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- 07/14/13--06:58: _Modi’s mentality no...
- 07/14/13--10:16: _Ramadan 1434: Patience
- 07/14/13--19:53: _Ramadan 1434: Iftar...
- 07/14/13--20:36: _JUH and APCR: Two d...
- 07/14/13--22:09: _Reception for Uttra...
- 07/14/13--22:17: _Civil society deman...
- 07/14/13--22:43: _BJP slams Mayawati ...
- 07/15/13--01:31: _NHRC seeks report f...
- 07/15/13--01:42: _Three killed in Ben...
- 07/15/13--01:45: _Tension in J&K afte...
- 07/15/13--01:49: _Veil of secularism ...
- 07/15/13--01:57: _Arab states to fund...
- 07/15/13--03:22: _Modi right about Co...
- 07/15/13--04:17: _Remarks on riots me...
- 07/15/13--04:19: _BJP trying to polar...
- 07/15/13--05:00: _WB CM prays for wor...
- 07/15/13--05:08: _Thousands of flood ...
- 07/15/13--05:10: _JD-U decision to le...
- 07/15/13--05:12: _Don't slam Modi, ha...
- 07/15/13--05:14: _Will Modi's calcula...
- 07/14/13--06:58: Modi’s mentality not acceptable in India: Chandrababu Naidu
- 07/14/13--10:16: Ramadan 1434: Patience
- 07/14/13--19:53: Ramadan 1434: Iftar in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
- 07/14/13--22:09: Reception for Uttrakhand Governor at Darul Uloom Farangi Mahal
- 07/14/13--22:43: BJP slams Mayawati for seeking ban on RSS, VHP
- 07/15/13--01:42: Three killed in Bengal panchayat poll violence
- 07/15/13--01:45: Tension in J&K after two Kashmiris die in Udaipur, Mumbai
- 07/15/13--01:49: Veil of secularism better than naked communalism: Congress
- 07/15/13--01:57: Arab states to fund minorities in Karnataka
- 07/15/13--03:22: Modi right about Congress hiding behind veil, says Thakur
- 07/15/13--04:17: Remarks on riots meant for political class: Yashwant Sinha
- 07/15/13--04:19: BJP trying to polarise India, says Congress
- 07/15/13--05:00: WB CM prays for world peace at Dawat-e-Iftar
- 07/15/13--05:08: Thousands of flood victims observe Ramadan fast
- 07/15/13--05:10: JD-U decision to leave NDA was right: Nitish Kumar
- 07/15/13--05:12: Don't slam Modi, hail his development agenda: BJP
- 07/15/13--05:14: Will Modi's calculations pay off?
By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
Hyderabad: Former key NDA ally Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandra Babu Naidu in strong words slammed the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for his ‘puppy’ remark comparing 2002 Gujarat riots victims to a puppy getting crushed under car wheels.
“Muslims were killed in huge numbers during 2002 Gujarat riots, comparing it to puppy getting crushed under car is shameful. It is disgraceful that man holding CM post is having such kind of feelings,” Mr. Naidu said while addressing press conference at his residence.
He said after every natural disaster, communal riots or any act of terrorism, it is the duty of the government to provide sense of security to its people and relief to the victims. But Naidu said, “Mr. Modi doesn’t even have any remorse for open killings of Muslims right under his Govt. He has overlooked that his comments would hurt the sentiments of families who lost their loved once in the riots, and it will boost motivations of communal roguish elements.”
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister even though was key partner in NDA central government but never shared cordial relations with Narendra Modi. He still considers NDA protection to Modi after Gujarat riots was the main reason for his defeat to the Congress.
After 2002 riots when even Nitish Kumar was coming out in support of Modi, Naidu emerged as the biggest opposition to him in NDA. In fact, the TDP president was the first person to demand the sacking of Modi after the massacre and had even threatened to withdraw support to the NDA then. Such was the hostility of Naidu towards Modi that he refused to nominate another TDP MP as the Lok Sabha Speaker, after the death of G.M. Balayogi in a helicopter crash in March 2002, in protest against the Gujarat riots. In August 2003, Mr. Naidu stalled the scheduled visit of Modi to Hyderabad to participate in Ganesh Visarjan program on the grounds that it would trigger communal riots in the city.
Recently when Mr. Modi won Gujarat elections, he invited Mr. Naidu to his swearing in ceremony which Naidu declined to accept and even stopped his brother in law and Telugu film star Bala Krishna from attending it.
Chandra Babu Naidu said people with outlook like Narendra Modi doesn’t have any place in such a secular country like India. He demanded Narendra Modi to withdraw his comments.
By Swastik Pal, TwoCircles.net,
A group of mechanic sit together for Iftari near Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kolkata. This is their workplace and they have worked for the entire day, and now wait patiently for the Maghrib aazan (evening call to prayers) to open their fast.
By TCN News
As a part of TCN special series on Ramadan 1434, we invite our readers to submit their photos of Ramadan by emailing it to us at email@example.com
The following photos were sent by TCN reader Arif Abdul Salam of iftar at a multinational company in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia. Salam is an Engineer and an MBA.
