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Indian Muslim

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    By TCN News

    Washigton, DC: Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a US-based advocacy group of Indian Muslims has called on people of all faiths to come together on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, to renew their commitment to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and to work towards a world where our common humanity is the basis for mutual coexistence and co-operation.

    Coming few days after the demise of legendary anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and the 21st anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India, it would be most apt to remember Mandela's words:

    "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

    As Indian Americans, the International Human Rights Day is also an occasion for profound introspection on some of the articles of the UN Declaration which are also enshrined in the Constitution of India. Article 3 of the Declaration upholds the right of every human being to life, liberty and security of person. The same rights are echoed in the preamble to the Constitution of India, which seeks to secure for all citizens, justice, liberty and equality. Article 21 of India's Constitution declares that no deprivation of life and liberty is permitted except according to procedures established by law.

    Unfortunately, increasing sectarian violence in India, marked by targeted killings of religious minorities and disadvantaged groups and accompanied by brutal forms of sexual violence against women are a stark reminder that the struggle to secure the life and liberty for all of India's citizens is as relevant and urgent as ever. The horrific violence in Muzaffarnagar earlier this year, that led to the killing of over 60 people and the mass displacement of over 50,000 from their homes and ancestral lands shows that the horrors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, can and will be repeated, unless we struggle against the hate ideologies that engender such violence. On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, IAMC has released a video titled " Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots of 2002, [2]" that exposes how the mass violence in Muzaffarnagar was engineered, and the human suffering it has wrought. The victims of Muzaffarnagar continue to suffer, due to the political chicanery and the apathy of those in positions of power. The International Human Rights Day is also a time to commemorate the struggle of the Dalit community and other disadvantaged groups in India, that have endured discrimination and bias for centuries.

    "In this backdrop, the virulent opposition to House Resolution H.Res. 417 is a demonstration of the powerful forces arrayed against a change in the status quo, " said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. "The resolution praises India's 'rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,' while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom. It is inspiring to see that the mere introduction of a resolution seeking to safeguard human rights and religious freedom has raised the hackles of those who wish to impose their narrow, sectarian vision over India," added Mr. Khan [3] [4].

    Terror attacks, such as the ones in Malegaon (2006 and 2008) and on Samjhauta Express (2007) and random bomb blasts continue to claim the lives of innocent people while also resulting in continued suffering for countless families whose loved ones are detained on flimsy grounds. Article 9 of the UN Declaration pronounces that none shall be "subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile," a right that continues to be violated in India through the illegal detention of youth from the minorities [5], often on trumped-up charges of terror. The abduction and custodial death of Khalid Mujahid exemplifies the suffering of hundreds of such youth [6] [7].

    Over six decades after India gained Independence, millions continue to struggle for the right guaranteed by Article 26 of the UN Declaration which says: "Everyone has the right to education," and "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality..." and shall " promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups." In this context the manipulation of text books to indoctrinate young minds with an inaccurate and distorted version of India's history is deeply alarming [8] [9].

    IAMC has called on all those struggling to uphold human rights and justice for all, regardless of caste, creed, gender, or ethnic origin, to join hands in the struggle to save the soul of India, and to renew their commitment to uphold secularism in our society.

    Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

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    By Jasim Mohammad,

    In the recently held assembly elections the Congress has lost heavily in four states namely Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. It has shrieked much beyond the respected defeats and this situation did not arrive suddenly. It is the outcome of the short slightness of Congress itself. First of all Congress did not realize that the resentment is brewing among the deprived and marginalized classes particularly Muslims.

    A balance sheet of the last five year indicates that the Congress did not act in a transparent manner to deliver the goods to its voters. Rising prices and illogical statements of the Congress leaders made matters worse. The defeat of the Congress is not the end result of the incapability of the state governments concerned, but also largely goes to the credit of the UPA government at the Centre also.

    India is a secular country and its citizen are also secular by and large but when political alternative is not in sight then the masses will certainly shift their votes to someone whom they may not like. It will be surprising to note that BJP succeeded in getting Muslim votes in Rajasthan and there are reports that even in Madhya Pradesh Muslims have gone with BJP. It is a deviation from earlier stand. Though a negative one but it has happened.

    In Delhi Congress could bag only 8 seats out of 70 whereas in 2008 it had 41. The BJP succeeded in grabbing 32 while in 2008 it had only 24. AAP became popular party by occupying 28 seats. There is large presence of Muslims in Delhi. Despite that BJP succeeded in making inroads.

    In Rajasthan BJP got 162 seats whereas in 2008 it has only 78. The Congress which was ruling in the state with 96 seats could get only 21 seats. In Madhya Pradesh Congress won on 61 seats whereas in 2008 it has 71 seats. The BJP got 162 seats while it has 143 in 2008. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP got 49 seats in comparison to 50 in 2008 but Congress failed to cash on and got only 39 seats while it had 38 in 2008.

    This was the clear political achievement balance sheet. It reveals that the Congress failed bitterly in attracting new voters while it lost its traditional vote bank like Muslims, dalits and other marginalized sections of Indian citizenry.

    It may be recalled that many organizations had drawn the attention of Ashok Gehlot government towards the injustices heaped upon the Muslims but Gehlot did not acted positively. On 16 July 2013, the Forum for Muslim Studies & Analysis staged a one day dharna on Shaheed Smarak, Jaipur led by noted film director Mahesh Bhatt with a Charter of demand. It is surprising that the Chief Minister did not even granted time to the delegation of forum for receiving memorandum. Such a negative attitude cannot bring votes in a democracy to any political party. Did UPA not know anything about riots in Gopalgarh in which Muslims were killed in the mosque? Was that not a proper time to bring Anti Communal Violence Bill?

