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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The war of words between the Congress and the BJP escalated Monday with the former accusing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of communally polarizing India.

    Modi also faced flak from former ally, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) which cited his recent comments as validating its decision to break ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party and leave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

    "This is about polarization between libertarians, between those who believe in pluralism, and those who subscribe to the ideology of communalism," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, while Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said the "veil of secularism is better than naked communalism".

    Maken also marshalled an array of facts showing that Modi's Gujarat lagged on several development indicators.

    The war of words began when Modi, addressing a college gathering in Pune Sunday, said that whenever the Congress government is faced with trouble, it hides behind "a veil of secularism" so that no one questions the party on real issues.

    Defending its leader, the BJP said the Congress had no right to criticize him 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.

    Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Anurag Thakur also came to Modi's support.

    "In 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.

    In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said his party's (JD-U) decision to leave the NDA last month was right.

    "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 without naming Modi.

    In an interview to a foreign news agency Saturday, Modi said he had done "absolutely the right thing" during the Gujarat riots in 2002 and that even if a "puppy comes under the wheel of a car, one feels sad".

    Nitish Kumar said that 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".

    The Congress also took objection to Modi in his Pune speech questioning the outcome of the food security proposal, attacking the UPA over the falling value of the rupee and its claims of enacting rights-based legislation, saying people needed action, not acts.

    "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."

    Maken contended that during the nine years of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, the performance was better than what the BJP-led NDA achieved during its six-year rule 1998-2004.

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    By IANS,

    Guwahati : The Assam assembly's monsoon session began Monday on a stormy note over Muslim voters in the state, forcing Speaker Pranab Gogoi to expel all 18 AIUDF legislators for the day.

    The problem started after AIUDF's Sherman Ali Ahmed alleged that minorities were being harassed in the name of checking their citizenship status.

    The All India United Democratic Front member was seeking a clarification from the government on the issue of 'D' (Doubtful) voters.

    When Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain replied on behalf Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, it led to noisy scenes. The speaker adjourned the house for 15 minutes.

    When the house met again, Ahmed insisted on asking more questions and did not take his seat despite repeated requests by speaker. A furious speaker then expelled him for the day.

    The AIUDF legislator refused to leave. The other 17 party legislators joined him in the protest.

    As nothing could be heard in the din, the speaker expelled all the AIUDF legislators for the day.

    When they refused to leave the house, the speaker called in the Marshals who guided them out.

    Chief Minister Gogoi later blamed the AIUDF.

    "No one had told me about the incidents of harassment of genuine Indian citizens in the name of verifying their citizenship status," he said.

    Minister Hussain later said the government was committed to updating the National Register of Citizens.

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  • 07/15/13--10:26: Ramadan 1434: Timepass
  • By Swastik Pal,,

    The central part of Kolkata has many a number of Muslim settlements. This young boy is seen to play carom with his friends and brothers during Ramadan in one of those settlements.


    Ramadan 1434: TCN series

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    By Dr. Syed Ahmed for,

    Imphal: The 2-Day Indo-Bangla International Poets Meet-2013, organized by Sahitya Thoupang Lup in association with Department of Art and Culture, Manipur State Kala Akademi, Manipur Jagoi Marup, Sahitya Seva Samiti, Macha Chanu, Liberty Theatre and Library and Information Centre, Kakching, concluded at Imphal on July 14, 2013.

    The concluding day of the meet, held at J.N. Manipur Dance Academy Auditorium, at Imphal, was graced by poet and lyricist B. Jayantakumar Sharma, Renowned theatre personality and poet Ratan Thiyam and poets from Bangladesh – Rabiul Husain, Dr. Mustafa Majid, Md. Enayet Ali and A.K. Sheram – as Presidium members.

    At the outset, Kulamani Singh read out the poems of some of the celebrated poets of Manipur, namely Kh. Chaoba, Dr. Kamal, Hijam Anganghal, E. Nilakanta, Shri Biren in Bangla translation.

    Tongbram Kumarjit read out some of poems of prominent poets of Bangla, namely Nazarul Islam, Shamsur Rahman, Nirmalendu Goon, Mahadev Saha, Dilwar in Manipuri translation. Kumarjit also read out a poem dedicated to Irom Chanu Sharmila, titled Aidi houjik Manipurdani, written by Dilwar in Bangla.

