everything is exactly the reverse of what it was,” said Singh.

He expressed disappointment that the judiciary has been compliant and very hands-off on the whole thing, despite seeing this unfold right from the start. He pointed out that even a year after the incident, people continue to get roped in, arrested and then ultimately get bail due to complete lack of evidence, long after severe punishment. Ordinary bail orders have just begun to get passed amounting to a serious breach of personal liberties.

However, he said there are rays of hope from every now and then when magistrates and session courts do “remarkable work in individual bail cases.” Further, he advocated the use of civil reparation through civil suits against the powerful perpetrators and guilty policemen, that should run parallel with criminal cases.

Similarly, Ms Karat talked about total State culpability while focusing on three aspects: role of Delhi police and the Home Ministry, the dismissal of evidence and the delay in court hearings.

“The Delhi police and the Home Ministry were complicit in allowing a lot of the violence. There was a deliberate delay or lacunae in police deployment. The fact that decisions were taken or deliberately delayed, for example the imposition of curfew, and Section 144 is stark. Besides the content of the infamous chargesheet in FIR 59 is shocking,” she said.

She stressed that the local police received over 13,000 distress calls from citizens but officials simply did not answer any of them. Obviously, they were instructions not to, as these are elementary standard operating procedures. The Police said, in their defence that they could not respond because they were overstretched. At the same time, their data shows “it was a deliberate ploy” said Karat.

Aasif Mujtaba, an engineering graduate from IIT closely involved in the relief and rehabilitation was one of the speakers. He felt both, anguished and bitter. He sharply addressed the question on nomenclature and demanded that the attack be referred to as a “pogrom” and not a “riot”.

“We should start calling it a full-scale pogrom,” he said referring to data from February 23, 2020 to February 24, 2020.

Having been present in the area on February 25, he recounted moments when Muslim men said they were forced to take off their pants off to prove they were Muslims. Many people were driven out of their homes while as many as 19 places of Muslim worship were damaged.

A boy living in the area gave Mujtaba a recording of him calling the local SHO a Karawalnagar who told him, “You wanted azadi? This is the azadi we are giving to you.” Further, the activist talked about videos where police were seen participating in the violence.

Brinda Karat has taken several steps in connection with the hate speech, build-up and police manipulation of the charge sheet related to the Delhi pogrom. This has ensured that official date has become available through the police affidavits filed in response. Ms Karat has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, praying for directions for the implementation of Section 141 of the CrPC asking for details of those people arrested and regarding the role of police. By July-end, she received an answer that the court has not found any evidence to substantiate the claim that police were in collusion with the violence against minority communities. This, despite the fact that Karat talked of videos and other evidence that was not heard in court.

Ms Karat had also approached the police and magistracy for filing an FIR under section 153 of the CrPC on the hateful and inciteful speech of Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma, all office bearers and even ministers in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Though first such steps were taken in January 2020, there has been a tardy and delayed response a year later. “It is his delay, deliberate delay that is shocking,” Karat asserted.

 “There is a total subversion of justice. State culpability is being concealed by the fact that the government is confident that they are not answerable even to the courts of India,” she said. She has also called for an independent judicial commission inquiry into the attack. “Investigations have been delayed because all available evidence shows the political agenda of the ruling dispensation at play,” said Karat.

Drawing parallels between the Delhi 2020 pogrom and Gujarat 2002 pogrom, Teesta Setalvad referred to a part of Karat’s report that said junior intelligence officers wrote to higher echelons about the build-up to a communal atmosphere and asked for more personnel to maintain control. However, higher officials did not respond, which is what happened in Gujarat as well.

Aasif Mujtaba concurred asking, “In entirety the police were complicit with riots. So, a big question that comes to mind is who are we to call on when the police kill?”

Regarding casualties, he said that 39 out of 54 deaths were of Muslims while there are only two reported deaths of Hindus. More than 90 percent property that was damaged belonged to Muslims. Nearly 50 percent of people arrested were Muslims while of the 755 cases, police investigation is pending for 400 cases.

“Even when it comes to investigation, police are doing it with a biased mindset,” he said.

In turn, Singh said that the only way to expose this theory, is to test it on prima facie basis and then expedite the trial. This is why investigations are not being completed, he said.

“If you start with a premise that riots were a culmination of anti-CAA riots… then suddenly there is a reverse burden on victims to prove they were not a part of this conspiracy. All reports need to be collated and see if there is an overall pic that emerges,” he said.

Singh said that if the judiciary cares at all for this huge chunk of society, it will expedite trials to dismiss conspiracy theories against victims.

To this, Setalvad added that there is also a need for special prosecutors of higher integrity and calibre and a monitoring of cases by the constitutional courts.

Meanwhile, Karat stated that on top of silencing victims and selectively omitting statements that named BJP members, it was the Delhi AAP government had provided a pathetic rehabilitation package for residents.

“Rehabilitation is a sham. Widows say they want to earn their livelihood. The central government is not in the least involved in a single rehabilitation. The rehabilitation money is totally inadequate,” said Karat.

Adding to this, Singh said that compensation is given for the tragedy victims suffer, and should not be given on an earning capacity basis.

According to Mujtaba, all victims were to be given Rs. 10 lakh. However, he said that the government's intention was to simply provide money rather than to honour people’s dignity. The money people received in-hand was far too little to deal with economic and health problems.

Convent schools in the area were at full capacity and private schools said they could not afford to lower fees following the coronavirus lockdown.

“Did Delhi government or the Centre bother to talk to these kids? The government never had intention to safeguard these people. Last year, a man at Jafrabad asked for my help to find his family. It took us six hours to get help from a single officer,” said Mujtaba.

Regarding administrative silence, Setalvad said that even the National Human Rights Commission panel remains silent on the issue of rehabilitation.

Similarly, Karat said that the question of relief is important to constantly make governments accountable. For example, Mohammed Waqeel, a man blinded by an acid attack last year was not included in the permanently disabled list of the AAP government, thus disallowing him due compensation. Further, a second survey showed that children of the affected area required financial help to get back in schools.

“People [residents of Northeast Delhi] keep on saying that they never had to face this communal hatred and this hate is manufactured,” said Karat.

Even today, police have to be called repeatedly to prevent hate-elements using premises of religious places of worship like the existing Hanuman mandirs in the area yelling provocative comments and inciting violence. Asif mentioned an instance that took place on February 23, 2021, where a section of the local people were talking about holding a 'Vijay Diwas' (Victory Day) on the occasion of the one-year anniversary.

“This is an example of a horrific assault on the Constitution of India... It has shown us a mirror of the future… If we don’t come together today for the issues of Northeast Delhi, I don’t know if we’ll be around tomorrow when the rest of India has to face this. This is an urgent battle. We need a bigger effort,” said Karat.

Setalvad concluded the event by remembering the many people from the Muslim community, who incarcerated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for standing up for their community: Umar Khalid, Gulfishan, Ishrat Jahan and others.

“This is like turning narrative on its head. To use UAPA at a time like this and to construct a conspiracy is very unfortunate because December 2019 and January 2020 was rife with politics of protest and love in the streets inspired by Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. And then we had to battle the politics of hate,” she said.


Related:

Delhi HC seeks response in plea seeking quashing of DMC’s report on Delhi riots

Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence

Delhi violence: Government pays compensation to over 2,000 affected

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

 

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UP Assembly passes anti-religious conversion Bill amid opposition

This 2021 Bill seeks to replace the Ordinance promulgated in November last year that makes conversion a non bailable and cognisable offence

25 Feb 2021

PTI

The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed, by voice vote, a bill aimed at curbing religious conversions by fraudulent or any other undue means, including marriage, as per an Indian Express report.

The newly passed Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2021 seeks to replace the Ordinance promulgated in November last year that provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine of up to Rs 50,000 under different categories.

FirstPost reported that the anti-conversion bill was passed in the House even as Aradhana Misra, the Congress Legislative Party leader and Lalji Verma, the leader of BSP in the Assembly, strongly opposed it.

Ms. Misra protested the Bill and stood firm on her ground, stating that “This is an issue on which comprehensive discussion and debate are needed. Hence, instead of taking a decision in haste, it should be sent to the select committee”, reported the media.

According to a report in The Hindu, Lalji Verma said in the Assembly that the Constitution guarantees the right to free profession, practice and propagation of religion. “This Bill is against the Constitution. Hence, the government should either withdraw this Bill or send it to the select committee,” she added.

The Bill has been purportedly introduced to provide for prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, by any fraudulent means or by marriage.

The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill also deems all marriages “null and void” if the conversion is solely for the purpose of marriage. The Bill, similar to the November Ordinance, requires adults to give prior notice to the District Magistrate to prove the intent to convert.

Between the coming up of the Ordinance in November to completing one month of its promulgation, Uttar Pradesh State made more than one arrest a day, apprehending some 35 people and registering nearly a dozen FIRs.

Several petitions challenging the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 are pending before the Indian Courts. The Allahabad High Court is presently seized with the matter, whereas CJP’s petition before the Supreme Court of India will be heard next in March.

Related:

SC admits CJP’s amendment petition including MP, HP in its Love Jihad plea

CJP’s Love Jihad Petition: SC issues notice to UP and Uttarakhand

UP’s Love Jihad law completes one month, 35 incarcerated

UP Governor gives assent to anti-Love Jihad ordinance

UP Assembly passes anti-religious conversion Bill amid opposition

This 2021 Bill seeks to replace the Ordinance promulgated in November last year that makes conversion a non bailable and cognisable offence

PTI

The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed, by voice vote, a bill aimed at curbing religious conversions by fraudulent or any other undue means, including marriage, as per an Indian Express report.

