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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : Hundreds of Muslims will Tuesday pray for the long life of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on his 63rd birthday at the historic Makhdoom Shah Baba mausoleum, also known as Mahim Dargah, party officials said.

    "We shall offer prayers and flowers at the famous Mahim Dargah (mausoleum) for the long and healthy life for Modi and also that he should become the next prime minister of India," Bharatiya Janata Party Maharashtra Minority Morcha (BJPMMM) president Hyder Azam told IANS.

    The BJPMMM will feed poor people in the vicinity of the mausoleum. The event will be led by city BJP chief Ashish Shelar.

    In Borivli area, thousands of people and party activists will celebrate the occasion, said legislator Gopal Shetty.

    In Goregaon, 63 large balloons with a huge cut-out of Modi will be released in the air, party official Dilip Patel said.

    The BJP has also planed a gigantic cake, which will be cut and distributed to residents in the afternoon, Patel said.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: A delegation consisting leaders of all leading Indian Muslim organisations met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday evening at his residence, after his return from the riot hit Muzaffarnagar, expressing conern over communal tension and false propaganda, and demanding proper relief.

    The delegation expressed to him its deep concern over the continuing communal violence across the country and deteriorating communal tensions as a result of a certain party’ decision to polarise the society using emotive issues and false propaganda and rumours. The delegation expressed it pain at the ongoing violence in and around Muzaffarnagar in which around one lakh Muslims have been forced to flee their homes and villages taking shelter in over two dozen camps as well as taking refuge in the houses of their relatives in other villages.

    Muslim delegation to PM over Muzaffarnagar riot (Courtesy: Milli Gazette).

    The delegation demanded proper relief to all the uprooted people including the ones who have taken shelter in their relatives homes, proper documentation and videography of each case as well registering FIRs in all cases so that the culprits may be punished and the victims get justice and fair compensation.

    The delegation also raised the issue of the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill which remains in cold storage since 2005. The delegation urged the Prime Minister to see to it that this Bill is passed in the next session or issued as an ordinance.

    The Prime Minister listened to the delegation attentively and assured the Muslim leaders that it will do whatever is possible. He said he will try to arrive at a consensus in the forthcoming National Integration Council meeting on 23 September.

    The delegation consisted of Maulana Syed Jalauddin Umari President, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Maulana Nusrat Ali General Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Janab Mohammad Ahmad Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Maulana Mahmood Madni General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Maulana Niyaz Farooqui Member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Janab Shakeel Ahmad Sayed, member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Janab Kamal Faruqi, member, Working Committee, All India Muslim Personal law Board, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, . Janab Navaid Hamid General Secretary, Movement for the Empowerment of Indian Muslims, Janab Abdul Khaliq, Member Working Committee, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Chairman, Shah Waliullah Institute, Dr Zafar Mahmood President, Zakat Foundation of India, Dr Taslim Rahmani President, Muslim Political Council, Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi, General Secretary, Markzai Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees.

    The delegation presented to the Prime Minister the following memorandum as well as observations of the Muslim delegations which visited Muzaffarnagar and a brief position paper on the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill:

    C/o D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025 India
    Tel.: 011-26946780, 9990366660 Fax: 011-26947346

    Monday, 16 September, 2013

    Dr. Manmohan Singhji
    Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
    New Delhi

    Respected Sir,

    We, the undersigned, representing major Indian Muslim organisations, wish to draw your kind attention to the wave of communal violence sweeping across a number of states, especially in north India. The most serious in these recent flare-ups is the violence in and around Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Many of us have extensively toured the camps of the uprooted and feel that a “mini-Gujarat” has been inflicted upon Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas. A very short summary of our observations is appended to this letter.

    Though the violence has abated now but stray incidents are still taking place every day. An estimated one lakh people (all Muslims) have been uprooted. Some 65,000 are living in around two dozen camps run in madrasahs, Eidgahs etc or are sheltered in hundreds of houses in other villages. Others have gone to live with their relatives. Even now no proper relief measures have been taken and no serious documentation is being made and no FIRs are filed. It is our request to you to kindly ensure:

    a. Proper relief of ration and other necessary needs of life to those living in camps as well as with relatives.
    b. Urgent documentation and preparation of lists with all details of names, losses and people responsible for the carnage as per the victims.
    c. Filing of FIRs at the earliest so that the legal process could start to punish the guilty.
    d. Compensation of all losses suffered by the victims in terms of life, loss of cattle, houses looted and burnt and crops destroyed/looted etc.
    e. Construction/repair of burnt/demolished/damaged houses, mosques, madrasahs etc.
    f. Construction of houses at other locations for those who do not wish to return to their villages (we found that no one is willing at least now to return to his/her village).

    We take this opportunity to impress upon you to ensure that the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill is urgently passed or, if need be, brought in as an ordinance, in order to rein in and send a strong message to the forces trying to polarise and destabilise the country for political gains.

    We are hopeful that through these measures a strong message will be sent to all that your government is really committed to the welfare and safety of all Indians, especially the weak and defenceless.

    We remain yours sincerely,

    1. Maulana Syed Jalauddin Umari
    President, Jamaat-e Islami Hind

    2. Maulana Nusrat Ali
    General Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind

    3. Janab Mohammad Ahmad
    Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind

    4. Maulana Mahmood Madni
    General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind

    5. Maulana Niyaz Farooqui
    Member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind

    6. Janab Shakeel Ahmad Sayed
    Member, Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind

    7. Janab Kamal Faruqi
    Member, Working Committee, All India Muslim Personal law Board

    8. Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan
    President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat

    9. Janab Navaid Hamid
    General Secretary, Movement for the Empowerment of Indian Muslims

    10. Janab Abdul Khaliq
    Member Working Committee, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat

    11. Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi
    Chairman, Shah Waliullah Institute

    12. Maulana Muhsin Taqawi
    President, National Council of Shia Ulama

    13. Dr Zafar Mahmood
    President, Zakat Foundation of India

    14. Dr Taslim Rahmani
    President, Muslim Political Council

    15. Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji
    Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board

    16. Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi
    General Secretary, Markzai Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees

    18. Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi, M.P.,
    President All India Milli-wa-Ta’leemi Foundation
    [not present in Delhi but has consented to the above text].

    C/o D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025 India
    Tel.: 011-26946780, 9990366660 Fax: 011-26947346

    visiting camps of the uprooted in and around Munzaffarnagar
    in the light of the narrations of the uprooted

    1. It was a one-sided attack by pro-BJP Jats, Almost no other Hindu community participated in the carnage.
    2. The carnage took place only in villages where Muslims are in a small minority.
    3. The carnage was pre-planned. Many meetings and three “mahapanchayats” were held before the carnage started. The so-called “eve-teasing” angle has now been proved false – it all started with a collision of motorcycles which was exploited by people who were waiting for a spark.
    4. Police were helping and abetting the rioters before, during and after the carnage. Arms and other defence objects like ballams, gadansas and knives were collected by the police from Muslim homes BEFORE the carnage while arms were brought in from outside and distributed among the rioters.
    5. SHO of Phugana (Omvir Sirohi), where it all started, gave the Hindus two hours from 8 am to 10 am on 8 September 2013 to do their job to teach a lesson to the Muslims.
    6. Some Muslims, especially the elderly and children, are still trapped in some villages but police is not ready to bring them to safety. Denied of food and water, they may die soon if not already killed by the rioters.
    7. Cattle in large numbers have either been looted or are left unattended in many abandoned homes without food and water and according to reports they are dying out of thirst and hunger if not already looted by the rioters.
    8. People fled their villages at a notice of just minutes, hence they came out in the clothes they were wearing. They need clothes and bedding most.
    9. Govt is supplying inadequate quantities of ration and liquid milk as well as some medical help at places where a bulk of the uprooted people are staying but not where they are staying in small numbers or in homes of villagers or relatives.
    10. The uprooted urgently need items which are not provided by the govt like clothes, bedding, soap, dried milk, baby food, durries, chadars, utensils, etc.
    11. Relief should be provided to all who have been forced to flee their homes until they are repatriated or a solution is found to resettle them somewhere else.
    12. Many of uprooted people have farmlands where crops are ready to be harvested. These will either be stolen or lost if people are not given security to go there and harvest them.
    13. Most homes have been burnt down with corpses inside.
    14. Young girls have been abducted and there is no attempt by the police to recover them.
    15. We did not find a single man or woman ready to return ever to their abandoned villages. Even uprooted people of "higher castes" like Mulla [Muslim] Jats are not ready to return to their villages. They want to start life afresh at other places. They should be encouraged to return to their homes and adequate security in the form of permanent police pickets should be posted there until normalcy returns completely.
    16. Muslims of the area have come out honourably to help these uprooted people, thousands are lodged in homes in Muslim-dominated villages, others are housed in madrasahs, mosques and Eidgahs and other places.
    17. Hindus too have come forward to prevent the violence and to help the victims as seen in Kandhla town were some 7500 uprooted people are sheltered in the Eidgah. The role of Kandhla S.P. (Harish Chandra Johsi) has been honourable and praiseworthy.
    18. A proper documentation of all the uprooted is necessary at the earliest so that compensation and rehabilitation are done without injustice to any.
    19. Adequate help should be given to all to rebuild their destroyed/burnt houses or to build new houses at other places of their choice.
    20. Adequate compensation should be given to all the affected by the carnage for loss of life, injury, houses looted and burnt, and for cattle and crops lost.
    21. FIRs should be filed individually and collectively in all cases of murder, attack, arson, loot, forced eviction, abduction, etc.
    22. The police is not allowing any photography of the burnt houses in the affected villages. When it escorted some of the victims back to their homes to retrieve some of their belongings, police did not allow them to photograph the burnt homes some which were still smouldering. Police even collected their mobile phones in advance so that no photograph could be taken. Police in Kandhla were ready to provide some of us escort to go to some affected villages with the condition that we will not take any photographs. We think that the proofs will soon be destroyed. Therefore, documentation should include still and video photography of the looted and burnt homes.



    The Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government promised the enactment of a
    “Comprehensive law on communal violence.” As at present we have no less that 15 different laws applicable in a riot situation; yet they were all found wanting in situations like Gujarat carnage 2002 and the current Muzaffarnagar violence, mainly because the concerned state authorities lack the political will to effectively enforce them.

    India has signed, accepted and ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948. It is under an obligation to enact the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Convention. The Convention, apart from defining the crime, makes all persons committing genocide, punishable, whether they are “Constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals”. The Union Government has a fundamental duty under Article 51(c) of the Indian Constitution to foster respect for international humanitarian law and treaty obligations. Under article 253, the Parliament has the power to make any law for implementing International Conventions, and decisions made at an international conference, association or other body. Besides, theUnion has the Constitutional duty under Article 355 to protect every state which must necessarily include all people within the state, against internal disturbance and to ensure governance in every state is in accordance with the Constitution.

    In compliance with the commitment of UPA–I, Bill No. CXV of 2005 “The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005-12-07 was presented in Parliament and was later referred to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The Committee presented its report on 13.12.2006 which was widely criticised by social activists. Between 2005 and now, civil society groups have repeatedly engaged with the government at all levels, and time and again communicated their serious objections to this Bill. They have written critiques, given alternative formulations, written alternative draft laws, and suggested changes in several specific Chapters and clauses. Civil society groups have met many over the last 7 years – from the Chairperson of the UPA, Prime Minister, two successive Home Ministers, officials in the Home Ministry, members of Parliament. And yet the Bill remains in the cold storage.

    The UPA Government introduced an impressive-sounding 59 amendments into the Communal Violence Bill 2009. These have been cleared by Cabinet, and we have been told that the government was planning to introduce it in Parliament. These 59 amendments have merely tinkered with the Bill. They do not make any structural changes and do not incorporate a single suggestion made by Civil Society.

    Looking into the urgent need to bring out this legislation and the mood of the nation, the National Advisory Council was constituted consisting of important NGOs, Human
    Rights activists and advocates. The group had detailed deliberations for over two years and gave its representation to the Government. In between, the proposed amendments were also discussed with the then Law Minister Hon’ble Shri V. Moilly on 29.5.2010. Unfortunately, nothing has happened since.

    During the last monsoon session of the Parliament, the Government could bring out about 16 important and populist legislations but the Communal Violence bill 2009 was not refereed even once by any important functionary of the Government which shows that the Government has gone back on its own commitment to bring out its committed legislation. The worst once again happened in the shape of Muzaffarnagar violence.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati: Even as nine bodies of ill-fated workers of Assam, who had died in Imphal bomb blast last Friday, were laid to rest in their native village in Nagarbera in Goalpara district in lower Assam leaving their families in utter grief, the silence of the state government has become another reason of shock.

