January 25, 2010

Church attacked in Mysore

Church attacked in Mysore; statue of Mother Mary broken
NDTV Correspondent, Monday January 25, 2010, Mysore

The city of Mysore had witnessed communal riots just a few months ago, and now the city's Holy Family Church was vandalised on Sunday.

A statue of Mother Mary was broken in the attack. The church had been stoned several years ago, but things had been peaceful in the recent past. But the overnight attack has come as a shock.

"This is done by some miscreants to create unrest in our community and humiliate the Christians," said Bishop Pillai.

This is not the first time that churches in Karnataka have been attacked. Mangalore has seen several cases of vandalism leading to allegations of a right-wing agenda in the BJP-ruled state - a charge authorities deny.

Police say the Mysore attack could be a simple case of attempted theft.

"It is reported that some miscreants entered the church premises and they tried to break open the hundi. After that, they also tried to break open the glass and they damaged the statue of Mother Mary," said Ravikant Gowda, DCP, Mysore.

No arrests have been made so far in this distressing attack on a place of worship.

Karnataka's Hindu Right Targets Churches in response to Attacks on Indians in Australia

The Hindu

MANGALORE, January 24, 2010

Cross desecrated at church near Bhatkal
Staff Correspondent

A cross at St. Lourdes Catholic Church at Mundalli village in Bhatkal taluk of Uttara Kannada was desecrated on Friday, allegedly by activists of the local unit of Sri Rama Sene.

The church is 5 km from Bhatkal.

The accused were purportedly trying to pull down the cross, which is a few metres from the church.

But some custodians of the church saw them and raised an alarm, forcing the culprits to flee.

Needle of suspicion

The needle of suspicion turned towards the Sri Rama Sene activists as only a few days ago the local unit had threatened such an action in a memorandum addressed to the President and submitted to the Assistant Commissioner, after a protest.

The memorandum submitted on January 19 stated that “Christians in India are part of a conspiracy to target Indian Hindus in Australia.”


The memorandum, signed by convener of the Bhatkal unit of Sri Rama Sene Shankar Naik, said that if the President did not initiate action to prevent the attacks on “Indian Hindus” in Australia in two days (January 20 and 21), the sene would “ensure that there is not a single church in Bhatkal”.

Additional Superintendent of Police V.B. Gaonkar told The Hindu that Shankar Naik, his brother Keshav Naik and Shankar Moger of the sene were among those arrested in connection with the attack.

‘Habitual offenders’

All the three were “habitual offenders” and had several cases pending against them, he said.

Sources from Bhatkal said that the situation in the areas around the church was tense, but peaceful. Mr. Gaonkar said that additional forces had been deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incident.

Produced in court

Karwar Correspondent reports:

The police said that eight sene activists had been arrested in connection with the incident and they had been produced in court.

The five others arrested have been identified as Nitesh Mahale, Eshwar Naik, Mahadev Naik, Shekhar Kharvi and Devendra Naik

Shivaraj Ambari, president of the Uttara Kannada unit of the sene, denied that his organisation had any role in the incident and blamed some Christian organisations for it.

He said the sene was blamed for a similar incident at Humnabad in Bidar district a few months ago.

After investigation, a former pastor of the church was arrested in connection with the case, he said.

January 24, 2010

Report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (May 2007)

Report submitted by Justice Ranganath Mishra (former Chief Justice of India)

Shiv Sena has threatens Australian cricketers to play in the upcoming Indian Premier League

source: geo.tv

Shiv Sena won’t allow Australian to play IPL

Updated at: 2343 PST, Saturday, January 23, 2010
Shiv Sena won’t allow Australian to play IPL NEW DELHI: Shiv Sena has threatened that it would not allow Australian cricketers to play in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

According to Indian media reports, party chief Bal Thackeray warned that his party would not permit Australian cricketers to play the IPL.

“We shall not allow the Australian team to play in IPL till the attacks on Indians in their land are stopped,” he said.

Meanwhile, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said players were receiving threats, however, strict security measures will be taken during the event.

January 23, 2010

When the mainstream acts like Shivsena and MNS Chauvinists - Cartoon in The Hindu

Cartoon by Surendra in The Hindu, January 23, 2010

January 21, 2010

A.B.V.P. attack's book exhibit in Delhi university

A.B.V.P. attack on 'Janchetna' Book Exhibition Van in D.U.

Injured the activists, damaged the van


January 20, New delhi. Nearly 25 members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the R.S.S., attacked the 'Janchetna' Book Exhibition Van which has been displaying books inside the premises of Arts Faculty, Delhi University, with the permission of the University authorities. They broke the windscreen and glasses of the exhibition van and injured three activists Kunal, Sanjay and Naveen who were present at the exhibition. As is well known, 'Janchetna' is a cultural campaign propagating democratic and progressive ideas in the society through the writings and literature of the likes of Premchand, Bhagat Singh, Sharatchandra, Gorky, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Rahul Sankrityayan, Radhamohan Gokulji etc. This is not the first attack by the Sangh Parivar on 'Janchetna' book exhibition van. 'Janchetna' has been targeted by the sang parivar outfits even before. Last year too, A.B.V.P. had attacked the exhibition van in the Delhi University. Earlier, the ABVP, VHP and Bajrang Dal had attacked the exhibition van at Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Agra, Jaipur, Kota and several other places.

Today, the A.B.V.P. goondas were equipped with rods, hockeys etc. They had come with the aim of damaging the exhibition van and they were openly declaring that the 'Janchetna' van will not be allowed to propagate these ideas inside the campus. When the activists of 'Janchetna' tried to argue with them they attacked the activists and broke the windscreen and display glasses of the van. They threw away books by Bhagat Singh and other writers and also threatened to put the van on fire. Before the news of this attack could reach the volunteers and wellwishers of 'Janchetna', the goons had left the scene. Soon after the students affiliated with Disha Students Organisation, AISA and SFI came to express solidarity with 'Janchetna'. The entire democratic and progressive community of Delhi University is organizing of protest demonstration in the Arts Faculty Against this Fascist attack tomorrow.

The activists of 'Janchetna' have registered a complaint in the Proctor's Office and also lodged FIR in the Maurice Nagar Police Station. Sanjay, one of the activists present at the van during the attack, said that if the hooligans of A.B.V.P. believe that they can terrorise us through these kinds of acts, then they are grossly mistaken. The 'Janchetna' van will continue its work in the Arts Faculty and we will give a 'tit for tat' answer in case of any future attack. The security of the van is the duty of the University administration as they have granted the permission to hold exhibition in the Arts Faculty, and that of the Police administration. If they fail to provide protection, then we will be left with no other choice but to defend ourselves.


For, Janchetna

Phone: Abhinav 9999379381 / Satyam 9910262009

Culture Police in Madhya Pradesh takes on condoms and women’s underwear

The Hindu
January 17, 2010

‘Culture cops’ bar M.P. shops from displaying innerwear
by Mahim Pratap Singh

File picture of Sanskriti Bachao Manch activists beating up Rishi Ajaydas, author of book 'Vivah Ek Naitik Balatkar' in Bhopal. Photo: A. M. Faruqui'
The Hindu File picture of Sanskriti Bachao Manch activists beating up Rishi Ajaydas, author of book 'Vivah Ek Naitik Balatkar' in Bhopal. Photo: A. M. Faruqui'

The overarching presence of the Hindu “cultural” right in Madhya Pradesh has come to the forefront again, this time seemingly at the behest of none other than Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

“Culture cops” belonging to the Sanskriti Bachao Manch–an affiliate of the Bajarang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, which are the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological collaborators–have gone on a rampage in the State capital threatening local shopkeepers against displaying innerwear outside their shops and tearing down hoardings and advertisements of condoms and women’s innerwear.