The newly passed Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2021 seeks to replace the Ordinance promulgated in November last year that provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine of up to Rs 50,000 under different categories.

FirstPost reported that the anti-conversion bill was passed in the House even as Aradhana Misra, the Congress Legislative Party leader and Lalji Verma, the leader of BSP in the Assembly, strongly opposed it.

Ms. Misra protested the Bill and stood firm on her ground, stating that “This is an issue on which comprehensive discussion and debate are needed. Hence, instead of taking a decision in haste, it should be sent to the select committee”, reported the media.

According to a report in The Hindu, Lalji Verma said in the Assembly that the Constitution guarantees the right to free profession, practice and propagation of religion. “This Bill is against the Constitution. Hence, the government should either withdraw this Bill or send it to the select committee,” she added.

The Bill has been purportedly introduced to provide for prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, by any fraudulent means or by marriage.

The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill also deems all marriages “null and void” if the conversion is solely for the purpose of marriage. The Bill, similar to the November Ordinance, requires adults to give prior notice to the District Magistrate to prove the intent to convert.

Between the coming up of the Ordinance in November to completing one month of its promulgation, Uttar Pradesh State made more than one arrest a day, apprehending some 35 people and registering nearly a dozen FIRs.

Several petitions challenging the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 are pending before the Indian Courts. The Allahabad High Court is presently seized with the matter, whereas CJP’s petition before the Supreme Court of India will be heard next in March.

Related:

SC admits CJP’s amendment petition including MP, HP in its Love Jihad plea

CJP’s Love Jihad Petition: SC issues notice to UP and Uttarakhand

UP’s Love Jihad law completes one month, 35 incarcerated

UP Governor gives assent to anti-Love Jihad ordinance

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Delhi HC seeks response in plea seeking quashing of DMC’s report on Delhi riots

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre said that these reports need to be examined

25 Feb 2021

Delhi violence

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central government and Delhi Police, seeking response on a petition filed by Delhi Riots victim for quashing reports prepared by Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), and other private organisations on the Delhi riots.

The contention has been raised against fact finding report of the DMC as well as other reports of civil society organizations such as Human Rights Watch report titled as "Shoot the Traitors – Discrimination against Muslims under India's New Citizenship Policy", Citizens and Lawyers Initiative titled as "Delhi Riots of February 2020- Causes, Fallout and Aftermath"; Amnesty International India; Constitutional Conduct Group Report titled "Citizens Committee on the Delhi Riots of February 2020: Context, Events and Aftermath".

The plea contends that these reports are hampering investigation by ‘self-constituted’ organisations. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre said that the matter would need examination and as such the court kept the matter for further hearing on March 26.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing the case and asked who had constituted these bodies. To this, SG Mehta responded that these were self-constituted. It is pertinent to note here that as far as DMC is concerned, it is a statutory body established by a law passed by the Delhi government and its mandate remains to safeguard interests of minority communities within Delhi.

As per LiveLaw, SG Mehta told the court that several other petitioners, who have filed writ petitions in the High Court "making wild allegations" about riots, have contributed to the reports, and if that is the case, "they (the reports) are vitiated."

The petition has sought declaration of any such reports by any private organisations or any private tribunal established without any authority of law, to be non-est, void and prayed that they ought not be relied upon by any judicial forum adjudicating cases of Delhi riots, as they subvert the due process of law, and impede the right to a fair trial, reported LiveLaw.

The plea prays that several such private reports on the Delhi riots that favour the minority communities and prejudicing rights of the majority community should also be quashed. The plea states that the reports have been made by individuals acting as extra-constitutional private tribunals and are giving themselves credence by mentioning their former constitutional and executive posts. The plea further states that the content of the reports is such that could deceive judicial forums and the public that could prejudice them against subsequent investigations and legal proceedings.

DMC’s fact finding report released in July 2020 stated that the communal violence started “almost immediately after” the volatile hate speech by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Kapil Mishra on February 23, 2020 at Maujpur. Mishra had said, “We will not listen to the police if roads are not cleared after three days...” The Deputy Commissioner of Police North East district, Shri Ved Prakash Surya, was standing right next to Kapil Mishra when he said those words.

However, the Delhi Police did not stop him, leave alone apprehend or arrest Kapil Mishra and those who cheered his hate speech. This DMC report states that this indicates that the Delhi Police “failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and protect life and property.”

 

Related:

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

Delhi violence: Government pays compensation to over 2,000 affected

North-East Delhi Riots: Minorities Commission investigations reveal role of Delhi Police, politicians

Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence 

Delhi HC seeks response in plea seeking quashing of DMC’s report on Delhi riots

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre said that these reports need to be examined

Delhi violence

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central government and Delhi Police, seeking response on a petition filed by Delhi Riots victim for quashing reports prepared by Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), and other private organisations on the Delhi riots.

The contention has been raised against fact finding report of the DMC as well as other reports of civil society organizations such as Human Rights Watch report titled as "Shoot the Traitors – Discrimination against Muslims under India's New Citizenship Policy", Citizens and Lawyers Initiative titled as "Delhi Riots of February 2020- Causes, Fallout and Aftermath"; Amnesty International India; Constitutional Conduct Group Report titled "Citizens Committee on the Delhi Riots of February 2020: Context, Events and Aftermath".

The plea contends that these reports are hampering investigation by ‘self-constituted’ organisations. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre said that the matter would need examination and as such the court kept the matter for further hearing on March 26.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing the case and asked who had constituted these bodies. To this, SG Mehta responded that these were self-constituted. It is pertinent to note here that as far as DMC is concerned, it is a statutory body established by a law passed by the Delhi government and its mandate remains to safeguard interests of minority communities within Delhi.

As per LiveLaw, SG Mehta told the court that several other petitioners, who have filed writ petitions in the High Court "making wild allegations" about riots, have contributed to the reports, and if that is the case, "they (the reports) are vitiated."

The petition has sought declaration of any such reports by any private organisations or any private tribunal established without any authority of law, to be non-est, void and prayed that they ought not be relied upon by any judicial forum adjudicating cases of Delhi riots, as they subvert the due process of law, and impede the right to a fair trial, reported LiveLaw.

The plea prays that several such private reports on the Delhi riots that favour the minority communities and prejudicing rights of the majority community should also be quashed. The plea states that the reports have been made by individuals acting as extra-constitutional private tribunals and are giving themselves credence by mentioning their former constitutional and executive posts. The plea further states that the content of the reports is such that could deceive judicial forums and the public that could prejudice them against subsequent investigations and legal proceedings.

DMC’s fact finding report released in July 2020 stated that the communal violence started “almost immediately after” the volatile hate speech by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Kapil Mishra on February 23, 2020 at Maujpur. Mishra had said, “We will not listen to the police if roads are not cleared after three days...” The Deputy Commissioner of Police North East district, Shri Ved Prakash Surya, was standing right next to Kapil Mishra when he said those words.

However, the Delhi Police did not stop him, leave alone apprehend or arrest Kapil Mishra and those who cheered his hate speech. This DMC report states that this indicates that the Delhi Police “failed to take the first and most immediate preventive step needed to avoid violence from arising and protect life and property.”

 

Related:

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

Delhi violence: Government pays compensation to over 2,000 affected

North-East Delhi Riots: Minorities Commission investigations reveal role of Delhi Police, politicians

Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence 

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Battleground Bengal: Communal hues grow darker

From rath yatras, to pitting deities, there’s nothing the BJP won’t do to consolidate its vote bank of supremacists

24 Feb 2021

Bengal Election

During his latest visit to the poll-bound state of West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised “Asol Poriborton” or real change, taking a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s original promise of “Poriborton” or change that helped her come to power in the state. But in light of the growing communalization of the election campaign, one wonders if as far as the BJP and the Modi government are concerned, the more things change, the more they remain the same?

For example, take a look at the tweet by BJP’s minder for Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday where he said, “West Bengal’s equation! Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui is TMC’s deputy chief minister. The chief minister of the Congress-CPM alliance is Abdul Mannad. Calcutta’s mayor is Firhad Hakim. Which way is Bengal heading? Bengal’s people will have to think!”

 

 

Though he did not say it outright, the communal undertones of the tweet are evident and resonate with BJP’s age-old allegation that the Banerjee government engages in minority appeasement.

But that’s not all. Last Thursday, union minister and BJP heavyweight Amit Shah visited the Bharat Sevashram Sangha’s head office to pay tributes to its founder Yugacharya Swami Pranavananda Maharaj. He was accompanied by state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, senior leader Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya himself. Interestingly though, last year it was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had inaugurated the 125th year birth anniversary celebrations for the spiritual leader.

The BJP has also flagged five ‘Poriborton Rath Yatras’ in the state in five zones of the state covering 294 constituencies. While BJP President JP Nadda flagged on three, Shah himself flagged off two. But The Telegraph reports that the response from local residents has been rather underwhelming. “The turnout was less than expected on Indira Maidan on Thursday. Empty patches of the field reminded party leaders of the lukewarm response the flag-offs received at Tarapith, Nabadwip and Lalgarh.,” reported the publication.