    All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), meanwhile, demanded for an CBI inquiry and safety for the people who go out of the state for their work.

    In a letter to the Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Sindhe, alleging Manipur government for failing to provide security for common people, AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal said that it might be an act of terror outfit.

    “Such kind of killings of workers from outside the state have also taken place in the past and in spite of that Manipur government has failed to rectify the scene. Moreover, all of them are from Assam. This is time, a serious step should be taken to ensure that no such incident takes place in future,” Ajmal said.

    AIUDF further demanded Rs 10 and 5 lakh respectively for the families who have died and for those who are injured.

    The nine workers – Aasmat Ali (35), Tahajuddin (25), Matibar Rahman (25), Mubarak Ali (17), Mafizuddin (22), Zakir Hussain (25), Afzal Hoque (16) and Burhan Ali’s (22) janaza were performed on Sunday at their village with a presence of their families and locals.

    According to the families, a group of 25 workers had left for Imphal to work in a construction project a few weeks back.

    Several local organizations like Char Sapori Sahitya Parishad (CSSP) have also condemned the bomb blast and sought immediate action from both the state governments of Assam and Manipur in ensuring safety and security of the people of the region.

    CSSP president Hafiz Ahmed also expressed concern at the way which Assam government has handled the issue.

    “I have written to chief minister Tarun Gogoi so that both the Manipur and central government take the issue seriously and compensate the victims adequately besides taking serious measures to provide safety and security of common people,” Ahmed said.

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    By Sheikh Qayoom, IANS,

    Srinagar : Over 300,000 aspirants for 12,000 state government jobs will write their recruitment test Tuesday and Saturday. For the first two years, the selected candidates would get an average of just Rs.3,000 per month.

    "Two lakh candidates are appearing for today's test being conducted by us. On Sep 21, another one lakh candidates would be sitting for another recruitment test being held for filling up post of teachers, laboratory assistants, forest guards and accounts assistants," Shagufta Parveen, chairperson of the state service selection board (SSB) told IANS here.

    Parveen also said extensive arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the recruitment test and she was personally supervising the entire exercise.

    On why the SSB doesn't allow candidates to take away question papers or carbon copies of their answer sheets at the end of the test, the chairperson said: "Any candidate can approach the SSB later with an RTI application to get a copy of his answer sheet to satisfy himself or herself about the fairness of the evaluation process".

    For all professional entrance tests in the state, the candidates are allowed to carry home their question papers as well as the carbon copies of their answer sheets to match their answers with the final answer keys published by the test conducting authority.

    When asked about many candidates who are to write the test Sep 21 complaining about not receiving their roll number slips, the SSB chairperson said these had already been dispatched to their addresses and those who haven't received them so far can download it from the SSB website.

    Under its new recruitment policy, those employed in state government's non-gazetted service would draw only half the basic pay for the first two years and 75 percent of the basic pay for another three years.

    Also, the selected candidates would draw an average of just Rs.3,000 for the first two years and Rs.5,250 for the next three years. After completion of five years, the selected candidates would be put in the regular pay bands.

    No pension benefits are now available to people selected for state government service under the new recruitment policy.

    Candidates who pass Tuesday's test would appear in an interview where final selections would be made.

    Parveen said for the posts of teachers 65 points have been allotted to the written test while 15 points have been allotted to higher qualifications and 20 points to the interview.

    "For all other posts, 80 points for the written test and 20 points for the interview have been allotted out of a total of 100 points," she said.

    "Three hundred thousand candidates writing a recruitment test to get meager Rs.3,000 per month when onions are selling at Rs.70 a kg proves the desperation of swelling unemployment in Kashmir," said Shamim Meraj, editor of 'Kashmir Monitor', a local daily newspaper here.

    (Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : Veteran actor Dilip Kumar, who suffered a heart attack Sep 15, is stable, but will be kept under observation for two more days before he gets discharged, a friend of the thespian said Tuesday.

    The 90-year-old is currently admitted to the Lilavati Hospital here.

    "His condition is as stable as it was yesterday (Monday). He is fine but his dicharge date is not yet confirmed yet. Considering his age and the bypass surgery that he underwent in 1999, the doctors wants to observe him for two more days before they discharge him," Udaya Tara Nayar, a close family friend of the actor, told IANS.

    Dilip Kumar was admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital here Sep 15 night after he felt uneasy.

    Earlier, his wife and former actress Saira Bano had told reporters that the thespian had been admitted to hospital following "discomfort". Later, the hospital authorities informed that discomfort was caused due to heart attack.

    Born as Mohammed Yusuf Khan in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, the 90-year-old adopted the film name of Dilip Kumar and was active in the Indian film industry for over six decades and worked in some of the best films like "Madhumati", "Devdas", "Ram Aur Shyam" and "Karma".

    He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994. Also, in 1998, he was awarded the 'Nishan-E-Pakistan', Pakistan's highest civilian award.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Soldiers Tuesday started pulling out of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh after being deployed there for the last one week following communal violence.

    "There is absolute calm and the district administration and police are in
    complete control of the situation. Hence the army is being withdrawn," Additional Director General of Police Arun Kumar told IANS.

    "The process will be completed today," he added.

    Twenty-eight units of the army were requisitioned to assist the district administration after communal clashes erupted in Muzaffarnagar city, about 130 km from New Delhi, and the adjoining rural areas Sep 7-9.

    More than 40 people were killed and scores injured in the violence, forcing the authorities to deploy the military for the first time in over two decades to quell communal clashes.

    Police officer Kumar said it was time for the army to withdraw.

    Informed sources said that while it was decided earlier to pull out the army in phases, it was later felt that this would "unnecessarily create an
    atmosphere of tension.

    "Hence, a decision was taken at the political level, paving way for the (full) pullout."

    District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said the administration's focus was now to rehabilitate the people who fled their homes and have taken refuge in makeshift centres.

    Officials will also distribute the financial compensation sanctioned by the state government for the riot victims.

    Deputy Inspector General of Police Ashok Mutha Jain said special teams had
    been formed to catch people booked for their involvement in the riots.

    Police said door-to-doors checks were still on in rural areas to nab
    the culprits and to seize weapons.

    But despite official claims of normalcy returning to Muzaffarnagar, thousands have refused to return to their homes saying they felt unsafe in villages where they came under attack.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were confronted by hundreds of victims who said they were unwilling to go back to their homes for now.

    In Wasi Kalan village where an Islamic seminary has been converted into a
    relief camp, refugees told Manmohan Singh and Gandhi that they had little faith in the state government.

    According to them, police were mute spectators when they were attacked and their houses burnt.

    More than 43,000 people have taken refuge in 38 relief camps set up by the administration.

    People say they want to resume normal life but are vary of stepping out of the camps.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench Tuesday sought details of all the riots that have taken place since the Akhilesh Yadav regime was sworn-in March 15, 2012.

    The direction was given to the state government as the court heard a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Nutan Thakur.

    The petitioner sought investigation by the Cenral Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of all major riots that have taken place after formation of new government, and that a sitting high court judge be inducted in the one-man Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission, set up by the state government to probe the recentg Muzaffarnagar clashes that left 48 dead.

    After hearing arguments of petitioner's counsel Asok Pande, a bench of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi-II directed the state's Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal to apprise the court within two weeks on writs on communal riots filed in the Supreme Court and the Allahabad High Court as well.

    According to the PIL, the action and policy of the current government and its officials has been such that it shows a definite tilt towards a particular sect.

    In all the riots that took place in the last 18 months, the administration shied away from taking action against culprits of that particular sect, it contended, claiming this has resulted in a sense of mistrust in members of the other community, including the petitioner.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal's custody with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was Tuesday extended till Sep 22 by a court here.

    Bhatkal and his close aide Asadullah Akhtar, arrested from the India-Nepal border, were presented in the court here under tight security.

    District Judge I.S. Mehta granted the NIA extended custody of Bhatkal after it said he was involved in subversive activities of causing bomb blasts in different parts of India since 2003.

    "I have perused the case diary and am satisfied that the accused Mohd. Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal is required for interrogation. The accused Yasin Bhatkal is remanded to police custody up to Sep 22," the judge said.

    The NIA, seeking custody of Bhatkal, said: "The objective of the investigation of the case is primarily to uncover each and every aspect of the activity of IM and their hidden sleeper cells and operatives so that the number of terrorist activities being planned by the outfit could be prevented."

    The agency also told the court that Bhatkal had associates in Pakistan, Nepal and Middle East who were also involved in the case and more information regarding them has to be ascertained during his custodial interrogation.

    The agency's Hyderabad unit moved a separate plea seeking permission to formally arrest Akhtar in connection with the Feb 21 blasts in Hyderabad's Dilsukhnagar area. The court allowed the plea.

    The twin blasts, which claimed 16 lives, were triggered by IEDs planted near Konark and Venkatadiri theatres in Dilsukhnagar area.

    Bhatkal tops the Delhi Police list of 15 most wanted terrorists involved in bombings across the country.

    He is a key suspect in the 2008 serial bombings in Delhi's Connaught Place, Ghaffar Market and Greater Kailash areas which claimed 26 lives and injured 133 people.

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    By TCN News

    Patna: Peace Foundation, a newly launched non-profit non government organization of Bihar held a deliberation on “Measures for socio-economic development of Muslims” at its office in Patna on September 8th. The discussion and brainstorming aimed at charted out vision to the Muslims for a better future.

    Guests included Enam Khan, Convenor of Bihar Anjuman, Rustam Ali, educationist and retired Chief Genral Manager of BSNL, Shoib Khan, social worker and retired I.P.S officer, Dr. Anwarul Hassan Kazmi, Principal, Patna Muslim High School, Sabir Ali Khan of Gaya Orphanage, Cherki, Maulana Abdul Majid Qasmi, Secretary, Shanti Sandesh Kendr, Md. Shabbir, Software Engineer, Aftab Hassan Shams, Secretary, Naujawanan-e-Millat Welfare Foundation, Bihar Sharif, Dr. Ashrafun Nabi, Journalist, Naushad Ansari, founder and Secretary of Peace Foundation, Mohammad Quasim, Advocate, Patna High Court and many

    Naushad Ansari introduced Peace Foundation to the audience and pointed out that Muslims suffer from alarming rate of drop out at secondary level. This entails overall backwardness in social, economic and political fields. The drop outs finally join unskilled labour force with paltry wages and remain backward for generations. Hence, he advised, the best course for development could be to go for vocational courses leading to early employment of the wandering youths. Such youths are required to be encouraged and supported to pursue semi-skill short technical courses, for which less effort and less investment is required to be done. At the same time, he stressed that the Masjid Committee should have a check on drop out of children of their localities.

    Rustam Ali asked to realize that Muslims share in Jawahar Navoday Vidyalayas (JNVs) is just 4 and 3.8 per cent at all India and Patna region against their population ratio of 13.4 per cent and 18.52 per cent respectively. He emphasised that JNVs provide good quality modern education free of charge. This is indeed a panacea for Muslim’s educational backwardness. He felt need of opening as many coaching centres for the preparation of government school going students of class V level to prepare them for the entrance test of JNVs.

    While deliberating on the subject Shoib Khan said that the community should be very focused in their approach. In this age of competition Muslims can surely be successful provided that they plan their future with accuracy and a firm faith in Allah SWT. A good number of government schemes doesn’t reach to the Muslims as they are not aware of such plans. We must awaken and educate the community on the importance of education, short professional courses, governments schemes etc, he emphasized.

    Enam Khan of Bihar Anjuman shared his organization’s experience of running 24 coaching centres for poor Muslim students in different districts of Bihar and Jharkhand free of charges. The students are from the government schools and from a very lower strata of the society. Many of them have become engineers, diploma engineers and Technocrats with their support. Hence any effort at micro level yield very good results. Felicitation and motivational programs are organized on monthly basis at the different coaching centres which electrifies students’ zeal to work hard.

    Dr. Ashrfun Nabi asked the gathering to bring out publications on the themes of contemporary importance like on the government various development schemes, employment opportunities available at different levels, literatures on communal harmony and civil rights etc.

    “Information revolution influences decision makers like in the Assemblies and Parliament, in the judiciary, in the security forces, in policy making etc’ viewed Aftab Hassan Shams. Therefore, he suggested, we should interact with media through press releases, letters to the editor, conducting media meet occasionally.

    Mohammad Quasim asked to organize regular workshops and symposium on public awareness with giving importance to educating the people on the welfare schemes made for minorities as most of the welfare schemes made by the centre for the welfare of minorities are being cornered by other better placed minority groups viz, Jains, Christians etc., he lamented.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi: The BJP played a "major role in spreading lies and rumours" and was "actively involved" in the communal violence that engulfed Muzaffarnagar and claimed at least 48 lives, a fact finding team of activists said Tuesday.