    If we take the balance sheet of the UPA-II performance then it is almost nil. Except making tall promises, in fact it failed to deliver justice and goods. Though Sachar Committee was appointed during UPA-I itself but its recommendations could not be implemented on ground level and Muslims felt cheated. Union government failed to evolve any mechanism for monitoring the schemes it launched for Muslims and the result is that most of the funds were transfered to other projects and segments and could not be used for Muslim welfare.

    There is another aspect also most of that UPA minister are not responsible and accountable. They shy away from meeting and do not try to solve problems of people. Union government has passed Waqf bill but it is not up to the mark and fails in achieving its goal. During the ministry allotment, OBC Muslims have been completely neglected. Even Dr. K. Rahman Khan is not a responsive minister. It may be recalled that Maulana Azad Education Foundation failed to release grants even to observe Maulana Azad birth anniversary. How can it serve the purpose for which it was created?

    Since last several years there is no officials posted in National Minority Financial Corporation and the government claim on paper that minorities are being provided financial back up. It has been noted that during the last year the Congress government only played politics of data which cannot satisfy the masses at all. How can you satisfy the people in a democracy just by promises and data? They want to see the things happen and are more concerned with development than just a rosy picture. It may be recalled how the shining India concept of BJP failed earlier. There are political messages which the Congress should take up seriously and quickly.

    There is another example of shortsighness of Congress. An apex body of the Muslims the Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC) Aligarh which supported the Congress in last several assembly elections and even in last parliamentary elections tried to draw the attention of Congress bosses several times to the pathetic conditions but they did not even met them. It is political blunder that Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi both failed to grant time to its delegation even to hear their pleas. Ignoring such powerful organizations which have root among masses is costing Congress dearly.

    Rightly or wrongly, Muslims have placed that Congress and BJP on one Platform recently and that is not a good position. Everybody knows well the agenda of BJP but how to convince masses for voting for Congress? There should be some positive point and deliverance. The height of political immaturity was the statement of Rahul Gandhi after Muzaffarnagar riot that the agents of ISI had engineered the riot. The statement hurt Muslims sentiments at all level.

    India is passing through a crucial phase. Once the saffron brigade takes over the power, the situation will not be the same. India is a multi-religious, lingual and cultural country with a secular constitution. Despite that fact the masses have preferred BJP which is on the other side, bent upon to turn India into Hindu Rashtra. Modi is fast galloping to Prime Ministerial seat and if the trend goes on then nobody can stop him.

    It is time for the Congress to take up corrective steps. It should involve grass-root organisations and must not depend upon selected few in Delhi to garner support of the lost Muslims. There is still time, long pending issues of the Muslims should be solved like Anti Communal Violence Bill, constituting Equal Opportunities Commission, deletion of para 3 of 1950 Presidential Order for removing religious binding for reservation and so on.

    It may be noted that the Indian Muslims are Indian not by any compulsion but by choice. If India turns into a Hindu Rashtra the biggest loser will be Muslims so they are very much concerned with the political survival of the Congress but Congress itself should take up steps.

    (Author is editor of The Aligarh Movement monthly. He can be reached

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    By Dr. Syed Ahmed for,

    Imphal: The Anjuman Islah-e-Muaashrah (AIM), Lilong, one of the most prominent bodies of ulema which work for curbing anti-social activities in Manipur, disposes off illicit drugs worth Rs. 21 lakh on December 8, 2013 at Lilong in Thoubal district. An Anjuman Mental and Spiritual Fitness Centre building was also inaugurated on the day, which was followed by a mass bike rally.

    Speaking to the media-persons, Secretary of AIM Moulana Habib-ul-lah said, “The Anjuman has been checking drug-abuse and drug-trafficking in and around Lilong for quite a long time. We have organized the body to curb illegal and anti-social activities in and around Lilong. Lilong, the largest Muslim inhabited area in Manipur, is also one of areas of Manipur where the problem of drug-abuse and drug-trafficking has badly affected. We have to save our youth from drugs. We have to make them aware of the dangers of using these drugs. We all have to unite in the fight against the menace of drug-abuse. We have today consigned drugs worth Rs. 21 lakh in the international market, which we have seized from Lilong in the last few years. Our body had been disposing off seized illegal drugs by consigning them on fire. The body had before this set ablaze illicit drugs worth more than Rs. 30 lakh in the international market.”

    “We have instituted an award for media-persons. These will be given to media persons who report the activities of AIM accurately. This media award is sponsored by Thoubal Zilla Parishad Member Moulana Abdul Salam. We are really grateful to Maulana Salam for encouraging us. The body is carrying our mass bike rally. Our members will be carrying the message of our anti-drug drive to the people of Lilong. We are also opening the Anjuman Mental and Spiritual fitness centre, which will help in rehabilitating drug-users and encourage them to live a normal life. We have started enrolling drug-users at the centre. So far, the centre has rehabilitated around 50 drug-users,” added Habib-ul-llah.

    The items of illicit and contraband drugs, which were disposed at Lilong Turel Ahanbi Dam, included 351,121 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon, 10,664 bottles of D Cough Syrup, 166,500 tablets of Solkuf, 89,037 capsules of N10, 11,360 tablets of M-Doxene, 166,000 tablets of Lee First-T tablets, 85 grams of heroin No. 4, 829 litres of alcohol, 2 kg and 900 grams of opium and opium manufacturing machines.

    The Anjuman Media Award was conferred to Raja Thongkhongmayum, a news-reporter of the local daily, The Sangai Express.