This special TCN series highlights some of the example cases of people accused of terrorism and their struggle for justice. This series is sponsored by Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).
By Mohd. Ismail Khan, TwoCircles.net
Innocent Muslim youths have time and again come out innocent of terrorism charges although after years of protracted legal battles with the State. Legal assistance in the courts for those youths often from poor economic background plays a crucial role in the fight for justice.
Many Muslim and Civil rights organizations have started taking up these terror cases when most of them turn out to be concocted police cases with many innocent youths getting arrested without any proper evidence or investigation.
L-R: Gulzar Azmi, Yasmin Ansari, wife of Fahim Ansari, and Usman Ansari, brother of Fahim Ansari in Jamiat office in Mumbai
Jamiat-ul-Ulema Hind (JUH) has travelled a long way since participating in Indian independence movement and opposing two nation theories to now fighting for rights of Muslims in the democratic India. Maulana Arshad Madani faction of JUH has gained good reputation for fighting terror cases on behalf of accused Muslim youths in the court of law. They deserved that repute not just for flashing money for accused who can’t effort advocates but for continuous serious legal fights which resulted in many acquittals and demolition of concocted terror cases in the court of law, as of now JUH stands as main organization which is providing legal aid and fighting terror cases across the Indian spectrum.
Gulzar Azmi, Gen. Secretary of Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra, heads the National Legal Cell of the organization, the reason behind JUH fighting terror cases he said, “We found innocent Muslim youths has been framed in many fictitious terror conspiracy cases, and with keeping those cases in front whole Muslim community is being demonized and labeled as anti-nationals. Even many relatives of the accused started approaching us for help therefore we decided to take up these cases.”
He also added that slain Advocate Shahid Azmi played an important role in convincing Maulana Arshad Madani for JUH to monitor vast number of terror cases which has stretched throughout India.
Jamiat with team of its advocate’s handled nearly 26 high profile terror cases from across India, like 26/11 Mumbai attack, 7/11 train blasts, Aurangabad Arms Haul, 2006 Malegaon Blast, Akshardham Mandir Attack Case, Haren Pandya Murder Case, American Center Attack Case, Ahmedabad Blasts Case, Zaveri Bazar Blast, Rampur CRPF Camp Attack Case and Ghatkopar Blast Case. In addition to this Jamiat also delivered legal support and bailed out numerous Muslim youths from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat who have been arrested in terror conspiracy cases branding them SIMI or IM members.
Their biggest achievement so far has been the acquittal of Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in 26/11 attack case which JUH fought till the Supreme Court even after subsequent state appeals against their acquittals in lower courts. Malegaon 2006 Blast Case was also a big boost for Jamiat where they were able to bail out nine of the eleven accused from a MACOCA court by paying 50,000 bail bonds for each, Jamiat also received partial success in American Center Attack Case which is now pending in the Supreme Court.
But JUH Legal Cell Head add cautiously that they don’t legally assist any terror accused blindly, “When we gets satisfied that innocent Muslims is being framed in the terror cases, then only we take up the matter.” Recently JUH decided to take up 13/7 Mumbai Triple Blast Case after getting satisfied that ATS falsely framed the accused as terrorist. The kin of Himayat Baig who is awarded death sentence by Pune court in 2010 German Bakery blast case also approached JUH for legal aid, Azmi said JUH is looking into their request and only after studying his legal documents a decision will be taken, “Our policy is very clear. We extend legal aid only if we are convinced that the person is innocent.”
Gulzar Azmi said in all these years of rendering legal service through JUH he observed one particular thing common in almost all the terror accused, “Most of them are from very poor economic background, many of whom couldn’t even afford a lawyer, due to their financial status they would have relied on advocates provided by the court, but how serious those Govt. advocates will be on the case, we all know.”
Jamiat also went on against ATS to prosecute by filing complaint against its officers for harassing relatives of terror accused, Saeedun Nisa a slum dweller from Shivajinagar Mumbai whose husband is in jail for past seven years for 7/11 blast case allegedly suffered severe harassment from ATS officer whom she said use to raid her hut whenever desired and use to beat her children. She with the help of JUH filed a petition with the city commissioner of police and MACOCA court for compensation for mental harassment by ATS officers.
JUH has been in the forefront of challenging the ATS terror trio of 2006- Aurangabad Arms Haul (May), 7/11 Blasts (July), Malegaon Blasts (September). In this 2006 terror trio many Muslim youths were arrested for allegedly being SIMI members (IM was not invented by then) strong legal battle in the court has demolished ATS concocted terror theories in the court and left them humiliated.
But for even taking ATS head on Gulzar Azmi said JUH never faced any threat from the Govt. or the security agencies, the reason he believes, “We got the support of Muslim community, our community respect us for what we are doing, as long as community is supporting us we have nothing to fear.” Mr. Azmi also adds that all the financial burdens of legal combats in terror cases are endured by community members, “For fighting this number of terror cases with such serious degree of offences charged, it requires crore’s of rupees to assist legal aid across India, and that has been provided by the Muslim community themselves through generous donations.”
