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Indian Muslim

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  • 07/19/13--21:35: Prioritising food security
  • Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam,

    Earlier this month the Union cabinet approved the National Food Security Ordinance. It was a bold and timely decision as proper legislation is time-consuming and hunger cannot wait.

    The National Food Security Bill, 2011 is yet to be passed by Parliament, although it has already been scrutinised by a Standing Committee. Considering the committee’s views amendments to the Bill have been introduced in Parliament.

    Method of delivering food security, identification of beneficiaries and the financial implications have been issues of debate. Some have pointed out that the development of economic opportunities for the weaker sections would be better than putting them on dole. However, an important point that this perspective misses is that the poor have to survive in short term to be able to avail of economic opportunities in the long term.

    Hence the ordinance is a timely intervention. A more nuanced legislation will follow.

    The National Food Security Ordinance, promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee, gives 67 per cent of India’s population the right to subsidised food grain to ensure food and nutritional security.

    The ordinance has an inbuilt grievance readressal mechanism and penalty for non-compliance by public servants or any other authority. Under it up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population is entitled to five kg of food grain per month at the subsidised prices of Rs 3 per kg (rice), Rs 2 per kg (wheat), and Re 1 per kg (coarse grains).

    Besides that the poorest of poor households would continue to get 35 kg of food grain per month under the Antyoday Anna Yojna at the same rate. The identification of eligible households has been left to the states and Union Territories.

    This Bill, and the interim arrangement of an ordinance, has been very close to the heart of the UPA chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Thus it has a special focus on nutritional support to women and children, an area in which India has a very poor score compared even to the developing and most undeveloped countries.

    Pregnant women and lactating mothers will get nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional norms. Women will also receive maternity benefit of at least Rs 6,000 for six months and children in the age group of six months to 14 years will be entitled to take home ration or hot cooked food, as per nutritional norms.

    The Central government will provide funds to states/UTs in case of short supply of food grains from Central pool. The Centre will assist states in meeting the cost of intra-state transportation, handling of food grain and fair price shop dealers’ margins. The ordinance also contains provisions for reforms in public distribution system (PDS).

    To sum it up, the ordinance is one of the most sweeping and ambitious measures meant to empower and protect the economically weak and vulnerable. In what is a clear case of empowerment of women, the cards will be made in the name of the senior most woman in a household, aged 18 years and above. The UPA government deserves support and appreciation for such a deeply empowering move.

    However, a great caution has to be exercised in implementing the programmes. As much as 40 percent “leakage” (misappropriation) has been reported in the past in the PDS and allied areas. Lack of supervision has led to a maximum amount of food grains meant for school meals in the villages being sold off in open market, instead of reaching the beneficiaries.

    Lack of standardisation and quality control led earlier this week to the death of 21 children in Bihar after consuming free school meal. Many more fell ill. Later it was found that the meal was cooked in an empty can of pesticide.

    The state must ensure complete quality control in cooking and food handling under this programme to avoid its failure. Strict accountability at every stage must be enforced to make it meaningful.

    (Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam Chairman Institute of Objective Studies.)

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: Rihai Manch has alleged that the UP police razed the tent at the dharna site on Thursday night. 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.

    Magsasay award winner Sandeep Pandey condemned the UP police action and said that such actions by UP government will only strengthen the protesters resolve to fight for justice.

    A Rihai Manch spokesperson has said that the UP government is getting frustrated at the Manch’ sustained struggle and hence stooping so low, adding that this may prove the begining of the downfall of the SP government in the state.

    On Wednesday, they had demanded from the government to make call details of ADG Law & Order & other police officers involved in the ‘çonspiracy’ in the arrest and death of Khalid Mujahid to be made public.

    Meanwhile, Riahi Manch dharna completed 59 days on Friday. It is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last 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 TCN News,

    New Delhi: The Welfare Party of India has welcomed the judgment delivered by the bench headed by Justice R M Lodha of the Supreme Court on July 18,2013 to make the 'Acid Attack' a non bail able offence and enhanced the compensation amount to three lakh to the victim and directed all the states and union territories to pay it.

    Drawing the attention of both the state and the centre government the Welfare Party of India pointed out at the increasing acid attack on women. It demanded stringent punishment and effective implementation of law.

    National Convener WPI, Women Wing Sheema Mohsin applauded the judgement and called it humane. She demanded the perpetrators of the crime must also be made to feel the pinch by paying compensation for their heinous crime apart from the three 3lakh given by the government.

    She also demanded acid victims who suffer great pain with their skin tissue and bones melted and eyes reduced to hollow sockets, disfigured and maimed for life be treated as persons with physical disability and should be offered the same benefits that are offered to physically challenged persons such as monthly pensions, concession on public transport and reservations in education and employment.

    Sheema Mohsin has demanded from the government, both at the state and centre, to make the country safe for its female citizens.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday condoled the death of former union minister Khurshed Alam Khan, father of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and son-in-law of late president Zakir Hussain.

    Khan, 94, died early Saturday at a city hospital where he was hospitalised following chest pain early this week.

    He held the portfolio of external affairs ministry besides heading other ministries and had also served as governor.

    According to the external affairs ministry, Salman Khurshid had pulled out of his visit to Turkey in view of personal bereavement.

    He was to visit Turkey from July 20-22.

    Manmohan Singh said: "In the passing away of Khurshed Alam Khan, India has lost a true son and servant of the nation. Khan served the nation with distinction in many capacities throughout his life which enriched our land."

    "His leadership in India's foreign policy, education system and legislative affairs contributed immensely to the country's modern, liberal and democratic polity," he said.

    The prime minister said Khan's commitment to the nation was deeply rooted in the abiding values of our constitution and the idea of an India envisioned by the founding fathers of our freedom struggle.

    "Khan's work as a foreign minister, parliamentarian and educationist leaves us a legacy which future generations must emulate and nurture," he added.

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  • 07/20/13--02:30: Anathema of Narendra Modi!
  • Syed Kashif,

    Narendra Modi has continuously been hurling the hatred which he possesses inherently. Expression of ‘no guilty feeling’ about Gujrat pogrom is not new. He has been proclaiming it for years. In fact, he is correct! Why should a man be ashamed for something which he hatched?

    For the moment, suppose he was not the man behind the whole story. Even after this, he cannot escape. Being the CM of the state, he was bound to take responsibility for the whole incidents. But the sad part is that neither had he ever taken responsibility nor he expressed regret. And, the worst thing is that he is still regarded a hero by many!