    It was followed by the reading of poems by the Presidium members – B. Jayantakumar Sharma, Ratan Thiyam, Rabiul Husain, Dr. Mustafa Majid, Md. Enayet Ali and A.K. Sheram.

    Rabiul Hussain is an architect, poet, short story writer and a cultural activist. He has published numerous works, including 7 books of poetry, 3 books of short-stories and a novel. He has been honoured with many awards for poetry, namely Bangla Academy Award (2009), Kobitalap Literary Award (2011) and Kobita Porishod Award (2012). At present he is working as Chief Architect and Director of Shahidullah and Associates Ltd. He is also serving as President of International Film Critic Association of Bangladesh. He is also a member of Banglabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman Memorial Trust and Trustee, Liberation War Museum, Dhaka.

    Ratan Thiyam reading poems

    Md. Enayet Ali, retired bank officer, is also a poet, singer and lyricist from Sylhet. He has so far published 2 books of poetry and a book of lyrics. He is also the editor of the literary journal, Shobdoshilan.

    Dr. Mustafa Majid, General Manager of Bangladesh Bank (Central bank of Bangladesh), is a renowned poet and researcher. He has penned 9 books of verse, which included Kushumito Panchadhasi (Sweet-Sixteen Flower, 1993), Pushpa-Patrey Nilakantha (Blue Necked Shiva in Flowers in Leaves, 1999), Mao Zedong Poems (2002), Janajudher Convoy (The Convoy of People’s War, 2004), Diary of a Nepalese Guerrilla (2007), Meghowati Suyurnayumi (Shadow Golden Land, 1991), etc. He has written 2 biographies on General Ataul Gani Osmani, C-in-C of Bangladesh Liberation War (1994), and on Hans Christain Anderson, the celebrated fairy tale writer. He has also published numerous books on the aborigines of Bangladesh and on social analysis.

    A.K. Sheram, retired General Manager of a bank, is a poet, novelist, short-story and a prose writer. A Manipuri settled in Habigonj District of Bangladesh (The few Manipuris, both Meities and Muslims, now settled in Bangladesh are the descendants of those who fled from Manipur in the wake of the Burmese occupation of Manipur valley from 1815-19). His published works include Basanta Kunnipalgi Leirang (a collection of poems, 1982), Nongoubi (a collection of Manipuri short-stories, 2001), Meira Paibi (novel, 2011), etc. He is the editor of literary journals, Meira and Pratham Diner Surjya. He has been honoured with numerous awards, which include Sunamoni Memorial Award (Sylhet, 1994), Shaitya Bhusan by Assam Manipuri Sahitya Parishad (Silchar, 2003) and Hijam Irabot Memorial International Award (Imphal, 2011). He is also associated with numerous literary bodies. He is the founder President of Bangladesh Manipuri Sahitya Sangsad.

    Enayat Hasan Malik reading poems

    Few more poets, namely S. Bhanumati Devi and Thangjam Ibopishak from Manipur, and Sanaton Hamom, Khairom Indrajit, Yumlembam Ibomcha, Maisnam Rajesh from Bangladesh also read out poems.

    The meet concluded with the staging of Rabindranath Tagore’s Kabuliwallah, a ballet performed by Manipuri Jagoi Marup.

    The first day of the meet was held on July 13, 2013 at the Auditorium of Library and Information Centre, Kaching, in Thoubal District.

    A scene from Kabuliwallah

    Stating the purpose of organizing the meet, Covenor of Organizing Committee Saratchand Thiyam said, “We are living in a global village; however we seem to be living far away from one another if we don’t have the chance to meet. It is important that we meet and interact. People of Bangladesh love their mother tongue and the nation is proud for gifting the International Mother Language Day (Feb. 21). But the vast ocean of Bengali literature and the deep sea of Manipuri literature are yet to meet. Manipuri is a very old and potentially rich language rich language. We are hopeful that it will have its own status among the classical languages of India. And it is encouraging to learn that Manipuris living in Bangladesh are trying to elevate Manipuri literature at their best level. Besides this, they are trying to introduce it to the Bangla literature. Indeed they have become a flyover which connects Bangla and Manipuri literature. It is only through such meetings that we can appreciate the vivacious natures of Manipuri and Bangle literature. The meet is organized to materialize this.”

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: CPIM General Secretary Prakash Karat demanded in Lucknow today that the secuirty agencies and intellgience bureau should be made accountable to the Parliament. Karat was in Lucknow to participate in the Rihai Manch dharna.

    Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna outside the UP Assembly since May 20 demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    Karat said that the secuirty agencies are working without any control and that several innocent Muslim youths arrested in the name of terror by these agencies have been acquitted by court of law, sometimes after spending 14 years in jail. He demanded that the police officails who fabricated innocent youths must be prosecuted.

    He said that few months back he had personally met the UP chief minister and requested him to look in to the cases of arests of Muslim youths in the name of terror and give them proper compensation. He, however, expressed his dissatifaction as the state government has not done anything so far; they have neither provided any compensation, nor prosecuted any police officers involved.

    Karat also dmeanded a revision into some of the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

    Rihai Manch is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last 55 days demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges. Several rights groups and individuals have also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participation.

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    By IANS,

    Patna : The sketches of three suspects in the serial bomb explosions at Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple in Bihar have been released by the the National Investigation Agency (NIA), police said Tuesday.

    "NIA is working on local suspects behind the blasts," a police official said.

    According to police officials, NIA officials have questioned some local people over the past two days.

    Ten bombs exploded in Bodh Gaya July 7, in which two Buddhist monks were injured, and police recovered three live bombs.

    A special court has also been set up here to hear the case of serial bombings, a police officer said.

    The court has been established in the Patna civil court, said the official who is assisting the NIA's probe into the July 7 terror attack.

    Maoist guerrillas have denied their involvement in the serial bomb blasts at Bodh Gaya.

    Bihar police officials have suspected the Maoists' involvement in the bombings.

    The NIA detained six people but released all of them after questioning.

    The Mahabodhi temple - a Unesco World Heritage site - is where the Buddha, who was born in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,550 years ago.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Attacking the “motivated Sanghi gang" and the BJP's Hindutva as "a ploy to dupe unsuspecting Hindus", Congress leader Digvijaya Singh Tuesday said he is a practicing Hindu and "respects all religions".

    In his blog, Singh said he has had the "rare privilege to be the most abused person on Social Media by the Sanghis and the paid professionals hired by Modi operating from Sanskar Dham in Manipur to Sanand near Ahmedabad".

    The Congress general secretary, who is active on social media, said he has been called "Dogvijaya Singh and some time Pigvijaya Singh" by the "Gang who would probably be younger than my grand children!"

    Digvijaya Singh said the "Sanghis" - referring to those who are from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - have been spreading "blatant lies" about him as having converted to Islam and Christianity. And for this, he blames the "sanskar (values) imbibed in them at the Sanskar Dham or at RSS Shakhas".

    "I am a practicing Hindu," declares Digvijaya Singh, adding that he was given "Diksha by His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Dwarka and Joshi Math in 1983".

    He said he prays regularly every day for half an hour.

    The Congress leader said he has nine temples at his home at Raghogarh in Guna district, Madhya Pradesh, where daily puja is performed. He adds that he is the chairperson of a trust that runs a "Ved Pathshala" where over 80 students are taught the vedic rites free of cost.

    He said he also fasts on every Ekadashi of the Hindu calendar besides conducting other rituals.

    "Yet Sangh and BJP and their brigade call me anti Hindu!"

    "A good Hindu would always respect all other religions unlike the Sangh Brigade," the Congress leader said.

    Digvijaya Singh said the Dwarka Shankaracharya "has been unable to explain the meaning of Hindutva which I believe was first used by Veer Savarkar, a staunch Arya Samaji who was vehemently against Sanatan Dharma (universal religion)".

    He said people are welcome to visit his home to cross-check the facts.

    "I know what I am saying is going to fall on deaf ears of the motivated 'Sanghi Gang', nevertheless it is my duty to put it on record what I believe in," he said.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday refused to disclose any details of Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley's disclosure about Ishrat Jahan, saying that the NIA has not given any report to his ministry.

    "The NIA has not given us any report..." Shinde said in response to a question on Ishrat Jahan, a Mumbai college student killed in an alleged shootout by Gujarat Police in Ahmedabad nine years ago.

    He also said even if there were any details, these could not be revealed.

    "Anything that Headley has said is between the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the NIA (National Investigation Agency). There is an MoU between the NIA and the FBI, we cannot disclose any information they give us," he said.

    Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh last week urged the home ministry to clarify on Headley's disclosure regarding Ishrat Jahan.

    Digvijaya Singh wanted the ministry to tell whether Headley had told the NIA during his interrogation in the US that a terrorist plan, plotted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had failed after the death of Ishrat Jahan and the three men who accompanied her.