    The team of noted civil society activists also criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for its failure to deal with the situation.

    The Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), which took the fact-finding team of six eminent people to Muzaffarnagar on Sep 14 (Saturday) to look into the genesis of the violence and the reasons for its spread, presented its report to the media at the Indian Women's Press Corps here.

    The team concluded that the violence against Muslims was perpetrated to "end decades of coexistence and cleanse certain villages of Muslim presence".

    It said the Akhilesh Yadav government appeared to have been "taken by surprise" with the enormity of the violence and that there was "probably a deliberate disregard of rising tensions and intelligence reports".

    The report said that police presence in the affected areas was negligible and that there has been no attempt to arrest the perpetrators of the killings.

    It said the Samajwadi Party-led state government, though faced with the threat of communal strife, failed to undertake the essential steps needed at the time - of prevention, control, rescue, rehabilitation and providing justice, that would have helped avert the violence.

    According to National Integration Council member John Dayal, the area was "abuzz with rumours", but there was no state government machinery to stop the rumour mills that were adding to the communal tensions.

    The report said the state government "chose to ignore the rumours, contributing to a volatile atmosphere".

    The state government has yet to arrest a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator who posted a fake video that sparked widespread violence, it said.

    The report said it does not accept the explanation of the district authorities that they did not know of a mahapanchayat, or gathering of village councils, to take place where communally incendiary speeches were made, leading to the mass violence.

    It said only after the army was called in that the level of violence came down.

    The report said: "The BJP has been actively involved in the violence and could emerge, when the embers die down, as the major gainer". It said at the mahapanchayat slogans in support of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi rent the air besides slogans against Muslims.

    It also attacked the Congress, saying that the party saw the situation as an opportunity to garner votes. "As a result of this, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid a flying visit to Muzaffarnagar" on Monday.

    The panel has proposed that a Supreme Court judge be appointed to carry out a time-bound probe into the violence, that the communal violence bill should be made a legislative priority and that the immediate arrest be made of political leaders who incited violence at the mahapanchayat, among other things.

    The team comprised John Dayal, rights activist Harsh Mander, former Border Security Force chief E.N. Rammohan, Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, senior journalist Sukumar Muralidharan, and CPA director Seema Mustafa.

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    State Congress Government didn’t represent case properly to protect its erring police officers. High Court failed to use its powers to appreciate the real facts of the case.

    By Staff Reporter,

    Hyderabad: The Monday evening order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Kalyan Jyothi Sengupta and Justice K. C. Bhanu expressing State Government allocation of compensation to Muslim youths acquitted in terror cases as unlawful and ordering it to retract the amount, has received strong reactions from the victims and civil rights groups.

    On 2nd July High Court admitting a writ petition challenging State Government action of allocation of compensation to Muslim youths acquitted in terror cases after Mecca Masjid blasts, ordered it to file a counter affidavit explaining that under which rule and provision of law it has allotted compensation to the acquitted Muslim youths; and whether it was the sole discretionary act of the state government or the compensation was ordered by any court of law.

    File photo of Minority affairs minister Ahmedullah allotting compensation check to terror acquitted Muslim youth.

    The one dead rat now everyone smells behind the High Court order is the laxity on part of State Government to represent its case properly in the court. It is still not clear whether Advocate General represented all the required facts such as torture to the youths in the illegal police custody, prosecution in fabricated case by SIT officers and their acquittal on ground of lack of evidence. Earlier speaking with TCN, Minority Affairs Minister Mohammad Ahmedullah also express no knowledge on how the case was dealt in the High Court as he himself didn’t yet check the files presented before the court by the advocate general.

    But Acquitted Muslim youths who got the compensation are assuming that Government didn’t represent the case with much required sincerity in the court of law; if it had put through all the facts and documents related to their illegal detention, torture and fabrication of terror cases, in addition to the reports submitted by the National Minorities Commission and State Minorities Commission, then they believe, judgment would have been totally opposite.

    Dr. Ibrahim Ali Junaid is one such victim, who is now so fed up with Government tokenism is now planning to field is own advocate in the supreme court to challenge the High Court order.

    Dr. Junaid said, “State Government was not at all serious in presenting the facts to the court; if they would have then judgment could have been different. Since the beginning it all has been a symbolic gesture by state Government but no concrete step to provide us justice. They promoted and protected those officers who tortured and prosecuted us in fake terror cases and tried to calm the anger in the community by just giving monetary compensation.”

    If state Government had tabled all the concerned reports and facts in the court than Dr. Junaid believes administration would have been in the dock not them, “If they had submitted the NCM report in the Court, which along with compensation demanded action against errant officers, than court would have asked for the names or action taken report against officers who are responsible for our sufferings, so to obviously protect the face of their officers, Government didn’t represent this case logically in the court.”

    File photo of Dr. Ibrahim Ali Junaid at his chamber in Hyderabad..

    After all this Dr. junaid said it’s now difficult to believe the state Government, so he wants to fight the case directly in the court through his advocate by becoming party to state appeal as he is the first effected party because of the judgment. He believes other compensated youths will also follow the suit.

    Advocate L. Ravichander was appointed by State Minorities Commission to investigate the allegation of torture and illegal detention of Muslim youths in terror cases after Mecca Masjid and twin blasts, whose report on police brutality on arrested Muslim youths became the base for the National Commission of Minorities recommendation for compensation, Mr. Ravichander said he is shocked by the High Court Judgment.

    Like others he also echoed the obvious, that Government must have represented the matter half heartedly in the court. Advocate Ravichander said “In many tragedys of disasters or Human rights violations Government allots compensation, it is very unfortunate that an administrative decision to compensate a victim came to be tested in the court of law, and it never happened in this country that administrative decision like this gets crushed by the court of law. If at all Government was serious in representing the matter or putting forward the recommendations of NCM this situation wouldn’t have arisen.”

    Advocate Ravichander also raised a very critical and important legal inaccuracy in the case, “The honorable High Court didn’t take into consideration to make the acquitted Muslim youth’s party to the case. They were the real beneficiaries in this case, the court order has a direct impact on them, and so Court should have given them a chance to present their case. The principle of ‘audi alteram partem’ (hear the other side) was not followed.”

    Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) which fought for many of those youths when they were languishing in jail, stated that since the very beginning state congress Government is playing politics of tokenism.
    Its general secretary Lateef Mohd Khan accused AP government of double standards, “The government didn’t represent the matter in the court properly and seriously. It did not submit the report and recommendations of NCM, even State Minorities Commission report prepared by Advocate Ravichander. It also didn’t submit any explanation in the High Court that reason behind providing compensation was on the direction of National Commission for Minorities.”

    File photo of Akbaruddin Owaisi handing check to the victim.

    He further added, “National Commission for Minorities has directed the state government to pay the compensation as confidence building measures and to take action against the guilty police officers. But AP government, to protect their tainted police officers has dealt this matter at low level. If the government admits everything on record, then it would have faced many difficulties. Therefore, to protect itself, the government did not present all the reports and other details.”

    CLMC stated that atleast High Court should have utilized the principle ‘application of mind’ to issue directions to the state government to submit all the details relating to this case, “In fact when these youths were illegally detained by the police, Habeas Corpus petitions was filed in this same court. The court should have examined all the facts before delivering the judgment but it was announced in haste manner,” adding, “By going through the judgment of High Court one can understand how the courts are becoming far from the ground realities and how unconcern they are becoming towards the society especially the marginalized communities.”

    So what lies ahead for the compensated youths if in the worst case scenario Supreme Court upheld the High Court judgment, Advocate Ravichander said it will not affect those youths in an immediate away. “The petitioner has made state Government party to the case not the those youths who has received the compensation. So state will be oblige by any judgment directly and the beneficiaries indirectly, so it will be the duty of the state Government to retract the compensation amount. But given the track record of Government recovery mechanism this possibility seems elusive,” he said.

    Terror acquittal compensation saga again caught in controversy

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    Govt. yet to decide on challenging High Court order in the Supreme Court- Minority Affairs Minister Ahmedullah.

    By Mohd. Ismail Khan,,

    Hyderabad: In Andhra Pradesh a dubious politics is getting played on the controversy surrounding compensation to terror acquitted Muslim youths, with congress men speaking in pro-Muslim tune and its Government minister playing administrative angel.

    The Andhra Pradesh High Court in a controversial judgment described the Government action of providing compensation to Muslim youths acquitted in terror cases after Mecca Masjid blast as unlawful and ordered the state Government to retract total disbursed amount of Rs. 70 lakh.

    In the morning even as headlines gripped senior Congress leader and MLC Mohd Ali Shabbir recounting his meeting with the Chief Minister assuring Muslim community that state Government will approach the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court order, now state Minority Affairs Minister Mohammed Ahmedullah told that Chief Minister has not yet decided to approach the High Court.

    “Today morning I along with Chief Secretary, Law secretary, and Secretary Minorities welfare had a meeting on this issue with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, as the chief minister office still didn’t receive the Court order papers we decided to take any decision only after studying the judgment,” Mr. Ahmedullah told TCN.

    Minority affairs minister said High Court judgment was unfortunate as it didn’t take into consideration that it wasn’t a sole administrative decision (as observed by the judges) but an administrative tread after National Commission for Minorities recommendations, “The honorable Chief Minister decided to grant the compensation when National Commission for Minorities made strong representation for giving compensation to youths who were arrested in terror case after Mecca Masjid blasts, tortured in police custody, but later got acquitted. Chief Minister announced the grant on the floor of legislative assembly when many Muslim leaders demanded relief for those youths. Court should have looked into all this angels.”

    On the counter argument that High Court would have looked into all the aspects given Government proper representation in the court which many are alleging was not done at all, Minority Affairs Minister was not ready to accept it, “We did make a proper representation but first I have to check all the papers presented by our Advocate General in the court which I haven’t seen yet. Only after examining the papers presented in the courts, I could decide whether there was some draw backs from Government and its advocate general’s part in representing the case properly in the court.”

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    By TCN News,

    Muzaffarnagar: A delegation led by Popular Front of India chairman K. M. Shareef toured the riot hit Uttar Pradesh district of Murzaffarnagar and visited on 16th September the victims who are sheltered in different villages away from their homes.

    The delegation included among others, Popular Front general secretary O. M. A. Salam, National Executive Council members E. M. Abdul Rahiman, Muhammed Roshan, Western U. P. President Moulana Muhammad Shadab, Social Democratic Party of India former national president E. Abubacker, national secretariat members M. K. Faizy, Naushad Punnakkal and All India Imams Council national vice president Moulana ifthikarullah.

    The victims from different affected villages narrated before the visiting team their horrible experiences at the hands of communally frenzied mobs constituted by their own neighbours who acted at the behest of outside leaders. The team members also held discussions with the local community leaders in the refugee camps and villages that are giving shelter to their hapless fellow beings.

    Though only 48 deaths are officially confirmed, as per the reports collected from victims the number will be around 200 and it may raise even up to 400 once the attempts to locate the missing persons are completed. The same is the case with the number of Muslims who are driven away from their villages. Contrary to the official figures released by the district administration that are much lower than the actual, there are around 70,000 people who are presently living in different refugee camps and in the houses arranged in various places. There are about 60 such places where the victims are temporarily sheltered.

    And these arrangements are made not by the government, but by local Mohallas and Masjid/Madrasa committees. The visiting team has appreciated the local families who have accepted their brothers and sisters in their own homes. In a gathering at Nangla village panchayat hall where 600 people are housed, E. Abubacker stated that through the noble act of sheltering those who approached them as refugees, they have recreated the history of Ansar in Madina who sheltered the Muhajireen, came along with Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madina.

    The delegation has interacted with the inmates and organisers of the refugee camp at Muslim dominated Jaula village, which is managing the largest number of refugees. Around 15,000 people, driven away from their homes, reached this village. A team of elderly leaders and youngsters are seen at work, arranging to accommodate the refugee families as guests in local Muslim families. In a gathering arranged by local leaders at the refugee camp, Popular Front chairman K. M. Shareef outlined the activities being chalked out by organisation for the riot hit people.

    He told that our team of volunteers have started surveying the basic needs that still remain unattended. Based on the survey report, relief activities will start immediately. K. M. Shareef pointed out that the victims who are engulfed in fear cannot think of going back to their homes at present. But it is the responsibility of the government to release the captured village homes from criminal gangs and provide security to the victims in their own homes. Popular Front general secretary O.M. A. Salam has emphasised the importance of legal redress including punishing of the culprits and promised support of an advocates’ team to fight the cases.

