Articles on this Page
- 09/19/13--05:28: _'Gujarat model' wil...
- 09/19/13--05:48: _VHP extends Ayodhya...
- 09/19/13--05:52: _Rupee plunge makes ...
- 09/19/13--05:57: _Muzaffarnagar riots...
- 09/19/13--06:15: _Mulayam Singh: A Hi...
- 09/19/13--06:20: _India has great adm...
- 09/20/13--04:46: _AP Haj committee mi...
- 09/20/13--05:03: _Gujarat blasts accu...
- 09/20/13--05:27: _Sardar Sarovar: Reh...
- 09/20/13--05:34: _Rihai Manch maratha...
- 09/20/13--05:36: _Ulama Council march...
- 09/20/13--05:40: _BJP legislator arre...
- 09/20/13--08:59: _Aga Khan Academy at...
- 09/20/13--09:03: _Why not computerise...
- 09/20/13--09:26: _Desperate villagers...
- 09/20/13--10:56: _Muzaffarnagar riots...
- 09/20/13--18:13: _10 day programme on...
- 09/21/13--00:50: _Rajnath Singh calls...
- 09/21/13--01:10: _Can Modi douse BJP'...
- 09/21/13--01:13: _SP to blame for Muz...
- 09/19/13--05:28: 'Gujarat model' will bring 'vinash' not 'vikas': CPI-M
- 09/19/13--05:48: VHP extends Ayodhya event to south India
- 09/19/13--05:52: Rupee plunge makes Haj costlier by Rs.20,000
- 09/19/13--05:57: Muzaffarnagar riots worse than in Gujarat: Rashid Alvi
- 09/19/13--06:15: Mulayam Singh: A Hindutvawadi who pretends to be a secularist
- 09/19/13--06:20: India has great admiration for Aga Khan: Mukherjee
- 09/20/13--04:46: AP Haj committee missing when it’s most needed
- 09/20/13--05:03: Gujarat blasts accused gives Mumbai police the slip
- 09/20/13--05:27: Sardar Sarovar: Rehabilitate, Review and Realize
- 09/20/13--05:34: Rihai Manch marathaon dharna ends after 121 days
- 09/20/13--05:40: BJP legislator arrested for Muzaffarnagar riots
- 09/20/13--08:59: Aga Khan Academy at Hyderabad formally launched
- 09/20/13--09:03: Why not computerise records, SC asks Wakf boards
- 09/20/13--09:26: Desperate villagers from Muzaffarnagar ran for lives
- 09/20/13--10:56: Muzaffarnagar riots a blot on country: Nitish Kumar
- 09/21/13--00:50: Rajnath Singh calls off Muzaffarnagar visit
- 09/21/13--01:10: Can Modi douse BJP's anti-Muslim sentiments?
- 09/21/13--01:13: SP to blame for Muzaffarnagar riots, says Rajnath
New Delhi : BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's pledge to create a 'vibrant India' a la the Gujarat model cannot result in 'vikas' but only 'vinash', the CPI-M said Thursday.
"In a public rally, a day after his anointment, (Modi) declared that he wants to create a `vibrant' India a la the illusory `vibrant' Gujarat," an editorial in the CPI-M mouthpiece "People's Democracy" said.
It said the 2002 communal violence of Gujarat "is sought to be replicated for the rest of India as the foundation to achieve such a `vibrancy'.
"This is the debt that the Gujarat's chief minister claims to have repaid to his state and now wants to repay for India," it said.
The editorial said "such disinformation ... conceals the fact that Gujarat has human development indices that are much lower than the national average.
"The country today is asked to endorse the extension of this Gujarat model for the whole of India. If this is the case, then what is in store is not vikas (development) but vinash (destruction)."
The editorial said the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, which have claimed more than 40 lives, had served as the perfect backdrop for the BJP to anoint Modi as its prime ministerial prospect.
The CPI-M also mocked at Modi's decision to erect a gigantic statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat as a "Statue of Unity" by collecting iron pieces from across the country.
The editorial recalled that it was Sardar Patel who banned the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) following the 1948 assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Such a misappropriation of Sardar Patel is part of the overall objective of re-writing Indian history in order to straightjacket it into a monolithic record of the glorification of the 'Hindu Nation'.
"Such an effort is integral to advance the RSS project of the metamorphosis of the modern Indian secular democratic Republic into their version of 'Hindu Rashtra'."
New Delhi : About 100 holy men and their disciples from southern India will take part in a 20-day 'parikaram' programme in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh from Sunday, the VHP said Thursday.
Around a dozen holy men along with their 100 disciples from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh will take part in the event that will end Oct 13, ober, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad said.
The latest programme follows the completion of a similar programme by Hindu religious leaders from other parts of India in Ayodhya where the VHP seeks to build a grand temple at the site of the razed Babri mosque.
New Delhi : Indian Haj pilgrims have to shell out an additional Rs.20,000 this year on the pilgrimage, on account of the steep depreciation of the Indian rupee and high accommodation and travel costs, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
Khurshid, speaking at an interaction with media people working in the Urdu media in the national capital, said Thursday that each pilgrim this year has paid Rs.2 lakh for the pilgrimage conducted by the Haj Committee of India. Last year, pilgrims paid Rs.180,000.
The minister added, however, that those making the pilgrimage through private tour operators pay in the range of Rs.250,000. The air fare alone has increased by Rs.8,000 this year, the minister said.
Khursid said over 3,600 people wishing to undertake the pilgrimage opted out on account of the high cost and other reasons, and their seats would be allotted to applicants earlier wait-listed.
The minister said that since a reduction has been effected by authorities in Saudi Arabia on the quota of pilgrims from India, only 136,000 Indians will perform the pilgrimage this year.
The quota allotted to private tour operators has been cut by 30,000 to accommodate all pilgrims going through the Haj Committee of India.
The minister also said that the Haj subsidy offered by the government of India had been reduced by Rs.150 crore this year. It was Rs.800 crore last year.
The subsidy would be gradually phased out, the minister said, in accordance with a May 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court to gradually do away with the subsidy over a period of 10 years.
Khurshid said more than 38,000 pilgrims from India have already reached Saudi Arabia, and most of them are now in Medina.
Pilgrims are being airlifted from 21 embarkation points in the country.
Khurshid said the discretionary quota in the pilgrimage has been reduced to a mere 300, from the earlier 5,000.