Civil society members and intellectuals have spoken against the current phase of moral policing going on in the State capital. Renowned documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and film and theatre actor Piyush Mishra, among others, have criticized the ruling BJP government for patronizing such regressive elements.

“Sexual repression is the cornerstone of any fascist apparatus and not just of Hindutva,” said Patwardhan, in Indore for the annual cultural fest of the Indian Institute of Management. “Be it Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, all of them had strong elements of sexual censorship, mainly of female sexuality, in order to exercise state power on bodies,” he said.

Mr. Patwardhan, maker of several documentaries portraying the rise of Hindutva in national politics like ‘War and Peace,’ ‘Father, Son and the Holy War’ and ‘Ram kay Naam’ among others, emphasized on Hindutva’s collective ideological repression being a reason for such moral policing.

Earlier this week, Mr. Chauhan sparked off the moral police’s outrage when he asked the municipal corporation to remove the “obscene and vulgar” hoarding of a local spa in front of a girls’ college, portraying a bareback woman.

“We are happy that the Chief Minister himself has taken the lead in the fight against this moral pollution,” said Chandra Shekhar Tiwari of the Sanskriti Bachao Manch. “We have given an ultimatum of seven days to all shopkeepers to remove all the innerwear hanging outside their shops or we will set these on fire,” he said.

The incidents reflect badly on the state’s cultural environment in the background of the recently held Prawasi Bharatiya Sammelan (NRI meet). The investment climate in the State, which the meet was supposed to encourage, is likely to suffer from such acts of moral policing, causing damage to corporate advertisement spaces and discouraging investors from coming to the State.

January 18, 2010

Tharoor on NEhru's Foreign Policy

Nehruvian Foreign Policy: Misplaced Criticisms

Ram Puniyani

Shashi Tharoor (9th Jan 2010) while speaking at a meeting organized by Indian Council of Foreign Affairs, endorsed the views of Lord Bhiku Parekh on Nehru’s Foreign. Lord Parekh described it as being based on moral self righteousness, and Tharoor added on to say that it was a moral running commentary. One will surely support any objective criticism of the policies of India’s founding father and founding architect. That should be a exercise in learning as to what went wrong and how we should desist from such policies in future. Fair enough. We can not treat any body to be above criticism. Tharoor faced with the reaction form his party, quickly sought an apology to save his skin, as Congress does have a fare bit of blind veneration of Gandhi and Nehru. One will not criticize Tharoor for criticizing Nehru for that matter.

At the same time one also has to see what is the worth of this criticism, does it hold some water or is it just to run down the morals and objectivities which were the base not only of freedom movement but also the initial foundation of India’s foreign policy. While Tharoor’s statement was criticized merely from the angle of veneration to Nehru-Gandhi, the deeper issues remained unaddressed. And what needs to be taken note of is that Parekh-Tharoor line is projecting values totally opposed to the interests of the emerging Indian nation, as it came in a particular historical context of the decade of 1940s. One has serious doubts about the understanding of these worthies about the situation and problems which Gandhi-Nehru faced to ensure that India not only becomes free from the shackles of imperialists but also that it creates better atmosphere for Indians in particular and newly liberating countries from Asia in general. BJP, lost no time in upholding Parekh-Tharoor line and went on to add that Nehru floundered on the issue of Kashmir, his non- alignment created many problems and in the matters of his policy towards China he failed.

Tharoor’s statement that it was a moralistic running commentary gives an impression that morals should have no place in the political World! And that morality is against the self interest of the nation! On the contrary one can say that it is moral values alone which have been the foundations of anti Imperialist struggles all over. It has been the efforts of people to get their moral rights, rights as human beings, rights as nations which ensured the liberation of the vast mass of humanity form thee exploitative-oppressive yoke of colonialism-imperialism. Britain and other colonial powers and their continuation in the hegemositic policies of United States have been the major oppressive force in the World so far. When Vietnamese people were fighting the insane bombings by United States it was the morality of Vietnamese people which gave them strength to overcome the brutal aggression and come out victorious. It was the morals of Indian masses which gave them all the strength to overcome the yoke of colonialism.

As far as Gandhi is concerned, he was hardly there, when the foreign policy took concrete shape. The one major contribution he made was statement about the rights of Palestinians who were displaced by the Israel. He could see beyond the obvious to say that the policy of Israel is ‘Jewish terrorism’, which is the real problem. The armed Zionists who were intimidating the Palestinian villagers were a matter of concern for him. He also went to say that it is wrong to impose Jews on Palestine. This was his contribution in laying India’s policy vis a vis Israel and Palestine! It is highest morality and astuteness to take the sides of victims of injustice. India did stick to the policy of shunning Israel overtures, till last few years when shaking hands with her began and was made more respectable by BJP led NDA in particular, which not only praised the Israel in more ways than one but was also willing to collaborate with Israel on many counts.

As far as Kashmir is concerned there is a misconception that India surrendered 1/3rd of Kashmir to Pakistan due to Nehru’s faulty approach. This betrays a total ignorance and misrepresents the past. One recalls that at the time of Independence, Kashmir refused to merge with either India or Paksitan. It is the Independent Kashmir which was attacked by Pathan, Kabayali, Tribal supported by Pakistani army. So the question of India loosing one third of territory does not hold any water. When the accession treaty was signed India sent its army to dispel the Pakistani invaders, but by that time they had already occupied 1/3 of Kashmir. Now continuation of war would have meant a lot of civilian casualties. UN at that time was an arbiter of sorts, which was to be approached for mediation. It is another matter that since US had its designs to keep its presence in the region, directly and by proxy, it kept backing Pakistan all through. Thanks to Soviet veto that the status quo was maintained.

It is another matter that the proposal of UN to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir, to ascertain the choice of Kashmiri people in an honest way could never take place. Later the global politics, as divided between the US dominated imperialist block and Soviet led Socialist block came to be supplemented by the Non Aligned group of Nations. It is Russian veto, which saved Kashmir from coming into the total control of Pakistan. Pressure of non-aligned block had its own value. The unstinted support to Pakistan by United States has been due to US strategic interests, and to think that a war in Kashmir would have solved the problem is far from correct.

As far as Non Alignment is concerned, it can be regarded as the best contribution to the global politics. From amongst the nations enslaved by Colonial powers, India was amongst the firsts and was also a big Nation so it was natural that it devices a self interest, autonomy in foreign policy, which can also show the light to all the countries. In a way non alignment was the external manifestation of internal sovereignty. That was the phase of global politics where the easy option for countries was to ally with US-UK axis. As history shows us most of the countries which aligned in such a way turned into banana republics or had the fate of countries like Pakistan. They were used by imperialist powers for their strategic and economic interests. No internal development, no progress of democratic institutions! In practically all countries which got freedom, and allied with US, the progress came to a halt. The trajectory of Pakistan says it all. You ally to US, be its military base, buy readymade goods and material, the basic development remains unattended.

Nehru did have the vision that only a self reliant economic infrastructure can be the guarantee for the progress of the nation. And here the external policy was an adjunct for internal goals. It is in this direction that he decided not to remain subservient to either of the blocks, while seeking their help in the development of industrial infrastructure of the country.

Foreign policy is deeply linked to economic policies. Nehru’s policy in the area of education and industrialization can be faulted for various reasons, but what is above reproach about his policy is about remaining non-aligned, due to which, the nation gets the technical and other help from who so ever gives you can tie up with for the particular issue.. So while Soviet block came forward to lay the industrial infrastructure, US help was taken for Green revolution. The nation has to thank Nehru for ensuring that, today it is a Industrial power to reckon with, it is power with its own scientific manpower, it is precisely due to this that it was not lagging behind in IT revolution, as the infrastructure for this was already their.