    Projection of Modi as ‘brave’ is dangerously paving the way for communalization of politics. Failure of Indian complex judiciary even after ten years to reach the conclusion, which everyone knows, is certainly encouraging people who aspire to be leader at the cost of communal card. The apparent clean chit to Modi by SIT (although SIT failed to directly indict him, after the SIT submitted report Gujarat High Court took suggestions from an amicus curiae and later directed a CBI enquiry.) has not only given an impetus to push the ‘Modi vagon’ to speed up but also it has shaken the belief of people in judiciary. In addition, Modi has become exemplary for those who want to make a career through communal politics.

    The recent comment of Narednra Modi whereby he referred to Gujarat riot victims metaphorically as ‘puppies’ in an interview with the Reuters is again not as shocking from the man who called the 2002 pogrom as reaction to the action (referring to the Godhra train carnage). Political parties in opposition are, however, just taking advantage of such comments for appeasing the minority community.

    Rather, such remarks should be seen as an attempt to spread enmity between communities. It spreads hatred among citizen. It divides communities who live together peacefully and amicably. It attacks the communal harmony for which India is known. Any sensible individual of India, regardless of religion, will not consider it appropriate.

    Few days ago, Prakash Javedker and other BJP leaders were defending Mr. Modi for calling himself as Hindu Nationalist in the same interview. Though I was not shocked by hearing such fanatic statements and arguments, however, I thought if a Muslim had called himself a Muslim Nationalist he must have been dubbed as anti-national.

    India is a secular state. There is no state religion. So, how a man or a woman can call himself/herself Muslim Nationalist or Hindu Nationalist? No nationalism is above the ‘Indian nationalism’. People may have belongings or leaning towards varieties of sentiments. But all else will come later. I think this is an anti- national approach. It is a matter of shame that a man who is being proposed for PM of India is involved in such anti-national activities. Few months back the same Modi had emphasized that ‘India was first’ while he was defining secularism. But now he has turned his back. His religion is more important than India. India is less important for Modi and his fans.

    However, by such remarks he is vitiating his own candidature for PM. He is even not fulfilling the expectation of those who have proposed his name. They may be getting irritated by his absurd statements. Or was such statements aimed at appeasing and fortifying the Hindutva vote bank? Only time will tell.

    (Syed Kashif is a M.Phil student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and blogs at .)

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    By IANS,

    Panaji: The BJP should stop collecting donations for Uttarakhand relief work and first explain what happened to the "crores of rupees" taken in the name of building the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya decades ago, the NCP demanded Saturday.

    "The BJP should first submit accounts of how much money was collected during the Ram Janmabhoomi issue days to build a temple at Ayodhya and what has happened to it?" Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Trajano D'Mello told a press conference Saturday.

    "No one knows where the donation money is going or where and how it is going to be utilised," he added, accusing the BJP-led coalition government of ignoring the destruction caused by a flood in a Goan village of Cuncolim some weeks back.

    "First our own villagers should be provided relief before running off to spend money for other states. No one came to the rescue of Cuncolim residents after floods in Goa caused damage there," Trajano said.

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    By Amulya Ganguli, IANS,

    Major and minor tremors have continued to rock the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ever since Narendra Modi's appointment as the campaign chief for the 2014 general elections.

    While the Janata Dal-United's decision to break away from its alliance with the BJP, and senior leader L.K. Advani's patent dissatisfaction with Modi's elevation can be counted as major shocks, the minor ones include the resignation of a BJP vice president, Amir Raza Hussain, in protest against the Gujarat strongman's use of the word burqa, or veil, to describe the Congress's tactics.

    Modi's comment that the Congress covered itself with the burqa of secularism whenever it was in trouble might have been regarded as an attempt at humour, but the BJP's former member saw it as a dig against the practice of Muslim women covering themselves with an all-enveloping cloak. The observation can also be interpreted as a sly reiteration of the longstanding saffron equation of secularism with the Congress's policy of minority "appeasement".

    The remark might not have touched a raw nerve if, in an interview with a foreign news agency, Modi had not compared the impact of the Gujarat riots on him with the pain caused by the running over of a puppy by a car. To make matters worse, the chief minister had boasted during the interview that he was a Hindu nationalist.

    The observation led to the Congress's Digvijay Singh asking why he didn't call himself an Indian nationalist. Since then, posters proclaiming Modi's patriotism and Hindu nationalism have appeared in Mumbai, provoking speculation about the BJP's line.

    What these episodes show is how closely each of Modi's words and deeds is scrutinized because of his deeply-hued saffron background. To compound the situation, the assertion by his aide, Amit Shah, that the Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya, and Modi's own visit to the Jagannath temple in Puri, have tended to confirm the impression that he is taking the party back to its hardline Hindutva agenda.

    The suspicion is deepened by the fact that the Hindu supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has seemingly thrown its full weight behind Modi and clearly wants him to be the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

    Yet, if the BJP is taking its time over naming him, it is probably because of two reasons. One is the internal opposition by Advani and Co. and the other is the fear that his projection will restrict the BJP's appeal mainly to its core group of supporters to the exclusion of minorities and liberals.

    It is in this context that Modi's latest utterances have been seen as playing into the Congress's hands. The eagerness with which Congressmen have sought to counter Modi - the veil of secularism is better than "naked communalism", as Ajay Maken said - shows that they are happy to lure the BJP's poster boy into the secular vs communal debate where he will be at a disadvantage.

    It is to avoid this trap that the BJP's Yashwant Sinha has advised Modi to stick to his development plank and not veer into the quicksand of ideology and identity politics. Although Modi started off with an emphasis on the Gujarat model of economic progress, the series of public functions and interactions with the media are apparently forcing him to digress into controversial areas.

    Indirect pressure from his supporters in the social media may have also played a part in making him trash the Congress's version of secularism. A reference to one of the less offensive comments circulating in the cyber world will demonstrate the attitude of his supporters.

    "Today, the Congress parasites and the Gandhi family worshippers have made being a Hindu in India something shameful while barbarians who kill women and children by planting bombs and attacking train stations have become secular", said a pro-Modi post on the internet. However, there is probably a feeling in the Modi camp that if he listens to the counsels of restraint, his appeal will seem diluted not only to his ardent supporters but even generally, since he has purposefully cultivated an aggressive image.

    The Congress will be pleased, however, if he continues in the same vein. There is little doubt that the party will be uneasy with any focus on governance, considering how its own "deficits" in this respect were noted by union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram not long ago. On the secular-communal divide, however, it apparently feels that it is on a much stronger wicket although a section of the media feels that there is too much emphasis on the majority-minority factor.