New Delhi : Congress leader Rashid Alvi Thursday said the Muzaffarnagar communal violence was worse than the 2002 Gujarat riots and blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for it.
"The Muzaffarnagar riots are worse than the 2002 Gujarat riots," Alvi told IANS. "It is the responsibility of the UP government."
Alvi, a Rajya Sabha member, said he visited a relief camp Thursday morning across the Loni border but was then stopped by police.
"I visited a relief camp in Loni. But the police arrived there, took me to the Loni police station and said they had orders from Lucknow not to let me go beyond that point," Alvi said.
According to the Congress leader, who had visited Gujarat camps in 2002, there are around 50,000 displaced persons in six to seven relief camps in the Muzaffarnagar area.
"More people have been killed than the government figure. The toll could be over 100," he said.
Alvi said many of around 2,000 people in the Loni camp narrated their woes to him.
"There have been no FIRs though family members of many people have been killed. Around 73 people who had been sent back to their village by the police have returned to the camp as they don't feel safe there," he said.
By M Ghazali Khan,
Only once have I heard Narendra Modi telling the truth and admitting, in a television interview to a British filmmaker few weeks after the Gujarat genocide in 2002 and admitting, indirectly though, that he is not a fool. “Koi moorakh mukhya mantri hi apne rajya men arajakta phelwai ga (only a foolish chief minister will allow rioting and lawlessness in his state).” Modi was denying his role in the dance of death and destruction demonstrated on the streets of Gujarat under his rule. Not that he is now a reformed man and regrets his foolishness in allowing that program. The fact is that, as the old saying goes, “everybody is wiser after a bad experience”, Modi realised the blunders of his strategy only after facing condemnation from all over the world. There is no change in his anti-Muslim stance in the least. He is still spreading the misconception that Muslims are being, “appeased”. Praising and congratulating himself he still insists, as he has been saying in his speeches and interviews that his Gujarat experiment has proved, “appeasement ke baghair bhi sab ko saath le kar chala ja sakta hai” (without being appeased any, everyone can be taken aboard).
The narrow-mindedness and foolishness of Modi and his party hardly needs any comment. However, what is really strange is the lack of vision and wisdom of someone like Mulayam Singh who has allowed his solid Muslim support, especially in western UP to evaporate.
His courtship with Hindutva group — praise for Advani, meeting with VHP leaders, allowing anti-Muslim riots, 104 in his one and half year rule in UP, and now the bizarre display of complete disinterest and shameful unwillingness in controlling one of the most horrific riots in the state—is in sharp contrast to the praise he had showered upon Muslims after his overwhelming victory in assembly elections a year ago. Not only had he thanked the Muslims for their support but had even asked his party workers to keep this fact in mind.
But then there is nothing new about this coquettish behaviour of once “Mulla” Mulayam Singh. Before the elections he had flirted with Kalyan Singh, much to the annoyance of his party’s Muslim face Azam Khan and making some of his MLAs to say goodbye to his Samajwadi Party. Realising how damaging this courtship could be for his party, Mulayam parted his ways and was accused by Kalyan Singh of being an opportunist. What the readers would, however, be surprised and shocked to learn is that even few days after ordering the shooting on karsevaks in Ayodhya in 1990, Mulayam Singh was seen embracing with great warmth Mr Kalyan Singh inside the parliament building. This was reported by none other than M. Afzal, now Congress’s spokesperson, who used to edit Urdu weekly Akhabar-e-Nau. According to Mr Afzal when he expressed his astonishment at what he was witnessing, Mulayam Singh lost his temper and dared him, “aap ko jo likhna hai likh lena.” (Go on, write whatever you want to write).
Far from keeping his pre-election promise to release innocent Muslim youths languishing in jails for the fabricated terror charges, his government suppressed the publication of Nimesh Commission’s report on the arrest of Tariq Qasmi and late Khalid Mujahid. His Government went out of its way in protecting guilty officers in Faizabad riots.
Muzaffarnagar riots did not flare up suddenly. Hindutvaites have been busy in polarising the social and political climate in western UP for the last one or two years. Urdu newspapers have been constantly reporting on the provocative activities of Hindutvaites in the region. Few of such events that I can recall are: a maha panchayat and highly poisonous speeches in Manki, a village near Deoband; two Muftis of Darul Uloom Deoband travelling from Roorkee to Deoband, dragged out of a bus and beaten up resulting in tension and violent incidents in the town; two maha panchayats in Deoband and highly provocative speeches made, including by a former BJP MLA; riot between Muslims and Valmikis in Kairana; attack on Tableeghi ijtima in Kairana; a man from Khatauli attacked in a train and his beard shaved off; Muslims stopped from offering Shabeena prayers during Ramazan outside a mosque in Meerut leading to a riot like situation; and students of Darul Uloom travelling to and from Deoband assaulted in trains.
With the only exception that so far there is no proof of Mulayam Singh or his son Akhilesh having directly manoeuvred his foot soldiers to, ‘teach Muslims a lesson’. With certain angles there seems no difference between Gujarat in 2002 and Muzaffarnager in 2013: In Gujarat Sabarmati Express tragedy was used to incite anti-Muslim frenzy and organise pogroms, in Muzaffarnagar eve teasing has been used to polarise communities and commit atrocities; in Gujarat charred bodies of karsevaks were allowed to be taken out in a procession, in Muzaffarnagar rabble rousers were allowed to organise Mahapanchayat; in Gujarat mobile phones were used to coordinate attacks on Muslims, in Muzaffarnagar incitement was spread through social media and distributing fake CDs; to prove his efficiency in Gujarat, Modi controlled any reaction after the attack on Akshdham, in UP Mulayam Singh stopped VHP’s Yatra and tried to re-establish himself as the saviour of Muslims; Gujarat witnessed killings, arson, rapes and forced migration of Muslims, as time passes more and more similar stories are emerging from Muzaffarnagar. While Gujarat genocide 2002 had all the hallmark of being a well prepared pogrom, the manner in which a fake CD, reportedly shot two years ago in Pakistan, was edited and distributed and the manner in which provocation of Muslims had been going on in the area for more than a year gives every reason to assume that Muzaffarnager pogrom was premeditated and well planned.
In this background Mayawati’s comments that, "Every time elections are near, Mulayam Singh and the BJP and its affiliates, come together and plan political strategy," cannot be dismissed.