Surely Nehru should be faulted for his failure to ensure the implementation of land reforms, and for not undertaking more policies which would have resulted in equitable distribution of wealth and resources. One cannot support the shelving of land reforms at any cost as it is the base for democratic programs. One cannot support the policy leading to enrichment of a handful in the name of development. Neither can one support the policies which led to the marginalization of workers, dalits and Adivasis in the whole process of development. So criticism is OK but from which angle the criticism is done is more important.

With the collapse of Soviet states the World not only lost an important pole of opposition to the US hegemony, it also led to a global scenario where being subservient to US is regarded as the only way to survive, the Non Aligned movement has been marginalized. Surely it has been one of the major policy which came to aid India’s development, it also ensured that not only that India remains insulated from being intimidated but it also gave strength to the other developing nations to chart the course of self reliance and dignity.

As far Nehru’s China policy is concerned the critics feel that since Indo-China war took place in 1962 and India had to bite the dust, it was Nehru’s policy which is to blame for this debacle. Since China was an isolated country, since there were many other unresolved issues on India-China border, China did took us by surprise and a short and decisive blow was inflicted on India. Nehru had entered Panch Sheel (Five Principles of Dignity) which included mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty, non interference, and territorial integrity amongst others. This was also the principal which later on was used by US and Chine to sew up their relations. As such Panch Sheel should be the basis of relations between any two neighbors. While one swallow does not make the summer, one setback does not taint the whole policy. The relations with the mighty neighbor have to be based on Peace, and that’s the only guarantee for the mutual development of the nations. After the painful episode of 1962, China and India have been both ‘progressing’ materially and the ground for peaceful relations is very much there.

While Tharoor’s press conference seems to have exonerated him from the axe of the blind venerators of Gandhi-Nehru, the deeper issues raised by Parekh-Tharoor and also BJP line on these issues is what needs to be debated and proper perspective of Gandhi-Nehru ‘moral running commentary’ needs to be understood in the light of the holistic needs of the nation at that point of time.


India: Kandhamal Survivors letter to the Mohapatra Commission

(A letter to Hon’ble Justice Sri Sarat Chandra Mahapatra, Chairman, Inquiry Commission for Kandhamal Violence sent by Sampradayik Hinsa Prapidita Sanghathana (Association of Survivors of Communal Violence) formed a month's back by the victims of Kandhamal violence irrespective of their caste, community and religion.)



At/Po- MundaSahi, Balliguda, Kandhamal, Ph-9438072385

Letter no-11/2010


Hon’ble Justice Sri Sarat Chandra Mahapatra,

Chairman, Inquiry Commission for Kandhamal Violence,

At State Guest House,


Sub: Boycott of the Hon’ble Commission by SHPS Association.

Your Honour,

We the undersigned members of the Sampradayik Hinsa Prapidita Sangathana (Association of Survivors of Kandhamal violence), Kandhamal herewith present this memorandum to inform you of our decision to boycott the Inquiry Commission for the under-mentioned reasons:

1. During your days visit to Kandhamal you made a statement stating, inter alia, that the Kandhamal violence is not communal violence but is of ethnic origin. This statement you made even before a proper inquiry was begun. [Enclosed is copy of one of the media reports.]
2. After the Commission began hearings, you made it a practice to brief the press on your “judgment” or ruling of the day.
3. The Commission formulated leading questions on issues such as conversions which were sociological in nature and in fact would further incite the violence which was still going on unchecked.
4. Responsible public officers like Pravin Kumar, police Superintendent, former and present police DG Gopal Nanda and Monmohan Praharaj were made to give the absurd but sensitive statements about religious conversion as if it was crime and then what role Police had taken to control the crime. The Police officers did not tell about why they could not prevent the march of funeral procession of Swami Laxmanananda with instigated mobs. Such statements caused further desperation among the witnesses and victims fighting their cases in Fast Track Courts and aggravated the situation. They should be summoned and held responsible for these acts.
5. BJP president, Suresh Pujari’s presence inside the Courts is threatening to the witnesses and inspiring the culprits. Moreover he is allowed to enter into the commission chamber under garb of a lawyer and before the press meet is conducted.
6. Recently, in response to the question of Mr. Adikanda Sethy, MLA, Chhtrapur; the Chief Minister, Mr. Navin Pattnaik, said in the Assembly that the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists were involved in the Kandhamal violence. The commission should summon the records of the Assembly and take note of this as part of its proceedings, which it has not said it has done.
7. Your media statements have shown clearly that you have pre-decided and have already come to the conclusion about the violence without going through all the evidence that could have come before the Commission if it had proceeded without pre-conceptions and patent bias.

In the face of all these, we are left in no other position than to boycott the proceedings of the Honorable commission, holding it biased and its statements based on preconceived notions which are not rooted in facts or investigations.

Yours faithfully


SHPS, Kandhamal, Orissa.


Copy of the memorandum has been sent to the following personnel

1. Her Excellency, the President of India, New Delhi
2. To the Honorable Prime Minister of India, New Delhi
3. The Hon’ble Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi
4. The Hon’ble Chairman, State Human Rights Commission, Orissa.
5. The Home minister, Minister of Home affairs, Govt of India, New Delhi
6. The Minister of information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, New Delhi.
7. The Hon’ble Commission for Scheduled Caste, Govt of India, New Delhi.
8. The Hon’able Commission for Scheduled Tribe, Govt of India, New Delhi
9. The Hon’ble Governor, Orissa, Bhubaneswar.
10. The Chairman, Editors Guild’s Of India, New Delhi
11. The Hon’able Commission for Minorities, Govt of India, New Delhi


Justice Sarat Chandra Mahapatra statement before first affidavits

Newsreader, “Justice Sarat Chandra Mahapatra commission enquiring into Kandhamal violence has issued a notification for the general public to submit affidavits by 15th (of Number 2009).

Based on the affidavits, the commission shall develop framework/procedures on 28th of this month.

In the meanwhile, Justice Mahapatra commission after his visit to Kandhamal in his preliminary assessment stated, “Communalism is not the primary reason for the riot.”

Reporter: Justice Mahapatra is not ready to accept that Kandhamal incidence is communal conflict. Justice Mahapatra appointed to make enquiry into Kandhamal violence said, “The problems are ages. It cannot be attributed to the bitterness of the two communities”. “Likewise, in order to find out the reasons for killing of swami and the violence thereafter and the role of the administration in aftermath of the killing, and the hand of external forces to intensify the conflicts have to be looked into it” he said.

Justice Mahapatra’s voice, “Administration, social and political when all these combined, discontentment got deepened and it manifested from the killing of Laxmanananda”.

Reporter: In the meanwhile in order to know the opinions of the general public about Kandhamal incident, Justice Mahapatra has issued a notification:

The murder of Swami Laxmanananda and the violence thereafter; The involvement of individuals and the role of community; Anticipation of riot and the preventive measures taken for the riot the hand of individuals/institutions inciting Kandhamal incident should be submitted before the Enquiry Commission before 15th ( of November).

Justice Mahapatra commission: ‘If affidavits submitted in large numbers, then my enquiry could objective and impartial’.

Reporter: After 28th hearing, the next course of action will be decided by Justice Mahapatra Commision. Last month, from 14th to 21st (14thto 21st of October 2009), Justice Mahapatra has visited different parts of Kandhamal and interacted with the local people and at the administration’. Report by Radhamadhav Mishra, OTV.

Source: OTV, Orissa

January 16, 2010

January 15, 2010

Book Review: Decoding Communal Violence

The Hindu
January 12, 2010

The anatomy of communal riots

by J. Sri Raman

If history repeats itself endlessly anywhere, every time as a shameful tragedy, it is in India with its interminably recurring "communal riots." The history of independent India started off with bloody conflicts bearing this description, and the six decades and more that have passed by witnessed hundreds of such episodes.