    Ishrat Jahan and her three associates were killed in an alleged staged shootout by Gujarat Police June 15, 2004, after an input by the Intelligence Bureau that the operatives of LeT were heading towards Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    The Central Bureau of Investigation in its charge sheet in the case said Ishrat Jahan was not a terrorist.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The BJP Tuesday accused the Congress of targeting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and said his presence was making the party feel insecure.

    "Modi's presence in the country is definitely having an impact on the Congress party. They are absolutely restless and possibly they feel that Narendra Modi is now omnipresent, omnipotent," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told Times Now news channel.

    He said: "The question which arises here is why are they trying to target Narendra Modi. Are they insecure? Do they feel that things are going out of their hands? Is this man very popular, is this man going to give them a challenge?"

    Rudy claimed that people were appreciating the way Modi was conducting himself.

    On the recent controversy over Modi's remarks on Gujarat riots, he said there was nothing wrong in expressing one's emotions.

    Parties cutting across political lines had slammed the Gujarat chief minister for his remarks on 2002 Gujarat riots in which he had said he had done "absolutely the right thing" during the 2002 riots and that even if a "puppy comes under the wheel of a car, one felt sad".

    "It is a visible distress in the Congress party which is prompting them to make bizarre statements. They are trying to target him. Let them do that," Rudy said. He added: "I think the defeat is looming large over the Congress party and they are desperate now."

    The BJP leader said his party had complete faith in the leadership of Modi, who is "the chairman of the campaign committee and possibly the leader for the future".

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati: Be it Safiur Rahman or Biswajit Mushahary, literally their plight is ‘in the same boat brother’. At the hour of crisis they are altogether to seek help from the government. They are the victims of ill-famed violence which broke out in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in 2012.

    Suffering from the harsh outcome of some ‘non-sense’ activities which killed around 70 odd villagers and destroyed properties worth in crore, both the Bodos and Muslims have come together under one banner to seek government help for their rehabilitation in Guwahati as the monsoon session of Assam assembly in underway.

    People from Muslim and Bodo community of the BTAD staged protest seeking help from the government in Guwahati.

    “Whatever has happened was extremely unfortunate. It cost us lives and properties and the most important harmony and brotherhood feeling among us. We were never like this for ages. We used to mingle with Bodo brothers and used to agriculture activities and other day to day affairs. Now, we want to get rid of the past and start our lives afresh,” said 60 year old Safiur Rahman, a farmer as they staged a protest under a common banner ‘Central Relief Committee’ to draw the attention of the government.

    More than 1000 people from Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Chirang district staged a day long protest at Last Gate in Guwahati seeking help from the government to make their path towards rehabilitation smother.

    Safiur Rahman who used to do agriculture activities also rued at not being able to go to field to resume work. “Somewhere the feeling of scare is still there among us. Be it the Bodos or the Muslims, people are a bit reluctant to go out and work. That fear needed to be healed to bring normalcy which is very much important to bring peace in the region,” Rahman who hails from Simaluguri of Kokrajhar district added.

    He is one of the inmates who only managed to return to their house last month after spending almost one year in the relief camps.

    The scene is same for young businessman Biswajit Mushahary of Lakhigaon of Kokrajhar district. Biswajit and his neighbours too have moved to their respective houses last month. He also expressed the same feeling that the ‘good-will’ among the common people must be brought back at any cost. “We have been living in these areas for a long time with our Muslim brothers. But suddenly what had happened was uncalled for. There must be some other anti-social elements which created all these. Now we want to live a normal live like any other Indians,” Biswajit told this correspondent at the protest site.

    Hemendranath Brahma, president of the committee said that there are six relief camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang district and they are living in a sorry plight. “We are demanding proper assistance from the government to make these people’s life better. Their condition is totally inhuman and whoever have returned to their house are also suffering. So, if the government releases the said amount of money for the victims the normalcy can be brought back,” Brahman said.

    He also said that they are trying at their level at the village areas to bring back the faith among the people by conducting several public meetings. Later, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Hagrama Mohilary interacted with the victims and assured them all possible help from his side. “Their condition is really poor and we will convince the chief minister for the assistance,” Mohilary said. He added that he will be going to New Delhi to meet the Group of Ministers for the financial assistance for the victims.

    [Photos: Manash Das]

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The Aligarh Muslim University has decided to introduce a compulsory Urdu course for BA/B.Sc./B.Com students.