New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said that India has great admiration for spiritual leader Aga Khan whose tolerance is a contribution in countering sectarianism and fundamentalism.
"India has great admiration for Aga Khan and his noble mission of providing service to the needy and underprivileged in many parts of the world," said Mukherjee here after he met the Aga Khan at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The meeting came a day after the 16th century Humayun's Tomb, which was refurbished by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the city.
The president said: "The Aga Khan's stress on tolerance and service to humanity is a valuable contribution in countering sectarianism and fundamentalism."
The president expressed happiness over institutions under the Aga Khan Development Network working closely with ministries and central and state governments in implementing activities in the fields of health, education, rural development, culture and promoting people's livelihood.
The Humayun's Tomb complex, one of the biggest tourists draws in the Indian capital, is a world heritage site and has been restored to its old glory after six years of work.
The tomb's restoration project was the largest and most ambitious heritage conservation undertaken in India -- and the only one by a non-government body, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, along with other partners.
By Mohd. Ismail Khan, TwoCircles.net,
Hyderabad: This Haj season, pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are finding themselves in peculiar situation. At the peak of pilgrimage arrangements the state Haj committee, the apex constitutional body to monitor the operations, has been made to extinct.
Just two months after selection of pilgrims was finalized at the most important annual function on 15th August, the three year tenure of State Haj committee ended leaving nearly 7,322 Hajis from the state at the mercy of the Government and its crony bureaucrats.
Vaccination camp going on in the Haj House
The state Haj camp which is to begin from 23rd September will continue till October 9th, the special chartered flights to Saudi Arab are scheduled to commence from September 25th. And now at this crucial junction there is no proper chief to head the meetings to finalize Haj arrangements which obviously require lot of coordination and planning. This year it required even more so, as five neighboring districts of Karnataka have been attached to the AP state committee.
Syed Khaleeluddin Ahmed, the recently retired chairman of state Haj committee, minces no words in terming the present stalemate situation as more political failure than administrative in nature. Mr. Khaleeluddin who ran state Haj committee from 2010-2013 now fears that Hajis will be at the receiving end from what he believes possible administrative laxity which could arise due to lack of proper monitoring of the Hajj affairs.
Khaleeluddin Ahmed explains to TCN, “The Haj pilgrimage work will not stop, but the services as provided earlier by the committee will be effected. Haj committee is an independent body which can take administrative decisions more swiftly than confused hierarchical bureaucracy of Minorities Welfare Department.”
He claimed that officials at the Haj house will have to work according to the nods of political bosses, which in turn directly affect the decision making process, and more over without a committee official responsibility and accountability is difficult to be fixed.
According to Mr. Khaleeluddin it will be the first time that Haj pilgrimage will be put to task without a Committee and its result will be known only after the end of the camp which he fears won’t be pleasant, to deter any mismanagement he proposed some suggestion to Minority Affairs Ministry, “I did write to Minority Affairs Ministry suggesting to increase the tenure of the committee for at least by two months for the swift execution of Haj camp, but till the day I retired I didn’t get any reply.”
Minority Affairs Minister with selected Hajis
State Government on its part to ‘fire fight’ the situation on September 10 appointed a special Haj officer Prof. S.A. Shukoor, but it turns out to be a lame exercise. Mr. Shukoor the most favored Muslim bureaucrat in town has formerly been executive officer of the Haj Committee so the Government trusted him with an extra burden of responsibility. Mr. Shukoor already holds three major Government posts, as head of department of Urdu Nizam college, Director of Center for Educational Development of Minorities, Osmania University and the Director of State Urdu Academy.
But Mr. Shukoor is hopeful that his other three Government posts will not hinder him from carrying his new duties as Special Haj officer as for him it’s more about ‘Khidmat Ka Jazaba’ (the passion for service). Prof. Shukoor told TCN that his basic job as a Haj officer will be to monitor the Haj affairs in the absence of a committee and to report every move of Haj affairs back to Govt. In a sentence he explains his work.
“To make the Haj camp successful,” at the same time he believes that his personal work load of holding triple other Government posts will not affect his work as Haj officer because, “Most of the work of Haj officer is in the evening, I can handle it after completing my other works,” he said when contacted by TCN.
He refused to comment on the non existence of committee at such a crucial period of the Haj session, candidly calling it a ‘political matter’. Mr. Shukoor agreed that presence of Haj committee would have been a major help and its absence will create an extra burden. But he stays positive on the successes of the camp even without a committee, “We will try our best to make this camp successful, Executive Officer is giving assistance in the monitoring of camp, experience staff is already present along with hundreds of volunteers to support us.”
Haj Committee executive officer Abdul Hameed echoes with Special Haj officer, according to Mr. Hameed committee or no committee the functioning of camp will not be affected, “Haj committee functions under Haj Committee Act of 2002, we are governed by this act, so there is no question of getting dependent on political circles due to no availability of a formal committee.”
But when it was reminded to him that the same Act clearly states that process of formation of new committee should begin four months prior to the retirement of committee, Executive Officer said, it was an administrative and political decision from Minority Affairs Ministry on which he cannot comment.
Mr. Hameed aggress hesitantly that Government observing the circumstances should have increased the tenure of the committee, he said a ‘little extra burden’ has been put on administration of Haj house but they are managing it by appointing more volunteers.
State Haj house
So awful is now the situation that Minority Affairs Ministry has also come under fire from State Minorities Commission on the absence of Haj committee. When contacted its Chairman Abid Rasool Khan on this issue he said three week’s back Commission has already written to Minority Affairs Ministry recommending them to appoint a committee as soon as possible, or to increase the tenure of the retiring committee till the end of Haj session. Even commission raised the issue of appointment of Prof. Shukoor an over burdened Government employee as Special Haj officer, but appallingly Commission didn’t get any answer from the Ministry on such a crucial matter.
“Commission drew the attention of honorable minister on this issue, which he should have seen for himself. Minority Affairs Minister should have acted much earlier on this, it’s a small ministry he should have examined when people are getting retired, especially in the peak of their duty and arrangements should have been made to fill those vacancies,” Mr. Khan told TCN.