Shah had also paid a visit to the Kapil Muni temple and promised to make the Uttarayan Mela (Gangasagar) a part of the international tourist circuit. Shah also flagged off three cycle rallies in the state. 300 cyclists divided into three teams named after freedom fighters: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rash Behari Bose and Khudiram Bose, would reportedly cover 900 kilometers over 30 days purportedly to visit homes of 400 unsung freedom fighters in the state.

But BJP might have pushed their luck, when Dilip Ghosh questioned the antecedents of Goddess Durga, a beloved deity in West Bengal. Speaking at the India Today Conclave, Ghosh had said, “Lord Ram was an emperor. Some consider him an avatar (incarnation). We know the names of his ancestors. Do we know the same about Durga? So, he is considered as maryada purushottam. Here [in Bengal] we have the Bengali version of Ramayana too. So Ram is an adarsh purush, maryada puroshottameven Gandhiji spoke about Ram Rajya.”

This is a throwback to when Mamata Banerjee and her supporters refused to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and instead responded with “Jai Maa Kali” or “Jai Maa Durga”. Ghosh’s comments did not go down well with people in the state, where some of the biggest festivals are dedicated to Goddess Durga or one of her avatars. Also, pitting one religious deity against another appears to be in poor taste. Given how both deities belong to the same religion, this is yet another unnecessary divisive tactic, one that could divide the very vote bank BJP is trying to consolidate.

Coercive tactics at play?

Meanwhile, on the night of February 17, TMC state Minister and Jangipur MLA Jakir Hossain was severely injured when unidentified men hurled a crude bomb at him at Nimtita railway station in Murshidabad district. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that Hossain was being pressured to switch parties, and attacked because he refused.

Speaking to media persons after taking stock of Hossain’s condition at the SSKM Hospital where he was admitted in the Trauma Care Unit, Banerjee had said, “It was a preplanned attack on minister Jakir Hossain. It is a conspiracy.” She added, “Some people were pressuring Jakir Hossian to join them for the last few months. I don't want to disclose anything more as investigation is on.” The matter is being investigated by the state Crime Investigation Department (CID).

Interestingly, the BJP used the incident to blame the Banerjee government for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. BJP president Dilip Ghosh told The Telegraph, “The incident shows that West Bengal is not safe even for ministers. The government has failed to control the law and order.”

On February 20, he accused TMC workers of “hurling bombs” at his rally. He tweeted, “#PoliticalTerrorists of TMC attacked and hurled bombs today at our #PoribortonYatra held at Minakha, Basirhat (North 24 Parganas zela). An orchestrated and planned attack to create terror in people's mind. People of Paschim Banga will put in their mandate at the right time.”

 

 

Meanwhile, despite the fact that election dates have not been announced, there has been heavy deployment of central forces in the state. The Election Commission of India reportedly intends to deploy a total of 125 companies of central forces in West Bengal by February 25 for the upcoming assembly elections citing a senior official. These would include 60 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and five companies each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Of these, according to NDTV, at least 12 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), have already arrived in the state. EC officials told NDTV that last week, two companies of the central forces reached Durgapur by train, one company got down at Burdwan. Five companies reached Dankuni in Howrah. Meanwhile, four companies reached the Kolkata railway station in the Chitpore area by train.

But that’s not all. Abhishek Banerjee, who is seen by many as his aunt Mamata Banerjee’s political heir apparent has found himself in the BJP’s crosshairs. His wife Ruchira is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a coal smuggling case.

Abhishek tweeted a copy of the CBI notice and said, “At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down.”

 

 

Mamata fights back

Meanwhile, addressing a rally in Hooghly on February 24, Mamata Banerjee called Modi the “biggest Dangabaaz” and said that a ”fate worse than Donald Trump” awaited him. Banerjee was speaking at the same location where Modi had held his rally a few days ago. She shot back at the BJP saying, “I will be the goalkeeper in the assembly polls and BJP will not be able to score a single goal.” 

 

Related:

Battleground Bengal: From bomb blasts to ‘bandobast’

Will Rajbanshis play kingmaker in West Bengal assembly polls?

Battleground Bengal: Communal hues grow darker

From rath yatras, to pitting deities, there’s nothing the BJP won’t do to consolidate its vote bank of supremacists

Bengal Election

During his latest visit to the poll-bound state of West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised “Asol Poriborton” or real change, taking a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s original promise of “Poriborton” or change that helped her come to power in the state. But in light of the growing communalization of the election campaign, one wonders if as far as the BJP and the Modi government are concerned, the more things change, the more they remain the same?

For example, take a look at the tweet by BJP’s minder for Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday where he said, “West Bengal’s equation! Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui is TMC’s deputy chief minister. The chief minister of the Congress-CPM alliance is Abdul Mannad. Calcutta’s mayor is Firhad Hakim. Which way is Bengal heading? Bengal’s people will have to think!”

 

 

Though he did not say it outright, the communal undertones of the tweet are evident and resonate with BJP’s age-old allegation that the Banerjee government engages in minority appeasement.

But that’s not all. Last Thursday, union minister and BJP heavyweight Amit Shah visited the Bharat Sevashram Sangha’s head office to pay tributes to its founder Yugacharya Swami Pranavananda Maharaj. He was accompanied by state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, senior leader Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya himself. Interestingly though, last year it was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had inaugurated the 125th year birth anniversary celebrations for the spiritual leader.

The BJP has also flagged five ‘Poriborton Rath Yatras’ in the state in five zones of the state covering 294 constituencies. While BJP President JP Nadda flagged on three, Shah himself flagged off two. But The Telegraph reports that the response from local residents has been rather underwhelming. “The turnout was less than expected on Indira Maidan on Thursday. Empty patches of the field reminded party leaders of the lukewarm response the flag-offs received at Tarapith, Nabadwip and Lalgarh.,” reported the publication.

Shah had also paid a visit to the Kapil Muni temple and promised to make the Uttarayan Mela (Gangasagar) a part of the international tourist circuit. Shah also flagged off three cycle rallies in the state. 300 cyclists divided into three teams named after freedom fighters: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rash Behari Bose and Khudiram Bose, would reportedly cover 900 kilometers over 30 days purportedly to visit homes of 400 unsung freedom fighters in the state.

But BJP might have pushed their luck, when Dilip Ghosh questioned the antecedents of Goddess Durga, a beloved deity in West Bengal. Speaking at the India Today Conclave, Ghosh had said, “Lord Ram was an emperor. Some consider him an avatar (incarnation). We know the names of his ancestors. Do we know the same about Durga? So, he is considered as maryada purushottam. Here [in Bengal] we have the Bengali version of Ramayana too. So Ram is an adarsh purush, maryada puroshottameven Gandhiji spoke about Ram Rajya.”

This is a throwback to when Mamata Banerjee and her supporters refused to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and instead responded with “Jai Maa Kali” or “Jai Maa Durga”. Ghosh’s comments did not go down well with people in the state, where some of the biggest festivals are dedicated to Goddess Durga or one of her avatars. Also, pitting one religious deity against another appears to be in poor taste. Given how both deities belong to the same religion, this is yet another unnecessary divisive tactic, one that could divide the very vote bank BJP is trying to consolidate.

Coercive tactics at play?

Meanwhile, on the night of February 17, TMC state Minister and Jangipur MLA Jakir Hossain was severely injured when unidentified men hurled a crude bomb at him at Nimtita railway station in Murshidabad district. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that Hossain was being pressured to switch parties, and attacked because he refused.

Speaking to media persons after taking stock of Hossain’s condition at the SSKM Hospital where he was admitted in the Trauma Care Unit, Banerjee had said, “It was a preplanned attack on minister Jakir Hossain. It is a conspiracy.” She added, “Some people were pressuring Jakir Hossian to join them for the last few months. I don't want to disclose anything more as investigation is on.” The matter is being investigated by the state Crime Investigation Department (CID).

Interestingly, the BJP used the incident to blame the Banerjee government for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. BJP president Dilip Ghosh told The Telegraph, “The incident shows that West Bengal is not safe even for ministers. The government has failed to control the law and order.”

On February 20, he accused TMC workers of “hurling bombs” at his rally. He tweeted, “#PoliticalTerrorists of TMC attacked and hurled bombs today at our #PoribortonYatra held at Minakha, Basirhat (North 24 Parganas zela). An orchestrated and planned attack to create terror in people's mind. People of Paschim Banga will put in their mandate at the right time.”

 

 

Meanwhile, despite the fact that election dates have not been announced, there has been heavy deployment of central forces in the state. The Election Commission of India reportedly intends to deploy a total of 125 companies of central forces in West Bengal by February 25 for the upcoming assembly elections citing a senior official. These would include 60 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and five companies each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Of these, according to NDTV, at least 12 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), have already arrived in the state. EC officials told NDTV that last week, two companies of the central forces reached Durgapur by train, one company got down at Burdwan. Five companies reached Dankuni in Howrah. Meanwhile, four companies reached the Kolkata railway station in the Chitpore area by train.

But that’s not all. Abhishek Banerjee, who is seen by many as his aunt Mamata Banerjee’s political heir apparent has found himself in the BJP’s crosshairs. His wife Ruchira is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a coal smuggling case.

Abhishek tweeted a copy of the CBI notice and said, “At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down.”