What are the factors and forces behind this phenomenon, which shows no sign of fading away? Is there a way to fight these fires which find us unprepared despite their frequency? Many pundits have attempted an answer to these questions. Deserving of note is the somewhat different response Prateep K. Lahiri has provided in this book.


Decoding Intolerance is different because it is more a product of experience than of mere erudition. An officer of the Indian Administrative Service in the Madhya Pradesh cadre, the author had an encounter with communal riot at the start of his career — in Jabalpur (1961). He went on to witness and work on similar law-and-order problems of a socially lacerating kind. As Harsh Mander, a former IAS officer who took on communal fascism after the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, says, Lahiri’s volume has the value of the views of “a capable, and fair ‘insider’...who has handled...communal riots as a civil servant.”

Lahiri begins by asking, as he should, what this “communalism” is. Elsewhere, the term generally has a positive, communitarian import and is sometimes understood as allegiance to an ethnic group. But, in India, it has a different connotation, which had its origin in the colonial regime and came into vogue in the aftermath of the ‘communal award’ (announced in 1932) granting separate electorates to minority religious communities. A divisive politics and ideology spoken in the name of the majority religious community — the most dangerous consequence of the divide-and-rule policy of the British masters — has come to be seen as the primary meaning of “communalism” in India’s political lexicon. Telling indeed is the observation (quoted by the author) the war-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made at a meeting of his Cabinet in February 1940: “...he did not share the anxiety to encourage...unity between the Hindu and Muslim communities...He regarded the Hindu-Muslim feud as the bulwark of British rule in India.” This policy had the practical support of political forces that saw the “feud” as their path to power in post-Independence India. Lahiri cites approvingly historian Bipan Chandra’s definition of communalism as “the belief that because a group of people follow a particular religion they have… common social, political and economic interests.” The far-right politics seeking to propagate this belief, it follows, aims to make the people forget their more concrete, class interests and fight among themselves instead of their real, common enemy.


More importantly, the author discusses the methods by which the far-right has sought to build an unlovable image of India’s largest minority among the majority community. Particularly notable is the way he pulverises the far-right platform on the question of uniform civil code. He demonstrates how unacceptable the demand can be even to large sections of the diversified majority society, though he does recognise the unhelpful role of the unreformed Muslim clerics. Effectively exposed, too, is the alarmist propaganda that the growing minority population poses a ‘demographic danger.’ The same point can be made about the invidious attempt to make a bugbear of the Bangladeshi “infiltrator.”

Lahiri records, and draws lessons from, four major riots besides the Jabalpur incident. He notes that, of these conflagrations (in Indore, Bhagalpur, Mumbai, and Gujarat in 1969, 1989, 1992-93, and 2002 respectively), the last three were sparked off by the Ayodhya movement, of which its destructive “architects” claim to be proud even today. In the concluding chapter, taking a “non-astrological peep into the future,” he hopes that a “double-digit [economic] growth” can mean the gradual decline of communal politics. It is hard to share his optimism readily after the horrors witnessed in a relatively developed Gujarat. There are few alternatives to a frontal attack on the far-right and its communalist plank in the foreseeable future.

The volume is different because it is more a product of experience than of mere erudition.

DECODING INTOLERANCE — Riots and the Emergence of Terrorism in India: Prateep K. Lahiri; Lotus Collection, Roli Books, M-75, G. K. II Market, New Delhi-110048. Rs. 395.

Religion and India's war on Terror

Media in collusion with the IB in war on terrorism

by Mustafa Khan

Ex nihilo nihili fit is an old saying of which the Intelligence Bureau seems to be ignorant of. It has fed successive Prime Ministers and their Home Ministers with canards. What you sow you reap. The mainstream media has been the bedfellow which has given mutual gratification. The investigation into the bomb incidents of Malegaon (2006) and Samjhauta express (2007) have reached a blind alley because of the deliberate design foisted on the public by the IB and the media. The hype created by the two incidents and many others like them have succeeded in keeping the people on the tenterhook of taking in what is coming in the garb of the 'breaking news' so much so that that have been taken in by weltanschauung of jihadi terrorism.

For the same reason the startling news from Kannad near Aurangabad has gone under the carpet of the mainstream media. On January 10, 2010 ex serviceman Gulab Rao Ram Rao Sonowne went out brandishing sword in his hand. When some panicked citizen informed the police, they overwhelmed him. Then searched his house and found two live bombs and swords. In a bizarre coincidence this seizure happens when the town is getting ready for a Jamat -e- Islami convention scheduled for 17 of the month. What can anyone infer from this? What the laity like the uninformed jury would infer does not matter for the media and the IB because their syllogism is already predetermined. This, despite the fact that the bombs were kept in a box containing a paper in Urdu. Why the bomb makers should be enamoured of the Urdu language in places like Kannad and Margao in Goa is the continuing puzzle.

Such puzzles have so much bedeviled the government that there is need for what Shashi Tharoor calls demystifying the government. Perhaps another twitter is on the way. A part of the mystification you can understand from Vijay Tendurkar's play Ghasiram Kotwal. The chitpawan Brahmins (the ilks of Nathuram Godse and Savarkars) in his play make a beeline to the mansions of the Muslim concubines while the Maratha sardars visit the Brahmin houses in the dead of the night. They observe such a code of maintaining silence that this kind of communal prostitution passes on as if no one has heard, seen or known it. But then comes the Brahmin from Benares, Ghasiram. Comparisons are odious. But does it strike someone that Hemant Karkare also playacted a wonderful role of this persona, albeit in real life?

The wall of hush hush created by Marathi language is a monumental contribution. Such a real wall must have also outraged Vijay Tndulkar so extremely that he wanted a gun to go and kill Narendra Modi. The acquittal of Moulana Naseerudin and twenty one others by the court in Ahemdabad on January 12, 2010 after their imprisonment for six years on terrorism charges, is also an instance of the hide and seek the IB and the mainstream media play. Thus the saga of suffering in the name of 'nothing comes out of nothing' goes on, as the IB and the media gratify each other while the Neros of the time fiddle.

India: Survivors of Communal Violence In Kandhamal Under The Threat of Evacuation For Third Time

Around 100 survivors of communal violence, who have been staying in an abandoned NAC market complex at G. Udaygiri of Kandhamal district after the forcible closure of relief camps by the government, have been asked by the local administration to vacate the place. With the news of visit of a European Commission team to the region, the government have ordered to remove the people again as a part of its attempt to project that government had brought back normalcy in Kandhamal and violence affected people are living at their villages peacefully without any threat.

‘The BDO has asked us to vacate immediately and if we refuse police force will be used,’ said the worried survivors of Kandhamal violence. When the violence broke out on August 23, 2008, they were forced to leave their villages and their houses were burnt down. They had to take shelter in relief camps, but they were forced to leave from there also after the new BJD government come to power. Hence they had taken shelter in the market complex like beggars.
‘Where can we go with these two babies?’ asked a crying mother Ms. Menaka Nayak (25). Her youngest baby was born in the camp itself. ‘We can not go back to our village, because they will not allow us to live there if we do not convert to Hinduism. The government is not prepared to provide security and necessary help. On top of it they are trying to throw us out from here also’.

Mr. Moses Nayak, who has been prevented by the Hindu fundamentalists to come back to his village Ratingia as he had refused to change his religion unlike his two brothers, presently solely depends on daily wage based labour works, has no other options than to stay here. An elderly couple from R.Padikia village are also debarred to come back to their ancestral land as they failed to present their two ‘pastor’ sons before the communally motivated village mobs.
Following the dreadful communal violence around twenty thousand people have already migrated to different places outside Kandhamal. There are another five thousand people, who neither can afford to go outside nor can go back to their villages, living like refugees in various places of their home district. Although the district administration is claiming of ensuring security, peace and rehabilitation to the survivors, the reality speaks of a different story. The seventeen families from the villages such as R.Padikia, Kutuluma, Loharingia,Kilakia, Jimmangia, Dakedi, Kiramah, Ratingia staying in NAC market complex are virtually landless and legally not entitled to claim their house damage compensation as they do not have records of rights over the lands they used to have their houses since generations. Whoever have RoR over their small patches of homestead land, are debarred by fundamentalists to reconstruct their houses. Very few people were given compensation and again that amount was not more than Rs.10, 000.