    Later on the same day, Popular Front central secretariat met at its headquarters in New Delhi and an outline of the proposed relief activities was prepared. A Relief Committee and a Volunteer Team were constituted to engage in Muzaffarnagar relief and rehabilitation works.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: A meeting of intellectuals and various social and cultural organisations was held under the banner of Sir Syed Awareness Forum (SAF) to deliberate on the problems of Muzaffarnagar riots victims.

    Speaking at this occasion, Dean, Faculty of Theology, AMU and renowned Islamic scholar Prof M. Saud Alam Qasmi said that Samajwadi Party had promised in its manifesto for giving 18% reservation to Muslims and releasing innocent Muslims who are in jails. But instead of implementing its election manifesto Samajwadi Party is playing politics with Muslim sentiments and has failed to fulfil its election promise.

    L-R: Najam Abbasi, Dr. Shakeel Samdani, Nizamuddin, Mansoor Ilahi and Abdullah

    It also failed to prevent communal riots in the state. The Samajwadi party government did not prevent communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and tried to create gulf between Hindus and Muslims so that its benefit may be reaped in the next general elections. He further said that in the next general elections the Muslims will teach a lesson to the Akhilesh government as they defeated BJP and BSP in the last Assembly elections.

    Social Worker, Najam Abbasi said that the situation was quiet tense in Muzaffarnagar since last few weeks but the district administration did not act on it and miserably failed to take preventive measures, the resultant of which was the loss of lives of dozens of people. He categorically stated that this shows that the present state government is not at all worried about the security of Muslims.

    President of SAF and General Secretary of United Muslim Organisation, Dr. Shakeel Samdani, while presiding the meeting said that these types of communal riots are hampering and weakening the secular fabric of this nation and is creating a wide gulf between two major communities of this country which is injurious for the nation. He said that Muzaffarnagar riots are a part of a larger conspiracy to weaken the communal harmony for the sake of vote bank and the so-called ‘Pro Muslim’ govt of U.P. has miserably failed to contain these riots. He strongly condemned the state govt and ruling party for this.

    He further said that so far the Akhilesh govt hsa not done anything significant for the riot victims and about 50,000 refugees are still waiting for govt help. No leader has been arrested so far against whom F.I.R’s have been launched.

    He also said that this is not the time to count the dead bodies of Hindus and Muslims, but it is the time to move ahead and help all the riots victims in the best possible manner. He demanded that the compensation for deceased should be raised to Rs. 25 lacs and for injured it should be Rs. 5 lacs. He also asked the govt that the houses which were burned down to ashes should be reconstructed within two month, at the same time he appealed that the people who are behind these riots should be brought to book. He also requested the saner elements of both the communities to organise peace march in towns and cities.

    He asked Central govt to immediately issue an ordinance relating to the Communal Violence Bill, so that this type of incident may not occur in future and the erring officers may be punished. He also said that the Central govt must draft a policy of Uniform Compensation in such cases.

    Secretary of the forum, Mansoor Ilahi said that the ‘Social Media has played a very negative role in these riots. The conspirators flared the sentiments of people spreading fake videos and clippings which provoked communal tension between Hindus and Muslims. He requested the govt to constitute a special ‘cyber cell’ to tackle with these things.

    General Secretary of Aligarh Zakat Fund, Dr. Obaid Iqbal Asim condemened the Akhilesh govt and said that the so-called ‘anguish’ of Azam Khan and his skipping of party meeting and the visit of Akhilesh Yadav to his house to persuade him is a political drama which will continue till 2014 general elections as they want to befool the Muslims this time also but ‘Inshallah’ this time they will not succeed.

    President, Aligarh Madarsa Association, Nizamuddin said that the U.P. govt with the help of communal forces tried to divide the people on communal lines for political gains which should be condemned.

    In the last a resolution was passed where in it was requested to all to help the innocent people especially Muslims who have lost everything in these communal riots and organise inter faith meetings in riot affected areas. It was requested from the govt that stringent action must be taken against the culprits irrespective of their religion and political belonging. The resolution also expressed its deep concern over the silence of Samajwadi party Muslim leaders including Ministers, M.P’s and M.L.A.’s and said this attitude of their will lead to their downfall and Muslims are now forced to think about them in the coming elections.

    The meeting was attented by Naseem Shahid, President, Shams Educational Welfare Society, Haji Aslam Ansari, Vice President, Aligarh Udyog Viyapar Pratinidhi Mandal, Mrs. Rehnuma, Principal, Madarsa Muskan, Maulana Shoaib Bulandshahri, Dr. Mujib, Ayesha Ansari, Mrs. Anjum Taseem, Mrs. Parveen Abbasi, Pervez Ansari, Atiq Ansari of Momin Conference, Bablu Sherwania, Danish Iqbal. Vote of thanks was proposed by Abdullah Samdani.

    A special dua was also made for the victims of riots.

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    This fact-finding exercise was coordinated by the Centre for Policy Analysis. Team members were the human rights activist and former civil servant Harsh Mander, former Director-General of the Border Security Force, E N Rammohan, Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy of Jawaharlal Nehru University, National Integration Council member John Dayal, senior journalist Sukumar Muralidharan and CPA Director and senior editor Seema Mustafa.

    Introduction and Overview

    The first impression of the Muzaffarnagar countryside, now green with the sugarcane ripening for harvest, is of utter desolation. Villages are tense with fear. Kasbas and hamlets are purged of their Muslim presence and the Hindu quarters have also emptied out in a self-imposed curfew even at midday, as women and children peep out from behind closed doors and windows, their menfolk having fled to avoid arrest as criminal complaints are made out against them. Fear is in the air. The atmosphere reeks of embitterment and betrayed trust, with neighbour now unwilling to trust neighbour, and apprehensive of ever returning to their accustomed lives. All the evidence points towards people who were forced to flee their habitations in sheer terror and seek out the safety of gathering among others of their own faith, occupying any vacant space in areas where they could be sure of not being targets just because of who they were.

    “We will never go back to our villages”, say Muslim women refugees in a makeshift camp in the tehsil town of Budhana, some twenty kilometres from Muzaffarnagar. They are among two thousand five hundred men, women and children who fled their villages to seek safety in the town, among members of their own community. In the blazing post-monsoon heat, they are camped under a shamiana, where local community organisations scrape together the means to feed them twice a day. An open drain runs nearby, fetid with stagnant water. There is no water source and no doctor or health-care worker has visited them in the week that they have been there.The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) visited them close to a week since they were uprooted from their villages. Police patrols are at a distance and seem mostly static. There is a clear message that is held out to them: that they can only call upon members of their own community for sustenance and assistance in this hour of dire need.

    Though the Home Secretary in the Government of Uttar Pradesh has claimed that those displaced from their villages had been sheltered in state-run camps, there was a conspicuous absence of any official at the Budhana camps. Sanitation seemed to be the least priority since meeting the basic needs of food was itself a challenge.

    Inmates of the camp spoke of being attacked without warning with seeming intent to terrorise and drive them out of their villages. Several among them reported being sundered from their families and not knowing their whereabouts. A week into the violence, hopes were fading of ever finding those missing alive.

    There were complaints of milk being unavailable for the many children in the camp, though nobody really spoke of a food scarcity. For those of the Muslim faith in Budhana, it was a matter of honour to ensure that nobody seeking their protection at a time of danger should suffer want. The local community leadership seemed especially proud of the manner in which they had stepped up at the time. By the same token, they were rather disdainful of the absence of any official assistance.

    At the District Magistrate’s office, staff wereneck-deep in work preparing for the visits of the Chief Minister the next day, and of the Prime Minister on September 16. Personnel of the Special Protection Group (SPG) which attends to VVIP security, had landed in the sole helipad available in the district and were examining all arrangements being made for the Prime Minister’s visit. Since the Prime Minister intended to summon top officials from the district for an evaluation meeting, arrangements were being made in the vicinity of the helipad for the gathering. Part of the district administration’s attention was diverted towards ensuring that the helipad and the adjoining conference hall were in appropriate condition to host a VVIP visit and conference. And there also seemed to be a strenuous effort underway to ensure that at least some of the camps would be given the veneer of efficiency and good cheer that could uplift VVIP spirits.

    The newly appointed District Magistrate, Kaushal Raj Sharma, was preoccupied with these arrangements, but did this team the courtesy of a brief meeting. He was at pains to correct the impression this team had gathered of a sense of official neglect of the displaced people in makeshift camps. The official presence was thin he said, only because the job of comforting and sheltering the victim-survivors was best left to the community, which would not just deliver the service but also show deeply-needed empathy and fellow-feeling. The administration meanwhile was active from behind the scenes, providing all necessary supplies, including food, for the sustenance of those displaced in the riots. DM Sharma was particularly anxious to underline that the administration was being attentive to the special needs of children and those of tender years, by supplying milk in adequate quantities to the camps.

    The Superintendent of Police (SP) and other senior officials, including the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) and Inspector-General (IG) were unavailable since they were out in the field making necessary arrangements for the Chief Minister’s visit the following day and the Prime Minister’s anticipated arrival the day after.

    The absence of the administration also shows in the absence of official records of the magnitude of human suffering. Columns of the army moving through the villages and combing the fields for bodies – mainly to still rumours that are rife about untold numbers being killed – are the solitary assurance of state protection for the victims. The police have filed their FIRs from initial oral statements from some refugees. They are yet to record statements, or organise affidavits from the victims. Lists of those displaced and the loss of property that has been caused in the villages scattered through at least three tehsils of Muzaffarnagar district, are yet to be prepared.

    As a fact-finding team from New Delhi, we are dismayed by the evidence we see of the severity of the violence in the villages. The official count of those killed is thirty-nine, of which it has been firmly established, six were Hindus – or more specifically Jats – and the rest, Muslims. Again, the official estimate of those displaced is twenty-five thousand, of which all except about seven hundred are Muslims. Those displaced from other faiths, the DM affirms, are Dalits who have fled Muslim-dominated areas in fear of retaliatory violence. They have not been specific targets of violence though.

    Unofficial counts of those killed put the number much higher: at perhaps fifty-three, on the basis of the number of autopsies performed at various hospitals around the district. And community leaders put the number of the displaced at fifty thousand.

    This puts Muzaffarnagar in 2013 in the category of the worst instances of communal strife witnessed in the country. It is certainly the worst in over a decade. This fact-finding team is deeply apprehensive at the short term and long term consequences of this massive and systematic internal displacement, and of the chasm that has opened between the two communities. What aggravates it further is the fact that the victims had lived in close proximity of the aggressors. They were farm labour in the fields owned by the people who attacked them in their homes.

    A reconstruction of the events

    When this fact-finding team visited Muzaffarnagar, the threat of violence had abated, though rumour held the field. There were rumours in a Jat quarter of Kutba village – deserted but for the womenfolk who kept vigil over the fields and the cattle – that two from their community had been shot at and possibly killed in another part of the village. This rumour was soon scotched by the district administration. District Magistrate Sharma though confirmed that two bodies had been recovered from the Gang Nahar (or Jauli canal) the previous day and identified, though the causes of their death had not at that time been ascertained. The positive aspect here though, was that with the discovery of these two bodies, all members of the Jat community reported missing, had been accounted for.

    This team found however, that even a week after the violence erupted in full-blown fury, there was no agreed narrative on what led to it.

    There was general agreement among all those the team spoke to, that the Kawal incident of August 27 had lit the immediate spark. Many among them hastened to add the important riderthat the embitterment of the atmosphere had been underway for at least two months prior to Kawal. Few among the victims that this team spoke to could account for the sudden strains that emerged in relations between the Muslims and the Jats of the district. But several among the Muslims this team spoke to in the camps of the displaced, reported being challenged and taunted for accustomed and long accepted patterns of behaviour. Wearing the skull cap and beard has been a custom for several among those of the Muslim faith in the district. But in the two months preceding the September violence, many among them reported being publicly upbraided for displaying emblems of loyalty towards the Taliban, which supposedly made them sympathisers or even participants in what is constructed in the media discourse as the global jihad.

    Community honour, as represented in the dignity and bodily integrity of women, was among the themes constantly played on to sharpen the growing estrangement. A further twist was imparted by rumours made up in the ideological factory of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), of a “love jihad” launched by attractive young Muslim boys equipped with the full range of the tools of enticement – modish clothes, mobile phones and sweet-talk – to entangle young girls of the other faith, all for serving the hidden agenda of boosting numbers of those born into the faith.

