The Telegraph – The BJP’s opposition to the anti-lynching law in Rajasthan is telling

Rajasthan is the second state after Manipur to pass an anti-lynching law

Editorial Board

Jaipur – Rajasthan – India, 12 August 2019. Sometimes the hard core of values exposes itself through fruity layers of palliative rhetoric. That happened in the Rajasthan assembly when the government passed the Rajasthan protection from lynching bill, 2019 and the Rajasthan prohibition of interference with the freedom of matrimonial alliances in the name of honour and tradition bill, 2019.

That the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Opposition contested their passage was not as revealing as the arguments it spouted. Only one of its points merited clarification. Both the bills had to do with murders, against which the Indian Penal Code has adequate provisions.

The point is that lynching by alleged cow vigilantes and on the basis of rumours is a crime that has taken on distinctive dimensions, with many of these occurring in Rajasthan. They are executed by invoking the law against cow slaughter as alibi mainly against members of minority communities or underprivileged groups.

Even the Supreme Court felt the need for a separate law against lynching. Rajasthan has emphasized the need for stringent provisions including imprisonment and fines as well as a firm system of monitoring, implementation and accountability as advised by the court. It is the second state after Manipur to pass an anti-lynching law.

The Opposition did not stop at calling this a law favouring cow smugglers but also that it was meant to please a particular community. Evidently, BJP members of the Rajasthan legislature do not mind showing off their antagonism to the “particular” community, neither their knowledge of the fact that the community is the favoured target of lynch mobs.

In opposing the bill, insisting also that it go to a select committee, something that its party seldom does when in the majority, the Rajasthan BJP made clear that its support lay with a particular kind of criminals.

Similarly, its objections to the bill against honour killing were on the basis of cultural practice and tradition: again, a direct upholding of the power of khap panchayats and discrimination, and an assault on personal liberty and the right to privacy.

Does this mean that collective crimes that are discriminatory, regressive, repressive and intrusive have the BJP’s support? The positive steps taken by the Rajasthan assembly should not only be lauded but emulated wherever such crimes are common. The nation needs to know whether BJP-led state governments will follow. – Genocide victims ask SIT to probe former UP DGP’s statement about Kamal Nath

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 12 August 2019. On August 10, the All India Riot Victims Relief Committee submitted a memorandum to the Special Investigation Team seeking investigation of statement given by the former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Sulkhan Singh about the involvement of Kamal Nath in the 1984 Sikh genocide.

The AIRVRC head Kuldeep Singh Bhogal and Advocate Prasoon Kumar submitted this memorandum to the SIT members at their office in New Delhi.

Sharing the development with media, Kuldeep Singh Bhogal informed that the former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Sulkhan Singh had given a statement in the media in which he had confirmed the involvement of Madhya Pradesh’s CM Kamal Nath in the 1984 Sikh genocide. He added that they had raised the demand to call Sulkhan Singh as a witness with the SIT earlier.

Bhogal further informed that the SIT members have now informed them that Sulkhan Singh has said that he was not an eye-witness account of the 1984 Sikh genocide and had posted on Facebook on the basis of hearsay and what he was told by his friends at that time.

He added that the SIT has informed them that Sulkhan Singh has removed that post now.

“We have still requested the SIT officials to investigate those people who had informed Sulkhan Singh about the involvement of Kamal Nath in the 1984 Sikh genocide,” he informed while saying that a DGP rank official can’t give an irresponsible statement.

Genocide victims ask SIT to probe former UP DGP’s statement about Kamal Nath

Sint-Pieters Woluwe – Jules César/Julius Cesar

Jules César/Julius Cesar
MIVB Trams 39 and 44
03 August 2019

Stop for Tram 39 and 44 to Montgomery

Looking towards Montgomery 

Looking towards Tervuren / Ban Eik

MIVB Tram 44 to Tervuren

MIVB Tram 44 to Tervuren

MIVB Tram 39 to Montgomery
At Montgomery you can walk straight from the tram platform
onto the metro one

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Citizen – Punjab comes out in strong support of Kashmiris

See parallels in 1984

Rajeev Khanna

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 10 August 2019. One state that is vociferously raising its voice in support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A by the central government is neighbouring Punjab.

Right from the government to various political organizations and civil society activists and organizations both in India and abroad, there has been opposition to the step taken by the Centre, particularly the manner in which it was done by silencing the voice of the Kashmiris.