Mr. Azmi said the foundation of Jamiat-ul-Ulema was laid down to wage ‘Jihad’ against tyrant ruler, he believes Jamiat by fighting this terror cases on behalf of innocent Muslim youths in court of law, is taking forward that legacy.
Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), which was formed in 2006 took up many civil rights awareness campaigns across India, but its Karnataka chapter formed in 2008 played an active and commendable role in providing legal aid to Muslim youths accused in terrorism which often resulted in exposing security agencies foul play.
Syed Akmal Rizvi secretary of APCR Karnataka said first few hours after the arrest is the most critical one and in terror cases they are the crucial factor. He said most of the time in terror arrest police doesn’t follows rules which give them scope to plant evidence against the accused. His organization provides legal awareness regarding arrest procedure, the duty of the police to inform the relatives of the detainee and to produce the detainee in front of magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest, thus by informing about their basic rights they try to avoid eventuality of getting framed.
APCR’s major achievement which caught national attention was their successful legal fight in Bangalore Terror Conspiracy Case which resulted in the release of main accused’s without any charges, whom police was earlier terming as masterminds, LeT and HuJI militants. “Just because journalist Mutti ur Rehman and DRDO researcher Aijaz Ahmed Mirza were involved this case got lot of attention, but we are providing legal aid since 2008.”
APCR’s first encounter with terror case occurred in 2008 when it decided to take up Hubli Terror Conspiracy Case where many highly educated Muslim youths were arrested on the charges of being SIMI hit squad members. Since past five years that case is hanging in legal disorder. “We got the orders from High Court for speedy trial in this Hubli Terror Case, but the trial in sessions court kept on delaying, we then approached Supreme Court and got another order for fast trial, but the attitude of session court remain callous,” said Akmal Rizvi.
He said according to amendment in Sec 436A introduced in the CrPC Amendment Act 2005 those accused persons who have been in prison for one half of the maximum term of sentence they could serve if convicted, will automatically be eligible for bail. APCR has filed a petition to Karnataka High Court Chief Justice citing the amendment with reference to Hubli Terror Case to direct all the lower courts to speed up their trials or release accused who are eligible for bail under the amended act.
APCR said they are undertaking initiatives to educate relatives of the accused languishing in jail without any proper trail about Sec 436A which empowers them to acquire bail. Rizvi believes if used properly this amendment would help many Muslim families as major prison population is comprised of them.
After receiving recommendation from Advocate Narayan Pancholi, APCR also started monitoring trial in Chinaswami stadium blast case which unfortunately stuck with the magistrate who doesn’t have authority to look into the case, “We are trying hard to see trial starts as soon as possible.”
APCR Secretary believes that terror cases dose have a political motive behind it, “Hubli Terror Conspiracy Case occurred just before the elections, Bangalore Terror Conspiracy Case happened when Yeddyurappa became a dissenter. I can’t prove it but I have a feeling that terror cases are related to electoral politics and polarization of votes.”
And according to him no one is angel in this electoral terror game, “Both congress and BJP are hand in glove in this matter, both try to extract gains from tragedy, after terror attack BJP demonizes Muslim community to gain votes by polarization, whereas Congress scares Muslims of consequences and present as their protector to get their votes.”
APCR is also active in other civil rights issues e.g. against women trafficking
APCR claims that standard procedure is being followed in every terror case where whole case will be based on confessional statement given in police custody, and chargesheet start with accused person belonging to so community and profess this faith. They feel bias in the system is rampant.
All their work doesn’t go unnoticed with the establishment, APCR received threat calls and emails from police station to Lashkar-e-Taiba, “I am protected somewhat from any intimidation because I am lawyer, officer of the court, but our state convener Irshad Ahmed Desai faced severe problems, he even received threat calls from Banaswadi Police Station, we have field a complain, investigation is pending.”
When police threatening didn’t work APCR started receiving warning mails from supposedly secretary of Lashkar-e-Taiba, they went ahead and filed another complaint, “This kind of things happens one should not couch down, we have to fight back, APCR activists working on ground level are brave.”
According to APCR Karnataka it has a set of volunteers who will conduct workshops on how legal system works in India, specific information is being provided about D.K. Basu judgment and the precautions to be taken when a person gets arrested. In addition to this, information campaign is also been done to make PDS and RTI more popular. The most important work of their activist according to APCR is during communal tensions where their volunteers are active to prevent any clashes by giving representations to district authorities, and filing cases against hate mongers.
At the same time Akmal Rizvi said Muslim NGO’s should not indulge in fundamentalism, which according to him is working only for the cause of Muslims, “More than Muslims, Dalits, Tribals and Women are the major victim of civil rights violation, Muslim NGO’s should also raise those issues.” He said justice is a corner stone for good relationships and Muslims should wave off their victimhood and must stand for fight for justice of other oppressed communities. APCR believes common fight against oppression will make sure justice prevails and it will make India a better place to live in.
By TCN News,
Lucknow: A reception was organised for the Uttrakhand Governor Aziz Quraishi by Islamic Centre of India at Darul-Uloom, Farangi Mahal, Eidgah, Aishbagh, Lucknow in which a galaxy of prominent personalities and selected citizens of Lucknow participated.