Mr. Abid Rasool Khan who had a stint of service with Haj committee before as ruling Congress party leader gave two probable reasons on why delay is engulfing on the appointment of Haj committee, “This state is getting bifurcated, on this juncture appointment of new committee must have been ignored, another issue is, a case is pending in the High Court against now retired chairman, so it must have thought not to increase his tenure. But a proper alternative should have been put in place, which is nowhere to be found now.”
SMC chairman assured that he is holding Haj camp review meetings and all the agenda of the Haj camp has been put in place which is moving swiftly, “Tenders have already been allotted, contractors will do their job, there will be huge set of volunteers apart from other officials, so there is nothing to be worry about.” Nevertheless he adds, “Haj Committee is a constitutional body so it is always better to have it.”
Minority Affairs Minister Mohammed Ahmedullah, however, appears unapologetic when TCN contacted him for his comments. Minister, a staunch United Andhra protagonist, doesn’t want to use the ‘T’ word to describe the standoff of Haj committee nor would he explain the hesitation for increasing the tenure of retired committee. But Mr. Ahmedullah explains that alternate plan he found in a precedent, was apparently stalled by the chief minister.
Counter inside Haj House
Mr. Ahmedullah expressly put the blame on Chief Minister office on non execution of alternate plan for Haj season, “I have already send a file for CM’s approval for appointing an ad hoc committee as was done in 2009 when the same situation arose due to retirement of existing committee. But the file is still hanging in his office, I have already raised the issue with him in high level meeting, I am hopeful that it will be cleared shortly and we get an ad hoc committee soon.”
At the same time Mr. Ahmedullah doesn’t bother even if Haj camp runs without a committee, “Committee is just a small group, and most of the work is done by the officials. I am personally monitoring the whole Haj pilgrimage operations, we will ensure that all the proper services are provided to the Hajis with or without the committee.”
Meanwhile, in this bureaucratic and political blame game its the Hajis who may be on the receiving end. Abdul Hameed Executive officer of the Haj committee considers that it is early on to measure the brunt of a vanished constitutional committee, “It is happening for the first time, so it is difficult to suggest at this juncture what will be its impact on the Haj services, it can only be known at the end of it. He is optimistic, nonetheless, “But we are hoping that it will not affect the Haj camp.” Hopefully!
Mumbai : In a major security breach and an embarrassment for Maharashtra Police, prime accused in Gujarat 2008 blasts and suspected Indian Mujahiddeen (IM) operative Afzal Usmani escaped from police custody while he was being brought to a court here Friday afternoon.
Police have launched a manhunt for Usmani who was brought along with around 23 other accused to the Sessions Court in a crowded south Mumbai area under tight security.
Among other charges, Usmani is accused of involvement in the terror blasts in Ahmedabad and planting over two dozen bombs in Surat in Gujarat in July 2008.
On July 26, 2008, at least 21 blasts rocked Ahmedabad within an hour, killing 56 and injuring more than 200 people. The explosives were placed in the tiffin-boxes on bicycles, public buses and a couple of hospitals.
A couple of days later, security agencies discovered 26 live bombs from various locations in the diamond polishing hub of Surat.
Usmani was being escorted from Taloja Central Jail in adjoining Raigad district to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court here for framing of formal charges against him.
According to official sources, shortly before he was due to be presented in the court around 3 p.m., Usmani sought permission to go to the toilet and escaped from there before the accompanying security personnel realized the lapse.
It is not clear whether he was accompanied by a security personnel to the toilet from where he sneaked out to freedom.
Following Usmani's shocking escape, Special MCOCA Judge A.L. Pansare adjourned further hearing in the matter till Sep 25.
"It is an unfortunate incident. This will have an impact on other cases also," Pansare said, describing the offence as "serious" and "negligence" on the part of the police escort team.
Expressing displeasure at the development, the court also issued an arrest warrant against Usmani.
Two police officials from the escort team have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
An inquiry has been initiated and search teams have been formed in all 12 Mumbai police zones to trace him out.
The teams were searching for Usmani in hotels, exit points to Mumbai, bus termini and railway stations as well as termini, besides checking out with cabbies and autorickshaw drivers for clues.
Medha Patkar and NBA Team
Response by Narmada Bachao Andolan to the recent statement by Shri Jairam Ramesh that there shall be no more Sardar Sarovar Projects in India (Statement of Shri Ramesh and pictures of his visit to SSP affected villages in May, 2013 attached)
We welcome the recent statement of the Union Minister of Rural Development, Shri Jairam Ramesh that there would be no more Sardar Sarovar like Projects in India. The reasoning and the rational that such gigantic projects lead to massive displacement of not just families, but whole communities, following forcible acquisition of generations-old land and properties is quite understandable and acceptable. Although a delayed statement, it is definitely one that shows a realization of the reality of such large project and their impacts. Not only the inter-state conflict that the Minister refers to, but also the permanent conflict between the State and its citizens is also a reason for review of such conflict-ridden projects.
Dam induced submergence in Village Chikalda – August 2013 – Fish workers’ hamlets under waters
While the lessons learnt from Sardar Sarovar and the people’s struggle over the last 28 years have gone a long way to partly change the perspective and also the water resource planning by the World Bank first and our own governments later, it is unfortunate that in the name of Sardar Sarovar and other Narmada dams, Chief Minister and officials of Madhya Pradesh, as Mr. Ramesh acknowledges, could ‘convince’ him to exempt irrigation projects from two of the significant provisions in the new Land Acquisition Bill, 2013. Those include allotment of 1 acre land per family in the command area as well a pre-condition of Social Impact Assessment before a project is sanctioned as a Public Purpose Project.
It is equally unfortunate that the real reason behind Sardar Sarovar like Projects being non-feasible or impractical is not just the mind-boggling social and ecological impacts, but also the incapacity, corruption and lack of political will of successive governments and their officials that have led to massive escalation in costs and minimal realization of even the projected benefits. This needs to be brought on record since neither Sardar Sarovar nor the conflict and struggle has yet become a tale of the past, but continues till date, raising extremely critical questions for the entire development paradigm of this nation.