There are many reasons, similarities in experience and also certain distinct historical reasons for Punjabis coming out to voice support. Many are drawing parallels between the eve of Operation Bluestar in 1984 and the build up in Jammu and Kashmir before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the government’s decision in Parliament.

“It needs to be understood that both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are places where national minorities (Sikhs and Muslims) are in a majority. Both have witnessed a divide between the communities. But while Punjab has displayed a composite culture, things have been a lot different in Kashmir over the recent past.

Another major difference is that while Pakistan has been directly involved in Kashmir, this was not the case in Punjab,” senior political commentator Jagtar Singh said.

Underlining the similarities in the build up, he said that in Punjab too the centre had muzzled the voice of the people in 1984 by cutting off communication links and imposing a curfew. “The role of the media was also the same where nobody spoke for the people and those who did were treated as suspects.

At present some of the portals are at least trying to give a clear picture of what is happening in Kashmir,” he told The Citizen. He is of the view that there would be repercussions.

He pointed out that till date the Sikh issue continues to raise its head at regular intervals. He also aired concern over the possibility of Khalistani and Kashmiri separatists joining hands in future.

Singh further made an interesting observation that whether it has been Kashmir or Punjab; those carrying the gun have never bothered for Article 370 or any other law. The main issue in both these states has basically been autonomy.

Poet Rajwinder Meer who has been touring the hinterland of Malwa region trying to gauge the mood of the common masses said there is a lot of anger among the people on how the Kashmiris have been treated by the centre.

They are particularly annoyed at the irresponsible comments that are being aired by the Hindutva elements with regard to Kashmiri women.

“The general sentiment is that humiliation of any community backfires. In the recent past whenever we saw the state targeting the people protesting peacefully like in Tuticorin we were reminded of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, but now we are witnessing the creation of a West Bank and Gaza here itself,” he said.

Meer Said that there had been several protests in the Malwa region against the Centre’s decision but these had gone largely unreported by the mainstream media.

He further said, “Those who are politically aware are peeved at the people in other states who are celebrating the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A. They feel that Kashmir has lost whatever partial autonomy it had. Instead of striving for similar autonomy for their own respective states, it is a sad state of affairs that people are celebrating what has been done.”

In fact, taking strong exception to the comments from Hindutva elements about Kashmiri women, one of the Akal Takht Jathedars Giani Harpreet Singh has come out with a statement saying that these are serious offences against women and cannot be ignored.

Recalling how the Sikh women were treated by people of the same mentality in 1984, he stated that Sikhs will not allow anyone to repeat 1984 with Kashmiri women.

Not missing out on the Punjabi sentiment, state chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh came out with a strong reaction to the centre’s move. He was among the very few Congress leaders who categorically attacked the centre for the move terming it unconstitutional and undemocratic while calling it ‘a dark day for the Indian democracy’.

Objecting to the arbitrary manner in which things were done, Amarinder Singh said the constitutional provisions had been abused as never before.

The issue is all set to play out in state politics in the days to come as the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) that has always claimed to hold the flag of federalism and autonomy has supported the BJP government at the centre, and is facing a strong reaction from the Sikhs in particular.

Another interesting perspective on how the issue is playing out in the state comes from an open letter written by Dal Khalsa chief Harpal Cheema to the US President Donald Trump. The once hard line Dal Khalsa is a group that is pursuing radical politics through democratic means even as it propagates the right to self determination.

In his letter Cheema while endorsing the unequivocal right to self-determination of Kashmiris and expressing solidarity with them said, “India’s retrograde step to convert the state into a union territory is not only an assault on the territorial status of the region but also a concerted attempt to revert to the pre-1953 status of Kashmir, clearly carried out to evade India’s international obligation and subjugate the people of Kashmir.”

He has favoured American intervention on Kashmir saying that it is quite evident from the history of the last seven decades that India and Pakistan cannot resolve the issue bilaterally and hardly any effort has ever been made to make Kashmir and pro-Kashmiri leaders as part of the conflict resolution process.

Meanwhile, Punjabis living abroad are also speaking out on the issue and are planning protests to register their anger. One such protest has been planned in Surrey in Canada on August 18 by an organization called Indians Abroad for Pluralist India.

It needs to be recalled that it was Punjabis who had come forward to help Kashmiri youth that was being targeted by right wing groups in the aftermath of Pulwama attack on Indian security forces earlier this year. The state had gone all out to ensure that the youth reached home safely.

Dawn – Rise of virulent nationalism

Zahid Hussain

Op/Ed, 14 August 2019. Muscular nationalism, majoritarianism and populism are the most definite manifestations of the fascist ideology that now seems to be on the rise in various parts of the world. Ascendency of authoritarian strongmen is causing the rollback of liberal democratic values.