    But, for the Congress, it is the only subject on which it can hold forth with some assurance since the background of scams, policy paralysis and economic slowdown cannot but make it defensive. What is more, like the BJP, the Congress, too, is unwilling to name its prime ministerial candidate, though for a different reason. It is that while Manmohan Singh has lost much of his earlier appeal, Rahul Gandhi hasn't quite lived up to the part.

    (20.07.2013-Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at

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    By Mohit Dubey , IANS,

    Lucknow: As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday announced its election management teams, the stamp of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the largest number of 80 members to the Lok Sabha and to which party president Rajnath Singh belongs, was very much in evidence.

    Or that is how people here are seeing it.

    While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is in an enviable position of being the probable prime ministerial candidate of the party for 2014, BJP leaders from Uttar Pradesh have been assigned major tasks for the campaign.

    Former Human Resource Development (HRD) minister and BJP MP from Varanasi Murli Manohar Joshi is the chief of the 11-member committee that will draft the manifesto of the party. BJP national vice president and leader from Meerut, Satyapal Malik, is also a member of the committee.

    The media committee entrusted with coordinating with the fourth estate and social media has names like Sudhanshu Trivedi, who is from Lucknow and is a long-standing confidante of BJP president Rajnath Singh. Uttar Pradesh's general secretary in charge and former home minister of Gujarat Amit Shah is also in the team.

    Varun Gandhi, BJP MP from Pilibhit constituency in Uttar Pradesh, has been given the task of coordinating political rallies, which will take place in the run-up to the polls.

    The BJP plans to have more than 100 rallies all over the country, with the maximum being addressed by Narendra Modi. National secretary Vinod Pandey also finds place in important committees, while Uma Bharati, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and presently legislator from Charkhari in Uttar Pradesh, has found place in the committee that would coordinate and fish for votes from the unorganised labour segment. BJP leader and legislator from Lucknow, Kalraj Mishra, is also in this committee.

    Vinay Katiyar, the firebrand leader of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple movement - also from Uttar Pradesh - and Vijay Sonkar Shahstri are members of the committee that will take care of the labour class, the farmers and weavers, important vote banks that can make or mar the political prospects of any party worth its name.

    Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, vice president of the BJP and former MP from Rampur, will be coordinating programmes of the party.

    Party leaders in the state are overjoyed with the "supremacy of UP" in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

    "There is no doubt that UP is a big, important state and politically the most crucial one. It is obvious that the party focuses here," said Laxmikant Bajpayi, state BJP president. The party has been endorsing maximum focus on Uttar Pradesh not only because it sends the maximum MPs to the Lok Sabha but also because it is home to Ayodhya, the land which is close to the BJP's ideology.

    Rajnath Singh, who has been the chief minister of the state, and the party has assigned him the task of garnering maximum seats from Uttar Pradesh to Modi's close aide Amit Shah. The party is also coordinating with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which have a well oiled network in the state.

    Party leaders say in the coming months, the central leadership will descend on the state and take on the Congress and regional parties like Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.

    (Mohit Dubey can be contacted at

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    By Sheikh Qayoom , IANS,

    Srinagar: Mainstream and separatist leaders have termed it the "Gool bloodbath" as heightened tensions followed Thursday's killings of four protesters and injuries to 43 others in Ramban district, severely jolting peace, tourism and the ongoing Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Over 300 protesters stormed a Border Security Force (BSF) camp in Gool village on Thursday to protest the alleged desecration of a mosque and religious scriptures. Guards at the camp are accused of opening indiscriminate fire at the protesters, killing four people and injuring 43.

    Of the injured, at least seven, according to attending doctors, sustained bullet injuries.

    A shocked state administration rushed helicopters to evacuate 17 critically injured people for specialized treatment.

    Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah rushed his junior home minister, Sajad Kitchloo, and the state Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, to Ramban to supervise the evacuation of the injured and express solidarity with the bereaved families.

    The district magistrate of Ramban was shifted immediately after the incident. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde regretted the loss of life and ordered the special DG of the BSF to conduct a probe into the incident.

    Inspector General of BSF (Jammu Frontier) Rajeev Krishna said the guards at the camp had opened fire to save arms and ammunition from being looted by the mob.

    The explanation was dismissed both by the locals and the state government.

    In its damage control exercise, the state cabinet condemned the "use of excessive force by the BSF personnel" and sanctioned an ex-gratia relief of Rs.5 lakhs for the next of kin of the slain persons.

    A government job was also promised by the state cabinet to one member of each of the bereaved families.

    Relatives and villagers refused to bury the four dead persons unless the government brought those involved in the firing incident to justice.

    The BSF camp was overnight removed from Gool village and a contingent of the state armed police was deployed instead.

    Tension along the over 300-km strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway, the Valley's only land connection with the rest of the country, forced the authorities to close it for the third day running Saturday.

    An uninterrupted curfew across the Valley has thrown both the ongoing annual Amarnath Yatra and the tourist season out of gear in Kashmir.

    In its knee-jerk response to the separatist call for a three-day protest shutdown, the authorities clamped curfew in the Valley that is likely to continue till the separatists end their protest call.

    Dozens of security personnel and protesters have been injured during the last three days as mobs defying the curfew continue to pelt stones at the security forces in Srinagar and many other places.

    The authorities have given strict instructions to both the local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel deployed on law and order duties to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that no civilian casualty occurs during the protests.

    For Omar Abdullah, the going could simply not have been tougher. His repeated statements that excesses against civilians during protests would not be tolerated hold little water in the eyes of the common Kashmiris.

    Abdullah's political detractors are using the chief minister's discomfort to the hilt as life remains paralyzed in the Valley.

    (Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at

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    JUH general secretary has demanded from the Home Ministry to revoke AFSPA form residential areas of the Kashmir and withdraw forces deputed in the villages.

    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, while strongly condemning desecration of Holy Qura’n and blind firing by BSF on people in Gool Daram in Kashmir, expressed “deep pain and sorrow” at the civilian killings. JUH general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani demanded that the centre and state government should take immediate steps to arrest the culprits who used excessive forces which killed six people and wounded many.

    ‘’Current wave of atrocities on Kashmiri youths has posed threat to the efforts being carried out for restoration of peace in the region and greatly shocked JUH and other peace aspiring institutions as once again peace process has collapsed and mayhem and turmoil has stretched on this heaven land,’’ added Maulana Madani.