 

 

Mamata fights back

Meanwhile, addressing a rally in Hooghly on February 24, Mamata Banerjee called Modi the “biggest Dangabaaz” and said that a ”fate worse than Donald Trump” awaited him. Banerjee was speaking at the same location where Modi had held his rally a few days ago. She shot back at the BJP saying, “I will be the goalkeeper in the assembly polls and BJP will not be able to score a single goal.” 

 

Related:

Battleground Bengal: From bomb blasts to ‘bandobast’

Will Rajbanshis play kingmaker in West Bengal assembly polls?

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Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence 

On Tuesday, the Left organisation remembered the atrocities suffered by residents of Northeast Delhi and condemned the central government for stifling dissent.

24 Feb 2021

Brinda Karat

There has been a deliberate subversion of justice as truth has been hijacked to serve political interests and to save BJP leaders, claimed Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) member Brinda Karat during a party event on February 23, 2021, the first anniversary of the Northeast Delhi violence that led to tat least 54 deaths and homelessness of many people in the capital city.

According to The Hindu, the event was attended by former residents of the area, Mohammed Wakeel, now a resident of Shiv Vihar who was blinded during the riots, and Mallika, a resident of Bhagwati Nagar who lost her husband and fled with her three-year-old son during the chaos. Both of them alleged the Delhi police had ignored their calls during and after the violence on February 23, 2020.

To understand the role of the police as well as to learn how the capital was allowed to burn for five days under the eye of the Home Minister himself, Karat called for an independent, impartial probe into the Delhi Riots. She stressed a need for such a probe by pointing out that the Delhi police gave themselves a clean chit by saying no cognisable offence has been found in the manner in which they conducted themselves.

Moreover, alleging a gross inadequacy in the number of police personnel deployed, she said, “On February 23, 2020, there were 1,393 police and central forces deployed and 700 distress calls were received, most of which went unanswered. On February 24, 2020, 13 deaths were reported and the [Union] Home Ministry added only six more personnel, as the official figure for deployment on that day according to the Delhi police’s own submission to the court is 1,399.”

The party also released a report on the riots detailing the suffering of victims that also talked about how Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed on February 24. The number of police personnel was increased to 4,291 and 4,663 in the next two days when 29 and eight deaths, respectively, were reported.

She also condemned BJP member Kapil Mishra, accused of making inflammatory speeches ahead of the riot, for stating that “if required, he would do it again.” Karat said this showed how the ruling regime protects leaders who gave inflammatory speeches.

She decried the central government for quashing dissent which according to them equals anti-nationalism, “and anti-nationalism becomes patriotism if you wear a saffron scarf and carry a BJP flag.”

Other families previously living in the area also narrated their suffering to the Millennium Post: A 23-year-old boy named Faizan lost his brother and continues to await justice. Another survivor, restaurant-owner Mumtaz, talked about how he lost his business to fire that day and later on watched his supporters be intimated and his complaints be dismissed.

Malaika talked about her husband, who was dragged out of his home, burnt and thrown in the drain. “My child was in the other room, but they dragged my husband and killed him,” she said.

Related:

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

Shahid murder case: Delhi HC grants bail to three riot accused

Delhi court asks Police to respond to plea seeking FIR against Kapil Mishra

Are low numbers of Communal Riots in 2020 a mere deception?

Brinda Karat moves Delhi HC, challenges order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma 

Truth has been hijacked to serve political interests: Brinda Karat on Delhi violence 

On Tuesday, the Left organisation remembered the atrocities suffered by residents of Northeast Delhi and condemned the central government for stifling dissent.

Brinda Karat

There has been a deliberate subversion of justice as truth has been hijacked to serve political interests and to save BJP leaders, claimed Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) member Brinda Karat during a party event on February 23, 2021, the first anniversary of the Northeast Delhi violence that led to tat least 54 deaths and homelessness of many people in the capital city.

According to The Hindu, the event was attended by former residents of the area, Mohammed Wakeel, now a resident of Shiv Vihar who was blinded during the riots, and Mallika, a resident of Bhagwati Nagar who lost her husband and fled with her three-year-old son during the chaos. Both of them alleged the Delhi police had ignored their calls during and after the violence on February 23, 2020.

To understand the role of the police as well as to learn how the capital was allowed to burn for five days under the eye of the Home Minister himself, Karat called for an independent, impartial probe into the Delhi Riots. She stressed a need for such a probe by pointing out that the Delhi police gave themselves a clean chit by saying no cognisable offence has been found in the manner in which they conducted themselves.

Moreover, alleging a gross inadequacy in the number of police personnel deployed, she said, “On February 23, 2020, there were 1,393 police and central forces deployed and 700 distress calls were received, most of which went unanswered. On February 24, 2020, 13 deaths were reported and the [Union] Home Ministry added only six more personnel, as the official figure for deployment on that day according to the Delhi police’s own submission to the court is 1,399.”

The party also released a report on the riots detailing the suffering of victims that also talked about how Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed on February 24. The number of police personnel was increased to 4,291 and 4,663 in the next two days when 29 and eight deaths, respectively, were reported.

She also condemned BJP member Kapil Mishra, accused of making inflammatory speeches ahead of the riot, for stating that “if required, he would do it again.” Karat said this showed how the ruling regime protects leaders who gave inflammatory speeches.

She decried the central government for quashing dissent which according to them equals anti-nationalism, “and anti-nationalism becomes patriotism if you wear a saffron scarf and carry a BJP flag.”

Other families previously living in the area also narrated their suffering to the Millennium Post: A 23-year-old boy named Faizan lost his brother and continues to await justice. Another survivor, restaurant-owner Mumtaz, talked about how he lost his business to fire that day and later on watched his supporters be intimated and his complaints be dismissed.

Malaika talked about her husband, who was dragged out of his home, burnt and thrown in the drain. “My child was in the other room, but they dragged my husband and killed him,” she said.

Related:

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

Shahid murder case: Delhi HC grants bail to three riot accused

Delhi court asks Police to respond to plea seeking FIR against Kapil Mishra

Are low numbers of Communal Riots in 2020 a mere deception?

Brinda Karat moves Delhi HC, challenges order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma 

Related Articles


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Mob Lynching in 2020: Misleading Exception than a Norm

Excerpts from a piece that appeared originally in Secular Perspective, February 16-28, 2021 edition

24 Feb 2021

mob lynching
Illustration: Cleon Dsouza / https://www.arre.co.in

 

Introduction:

In part one of this report, the authors observed that based on media reportage monitored by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), though physical violence has declined in the forms of communal riots and mob lynching, communal violence on the whole has risen in 2020. In this part of the report, the authors will focus on the trends in mob lynching in 2020. Mob lynching since the infamous Mohammad Akhlaq lynching in Dadri has become an alarmingly ubiquitous phenomenon dotting the political landscape in India. A gruesome reminder of the racial violence in US, mob lynching in India has reflected a breakdown of law and order or any moral or legal restraint in attacking innocent victims on mere suspicion of wrong doing for any sundry reason. The images of desperate helpless injured victims on the verge of death like seen in the cases of Tabrez Ansari have shaken the moral conscience of the society, yet the lynching continues.

In 2020, India witnessed 23 incidents of mob lynching as against 107 incidents in 2019 as per the reportage in the media. These 23 incidents claimed 22 lives. Out of these reported 23 incidents, 10 can be attributed directly to the Hindutva nationalist ideology which manifests itself in issues like cow slaughter, inter-faith marriages and overall hatred owing to the ideology of communalism. These ten incidents claimed six lives- three Muslims, one Christian and two Hindus. Seven cases in 2020 were related to suspicions of cow slaughter alone. In comparison to 2019, incidents of mob lynching reported in media in 2020 have declined by 78%. Large part of this decline in number of cases can be attributed to Coronavirus pandemic and consequently prolonged lockdowns. However, communal violence in the forms of structural violence i.e. laws and policies are achieving similar objective as mob lynching that is to reinforce the status of Muslims as second class citizens who are easy preys. Given the anti- cow slaughter law passed in Karnataka recently and other states following suit, one can only predict that cases in the subsequent years will only rise.


Methodology:

As mentioned earlier, CSSS has been monitoring mob lynching through the media reportage in five leading newspapers- Mumbai editions of Indian Express, Times of India, The Hindu and Urdu newspapers – Sahafat and Inquilab. It is to be noted that in reality there must be many more cases of mob lynching that have taken place in India in 2020, however since CSSS is monitoring only the cases reported in these five newspapers, the numbers in this report is less. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) too is not giving out data which can give a comprehensive picture.

The reported cases of mob lynching are segregated according to the triggers of the lynching. Accordingly, the categories are: cow vigilantism, child lifting, theft and others. The previous years also included the category of inter-faith relationships. However this year no case was found reported under this category. It is to be noted that different states have brought anti-conversion laws targeting inter-faith marriages and subsequently Muslim men and Hindu women are being targeted. The propaganda of “love jihad” and the blatant vigilantism associated with it has acquired legitimacy through such legislations.

In 2020, out of 23 reported cases, seven were on allegation of cow vigilantism, three under the category the broad category of communalism, three under child lifting, five under theft and five under others. For the purpose of this report, the authors will focus on the cases related to cow vigilantism and communalism- 10 in number.