    In the circumstances, every incident involving any manner of interaction between a man and a woman, came to be viewed with suspicion, especially if they came from different faiths. On August 9, as Muslims were preparing for their Eid-ul-Fitr festivities, one among them, Idris, was killed at the doorstep of the Eidgah in Muzaffarnagar. There had been an alleged incident of harassment involving Idris’ daughter for which he had a few days before, confronted and slapped the offending individual in public. His murder was seen as retribution by the man who had suffered the public humiliation. Police were quick to apprehend the individual concerned, along with two alleged accomplices.

    There was an incident of a Muslim girl being harassed by youths of the Jat community in the village of Shoram on August 18. The offending individuals again suffered direct action by kinfolk of their target. A minor affray ensued which the local administration allegedly did nothing about.

    Resentment was stoked by the VHP and its affiliates in the area, over the seeming alacrity with which the police had acted in a case involving the murder of a person of the Muslim faith in the August 9 incident. The atmosphere continued to deteriorate without any manner of an antidote being administered either by the political leadership or the local administration.

    The Kawal incident on August 27 occurred in a milieu that had been saturated with communal toxins and readily lent itself to any interpretation that served immediate political agendas.

    All that is known about Kawal, August 27, is that three young men turned up dead at the end of it. There have been reports about a youth from the village, Shahnawaz, constantly harassing a young girl from the neighbouring Malikpura village and being confronted by her brother Sachin and cousin Gaurav. There are reports of Shahnawaz drawing a dagger at that point, but being bested in hand-to-hand struggle and having the dagger turned on him with fatal consequences. There are also reports that he was simply shot dead by the irate kinsmen of the girl he had been harassing. Sachin and Gaurav were then reportedly set upon by Shahnawaz’s community and beaten to death in public.

    There are also recorded narratives in the media about Sachin and Gaurav being confronted by persons of the Muslim faith because of their persistent pursuit of a young Muslim girl. At that time, according to this narrative, they managed to snatch a weapon from among their attackers and kill one among them, before they were themselves overwhelmed by the fury of the mob.

    Competing with these accounts, all deeply suffused with community honour, is another one, rather more mundane: that Shahnawaz and Sachin ran into each other on their bicycles and got into an argument in which deeply offensive communal slurs were traded, following which they fell upon each other. Gaurav who was in the vicinity ran to the aid of his cousin. At the end of the fracas, all three lay dead.

    In the circumstances, the U.P. state government reacted in the worst manner possible. It gave in to accusations that its supposed partisanship in allowing free rein to miscreants from the Muslim side had emboldened them to take the law into their hands. This narrative of a partisan administration arose, in part, from the action that had followed the August 9 murder and prompted after the Kawal incident, the summary and abrupt transfer of both the District Magistrateand Superintendent of Police within hours. Kawal was a localised incident that could have been contained by a strong dose of political statesmanship. Instead of stepping up with what was required, the U.P. state government signalled indecision, ineptitude, or even worse – possibly a degree of collusion with the forces of disorder.

    The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), ostensibly an apolitical force that represents the cause of the Jat peasantry of western U.P., came up soon afterwards with the call for a grand council (mahapanchayat) or gathering of the Jat clans of the region. That in itself may not have been cause for concern since this manner of gathering has been summoned to deliberate on a range of issues, including fair prices for agricultural produce. Yet the call issued for August 31 had overtones that were distinctly menacing: its theme was the honour of the women of the community, as represented in the slogan “Ma, Beti, Bahu Bachao”.

    The administration had by this time woken up to the possibility of a serious breach of the peace and imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. On August 30, community leaders of the Muslim faith in the guise of taking a delegation to meet the newly appointed DM, Kaushal Raj Sharma, began assembling in Muzaffarnagar town. Prominent political leaders from the area joined the delegation, inevitably boosting its number in a manner that made utter nonsense of the prohibitory orders in force. These included Kadir Rana of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) who represents Muzaffarnagar in the Lok Sabha, his party colleague Jameel Ahmad Qasmi who represents the nearby constituency of Meerapur in the U.P. legislative assembly, and a former Congress legislator, Saeed-uz-Zaman. The district administration insists there was no permission given – officially or otherwise – for the gathering. But when confronted by the angry crowd that had assembled in a central area of the town, the DM had no option but to emerge from his office and seek their dispersal through subtle persuasion. That, rather than the use of force was deemed the more prudent option in the circumstances. The petition seeking the reining in of hostile actions by the new alignment that had sprung up to avenge the “love jihad”, was received and the gathering dispersed.

    Within the over-heated communal atmosphere of Muzaffarnagar, the DM’s gesture in meeting with the delegation from the Muslim community was read as a measure of appeasement of communal aggression. The new consolidation under the Hindutva umbrella was quick to portray what the DM thought was mere administrative prudence, as the blatant display of a double standard: prohibitory orders would be imposed on the Jat mahapanchayat, but not on the Muslim petitioners.

    This imparted a fresh edge of anger to the mahapanchayat that gathered on August 31, focused exclusively on the defence of feminine honour. Again, the administration faltered in its enforcement of prohibitory orders, for which the DM offers the alibi that these gatherings are often organised by discrete communications through community networks, which arrive at decisions to assemble at a particular place and time without any prior announcement. The clans (or khaps) of the Jat community have their own means of mobilisation which they use frequently, often catching the administration on its blindside.

    Yet with all these alibis on offer, the evidence seems overwhelmingly to indicate that the administration remained passive as the spiral of provocative actions gathered momentum. The precise reasons need to be ascertained. It is more than likely that the paralysis arose from conflicting guidance from the political leadership, both locally and at the state level. If so, the trail of formal instructions and informal verbal orders conveyed by the political leaders through the two weeks that followed the Kawal incident, needs to be uncovered.

    District Magistrate Sharma, new to his job, speaks now of having received some inkling of a cycle of Jat community gatherings being planned after the “Ma, Beti, Bahu Bachao” assembly. Again, because of the undercover mode of communication and organisation adopted, the administration missed out on the details. It received word that one panchayat of a particular clan grouping (or khap)had been held on September 5. To add to its confusion, there was also a call for a bandh through the district by the BJP that very day.

    Meanwhile, a video clip purporting to showthe killing of Gaurav and Sachin was circulated through the mobile phone network, and posted on the facebook page belonging to Sangeet Singh Som of the BJP, who represents Meerut’s Sardhana constituency in the state legislature.The video never had great plausibility since it was easily traced to an incident in Sialkot in Pakistan, two years back, in which two brothers were killed in a grisly incident of mob violence. But in the overheated environment of Muzaffarnagar, it circulated widely and ignited further animosities.

    What seems germane here is that with the buildup of tension and the continuing acts of default by the district administration, there was no way that the mahapanchayat planned for September 7 could have been stopped, except through a determined assertion of administrative will. This would have involved a mass deployment of security forces through Muzaffarnagar district and adjoining areas in Shamli, Meerut, and Baghpat – not to mention the districts of Haryana from where significant participation was expected.

    The administration decided against this course and instead, seemingly opted for the strategy of keeping a close vigil over the events of the day. All the groups arriving at the venue of the mahapanchayat – Nangla Mandaur in Jansath block, about twenty kilometres from Muzaffarnagar and very close to Kawal village where it all ostensibly started – were closely observed for any possible violent intent. DM Sharma states now that all the lethal weapons that were later brandished at the mahapanchayat were carefully concealed as the crowds assembled.

    The mahapanchayat itself was raucous and unruly. Sangeet Som and an itinerant saffron-robed woman from the vicinity of Muzaffarnagar, Sadhvi Prachi, were reported to have made especially angry and accusatory speeches, denouncing the continuing threats to the faith from the large Muslim presence in the district. Lethal arms were unsheathed and brandished with clearly threatening intent. The few political leaders who came to the event with the purpose of injecting an element of moderation were shouted down amidst much heckling and chanting of the name of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the man of the moment.

    As the crowds dispersed, filled with the spirit of revenge, Israr a freelance photographer who had been hired that day to film the event for the local police was set upon and beaten to death. And from then on, divergent narratives emerge. One side has it that as a tractor transporting a trailer full of participants in the mahapanchayat crossed the Jauli village, it came under fire from Muslims who had hidden themselves in the fields adjoining the road. Six people were allegedly killed and their bodies dumped into the Gang Nahar. That account is disputed by one of the local elements who has been named in the police report registered after the event. The reality he claims, is that those on board the tractor trailer dragged a passerby on board and began mercilessly beating him, ultimately leading to his death. A brawl ensued in which firearms and lethal weapons were used after which a number from both sides lay dead.

    Violence had meanwhile erupted in Muzaffarnagar town, where Rajesh Verma, a news reporter who works as a stringer for the IBN 7 network was shot through the chest and died on the spot. It is difficult to escape the inference that Verma who was an extremely popular journalist in the town, was shot with deliberate intent, though both sides were reportedly using firearms quite freely by this time.

    By that evening, curfew had been clamped in three police station jurisdictions within Muzaffarnagar town, but violence had spread like a contagion to the villages, especially in the tehsils of Budhana and Muzaffarnagar, and the neighbouring district of Shamli.

    Victim-survivors that this team met from the village of Kutba in Budhana tehsil, spoke of assurances being given all through the evening of September 7 by the gram pradhan Devinder, asking all communities to stay calm and keep the peace. The next morning at eight, the pradhan himself was seen leading a violent mob, burning down Muslim homes and hacking those who came in their path. Kutba village reported eight deaths and is along with other villages within the jurisdiction of the Phugama police station, among the worst affected in the violence of those days.

    There were also reports which indicated the opposite: of Muslim families being sheltered by the gram pradhan through the night of September 7 when violence began spreading, and being escorted to the safety of camps set up by the community in neighbouring towns the following day. Such an incident, also coincidentally involving a pradhan named Devinder from the Kinauni village in Budhana tehsil, was recorded by a delegation of the CPI(M) which visited the district at roughly the same time as this team.

    With violence engulfing widely dispersed villages where Muslims and Jats have lived together in amity for decades, the job of enforcement became much more difficult. In most cases, this team found that the security presence had been pulled out of villages where the worst outbreaks had happened, presumably since they had been evacuated by members of the vulnerable community. A security presence was visible in the more substantial towns such as Budhana and Tanwali, though only in the main thoroughfares and squares and not in the vicinity of the camps and shelters for the displaced.

    Conclusions: Of state failure and political cynicism

    The conclusions of this team are that the state government seems to have been taken by surprise, though they have no reason to, that there was probably a deliberate disregard of rising tensions and intelligence reports. Muslims were attacked not so much with the intent of causing deaths, which would invite serious opprobrium, but with the object of chasing them out of the Hindu majority villages. The team has concluded that there was a plan to end decades of coexistence and “cleanse” certain villages of the Muslim presence. Having carried through this part of their agenda, the young males – particularly those of the Jat community – have also chosen at least during daylight hours, to make themselves scarce in their usual places of habitation. The police response has been too little and too late. Investigations into the cycle of provocation and violence that led to the conflagaration of September 7 have made little headway. And the police have been conspicuous by their absence in villages cleansed of the Muslim presence, where even the Jat community has chosen to make itself scarce. Mobile patrols and static pickets have been absent where they may have been most required. With the kind of religious cleansing that has been attempted, a number of pickets should have been set up in all villages of mixed religious composition, to check the growing animosity between communities.And even if a number of complaints and FIR’s have been registered, there seems to have been no attempt to arrest the perpetrators of the killing and violent expulsion of Muslims.

    The state government has disregarded all norms of prudent staffing of police stations in a district of mixed religious composition. Police stations according to the many victim-survivors this team met, simply refused to respond to their urgent calls for help because they were manned by personnel in tacit sympathy with the caste agenda of the aggressors. In this respect, the locals believe that the Akhilesh Yadav ministry has reversed a healthy practice from earlier years, to assign police command posts in a manner that minimised the potential for conflict of interests arising from caste or religious loyalties. The outcome is a complete loss of faith in the agencies of the state, with the police now castigated as an accessory of caste and communal violence.

    This team was shocked at the inability and incompetence of the state government, with even the basic measures not being taken to ensure that those provoking a communal conflagration were thwarted in their designs. Under threat of communal strife, a government has four major tasks to perform, and this team which includes an experienced civil administrator and senior police officer, feels that these tasks, if done with commitment and competence, would have averted the threat of communal violence. The essential steps involved -- prevention, control, rescue, rehabilitation and justice – are dealt with in greater detail below.

    Prevention: The Akhilesh Yadav government failed to still the rumours that spread through the area like wildfire, adding to burgeoning tensions and pushing communities into confrontation. There are no two views that the Muzaffarnagar, and indeed the western belt of Uttar Pradesh, was plagued by toxic rumours designed to pit communities against each other. Instead of defusing these from the very beginning through a sustained information campaign, the state government chose to ignore them, contributing to a volatile atmosphere that could have erupted at any time.