    AIM president Moulana Kayamuddin flagged off the bike-rally from Karampat Public Ground, Lilong Kaleikhong. Those who took part in the rally carried placards which read: “Let’s fight together against drug-abuse,” “Let’s stop abusing drugs”, “Let’s stop peddling drugs”, “Let’s wipe out all kinds of drugs from the surface of Earth”, etc.

    The Anjuman Mental and Spiritual Fitness Centre, built near Lilong Dam Keithel, was inaugurated by Chief Advisor of AIM Moulana Abdul Aziz. The function was attended by MLA and Chairman of Wakf Board, Manipur, Md. Fazlur Rahim, Zilla Parishad Member Moulana Abdul Salam and Associate Professor of Lilong Haoreibi College Md. Kalilur Rahman.

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    By IANS,

    Bhopal : Demanding adequate compensation, right treatment and rehabilitation, survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy protested near parliament here Wednesday.

    Twenty-nine years after the disaster, five lakh victims were still waiting for a just and adequate compensation, said Sadhna Karnik of the Bhopal Gas Victims Struggle Support Committee.

    She said in a statement that survivors demanded Rs.10 lakh compensation to each of the half a million victims.

    A list of demands was submitted to the Prime Minister's Office by a delegation that included CPI-M MP Basudeb Acharya.

    Lethal gas leaked from the now shut Union Carbide pesticide plant on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, killing thousands instantly and many more over the years. Many thousands in Bhopal suffer from a variety of ailments.

    The statement said half a million victims "have been waiting for just compensation".

    It accused the Madhya Pradesh and central governments of providing false data to the Supreme Court on the number of dead and the suffering of those who survived after inhaling the gas.

    The statement said while official records put the dead in the disaster at 5,295, "more than 50,000 people have died in the last 29 years".

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    By IANS,

    Riyadh : Saudi Arabian authorities have issued notice to schools that expatriate students cannot be barred from sitting for examinations and their certificates cannot be blocked on the ground that their iqamas - residency permits for expatriate in Saudi Arabia - have expired.

    The country's ministry of education has issued this directive in the wake of increasing number of complaints from expatriate parents that their children have been barred from continuing education in the middle of the academic year, the Saudi Gazette reported Wednesday.

    The school authorities should inform parents in writing that iqamas should be renewed to continue their children’s education.

    The ministry also said that schools should accept students whose iqamas are under the process of renewal.

    The schools should consider the delay in the renewal of iqama as it is purely out of the control of the iqama holder due to factors such as a dispute between the employer and the employee.

    When parents face problems with iqamas, they should write to the school authorities mentioning the problems.

    There are around 2.8 million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia.

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    By IANS,

    Kolkata : Asked to leave West Bengal in 2007, which she still considers her "own land", exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen Wednesday hoped she could return to the eastern metropolis some day in future.

    Nasreen stays in a house in Delhi under police protection.

    The celebrated feminist said she has nothing to say on the political scenario in the state and is not antagonistic towards any political organisation that does not favour her.

    "I have no comments on the political scenario in West Bengal. The state government at that time had for certain reasons asked me to leave but I do hope someday I can return," Nasreen told the media here during a video conference to launch the Bengali serial "Dusahobas" based on her story.

    "I had lost hope (about coming back to Kolkata). I had to leave Kolkata. A writer lives through her work. My presence there is not necessary as long as my work reaches out to the people of Bengal," she said.

    "I am extremely grateful that India has sheltered me ... given me residence permits so that I can stay here."

    Being a Bengali writer, she feels that staying in constant touch with the language betters her verse.

    "I am a Bengali author and it's good to stay where Bengali is the language because if I stay away from the language then I have observed that my fluency gets affected ... I tend to forget some words of Bengali," Nasreen said.

    On the political scene in the state, she said: "I do not indulge in politics. I am neutral ... a political party which does good humanitarian work I am in favour of that. I am not against any party which doesn't like me."

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday said his party was ready for fresh elections, and chided the BJP for not forming a government despite being the largest party in the Delhi assembly.

    Addressing a public meeting after the Aam Aadmi Party won a stunning 28 seats in the 70-member house, Kejriwal also said that AAP's web site would be opened for donations for the next assembly polls in Delhi.

    "We are prepared to fight the elections again," Kejriwal said.

    Kejriwal did not talk about the party's plans for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but many other AAP leaders referred to it.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party won 31 seats while the Congress, after ruling the city for 15, ended with eight seats.

    Kejriwal said the BJP and Congress should form a government as they had the numbers to notch up a majority in the Delhi assembly.

    "The BJP and Congress are two sides of the same coin... They have got seats and should jointly form a government."

    He said if the BJP fails to form a government despite 31 seats, people should regard it as a failure and not support it any further.

    He urged members in Congress and the BJP who feel suffocated to join the one-year-old AAP.

    Apart from Kejriwal, the meeting at Jantar Mantar was attended by other party leaders including newly elected legislators.

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    By Saiyed Danish,,

    New Delhi: Christian Dalits and Muslim Dalits gathered from all over India on the International Human Rights Day on 11th December to demand their inclusion into the Scheduled Caste (SC) category and be entitled to all kinds of reservations from which the Hindu and Buddhist Dalits benefit.

    Janata Dal (United) leader and MP in Rajya Sabha Ali Anwar also showed his support for the protest and said, “I raised this issue early morning in the House also but the opposition did not allow me to speak properly hence I have written a letter to the Speaker of the House to make whim aware the entire issue and I am pained to see severe lathicharge done on peaceful people here and so I stand with them.”

    “Religion based discrimination against Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims by the government is continuing for the past 63 years since the Scheduled Caste Order 1950, treating them as less than the citizens of India and persecuting these religious minorities selectively. Now our people clearly see that it is the Congress party and UPA government that put hurdles in our fight to achieve our rights,” said Bishop Nidhinathan.