Welcoming the Governor, Imam-E-Eidgah Lucknow, Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli discussed in detail the contribution of Dr. Aziz Quraishi in the development of Urdu language and literature. He said that the remarkable work done by Aziz Quraishi will be written in history by golden words. Expressing his solidarity towards the flood affected victims of Uttarakhand, he handed over a cheque of fifty one thousand rupess to the Governor of Uttrakhand and said that they will do their best for the flood affected people of Uttarakhand.
Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli welcoming the Governor
The Chief Guest Aziz Quraishi said that the services of Ulma-E-Farangi Mahal are so much visible that no one can ignore them, everyone is well aware of their contribution towards the development of Islamic Theology and Law. Discussing the problems of Urdu language in India he said that no one can prevent anybody from opening Urdu medium schools in India. He wondered that why no one can open Urdu medium schools in India? He said that the guidelines of Task Force of 1992-93 established by the Government of India are very clear about the establishment of Urdu medium schools. He said that some good news will come from Uttrakhand about Urdu language as the government is committed to the development of this sweet language. He said that he is trying his best to promote Urdu language during his tenure in Uttrakhand. Quraishi praised the services of Islamic Centre of India and Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli.
During the course of discussion he mentioned some very important historical, literary and cultural events of great freedom fighters like Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Govind Ballabh Pant, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Zakir Hussain and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad which was appreciated by the august gathering.
President of Sir Syed Awareness Forum and senior law faculty at the Aligarh Muslim University, Dr. Shakeel Samdani said that Mr. Aziz Quraishi is not only a successful politician but also a renowned social and Milli personality. “He has distinguished himself by doing great services for Urdu language and by doing politics based on principles,” he added.
Dr. Samdani highlighted the problems faced by Urdu language in northern India especially UP by citing a case of Firozabad which happened about six months ago and said that no Urdu medium school is allowed to be opened in Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Samdani said that perhaps UP is the only state where no Urdu medium schools exist, even in Odisha there are dozens of Urdu medium schools. Dr. Samdani said that the present Samajwadi Party government had promised in its manifesto to open government Urdu medium schools throughout the state, but no action has been taken in this direction so far.
Mr. Aziz Qureshi, ML Khalid Rashid and Dr. Shakeel Samdani attending the function
Dr. Samdani said that the present generation of leaders should take a lesson from Mr. Quraishi and also do social and Milli work. Dr. Samdani congratulated Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli for giving reception to Honourable Quraishi Sb and said that the personality of Maulana Farangi Mahli is beneficial for Nation and Millat both. In the last Dr. Shakeel requested the honourable Governor to pen down his vast experience and knowledge in a form of memoir so that the future generation may also know the history of India’s Freedom struggle and contribution of eminent freedom fighters in it.
On this occasion renowned Urdu lover and social activist Al Haj Mohammad Ahmad Adeeb also expressed his gratitude to Mr. Aziz Quraishi for his services towards Urdu. He said that after listening to Quraishi saheb it is clear that the leaders of present generation should be well versed in knowledge and literature. The program was conducted by Maulana Mohd Akram Nadvi and the vote of thanks was proposed by Sheikh Rashid Ali Minai.
By TCN News,
New Delhi: Several civil scoiety group has demanded indepdenent probe into purporated comment by former MHA under secretary RVS Mani that the respective governments were behind the Parliament attack and 26/11.
Mani has ruffled the feather be saying that Satish Verma, who was part of CBI-SIT probe team Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case had allegedly told him that both the attacks were done "with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation, “ adding, ”13.12. 2001(attack on Parliament) was followed by Pota (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act) and 26/11 2008 (terrorists' siege of Mumbai) was followed by amendment to the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act)."
Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Chairman of Rihai Manch deamnded that the Supreme Court must take cognizense of new revelations regarding government’s role in the Parliament attack and 26/11 and order probe.
Campus Front of India, JNU chapter organized a protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday demanding a “neutral enquiry” in all the bomb blasts.
Speaking at the protest P AbdulNazar (National President Campus Front) said it is a serious allegation by a senior officer of India’s most important investigation agency taking in consideration that hundreds died during terror attacks of 26/11 and parliament attacks and few were prosecuted and hanged even.
“We demand from the government of India to order an independent and impartial probe,” he added.
Lucknow : The BJP Monday reacted sharply to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati's demand of banning the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Slamming the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister for demanding the ban, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Laxmikant Bajpai said: "Mayawati is rattled at the prospects of her party being reduced to being an also-ran in Uttar Pradesh. Hence she is making such wild demands."
Bajpai dared the Dalit leader to pressurise the UPA government at the centre to ban the RSS and the VHP and said that if that does not happen, Mayawati should withdraw her support to the UPA.
He added that Mayawati should "remember that she became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh at the behest of the BJP and the blessings of the RSS".
The BJP leader said that Mayawati was making such demands to polarise the Muslim vote in her favour. "While they call us communal, all parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP are vying with each other to net the minority vote," Bajpai told IANS.