    Reports of the fake tape that was posted on the social media by a BJP legislator of adjoining Meerut district were also not acted upon by the state government until it was too late to intervene. Arrest warrants of the legislator were issued, and the fact that the video was of an incident in Pakistan, were made known only when the violence had erupted.

    Despite the tension over the incidents of alleged harassment of young girls and the subsequent deaths, the state government allowed large gatherings from both sides to take place without check. Displaced villagers from different parts of the district told the team that the violence started after panchayats were held in their respective villages. Though DM Sharma claims that a number of preventive arrests were made between August 31 and September 7, his case seems to lack conviction.

    The team does not accept the explanation of the district authorities that they did not expect this mahapanchayat to take place. Villagers confirmed that there was sufficient notice for this, and at least they all knew it was going to be held. The failure to act on information was an abject failure of the state government.

    Control: The state government was unable to contain the violence after it broke out. District authorities claimed that they had no idea it would spread to the countryside, and were expecting it only in the town area of Muzaffarnagar. The police was absent with not a single incident being reported by the villagers of police intervention to either arrest leaders making provocative speeches, or to help those being attacked by mobs. There is not a single shred of evidence to prove that the police acted against the mobs that freely attacked and killed their neighbours, and looted and burnt homes. The Army was called in eventually, and its presence brought down the levels of violence even though it was not authorised by the state administration to use force for ensuring peace. Women and children trapped in their homes told the team that they were rescued by the Army from the burning villages. The displaced villagers also spoke of incidents where the local police had supported the attacking mobs, but this could not be confirmed independently. However, the absence of the police in itself was an act of omission that really amounted to commission insofar as the raging violence was concerned.

    Rescue: The apparatus of the state government was not visible in effecting the rescue of villagers from the mobs. Instead there are several instances when Muslims from adjoining villages, rushed in to rescue those who had been trapped in their bastis and could not escape.

    Villagers ran for their lives through the days and night, with the state administration unwilling or unable to help them. Some were killed, others were injured, but the effort remained to run to safety. Women spoke of how they ran with their little children, terrified out of their wits, barefoot with no belongings for help, with not a single policeman in sight. Their homes were looted and set ablaze but the police are still to visit several of the affected villages till date.

    Relief: Government figures place the number of displaced persons at 25,000 but the villagers of Muzaffarnagar insist the number is well over 50,000. Hundreds and thousands of men, women and children ran for their lives over September 6-9, as they were attacked by mobs armed with lathis, guns, swords, daggers and broken glass. They just ran without knowing where they would go, as the crowds attacked them and their homes that were looted and in several cases gutted. Many villagers ran for shelter just out of fear of being attacked. They ended up in the bigger kasbas, in madarsas or just some open spaces where they were assured that surrounding habitations held no threat.

    They have been living under the open skies since then, dependent entirely on the goodwill of those around them for food, clothing and medical help. The local community has been looking after their needs to the extent possible, by arranging food, bedding, clothes. The state government had not stepped in according to the testimony of the victim survivors, though DM Sharma insists that the district administration had been organising supplies of essential commodities. It is difficult to avoid the inference that these interventions came rather late and were intended to embroider the scenario just ahead of a series of VVIP visits.

    The team does not believe that it is a good idea for the district administration to make a virtue of community self-help in such situations. When the authority of the state is seen to have eroded, or even collapsed, a visible presence of its agencies in the subsequent rescue and rehabilitation is essential to restore public confidence.

    Mothers with little babies complained about the lack of food and medical aid. There were no doctors at the camp. No police, no state official at all. The thousands of displaced persons who made it clear they could never go back home, have been left by the Akhilesh Yadav government to fend for themselves.

    Justice: The state government has still not been able to initiate the process of justice in the district. The police has filed a number of FIR’s but these represent something of a scattershot approach and seem to have not named the real perpetrators of the violence. Eyewitnesses to the violence told this team that they have not been interviewed by the police. The essential step to restore confidence, of setting up small police posts near the shelters where the displaced have gathered, to gather their testimony, has not been taken.

    At one of the larger villages, Kutba, the team found a number of safai karamcharis brought in to sweep the streets of what was a virtual ghost town. Everyone had fled, the Muslims as they were attacked, and the Jats for fear of arrests. Only a few women and old men remained. Asked about it a sub-divisional magistrate supervising the arrangements said he was there for cleaning up. Then seeming to realise that this safai could well be interpreted as clearing up the evidence of serious crimes, he said that his job was to take stock of the situation.

    This team believes that the procedure adopted shows a desire to cover up some of the worst acts of violence that have occurred. The safaioperation which has been undertaken even before panchnamas with the victim have been registered about the losses they have suffered, creates grave doubts about how compensation will be evaluated in future.

    Media mischief

    It has been just over a year since graphic images were circulated over internet and the mobile phone network about the supposed atrocities inflicted on Muslims during the riots that engulfed the Bodoland areas of Assam. The images were quickly discovered to be manipulated and pulled out of an entirely irrelevant context, with deliberate intent to stoke the flames of vengeance. Soon, rumours were spread through the mobile phone network, that all people of northeastern origin in all parts of India had been marked out for a severe retribution. A mass flight of these people from some of India’s most cosmopolitan cities such as Bangalore and Pune ensued. In Assam, where they were mostly headed, journalists and social media users put all their energies into combating the noxious spread of rumour. Despite the state of panic in which they arrived back in their hometowns, those who had fled did not become agents of a further escalation in the cycle of violence. Soon they were all travelling back to their places of work. It was an incident that illustrated the worst of the possible uses of the social media. By the same token, it showed also that the same media when used with a degree of social responsibility and sensitivity, could be the best antidote to sectarian political agendas.

    Similar lessons emerge from Muzaffarnagar, though with one rather crucial qualification: though its use for destruction was amply on evidence, nobody quite stepped up to show how the social media could be used for building bridges and cooling the embers of sectarian hatred. The circulation of the images from Sialkot already referred to, was one of the most blatant abuses of the power of the social media in the Muzaffarnagar context. Those suspected of responsibility for this dark deed have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including forgery, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity on religious grounds. But no arrests have been effected, though one among those responsible is believed to be roaming free in full public view in the district just adjoining Muzaffarnagar.

    Further mischief has arisen from the use of stories and visuals published on mainstream media platforms, though after morphing and manipulating them to serve a sectarian agenda. The hand of the VHP functionaries in Muzaffarnagar is suspected in these particular acts. For instance, on September 8, a story from the Muzaffarnagar edition of Dainik Jagaran, a widely circulated daily newspaper in the Hindi belt and especially U.P., was circulated with the headline “Muzaffarnagar mein Musalmaanon ka Aatank, Hinduon mein Khauf” (Muslim terror in Muzaffarnagar, Fear among Hindus), when the story was originally published under the headline “Panchayat se laute do logon ki hatya” (Two killed while returning from panchayat).

    On September 9, another scanned news story from the Dainik Jagaran was circulated with the headline reading: “Musalmaanon dwaara HInduon ka Katile-aam Jaari” (Mass Murder of Hindus by Muslims Underway), while the headline as published by the newspaper was “Dangaaiyon ko goli maarne ka aadesh” (Orders issued to shoot rioters on sight).

    The authorities seemed to respond to these threats in the worst possible manner: blocking the circulation of various newspapers in the district. On September 9, it was reported that copies of newspapers published in Delhi, Muzaffarnagar and Lucknow, were being examined by the authorities and deliveries being delayed for fear that their content could aggravate communal animosities.

    This was quite clearly the worst possible response to the crisis of hatred spread through the social media. In all such situations, it is the considered opinion of those who have studied the role of the media in conflict situations, that the best recourse is to allow the people to judge for themselves. Any reasonably well informed social media reader would, on seeing the purported Dainik Jagaran headline circulating through social media, make an effort to check it against the original. The forgery and the mischief would in other words, have been quickly detected if access had been ensured to the original item. In seeking to deny this access, the authorities acted in panic and ill-considered haste.

    It is also appropriate to flag the response of the mainstream media – including the numerous news channels – for what seems a rather tepid response to the horrors of Muzaffarnagar. From the days of Gujarat 2002, India’s first major communal pogrom in the age of the twenty-four hour news channel, it has been evident that a close watch over the course of the violence, once it flares up, often shames the authorities into acting even against those with political connections. That element of media pressure for swift and purposive administrative action seems to have been absent in Muzaffarnagar. The reasons would need careful study by all, including the media community.
    1. We thank The Hindu for reporting these incidents on page 9 of its Delhi edition of September 10.
    2. Reported in The Times of India on page 7 of its Delhi edition on September 9.

    The larger politics

    Finally, it is vital to take into account the larger context in which the most recent round of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh was constructed. This is a story that goes back to an early date in the life of the Akhilesh Yadav ministry. In October 2012, riots broke out in Faizabad district after some idols were reported missing from a temple and politicians of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad appeared on the scene to blame the administration and whip up hostilities against those of the Muslim faith. The idols were soon afterwards discovered, but by then the violence had occurred, the estrangement between communities had set in – and political dividends had been harvested by whichever force staged that entire episode.

    This was followed by a number of minor skirmishes over the next few months. In August this year, when the VHP chose to visit its old battleground of Ayodhya with the ritual mobilisation of the “chaurasi kosi yatra”, the U.P. State Government responded with a heavy-handed security cordon to prevent Hindutva activists from arriving at the proposed site of the action. Local mahants at Ayodhya spoke up against the VHP effort to take over as its exclusive patrimony, spaces they had learnt to share over generations between various cults associated with Hindu divinity. And the kosi yatra was soon called off with the VHP retreating in disarray.

    Muslim political groups in U.P. remained unimpressed since the Akhilesh Yadav ministry has had a history of double-dealing ever since it took office last year. There were rumours rife of a “fixed match” in which the VHP had made a pretence of withdrawal on the Ayodhya battleground, only to raise the stakes elsewhere. And the entire thing was seen to be a choreographed spectacle in which Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would create a sharp polarisation on communal grounds, compelling the electorate in the state to make a choice between them, and squeezing out the other parties which have been claiming significant shares of the popular vote in recent elections.

    Political formations and civil society actors in U.P. and elsewhere will have to watch the unfolding of any such agenda in future months since the BJP has with the formal nomination of Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for general elections in 2014, signalled that it will raise the temperature of confrontation between communities as a matter of electoral strategy. The possible retreat of the Muslims into a siege mentality would suit the cynical calculations of other parties that thrive on the vulnerability of the religious minority. Political formations committed to secularism and civil society actors working for communal peace need to blow the whistle on this agenda before it causes deeper damage. The consequences in human suffering of its full implementation could be beyond imagination.


    This team has on the basis of its discussions with victim-survivors and the local administration, arrived at a number of concrete recommendations in regard to immediate priorities for action:

    • A Supreme Court judge should be appointed to carry out an immediate and time-bound inquiry into the incidents of violence;
    • The Communal Violence bill should be brought to the first rank of legislative priorities, making dereliction of duty by public officials involving both acts of omission and commission, a punishable offence and instituting the principle of command responsibility.
    • Legal and mandatory duties be instituted under the bill for rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the victims of communal violence.
    • Immediate arrest of the political leaders who incited violence at the mahapanchayat.
    • Arrest of the originator of the fake video which fomented ill feeling among communities and contributed directly to the violence.
    • Lists to be prepared of all those displaced; their material losses evaluated; supplies of food, drinking water, shelter and clothing to be ensured, with special attention to the needs of women and children.
    • Doctors and medical attendants to be pressed into service at all camps.
    • Urgent attention to the conditions of sanitation in the camps.
    • Deployment of police personnel, including women constables to guard the camps.
    • A coherent and credible plan to be worked out for the rehabilitation of all the displaced in their original habitations.
    • Review of all police postings in communally sensitive districts; reassignment of officers seen to be too closely integrated with local caste and communal interest groups.


    The Role of Political Parties

    The trajectory of communal riots in Uttar Pradesh has always displayed political hand/hands behind the violence. The incident said to be triggering off the violence is usually preceded by days or even weeks of rumours seeking to spread distrust and suspicion between the targeted communities that eventually erupt in communal clashes. This has been documented in reports over the years.

    It was no different in Muzaffarnagar, a district and parliamentary constituency with a high proportion of Muslims, Jats and Dalits peppered with other castes. Estimates place the number of Muslims in the district as close to 47 per cent, although most of them are not land owners, according to the District authorities, but work as labour on the land owned by the Jats, or have petty businesses such as selling cloth from village to village.