‘Even after seventeen months, there is no indication of justice for the survivors of communal violence in Khandamal’, says Fr. Ajay, Director, Jana Vikas, an leading NGO in Kandhamal who represents National Centre for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) ‘There were 295 churches and 6,000 houses burnt down apart from schools, hospitals and other institutions. The victims are none other than poor adivasis and dalits. Urgent action is needed from the government to take care of the needs of the refugees of communalism who have been reduced to the level of beggars and second class citizens. This is not a matter of charity, but a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution of India’. The office building with other accessories belonging to Jana Vikas was one of the first to be burnt down on 25th August 2008.

‘It appears that the existence of refugees of communalism is threatening the image of the Orissa government’ says Dhirendra Panda, well known secular activist from Orissa. ‘That is the reason why they are trying to remove them instead of facilitating their security and rightful restoration’.
Mr.Sarat Nayak from Dakedi, a landless labour who can not go back to his village, complains of the indifference of the school authorities to get his child admitted in any other school. It has been found a numbers of children within age group of 5-14, who are staying in this non-official camp, had to discontinue their studies and there is no visible action by the local administration to bring back these children to schools again.

Let alone other problems, now the first and foremost need is prevent further evacuation of these hapless and hopeless adivasi and dalit victims. Whatever may be the intention, excuses or explanations put forth by the government, the reality is that one hundred victims of communal violence will be thrown out on streets within a day or two. Perhaps, the secular and human rights activists may respond.

Report by: K.P.Sasi, Film Maker

January 10, 2010

Book Review: Infiltration and growth of Religion in the region

Source: Outlook Magazine, Magazine | Jan 18, 2010

Book Review:

The Glitter In The Godliness

India’s new affluence runs parallel to a new, homogenised Hinduism that is riding on a crest of religiosity. Gone with Nehruvian economics is Nehruvian secularism.

by William Dalrymple

The God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu
By Meera Nanda
Random House | 320 pages | Rs 395

In 19th century Europe, industrialisation, and the mass migrations from farms and villages to the towns and cities, went hand in hand with the death of God: organised religion began to decline, and the Church and state moved further and further apart. The experience of South Asia has been more or less the reverse of this. All over the subcontinent faith has been growing and religion becoming stronger as the region has reinvented itself in different ways over the last twenty years. This is at least as much true of India as it is of Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

During the early 20th century, educated, urban Hindu reformers moved away from ritualised expressions of faith in favour of a more philosophical Hinduism, while Nehru and Ambedkar constitutionally formed India as a model secular state. This was to be a state where, in Nehru’s celebrated words, dams would be the new temples. But over the last two decades, just as India has freed itself from the shackles of Nehruvian socialism, in many ways, it has also gone a long way to try and shake off Nehruvian secularism.

This new religiosity has recently been the subject of a remarkable study by Meera Nanda, an academician at JNU, who has shown how globalisation is making India more religious, and religion more political. “Globalisation has been good for the gods,” she writes in The God Market. “As India is liberalising and globalising its economy, the country is experiencing a rising tide of popular Hinduism, which is leaving no social segment and no public institution untouched. There is a surge in popular religiosity among the burgeoning and largely Hindu middle-classes, as is evident from boom in pilgrimage and the invention of new, more ostentatious rituals. This religiosity is being cultivated by the emerging state-temple-corporate complex that is replacing the more secular public institutions of the Nehruvian era...a new Hindu religiosity is getting more deeply embedded in everyday life, both in the private and public spheres.”

Today, local cults and variants are sidelined in favour of centralised, hyper-masculine hero deities like Lord Rama.

India, Nanda reveals, now has 2.5 million places of worship, but only 1.5 million schools and barely 75,000 hospitals. Religious pilgrimages now account for over 50 per cent of all package tours, while the bigger pilgrimage sites now vie with the Taj Mahal for the most visited sites: the Balaji Temple in Tirupati had 23 million visitors last year, while 17.25 million trekked to the mountain shrine of Vaishno Devi. In a 2007 survey jointly conducted by the Hindustan Times and CNN-IBN in 2007, 30 per cent of Indians said they had become more religious in the last five years. Such is the appetite for rituals in this newly religious middle-class. There has recently been a severe shortfall of English and Sanskrit speaking priests with the qualifications to perform Vedic and Agamic rituals. When it comes to rituals in the new India, demand has outstripped supply.

Nanda writes engagingly about what she calls ‘Karma Capitalism’ and the TV godmen, some of whom have huge following: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living empire apparently claims 20 million members; much of its land, she reveals, is donated by the state of Karnataka.

Meanwhile, as in Pakistan, religion and politics are becoming ever more closely entangled. Last summer’s elections may have highlighted the inability of the Sangh Parivar to mobilise votes using communal religious grievances. But as the anti-Christian riots in Orissa earlier in the year showed, it doesn’t take much to wake the sleeping dragon of communal conflict, and Ayodhya still remains an emotive and divisive issue, as we saw in Parliament last month.

Generally, however, Nanda shows that the infiltration of religion into Indian politics is less violent and much more subtle. It is also something for which Congress is as much responsible as the bjp. Nanda presents interesting evidence about the dramatic increase in state funding for yagnas, yoga camps and temple tourism, as well as the dramatic increase of state land given for temples, ashrams and training schools for temple priests. In Rajasthan, the government annually spends Rs 260 million on temple renovations and training for Hindu priests. Mass pujas and public yagnas have now become an important part of political campaigning for all parties, not just the bjp. For 20 years, the Sangh parivar has been making political capital out of “the appeasement of the minorities” by a “pseudo-secular state”. But Nanda makes a strong case to show the astonishing degree to which the religious institutions of the majority community are now the recipients of vast sums of state patronage and funding, and how what she calls “the state-temple-corporate complex” works quietly behind the scenes for a Hindu revival.

Perhaps surprisingly, India’s growing band of techies and software professionals seem particularly open both to religiosity in general, and right wing Hindutva nationalism in particular, so much so that many have joined a special wing of the rss, which now organises regular meetings called IT-milans, where right wing techies can “meet like-minded people and get a sense of participating in something bigger than just punching keyboards all day”.

While Nanda probably gives undue space—an entire chapter—to the liberalisation of the economy since 1991, material that is widely available elsewhere, she might have said a little more about the homogenising tendencies of modern Hinduism, and the way local and regional cults and variants are falling out of favour as faith becomes more centralised. Small devtas and devi cults giving way instead to the national hyper-masculine hero deities, especially Lord Krishna and Lord Rama, a process scholars call the ‘Rama-fication’ of Hinduism.

For this tendency, the best source remains Romila Thapar’s essay Syndicated Hinduism. Here, Thapar shows how, since the mid-19th century, reformers such as Vivekananda have systemised Hinduism into a relatively centralised nationalist ideology that now increasingly resembles the very different structures of the Semitic religions its more extreme adherents tend to abhor. “The model,” writes Thapar, “is in fact that of Islam and Christianity...worship is increasingly congregational and the introduction of sermons on the definition of a good Hindu and Hindu belief and behaviour are becoming common and register a distinct change from earlier practice.” According to Thapar, this homogenising process is accelerating: “The emergence of a powerful middle-class,” she believes, has created a desire for a “uniform, monolithic Hinduism, created to serve its new requirements”. This new Hinduism masquerades as the revival of something ancient, but it is really “a new creation, created to support the claims of [Hindu] majoritarianism.”