Analysis/trends:

1.      Mapping the cases of mob lynching- geography and ruling party:

Like mentioned above, the report will focus on the reported incidents of mob lynching related to communalism- cow vigilantism and mob lynching related to communalism overall. In these 10 cases, five incidents took place in the northern zone- three in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one in the state of Haryana and one in Jammu and Kashmir. Other four incidents of mob lynching took place in the Eastern zone- two in the state of Odisha, one in Jharkhand and one in Bihar. One incident took place in the western region- state of Maharashtra.

Not surprisingly, six of these ten incidents took place in states where BJP is the ruling party. Two incidents took place in the Congress ruled states and two in BJD ruled Odisha. This indicates towards the atmosphere of impunity given by the ruling BJP to the vigilante groups to freely target the vulnerable. 

2.      Cases of cow vigilantism

On January 31, a few residents of Chimbipada village in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra caught Nafees Qureshi, Aamir Khan and Aakib Aalam allegedly trying to load a buffalo into their vehicle. The angry mob thrashed them and damaged their vehicle. The police reached the spot and got them admitted to hospital, where Qureshi died during treatment. Initially, the Bhiwandi taluka police had booked the trio acting on a complaint of the buffalo owner, Prakash Dombare. But after Qureshi died, the police filed a murder case against six to seven unidentified people.

On March 2, Umar and Rahil Gazi were thrashed by a group of at least seven persons in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district for alleged cow slaughter. In a video that has gone viral, the youths, one of them bare-chested, are seen being punched, kicked and hit with a stick by some men. In another video, a youth, identifying himself as Umar, says a group intercepted their two-wheeler and pulled them over while they were going to a cold storage. They used communal slurs and referred to the violence in Delhi while abusing and threatening them with dire consequences. A case had been registered under charges of attempt to murder, rioting, criminal intimidation and kidnapping for murder against five persons and another unidentified person. The FIR identifies the five accused as Shivam, Satyaveer, Sachin, Badal and Dinesh Pandit. In a police complaint, Umar's brother Mehervan says the two youths were going to get carrots from a cold storage in their four-wheeler when the assaulters intercepted them. They were kidnapped at gunpoint, taken to a forest and beaten up with rods and sticks with the intent to kill, alleges Mehervan. SSP Bulandshahr Santosh Kumar Singh, however, said it was “a brawl between two groups” near Hamidpur village, adding that a police case was registered instantly.

On 13 March, police rescued three men from being lynched by a mob in Ratepur village under Saandh police station and took them into custody. The mob assaulted them suspecting them to be cattle thieves. According to villagers, the men were trying to escape with three buffaloes belonging to Buddhi Lal Yadav and his neighbour. The police identified the three men as Niyamat, his two sons, Salim and Riyaz. According to police, the three men, residents of Machariya area of Naubasta, had allegedly come on two-wheelers and a loader to steal buffaloes. Medical aid was provided to them for injuries caused to them during the attack.

On 11th May, Suman Ansari (26) of Dwarpahadi village and Dulal Mirdha (22) of neighbouring Dhaka village were assaulted by the villagers while trying to slaughter the goat on the banks of Brahmani River and tying them to a tree. According to police, they were soon rescued by a patrolling team that rushed to the spot after receiving the information. While Ansari succumbed to his injuries, another accused was battling for life at hospital. Police said two persons, including the owner of the goat, were already arrested and two separate FIRs were lodged one for lynching and the other for theft of the goat.

On July 29, two persons were lynched for allegedly stealing a pair of oxen belonging to Bajo Rai at Rai Tola in Jamui district. Police said the incident took place around 1.00 am when some villagers were patrolling at night due to a rise in cattle theft cases. They saw the two persons fleeing with a pair of stolen oxen. They chased, caught and mercilessly thrashed the two, leading to their death. The deceased were identified as Nageshwar Paswan (45) and Lalmohan Paswan (40) of Mansinghdih village under Chandradih police station in Jamui district.

On July 31, Lukman, a 25-year-old pick-up truck driver from Nuh was allegedly beaten up with sticks by a group of men while he was transporting buffalo meat to Gurgaon. According to the victim’s complaint he was on his way to Jama Masjid in Gurgaon, the men surrounded his vehicle near the truck market, broke the glass of his truck, and beat him with sticks. They then dumped him in his own vehicle and took him back towards Sohna, where they again stopped the vehicle and beat him up. The violence stopped only after a police team arrived at the spot and rescued the victim. Police said a 28-year-old Pradeep Yadav, who hails from Dadri involved in the incident has been arrested. An FIR had been registered against him and a Maruti Baleno that was used in the crime has also been seized by police.

On August 16, a group of cow vigilantes attacked and injured a 48-year-old shepherd in a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir after his son drove a few cows away from their pastureland. Mohammad Asghar was beaten up by nearly 20-strong mob in the Garri Gabbar village. He received serious injuries and was under treatment at a hospital. The incident occurred when cows allegedly strayed into Asgar’s fields and started eating and damaging his crop. Police have registered two FIRs, one in Asgar’s son for allegedly hurting the sentiments of a community by injuring a cow with a sharp-edged object, and in another, a case has been filed against people who attacked Asgar. They said the situation has been brought to normal after police spoke to the elders in the village.

3.      Anti-Christian violence:

While Muslims and Adivasis have been at the receiving end of cow vigilantism, mob lynching is not restricted to them alone. In 2020, Christians were also attacked owing to their religious identity. According to the CSSS monitoring based on the reportage on the five newspapers, the following two anti-Christian violence cases were found, however ADF which is an international advocacy group has pointed towards many more cases in its reports[i].

On the 11th of March 2020, 10 people including Kama had gathered at Mala’s home to pray. During the prayers, few religious fanatics under the influence of alcohol barged into the house. They created chaos, beating up their own neighbours and accusing them of converting people to Christianity. What was astonishing was that they were the same people who had pointed out Kama and Mala to the Church. When their rage died down, they warned the Christians to never gather to pray again. On the next day, when Kama stepped out of his house, he saw his home was surrounded by the same fanatics that had attacked him the previous night along with a few more locals who had joined in. They were all wielding bamboo sticks and had a tractor trolley with them. A few of them ran towards Kama and began to beat him mercilessly and he fell to the ground, unconscious. He was repeatedly whacked with sticks on his head, back and legs. He was admitted with severe internal and external injuries into the hospital, where he received treatment for almost a week. His all belonging were also thrown out by the fanatics.

In another incident, 14 years old Christian boy, Samaru Madkami, was murdered in cold blood by a group of religious fanatics in Malkangiri in Odisha. On the night of 4th June, 2020, a few villagers ganged up with a handful of religious fanatics who are not a part of their village and attempted to kidnap three Christians. Two Christians who were stronger and older than the victim managed to escape and were saved. Unfortunately, young Samaru Madkami was left behind at the mercy of his assailants who brutally slayed the grade 7 student and chopped his body into pieces. After carrying out this gruesome crime, the assassins buried the body and fled the scene.

Incident in Panipat:

In a brutal case of lynching, Ikhlaq Salami, from Nanauta, western UP went to Panipat, Haryana in search of work in August. He was attacked by a bunch of people who alleged that he had sodomised a seven-year-old boy. The mob chopped off Ikhlaq’s hand when they noticed a tattoo of the number “786” on his hand (a number considered pious by the Muslims). After the mob sawed off his arm, he was dumped on the railway tracks to die. Fortunately, he survived and was rescued. The family alleges that Ikhlaq was attacked in such a horrible manner due to his religious identity and that he was innocent and gone to the house of the assailants to ask for water.

4.      What explains the low numbers?

Polarization along religious lines, consolidation of communal identities and complete submission of religious minorities into a persecuted section of society (worse status than secondary citizens) is achieved in the country through discriminatory laws and overall normalization of violence against them which is the primary aim of the communal violence in the form of mob lynching. In such a scenario, lesser number of mob lynching was reported than the previous years.  While mobs couldn’t physically come out to lynch, the stigmatization of Muslims continued and even intensified when they were scapegoated for the pandemic. They were called as “super spreaders”, actions falsely attributed to them dubbed as “corona jihad” etc. The media and the state launched a witch hunt for the Tablighi Muslims which also translated into targeting of common Muslims. There were calls for socio-economic boycott against Muslims, denial of access to Muslims to facilities of healthcare, discrimination in housing societies etc. However, in the near future, one can anticipate the cases of mob lynching increasing with decline of the lockdown rules.

5.      Role of the state:

The role of the state is not one of taking deterrent action which reflects in the unabated spate of mob lynching. Though it is argued that the number of mob lynching has declined, it can be attributed to a number of factors which have a direct correlation to the action or the lack of it taken by the state. Additionally, the policies and laws of the state have legitimised propaganda against Muslims and Christians and such policies have acted as a cue for the vigilante groups to wreck violence on innocent. Some of these reasons have been discussed below in some details:

a.       Low conviction rate giving impunity:

Like in the preceding years, it is observed that in the cases of mob lynching, particularly those related to communalism, the conviction rate of the accused is low despite the laws passed to regulate the menace of mob lynching. The victims and their families are intimidated to not pursue legal course. The disturbing trend is that the victims themselves are slapped with charges under different sections of laws to criminalise them and acts as a justification for the violence. Thus, there is double victimization of the victim and a prolonged legal battle which is unevenly stacked against them. This delayed or in most cases denied justice emboldens the vigilantes to mount relentless attacks without fear of law or prosecution, putting the victims in a vulnerable position.

b.      Laws and policies supporting violence against the vulnerable:

The Karnataka government recently passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020. Though there was the older law, the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 in place, the new law is more stringent imposing a blanket ban on all slaughter, and consumption of all bovine meat in the state including buffaloes under 13 years old. This act will tacitly give a go ahead to the vigilantes to target anyone who is perceived to be consuming, transporting or selling cattle. This will also give sweeping powers to the police to frame charges against the victims instead of protecting them under the law. Such laws are proposed in other states too. This will only push the attacks on the vulnerable leading to increasing cases of mob lynching.

c.       Narrative of hatred and othering:

With anti- cow slaughter laws, laws related to preventing conversions under the pretext of the “love jihad”, the threats of CAA, there is a constant churning of narratives which are actively promoting hatred, exclusion and portraying religious minorities, Dalits and Adivasis as “outsiders” or a threat to Indian “mainstream”. This narrative apart from being morally repulsive is also working to normalise hatred and thus violence in the form of mob lynching. The state by condoning such violence is also encouraging it and normalizing it further- leaving to pretense of fetters, whether moral or legal to discourage mob lynching.