    AMU Registrar, Group Captain (Retd.) Shahrukh Shamshad through an Office Memo said that the Vice Chancellor has approved introduction of a compulsory Urdu course for the students of BA/B.Sc./B.Com in the new academic session 2013-2014. The students of the above programmes will chose one out of the three Urdu Courses prescribed for different categories of students. ­

    The ‘Elementary Urdu – A’ course will be for the students who have studied Urdu at Senior Secondary School or Intermediate and the ‘Elementary Urdu – B’ course for the students who have not studied Urdu at any level and for students belonging to the states adjoining UP, while a ‘Non Mother Tongue (Urdu)’ will be for foreign students and for those from distant states of the country as defined in the Table VI of the AMU Guide to Admission 2013-2014.

    The notification further said that the marks of compulsory Urdu in the first year of BA/B.Sc./B.Com will be included in aggregate and contribute towards the division of the students. The passing marks will be 17 out of 50 and the students will have to clear the course by the second year of their BA/B.Sc./B.Com to be eligible for the award of degree. The notification also made it clear that 75% attendance will be mandatory for compulsory Urdu classes.

    Delhi based Jamia Millia Islamia also has similar cmpulsory Urdu courses.

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    By IANS,

    Kolkata : While people in India presently speak in 780 different languages, the country has lost nearly 250 languages in the last 50 years, an expert said here Tuesday.

    The People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) has completed a comprehensive linguistic survey of the country and would publish its reports in 50 volumes contained in 72 books in September.

    This is the first linguistic survey carried out in the country after Irish linguistic scholar George Abraham Grierson conducted the Linguistic Survey of India from 1898 to 1928.

    "Currently as many as 780 different languages are spoken and 86 different scripts are used in the country. While it surely is a fact to celebrate the diversity of the country, the sad part is we have lost nearly 250 languages in the last 50 years or so," PLSI chairperson G.N. Devy said here.

    The PLSI -a public consultation and appraisal forum- collaborated with 85 institutions and universities in the country to conduct the research which was completed in four years involving the services of more than 3,000 experts.

    "While the actual survey - the first such exercise undertaken in independent India - took four years, it took 17 years of prepatory work. So the reports are a fruit of 21 years of hard work that too without any governmental assistance," said Devy

    The reports will carry various information about all the languages spoken in the country.

    "From their historical and geographical details, to their origin and grammar as well as literature and other artistic and cultural works including folk songs would be available in the published work," said Devy.

    Talking about West Bengal, Devy said, the state was the richest in the country in terms of number of scripts used.

    "While 38 different languages are spoken in the state, Bengal by far is the richest in the country when it comes to scripts. As many as nine different scripts are used here and efforts are on to develop several other scripts," said Devy.

    Devy, though, said that of the 38 languages in Bengal, about 10 were endangered and needed urgent attention for their survival.

    Twenty two of the 780 languages are scheduled Indian languages. Of them, 122 have been declared by the census as spoken by a population exceeding 10,000 and the rest are spoken by less than 10,000 people.

    Refusing to quantify the number of "endangered languages", Devy called for governmental assistance to ensure survival of all the languages.

    "Without discriminating between languages by declaring some of them as endangered, we need governmental as well as public assistance to help all the languages grow and flourish," he added.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Lucknow: Rihai Manch spokespersons falyed the ‘erroneous and misleading’ headline of the Hindi Daily Hindustan on CPIM General Secretary’s visit.

    Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna outside the UP Assembly since May 20 demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    On Monday CPIM General Secretary Prakash Karat had joined the Rihai Manch dharna and demanded that the secuirty agencies and intellgience bureau be made accountable to the Parliament. He had said that the secuirty agencies are working without any control and that several innocent Muslim youths arrested in the name of terror by these agencies have been acquitted by court of law, sometimes after spending 14 years in jail. He had also demanded that the police officails who fabricated innocent youths must be prosecuted and supported the Rihai Manch demand for CBI probe into the murder of Khalid Mujahid.

    Hindi daily Hindustan reported the the Lucknow visit of Karat with the headline, “Muslimo par ho rahi rajniti ko Prakash Karat ne di hawa (Prakash Karat fans the politics over Muslims)”.