The VHP alleged that Mayawati was demanding a ban on the RSS, Bajrang Dal and the VHP to please fundamentalists in her vote bank among minorities. VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said: "She does not want to see the good work we have done. She is only concerned about getting minority votes."
Mayawati had Sunday demanded that the central government ban the VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal. She had said that the Allahabad High Court's decision to ban caste rallies in Uttar Pradesh would be respected, but her party would hold such caste-based rallies under the banner of 'Sarva Samaj Sadbhawna'.
By TCN News,
New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission has sought report within eight weeks from the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Director General of Police of Jammu and Kashmir. The Commission acted on appeal of Ravi Nitesh (Mission Bhartiyam), Rajhans Bansal (Manvadhikar Nigrani Samiti) and Prabir Kumar Das.
In a joint letter written to the NHRC Mission Bhartiyam appealed:
"In the first incident, it was during a hunt operation for suspected militants where a 17 year old boy was killed by military in Bandipora district on Sunday before dawn. The second (incident) happened during the protest against this killing in day time where military opened fire over the protester and one man killed and several others wounded. "
Mission Bhartiyam further arugued that several times during such search operations and even without any operation in effect, it is a common civilian who get hurt and face lot of sufferings starting from torture to rape and killings
NHRC itself has taken notice towards all these killings and violations of human rights by security forces.
It argued, “This is not an excuse that inquiry is being set up or the use of fire was necessary, because these are the only comments that we had after all these incidents.”
Mission Bhartiyam, in its appeal demanded that NHRC must initiate a separate inquiry of the case with should made its findings public with the recommendations so that we, the people , who believe in justice and rights, can make our faith upon this autonomous body as a protector of human rights without any discrimination.
It further urged the NHRC to issue notice to Ministry of Defense and recommend immediate suspension of accused security personals so that they can not effect the inquiry and evidences.
Kolkata : Three people, including the husband of a CPI-M candidate, were killed as violence marred the second round of West Bengal panchayat polls Monday.
The deaths were reported from Burdwan district where polling was held along with Hooghly and East Midnapore, police said. The turnout was around 75 percent.
Mohammad Hasmat, husband of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate Manowara Bibi for Madhudanga gram panchayat seat in Jamuria area, died when some assailants threw bombs at him while he was on his way to a polling booth to cast his vote.
In a retaliatory action, Trinamool Congress activist Rajkumar Khora was kidnapped and lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising those close to the CPI-M.
Khora's body was later discovered from a field.
In Nawpara of Mangalkote, a Trinamool activist was killed during a clash between supporters of his party and those of an independent candidate.
While the opposition Left Front and the Congress blamed the Trinamool for the violence, Agriculture Minister Moloy Ghatak, who hails from Burdwan, pointed out that two of those killed were supporters of the ruling party.
"Hasmat was trying to jam the booth with his accomplices. This enraged the villagers and they beat him up. On the other hand, Khora was lynched by the CPI-M activists. Two of our men had to be hospitalised with bullet injuries elsewhere in the district. The CPI-M is involved in both the attacks," Ghatak claimed.
Four other people were injured in a CPI-M-Trinamool clash at Bhatar in the district.
"Three people died in the second phase. During nomination, 12 were killed, something that never happened during the last seven panchayat polls. Several thousands have been injured and affected in this panchayat poll," said Congress leader Manas Bhuniya.
Altogether 28,342 candidates are in fray for 12,869 panchayat seats for the three-tier rural bodies in the three districts.
As many as 50,000 security personnel, including 35,000 state security forces and 15,000 central troopers, are on duty for the polls.
A total of 95,25,320 voters were eligible to elect their representatives in the three districts covering 10,637 gram panchayats, 2,047 panchayat samities and 185 zilla parishad seats.
All eyes were on Singur in Hooghly and East Midnapore's Nandigram -- which gained national and international spotlight during the last lap of the Left Front's rule for the anti-farmland acquisition protests that propelled Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress to power.
The first phase was held June 11. Polling for the next rounds will be on July 19, 22 and 25. Counting of votes will take place July 29.
Srinagar : Tension gripped villages in north Kashmir Monday where the kin and locals are awaiting the body of a Kashmiri youth who died under "mysterious" circumstances in Rajasthan.
Abid Ahmad Gania, 21, was from Larsun village in Ganderbal district, studying at an Islamic seminary in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) for the past eight months. Rajasthan Police informed his family that his body was found in Udaipur Sunday.
Police officers here told IANS they were in touch with their counterparts in Rajasthan and Maharashtra to ascertain facts pertaining to the deaths of two locals in these states.
Sunday witnessed hundreds of people joining the funeral procession of another local, Parvaiz Ahmad Teli, 35, who was from Qalamdanpora (Nawa Bazaar) in the old city area of Srinagar.
Teli was a salesman in a Kashmiri arts shop in Bangalore. He went to Mumbai to meet his relatives 15 days ago and went missing. His family said Maharashtra Police said they discovered Teli's body July 9.
As the news about Teli's death spread in the old city Sunday, people resorted to stone pelting.
Some mainstream and separatist leaders have demanded a fair probe into the deaths of the two youths.
