Kasganj violence- a wrath of religious fundamentalism

Vande Mataram or Pakistan Zindabad? Who is a nationalist? Who decides whether you are a nationalist or not?

These are the questions that the residents of Kasganj town, Uttar Pradesh are asking right now.

On January 27, Kasganj witnessed vandalising of buses, shops being shut and gunshots being fired on the residents.

A resident claimed that three shops in the Ghantaghar area were set on fire. Police officers were deployed in all the lanes and corners of the town. Offices were closed, schools were shut and residents were advised to stay at home.

This was a result of a communal violence that broke between the Hindus and Muslims. As per the police officials, on January 26, a group of Hindus carried out an unauthorised Tiranga Yatra. They waved Indian flags along with the saffron ones during this rally. During the course of the Yatra, they interrupted the Republic Day celebrations in a Muslim-dominant area. This incident sparked off communal violence in Kasganj. Gunshots were fired from both the communities. As a result of which, Chandan Gupta, a resident, died and several others were left injured.

On his death, Rajveer Singh, member, Bhartiya Janata Party said that the Hindus, who carried out the rally, were not at fault. This statement added more fuel to the fire. He further added that it was a planned incident.

The violence continued for the next 48 hours. The police personnel are yet to identify the kind of weapons that were used during the riots. On January 28, the district administration called for a peace meeting. As per the locals, it was of no help. The senior police officials assured the people that they will identify the culprits and strict measures will be taken. Neither did they let the victims talk, nor were they interested in talking to the leaders of the two communities.

The concept of communal riots is not new to India. It has been prevailing ever since we got independence. Ironic, isn’t it? We got independence from the British at the cost of dividing India into India and Pakistan.

For a common man, Muslim is synonymous with Pakistan, which in turn, is linked to terrorism. Look at the way we judge the Muslim community. Are Muslims alone responsible for creating terror? What about Godhra riots? Ram Mandir conflict?

People in India crave for conflicts. They crave for the drama. If the conflict does not exist naturally, they create one. How else do you think Indian politicians survive? They are the ones responsible for creating and propagating fear in this country. You do not need terrorists till the time there are politicians.

Various politicians are condemning violence in Kasganj town. The creators of the communal divide are now condemning the outcomes of the same. It’s a satire. A satire on the mob mentality of this nation. A mockery of the Indian political system.

Source: Scroll

Shiv Sena takes dig at Maharashtra government after Pune businessman murder

In the wake of the murder of a 56-year-old builder in Pune, the Shiv Sena has chastised the government over the law and order situation in the state.

Devendra Shah, a renowned builder in Pune, was shot dead outside his residence in Deccan Gymkhana area of Pune by two unidentified men. The men allegedly fired five rounds at Shah in front of his son on the plush Prabhat Road on Sunday night. Two bullets hit Shah as the men fled the spot immediately. The Police recovered the CCTV footage and are on the hunt for the assailants.

Shiv Sena was quick to criticize the Maharashtra government. Sena further took a dig at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis by taunting his claim of maintaining a good law and order in the state. Sena claimed that BJP had won the state elections due to the influence of industrialists and traders. But it is they who are facing the plight now.

An editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana said, “The killers in Pune are roaming freely. If they are not controlled in time, the city known for its cultural values, will become ugly. The killing of Devendra Shah should ring alarm bells for the government.”

“Industrialists and traders have brought BJP to power at the Centre and in Maharashtra but they are the ones who are getting killed. This raises questions on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ stand that the law and order situation in the state is good,” it added.

Although Devendra Fadnavis claimed the state law and order to be absolutely under control, Mumbai and Pune have faced problems due to public outrage earlier this month. Notably, the violent protest of the Bhima-Koregaon incident sparked public violence on the streets.

Source: Outlook, NDTV

Haj House painted Saffron by Yogi Adityanath Government

Image Courtesy: ANI                                                                                                                         The Haj House in Lucknow, used by Muslims as a transit place on their way to pilgrimage in Mecca, is now saffron in colour.