    Maulana Madani stressed to instil in the security establishment that Kashmir and Kashmiris all form the parts of India: the two is equally important. He expressed concern that in our country, from top to lower rung leaders of a few political parties, top government officials and security chiefs show through their attitudes that India only needs the land of Kashmir and not Kashmiri.

    Terming this attitude detrimental to security and unity of the country, Maulana Madani said we can not gain anything worth out of this. JUH general secretary demanded the Home ministry revoke AFSPA form residential areas of the Kashmir and withdraw forces deputed in the villages.

    Reacting to the inquiry commission constituted for the incident, Maulana said such commission has lost its meaning in the valley so the ministry rather take immediate cognizance of the crisis and deal with iron hand with those who are responsible for bloodbath and cruelty on innocent Kashmiris.

    Conveying his condolence to those killed and calling prayers for those injured Maulana Madani expressed solidarity with people of Kashmir and called for restraint.

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  • 07/20/13--08:28: Ramadan 1434: Time-keeper
  • By Swastik Pal,

    A clock shop near Narkeldanga Main Road. Time is a very important aspect of Ramadan. From Sehri at break of dawn to Iftari at the dusk everything has to be done at a specific time.


    TCN series on Ramadan 1434:

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    By TCN News
    Originally written in Hindi, this letter was first published in Urdu in Roznama Sahara which was then translated into English from original Hindi letter by

    The President of India


    I, Mohammad Irfan, was born in a poor family in the town of Titron in 1974. My parents with great economic difficulties managed to get me a diploma. In 2004 I opened my clinic in Sangam Vihar in Delhi so that I could give some assistance to my poor family. The clinic got some success.

    Sangam Vihar is one such area of Delhi where people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and from other parts of the country come and get involved in small economic activities to earn their livelihoods. Near my clinic there are many shops like tea, sweetmeat, grocery, barber, washer man, clinic and medical store etc. Not everyone in the market had a mobile phone. Residents had given the mobile number of others to their family members and relatives. Whenever someone had a phone call he was called for. This was a locality of well-behaved and gentle people who used to help each other. If the battery of someone’s mobile was down he would put his sim in someone else’s phone and let the conversation go ahead. And if balance ran out someone else’s set was used to complete the conversation. Neither I was involved in any undesirable activity nor, as far as I know, anyone else was any wrongdoer. Anyway I was a doctor and my job by the very nature was to help others.

    Last page of the ten-page letter written by Dr. Irfan Khan.

    In Titron, my village, there was a PCO in my name that used to be managed by my younger brother named Suhail. He was 15 years old. My father used to look after our little farmland. We had a simple and peaceful life. Then suddenly havoc engulfed all of us. In the first week of July 2005 police picked up my brother who was managing my PCO. My family contacted me on my mobile that was switched off. They then contacted my aunt in whose house I was staying. I was told that Suhail had been taken away by the police and I was asked to leave for Titron immediately. I left Delhi for Titron straight away.

    My family told me that the police was looking for the person in whose name the PCO was registered. Along with my brother-in-law Ejaz Khan and other relatives I prepared to go to the CO (Circle Officer) of my area (CO Nukur). We then decided to see Samajwadi party leader Shagufta Begum first. We all went to her. Shagufta is a known social figure of the area. She knew police officers well. She phoned CO Nukur and asked why I was being called for. They talked about some other issues too. After a while two constables arrived at Shagufta’s residence one of them was Mustafa who was my acquaintance. They took me to the CO. I asked the CO Nukur why the police had held my brother. He said he had been detained by the STF (Special Task Force) in Ghaziabad and he would be released as soon as I get there. CO asked me about my mobile. I had left it at my sister’s home. CO made me talk to my sister and asked for the mobile to be brought in. It was soon brought in. The CO then called for a photographer and had me photographed. After this CO Nukur took me to Ghaziabad in his car. My brother was with the STF Ghazibad. The CO handed me to them and left back for Nukur along with my brother. I remained with STF Ghaziabad for about one week.

    During this time STF officials took me to my Sangam Vihar clinic, made me open the clinic at night and took out patients register, medical equipments and money and brought me back to Ghaziabad. There some Jawala Singh (Bihar) was also present whose maternal uncle had links or hand in some terrorist attack. Upon his statement that he had lost his mobile he was given two or four slaps and was let go. Then came my turn. There was a policeman named Tyagi. He started spitting at my face. I was stripped naked, my pubic hairs were plucked and a rod was inserted in my back. I was hung upside down and water was poured into my nostrils. Candle was lit and melting wax was dropped on my penis. I cried and wailed at which they laughed. Then Tyagi brought four to five bodybuilder type lads. They might have been STF soldiers who started sodomising me. I was there for about eight to ten days during which I did not even see my clothes and was kept naked.

    High ranking police officials used to come there in whose presence I used to be given this treatment. Tyagi and these lads used to urinate in my mouth and forced me to drink it. If I spat it out they would beat me mercilessly. Tyagi used to say, ‘You just keep on seeing what the STF commandos are capable of.’

    Tyagi was tall and had small pox spots on his face. The other bodybuilder type lads used to do exercise in the morning and recite Hanuman Chalisa and Durga Chalisa [Hindu prayers]. They had AK 47 rifles.

    STF officers picked my neighbour shopkeepers in Delhi and brought poet Ali and Aleem hairdresser from there and made me face them. The poor guys were crying in fear. Tyagi started swearing at and berating them up. All three of us were in a bad shape. Tyagi asked them to slap me and when they refused they were beaten up. They were forced to slap me 10 times each with full force. All three of us were then asked to urinate on each other’s face. They preferred to die rather than indulge in such an act. They were beaten up and then allowed to go.

    Tyagi used to say, ‘We have to exterminate the katwas [circumcised i.e. Muslims] or make them flee to Pakistan.’ Swearing in my mother’s and sisters names were a routine. This was done thousands of time during the day. I was thrashed 25 times on my bald head with slippers and pretending to forget the right count Tyagi would restart beating me. My buttocks used to be reddened by being beaten with slippers too.

    During this time high officials used to come or phone. Tyagi would tell them, ‘Saheb hai to kuch nahiN magar bakra hai katlo. [Sir there is nothing but we have a goat in our possession let’s slaughter it’.] This was the state I was in during the tenure of Mulayam Singh’s government considered to be the greatest Muslim-friendly leadership.