Jairam Ramesh addresses public gathering at Chikalda
It is in the inter-state Sardar Sarovar Project where the people – adivasis, farmers, fish workers, potters, landless, artisans, shopkeepers etc. highlighted all issues including social and environmental impacts as well as unjustifiable costs, exaggerated benefits and unfair distribution of the same, including water allocation and sharing within Gujarat. An objective analysis of each of these aspects would lead to one and only one conclusion and that is: Even today SSP stands to be a perfect case for suspension of further dam work and reviewing the Project itself. There continue to be 2,50,000 people residing in the submergence area in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat till date, fighting not just for their rights, but for the right kind of development. It is true that during the 3 decades of struggle, this is the only dam where 11,000 families have got land for land in Maharashtra and Gujarat and about 300 resettlement sites had to be established for the thousands of families in the three states. However, not less than 7,000 – 8,000 families remain to get alternative land which is their legal entitlement. Madhya Pradesh, with the largest of submergence has been callously avoiding to provide cultivable land to displaced persons, whether in SSP or other large dams in the Narmada valley, while in the same state, huge chunks of land and resources are diverted to the corporates!
Over the years, the Andolan has exposed a huge corruption scandal in the rehabilitation, worth about Rs. 1,000 crores. Not less than 3,000 fake registries in the name of land purchase and 8,000 fake documents claiming livelihood based rehabilitation of landless has meant wastage of crores of rupees from the state exchequer. Who are the culprits? The Report by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which has been investigating, for the past five years, as per Orders of the M.P. High Court will bring out the truth.
Minister, MoRD enters Chikalda
Severe non-compliance on various environmental aspects such as command area development, catchment area treatment, impact on health and fisheries, downstream impacts, archeology, seismicity etc. has been reported by not one but many official committees including the latest Dr. Devendra Pandey Committee appointed by MoEF. Mr. Ramesh as the then Environment Minister had himself written to Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat on the various aspects of non-compliance. There are, to this day, millions of trees, hundreds of temples, mosques and other monuments, small and large of immense cultural significance in the submergence area. Can the State restore the generations old archeological remnants that lie underground in this oldest of the civilizations in the world? Can anyone ‘rehabilitate’ this heritage ever?
While Gujarat, supported by Madhya Pradesh, ready to sacrifice its own people and villages has been justifying all destruction, in the garb of ‘development, one really has to look at the benefits front to see if all the displacement is actually serving any ‘public purpose’? The financial cost of the project itself has escalated from Rs. 4,200 crores (1983) presumed for economic appraisal to Rs. 6,488 croes (1988) approved by the Planning Commission to the peak of 70,000 crores in 2012. What is the Benefit-Cost ratio today needs to be looked at in utmost seriousness. Even the Planning Commission could have but has not, never reviewed the same. Pushing the dam ahead from 122 mts to 139 mts, but not building the canal network over 30 years has resulting in irrigation falling behind and no use of the reservoir waters already ponded and available.
Jairam Ramesh pays respects at Gandhi Samadhi
The dam with 1450 MW of firm as power generation capacity would generate only 415 MW firm power and the same would also go on reducing as and how the irrigation comes into being and takes water allocated for the same purpose. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, however, are not entitled to even a drop of water from SSP, but only 27% and 56% of whatever power is generated at every level of the dam height respectively. While official data shows that power generation at SSP, commenced since 2004, Maharashtra and M.P. have not received the exact amount of the power they are entitled to.
Is it fair for a Project, built and pushed ahead in the name of needy farmers and villages of Kutch and Saurashtra to divert waters, on a large scale, to corporates, urban municipalities and cities in Gujarat? Is the decision of the Modi Government to exclude 4 lakh hecatres of land from the command area and reserve the same for corporates, SEZs, SIRs etc. a ‘farmer-friendly’ move or a fatal blow to the farmers in the state? How has the cost benefits ratio been affected by these changes is for anyone to imagine. Is the sacrifice of the Narmada valley necessary and justifiable for satisfying corporate greed and political vested interests, by changing the very plan of Sardar Sarovar? No doubt, M.P. and Gujarat are deliberately indifferent to the huge losses that have occurred due to submergence since 1993 to 2013, to the lives and livelihoods of 2.5 lakh people, to the thousands of houses, schools, dispensaries, shops, markets, temples, mosques, adivasi religious structures, lakhs of trees, all that is part of thriving village-life in the valley till date and all that is doomed to be drowned if the 17 mts gates on Sardar Sarovar are to be installed.
Will the Rural Development Minister who visited one of the villages (Chikalda) in the valley, a few months ago live up to his promise of ensuring justice to the 48,000 families? Coincidentally it at was Chikalda where the Asia’s foremost farmers were born, that Mr. Ramesh announced commitment by his government to ensure justice to the valley. Barely months after his visit, Chikalda witnessed its worst dam-induced submergence, with over 350 houses hit by the dam waters and hundreds of acres of land, with standing crop submerged. Will the Minister take the initiative to ensure justice to review the project? Will he ensure lawful rehabilitation of the thousands of families already affected and save the rest of the habitations and heritage in the valley?
19th September, 2013
By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
Lucknow: The indefinite dharna of Rihai Manch demanding justice for Khalid Mujahid was called off on September 19, Thursday after 121 long days.
Since May 20 Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.
Facing flak from all quarters over the failure of the administration to quell the Muzaffarnagar riots, Akhilesh Yadav government had presented the RD Nimesh Commission Report on Monday in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. As the one main demand of the Manch was fulfilled, Manch decided to call of its marathon dharna, but made it clear that they will not rest until the government brings out an action taken report.
A Mnach spokesperson said that they will now go and campaign amongst people to mobilize them to pressurize the government to take actions.
Khalid had died under mysterious circumstances on his way back from Faizabad near Ram Sanehi Ghat on May 18. He was declared brought dead by the doctors at district hospital in Barabanki. Later, on the complain of his uncle Zahir Alam Falahi, a case was registered against 42 police officers including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid's arrest.
Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF's claim about the place of arrests.
Khalid’s family and civil society groups are demanding CBI probe into Khalid’s custodial death and has compared his case with the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan by the Gujarat Police. They have also questioned the role of the IB.
Rihai Manch was leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government for last three months now demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges.
Several rights groups and and politicians, including Prakash Karat, Subhasini Ali, film maker Anand Patwardhan, Anusha Rizvi, among others had also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participation.
By TCN News,
New Delhi: Rashtriya Ulama Council organized a mass protest rally on the fifth anniversary of Batla house encounter i.e. September 19, 2013 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi pressing on their continuous demand of a judicial enquiry in the Batla House alleged encounter and the release of the innocent Muslim youths arrested in the name of Terrorism.