New Delhi : The veil of secularism is "better than naked communalism", said the Congress Monday while attacking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and sharing development data to expose his "false" charges against the UPA.
"The veil of secularism is better than naked communalism. Communalism divides the country while secularism unites it," Congress general secretary Ajay Maken told reporters.
Addressing a college gathering in Pune Sunday, Modi said that whenever the Congress government is faced by trouble, they hide behind "a veil of secularism" so that no one questions them on real issues. He also accused the Congress of failing to address poverty.
Maken countered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and said: "Modi should first improve his state before lecturing the centre on development indicators."
"He (Modi) has no moral authority to criticise the central government when he has failed in his state as chief minister," Maken said.
"He has no right to create a false impression," he said.
Modi had also questioned the outcome of the food security proposal, and hit out at the UPA over the falling value of the rupee and its claims of enacting rights-based legislation, saying people needed action, not acts.
Maken said during the nine years of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, the performance was better than what the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) achieved during its six year rule 1998-2004 and even the claims of Gujarat under Modi did not match up to them.
"We need to reply to his charges which are based on wrong facts... We want our success story to be told to people," said Maken.
According to Maken, the UPA scored better than the NDA on most counts including education, health, sports and economic growth.
While the expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP was a mere 1.67 percent during the NDA government, it was 4.02 under the UPA, he said.
Also, the number of central universities went up from 17 to 44, Indian Institutes of Technology from seven to 16 and Indian Institutes of Management from six to 13 during the UPA rule.
Maken said only four out of the 16 degree colleges in Gujarat had regular principals and 125 out of 187 schools in Gujarat had no principals.
"What is Modi doing to push the education sector in his state," asked Maken.
The performance of the mid-day meal scheme in Gujarat government schools at 89.94 percent was below the national average of 90.06, he said.
Maken also said the economy grew annually at an average rate of 7.9 percent during the UPA rule, as against 6 percent growth achieved by the NDA.
Bangalore : Nearly 20 Arab states have pledged to improve the welfare of minorities in Karnataka with financial aid to young entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises and for empowering women.
"About 20 Arab nations in West Asia and Africa have committed to grant Rs.8 million this year to fund minority entrepreneurs, help young women become self-reliant and educate the youth," Indo-Arab Chamber of Commerce executive director Asif Iqbal told IANS.
Among the states that have pledged help are Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
A delegation of the chamber recently met Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here and offered support to the government's various minority programmes.
With offices in Dubai and Muscat, the chamber has about 330 members, including 130 from across the Arab states.
"We assured the state government that we will facilitate more investment to Karnataka from the Arab world," Iqbal said.
"A 250-member trade delegation from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) will visit the state to participate in the TAB (Transcending Arabian Borders) 2013 conference here in August," he said.
New Delhi : When the Congress does not want to answer questions, it hides behind a veil and what Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the day before is the truth, said All India Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Anurag Thakur Monday.
"On the context of the veil, I would just like to say that when the Congress party does not have an answer, it hides in a veil and Narendra Modi has spoken the truth," Thakur told reporters here.
He took a dig at the Congress on the food security ordinance and said: "The country also knows that the Congress is rolling out the food security (scheme) only to win elections."
Addressing a college gathering in Pune Sunday, Modi said that whenever the Congress government is faced by trouble, it hides behind "a veil of secularism" so that no one questions them on real issues.
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken Monday slammed Modi and said: "The veil of secularism is better than naked communalism."
New Delhi : BJP leader Yashwant Sinha Monday said that his remarks on the 2002 Gujarat riots were not meant to advise Narendra Modi or the BJP, but were a message for the entire political class.
Sinha Sunday said that Modi's remarks on the riots would take the focus away from the issue of corruption.
"If there is any advise, it is for the entire political class. Actually the economic situation is very serious. The country is in serious trouble, the rupee is falling, industrial production is in negative," Sinha told reporters here.
Only inflation is rising, Sinha said. "It is nearing 10 percent. This is not beneficial for the people. During the NDA regime, six crore new jobs were created. During the UPA regime, only 27 lakh opportunities were created."
"This is a serious trouble, But the political class is not discussing this but useless issues," he said.
Sinha added he had not given any advise to Narendra Modi and the BJP. "If there is a message it is for the entire political class."
Modi Sunday launched a multi-pronged attack on the Congress, accusing it of failing to address poverty in its long rule and using a "veil of secularism" to cover its failures.
He also questioned the outcome of the food bill, and hit out at the UPA government over the falling value of rupee and its claims of enacting rights-based legislation. People need action, not acts, Modi added.
New Delhi : The Congress Monday accused the BJP of trying to "polarise" people between those who endorse pluralism and those who believe in communalism.
"This is about polarising between libereterians, between those who believe in pluralism, and those who subscribe to the ideology of communalism," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
Tewari also took a dig at BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and said: "He is a very senior politician. The moment the BJP starts giving him importance, we will start responding to him."
By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,
Kolkata: “Allah give us peace and relief, not only in our state, but throughout the world”, prayed the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in a grand Iftar meet `Dawat-E-Iftar’ at Park Circus Maidan, Kolkata on 14 July, 2013.