Ironically, there are strong parallels in the way this new Hinduism is standardising faith to what is happening in South Asian Islam. There too, the local is tending to give way to the national as the cults of local Sufi saints—the warp and woof of popular Islam in India for centuries—loses ground to a more standardised, middle-class and textual form of Islam, imported from the Gulf and propagated by the the Wahabis, Deobandis and Tablighis in their madrasas.

Today, as a result, the great Sufi shrines of the region find themselves in a position much like that of the great sculptured cathedrals and saints’ tombs of northern Europe five hundred years ago, on the eve of the Reformation. As in 16th century Europe, the reformers and puritans are on the rise, distrustful of music, images, festivals and the devotional superstitions of saints’ shrines. As in Europe, they look to the text alone for authority, and recruit the bulk of their supporters from the newly literate urban middle-class, who looked down on what they see as the corrupt superstitions of the illiterate peasantry.

There is a similar if more gradual process at work in Hindu India: researching my Nine Lives, I found tantriks in West Bengal who lived in fear of Marxist ‘anti-superstition committees’, which beat up tantrik babas they accuse of bring perverts, drug addicts, alcoholics, even cannibals. Everywhere, the deeply embedded syncretic, pluralistic folk traditions that continue to defy the artificial boundaries of modern political identities are finding it difficult to compete with the homogenising mainstream.

Nanda is overtly hostile to many expressions of religiosity and her study is likely to appal as many devout and nationlist readers as it will delight their agnostic and liberal neighbours. But even those who dislike its tone must recognise this as a stimulating, controversial and pathbreaking study which contains a large amount of data unavailable elsewhere, and which opens a debate on an important aspect of modern Indian life.

(William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India is published by Bloomsbury.)

MF Hussain purged from Himachal Textbook

Hindustan Times


Kerala Social Critic and Malayalam Writer Sacaria Heckled as He Spoke Against Moral Policing

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Venugopalan K M
To: venukm
Sent: Sun, 10 January, 2010 3:48:36 PM
Subject: Noted Social Critic and Malayalam Writer Sacaria Heckled as He Spoke Against Moral Policing and Later Manhandled by DYFI Activists at Payyanur(Kannur)

Payyanur is in focus again, for its characteristic mofussil politics preoccupied with die-hard defending of the 'Left'. A literary seminar and book release was organized by December Books yesterday which had been participated by many important writers and attended by an enlightened audience together with activists of the Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham(Forum for Progessive Art and Lierature). Pu.Ka .Sa is an all Kerala Organization patronized by the CPI(M).
Sacaria, the well known social critic and writer while releasing a book by Madhu Nair referred to the deplorable state of the society in which a man and a woman found in circumstances of having extra marital sex or even suspected of doing such thing, would be hounded by the moral brigade. He might be referring to the 'anaasasyam' case recently clamped on Rajmohan Unnithan at Manjeri, Malalappuram district in which a local mob led by DYFI and PDP activists surrounded a house and got the police to arrest Rajmohan (a Congress leader) under sections of an Act that prevent trafficking on women.
According to today's news paper reports, a group from the audience heckled Sacaria and threw filthy abuses at him. Later, while he was about to leave the town, a small group of DYFI men accosted him and keys of the car were forcibly snatched from the driver. The group of about half a dozen men comprising the son of a former MP reportedly told Sacaria that he would not be allowed to get away in good shape, with this kind of speeches made(against the movement and party!) at Payyanur. They threatened to smash his head and teeth. Sacaria reportedly replied that he would then be happy to have a taste of the DYFI culture of Payyanur. Irritated by this,the group persisted on giving threats and continued to pour abuses on Sacaria. The organizers of the event who too were CPM sympathizers finally succeeded in dissuading the small mob . Sensible intervention by writers like C V Balakrishnan also helped to diffuse the tension.
Along with this incident, someone within or outside Payyanur likes to recall many an expression of authoritarian 'Leftism' in the past. Beneath the superficial layer of 'Left' one might sometimes see unabashedly expressed casteism and misogyny as betrayed in the case of burning an autorikshaw owned and driven by a dalit woman in Dec 2005.
A benign SMS message which was already already in circulation that had been sportively forwarded by a young teacher in a parallel college to his female student some time in 2006 had led to his being expelled from job at the behest of SFI /DYFI enthusiasts and finally to his committing suicide. Sending this kind of 'controversial' SMS to a girl student by a male teacher was judged as giving disrepute to both the institution and the girl (who will marry her then?).Jagadeesh, the teacher had been badly roughed up in public and in broad day light by the die-hard 'Leftists'. But again, the poor teacher also had a back history of 'antagonizing' the Party just by keeping aloof from it, in spite of his residing in a Parrish largely under the diktat of the Party. Speakers in a meeting organized by the colleagues of Jagadeesh and a few human rights activists in the small town of Payyanur also had been threatened by a gang of 'Lleftists' in ways similar to the Sacaria episode.
Lot of reported and unreported incidents like this do occur, but the party leadership unfailingly find reasons to justify such acts of vandalism.
(Please check today's Deshabhimani, preferably Kannur edition to see how the party answers; sorry, I haven't seen it yet)
When even bigwigs of the literary world, like Sacaria are not spared of such attacks, the small scale human rights fighters of Payyanur can definitely be proud of bearing the brunt of such attacks on many occasions in the past. But pitiable indeed, is the plight of those organizing progressive events under the auspices of organizations like Pu.Ka. Sa (Forum for Progressive Art and Literature), who have to be contented with a second class status meekly witnessing these acts of vandalism and yet not being able to speak out for the fear of ostracizing and harassment by the big people who really manage their shows.

Payyanur and its people are always taken for granted by the CPI(M) .
Each election is a cake walk for 'Left'.
The opposition parties on the other hand, are neither too ambitious to challenge the 'Leftists' on the electoral arena nor do they feel any such need . Because they are content with many things they already share with the 'Left'- for example, the development activities, the feudal moral and cultural fabric woven with a unique mix of caste and gender, and so on.
End result : Everybody may fell happy there in Payyanur, with the 'Left' taking care of the cultural /moral concerns of all, though a few (outcastes?) will continue to make noises here and there. Again, thank them for not showing any sympathy to the RSS unlike at least the few who might be disillusioned with the Left in the Party villages elsewhere in Kannur district!

Criticism of any religion permissible under right to freedom of speech - Landmark Ruling by Bombay Court

The Times of India

Free to criticize religions but not with hate: Court

by Swati Deshpande, TNN, 7 January 2010, 01:11am IST

MUMBAI: In a significant ruling, a three-judge bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday held that in India, criticism of any religion -- be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity or any other -- is permissible under the fundamental right to freedom of speech and that a book cannot be banned on those grounds alone.

However, the criticism must be bona fide or academic, said the court, as it upheld a ban issued in 2007 by the Maharashtra government on a book titled `Islam - A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims.' The book contained was an "aggravated form of criticism made with a malicious and deliberate intention" to outrage the feelings of Muslims, the court said.

Delivering the landmark verdict on Wednesday, the court has in a rare instance upheld the state's ban on a book but at the same time brought joy to civil rights activists when it held that, "in our country, everything is open to criticism and religion is no exception. Freedom of expression covers criticism of religion and no person can be sensitive about it."

The bench, comprising Justices Ranjana Desai, D Y Chandrachud and R S Mohite, said, "Healthy criticism provokes thought, encourages debate and helps us evolve. But criticism cannot be malicious and must not lead to creating ill-will between different communities... (it) must lead to sensible dialogue." The courts must strike a balance between the guaranteed freedom and permissible restrictions, "a difficult task", as the 150-page HC verdict penned by Justice Desai observed.