    Speaking to Rajeev Yadav, spokesperson of Rihai Manch said, “The headline and the reporting is erroneous and misleading, to say the least and we condemn it.” He added, “We are not fighting for justice for Khalid Mujahid, or for that matter any Muslim youths arrested on fabricated charges of terror, because of their religion. We are fighting to strengthen our democracy for such extra judicial murder or arrest of youths alienate a particular community.”

    Meanwhile, Riahi Manch dharna completed 56 days today. It is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last 55 days demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges. Several rights groups and individuals have also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participation.

    Speaking on the 56th day Magsasay award winner Sandeep Pandey said that Mulayam Singh is spreading lies that he has implemented several of the reccomendations of the Sachar Committee report.

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  • 07/16/13--10:20: Ramadan 1434: Generations
  • By Swastik Pal,

    Mohammad Anwar and his family rests in their workplace which is also their bedroom. Anwar is the eldest followed by his son and grandson. Three generations resting together during Ramadan.


    Ramadan 1434: TCN series

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    By Shahnoor Rahman for,

    As 21st century citizens, nothing seem impossible for us, from reaching Moon to trying for Mars now. Within hours we reach from one part of the world to another and can communicate through internet in no time. However, still there are some communities, who are untouched by the comforts and facilities of the new age and have minimum access to rest of the world as if nothing has changed in their lives since the medieval period.

    But there is one of community people who are not even recognized by any name in general and their living conditions including ways of life, thought process, culture and all other social and economic profiles. I am referring here to the Muslims of Bengali origin, who were encouraged to come and settle in riverine basins (Chars) in Assam, mostly during the British era.

    A ferry across the stream of river cost an individual Rs 2 and is the only mean of communication with the world.

    Condition of that community neither improved nor progressed because that community resides in a particular area, which is also an integral part of the Republic of India, who don't know to how to raise voice about their demands. Even if voices are raised by few of them, their voice is never heard by the government of India and if the government does something that too just before election; that is also temporary, purpose of which are not to give permanent remedy but to gain sympathy of innocent simple people living in that area, to gain votes to be elected as MP/MLA. The condition of that nameless downtrodden helpless community is so bad that it would be simply unimaginable to believe how much hardship and life of distress they go through.

    This community has not yet changed largely because that community has never been part of any development programmes of the government; be it education, welfare schemes and all other factors which lead to progress and development. Moreover, this community has been destructively influenced by same geographical factors since the medieval period, whose any form of remedies have never been thought of. Only cause why they are living life of hell is that they are born in particular hell spots in this earth,whose establishment depends upon changing route of mass destructive river erosion of mighty only male river of the earth i.e. Brahmaputra and his tributaries like river Beki, Manas etc.

    Migration and exploitation: This community has originally migrated from undivided Bengal in different period of time; some came around 13th centuries, some came around 16th century, some in 18th century and some around 19th and 20th century and consequently settled in unoccupied forest areas located in river basins of Brahmaputra and its tributaries and distributaries.

    They brought with them seeds of high yield cereals, vegetables, jute etc and started to cultivate in these remote unoccupied areas, clearing the forests. British government facilitated their migration and distributed them lands by zamidhari system for cultivation in order to get land revenue and crop yield as taxes. When these poor newly migrated people started to cultivate through their hard labour, they were subjected to severe exploitation of zamidhars and British government.

    Their welfare was never a concern for the British government and they were used them as revenue generating machines who contributed a lot for development of British occupied India. Majority of them are Muslims and had been misfortuneate since their ancestors because their ancestors were born as lower caste Hindus, who accepted Islam under the influence of Abdul Qader Jilani (R.A.) and such other Sufi saints to escape untouchability, satidah system of then orthodox Hinduism and exploitation from upper class Brahmins. So they had been socio-economically weaker and exploited since that time.

    When they were newly converted to Islam, they were socially boycotted by the Hindu society at that time and they were made to flee from their own home. Finding suitable opportunity, they migrated from that areas and started to settle down in river basins of Brahmaputra and its tributaries which are presently part of lower Assam covering districts of Barpeta, Goalpara, Dhubri, Kamrup, Nalbari, Kokrajhar etc. This migration, as mentioned, was encouraged by British for cheap labour and for cultivation.

    Even after independence their socio-economic condition, alas, could not improve a tad. Rather it appears that the Indian government continued with the same British policy of labour exploitaion, and never gave a serious thought for the welfare of this community, except during the elections, when some freebies are announced.