    Father Lut Swami from Tamil Nadu said, “Our only demand is to include Dalit Christians and Muslims into SC list and for that we ready to go to any extent as denial of our rights has reached to a saturation point now.”

    Sheikh Sattar, who showed his solidarity at the event said, “Till 1950, the Constitution gave Dalits from all faiths equal reservation but after 10 August of the same year, which we regard as a black day, our rights were snatched by the government and we are fighting to take it back.”

    “The government had taken back our right to reservation by saying that except Dalit Hindus, others will not get reservations but Sikh Dalits got their share in 1956 and Buddhist Dalits got reservation in 1990. It has been two since the government has not answers the simple questions put up by the Supreme Court in this regard,” said Haji Ahmad Hawari of All India Jamiat ul Hawareen.

    “In the wake of the Writ Petition no. 180/2004 in the Supreme Court, the UPA Government referred the matter to the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) headed by Justice Ranganath Misra. The commission submitted its report to the Prime Minister in May 2007 itself and it eminently justified our demand and strongly recommended the deletion of the paragraph 3 of the Constitution (SC) Order 1950 to “make the Scheduled Caste net fully religion-neutral like that of the Scheduled Tribe,” reads the press statement of National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christians.

    SDPI also showed its presence at the protest right from beginning and actively participated in raising demands of equality. “This is a movement which was long due and it is just fight for equality,” said Azeem Navaid.

    The gathering of hundreds of protesters at Jantar Mantar shouted slogans against the government and addressed the attendees through various Christian and Muslim platforms. After the gathering the protesters consolidated themselves for a protest march that is when the situation turned ugly as the police tried to stop them from marching on towards the Patel Chowk Metro station road.

    The police, in order to stop their march, lathicharged and unleashed water cannons of the protesters in which some protesters were injured but determined not to leave they sat on the road blocking the traffic in the heart of Delhi or two hours. Later on the protesters gave arrests and all were taken to the police station.


    ‘One million post cards campaign’ launched to press for inclusion of Dalit Christians & Muslims in SC

    Pasmanda Muslims question govt lax attitude in bringing Dalit Christians and Muslims under SC ambit

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : Bollywood thespian Dilip Kumar's biography, which was earlier scheduled to be released on his 91st birthday, will now come out early next year, said his wife and yesteryear actress Saira Banu.

    The biography, written by author Uday Tara Nayar, who is also a close family friend of the Bollywood thespian, is ready. It is likely to be released in January or in the beginning of February in the new year.

    Dilip Kumar turned 91 Wednesday.

    Saira said they planned to release the book on 11.12.13, a special date, but could not do so because of the legend's weak health.

    "Actually, we were planning to launch Dilip Sahab's biography today (Wednesday) and everybody said that it is a very special date, but unfortunately, we could not as he fell ill," Saira told reporters here Wednesday at a party at her Pali Hill residence to celebrate the actor's birthday.

    "Now, Inshallah, we will launch the biography in January end or in the beginning of February next year," she added.

    The two-part book focuses on the actor's nine-decade long journey, his love story with Saira Banu, some untold stories as well as rare pictures of the thespian and his family members.

    In the past, three books on Dilip Kumar by Vinita Lamba, Sanjit Nawrekar and Lord Meghnad Desai were published.

    Dilip Kumar had a quiet celebration on his 91st birthday with close friends, family and his team of doctors. Saira said they chose for quiet celebration because of Dilip's health.

    However, she has plans for a grand party for the film fraternity at the launch of thespian's biography.

    "We have celebrated this birthday quietly with close friends, family and a team of doctors because we don't want to put much strain on him," Saira, who has worked with Dilip Kumar in films like "Gopi" and "Sagina", said.

    "If you (reporters) remember two years back we had a grand celebration of his birthday. Everyone came and spent time with him. So, Inshallah, we will invite all the industry people at the book launch," she added.

    One of the best performers on the Indian silver screen, Dilip Kumar in his six decades' career worked in much appreciated films like "Jwar Bhata""Mela", "Naya Daur", "Devdas", "Madhumati" and "Mughal-E-Azam".

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    By IANS,

    Patna : The Bihar assembly proceedings were disrupted Thursday by the opposition BJP which demanded CBI probe into the Patna serial blasts ahead of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally Oct 27.

    The assembly was adjourned till 2.30 p.m. after the ruckus in the morning.

    Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nand Kishore Yadav said: "We are demanding a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into security lapses that led to the serial blasts."

    He blamed the state government for the blasts Oct 27 at the Patna railway station and the Gandhi Maidan where Modi's rally was later held that day.

    "Terrorists were deliberately provided opportunity to trigger blasts," he claimed.

    At least six people were killed and nearly 100 injured in the serial blasts in Patna.

    The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing into the Patna serial blasts. Some suspects, including accused Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari, have been arrested.

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    By IANS,

    Riyadh : A three-year-old Indian boy was killed by a speeding car while boarding a car along with his mother in Saudi Arabia.

    Abdul Rahman Mohammed, from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, was pronounced dead on the spot, the Arab News reported Thursday.

    The family of the victim works in Yanbu in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia, 300 km northwest of Jeddah.

    The driver of the car that ran over the boy was a Syrian national.

    Abdul Rahman’s body is being kept at the Royal Commission Hospital in the city.

    According to the report, the family wishes to give their son burial in Yanbu.

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    By TCN News,

    Bhopal, December 12: Adv. Sajid Siddiqui, president of Madhya Pradesh unit of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has alleged that BJP and Congress, who are two sides of the same coin, seem to be in a secret deal having signed a pact to help each other while taking the electorates for granted.