Dawat-e- Iftar was organized by Trinamul Congress lead Kolkata Municipal Corporation and called by Shovan Chatterjee, Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, as previous year and was opened for all the devotees muslim.
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee at Dawat-E-Iftar.
Before the Iftar, Chief Guest Mamata Banerjee gave a special lecture on Ramdan to the people. She said, “The one month long fasting of Muslims teach us sacrifice and condonation of Ramadan, which will enlighten our life. Allah’s blessing will brighten our life and all the trouble will be removed.’
She further said, “I always pray to God to have mercy on all the Muslims in the world so that they can live peacefully.” She added that the Holy Ramadan is a very important month not only for Muslim, but also others, to remember the nobilty of Ramadan and follow it.
In the wake of the ongoing Panchayat elections, she appealed for peace as some Muslims too died in political clashes.
Hoarding of Dawat-E-Iftar at Park Circus 4 No Bridge area.
KMC had put out hoardings and posters in Muslim dominated localities for this grand Iftar party. Big hoardings could be seen in Park Circus, Rajabazar, Retiaburuz, Gardenrich, Khidderpur, and Topsia areas.
Besdies common Muslims, several Muslim as well as non-Muslim leaders also participated in the Iftar party. Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation Shovan Chatterjee, Chairman of Urdu Academy Manal Shah Al Qadri, Grand Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque Nurur Rahman Barkati, State Urban development Minister Firhad Hakim, Fire protection Minister Jawed Ahmed Khan, Member of Parliament Sultan Ahmed, Nadimul Haque, State Chairman of Minority Commission Intaj Ali Shah, Former principal of Calcutta Aliah Madrasa College Dr Md Shahidullah, State Secretary of All India Milli Council Sahood Alam, Secretary of Amanat Foundation Md Shah Alam, Chief Secretary of the State Sanjoy Mitra, Deputy Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation Frazana Alam, Commissioner of KMC Khalil Ahmed, Callcutta Police commissioner Surajit Pukayastha, TMC MP Derek O’Brien among others were also present in this Iftar Party.
Patna : Thousands of Muslims in Bihar are observing the Ramadan fast despite struggling to survive amid inadequate relief in the flood-hit districts of Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar.
"It is difficult to observe fast when there is no arrangement for iftar at sunset to break the day-long fast and vail sehri (the meal taken before the break of dawn)," Feroz Ahmad of Bahadurganj in Kishanganj said.
His wife and four children have taken shelter in a school building where dozens, mostly their neighbours, are waiting for two days to get relief.
Ahmad said they were managing Ramadan fast with chura-gur (beaten rice and jaggery) -- and unsafe drinking water.
"Instead of traditional food cooked at home, we are eating chura-gur. It is affecting our health," he despaired.
Another flood victim, Manzar Alam, said it was a challenge to observe fast in such a situation.
"We have nothing to eat," said Alam, who took shelter at a high-rise embankment near a police station in Purnea district.
The Congress MP from Kishangaj, Ishrarul Haque, admitted it was a difficult time for flood victims during Ramadan.
Speaking to IANS over telephone, he asked the government to ensure timely relief for flood victims, specially those observing the Ramadan fast.
There is a sizeable Muslim population in Seemanchal, which includes Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar districts.
More than eight lakh people have been affected by floods in over half a dozen districts in Bihar, with thousands forced to flee their homes, reviving fears of the 2008 devastation.
In Kishanganj alone, more than three lakh people have been hit by floods followed by two lakh each in Purnea and Katihar.
Till date, the floods have claimed 13 lives in Bihar.
Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday said that the JD-U's decision to leave the NDA was right as some BJP leaders are using the a language that "hurt the feeling of a community".
"Our decision to leave NDA was right (due to) the language used by a BJP leader to hurt the feeling of a community...," Nitish Kumar told media persons here without naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi Sunday accused the Congress of failing to address poverty in its long rule and using a "veil of secularism" to cover its failures. And in an interview to a foreign news agency, Modi said he had done "absolutely the right thing" in 2002 when the state was hit by riots and that even if a "puppy comes under the wheel of a car, one felt sad".
Nitish Kumar said: "In politics, language should be used not to hurt feeling of others. It is necessary for the unity of the country. There is a need to check and control such language."
He said he was against such language that hurt feelings of others.
"We should keep in mind the feeling of all," he said and added that most of the people of the country also favour civilized language and opposed the language that hurt the feelings of others.
"The next general elections result will prove BJP wrong and vindicate our stand that there is need to take (everyone) along and not to hurt feeling of one community," he said.
Nitish Kumar said that the Janata Dal-United dumped the Bharatiya Janata Party last month on the issue of its principle and it is clear that the "cat is now out of bag".
He also said that Bihar will implement the Food Security Scheme.
"Bihar government will implement the Food Security Scheme in time frame," he said.
He said that six months' time is not adequate for the states to implement it. "But we will try our best to implement it."
Nitish Kumar said that the government has already directed the officials concerned to prepare a list of beneficiaries.
"In Bihar, the people living below the poverty line are much more than the records of the central government," he said.
As per the scheme, the poorest people will be given rice at Rs.3 per kg and wheat at Rs.2 per kg.