Conclusion:

The drastic decline in the number of mob lynching incidents doesn’t reflect the decline in communal violence or the ideology of hatred and exclusion. Due to factors including Corona virus imposed lockdown and related restrictions, the number of mob lynching may have gone down in 2020 but one can anticipate a surge in these numbers in the near future given the discriminatory laws giving legitimacy to hate and violent propaganda which embolden vigilantes to plunge the society in senseless violence.

 


[i] To access the entire report published by ADF, please refer to https://adfinternational.org/news/one-attack-per-day-on-christians-in-india/  


Excerpts from a piece that appeared originally in Secular Perspective, February 16-28, 2021 edition

 

 

Mob Lynching in 2020: Misleading Exception than a Norm

Excerpts from a piece that appeared originally in Secular Perspective, February 16-28, 2021 edition

mob lynching
Illustration: Cleon Dsouza / https://www.arre.co.in

 

Introduction:

In part one of this report, the authors observed that based on media reportage monitored by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), though physical violence has declined in the forms of communal riots and mob lynching, communal violence on the whole has risen in 2020. In this part of the report, the authors will focus on the trends in mob lynching in 2020. Mob lynching since the infamous Mohammad Akhlaq lynching in Dadri has become an alarmingly ubiquitous phenomenon dotting the political landscape in India. A gruesome reminder of the racial violence in US, mob lynching in India has reflected a breakdown of law and order or any moral or legal restraint in attacking innocent victims on mere suspicion of wrong doing for any sundry reason. The images of desperate helpless injured victims on the verge of death like seen in the cases of Tabrez Ansari have shaken the moral conscience of the society, yet the lynching continues.

In 2020, India witnessed 23 incidents of mob lynching as against 107 incidents in 2019 as per the reportage in the media. These 23 incidents claimed 22 lives. Out of these reported 23 incidents, 10 can be attributed directly to the Hindutva nationalist ideology which manifests itself in issues like cow slaughter, inter-faith marriages and overall hatred owing to the ideology of communalism. These ten incidents claimed six lives- three Muslims, one Christian and two Hindus. Seven cases in 2020 were related to suspicions of cow slaughter alone. In comparison to 2019, incidents of mob lynching reported in media in 2020 have declined by 78%. Large part of this decline in number of cases can be attributed to Coronavirus pandemic and consequently prolonged lockdowns. However, communal violence in the forms of structural violence i.e. laws and policies are achieving similar objective as mob lynching that is to reinforce the status of Muslims as second class citizens who are easy preys. Given the anti- cow slaughter law passed in Karnataka recently and other states following suit, one can only predict that cases in the subsequent years will only rise.


Methodology:

As mentioned earlier, CSSS has been monitoring mob lynching through the media reportage in five leading newspapers- Mumbai editions of Indian Express, Times of India, The Hindu and Urdu newspapers – Sahafat and Inquilab. It is to be noted that in reality there must be many more cases of mob lynching that have taken place in India in 2020, however since CSSS is monitoring only the cases reported in these five newspapers, the numbers in this report is less. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) too is not giving out data which can give a comprehensive picture.

The reported cases of mob lynching are segregated according to the triggers of the lynching. Accordingly, the categories are: cow vigilantism, child lifting, theft and others. The previous years also included the category of inter-faith relationships. However this year no case was found reported under this category. It is to be noted that different states have brought anti-conversion laws targeting inter-faith marriages and subsequently Muslim men and Hindu women are being targeted. The propaganda of “love jihad” and the blatant vigilantism associated with it has acquired legitimacy through such legislations.

In 2020, out of 23 reported cases, seven were on allegation of cow vigilantism, three under the category the broad category of communalism, three under child lifting, five under theft and five under others. For the purpose of this report, the authors will focus on the cases related to cow vigilantism and communalism- 10 in number.


Analysis/trends:

1.      Mapping the cases of mob lynching- geography and ruling party:

Like mentioned above, the report will focus on the reported incidents of mob lynching related to communalism- cow vigilantism and mob lynching related to communalism overall. In these 10 cases, five incidents took place in the northern zone- three in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one in the state of Haryana and one in Jammu and Kashmir. Other four incidents of mob lynching took place in the Eastern zone- two in the state of Odisha, one in Jharkhand and one in Bihar. One incident took place in the western region- state of Maharashtra.

Not surprisingly, six of these ten incidents took place in states where BJP is the ruling party. Two incidents took place in the Congress ruled states and two in BJD ruled Odisha. This indicates towards the atmosphere of impunity given by the ruling BJP to the vigilante groups to freely target the vulnerable. 

2.      Cases of cow vigilantism

On January 31, a few residents of Chimbipada village in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra caught Nafees Qureshi, Aamir Khan and Aakib Aalam allegedly trying to load a buffalo into their vehicle. The angry mob thrashed them and damaged their vehicle. The police reached the spot and got them admitted to hospital, where Qureshi died during treatment. Initially, the Bhiwandi taluka police had booked the trio acting on a complaint of the buffalo owner, Prakash Dombare. But after Qureshi died, the police filed a murder case against six to seven unidentified people.

On March 2, Umar and Rahil Gazi were thrashed by a group of at least seven persons in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district for alleged cow slaughter. In a video that has gone viral, the youths, one of them bare-chested, are seen being punched, kicked and hit with a stick by some men. In another video, a youth, identifying himself as Umar, says a group intercepted their two-wheeler and pulled them over while they were going to a cold storage. They used communal slurs and referred to the violence in Delhi while abusing and threatening them with dire consequences. A case had been registered under charges of attempt to murder, rioting, criminal intimidation and kidnapping for murder against five persons and another unidentified person. The FIR identifies the five accused as Shivam, Satyaveer, Sachin, Badal and Dinesh Pandit. In a police complaint, Umar's brother Mehervan says the two youths were going to get carrots from a cold storage in their four-wheeler when the assaulters intercepted them. They were kidnapped at gunpoint, taken to a forest and beaten up with rods and sticks with the intent to kill, alleges Mehervan. SSP Bulandshahr Santosh Kumar Singh, however, said it was “a brawl between two groups” near Hamidpur village, adding that a police case was registered instantly.

On 13 March, police rescued three men from being lynched by a mob in Ratepur village under Saandh police station and took them into custody. The mob assaulted them suspecting them to be cattle thieves. According to villagers, the men were trying to escape with three buffaloes belonging to Buddhi Lal Yadav and his neighbour. The police identified the three men as Niyamat, his two sons, Salim and Riyaz. According to police, the three men, residents of Machariya area of Naubasta, had allegedly come on two-wheelers and a loader to steal buffaloes. Medical aid was provided to them for injuries caused to them during the attack.

On 11th May, Suman Ansari (26) of Dwarpahadi village and Dulal Mirdha (22) of neighbouring Dhaka village were assaulted by the villagers while trying to slaughter the goat on the banks of Brahmani River and tying them to a tree. According to police, they were soon rescued by a patrolling team that rushed to the spot after receiving the information. While Ansari succumbed to his injuries, another accused was battling for life at hospital. Police said two persons, including the owner of the goat, were already arrested and two separate FIRs were lodged one for lynching and the other for theft of the goat.

On July 29, two persons were lynched for allegedly stealing a pair of oxen belonging to Bajo Rai at Rai Tola in Jamui district. Police said the incident took place around 1.00 am when some villagers were patrolling at night due to a rise in cattle theft cases. They saw the two persons fleeing with a pair of stolen oxen. They chased, caught and mercilessly thrashed the two, leading to their death. The deceased were identified as Nageshwar Paswan (45) and Lalmohan Paswan (40) of Mansinghdih village under Chandradih police station in Jamui district.

On July 31, Lukman, a 25-year-old pick-up truck driver from Nuh was allegedly beaten up with sticks by a group of men while he was transporting buffalo meat to Gurgaon. According to the victim’s complaint he was on his way to Jama Masjid in Gurgaon, the men surrounded his vehicle near the truck market, broke the glass of his truck, and beat him with sticks. They then dumped him in his own vehicle and took him back towards Sohna, where they again stopped the vehicle and beat him up. The violence stopped only after a police team arrived at the spot and rescued the victim. Police said a 28-year-old Pradeep Yadav, who hails from Dadri involved in the incident has been arrested. An FIR had been registered against him and a Maruti Baleno that was used in the crime has also been seized by police.