    Adv. Siddiqui in a statement said that BJP wants to remain in power in three to four northern states along with Gujarat while allowing Congress to rule at the centre.

    He suggested that in the national interest Congress should extend unconditional support to BJP to form government in Delhi to break the logjam of hung assembly after the recent assembly elections. If Congress extends support and BJP accepts it then re-election for the Delhi state assembly can be avoided and huge expenditure to be incurred by the exchequer can be saved and thereby common man can heave a sigh of relief.

    Adv. Siddiqui thanked the electorates who voted for SDPI in the just concluded elections to the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. He hoped that SDPI in near future would emerge as a force to reckon with and when voted to power shall provide good governance and clean administration. This will be devoid of corruption, bias against minorities and weaker sections of society along with justice for one and all, he added.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Prominent Scientist, Prof Kabir-ud-din, Department of Applied Chemistry, ZH College of Engineering and Technology, Aligarh Muslim University has been awarded with Life Time Achievement Award for his contribution to researches in different fields of chemistry.

    Prof. Kabiruddin (left) receiving the life time achievement award.

    The award was presented to him by the President of Indian Chemical Society, Prof MC Chatopadhyaya during the Golden Jubilee Annual Convention of Chemists organized by the Indian Chemical Society (ICS) at Punjab University, Chandigarh. Around 500 delegates and prominent scientists from all over India participated in the convention.

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    By IANS,

    Kolkata : More than 20 Indian organisations participated in a campaign here to protest against the commercial release of genetically modified crops like Bt-Brinjal in Bangladesh, with scientists saying it was a "threat to India".

    Introduction of transgenic brinjal in Bangladesh - a centre for the origin and diversity of the vegetable - would give rise to contamination of the crop in India, said scientist Tushar Chakraborty.

    "It is a threat to India as brinjal largely cross-pollinates and therefore such transgenic contamination poses a threat to the local varieties of brinjal and natural biodiversity as well," said Chakraborty, a molecular biologist at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology.

    Representatives of the organisations participated in a four-km protest march from the Sealdah station to Minto Park, near the office of Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco), partly-owned by the US-based corporation Monsanto.

    Mahyco is mainly responsible for the development of Bt-Brinjal - a variant engineered by inserting a gene from soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis that produces an insecticidal toxin.

    In India, an indefinite moratorium has been imposed on the cultivation of Bt-Brinjal while field trials of the crop are banned in the Philippines.

    Chakraborty is one of the 250 scientists from across the country who endorsed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was released Nov 21 in New Delhi, in which they have urged that steps be taken to stop open air release of Genetically Modified Organisms.

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    By Ravi Nitesh,

    Opinion polls are to assess the ‘voter mood’, but is it really a mere reflection of opinions or does it itself help in forming/making opinions.

    The great Indian election festival, one of the world’s largest exercise of voting, is not an easy going process. It involves a huge government expenditure, responsibility and planning of officials. For India, the election becomes a festival, wherein every candidate tries to woo voters with their agendas, political parties with their manifestos, promises and other tools.

    Opinion polls start before the elections, when every news channel, paper and portal starts guessing the public mood and that ‘who’ will be making the government this time. But now some political groups and individuals are demanding the ban of opinion polls. There is also an opposition to this proposal by so called progressive individuals and parties. So in this article, I would like to present some facts that can be considered.

    Present Rule of Election Commission of India ‘recognizes’ the effect of Opinion Polls on Voters:

    It should be noted that the election commission has already put a restriction on this opinion poll. Opinion polls are not allowed during 48 hours before the start of voting and till the last vote. Putting this restriction by election commission itself ‘recognizes’ the possible danger or its harmful effect over the real vote cast process. This restriction somehow reflects that not restricting it before 48 hours can affect the voters and then can affect the actual polls. So the question is that if this restriction can start from 48 hours before, then why not even before that? If an opinion poll can divert a voter before 48 hours, it can obviously divert him/her 15 days before as well.

    Marketing / Branding Effect on Voters & Opinion Polls

    It is well known that in Indian elections, a lot of things depend on ‘leher’ (waves) that comes from mouth advertisements, posters, marketing, hoardings etc. It means that all these things not only provide a communication between the voters and parties/candidates but also work as a pressure tool to woo voters. In fact, more advertising may bring more votes. In view of this, election commission had already taken an initiative of defining election campaigning, expenditure on posters, vehicles etc. It again ‘recognizes’ the effect of advertisements/branding.

    Opinion polls can be included in this list at an extent. It is because, in case of any discrepancy in opinion polls, it can work as marketing strategy that will surely be the most effective/defective one, because of media presence in all houses.

    Role of Media: TRP Business, Vested Interests & Opinion Polls

    It is to note that most of the media portals and channels are of private firms, who deals with ‘news’ as a ‘revenue earning’ medium. Profit it their primary motive. So, for them audience is very important. Opinion polls of these channels work as TRP to keep the public hooked. But it is not just to attract the audience and for their entertainment, the opinion polls also work to create the public mood.

    Bandwagon Effect

    Prof Ian MacAllister, in his famous paper 'Bandwagon , Underdog or Projection? Opinion polls and Electoral choice in Britain', observes that voters like to back a winner, they don't like to back a loser so if they see a party leading in the polls they're much more likely to gravitate towards that. He also observed that it can have an effect over the young undecided voters.

    In Indian elections, we all know that still many persons do not cast their votes with all determination in democracy and of knowledge about its importance, but they cast it because ‘many’ people are casting in someone’s favor and then they too follow the same. In this case, opinion polls can dramatically increase the votes in favor of a specific party/candidate.