The book, authored by R V Bhasin, a Mumbai-based advocate, in 2003 had been in circulation for four years before the state felt the need to ban it for "several derogatory and false statements about Muslim religion, the community, Mohammed Paigambar and Muslim priests". Bhasin later told TOI that he would go to the Supreme Court in appeal. "Freedom of speech cannot be blocked on interpretation," he said.

Bhasin challenged the ban the same year and his counsel J P Cama argued at length that freedom of speech and expression has to be protected and unless a book gives rise immediately to a present and sudden danger of disrupting communal or societal peace, its ban cannot be justified. He said the author placed certain lesser-known aspects about Islam before the people and said, "Assuming he is wrong, he has a right to be wrong."

But justifying the state's ban was advocate general Ravi Kadam and later Yusuf Muchala, the counsel for a few intervenors, including Indian Union Muslim League, Maharashtra Muslim Lawyers Forum, Islamic Research Foundation, Jamat-e-Islami-e-Hind and Bombay Aman Committee. One intervenor, I G Khandelwal, from Right to Read Foundation, supported the author.

The bench had reserved the matter for judgment last August after a lengthy hearing. The court said, "The author can say what he feels is right and if it is wrong, he cannot be punished for it. But what needs to be seen is whether it was done bona fide with real desire to explore the tenets of Islam and give his exposition,"

In this case, the court held that the criticism of Islam and "insulting comments with particular reference to Indian Muslims" were "not academic". "It is an aggravated form of criticism made with a malicious and deliberate intention to outrage the religious feelings of Muslims. The contents are so interwoven that it is not possible to excise certain portions and permit circulation of the book," the court said. The author had declined an earlier suggestion to delete certain parts.

A person may have a right to say a particular religion is "not secular", said the HC, but it cautioned against rabid contents "reeking of hatred for a particular community" and "malafide exercise to stir communal passions".

The HC also found "totally unacceptable" the author's argument that banning the book in the age of the internet is passe and pointless.

The book contains "highly objectionable and disturbing" statements about the author's wishful thinking of an impending war between Muslims and others and how Indian Muslims want to convert all Hindus, attack temples and Hindu women. Statements like these are "likely to incite people to violence and may promote violence, enmity or hatred".

January 03, 2010

Genocidal crimes, require special rules and procedures

The Hindu, January 04, 2010


Still waiting, after 25 years

It will come as cold comfort to the victims of the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi, Kanpur, and other cities that “official sanction” to prosecute Sajjan Kumar in one of the last pending cases against him has finally been given. A Congress strongman in Delhi, Mr. Kumar has been prosecuted before and let off by the courts because of the weakness of the case mounted by the Delhi Police. From the word go, the police subverted all cases stemming from the 1 984 killings with the same degree of commitment to the rule of law that it displayed during the three days murderous mobs were given a free hand to wreak ‘vengeance’ on innocent Sikhs for the dastardly assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Dozens of murders spread across a vast area were listed in omnibus First Information Reports and details mixed up and confused in such a way that their use in subsequent investigations and prosecutions was next to impossible. Mr. Kumar evaded indictment for years with the help of the political establishment and a surprisingly benevolent judiciary. When he was eventually indicted, he presented as star defence witnesses the very police officers who authored one of those FIRs. This, coupled with the fact that numerous prosecution witnesses “mysteriously” turned hostile, led to his acquittal in the most serious of charges. That matter is now on appeal.

Will the ‘Rathore effect’ — the widespread public revulsion at the ease with which influential persons get away with heinous criminal acts — force the authorities to mount a proper effort to bring a key player of November 1984 to justice this time around? Or will his forthcoming trial for lesser offences like inciting communal hatred get caught up in labyrinthine procedures? Mass killings of the type and scale of November 1984 or Gujarat 2002 take place partly because an effective immunity from proper investigation and prosecution attach to them. Indian law and judicial process treat these incidents as ‘ordinary’ rather than genocidal crimes, which require special rules and procedures for prosecution. Crucially, Indian law does not assign command responsibility to those at the top of the administrative pyramid who have both the knowledge of the mass killings taking place and the ability to stop them but do nothing to intervene. This is the yardstick for culpability in modern international humanitarian law. The incorporation of this principle in India will surely have a salutary deterrent effect. Sadly, the proposed Communal Violence Bill lacks this essential element and is so riddled with other infirmities that it will be next to useless in protecting innocent citizens from targeted mass violence.

January 02, 2010

Communal Riots 2009

National Consultation on Communal Violence Bill (12-13 Feb. 2010, N Delhi)

From: shabnam hashmi
Date: Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Dear All,

A new version of the CV Bill has been cleared by Cabinet recently. It has so far not been tabled in the Parliament.We are however told that the Govt is keen to table it at the earliest perhaps even during the Budget session in March 2010.

We are therefore calling a National Consultation ( Feb 12-13, 2009, Deputy Chairman Hall, Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi) of all friends who have over the past few years engaged themselves actively with the whole process and negotiations. In our opinion it is very important to collectively form a response and a strategy for lobbying with the govt , members of parliament and media so that we can ensure that the bill when finally passed serves its purpose and does not become another tool in the hands of the communal forces.

It is conceived as a small meeting of not more than 50senior activists, jurists but representing different groups and states working on the issue and also of those who are committed to a united response.

We would circulate the background material and would request everyone to come prepared/ or send in advance their response so that by the end of the first day all the responses can be compiled and sent to the Govt. on the second day when the Consultation concludes.

We are attaching a Memo & Annexure (recently circulated by Vrinda Grover, Farah Naqvi, Uma Chakravarti, Madhu Mehra, Harsh Mander & Usha Ramanathan) of non-negotiable elements/principles that must form part of a law on Communal Violence that were submitted to the Government in early December 2009.

While Anhad is trying to raise funds for this we would request those of you who are attached to various institutions to support your own travel and also stay where ever possible.







CRITICAL PROVISIONS IN THE PROPOSED LAW ON COMMUNAL VIOLENCE – Communal Violence (Prevention, Control & Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2009


The Indian Penal Code, 1860 is inadequate to combat communal violence, failing repeatedly in the past to protect and redress victims of mass crimes or enforce accountability of perpetrators, including the state agencies complicit through acts of commission and omission in mass crimes. The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill 2009 must take into account the long history of impunity for communal violence, and CREATE NEW CRIMES/OFFENCES to fill the legal vacuum on which the demand for a new law is based. It cannot again rely upon the Indian Penal Code to cover the range of crimes that are committed during periods of communal violence.

Communal violence is a targeted crime and a mass crime, perpetrated on a community of persons. It involves the systematic targeting of a community by reason of their religious/ethnic identity, with the explicit or implicit support and sanction of the state and its functionaries. As such these crimes do not find themselves reflected in the IPC and other extant penal laws. Because of their nature as `targeted mass crimes’, they need to be recognized as such, through the creation of NEW SUBSTANTIVE SECTIONS/DEFINITIONS (drawing upon the concepts of crimes against humanity and genocide, both of which are defined in Annexure A to this memorandum)

There is also a need to formulate new rules of procedure of investigation, criminal prosecution and evidence, taking into consideration the context of communal violence, and the new crimes/offences defined by this Bill.


When persons in positions of official power (civil or military) have it in their command to prevent the eruption of communal violence, or to stop its continuance, the responsibility for the eruption, or continuance, of violence can be traced to such public authorities with power. This extends in particular to people in political leadership of the executive, to the civil magistracy, administrative officers or bureaucrats and the police. The penal law, as is stands, does not provide for prosecuting or punishing such public authorities/public servants. In contrast it provides legal immunity to these public servants. This is despite increasing evidence that the violence is planned, or that situations are used to generate or perpetuate targeted violence, by a mastermind(s) in positions of public authority. The principle of `Command responsibility’ has to be incorporated into the law if the architects of violence are to be drawn into a legal scheme of punishment and deterrence. Command Responsibility should pin criminal liability to the person, civilian or military, under whose command the crimes occurred.