On August 16, a group of cow vigilantes attacked and injured a 48-year-old shepherd in a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir after his son drove a few cows away from their pastureland. Mohammad Asghar was beaten up by nearly 20-strong mob in the Garri Gabbar village. He received serious injuries and was under treatment at a hospital. The incident occurred when cows allegedly strayed into Asgar’s fields and started eating and damaging his crop. Police have registered two FIRs, one in Asgar’s son for allegedly hurting the sentiments of a community by injuring a cow with a sharp-edged object, and in another, a case has been filed against people who attacked Asgar. They said the situation has been brought to normal after police spoke to the elders in the village.

3.      Anti-Christian violence:

While Muslims and Adivasis have been at the receiving end of cow vigilantism, mob lynching is not restricted to them alone. In 2020, Christians were also attacked owing to their religious identity. According to the CSSS monitoring based on the reportage on the five newspapers, the following two anti-Christian violence cases were found, however ADF which is an international advocacy group has pointed towards many more cases in its reports[i].

On the 11th of March 2020, 10 people including Kama had gathered at Mala’s home to pray. During the prayers, few religious fanatics under the influence of alcohol barged into the house. They created chaos, beating up their own neighbours and accusing them of converting people to Christianity. What was astonishing was that they were the same people who had pointed out Kama and Mala to the Church. When their rage died down, they warned the Christians to never gather to pray again. On the next day, when Kama stepped out of his house, he saw his home was surrounded by the same fanatics that had attacked him the previous night along with a few more locals who had joined in. They were all wielding bamboo sticks and had a tractor trolley with them. A few of them ran towards Kama and began to beat him mercilessly and he fell to the ground, unconscious. He was repeatedly whacked with sticks on his head, back and legs. He was admitted with severe internal and external injuries into the hospital, where he received treatment for almost a week. His all belonging were also thrown out by the fanatics.

In another incident, 14 years old Christian boy, Samaru Madkami, was murdered in cold blood by a group of religious fanatics in Malkangiri in Odisha. On the night of 4th June, 2020, a few villagers ganged up with a handful of religious fanatics who are not a part of their village and attempted to kidnap three Christians. Two Christians who were stronger and older than the victim managed to escape and were saved. Unfortunately, young Samaru Madkami was left behind at the mercy of his assailants who brutally slayed the grade 7 student and chopped his body into pieces. After carrying out this gruesome crime, the assassins buried the body and fled the scene.

Incident in Panipat:

In a brutal case of lynching, Ikhlaq Salami, from Nanauta, western UP went to Panipat, Haryana in search of work in August. He was attacked by a bunch of people who alleged that he had sodomised a seven-year-old boy. The mob chopped off Ikhlaq’s hand when they noticed a tattoo of the number “786” on his hand (a number considered pious by the Muslims). After the mob sawed off his arm, he was dumped on the railway tracks to die. Fortunately, he survived and was rescued. The family alleges that Ikhlaq was attacked in such a horrible manner due to his religious identity and that he was innocent and gone to the house of the assailants to ask for water.

4.      What explains the low numbers?

Polarization along religious lines, consolidation of communal identities and complete submission of religious minorities into a persecuted section of society (worse status than secondary citizens) is achieved in the country through discriminatory laws and overall normalization of violence against them which is the primary aim of the communal violence in the form of mob lynching. In such a scenario, lesser number of mob lynching was reported than the previous years.  While mobs couldn’t physically come out to lynch, the stigmatization of Muslims continued and even intensified when they were scapegoated for the pandemic. They were called as “super spreaders”, actions falsely attributed to them dubbed as “corona jihad” etc. The media and the state launched a witch hunt for the Tablighi Muslims which also translated into targeting of common Muslims. There were calls for socio-economic boycott against Muslims, denial of access to Muslims to facilities of healthcare, discrimination in housing societies etc. However, in the near future, one can anticipate the cases of mob lynching increasing with decline of the lockdown rules.

5.      Role of the state:

The role of the state is not one of taking deterrent action which reflects in the unabated spate of mob lynching. Though it is argued that the number of mob lynching has declined, it can be attributed to a number of factors which have a direct correlation to the action or the lack of it taken by the state. Additionally, the policies and laws of the state have legitimised propaganda against Muslims and Christians and such policies have acted as a cue for the vigilante groups to wreck violence on innocent. Some of these reasons have been discussed below in some details:

a.       Low conviction rate giving impunity:

Like in the preceding years, it is observed that in the cases of mob lynching, particularly those related to communalism, the conviction rate of the accused is low despite the laws passed to regulate the menace of mob lynching. The victims and their families are intimidated to not pursue legal course. The disturbing trend is that the victims themselves are slapped with charges under different sections of laws to criminalise them and acts as a justification for the violence. Thus, there is double victimization of the victim and a prolonged legal battle which is unevenly stacked against them. This delayed or in most cases denied justice emboldens the vigilantes to mount relentless attacks without fear of law or prosecution, putting the victims in a vulnerable position.

b.      Laws and policies supporting violence against the vulnerable:

The Karnataka government recently passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020. Though there was the older law, the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 in place, the new law is more stringent imposing a blanket ban on all slaughter, and consumption of all bovine meat in the state including buffaloes under 13 years old. This act will tacitly give a go ahead to the vigilantes to target anyone who is perceived to be consuming, transporting or selling cattle. This will also give sweeping powers to the police to frame charges against the victims instead of protecting them under the law. Such laws are proposed in other states too. This will only push the attacks on the vulnerable leading to increasing cases of mob lynching.

c.       Narrative of hatred and othering:

With anti- cow slaughter laws, laws related to preventing conversions under the pretext of the “love jihad”, the threats of CAA, there is a constant churning of narratives which are actively promoting hatred, exclusion and portraying religious minorities, Dalits and Adivasis as “outsiders” or a threat to Indian “mainstream”. This narrative apart from being morally repulsive is also working to normalise hatred and thus violence in the form of mob lynching. The state by condoning such violence is also encouraging it and normalizing it further- leaving to pretense of fetters, whether moral or legal to discourage mob lynching.


Conclusion:

The drastic decline in the number of mob lynching incidents doesn’t reflect the decline in communal violence or the ideology of hatred and exclusion. Due to factors including Corona virus imposed lockdown and related restrictions, the number of mob lynching may have gone down in 2020 but one can anticipate a surge in these numbers in the near future given the discriminatory laws giving legitimacy to hate and violent propaganda which embolden vigilantes to plunge the society in senseless violence.

 


[i] To access the entire report published by ADF, please refer to https://adfinternational.org/news/one-attack-per-day-on-christians-in-india/  


Excerpts from a piece that appeared originally in Secular Perspective, February 16-28, 2021 edition

 

 

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I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

One year after the anti-Muslim communal riots raged in North-east Delhi, the BJP politcian continues his propaganda

23 Feb 2021

Kapil Mishra

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Kapil Mishra seemed to have marked the one year anniversary of his volatile speech of February 23, 2020, by making another one. He has reportedly said that if he had to, he would “redo” what he did on February 23, 2020. According to Indian Express, Mishra who was speaking at an event around the controversial book Delhi Riots: The Untold Story which is said to aim at telling the ‘story’ as understood by the right wing, said, “Aaj ek saal ho gaya hai, isliye yeh baat dobara bolna chahata hoon… February 23 pichle saal jo kiya, agar zaroorat pade toh dobara kar lunga (If the need arises to redo what I did on February 23, I would do it all over again). According to Mishra, he has “no regrets, besides the fact that we could not save Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma and constable Ratan Lal.” 

Mishra was among the many BJP politicians who have been called out for their similar statements, some of which are alleged to have fired communal tensions in the National Capital, especially in 2020. He himself had shared his speech on February 23, 2020, where he stood DCP (North East) Ved Prakash Surya and issued his “ultimatum” and soon enough the riots broke out.

Now, a year later he says, “It’s been a year since Jihadi forces engineered the riots in Delhi. Exactly the same pattern is being seen even now, like what happened on Republic Day. The so-called fringe elements are trying to sabotage peace in the Capital, aided and funded by anti-India forces, both within and outside the country. And the ‘pradarshan se danga tak (from protests to riots)’ model is very much evident,” the Indian Express reported. 

According to the report Mishra laughed and said, “This book has a lot on the conspirators of the riots. So you will not find much in the book about me.” The book “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story,” claims to be an 'expose' on Delhi’s February 2020 communal riots, just six months after the communal violence, even though the matter is subjudice. It was ‘launched’ online by the authors themselves because the original publishers Bloomsbury India refused to be associated with the event. Bloomsbury accused the authors of using their brand logo at the launch without permission, and later after scores of activists, authors, journalists, and readers raised concerns about the one-sided book, they withdrew publication. A publishing house, named Garuda Prakashan then published the title. Garuda introduces itself as an “international publishing venture focusing on Indic narratives.” It has been co-authored by senior Supreme Court lawyer Monika Arora, Miranda House Assistant Professor Sonali Chitalkar, and Author and Faculty at Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, Prerna Malhotra. Later the authors of the book had met Delhi Police Commissioner in September 2020, and handed over a complaint against the book’s former publisher Bloomsbury allegeding cheating, breach of trust and invoked multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. The authors, led by Advocate Monica Arora, met the commissioner in his office at the Police Headquarters and handed over their letter of complaint where they have also named activists, writers and journalists, seeking that they too be investigated under the IPC sections.