    After this I was taken back to my tehseel, Nukur, my fake medical certificate was obtained from Saharanpur and I was taken to SP [Superintendent of Police] where there was a crowd of media persons. Here putting his pistol on my chest the highest ranking officer warned me, ‘If you utter a word before the media think well about it because you are going to stay with us.’ I was then presented before the court in Saharanpur. Obviously they had shown it as new arrest. From Saharanpur I was taken to Faizabad by jeep. During this journey two nights were spent in a police station. During these nights I was kept naked. From a constable to the station-in- charge everyone spat on me.

    I was then presented in the Faizabd court where media and lawyers beat me brutally. With this great ordeal I reached Faizabad jail and was locked in a solitary confinement. This was a tiny cell with a toilet inside it. I was given a pitcher of water to wash. They did not clean the toilet and the stench was so strong that it made breathing difficult. I had to eat in this aura.

    During this time my police remand was taken for providing arms [to the terrorists]. But I was kept naked in a police station in Faizabad and from there I was presented before the court. No one felt any shame [at this behaviour]. I remained there for three months.

    Lawyer’s association boycotted pleading [for us]. Amid continuous beatings and boycott I was put in the Anda barrack of Allhabad’s Naini Central Jail.

    From here started [our routine journeys] up and down to Faizabad. After 12 months without any lawyer charges were framed against me. I could not hire a lawyer and the lawyers my family sent to plead for me were chased and beaten by police lawyers of Faizabad inside the court room itself in the presence of the judge. At last they surrendered and left me to face the situation on my own.

    Instead of becoming the parents’ support in their old age I had become a burden on them. A patriot had been proven a traitor. Poor parents wept and cried in helplessness. Poverty is the worst sin. How could they hire a powerful advocate? They accepted it as their fate. How they, who could not have proper food, afford to pay the fees of a wakil like Jethmalani and Tulsi to plead for me. Lawyers like them charge Rupees 10 lakh per hearing. That means in India to get justice it costs Rupees 10 lakhs per court hearing. How could a poor afford such a big amount? It is therefore sure that the poor will never get justice. In jails in India 99% of the inmates are such poor lot. All the laws [rules and regulations] are applied onto the poor.I have spent eight years in a terrifying place like Anda barrack where there is neither air, nor any water and nor any sun, everything is dark. The food I get in here is horrible even to see. But what can one do?

    Outside the jail the poor parents beg and plead anyone there to help them and get their son freed from incarceration. Who would do such a thing? I myself want to know if there is any rule of law and justice in any corner of India. If it is there then I want to see it myself. India is my dear country, I have always been ready to sacrifice myself for the honour of my country… but, but, respected President, Sir, now I pray and request you to put me to death and that will be an act of mercy. It will be a great act of kindness.

    What is my crime? The incident [Faizabad court blast] occurred on 5 July 2005. Some months before that someone had used my mobile phone to put his own sim in it and make a call for 2 – 3 minutes. Neither the [suspected] terrorist has been identified nor have any documents relating to his sim card been found. [And only for this] I have been kept in prison. What does the law say? What do all the judgements of the Supreme Court talk about? That for the sake of Justice an innocent person has to be saved from being punished wrongly if for that even 100 perpetrators have to be released. What is all this then? Is it what is called justice, caught a totally innocent person and destroyed his life? All of them, from the STF to the jails and the courts are all the same! Was there someone who could ask me what have I done to go through like this?

    Ten judges have changed so far and with the exception of one or two all of them have treated us inhumanely. They looked at us with hate and contempt, insulted us and threatened the witnesses. Our lawyer was an ordinary practitioner (did not belong to the high group). He was not allowed to cross examine the witnesses who were mostly from the CRPF or [intelligence] agencies. They had been given previously written statements and were made to read from them for the court. The lawyer was stopped from questioning them and was told what to ask and what not to ask. This is what Indian courts are!!!

    We have been accused of hatching a conspiracy. We have nothing to do with the crime scene but only witnesses of the crime kept being called. If they did not attend, summons were issued. If they failed to appear in the second hearing summons were issued again and it went on and on and years have passed. It also happened that for some six months one witness did not attend the court but the summons used to get issued. The aim is just to keep us rotting in the jail. The law says that deciding a case quickly is the right of the accused, but where is that law?

    The High Court had ordered on 2nd August 2011 to finish our case within eight months. But how could it be? So many, ‘eight months’ have passed.

    The dates being given are 15 to 20 days long. They say in order to inform the witnesses so much time is necessary. What are the wirelesses for then? What are the police stations in all villages for? Why the court’s each step is aimed at wasting time. Eight years have passed but to date not even a single witness has produced any evidence against us. On the contrary what appeared was in our favour. What on earth is all this drama then for?

    At least in the name of humanity the Government can take following steps and by doing so at least the stigma of the ill will would somewhat be washed off:

    1) Instead of sending summons [to the witnesses] they should be informed through wireless and local police station or choki should be given the responsibility of sending the witness [to attend the court]

    2) After one summon direct SBW be issued

    3) Wherever such cases are being tried a team should be formed at DJ level that should scrutinise witness lists and only those witnesses who have anything to do with the allegations on the accused be called. Time should not be wasted by calling unrelated witnesses.

    4) Government through a writ in the High Court make all such cases time bound so that they should be decided within 90 days.

    5) Supreme Court provides the facility of long parole being granted by the Government. This is Government’s jurisdiction. Why is Mulayam Singh then making unnecessary noises? What is the hindrance? Grant the parole now and see the rest of the issues later. Mulayam Singh should see this ruling of the Supreme Court and all the public see it too:

    ‘If the state takes up a flexible attitude it may be possible to permit long spells of parole under controlled conditions so that the suspicion that full freedom if bailed out, might be abused, may be eliminated. Humanising interludes of parole are part of the compassionate constitutionalism of our system.

    1978.1 Supreme Court cases 240; before V. R. Krishna Iyer Judge, Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No: 1443/1977; decided on December 6 1977

    Supreme Court is itself recommending that the government give long parole. What’s the problem then? Mulayam Singh is eyeing on Hindu vote bank too. This is the reason.

    6) In such cases the government should appoint an observer who should keep an eye on the proceedings and should make sure that the witnesses attend the hearing at the date and time fixed.

    7) The government should, on its own expense, call Supreme Court’s high level lawyers who should prepare guidelines to finish such cases speedily fulfilling all the demands of justice.

    8) In each case grounds on which charges have been framed should be argued by these lawyers afresh. If this is done these cases will not reach to a trial stage and all of the accused will be released at this stage.

    9) Social activists like Ashish Khetan should be supported by the government so that they can uncover the truth of the arrests of innocent people and thus can present before the court the other side of the picture, the picture that is ugly, disturbing, shameful and painful.