In 2008 on 19th September, on 4th floor of L-18, Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar area, two youths of Azamgarh were killed in a shootout, which was later claimed to be an encounter by special cell of Delhi police. In this shootout, one of the officers of Delhi police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma also lost his life. However, from the very first day Human and Civil Rights’ organistions and activists are demanding an independent judicial enquiry into the shootout. The post-mortem report of the deceased also pointed towards the encounter being a fake one.
Members of Rashtriya Ulama Council and of the Civil Society and other social organizations from different parts of the country gathered in thousands of numbers at the rally spot. Addressing the crowd, the national President of Rashtriya Ulama Council Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni said, “Six days after the 2008 serial blasts of Delhi, the Delhi police conspired to save it’s face and carried the fake encounter operation at L 18, Batla House and murdered cold bloodedly two innocent muslim youths Atif and Sajid and falsely implicated numerous innocent Muslim Youths in the blasts case and destroyed their lives.”
Rashtriya Ulama Council organized the huge protest march against this fake encounter right from Azamgarh to Delhi demanding an impartial judicial probe of the encounter.
Questioning the Delhi blast case investigation Mr Rashadi said, “When the investigation itself was unfair, how can the judgment be fair?” He added that, “Law and justice are of supreme importance in any society and the law should ensure that the justice prevails and the justice should ensure that the law gets executed. It’s the justice and the belief in justice that leads to the prosperity of the nation and if vice versa it could lead to unrest among the citizens which can be a big threat to the national integrity and prosperity”.
Describing the judgment of life sentence to Shahzad, one of the accused in the Batla House encounter Mr Rashadi said, “Until and unless an impartial judicial probe is not carried on in the Batla House encounter case there cannot be a fair trial and a fair judgment. There are many instances where in the lower courts have neglected the evidences, proofs and witnesses and have announced severe sentences however later on the higher courts have strictly criticized these judgments of the lower courts and have acquitted the accused.”
He added, “The cases of Syed Maqbool Shah in the Lajpat Nagar Bomb blast and that of Md Hussain alias Zulfeqar in the Punjabi Bagh case are a few examples of the above where in the honorable High Court and Supreme Court has acquitted the accused after being convicted by the lower courts. Hence we are pretty much sure that Shahzad will get justice from the higher courts. However its very unfortunate for the democratic and constitutional values of the country that innocents like the above mentioned persons had to wait for years and decades to avail justice and destroyed the very important years of their lives fighting for justice against the blame of being terrorist and traitor and then receiving no compensations from these governments”.
Mr Rashadi further said that, “The conspiracy of the government and the intelligence agencies of falsely implicating muslim youths in cases of terrorism to save their faces and to destroy the lives of these youths will only lead to anarchy and threat to the national integrity of the country”. He concluded by saying that, “We once again demand the judicial probe of the Batla House Encounter of Delhi, the Qateel Siddiqui murder in police custody of Maharashtra and the Khalid Mujahid murder in the police custody of Uttar Pradesh and we won’t remain silent till the government does not accept our demands and washes off the blot of terrorism on the muslim community”.
The national General Secretary of the council Maulana Tahir Madni protested that, “right after independence we (Muslims) have regularly been harassed under different accusations; initially we were blamed for the partition of the country and were massacred in communal riots and now we are being targeted in the name of fight against terrorism where in our youths our being killed in encounters and dozens of them are being lodged behind bars and thus their lives being destroyed for ever. The pseudo secular political parties of the country have only used us as vote banks for their political gains and have done nothing for the communities’ upliftment and due to which today the Indian muslims are completely marginalized. He blamed that Congress, Samajwadi party and Bahujan Samaj Party and other so called secular political outfits are equally responsible for the downtrodden condition of the muslims in India and now the muslim of India has recognized the true face of these parties and will teach them a lesson in the coming parliamentary elections if they do not act within time.
The rally was also addressed by the national vice president Maulana Nizamuddin Islahi, National secretary Lal Devendra Singh Chauhan, National treasurer Shahab Akhtar Qasmi, National President (Youth Wing) Maulana Muqtada Hussain Khairi, Mufti Ghufran Qasmi and the other national and state level dignitaries.
Lucknow : BJP legislator Suresh Rana, one of the politicians accused in the Muzaffarnagar communal violence in Uttar Pradesh, was finally arrested here Friday, police said.
Rana was taken into custody while going to Gomtinagar locality from the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters here, Inspector General of Police R.K. Vishwakarma told IANS.
A legislator from Bhawan in Muzaffarnagar, Rana has been booked under the Indian Penal Code and section 7 of the Criminal Amendment Act, which is a non-bailable offence, the official said.
The Muzaffarnagar police had some days ago issued an arrest warrant for Rana in line with a judicial ruling.
As news of Rana's arrest spread, several of his supporters reached the Gomtinagar police station and tried to prevent police from taking him away to an undisclosed destination.
Similar arrest warrants have been issued against 16 political leaders including four BJP legislators, a Congress leader and a Bahujan Samaj Party MP.
All of them have been accused of inciting people in Muzaffarnagar, where communal violence this month left more than 40 people dead and thousands displaced.
Laxmikant Bajpayi, the Uttar Pradesh BJP president, told IANS that the party will defend its leaders in courts.
He accused the Samajwadi Party government of acting against BJP leaders without proof and in order to "appease the minority community".
Hyderabad : The Aga Khan Academy, one of the educational centres of excellence planned around the world by Aga Kgan Development Network, was formally inaugurated here Friday.
The not-for profit academy which has come up on 100 acres of land donated by Andhra Pradesh government near the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, was formally launched by Aga Khan, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in the presence of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and union Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju.
The academy, which is running since 2011, is part of the global chain of such institutions planned by the AKDN and the second one to come up after Mombasa in Kenya. AKDN plans to set up 18 academies in 14 countries of Africa, Middle East, Central and South Asia.
The academy which follows International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum gives admit students on merit basis and has a strong scholarship programme.
The Aga Khan noted the foundation stone for the academy was laid in 2005. "The aim of the academy is to educate talented young mind for global future," he said.
The academy follows residential secondary school system and creates multinational environment, he pointed out.
He said the AKDN had taken up restoration of heritage monuments like Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and Qutub Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad.
Pallam Raju said the country had made great strides in education after Right To Education (RTE) Act came into force. He said 230 million children were sent to schools during last three years and hoped that more would be enrolled in next two years.