Mishra has been one of the “celebrities” associated with events around the book since then. At this most recent event on Monday, he was invited to discuss the book and said: “We have individually helped Hindu victims of the riots. And then we are questioned for why we do not help the other side. I say that the Waqf board is standing behind them, the entire Delhi government is standing behind them, the media, NGOs are all with them.”
 

The  rise and rise of Kapil Mishra

Kapil Mishra faced flak from civil society and liberal circles for allegedly being the trigger behind the violence in North East Delhi. He had held a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), not far from an anti-CAA protest site near the Jafrabad metro station is accused of inciting violence and using hateful words against protesters. Mishra who had previously been suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for his hate speech and later joined the BJP, is not new to controversy. On April 4, 2019, Kapil Sharma, MLA from the Karawal Nagar constituency in the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Delhi, tweeted a violence-inducing post, addressed to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Misrepresenting the Islamic flag (moon and stars on a green background) with that which represents the state of Pakistan, Kapil Mishra tweeted, “Those who broke down the temples at Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and Somnath carried this flag. Those who killed the Sikh Gurus also carried this flag. All terrorists, anywhere, swear by this flag.”

In February, 2019, following the Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF jawans dead, Mishra also posted a series of hate-filled tweets, one of which called for the destruction of the “wombs that give birth to terrorists”. When incidents of violence against Kashmiri students began being reported from across the country, Mishra insisted that the stories were made up and dismissed them as fake news, even though videographic evidence became available. Mishra won the elections by a margin of 44,431 votes. He took his oath in Sanskrit. He was removed from the position of Water Resource Minister in the Aam Aadmi Party government.

It is now 2021, and Kapil Mishra has been busy, speaking in various states, including Hyderabad which he calls Bhagyanagar. He also visited West Bengal. He has been active in Mongolpuri in Delhi where a young BJP/VHP volunteer’s murder is now being communalised. Most recently he has been calling for the demolition of a building he alleged was used to store illegal weapons.

 

 

Earlier this month, a trial court directed the Delhi Police to file a report on Mishra’s alleged inflammatory, incendiary, and provocative speeches delivered during the February 2020 Delhi riots. According to a report in the Muslim Mirror, the trial court has directed the Delhi Police to file a report on the speeches made by Mishra and others which had allegedly triggered the communal riots in North East Delhi, in February 2020. The riots had snuffed out 54 lives, hundreds were injured, and thousands were displaced during, and after the area was engulfed during the communal riots. 


CJP was the first to call out Kapil Mishra

Last year, CJP had started a petition to hold Kapil Mihra accountable for his actions. Our petition on Change.org had asked that if "Indian criminal law has provisions for prosecution of those who incite violence using hate speech. Why then is there no action against this BJP leader?" Our petition, that illustrated how his hate speech, and an ultimatum delivered while standing next to a police officer, legitimised violence. We also highlighted Kapil Mishra's history of spewing venom against minorities. Our petition was addressed to the Chief Justice of India, and also marked to the Commissioner of Delhi Police and the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.

You too, can read and even sign the petition here.


Related:

Delhi court asks Police to respond to plea seeking FIR against Kapil Mishra

Rinku Sharma’s murder is ‘jihad’: Kapil Mishra

Are low numbers of Communal Riots in 2020 a mere deception?

Brinda Karat moves Delhi HC, challenges order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma 

I have no regrets, if need be, I’d do it again: Kapil Mishra

One year after the anti-Muslim communal riots raged in North-east Delhi, the BJP politcian continues his propaganda

Kapil Mishra

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Kapil Mishra seemed to have marked the one year anniversary of his volatile speech of February 23, 2020, by making another one. He has reportedly said that if he had to, he would “redo” what he did on February 23, 2020. According to Indian Express, Mishra who was speaking at an event around the controversial book Delhi Riots: The Untold Story which is said to aim at telling the ‘story’ as understood by the right wing, said, “Aaj ek saal ho gaya hai, isliye yeh baat dobara bolna chahata hoon… February 23 pichle saal jo kiya, agar zaroorat pade toh dobara kar lunga (If the need arises to redo what I did on February 23, I would do it all over again). According to Mishra, he has “no regrets, besides the fact that we could not save Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma and constable Ratan Lal.” 

Mishra was among the many BJP politicians who have been called out for their similar statements, some of which are alleged to have fired communal tensions in the National Capital, especially in 2020. He himself had shared his speech on February 23, 2020, where he stood DCP (North East) Ved Prakash Surya and issued his “ultimatum” and soon enough the riots broke out.

Now, a year later he says, “It’s been a year since Jihadi forces engineered the riots in Delhi. Exactly the same pattern is being seen even now, like what happened on Republic Day. The so-called fringe elements are trying to sabotage peace in the Capital, aided and funded by anti-India forces, both within and outside the country. And the ‘pradarshan se danga tak (from protests to riots)’ model is very much evident,” the Indian Express reported. 

According to the report Mishra laughed and said, “This book has a lot on the conspirators of the riots. So you will not find much in the book about me.” The book “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story,” claims to be an 'expose' on Delhi’s February 2020 communal riots, just six months after the communal violence, even though the matter is subjudice. It was ‘launched’ online by the authors themselves because the original publishers Bloomsbury India refused to be associated with the event. Bloomsbury accused the authors of using their brand logo at the launch without permission, and later after scores of activists, authors, journalists, and readers raised concerns about the one-sided book, they withdrew publication. A publishing house, named Garuda Prakashan then published the title. Garuda introduces itself as an “international publishing venture focusing on Indic narratives.” It has been co-authored by senior Supreme Court lawyer Monika Arora, Miranda House Assistant Professor Sonali Chitalkar, and Author and Faculty at Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, Prerna Malhotra. Later the authors of the book had met Delhi Police Commissioner in September 2020, and handed over a complaint against the book’s former publisher Bloomsbury allegeding cheating, breach of trust and invoked multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. The authors, led by Advocate Monica Arora, met the commissioner in his office at the Police Headquarters and handed over their letter of complaint where they have also named activists, writers and journalists, seeking that they too be investigated under the IPC sections.

Mishra has been one of the “celebrities” associated with events around the book since then. At this most recent event on Monday, he was invited to discuss the book and said: “We have individually helped Hindu victims of the riots. And then we are questioned for why we do not help the other side. I say that the Waqf board is standing behind them, the entire Delhi government is standing behind them, the media, NGOs are all with them.”
 

The  rise and rise of Kapil Mishra

Kapil Mishra faced flak from civil society and liberal circles for allegedly being the trigger behind the violence in North East Delhi. He had held a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), not far from an anti-CAA protest site near the Jafrabad metro station is accused of inciting violence and using hateful words against protesters. Mishra who had previously been suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for his hate speech and later joined the BJP, is not new to controversy. On April 4, 2019, Kapil Sharma, MLA from the Karawal Nagar constituency in the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Delhi, tweeted a violence-inducing post, addressed to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Misrepresenting the Islamic flag (moon and stars on a green background) with that which represents the state of Pakistan, Kapil Mishra tweeted, “Those who broke down the temples at Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and Somnath carried this flag. Those who killed the Sikh Gurus also carried this flag. All terrorists, anywhere, swear by this flag.”

In February, 2019, following the Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF jawans dead, Mishra also posted a series of hate-filled tweets, one of which called for the destruction of the “wombs that give birth to terrorists”. When incidents of violence against Kashmiri students began being reported from across the country, Mishra insisted that the stories were made up and dismissed them as fake news, even though videographic evidence became available. Mishra won the elections by a margin of 44,431 votes. He took his oath in Sanskrit. He was removed from the position of Water Resource Minister in the Aam Aadmi Party government.

It is now 2021, and Kapil Mishra has been busy, speaking in various states, including Hyderabad which he calls Bhagyanagar. He also visited West Bengal. He has been active in Mongolpuri in Delhi where a young BJP/VHP volunteer’s murder is now being communalised. Most recently he has been calling for the demolition of a building he alleged was used to store illegal weapons.

 

 

Earlier this month, a trial court directed the Delhi Police to file a report on Mishra’s alleged inflammatory, incendiary, and provocative speeches delivered during the February 2020 Delhi riots. According to a report in the Muslim Mirror, the trial court has directed the Delhi Police to file a report on the speeches made by Mishra and others which had allegedly triggered the communal riots in North East Delhi, in February 2020. The riots had snuffed out 54 lives, hundreds were injured, and thousands were displaced during, and after the area was engulfed during the communal riots. 


CJP was the first to call out Kapil Mishra

Last year, CJP had started a petition to hold Kapil Mihra accountable for his actions. Our petition on Change.org had asked that if "Indian criminal law has provisions for prosecution of those who incite violence using hate speech. Why then is there no action against this BJP leader?" Our petition, that illustrated how his hate speech, and an ultimatum delivered while standing next to a police officer, legitimised violence. We also highlighted Kapil Mishra's history of spewing venom against minorities. Our petition was addressed to the Chief Justice of India, and also marked to the Commissioner of Delhi Police and the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.

You too, can read and even sign the petition here.


Related:

Delhi court asks Police to respond to plea seeking FIR against Kapil Mishra

Rinku Sharma’s murder is ‘jihad’: Kapil Mishra

Are low numbers of Communal Riots in 2020 a mere deception?

Brinda Karat moves Delhi HC, challenges order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma 

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