    Right to research in Public

    Data sampling and gathering the opinions can be claimed as an exercise important for scholarly purpose and for research about theory and behavior of democracies, however it must be noted that these research can be done without making it public, to avoid any effect over the ‘actual’ voting pattern.

    Methodology in Indian Context: Data Sampling & Diversity

    There is always a question on the methodology. How and what questions were asked, in fact the exact wordings of questions and the series of question has its importance. Similarly, the method of getting the answers, whether it was through a phone call (selected or random), e-mail, web based-survey or personal visit, is also important. The sample group, its demographic behavior, its economic status and various other factors also put a great difference in results. In the Indian context, it becomes more important in view of its diversity, rural-urban pattern, migration of population, developmental factors, diversity and belief in caste and religion etc. Who is conducting the opinion poll and from where it got funds also has to be considered.

    It is known that a large section of population of India still lives in extreme poverty and illiteracy. They are divided in castes and sub castes. Even economical barriers and social customs are so stringent in Indian context. It may be a small reason that there is a tendency to follow what others are following and then again it can create an increase.

    Opinion Polls: Ethics

    BBC editorial guidelines reads "We should not lead a news bulletin or programme simply with the results of an opinion poll. We should not headline the results of an opinion poll unless it has prompted a story which itself deserves a headline and reference to the poll's findings is necessary to make sense of it.”

    Radio NZ reads Opinion polls should always be treated with great care, but particularly during election campaigns when parties or pressure groups may try to target undecided voters by creating a poll-driven bandwagon effect.

    Opinion Polls Prediction & Actual results

    It is true that many times opinion polls have proved to be wrong and inaccurate after the poll results. This again has two angles, one that even if it proved to be inaccurate with data or wrong in results it predicted, it is possible that it had worked in its capacity to bring votes. Second is that if it is proved wrong, it mean its methodology was not perfect or it doesn’t bring any fruitful service. In both the conditions, it is not required.

    Freedom of Expression?

    It is no where a case of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression and presentation of systematic data results of an activity that is about to happen are two different things. For a citizen, there is no restriction to predict anything about election. It is demanded to prohibit only for poll surveyors who are doing this prediction in systematic, professional way to earn revenue and to influence public opinion. In this way, it can be said that even allowing opinion polls is violation of freedom of thoughts and secrecy of votes, as thoughts will be effected by opinion polls results.

    Neither Scientific or Sociological

    Predicting the result at a time when process is continuing can be claimed as a ‘scientific approach’ and at some point as ‘sociological’ one. Even in case of accepting it as scientific and/or sociological, if it is or can be, disturb/affect the result and/or process itself, it cannot be told and considered neither as scientific nor sociological, instead it is an unethical and illogical experiment with the very concept of impartial, undisturbed elections of this largest democracy.

    Fear of Black Marketing/ Secret Opinion Polls in case of complete Ban

    With the demand to ban opinion polls, some people are claiming that it can lead to black marketing of opinion polls and to secret polls. In this view, it is again clear that opinion polls are being used as a tool for political parties at least. It can be for generating funds from promoters by showing them predictions, and it again can lead to a flow of money, lobbying of and with industrialists and business groups etc, to get funds that will be spent again on boosting the votes. It is also a possibility that getting good predictions in an opinion poll can be manipulated and therefore unethical. Just for the fear of black marketing of secret opinion polls, you cannot let it go as valid and legal.

    It is a data game that is played by media and pollsters. It can be something like declaring an election result before the elections. Ultimately it is no where serving public interest. Election is a public event but vote is private. Vote must be impartial, natural, self-decided, unaffected, and not diverted decision to be taken by a voter itself. Declaring a party’s capacity before the election, cannot be said to be a fair and ethical practice. We all must wait for the results till the voting completes.

    (Ravi Nitesh is memeber of Mission Bhartiyam, a Delhi based social organiisation.)

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    By Indscribe,

    BJP's landslide victory in Madhya Pradesh is more surprising because Shivraj Singh Chouhan led the party to victory after two successive terms.

    In Rajasthan, BJP was out of power. In Chhattisgarh also, the BJP has got the third term but the victory is not as one-sided.

    In MP, the win is important because after ten years of BJP rule, the party managed to override the anti-incumbency factor.

    It is a fact that Chouhan, who belongs to the backward Kirar community (OBC), has established a connect with electorate in the state.

    Chouhan is soft-spoken and humble unlike many other politicians. Also, people from outside Madhya Pradesh find it surprising that he is quite popular among of Muslims.

    The constituency wise analysis clearly shows that Muslim mohallas have also voted for BJP across the state. BJP legislators in Bhopal and several other Muslim majority areas, know it well, and hence they don't rake up controversial issues anymore.

    In fact, either it is BJP leaders like Vishwas Sarang or district president and legislator Surendra Nath Singh, they have strong Muslim support. Their close associates are Muslims too. For Muslims in other parts of the country, who still think that it is a taboo to get close to BJP, this is strange phenomenon.

    How? I am no BJP fan. But Chouhan does have certain qualities that his rivals lack, and it must be admitted. Firstly, Chouhan's pet scheme 'CM Kanyadan Yojana' under which state government conducts mass marriages, is also extended for Muslims and 'nikaahs' are also performed. See the LINK

    Poor get benefited as the expenditure is borne by administration, and the newly wedded couples get cash apart from utensils and other basic utility gift items. The Ladli Laxmi scheme is aimed all the girls across the state. This scheme has also brought him enormous goodwill.

    Wearing 'topi' not important, inclusive welfare schemes & controlling riots has earned him goodwill

    No wonder, there can be anger with party or MLAs but move around the state and nobody would criticise the Chief Minister. While Hindus from all the districts are sent to pilgrimages on government money, elderly Muslims also go to Ajmer under the MP government scheme.