    Even now, if you go to any Char area, you will not seldom find any pucca road, or bridge, or proper transport facilities. Boat is the only mode of transport for these riverine basins. In fact around Rs 15-20 lakh are collected per year from contractors by inland water transport of the government of Assam for one year permission for transport by ferry boats, substantially increasing fare for crossing the river to Rs 10 per passenger from Rs 2 in previous years.

    The main road of Kuntisar village, a Char across Dhubri town, from the river bank.

    Not only that, the problem of these people are multiplied by political turmoil and the politics over D-voters, faulty land patta, inadequate updating of NRC, 1951 , which got intensified after 1971 following independence of Bangladesh and the Assam Accord, 1985. In the absence of any long term of resolution to the problems, these Muslims of Bengali origin are suspected and harassed endlessly as 'Bangladeshis'.

    What can be greater painful for a person who inspite of being genuine citizens of India is harassed as foreinger and Bangladeshis, although they accepted Assamese as mother tongue, and regard Assam as their motherland.

    Contributions: Health and education are their distant and long cherished dreams to be achieved. Higher education and modern amenities of life are simply unimagineable for them. But interestingly, although their condition are so poor, but their contribution to domestic agricultural production of Assam is critical as around 90% of eggs, fishes, meats, chicken, pulses, rice, wheat, vegetables etc are produced by these less fortunate people. Had they not produced these products, gross import of Assam would have been increased from present Rs 400 crores to an estimate Rs 4000 crores. So, gross money of Rs 4000-400= Rs 3600 crores would have been lost from Assam in absence of contribution made by them.

    Moreover, around 95% of unskilled/semiskilled labourer used in construction worke of major towns/cities of Assam are also these misfortunate people, who work 16-18 hours a day with no provision to basic amenities of life and take around Rs 100-200 a day which is less than one-third of wages taken by labourers comming from other states. Had they been not there, an estimate extra Rs 10,000-20,000 crores would have gone in labour wages.

    Further, they are used as very cheap labourers in all spheres of public and government settings like restaurants, groceries, industries, transport sector, vegetable suppliers etc. They are contributing in building Assam from east to west and north to south for the socio-economic proseprity of the state.


    River erosion and flood in Assam

    From where have all the ‘Bangaldeshis’ come? A brief history of Muslims in Assam

    0 0

    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Popular Front of India announced the successful closing of its educational programme ‘School Chalo – 2013’ after a three month long campaign all over the country. Known for its novelty and reach, School Chalo has captured wide attention of the students and public.

    The programme was opened with a colourful student rally at Red Fort, New Delhi on 25th of April in which hundreds of school children participated.

    Hyderabad - Abid Rasool Khan, Chairman, A.P. State Minorities Commission, distributes school kits

    The campaign included educational surveys, distribution of school kits, students and parents awareness programmes, felicitation of outstanding students, re-enrolment of drop-outs etc as major activities. The programme was conducted in two phases and a total of 116595 school kits were distributed at a cost of 3,30,27000 rupees. The programme covered 15 states namely, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Manipur, MP, AP, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

    As part of the ongoing endeavours by the front to achieve the goal of education-to-all, It is expanding the ‘Sarva Shiksha Gram’ project to more villages this year. Another mile stone in Popular Front’s education programme is the higher education scholarship launched two years back. One thousand scholarships worth rupees one crore will be awarded this year under the scheme to meritorious but needy students pursuing higher education.

    School children demonstrate at Red Fort, Delhi during ‘school chalo’ national launching.

    Popular front has also devised a new project to identify and promote talent from young children and support them through out their education. A talent search exam will mark the beginning of the project in which 300 students from Delhi, Kolkata and Murshidabad will benefit this year. Along with programmes to impart awareness on the importance of education, efforts were made to familiarise the public on government scholarship schemes and provisions of RTE act. In the process of this campaign it was observed that most of the rural students are not getting the benefit of minority scholarships by the government due to lack of awareness or because of the complexity in the process. It was also very evident that the rural educational infrastructure is still far from being satisfactory even after three years of implementing RTE act.

    It also urged the government to pay more attention to elementary education than building more universities as the foundation is more important than the roof.

    West Bengal - children with school kits

    The Chairman of Popular Front of India, K.M. Shareef thanked all who helped to make this programme a big success with special reference to the government officials and guests for attending the programme and the donors for supporting this event.

    0 0

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the city government to set up a Madrasa board to look into the educational as well as other basic needs of Muslim children.

    The plea came up for hearing Wednesday before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bhakhru.