Lucknow, January 05: The exteriors of Haj House in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (UP), has been painted saffron by the state government. It houses the officials inspecting and regulating documents for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The house is used for customs and immigration checks and has also a prayer hall and residential facility for pilgrims.

However, Cabinet Minister Mohsin Raja of UP government dismissed any controversy regarding the move, reports ANI. He stated that the building has been coloured saffron as it is an energetic colour and adds to the beauty. Although a section of Muslims and opposition parties have objected to the move, the minister stated that since the opposition has no big issues, so they rake up inconsequential things.

Traditionally, saffron colour is associated with Hinduism and Sangh Parivar, the parent organisation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Since coming to power in March last year, the BJP government has been on a spree using saffron colour to paint buildings including the State Secretariat that houses the offices of Chief minister and top officials along with rolling out saffron coloured buses by the transport department. Furthermore,the department of information have changed the colour of their official site as well the booklet to saffron colour.

68% vote in Phase one Gujarat polls-A look at the Highlights of the Day

Hindu Business Line reported that Gujarat saw a 68% voter turnout in the first phase of voting on Saturday, 9 December. 19 districts with 89 assembly seats were part of this phase. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, former state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, OBC leader Alpesh Thokor and SC/ST leader Jignesh Melvani are some big names from today’s list of contested seats.

NDTV stated that there were certain allegations about the use of mobile jammers at the place of voting. This was denied by the Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain. It was not used due to policy guidelines. 397 candidates are ‘Crorepatis’. Pankaj Patel, the Congress candidate from Daskroi constituency is the richest with worth 231.93 crores declared assets. Molti Ba, 106-year-old citizen who witnessed the Dandi March and Civil Disobedience Movement during India’s freedom struggle, was one among the many voters.

India Today informed that 1,085 villagers of Gajadi, in Morbi district did not vote this time. They were upset about the lack of delivery of poll promises. The village lacks the basics of bijli, sadak and paani (electricity, roads and water). They complained that neither the BJP nor the Congress paid heed to their plea.  Hardik Patel mentioned, “I will join the Congress if it suites the needs of the Patidar community. I feel Rahul Gandhi has matured as a fine politician.”

The second phase is scheduled for 14 December. Results will be announced on 18 December. Gujarat has been the election laboratory for the country. BJP is eyeing to continue its political reign in Gujarat, while Congress sees it as a litmus test and wants to make a comeback.

Sources – India Today, NDTV

DU Elections Herald the Winds of Change

For students of Delhi University, it is common sight to see the winning candidates in any year’s student elections being fielded by the ABVP, the RSS-affiliated right wing student organisation that has till now commanded the majority support. But not anymore. If the recently concluded DUSU elections send a message, it is that ABVP is not the most popular party anymore. The stunning defeat of the ABVP, only to give over its stronghold to the Congress backed NSUI shows that BJP is losing its hold over campuses.

It is true that the ABVP was not totally decimated in the elections. NSUI won only the President and Vice-Presidential positions, while the other two of General Secretary and Joint Secretary were retained by ABVP. It is also true that statistically, the best performer in the election was still the ABVP candidate for secretary, Mahamedhaa Nagar who defeated her NSUI rival by 2624 votes to win the post of secretary. Her win was still the biggest margin. However, what counts more is that NSUI has made a comeback and a stunning one at that. For the last five years, ABVP has dominated the student politics scene in Delhi, leaving no leeway for other parties to set foot. Since 2012, NSUI has never held an important position in DUSU and while this may be a half-triumph, it is still a triumph.