"The aim of the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad, is to develop home-grown leaders with a strong sense of ethics and civic responsibility, who will contribute to India's future. By intentionally bringing a diverse group of students to study and live together, the Academy aims to help build understanding and respect across diverse sectors of society," said a statement by AKDN.
The academy incorporates a professional development centre for teacher training and curricular innovation. The centre through its outreach programme, also extends modern teaching and learning methods to government and other not-for-profit schools.
The agencies of the AKDN work to improve the welfare of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa.
The AKDN works in 30 countries around the world and employs approximately 80,000 people and its annual budget for non-profit development activities is approximately $600 million.
New Delhi : The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government, Wakf boards in the states and union territories and the National Informatics Centre on a PIL for completing computerisation of records of Wakf Board properties across the country in line with the government's order.
Issuing the notice, a bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh told the petitioner's counsel Shad Anwar: "You have taken the right cause."
NGO Manav Vikas Sewa Samiti, which moved the PIL (public interest litigation), also sought that it should be supplied with the information by various Wakf boards and authorities under the Right to Information Act on the implementation of the government's decision.
The NGO has sought the compliance of the Dec 18, 2012, order of the minorities affairs ministry directing the Wakf boards to take necessary steps to ensure the completion of the computerisation of their records.
The ministry, the NGO Manav Vikas Sewa Samiti said, had asked all Wakf boards to computerise all their documents and details of properties attached to them but since no time frame was given by the ministry, the work was not carried out even though the central government made funds available for the project.
As a matter of fact, the PIL said, the Wakf properties were spread all over the country but there was lack of basic survey to record these properties.
"There is hardly any development of Waqf properties and a very substantial income that the Waqf properties could have generated for the welfare schemes of the community is lost because of non-development and large-scale encroachment of Wakf properties," the PIL said.
The government, the PIL said, undertook the scheme to streamline the records of state Wakf boards just to ascertain as to how many Wakf properties were under encroachment so that these could be recovered by taking legal remedies.
Seeking the intervention of the apex court, the PIL contended that state wakf boards have property worth trillions of rupees and these could be "used for the welfare of the poor and down trodden and to remove the vagrancy of the nation up to some extent..."
The notice is returnable in four weeks.
By TwoCircles.net Special Correspondent,
Shamli, UP: As the political parties are busy blaming each other for the Muzaffarnagar riots, an estimate over a lakh people are believed to have thronged the various relief camps in the district or neighboring Shamli, Ghaziabad, etc, although the government figure puts the number to be only 40,000.
The state government has clearly failed to even provide basic services to those forced to live in camps. Poor displaced Muslims are living in some 40 schools, mosques and relief camps and are scared to even go back.
As you visit from camp to camp and talk to individual, the story is strikingly similar, houses attacked, burnt, people running in desperation for lives, leaving everything behind.
While those lucky, have reached to safer camps, but almost every family is worried for some member of the family who is missing, was trapped, or could not escape.
There is a family of three brothers, one married with a child, who could escape, but has no knowledge of their grandfather, who was too old to walk.
NoorJahan from village Lakh says, although she could escape, her husband has been trapped in the village. She says she got the information that the Jats in the village have kept him, and is hopeful that he is alive.
Salma from Putholli in Meerut narrates how her houses was attacked and they beaten before they could run away.
Akbari from village Laakh in Shami district narrates the horrifying experience of how her house was burnt, although she is thankful to God that all her family members are safe, although they still are forced to live in camp.
(Videos shot by: MuslimMirror Team)
New Delhi : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Friday termed the communal violence in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar a blot on the country.
"The Muzaffarnagar (UP) riots were a blot on the country. Just as the 1989 Bhagalpur riots (Bihar) and the 2002 Gujarat riots were," Nitish Kumar said.
"India's unity in diversity is the idea of India and anything against it would defy that idea," he said while delivering a lecture on the "Idea of India" organised by the National Commission for Minorities at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library auditorium here.
Taking a dig at Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial nominee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's plank of development and governance, Nitish Kumar, without naming him, said "there can be no good governance if it is divisive or non-inclusive".
"What good is the claim of good governance if it creates communal barriers and divides society?," he said.
In June this year, his party Janata Dal-United parted ways with the BJP after Modi's projection as the campaign chief for the 2014 national polls.
Hinting at Modi, who had refused to wear a cap given by a Muslim cleric earlier, Nitish Kumar said besides "taking all sections of society together, one has to respect symbols also and sometimes wear a cap or sport a 'tilak' (a mark on the forehead)."
Referring to the hype that has been created around Modi's nomination as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and his projection as a "national saviour", Nitish Kumar said, "This is not a natural wave but an artificial one."
Stressing that "communal harmony was key to peace, social equity and development," he said, "the state must maintain a constant vigil against any attempt to tear the social fabric of the country."
"The test of a government," Nitish Kumar said is that "it should work for all sections of society and should be seen by the people as such".
"Response time in riots must be swift followed by delivery of justice and rehabilitation of victims," he said, citing the example when his government reopened the 1989 Bhagalpur riots cases and provided justice and relief after several years of the incident.
Providing opportunity to the deprived is a way to achieve social equality, said Nitish Kumar, who is serving his second term on the plank of development in one of India's most backward states.
"We should not fight each other but fight hunger and poverty," he said while listing many social welfare schemes run by his government.
"The idea of India would prevail," he added.
By TCN News,
New Delhi: The Faculty of Education, Jamia Millia Islamia is going to organize a 10-day Capacity Building programme for school teachers from 21-30 September, 2013.
The programme is aimed at improving the functional, spoken English skills of the school teachers. This is in continuation of the series of capacity building programmes organized earlier with the objective of enriching the communication competence of teachers.
Sessions have been planned keeping the functional needs of the teachers in mind. The sessions will encourage the active involvement of the learners with practical hands – on activity, incorporating elements of simple yet effective strategies to develop communicative competence. Resource persons from SCERT, Delhi University, IGNOU and Jamia and other premier academic institutions will address the participants in different sessions of the programme.
The primary aim of the programme is to improve the communicative competence i.e. the ability to communicate in English according to the situation, purpose and roles of the participants.
The capacity-building will cover the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as improving and building vocabulary.
Lucknow: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Saturday cancelled his visit to Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district which was hit by communal clashes, leaving 48 dead and more than 43,000 displaced.