The law should explicitly recognize and punish communal crimes that result not just from active participation or abetment of state authorities, but also crimes of omission, or what may be described as ‘culpable inaction’.


The earlier Bill - Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005 - fails to enforce state accountability for acts of omission and commission by the state agencies and functionaries. It does not make inroads into the complete impunity that state agencies enjoy for misdeeds of omission and commission, because of the requirement of prior sanction from the government for prosecution. Such a condition serves to ensure that State agencies will continue to enjoy immunity even after the passing of the Bill, thus nullifying the Bill’s own stated commitment to the principle of State accountability. The presumption that the public officials acted in good faith in the light of their proven complicity repeatedly in situations of communal violence is incomprehensible and will only serve to shield the guilty.


1. Include new crimes within the Bill rather than work within the framework of the penal provision on rape. Given the type of violence against women that has been documented in recent times in India, of sexual crimes such as public and mass acts of sexual violence including cutting off breasts and uterus, forced nudity, stripping and parading women naked, forcible pregnancy, exhibiting sexual organs in the presence of women and mutilation of women’s genital organs, we submit that incorporating rape alone as a crime would be grossly inadequate and would not capture the various kinds of violence inflicted on women in communal situations.
* We therefore recommend inclusion of a new crime - Sexual Violence
* And within the category of Sexual Violence, to redefine the crime of Rape

(Please find suggested definitions in Annexure A to this memorandum)

2. In relation to the crime of RAPE, a new definition rather than the existing IPC definition to be used in the Bill. This is because the present definition of ‘rape’ as stated in S. 375 of the Indian Penal Code has been inadequate to respond to crimes against women committed in recent incidents of communal violence. We reject the said definition, as it is grossly inadequate even to respond to sexual violence in ‘normal, peacetime’. Women’s organizations, National Commission for Women and the Law Commission of India have been debating revisions in the IPC definition of rape. A Draft Sexual Assault Bill that provides for an expanded definition of Rape is under consideration and debate.

(Please find suggested definitions in Annexure A to this memorandum)

3. Develop evidentiary standards appropriate to the context of a communally charged and violent situation for proving sexual violence. This is particularly in view of the fact that in situations of communal violence, women’s access to police stations (for lodging FIR), government hospitals (for medical examinations) and the confidence / ability to pursue legal procedures is substantially reduced during the period of the violence and till the return to a safe and non hostile environment for the survivors of the violence. Hence, appropriate evidentiary and procedural standards are imperative and should include the following:

o All investigation should be conducted in a gender-sensitive manner
o Delays in reporting should be condoned in view of the extraordinary circumstances and no adverse inference should be drawn of this delay
o Medical evidence should not be insisted upon as a corroborative evidence
o Uncorroborated victim’s testimony could form the basis for conviction provided it inspires the confidence of the court
o Delay in lodging an FIR should not impact the case in any manner
o Consent to sexual act as a defense to the perpetrator should be specifically excluded
o Admission of evidence of prior or subsequent sexual conduct of a victim of sexual violence should be explicitly prohibited
o Sexual violence in a communal situation should be equated to custodial rape as mob exercises complete control and is in a position of authority.
o Hence, the Bill should as in cases of custodial rape provide for enhanced punishment and also shift the burden of proof from the victim to the perpetrator
o Victim / witness protection regime for survivors of sexual violence.
o Special efforts to be made to conduct the trial in a gender sensitive environment to ensure that the consequent trauma is diminished


It must be emphasized that crimes that are crimes by definition in law do not have to bide a declaration of an area as a `disturbed area’ by a government. The declaration (or notification) as a disturbed area may have some significance in the nature of executive powers that may be assumed – and this is still a subject that needs deeper deliberation – or for establishing the relationship between the Centre and the States in relation to such `disturbances’. But they cannot determine when an act amounts to an offence. Stated otherwise, while the `scale’ of the violence may be relevant for deciding whether it falls within a special law on communal and targeted violence, that scale cannot be linked to the temporality of an executive declaration. This is especially so since the declaration may follow upon aggravated acts of targeted violence.


Any proposed law on Communal violence must use the concept of reparations (rather than relief), which includes rescue, relief (including establishing relief camps for as long as affected people feel insecure), compensation, restitution, rehabilitation including assistance of soft loans and land allocations to rebuild livelihoods and shelters to levels not less than before the violence and inconformity with the wishes of the affected persons, and the reconstruction of places of worship destroyed in the violence. Reparations to be an inviolable, legally enforceable right of the victim-survivor, and according to objective norms and scales that are binding on all governments. Provide for a national framework/policy of entitlements (specifically compensation) for victim-survivors of communal violence (rather than leave it to discretion at the state level)


The Bill must acknowledge rights of internally displaced persons who face forced displacement due to communal violence. Reparations should be provided in conformity with international standards for internally displaced persons, including the UN guidelines on Internal Displacements. These Guidelines must be domesticated through adoption of a policy to this effect (namely, a National Policy on Internal Displacement due to violence/unrest, as distinct from a National Policy on Internal Displacement due to “development” and “land acquisition”), and some nodal agency be constituted, so that all internally displaced persons have a justiciable framework of entitlements to protect them.


Substantive provisions for victim / witness protection that focuses on safety, physical and psychological well-being, privacy and dignity. Incorporate comprehensive provisions on protection of victims and witnesses, in consonance with recent Supreme Court judgments and directives and Law Commission report. Such provisions should focus on safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses, particularly in cases of sexual or gender violence. The provisions should include medical assistance, counseling and psychological support, protection of the identity of victims and witnesses, ensuring a congenial atmosphere in the open court for the woman to give her testimony (while providing her with the option of an in camera trial), and stringent punishment for persons who intimidate/ coerce a woman to give a false testimony. Legal aid to victims and accused.

Signed by:

o o o



Date: November 17, 2009

Subject: ANNEXURE A - SUGGESTED DEFINITIONS OF CRIMES (Communal Violence Bill, 2009)

Crime Definition

1. Sexual violence

The perpetrator committed an act of a sexual nature against one or more women or caused such woman or women to engage in an act of a sexual nature of force, or by threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, against such person or another person, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment, or the invasion was committed against a woman incapable of giving genuine consent. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. Crimes of sexual violence include (but are not limited to) rape, forced nudity, exposure of male sexual organs in front of women, parading women naked in public, enforced sterilization, forced pregnancy, mutilation of reproductive organs, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and gender-based persecution.

3. Rape

* The perpetrator invaded the body of a woman by conduct resulting in penetration, however slight, of any part of the body of the woman or of the perpetrator with a sexual organ, or of the anal or genital opening of the woman with any object or any other part of the body.
* The invasion was committed by force, or by threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, against such woman or another person, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment, or the invasion was committed against a woman incapable of giving genuine consent.

Note: It is understood that a person may be incapable of giving genuine consent if affected by natural, induced or age-related incapacity.

4. Gender-based persecution

“Persecution” on the basis of gender means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law on the basis of gender.

5. Genocide

The following five acts, if committed with the intention to destroy all or part of a national, ethnical (linguistic & cultural), racial or religious group, may constitute genocide:

* Killing members of the group
* Causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group.
* Deliberately inflicting on a group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.
* Imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group;
* Forcibly transferring children of a group to another group.

Note: Encouragement to, assistance in and attempts to commit genocide are also acts of genocide

6. Crimes Against Humanity

Crimes against humanity means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, sexual violence, gender-based violence, enforced disappearance of persons and other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or mental or physical health.

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