ABVP’s shocking loss should sound the alarm bells for the BJP and the Modi-brigade which has thus far captured the imagination of the youth across campuses. Students across the world do not like being dictated to and Indian students are no different. With the Modi brigade dictating terms on cow vigilantism, coupled with the lack of tolerance and the alarming rise of Hindutva across the country, it should be of no surprise that the students have swung to the age old challenger of the BJP, the Congress and chosen to put their faith in them. This is certainly a reaction to the brand of hyper nationalism propagated by the centre, which has backfired against them. Moreover, the ABVP has been on a rampage of violence and disruption, with the Rohith Vemula suicide last year, the upheaval in JNU and the Ramjas incident early this year. On every one of these occasions, the ABVP was the muscular aggressor and on the receiving end of much criticism from left-wing liberals.

And NSUI’s win in DU is not a one-off incident. This is simply a follow up of the impressive performances by the outfit in the recent polls in Guwahati, Rajasthan and Punjab Universities. This is the concert result of the educated and urban youth taking up arms against the divisive and polarising politics wielded by the ABVP in every election it participates in. This is a wake-up call to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Ironically, the latter had termed ABVP’s victory in DUSU polls last year as the triumph of nationalism. The DUSU election is definitely a reflection of the current mood among the youngsters, who are witnessing a polarising of the country under the current government.

However, it is not all hunky-dory for the NSUI. This year’s election also saw a huge jump in NOTA votes, from less than 10% last year to 16.5% this year. This can only portray a certain disillusionment with the student wings of mainstream political parties and should be a cause of worry for both the Congress and the BJP. It is also to be noted that more students availed of the NOTA option in the DUSU elections than the JNSUSU elections. Nonetheless, the DUDU results should be doing much to boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which sadly, does not remain a key player at the centre politics any longer.

Sources: The Quint, Hindustan Times

Odisha Assembly passes Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Bill, 2017

Acknowledging the demographic shift from rural to urban areas of Bhubaneswar and other urban hubs, Housing and Urban Development minister, Niranjan Pujari introduced the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Bill, 2017 on Wednesday on the second day of the Odisha Assembly. Described as a historical move by the politicians from the state, the bill was introduced with three other bills on the same day.

The bills state that land will be provided to slum dwellers who are residing in the Municipalities and Notified Area Councils (NACs). According to the 2011 census, the minister added that 23.1 per cent of the urban population is residing in the slums and a certified transformation of these areas is imperative. The provisions of the bill certify the land as heritable, mortgageable and non-transferrable

Narasingha Mishra, the Leader of Opposition from Congress also sought the importance of the bill. Expressing his satisfaction with the bill, the leader called it ‘boon to people belonging from economic weaker section’. From the sceptics, BJP member Rabi Nayak also expressed his joy over the bill but warms the ruling party to not use it for political gain.

Although the session briefly came to a halt over the ruckus created by opposition parties due to the PC or ‘percentage commission’ culture in government offices, the bill successfully passed along with The Odisha Sales Tax (Settlement of Arrears) Amendment Bill, 2017, The Odisha Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Odisha Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

News Source: New Odisha, Indian Express

Image Source: Odisha Sun Times

Madhya Pradesh Government orders school students to say Jai Hind for attendance

In order to inculcate patriotism, a school in Madhya Pradesh have asked the students to respond to their daily roll call with a” Jai Hind”, instead of the traditional yes ma’am or yes sir. All the government schools in Satna have been directed to ensure this new rule should be implemented starting from October 1.

BJP-run Madhya Pradesh’s school education minister Vijay Shah to ANI said, “For now, this is just a suggestion (for private schools in Satna); we hope they’ll adhere to it since it relates to patriotism.”

He also added, “if the experiment turns successful”, the ‘Jai Hind’-for-yes, ma’am’ response will be made mandatory in all of Madhya Pradesh’s schools. Shah has been focused on a drive to ‘instill strong patriotic values’ in people.

Adding to his statement he also told ANI that if the mission is successful, we will also try to start this in all the schools of Madhya Pradesh after seeking CM’s permission.

Shah’s order comes after supreme court’s mandating national anthem in cinema halls across the country.
Sources – India Today, TOI
Image sources – Indian Express (Representational image)