    The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Gharib Nawaz Foundation also sought a court direction to the lieutenant governor and Delhi government to provide funds to meet the educational expenses of such children.

    The plea said: "Such educational Madrasa boards in other states have been looking after the educational and other requirements of such children. But it is only in Delhi that such facilities have been completely lacking."

    0 0

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Congress Wednesday took a dig at the BJP over theatre personality Amir Raza Husain quitting the party as its vice president over "intemperate remarks" of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    Questioning the stance of other prominent Muslim leaders in the BJP, Congress leader and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari asked if former socialists who had joined the BJP will speak up.

    "Amir Raza Husain could say/do the right thing. Wonder why all former socialists who joined BJP quiet? Where do Shahnawaz-ji & Naqvi-ji stand?" (sic) Tewari said in a tweet.

    Tewari told Times Now news channel that Amir Raza Husain's resignation should act as a "lightning bolt of introspection" for other BJP leaders with erstwhile socialist predilections.

    "In the 1990s, a large number of former socialists decided to abandon the cloak of socialism and donned clothes of communalism. Now they occupy important positions in the BJP. I was just wondering why their conscience has not been stirred," he said.

    Referring to BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and party MP Shahnawaz Hussain, Tewari asked: "What do they have to say about Raza's resignation?"

    He said Amir Raza Husain resigned from the BJP over "some very intemperate remarks and offensive language the Gujarat chief minister unfortunately used".

    Reacting to Tewari's suggestions, Naqvi said the Congress was hiding its failures by trying to stoke debate on secularism.

    "Will you trumpet secularism to hide your failures to contain price rise, check corruption and generate employment? Secularism-communalism is an expired formula and the Congress will get to know the people's reaction in the coming days," Naqvi said.

    Amir Raza Husain resigned Tuesday after he slammed Modi's remarks about the Congress hiding behind a burqa (veil) to cover its failures and the Gujarat chief minister's reference to a "puppy" in response to a question on the 2002 riots in Gujarat. He said such remarks cannot draw support from the minority community.

    0 0

    By IANS,

    Lucknow : The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Wednesday expelled Vijay Bahadur Singh, the party's member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh's Hamirpur constituency, for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    Vijay Bahadur Singh invited the ire of BSP chief Mayawati for lauding Modi for levying entry fee and tickets for his Hyderabad rally slated for Aug 11. Three days ago, he was warned to desist from showering such praises on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

    On Tuesday, the Hamirpur MP appreciated the BJP Lok Sabha campaign committee chief for being "very innovative".

    "In politics, one should be innovative and I have heard that Modi- ji is going to donate the funds collected at his rally for rehabilitation and relief work in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand," Vijay Bahadur Singh said while explaining that he has done no wrong.

    Earlier July 14, he criticised all political parties for lashing out at Modi for his "puppy" statement during a television interview.

    He also slammed politicians for "unnecessarily dragging Modi into their petty vote bank politics".

    Soon after this, while Modi is learned to have telephoned Vijay Bahadur Singh and thanked him for "understanding the real meaning behind my analogy", BSP chief Mayawati warned the MP against making any pro-Modi statements in future.

    At a press meet here Sunday, Mayawati said Vijay Bahadur Singh's statements concerning Modi were his personal opinions.

    However, she warned that if he chose to continue making such statements, the party would not tolerate it.

    The Samajwadi Party alleged that Mayawati did not expel Vijay Bahadur Singh as she was hand in gloves with the BJP.

    The BSP has already decided not to repeat Vijay Bahadur Singh from Hamirpur in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. He is now said to be in touch of the BJP to resurrect his political fortunes.

    0 0

    By IANS,

    Panaji : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Smriti Irani's current loyalty to Narendra Modi is "dubious" at best, Congress MP Shantaram Naik said Wednesday.

    In a statement issued here, Naik, Goa's only Rajya Sabha member, also expressed surprise that Irani, who in 2004 threatened to go on a fast-unto-death demanding the Gujarat chief minister's resignation over the 2002 Gujarat carnage, is now rooting that the same person deserves to be prime minister.

    "How can such a person be loyal?" Naik asked.

    Irani, who is the BJP's general secretary and in charge of party affairs in Goa, was one of the few younger generation leaders of the saffron party, including Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, to openly back the candidature of Modi as the party's face for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    Modi was appointed chief of the BJP's election management committee amidst controversy at the party's national convention held in Goa last month.

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