    Not just Congress leaders but other politicians can also learn a lot from Shivraj's soft-spoken, humble style. There is no arrogance and this is in sharp contrast with the other politicians. One of the most important reason is that communal violence is tackled with an iron-hand.

    Muslims appreciate how he has dealt with communal elements, especially, in the second tenure. All IGs, SPs know that CM doesn't want any communal trouble. In case there is a riot-like situation developing, force from neighbouring districts is rushed to control it.

    It is a fact that if government is tough and CS-DGP know it well, then everybody from top to the bottom, speak the same language.

    Hence, communal violence has been rare and if it occurred, then it was controlled in the beginning.

    Congress ruled Assam saw large-scale riots sometime back. Rajasthan witnessed the Gopalgarh killings and numerous other incidents of communal tension.

    Instead, the Gehlot government didn't take swift action. Tainted officers including policemen who fired without provocation were let off easily.

    In the 'secular' Samajwadi Party (SP) government's rule in Uttar Pradesh (UP), over a dozen riots have taken place in less than two years. The handling of the Muzaffarnagar riots has has alarmed the Muslims across the country.

    The SP government appeared trying to hush up the entire issue. From forcing the people to vacate camps to not registering FIRs of the victims, the people are witness how riots have been occurring repeatedly and yet parties that claim to be pro-Muslim, fail on this front.

    Thank God, no Assam, UP, Rajasthan like riots in MP

    Yes, Shivraj has no issue wearing a 'skullcap' (topi) or going to Idgah to greet Muslims on the occasion of Eid or holding 'iftaar' during Razman at his residence. An alumnus of Bhopal's Hamidia College, Shivraj has his own brand of inclusive politics.

    On Raksha Bandhan, when large number of 'burqa'-clad women reach CM House to tie rakhi on his wrist, it is not just for the sake of photograph or publicity.

    It is not that the BJP has changed totally. But the administration isn't overtly communal. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is very much in control.

    Despite his image of being fair towards minorities, the State government may time and again push for implementing the Sangh's agenda. It is natural. It happened in the past. If the protests are huge, then there is a rollback. Else, certain things are implemented silently.

    But the MP experiment shows, that it doesn't take much to keep Muslims in good humour. 'Riot-free' is the recipe along with a basic good governance with no open bias or discrimination. On the other hand, there are parties that do nothing for Muslims, can't even stop riots, and yet, get the tag of 'appeasing minorities'.

    Of course, there is other side too. Corruption is rampant in Madhya Pradesh. The investment didn't come. Roads are slightly better than they were during Digvijay Singh's rule. But employment hasn't been generated. In fact, there are shortcomings and a lot to disagree with.

    This blog has quite often been critical of BJP [Congress as well]. The good steps must be appreciated. When there is such a massive mandate, it means the citizens are happy with the government. Chouhan presented himself as a 'common man' and hence, he been rewarded.

    No wonder, the positive aspects should be highlighted too.


    IndScribe blogs at

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    By staff reporter

    Lucknow: Leadership of All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) is campaigning vigorously to make the Sunni Conference planned on December 15th, 2013 at Jagdishpur (Amethi) to be a success.

    Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhouchhwi of Kichhocha Sharif, who is the General Secretary of AIUMB is personally making rounds of various places in UP to rally people for the conference. AIUMB has been lobbying since its formation to get more Barelvi Muslims into government appointed positions of waqfs and Hajj committees. Amethi is the political constituency of Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of All India Congress Committee and the Conference can be seen as a political show of strength.

    Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhouchhwi in Jagdishpur on Sep 22, 2013

    Yesterday's program in Matepurian village to rally people for the Conference

    According to AIUMB, conference will focus on “ways to counter the Saudi/Wahabi extremism on Indian soil and also means to ensure they are seen in true perspective by the political class, administration and bureaucracy, where they have faked themselves through a well constructed agenda as true representatives of the community.”

    Heads of all the member Khanqwahs, Aastanas and Dargahs will attend and take part in the deliberations. Some prominent Khaqwahs Aastanas and Dargahs will attend the conference in observer capacity.


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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Uttar Pradesh's Akhilesh Yadav government came in embarrassment Thursday when the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court rapped it on its move to withdraw cases against terror accused.

    A bench of Justice Ashok Pal Singh, Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Ajay Lamba, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, said the move can only be taken forward with the sanction of the union government.

    The petitioner had alleged that the Akhilesh Yadav government had initiated the move to appease the Muslims.

    The state government had earlier this year initiated a process to withdraw terror charges levelled against 19 Muslim youth for their alleged role in serial blasts in courts at Faizabad, Lucknow and Gorakhpur. The Samajwadi Party in its poll manifesto for the 2012 state assembly polls had promised to release such terror accused presuming they were innocent.

    Reacting sharply, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the decision of whether the accused were guilty or not cannot be taken by the government and should be left to the judiciary.

    "This is a tight slap on the face of the state government which works 24x7 to appease the Muslims for its narrow vote bank politics," BJP state spokesman Chandra Mohan said.

    Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh also said that the courts should decide who is guilty or not guilty.

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    By Mike Ghouse

    Twenty one years ago, on December 6, 1992, the hypocrite Indians who call India their mother, ripped her apart. Not only they hurt the other children of that mother but destroyed their historic symbol; Babri Masjid.

    Do we have a leader among Indians who considers every Indian to be an Indian, and nothing but an Indian?

    In August of 2003, ten years ago, I talked about Ayodhya; here is clip from Mark Donald's Across the Divide in Dallas Observer, a lead story for that week.