New Delhi : The BJP Monday said the Congress does not have the right to criticise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's performance as he has won three elections based on his development agenda.
"The Congress which couldn't defeat him in Gujarat on these very issues is talking about it from Delhi now," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told Times Now news channel.
She said the Prime Minister's Office and the Planning Commission had also acknowledged Gujarat's development.
"Therefore, substantial debate has to be on these issues and not just rhetoric," she said.
Sitharaman was replying to a Congress counter-attack on Modi for his speech Sunday accusing the ruling party of failing to address poverty and using a "veil of secularism" to cover its failures.
The Congress countered Modi by saying that Gujarat lagged behind the national average when it came to developmental statistics.
By Ravi M. Khanna,
It is high time we stop asking Narendra Modi to express regret for what happened during the 2002 Gujarat riots because he has finally come out with the truth that his government used its "full strength" to do the "right thing".
So if he is convinced that what he did was the right thing, then why will he offer any regrets? We should very carefully hear what he is saying and what he is not saying. To this reporter, who has covered India's last five parliamentary elections, he is saying that even if it was painful for him, what he did was right and that he sees no reason to be sorry about it. In fact, if you can win his confidence, he will also say that his method to treat the minorities is the right way for what he calls his "Hindu nationalism". In his first interview, he also told Reuters that there is nothing wrong in being a Hindu nationalist because he was born a Hindu.
And what he did not say but he apparently implied is that he cannot change his position because the Hindu vote bank is bigger than the minority vote bank. It is also clear that if at this point he changes his position, he is bound to lose the support of the RSS, which helped him in gaining absolute control of the Bharatiya Janata Party by shoving leaders like L.K. Advani to the sidelines.
The Indian media should not waste its time and energy in interpreting his analogy about the "puppy being run over by a car" but carefully listen to what he is saying and what he is implying. He did not say the word "dog" but used the word "puppy" because the minorities for him are as small as a puppy and the riots for him are "an accident" and not "an intentional incident".
Just by his taking this position at a time when he is being subtly projected as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, it seems clear that he is convinced that there is a huge vote bank of Hindu hardliners who also think like him. So what Modi is trying to do is to tap that vote bank and show everyone that BJP does not want any support from the minorities if they do not accept his method of dealing with the minorities in a Hindu nationalist country.
He also told Reuters that the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team gave him a clean chit on the Gujarat riots. Again, what he did not say is that the report just said that there is no evidence against him and that the report chided him for making inciting speeches against the minorities.
So from what Modi is openly saying and what he is implying by his silence on some of the relevant questions, it is crystal clear that he thinks his "Gujarat model" can be good for the entire country. Again when he openly talks about the Gujarat model, he only talks about the development model. But somewhere, he may also be implying that the "Gujarat model of dealing with the minorities in a Hindu Rashtra" can also be good for the whole country.
But what Modi's blind ambition for the country's top job is preventing him from realizing is that the same experiment failed very badly in the 2004 parliamentary elections. It was proved beyond a doubt that the total number of hardline Hindus like Modi is less that the total number of moderate Hindus coupled with the voters of the minority communities. So on the one hand, Modi last week tried to woo the Muslim minority by sending them good wishes on Ramadan, but on the other hand he quickly gave them a clear signal in the interview that he can be inclusive only if the Muslims accept his terms as a Hindu nationalist.
There is a great parallel to Modi's dilemma. In American politics it took decades for the conservative Republican Party to realize that it cannot win the national elections by just depending on the white vote bank. But as the population of the African-Americans started growing faster than the whites in terms of percentage, the party realized that it will have to open its doors to them by being inclusive.
But now the party is faced with a new dilemma. American politics is no more a game between the whites and the blacks. The rapidly growing numbers of Hispanics, Koreans, Chinese and South Asians has further complicated the political scene. Two of the last three presidents, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama rode the waves of these minorities to defeat the Republicans who, like ex-President George W. Bush, are still convinced that the ultra-conservatives can win elections for them. Some of the ultra-conservative Republicans who believed this even formed a third party, a conservative movement called the Tea Party, before the 2012 presidential elections.
Before the elections, the Tea Party seemed very effective. It stamped its impact on the entire Republican Party, prompting once-moderate Mitt Romney to bend so far to the right that he vowed to repeal the federal version of the very health care law he championed as governor of Massachusetts. President Obama was forced in the debates to call himself the president of reducing the big government, a slogan of the Tea Party. But the Republican Party's loss in the 2012 elections, despite the bad economy blemishes on Obama, has prompted the Republicans to do some soul-searching. The Tea Party is also doing some soul-searching after its debacle at the national level.
Today's voter in any country of the world is not in a mood to give an absolute majority to any political party, forcing coalition governments. The voter is crying out loud to urge the politicians not to take extreme positions on any issue so that they can join hands with other parties to form coalitions. A majority of them are below 35 years in age, just like in India, and they don't like any kind of discrimination based on religion, class, caste or creed. They want all to work together for the betterment of the entire humanity.
(Ravi M. Khanna is a New Delhi based journalist and commentator. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)