    In the end I make a personal appeal to you. I pray five times a day. I swear by God and on Qur’an that I have never met any terrorist in my life nor do I know anything about these problems. I believe in humanity. I am a doctor and I know how to stitch injuries not how to cause wounds.

    Let those who have to contest elections deal with the politics of mosque and temple. I believe that all of the humans have been created by the Almighty and He tells us that all humans are the issues of one mother and one father. What is the dispute is all about then?

    All humans have been created by Him. Which book tells us to hate others? None of them. Which religion talks of fighting each other? None of them. This is meanness. Each religion talks of love and humanity. Even after such incidents I do not hate anyone. Nor can religious bias come into my heart. My duty is to serve whoever comes to me. This is the Order of the Creator. This is what I believe in.

    Dr Irfan Khan
    June 30, 2013
    High security Barrack
    Naini Central Jail Allahabad

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    "The government is using ‘indefinite’ delaying tactics, but even we are adamant and will continue dharna till our demands are met with," said Chairman of the Rihai Manch Advocate Mohammad Shoaib.

    By Staff Reporter,

    Lucknow: The indefinite dharna of Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) outside the UP Assembly cmpleted two months today.

    Since May 20 Rihai Manch is on indefinite dharna 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.

    Speaking to, Chairman of the Rihai Manch Advocate Mohammad Shoaib said, “The SP government has become arrogant and has not bothered to even have any talks with the protesters.” When asked that two months have passed and since there has been no progress in the case, for how long they plan to continue the dharna, he said, “The government is using ‘indefinite’ delaying tactics, but even we are adamant and will continue dharna till our demands are met with,” adding that they will continue with the dharna till the Assembly session begins and will decide on future course of action, based on what action government takes on the RD Nimesh Commission report.

    Yesterday, Rihai Manch had alleged that the UP police razed the tent at the dharna site on Thursday night, forcing the demonstrators to clean the site themselves after heavy rain for sitting and prayer. Magsasay award winner Sandeep Pandey has condemned the UP police action and said that such actions by UP government will only strengthen the protesters resolve to fight for justice.

    A Rihai Manch spokesperson has said that the UP government is getting frustrated at the Manch’ sustained struggle and hence stooping so low, adding that this may prove the begining of the downfall of the SP government in the state.

    On Wednesday, they had demanded from the government to make call details of ADG Law & Order & other police officers involved in the ‘çonspiracy’ in the arrest and death of Khalid Mujahid to be made public.

    Khalid had died under mysterious circumstances on his way back from Faizabad near Ram Sanehi Ghat on May 18. He was declared brought dead by the doctors at district hospital in Barabanki. Later, on the complain of his uncle Zahir Alam Falahi, a case was registered against 42 police officers including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid's arrest.

    Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF's claim about the place of arres.
    Khalid’s family and civil society groups are demanding CBI probe into Khalid’s custodial death and has compared his case with the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan by the Gujarat Police. They have also questioned the role of the IB.

    Rihai Manch is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges. As the holy month of Ramadan is in progress, Manch also makes arrangements for iftar and prayers.

    Several rights groups and and politicians, including Prakash Karat, Subhasini Ali and other left leaders have also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participations.

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    By TCN News,

    Ahmedabad: Zakia Jafri’s counsel has argued in court that there are valid evidences against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    “The illegal instructions given by A-1 chief minister Narendra Modi to the Gujarat police to stop functioning as police, allow a ‘Hindu’ backlash to Godhra and not intervene when an orchestrated backlash by VHP mobs was unleashed, were given at a closed door meeting, late in the evening post 10.30 p.m. on 27.2.2002 and evidence of this is available from various sources: the statement of Haren Pandya before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (May 2002) as testified before the SIT by two Judges, Justices PB Sawant and Hosbet Suresh), to his father Vithalbhai Pandya who also testified before the SIT; the statement of Sanjiv Bhatt, then DCP-Intelligence to the SIT and RB Sreekumar, then ADGP (SRP),” argued her counsel Advocate Mihir Desai.

    Desai added, “This evidence is valid and needs to be tried in Court as it amounts to a head of state cohesively orchestrating a conspiracy to paralyse the police and administration from performing their Constitutional duties.”

    Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran in both his Interim report (January 20, 2011) and final report (July 25, 2011) also clearly stated that Modi should be tried before a court of law.

    Advocate Mihir Desai counsel, arguing in support of the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition, assisted by Citizens for Justice & Peace, before the 11th Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court. Ahmedabad, further elaborated that two of the six persons present at the meeting (Svarnakantha Verma, former ACS) deputing for chief secretary Subha Rao, and Anil Mukhim, OSD to the chief minister had clearly stated that cabinet ministers were also present.
    Only those senior administrators and bureaucrats who are co-accused in the criminal complaint of Zakia Jafri (then DGP Chakravarthi – A 25, then CP Ahmedabad PC Pande A-29, then Home Secretary K Nityanandam A-34, then ACS Home Ashok Narayan, A -28, then Additional Principal Secretary to the chief minister PK Mishra had stated that no politicians were present.

    A retired Supreme Court (PB Sawant) and High Court judge (Hosbet Suresh) gave statements about Haren Pandya’s statement, his father records his statement before the SIT, two persons present at the meeting say that cabinet ministers were present, and SIT says that the case is not fit to go to trial ? This was a deeply prejudiced investigation, insisted Desai.
    Both Justices Sawant and Suresh have also stated that other officers like Vinod Mall, Himanshu Bhatt and Samiullah Ansari from Gujarat also deposed before them and mentioned illegal instructions from the top. The SIT deliberately failed to record statements of two of the three; and while they recorded Mall’s statement they conspicuously did not ask him about this critical information. What kind of investigation has been carried out, he asked.

    SIT’s rank unprofessionalism was clear in that highly confidential information about Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence (that became known only after he deposed before SIT in November 2009) and was not known to anyone, was leaked to powerful accused in order to allow them to create a false and weak defence. In March 2010 when A-1 Narendra Modi’s statement was recorded by the SIT, he gave himself away, by answering to the question put by SIT, “Who was present?” Modi answered, naming all officials adding,“Sanjiv Bhatt was not present.” How did he know about Bhatt’s presence except for the obvious leak from the SIT? A-1 Modi should not have been privy to this confidential information but in his over zealous bid to conceal his guilt he stated what revealed this lapse, Desai argued.