Singh, officials said, had been requested by District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma not to come to the city.
In a fax letter sent to the BJP president's office, the DM urged him not to pay a visit to the area as it could disturb calm and peace that is prevailing in the area after a string of violent clashes and incidents since Sep 7.
Officials said Singh was to start from his Ashoka road residence in New Delhi for Muzaffarnagar but later put off his visit in view of the tension after the arrest of BJP legislator Suresh Rana Friday.
"While we continue to maintain that the state government had completely failed to protect the citizens in the area, the BJP president did not want to take the blame of any untoward incident that might follow," a close aide told IANS.
Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had also called off his visit to Muzaffarnagar Friday owing to the "continued tension in the region".
By Amulya Ganguli, IANS,
Even as Narendra Modi greeted rows of Muslims in skull caps in Ahmedabad as they sought reconciliation with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party's fiery leader, Uma Bharati, who was portrayed in 1992 gleefully watching the demolition of the Babri Masjid, was standing shoulder to shoulder with the BJP legislators in Uttar Pradesh who were accused of instigating the recent Muzaffarnagar riots.
But for the violent outbreak, which saw a return to the venomous, anti-Muslim rhetoric of the 1990s by the BJP, the party might have been able to evolve a coherent line on its attitude towards the minorities. The communal conflagration, however, seems to have queered the pitch for it.
When the riots took place, they were expected by the BJP to consolidate the Hindu votes in the state in its favour as previous riots, notably in Gujarat in 2002, have done. Since the BJP has been on a weak wicket in the state ever since the attack on the Babri Masjid, cynics even saw a sinister conspiracy in tandem with the Samajwadi Party behind the outbreak.
As Uma Bharati's pugnacity shows, it may take time for the communal temperatures to cool, especially since the Akhilesh Yadav government has proved singularly incapable of handling the situation. But the gulf between the BJP's aggressive postures in Uttar Pradesh and its efforts to reach out to the Muslims elsewhere is obvious.
It is not surprising that Modi is behind the friendly initiatives. He is evidently engaged in a makeover bid to bury his anti-Muslim image linked to the 2002 riots. The projection of a gentler, kinder personality is indispensable for his prime ministerial ambition. In the process, he may be overplaying his hand.
For instance, the party's advice to Muslims to attend Modi's rallies in skull caps and burqas (veils) is not only odd but also unprecedented. Never before has a party asked its potential supporters to visit its shows dressed in the distinctive attire of their communities. The BJP has reportedly even handed out skull caps and burqas for the purpose.
If the intention is to show Modi's "popularity" among Muslims to television audiences, the ploy is unlikely to succeed in the present age of instant and widespread communication since it will be known that the Muslims are only following the BJP's advice to look like Muslims and not doing so on their own volition.
Besides, the insistence on particular items of dress will tend to stereotype Muslims as "backward" since skull caps and burqas are not worn by members of the community belonging to the more progressive sections of the community.
Whatever the pros and cons of these PR gimmicks, they at least show that Modi is aiming at bridging the decades-old gap between the BJP and the minorities. But can he make any headway if a tragedy like the one in Muzaffarnagar is seen to reveal the party's real face ?
It is not without reason that Modi has remained silent about the incident. Both he and his party have been taking pride for the decade of peace in Gujarat since 2002. They will be uneasy, therefore, if Muzaffarnagar serves as a reminder that nothing has changed in the BJP.
True, the BJP is not the only guilty party in Uttar Pradesh. As the arrest warrants against the suspects have shown, the ruling Samajwadi Party, as also the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, too, were involved. But it is Modi's efforts to refurbish his image which will suffer the most.
Intriguingly, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh will be hamstrung if its functionaries at the lower levels have to distance themselves from the riots in the near future to accommodate Modi's new line. Will it be possible for Uma Bharati to tone down her rhetoric along with another preacher, Sadhvi Prachi, who has come to the fore after the riots?
Even as Modi goes barnstorming across the country to showcase his talent for solving the country's problems, the question will be asked if he is in control of his own party. It is not only dissenters at the top like L.K. Advani who pose a problem, but the Uma Bharatis and Prachis lower down who have been reared in the belief that India is of, by and for Hindus and that Muslims are aliens, having invaded the country in the medieval ages.
Since the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological head of the Hindu nationalist groups, propounds this thesis, it will not be easy for Modi to steer the BJP in a new direction, which is unfamiliar to most of its grassroots cadres and supporters.
Modi has been banking till now on the anti-Congress mood in the country and his own reputation as a development-oriented, decisive leader. By extending a friendly hand to the Muslims, he has also sought to underline his suitability for a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic country like Indiaz.
But his real challenge will be to douse the long-prevalent, intensely anti-Muslim sentiments not only in the BJP but also in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal among other saffron political affiliates.
(21-09-2013-Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
New Delhi/Lucknow: Whenever the Samajwadi Party (SP) comes to power, "a series of communal riots begin in Uttar Pradesh", said BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday after he called off his visit to violence-hit Muzaffarnagar district.
"If we see the history of riots, then we can see that whenever the Samajwadi Party (SP) comes to power, a series of communal riots begin in Uttar Pradesh," BJP president Rajnath Singh said in a press conference in Delhi.
The BJP president, officials said in Lucknow, had been requested by District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma not to come to Muzaffarnagar city.
In a fax letter sent to the BJP president's office, the DM urged him not to pay a visit to the area as it could disturb calm and peace that is prevailing in the area after a string of violent clashes and incidents since Sep 7.
Rajnath Singh accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of arresting innocent people in order to veil their involvement in the act of violence.
"The sting operation by a television channel clearly proves that the people who are present inside the government have a hand in the riots, so why are they only arresting the BJP legislators?" he asked.
BJP legislator Suresh Rana, against whom a court issued non-bailable warrant, was arrested Friday, while another BJP legislator, Sangeet Som surrendered before the police in Uttar Pradesh's Sardhana town Saturday.
Rajnath Singh said the situation in Muzaffarnagar is like during the period of emergency, and said BJP leaders will meet President Pranab Mukherjee Sep 24.
"We have asked for president's time so that we can give him the real details of the situation," he said.
He also said BJP legislators were not in any way involved in inciting violence when communal riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar Sep 7, leaving 48 dead and over 40,000 homeless.