    Significantly, the relationship between the Jats and the Muslims has been fairly stable with both voting together for the same political parties in the past. Unlike the Dalits, the Muslims, while poor have not faced discrimination at the same levels in this district, with Muzaffarnagar not experiencing communal violence in the past. It has also been one of the first districts to move away from the Congress monopoly of Uttar Pradesh after Independence, searching for parliamentary alternatives as early as 1967.

    A glance at the voting pattern bears this out. The Congress party held sway in the initial years after Independence but in 1962 Muzaffarnagar departed from the political norm to vote for the Communist Party of India in two successive elections for the fourth and fifth Lok Sabha in 1967 and 1971 respectively. Latafat Ali Khan of the CPI was the first Muslim MP from Muzaffarnagar in 1962. The Janata Party won the seat in 1977 and the Janata party (S) in 1980. The 1984 election after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, brought back the Congress to Muzaffarnagarbut only for one term in office. It returned to the Janata Dal whose candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was elected from this constituency in 1989 and since then Muzaffarnagar constituency has remained with the opposition. The BJP came to power for the first time in 1991 and stayed for three terms till 2004. The Congress returned for one term, followed for the first time by the Samajwadi party and currently in the 15th Lok Sabha by QadirRana of the Bahujan Samaj party. In the 15th Lok Sabha Muzaffarnagar has returned only five Muslim MPs to Parliament, despite the high percentage of the minority vote.

    Secular voting has largely characterized this constituency until recent years, since 1991 to be precise, when the BJP came to power for three consecutive terms on the non-Muslim vote, followed then by a succession then of three MuslimMPs albeit from three different parties, the Congress, Samajwadi and BSP respectively.

    It is clear from the political history of Muzaffarnagar that the Rashtriya Lok Dal under Ajit Singh is not a factor here. His party has never won the seat, and in the battle for the Jat vote between the RJD and the BJP in western UP, the Muzaffarnagar Jats have clearly opted for the BJP as the political parliamentary trajectory indicates.

    The Political Players

    Bahujan Samaj Party: its sitting MP QadirRana has not been seen since the violence broke out. Muslims in relief camps are highly critical of his absence. An FIR has been filed against him for hate speech at a public meeting addressed by different political parties on August 30.

    The BSP has asked for the dismissal of the Akhilesh Yadav government, and the imposition of President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh. But apart from this one demand and criticism of the state government’s role, the BSP seems to be following a “hands off” policy with the party remaining out of the current conflict. Although some Jats in one of the worst hit villages, Kutba said that the Dalits had attacked the Muslim homes, there was no confirmation of this from the affected Muslims who were categorical that they had been attacked by their Jat neighbours and not the Dalits.

    The BSP stands to gain politically if the Muslim vote that seems to be shifting from Samajwadi Party at this point in time gravitates towards it, as it has done in the past. Muslims in relief camps recalled the peaceful days under the Mayawati government, and insisted individually that her administrative policies were inclusive and not divisive.

    Congress Party: Clearly in the assessment of the party leadership, the violence provides an opportunity for garnering the votes. As a result of this Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid a flying visit to Muzaffarnagar, with the former taking the unprecedented step of having a meeting with district and state officials at the helipad itself. A day before the district authorities were busy renovating two rooms near the helipad for this meeting by the Prime Minister to send out the message that the Congress party was monitoring the situation closely.

    The police field an FIR against Congress leader Saeedujjama for allegedly provocative speeches on August 30.

    Bharatiya Janata Party: The BJP has been actively involved in the violence and could emerge, when the embers die down, as the major gainer. Its leaders have been active in organising the panchayats and the mahapanchayats in the villages where hate speeches pushed the crowd to take revenge against the Muslims for harassing their women. Slogans against Muslims for killing cows and assaulting Hindu women mixed with slogans in support of Narendra Modi rent the air after the series of meetings and mahapanchayats in the villages. Several Muslims, including women, in the relief camps told the team that the mobs were shouting HarHarMahadev and slogans in support of Narendra Modi when they attacked the villages.

    After speaking to the district authorities and the residents of Muzaffarnagar, the team came to the conclusion that the BJP had played a major role in spreading lies and rumours across the countryside. There is concrete evidence of

    1) A video of an over two-year-old incident in Pakistan was posted on the social media by legislator Sangeet Singh Som from Sardana assembly constituency as an act of violence perpetrated by Muzaffarnagar Muslims. A warrant is out for his arrest but he has so far not been nabbed.

    2) Hate speeches by BJP leaders inciting crowds to attack the Muslims and teach them a lesson. FIRs have been registered against at least four senior BJP leaders and many others who have still to be apprehended. BJP workers have successfully blocked the police from arresting these leaders so far.

    3) Of rumours spread through the villages based on lies, and calculated to stir passions. These spread like wildfire across the belt, with villagers running for shelter for fear of impending attack. In most of the affected villages, the men armed themselves with sticks, broken glass, guns and daggers to attack the Muslims and prevent them from harassing their women, while in a few the Jats also ran for shelter believing they would be attacked by the Muslims. Here the theme was “save our women” and not “Muslims are terrorists”.

    4) Tension was already brewing in Western UP before the alleged eve teasing and subsequent murder incident. The panchayats and in particular the last mahapanchayat held on September 7 openly incited the mobs to violence so as to "save" their women. Leaders belonging to the BJP, according to eyewitness accounts, were in charge.

    The BJP stands to gain substantially through the polarisation of votes. Uttar Pradesh is an important state with 80 parliamentary seats, for the forthcoming general elections. Jats dominate western UP and the violence in Muzaffarnagar has had impact across the belt. The consolidation of the Jat and other caste vote with a fractured minority vote, will allow the BJP to reap in huge electoral dividends.

    Samajwadi Party: The Samajwadi Party now has the most to lose. The level of violence in Muzaffarabad has taken away whatever advantage it could have had through a polarisation of the vote.

    The inability of the Akhilesh Yadav to prevent and control the violence has turned the Muslims completely against the Samajwadi party in Muzaffarnagar. Muslims forced to leave their homes and villages attacked the state government for not protecting them, with some even maintaining that it was working along with the BJP for electoral gains.

    The Muslim vote in western Uttar Pradesh that has been impacted by the violence is likely to move away from the Samajwadi party, and look at other alternatives. This is one of the major reasons why the Congress has already stepped in for benefits, while the more cautious BSP is still testing the waters.

    One of the main rumours circulating not just in Muzaffarnagar but in UP and Delhi as well is that Mulayam Singh and the BJP have been working together to ensure the consolidation of the vote bank. There is not sufficient evidence on the ground to support this except for the fact that:

    (i)despite information the state government did not move to prevent the mahapanchayat and subsequent panchayats that vitiated the secular atmosphere in the villages; and

    (ii) till date its police, despite supposed instructions, has not arrested a single BJP leader despite the FIRs against them.

    The district authorities told the team that they had expected some violence in Muzaffarnagar but had not expected the flames to engulf the villages. Here, the authorities said, they were completely taken by surprise.

    The Samajwadi party, for the moment at least, has factored itself out of this belt and has lost the support of the Muslims.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: On the eve of World Ozone Day, a painting competition was organised for school students of Trilokpuri. It was organised as a part of a larger initiative known as Tree For Harmony, an initiative of Mission Bhartiyam, that seeks to address two issues - Environment and Peace & Harmony.

    Organised between 16th September i.e. World Ozone Day and 21st September i.e. World Peace day, in this initiative, a symbolic plant or tree labeled it as "Harmony tree" is planted and a discussion on environment and/or a cause for harmony is organised.

    Tree for Harmony 2013 began with this painting competition jointly organised by SPWD: Paryavaran Jagriti Abhiyan Committee and Mission Bhartiyam. Co-ordinated by Ms. Rakhi of Rachna Kendra, the painting competition was organised in Nagar Nigam Prathamik Vidyalaya in block 15 of Trilokpuri. The students hailing from different schools - both Government and public schools - were divided in two groups according to their class. The junior group had students upto VIth standard. The senior group had students from classes VIIth to IXth standard. The theme was "Paryavaran mein aapka yogdaan" (Our role for a sustainable environment).

    The competition began with a little discussion on the theme. Ravi Nitesh, founder of Mission Bhartiyam, informed the students about the significance and need of celebrating World Ozone Day. He talked about the causes and consequences of the depletion of ozone layer and the steps that we can take.

    Within an hour, the students expressed their concern and appealed to save the environment in colour. They painted about the causes - massive deforestation, increased use of vehicles, pollution from factories and these vehicles, about the consequences and the steps that can be taken. Both the groups had followed the theme.

    The creations were not only informative but aesthetically-pleasing making it difficult to decide the winners. After much discussion, three people from each group were considered for First, Second and Third prize. In the senior group, the painting that won the first prize showed the role and importance of ozone layer in protecting our planet. The first prize in the junior group focused on the cause of ozone layer depletion i.e. massive deforestation. It won the prize not just because it was informative and also aesthetically-pleasing but because it was a creation of a student of IInd class.

    The chief guest of the programme was Ms. Gurmeet Kaur who is the counselor of the area. She had awarded the winners with the prize.

    An important highlight of the programme was a nukkat natak by some students. They had raised the issue of poor infrastructure conditions in Government school. They raised the problems of poor drinking water, sanitation, the scary mid-day meal and incompetent teachers.

    We consider the programme to be a successful effort in terms of being able to spread the awareness for the urgent need to work for a sustainable environment. The programme was a commendable effort and co-ordination of Ms. Rakhi, members of SPWD namely, Ms. Anita Sood, Ms. Alpna Sharma, Ms. Saroj, Mr. Reyaz and members of Mission Bhartiyam namely Mr. Ravi Nitesh, Mr. Prashant Nautiyal, Ms. Devika Mittal and Mr. Mukesh.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The 196th birth anniversary of great social reformer and founder of Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, will be observed on 17th October 2013. It was decided in a consultative meeting under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah here on Monday.

    Uttar Pradesh Governor, Mr. B.L. Joshi will be the chief guest of the commemorative function to be held at Kennedy Hall, while Managing Director of Alana Group, Mr. Irfan Alana will be the guest of honour.

    The Sir Syed Day celebrations will commence with mass recitation of Holy Qur’an at the University Mosque after Fajr Namaz on October 17 which will be followed by inauguration of exhibition of books and photographs pertaining to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan at Sir Syed Academy.

    The traditional Sir Syed dinner will be hosted at various residential halls of the University where several distinguished persons hailing from different walks of life will grace as chief guest.

    The meeting was attended by Group Captain (Retd.) Shahrukh Shamshad, Registrar, Prof. Anis Ismail, DSW, Ms. Yasmin Jalal, Finance Officer, Dr. Jamshed Siddiqui, Proctor and Provosts of different Halls, Members-in-Charge, Principals of University Schools and Colleges.

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    By Afroz Alam Sahil,

    What’s the most important need of Muslims right now? The mosque built on a disputed land for barely 200 Muslims? The promises made in Parliament or the rightful share in the resources and policies of the country? In order to help you move to the right pole we will expose you to some uncanny statistical facts. Undoubtedly the data will blow the cap off the head of Nitish, the soft Mulayam will look stiff, Azam Khan will appear artful, and the governments and politicians advocating for Muslims’ rights will sound dissolute.

    Muslims Appeasement – A Myth ExposedBeyondHeadlines sought facts through RTI on the scheme of welfare for minority communities from central government will expose the Myth of Muslim Appeasement. Policies and schemes for the welfare of minority communities, especially Muslims, are dying on the papers (or politicians and Bureaucrats are strangling them).

    Budget Sanctioned 100 Crore, Released One Lakh, and Spent Naught:

    Maulana Azad Education Foundation is one of many government schemes and institutions for the promotion of educational, social and economic status of the Minorities. Newspapers do not get tired of speaking at length of this institution. But the reality speaks for sure. In 2012-13, the government passed 100 crore for this institution, but released just one lakh which was spent nowhere. Had the amount been spent, the need of some Muslims would have been met, which neither government nor politicians would hope so.

    Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women: An Illusion

    The government launched a scheme to inculcate leadership quality among minority women. Under this scheme, in the year of 2012-13, government secured 15 crore, but 12.80 crore was made available, out of that only 10.45 crore was used up. In 2011-12, budget was set at 15 crore, but only 4 lakh was issued. Likewise, in 2010-11, 15 crore was announced, but only 5 crore was released. Astonishingly, in 2009-10, full budget of 8 crore was released. But in the name of expenditure, it has never been out. Had it been spent, some of the women among Muslims could have been prepared to take over the responsibilities of the community. But the governments and politicians did not, perhaps, hope so. They are busy in arranging iftar party or solving issues on mosque.