    While statements of both Bhatt’s driver and another driver of the police clearly state that an Official log Book recording Bhatt’s movements on that day (27.2.2002) were available and submitted as per course to the IB, SIT’s investigation papers makes available only a letter that states that no such record is available! Such a Log Book would have been incontrovertible evidence but it has been destroyed ! What happened to the Log? How did it disappear? SIT has again failed miserably to investigate these disappearances, destructions and lapses, insisted Desai.

    Legally the chief minister’s secretariat is bound under Standard Operating Procedure to maintain minutes of meetings: that a meeting was held on 27.2.2002 is not being disputed, the fact minutes are missing puts onus under section 106 of the Evidence Act on the accsued; yet SIT states that it is not a fit case to go to trial ! Besides, as Desai argued that evidence of a person who is dead, evidence that would have gone against the pecuniary interest of the witness if alive, or make him liable for criminal prosecution (as Haren Pandya’s testimony undoubtedly would have done) is valid evidence under Section 32(3) of the Indian Evidence Act.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    A Muslim boy arranges Iftar items at Burha Majjid, one of the oldest masques of the state, in Guwahati.

    People offer prayer on the eve of breaking fast at Burha Majjid in Guwahati.

    A Muslim lady recites religious text from the Holy Quran in Guwahati.

    Muslim youths recite religious text on the holy month of Ramadan at Islampur Madrassa in Guwahati.

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    By TCN News,

    Riyadh: ‘Read message of Allah with complete understanding and implement them in your lives,’ was one the important advices from world renowned Islamic Scholar Dr. Zakir Naik to the audience, when he was addressing a group of expatriates during an Iftar Party organized by Riyadh Chapter of India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) on the occasion of the blessed month of Ramadan.

    Naik advised the attendees to read Quran with its meaning in the languages whatever are best known and understood to them. He elaborated quoting prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that ‘Understanding of one verse of Quran is better than just reciting 700 verses’. He said that this shall be our routine and everyday Quran shall be read with complete understanding, especially during the Holy month of Ramadan to get benefitted for this world and hereafter.

    IICC Riyadh Convenor Murshid Kamal presenting a copy of popular book "Idrak e Zawal e Ummat "authored by well-known Islamic Scholar Dr. Rashid Shaz to Dr. Zakir Naik.

    Dr. Zakir Naik also highlighted the importance of education and advised to keep a striking balance between formal education and Islamic education with the ultimate purpose of education making the human being closer to its creator the Allah almighty.

    The Convener of IICC Overseas Chapter Murshid Kamal welcomed Dr. Zakir Naik and thanked him for attending the event. A set of books by famous author Rashid Shaz were also presented to Dr. Zakir by Murshid Kamal, as he is an avid reader and loves to read during his leisure time. Murshid Kamal also conveyed IICC President Sirajuddin Qureshi's good wishes to Dr. Naik and on his behalf and invited him to visit India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.

    Kaunain Shahidi, IICC working committee member conducted the whole program in his dynamic style and thanked the audience to make the event successful. ‘It was a great moment for us to spend some quality time with Dr. Zakir and get his views and guidance for the betterment of our lives’, added Shahidi.

    Another highlight of the event was the short documentary about IICC, indicating its purpose of spreading message of Islam and contribution to the society in general by promoting mutual understanding and other services to the society.

    A number of prominent Indian expatriates contributed to make the event possible. All the aspects of the event were well planned and executed and timely managed by the IICC working committee members with the help and cooperation of many other community members.

    Life Members of IICC, Tarique Masood, Dr. Misbahul Arfeen Mohammed Zaigham Khan, Chairman of Hira International, Salim Zubeidi, President of AMOUBA, Dr. Ahmed Badsha, Acting President of JMIAA Aftab Nizami, Ex Vice President of Jamia Alumni Association, Laique Azmee, Riyadh Chief of Bihar Anjuman, Syed Muneer also attended the event.

    Other among present were, Syed Ziauddin, Jabed Hussain, Asif Iqbal, Zafar Bari, Aftab Nizami, Shaheen, Hilal, Najam and many more well-wishers of Dr Zakir Naik. Naushad Alam presented a vote of thanks to the guests and audience and invited them for the Dinner.

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    By M Reyaz,,

    Lucknow: The indefinite dharna of Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) outside the UP Assembly completed two months on Saturday. Since May 20 Rihai Manch is on indefinite dharna demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's custodial death, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action taken report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youths imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    TCN spoke with Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Chairman of Rihai Manch on their struggle for justice. Excerpts:

    Advocate Mohammad Shoaib

    TCN: We congratulate you on sustained struggle for justice. However, two months are over and we do not see any development from the government?

    Advocate Shoaib: The SP government has become arrogant and has not bothered to even have any talks with the protesters. The government is using ‘indefinite’ delaying tactics, but even we are adamant and will continue dharna till our demands are met with.

    TCN: Has any representative of the government approached you or tried to mediate for some kind of talk?

    Advocate Shoaib: No representative of the government, either directly or indirectly, ever approached us. Yes certain clergy requested me to accompany him to meet the UP CM, but I refused since I was never officially called and I did not want to broker any deal with the government.

    TCN: Samajwadi Party came back to power with the support of the Muslim votes and had even promised to withdraw cases against innocent Muslims youths who are languishing in jail for years. Why do you think the government has failed to deliver?

    Advocate Shoaib: SP government is fooling the people, particularly the Muslim community. If thy had any intention of delivering, take for example Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid case, they would have made the Nimesh Commission report that indicts the police officers public and that could have been the basis of their withdrawal of cases in court.

    Instead, they relied on withdrawing cases in “public interest and for the sake of communal harmony” simply to fool Muslims and mislead courts.

    TCN: But if the government does not even appear bothered, for how long do you intend to continue the protest?

    Advocate Shoaib: Of course they are feeling the heat. The attack on our tent at the dharna site is an example of their frustration.

    We will continue with the dharna through out Ramadan and at least till the Assembly session begins and will decide on future course of action, after they table the RD Nimesh Commission report in the house and based on what actions government takes on the Nimesh Commission report.

    Our demands remain the same justice for Khalid Mujahid family, actions on the Nimesh Commission report, prosecute the guilty police officials. Else we are willing to even continue the dharna indefinitely if the government turns deaf...


    Indefinite dharna of Rihai Manch completes two months

    Huge gap between words and actions of SP Govt: Rihai Manch President

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    By Arif Kudroli,

    Kasargod: Hundreds of people, led by Kumble Muslim United forum, came to the streets of Kumble here on Saturday July 20 to protest against a comment allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed on social networking site Facebook.