    “Ayodhya. It is an issue a lot of Indian-Americans shun talking about," Ghouse tells his radio audience. "But we must talk about it. We only know some aspects of the issue. When we learn all aspects, it brings some sort of resolution. It settles the dust in our minds, and when the dust settles, it gives clarity, peace of mind. It gives you freedom from the bondage of your prejudice."

    On this issue, however, Ghouse can't resist offering his own opinion. He sees the problem as political rather than religious, exploited by Hindu extremists within the BJP to solidify their power. His idea is to defuse the problem through conciliation. "My suggestion is that Muslims should offer the land to build a temple for Ram. That is what a majority of Muslims in India feel. That is what a majority of Hindus feel. Let's not fight over an issue that is not going to help my children get education or get food on the table.

    Quickly, he gulps some water and wipes a thin layer of sweat from his brow. "I will take your calls now. I will take all opinions, no matter how extreme, no matter how calm, no matter how agitated. All opinions are welcome."

    The legitimate fear that holds Muslims from putting an end to this conflict is really not the land; it is the bent of the extremist politicians who want to dupe the common Hindus into believing that, to be a Hindu, one has to be anti-Muslim.

    Of course India’s pluralistic ethos is deeper and has a solid foundation for the majority of Hindus to fall into the extremist politician’s trap, who want to wipe out everything that is Muslim. Thank God that is not the view of Hindu majority. However, the ones who scream the loudest get the hearing and corrupt the goodness of an average Hindu.

    There are millions of Muslims out there who would want to live in harmony with every Indian regardless of his religion, caste or linguistic heritage, and that has been the tradition. Many of us want to be a part of building the Ram Temple and let go of the Mosque, but the blood thirsty politicians will not be satisfied with it, there is no end to their demands, they want more, and more and every pound of flesh from Muslims.

    This is what is holding the nation. Do we have a leader among BJP who considers every Indians to be an Indian – no matter what that Indian eats, drinks, wears or believes? Do we have a Hindu leader who can rack up support to put an end to the harassment of Muslims, Christians, Dalits and other minorities in their daily conversations? Do we have a leader whose word is an iron clad guarantee that if Muslims walk away from Babri Masjid, they will not be pushed to give more and more? If there is a mai ka laal son of Bharat Mata, come forward, it will put an end to the conflict and we all can live our own lives and mind our own business.

    The Indian Muslims are sick of the blame and the ugly comments hurled at them about India's partition, attacks of Ghazni on Somnath or the cruelties and Massacres of Aurangzeb. Many a parents teach their children to hate, and build biases against Muslims. It is not good for any one.

    The Muslims of independent India are not responsible for the Partition, attacks of Ghazni or cruelty of Aurangzeb, just as the present day Hindus are not responsible for the past cruelties towards untouchables and burning of widows. This must be clearly understood and taught to bring Mukti (freedom) to both Hindus and Muslims from the bondage of the past.

    Deep down, all humans seek justice and a balance in life, and without it, they are lost in sectarian warfare. As a member of the civilized nations, we need to collectively work towards building a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other -- an India where everyone is free to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever suits him/her.

    What we need is trust building steps and Indians taking responsibility for their commitments. The Civility of a nation is measured by how she treats her women, children, and the ones in ditches, the minorities and the voiceless. An Australian professor shot back and wanted to know India's record.

    Neither Indian, nor Australian or American system will score 100 in civility, but certainly it has the structure to contribute towards that goal, and if the rule of law prevails.

    As a solution, India has offered reservations in jobs, and education system to those economically backward and those in the ditches to uplift them, we still have Sachar Report's recommendations to be implemented to uplift Muslims. We have to pull every one up from the ditches to a point from which they will be competitive. Harassment and Oppression of women continues female infanticide is a daily occurrence.

    However, India's laws are equitable, the knowledge of which has not permeated into the whole society, nor its implementation occurs. Thanks to the internet and social media, the society will eventually monitor itself. You can be who you want to be in India. It’s a tough battle, but legally, our path is paved.


    Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer. He can be reached at

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Pulling up the Uttar Pradesh government over the plight of victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Supreme Court Thursday ordered immediate supply of blankets and medical help to people living in relief camps.

    The apex court reacted sharply to media reports of death of some 50 children due to cold and poor facilities in the relief camps.

    "Taking note of the cold conditions in the forthcoming months, we hereby further direct the state administration, particularly the district concerned, to take necessary steps and provide required remedial assistance at once," said the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathashivam.

    Over 60 people were killed in riots in Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas in September, while more than 43,000 were displaced.

    Justice Sathashivam said the court was very concerned over media reports of children's deaths and directed the state government to provide all material help by Friday.

    He said the helpless people were living in open camps and the coming months of severe cold will be difficult for them. He posted further hearing for Jan 21.

    On being told that the state government has already formed a committee to look into the complaints after seven deaths were reported in October, the chief justice said that if the court does not find the findings of this investigation agency, it shall set up a special investigation team.

    The court recorded assurance of the state government's senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan that "necessary steps will be provided by Friday, Dec 13".

    Other judges on the bench were Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

    The court noted that the petitioners have reported deaths in camps based on a newspaper's report and their own investigations.

    The court also noted non-implementation of its earlier directions fully to provide necessary help to the inmates of the camps, particularly to children, aged people and all affected people.

    It directed the state government to file a detailed report on the correct position at the next hearing.

    The court said various news channels have shown images of people struggling for their lives in the cold under the open sky. It quoted media reports as saying that around 50 children died as they could not bear the cold temperatures of the season.

    "It is very unfortunate for a country like India that the whole country is unable to save even small children who were dying on account of their no fault," the court said.

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