    Not a Single Penny Spent

    The same happened to the grant-in-aid to State Channelising Agencies (SCA) engaged for implementation in NMDFC Programme. A grant of 2 crore was sanctioned in 2012-13, but only 66 lakh was released. Hopefully it would have benefited to some needy if spent on them, instead it has been lying idle in respective department and not a single coin moved from there. Here, it is silly to raise questions of doubt on the credibility of the function of the officers. If no money is spent, no work is done. Perhaps they were busy in collecting ransom for the politicians.

    Funds Laid Unclaimed in State Treasury

    To ensure the strengthening of the State Wakf Board, Government passed a budget of 5 crore in 2012-13, but only 10 lakh was released. Should I need to tell you that not even a single rupee was spent out of this fund? What would you do if I told you the real fact? Perhaps nothing; the wall of the mosque (that is not there, which has never been there) is more debatable for you. What is more, in 2010-11, a sum of 7 crore was sanctioned, but only 10 lakh was made available that was laid unclaimed in state treasure as in 2012-13 the funds were not spent (intentionally or not).

    Religious Notions Only Flame Sectarian Sentiment

    Government also set budget to support the students clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Services Commission etc. for the year 2012-13 and sanctioned 4 crore; unfortunately merely 2 lakh was released. Even this lean amount couldn’t be spent. Had 4 crore been spent, probably few of minority students would have cleared civil service examination. But the politicians speaking up for Muslim cause did not favor this. That is why, their uncut speeches and flashing slogans in the cause of Muslim welfare go unheeded, and the Muslims are left with hollow assurance and sunken hope. Do not question Azam Khan, Shafikurrahman Burq or Asaduddin Owaisi about this, else their eyes would become red or you would see them high-flown as you see them in Parliament speaking pompously. They could raise the issues like of Vande Matram to be sung or not, but of the funds to be released or not they deem no value. Their religious notions only flame sectarian sentiment.

    Budget Gone Aught

    For Skill Development Initiatives, the budget was set at 20 crore for the year of 2012-13, but mere 5 lakh was released, out of which no amount was spent. The scheme for containing population decline of small minorities met with same fate. In 2012-13, central government sanctioned 2 crore for this scheme, but the released amount was just 1 lakh, and the expenditure was null. Similarly, in 2010-11 this scheme reached same doom. Interestingly, rest of the budget year bore aught.

    Scheme Vanished

    In the name of Promotional Activities for Linguistic Minorities a budget of one crore was approved in 2010-11, but merely 5 lakh was released and like other schemes this scheme, too, saw not a single rupee to be spent. Afterward, no budget is sanctioned for this scheme, or better to say, the scheme is made disappeared. In 2012-13, a budget of 2 crore was favoured for the Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies, but the amount released was just 2 lakh. Similarly, the 2010-11 spoke of same fate. In both of the years outlay was zero; for the rest of years budget vanished.

    Computerization of Records of State Wakf Boards: A Drama

    In 2012-13, for computerization of records of State Wakf Boards the funds were set at 5 crore, but the amount released was 1.65 crore. All the states together could not afford to spend even this sum of money. Only 89 lakh out of 1.65 crore was spent. The 2011-12 has no different story to tell. This budget year, too, approved 5 crore but released only 2 crore, out of which merely 62 lakh could be spent by the states. The 2010-11 will take your breath away. This budget year had fixed 15 crore for this scheme, but only 6 crore was made available. Merely 3.63 crore out of 6 crore was used up by all states.

    Do Not Raise Questions

    In 2012-13, the grant accepted for Merit-cum-Means Scholarship for professional and technical courses of under graduate and post graduate was 220 crore, out of which 184.07 crore was released, and a good of 181.21 crore has been spent. This can be appreciated. But for 2008-09, the budget for the scholarship approved 124.90 crore, and the released amount has been 64.94 crore. Perhaps there has not been a single student who has not applied for this scholarship. Many application forms have been rejected just because of unavailability of the funds. But the question arises here if complete fund is not released, and whatever released is not spent up, how can the application form be rejected? Now if we ask this question to the politicians, they would be dumbfounded. And if they would defend their crookedness, no truth their lips reveal; because this truth is louder than their hollow leadership.

    Silence is Golden!

    The scheme, Multi Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities in selected Minority Concentrated Districts, set a budget of 539.80 crore in 2008-09, but released only 279.89 crore. And in 2012-13, it was 999 crore, but only 649 crore was released. Asking Muslim leaders about this would land you into trouble. Perhaps a brick of a demolished mosque would hit your nut!

    Who Will Clap for Politicians?

    In 2008-09, 99.90 crore was assigned for Post Matric Scholarship, but only 69.93 crore was made out. Whereas in 2012-13, 500 crore was proposed for this scheme, and 340.75 crore was made available out of which 326.55 crore was spent. Had the allotted budget released, students from economically deprived family could have entered the college. But if children of deprived minority communities were enlightened by education, who would clap for pompous speech of politicians.

    No Amount Spent on These Schemes

    The status of Scheme for promotion of education in 100 minority concentrate towns/cities out of 251 such town/cities identified as backward was too bad. For this scheme central government sanctioned a budget of 50 crore, but a merely 4 lakh was granted. Out of 4 lakh was spent naught.

    The same fate incurred on Village Development Programme for Villages not covered by MCB/MCDs. Central government passed 50 crore for this scheme, but only 4 lakh was made out which has no single penny to be spent.

    In 2012-13, for support to district level institutions in MCDs central government approved 25 crore, but released amount was 4 lakh, out of which outlay was null, that is, no individual is benefited under this scheme.

    Central government launched scheme of Free Cycles to girl students of class IX, and in 2012-13, proposed a grant of 5 crore for this scheme. Out of released amount of only 4 lakh, zero has been the figure of expenditure!

    Every promotional and welfare scheme adopted to uplift the educational, social, and economic status of minority communities has died out on paper. And our so called pro-Muslim leaders bore no face of remorse.

    First, the budget was cumin seed to camel’s mouth. Further it fell short of target. Huge share of national budget was duped by our life-size leaders.

    If this reality has not soaked your throat, your heart is going to be numb. Because the most embarrassing fact is that the fund released for advertising the schemes, and boards and banners of politicians has outgrown its sanctioned amount. No newspapers or TV channels will inform you about this because the whole media moves on the wheels of this amount. When newspapers and TV channels have already been paid their share, why should they bother whether the sanctioned amount has reached to rightful needy or not? No reporter, perhaps, has the courage to fire these issues at the nose of government because it would blast his career.

    Full Focus on Publicity

    Let me tell you government proposed a budget of 5 crore for Research/Studies, Monitoring & Evaluation of Development Schemes for Minorities including Publicity in 2008-09, and released 8.95 crore. Interestingly, a big part of it, 7.97 crore, was spent. In 2009-10, this budget went up to 13 crore. Surprisingly, entire budget was released, out of which 11.97 crore was spent. In 2010-11, the budget has been increased to 22 crore, and ‘intact’ 22 crore has also been released. Out of 22 crore, 19.63 crore has been spent out. The same budget is raised up to 36 crore in 2011-12, and 36 crore has also been released, 24.48 crore has been laid out. In 2012-13, the budget rose to 40 crore, the amount released has been 33.30 crore, out of which 33.29 crore has been spent. Now the queries slip into our mind, while the genuine amount has not been released how the amount bigger than the released be spent on its study and advertisement? We will try out to present you with reality.

    If you have been following media in any form print or visual since last 15 days, you will be confronting with a single red hot offspring of dazzling media, mosque issue. At least for UP Government it appears so. You have to ask a question yourselves why for the media the wall of a mosque coming down and an IAS officer being transferred for this is the story to fan out, but millions of funds being ransacked in the name of Muslims is not. If you could resolve this fundamental question, you have certainly moved to a step leading to enlightenment.

    The UP Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, callously, said he transferred the IAS officer owing to maintain communal harmony, and he would do the same if communal harmony is ever disturbed. Will he daringly say what action he made against the officers who stripped Muslims of their legitimate right? Azam Khan who claims himself messiah of Muslim community will look at vacuum if he is asked this question. He could jail a person on account of a comment done on his post, but no action he dare take against those taking away rights of Muslims.

    Now the question is, when our politicians are being cold, officers and bureaucrats are leeching on us, Muslim leaders are being unblemished, what is our role? The answer lies in us; start asking difficult questions. The nation should know how hollow and immoral our government, politicians and Muslim leaders are, and if this could raise their moral sense they would start thinking of rightful concerns.

    (Originally written in Hindi by by author based on RTI responses he received from several departments, the article was translated by Fazal Karim and first appeared at )

    Muslims Appeasement – A Myth Exposed

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The BJP Wednesday demanded President's Rule in Uttar Pradesh which has witnessed communal riots.

    "The Centre should intervene and take strict action against the Uttar Pradesh government," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh told reporters here.

    Asserting that the Samajwadi Party government "doesn't deserve to be in power anymore", he said: "There was no other option than imposing President's Rule in the state."

    "The Uttar Pradesh government was following a policy of divide and rule," Rajnath Singh said.

    Riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh Sep 7 and lasted for three days.

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    By Subhash K. Jha, IANS,

    Mumbai : She has played a multitude of roles on the big screen, but off screen too, veteran actress Shabana Azmi, who turned 62 Wednesday, has performed a variety of roles - a loving wife, a dedicated philanthropist and a woman who inspires others to achieve new heights.

    In a tete-a-tete, she talked about her personal and professional life, and of the times that she looks forward to in the near future.

    Excerpts from the interview:

    Q. You complete 62. How do you look back on you amazing life so far?

    A. With gratitude for being at the right place at the right time. I feel blessed that my parents gave me values that I cherish. I'm singularly lucky to have worked with directors who dared me to take risks and be different and I am thankful to the Indian film industry for giving me my primary identity. I will also remain indebted to all those people who sensitised me to using art as an instrument for social change.

    Q. How do you plan to celebrate your birthday this year?

    A. We've just had a huge celebration for my brother Baba Azmi's birthday a few days ago. Close on its heels, I wish to spend my birthday very quietly with no taamjhaam (frills).

    Q. Very few women in our country have achieved as much as you have. Does that give you a feeling of completeness as an individual?

    A. There are thousands of women in our country who have achieved thousandfold more than I have and I'm not saying this out of false modesty. What I value is that I have been able to do some modest work to help women rise to the level of their potential.

    Q. Shabana, your life is a case study of opportunities and their optimum use. Which according to you were the major turning points in your life?

    A. "Ankur" in 1974 because it ushered in the parallel cinema movement. "Arth" in 1983 because it started my involvement with the women's movement. "Madam Sousatzka" with Shirley Mclaine in 1988 that led to my working in 10 films in the west. My five-day hungerstrike along with Anand Patwardhan for slumdwellers of Cuffe Parade. Today we at Nivara Hakk have built tenements for 50,000 slumdwellers at Chandivli in a tripartite agreement with government Maharastra, a private builder and us. My nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India has also been a great learning experience and I was a very active member.

    Q. Which according to you is the single-most influential film of your life?

    A. Mahesh Bhatt's "Arth" remains a milestone. I continue to meet women who say that it was a transformative experience for them and gave them tremendous strength.

    Q. Women and girls all over the country look upon you as a role model. How self-conscious are you of your public conduct? Are there times when you want to let your hair down, but can't?

    A. I believe in decorum and being appropriately dressed. I take care to conduct myself formally in public and not be brash. That is a given for people in public life. But I'm very bohemian and informal when I'm with friends.

    Q. Your marriage with Javed sahab (Javed Akhtar) is, according to me a confluence of intellect and common sense. What is the formula of your successful marriage?

    A. That we hardly ever meet because both of us travel so much for work! There are times when we've said high and bye at the airport! Jokes apart, we have the same family background and so much in common that ours should have been an arranged marriage. We share a common worldview and Javed is fond of saying, "Shabana and I are such good friends that even marriage couldn't ruin our friendship!". We respect each other and give a lot of space. Lately, however I feel the need to chipko (stick) to him more and more and feel quite desolate when he is not around because he is my biggest source of strength.

    Q. As an actress, you've covered almost the entire spectrum of roles. Is there any character that you still crave to play?

    A. Not that I crave for it, but I'm curious about playing a historical part. I have no idea how I would inhabit it because we have so little documentation. Most Indian performances are based on other performances! It would be a challenge.

    Q. Any regrets in life? For example you didn't become a that a regret?

    A. For a long time I didn't believe that I couldn't become a mother. But when I finally came to terms with it, then I didn't look back. I believe one cannot get everything in life and this vaccum had to come my way.

    Q. If you had to change one thing in life, what would it be?

    A. An end to our patriarchal society's mindset that values boys over girls.

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