    The protestors took rallies on streets Kumble and staged a protest in front of Kumble police station demanding immediate action against some youths from Kumble Mayippady and Naikapu.

    The protestors said that a group in Facebook has been posting derogatory comment against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) since Friday July 17. Several Muslim leaders from Kumble had met police to lodge a complaint. However, the police were said to be reluctant to accept the complaint.

    They ultimately prompted to file a case when leaders warned to stage a massive protest. But they did not give permission for protest. Despite police orders, Mulism United forum organized the protest in front of the police station.

    The police managed to keep the crowd about 100 metres away from police station and also resorted to lathi charge and tear gas. There were also reports that a few youths pelted stones at a private bus. It is learnt that the police, with the help of cyber crime cell have begun investigation into the case and two persons have already been arrested from Kannur.

    Speaking to reporters, district police chief Thomson Jose that attempts to disturb peace in the district by posting provocative pictures or comments on social networking sites have been going on lately. Strict action will be taken against all those who indulge in such things, he warned.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: On the appeal of Save Sharmila Campaign and Mission Bhartiyam, a protest was organised against the Ramban Massacre by BSF that claimed 6 lives and injured 44 others.

    The BSF had opened fired on a mob that was protesting against the alleged manhandling by BSF personnel of a local imam, followed by the reported desecration of the Holy Quran the previous night. The following morning, a group of protestors had reached a BSF post in Gool in Ramban district and they were responded with a massacre.

    Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign is a nation-wide campaign in support of Irom Sharmila and for the repeal of the draconian law of AFSPA. For two years, it has been working to spread awareness, mobilise support and generate political pressure to repeal the law. It is an umbrella of many civil society organisations. The protest was joined and supported by many progressive groups namely AISA, Campus Front of India, Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association, NCHRO, PUCL, J&K RTI and PUDR among several others.

    The organisers said that this shameful and unacceptable incident called Ramban massacre is, however, not a sudden reaction to the protest.

    Group of these people from all organizations and individuals who took part in solidarity marched on Jantar Mantar road and then sat there for slogans and speeches. Heavy police force was deployed and roads were barricaded, however protestors went till barricades and sat there for at least two hours. It was a protest where large number of people from J&K and North East also participated.

    Speakers who were from various organizations includes Ravi Nitesh from Mission Bhartiyam, Mohd Tanveer from NCHRO, Amit, Sandeepan and V Arun from AISA, Dr Muzaffar Bhat from J&K RTI forum, Piyush from JNSU, Hemant from DSU, Talha Huseyn from Campus Front, Asad Ashraf from JSS, Manjit from PUDR, Guneet from PUCL, Dar Rashid a Human Rights lawyer from J&K and Devika Mittal from Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign and some other activists and student leaders.

    "The Ramban incident is a prima facie case of coercive method adopted by the security personals. It highlights the highhanded attitude of the security forces that they have acquired over a period time due to their absolute powers and the impunity granted to them", said Ravi Nitesh, founder of Mission Bhartiyam.

    "This protest is about this unacceptable massacre, it is to show our solidarity with the victims and demand justice but it has been organised to attack the root. We know that this incident is not the first incident in Kashmir. These inhuman incidents are quite frequent in Kashmir and in states of North East because draconian laws like AFSPA breed them. We are here today to appeal for humanity, to demand the repeal of AFSPA.” remarked Devika Mittal, core member of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign.

    The organizers believe that real justice for the victims of the massacre will be to attack the “root” cause i.e. militarization and draconian laws like AFSPA that has led to fake encounters, rape and killings of civilians.

    "It is unfortunate that these incidents are happening in the World's largest "democracy". It is unfortunate that these killings are justified in the name of upholding the 'integrity' of the nation. We feel that development, basic civil rights, basic amenities and justice should be used to uphold the 'integrity' not torture,” said V Arun Kumar of AISA.

    Dr, Muzaffar Bhat of J&K chapter of RTI remarked, "This incident happened in Jammu which is seen to be more "peaceful". So there cannot be any justification. It shows that the entire Kashmir is under attack."

    "There is a long list of incidents where security personals of almost all wings have violated the human rights in J&K. There have been fake encounters, torture, rapes etc. in the state but nothing has been done to prosecute the culprits till now. So there is every reason to believe that like other similar incidents before, there will be no action taken by the government against security personals in Ramban massacre too. In such situation the only option left for the democratic forces to raise voice against such injustices", said Mohammad Tanveer of Campus Front of India.

    Asad Ashraf from Jamia Solidarity Students said, “Unless and until there is demilitarization, the situation will not improve in J&K. We must know that dissatisfaction is a primary reason for increase in insurgent activities so it’s high time that we think about “their” welfare, not “ours”.

    Kaashif who was here from Chhatra Vimarsh magazine, added, “How do we take pride in being the world’s largest “democracy” when democracy is not extended to all states within our own country.”

    Manjit from PUDR remarked, “It is tragic that Kashmiris are looked upon as “anti-national”, as “anti-Indian”. It is true that there are anti-state slogans in Kashmir but this is because the only symbol of India i.e. the army has created hell in their land”.

    The protest was supported by renowned Activists like Gautam Navlakha, Prashant Bhushan, Manisha Sethi, Dr Sandeep Pandey and many others. Though they could not be present. The protest was joined in by many people from Kashmir and even from states of North-East.

    During the protest many voices came forward against state repression. It seemed that voices from Chhatisgarh to Manipur to Bihar , all were extended their support and and solidarity with Kashmiri People and their struggle. In a very loud voice, and with the full capacity and passion, slogans were aired to demilitarize Kashmir and to repeal AFSPA. Slogans were revolutionary and english hindi mixed. They aired as many slogans and some includes 'AFSPA ko Jaana Hoga''Kashmir ki Galiyan Sooni hain, AFSPA khooni hai', 'Hum sab ki hai ek awaaz, Inqulab inqulab'.

    The organisations demands the repeal of AFSPA, it demands the de-militarisation of all civilian areas in the AFSPA-imposed states, to investigate all crimes committed under it, to prosecute the guilty persons, compensate the victims and just initiatives to improve the situation in J&K and in the states of North-East. People were signed on the memorandum and They will be submitting this memorandum to the Prime Minister, to the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Defence.

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  • 07/21/13--09:35: Ramadan 1434: Fruit-wallah
  • By Swastik Pal,

    Rajabajar Street fruit market in Kolkata. A fruit-seller used mosquito net to keep away flies from contaminating his watermelon. Fruit consumption goes up during Ramadan.


    TCN series on Ramadan 1434:

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