The most dangerous fascist trait is the new virulent nationalism that seeks to assert racist, political and cultural hegemony, thus threatening not only democratic processes within states but also regional security.

Two events in the past weeks in different parts of the world, the US and India, are demonstrative of such increasing fascistic trends. One of these incidents, of the kind described as domestic terrorism motivated by white supremacist ideology, left several Americans dead.

The manifesto posted by the young shooter who on 03 August slaughtered more than two dozen shoppers, most of them of Hispanic origin, at a mall in El Paso, Texas, talked about the “invasion of immigrants”.

It echoed the rhetoric used by President Trump against non-white immigrants. His re-election campaign too often mentions the ‘invasion’ of illegal immigrants. Trump’s white supremacist ideology has polarised American society as never before.

His tweets and the speeches he gives at public rallies include racist invective and encourage jingoistic hatred. One example of his incitement of racial grievances is his constant attack on four congresswomen of colour for their outspoken criticism of the administration’s racist politics.

Trump’s remarks that the congresswomen should “go back’ to their countries of origin has become a popular slogan among his supporters. He has stoked right-wing violence and his administration has actively opposed efforts to fight it. Given such a campaign of hatred, the increasing occurrence of racist terrorism in the United States is not surprising.

The rise of neo-Nazism in other Western countries is a symptom of their racist politics and populism. Most worrisome is the prospect of Trumpian populism prevailing in other countries.

Over the past years, there has been a notable rise of more virulent nationalism and authoritarian trends. Anti-immigration sentiments have strengthened right-wing extremist nationalism. It has also reared its ugly face in other parts of the world.

The Indian action to annex the occupied territory and attempt to destroy Kashmiri identity is also a part of muscular nationalism under a Hindu majoritarian regime.

It is not just a matter of territorial occupation but also a move to turn a religious community into a minority. Driven by RSS ideology, Modi is trying to turn India into a Hindu rashtra and marginalise other religious communities.

Not only is this brute military force an attempt to suppress the Kashmir struggle for self-determination, it is also cultural subjugation of an entire community.

We are witnessing in India today the escalation of a violent Hindu nationalism that is causing instability in the region. What has happened in India-held Kashmir could be a prelude to the strengthening of Modi’s authoritarian rule.

The return of Narendra Modi with a larger mandate on the wave of militant nationalism and populism has further shaken the secular foundations of India which had already been weakened over the years.

This trend has been most distressing for India’s minorities. The BJP’s politics, rooted in Hindu supremacist groups, have polarised this heterogeneous country, raising fear and tensions.

Mob violence against Muslims, who make up about 14 per cent of India’s population, and lower-caste Hindus, has risen alarmingly. In many cases, right-wing communal groups that form the nucleus of Modi’s support base have perpetrated the violence. And the bloodshed often goes unpunished.

The ideology behind Hindutva as articulated by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar views Muslims and Christians as outsiders who, according to him, “cannot claim equal membership in the Indian nation”.

The ideology sees non-Hindus as an existential threat to Hindutva. “Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine,” Savarkar wrote in what became the de facto manifesto of the RSS, which was founded in 1925.

“Their mythology and Godmen, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently, their names and their outlook smack of a foreign origin. Their love is divided.”

For nearly a century, there has been a deep ideological battle over the idea of India, pitting an inclusive vision of a pluralistic, multi-faith nation against the Hindu majoritarianism of the RSS, which says Hindus should have primacy in Indian society.

The RSS was banned briefly after one of its members assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

Over the years, the RSS has emerged as one of the most powerful political forces in India.

It is also a component of the BJP. Modi and some other top leaders of the ruling party come from the ranks of the RSS and are taking forward the ideology of Hindutva and turning India into a Hindu rashtra. A big question is whether the followers of Savarkar have won this ideological battle.

A divided and rudderless opposition will hardly be able to stop the BJP’s communal roller coaster. The wave of aggressive Hindu nationalism has even split the secular parties as was witnessed during the voting in the Indian parliament on revoking Article 370 that provided a semi-autonomous status to occupied Kashmir.

The militant nationalism also affects state institutions, even the judiciary. Hence it is not likely that the Indian Supreme Court would strike down occupied Kashmir’s annexation despite its legality being questioned by many top Indian jurists.

A major cause of concern is that what has been happening in India and the rising wave of militant nationalism elsewhere could also strengthen the right-wing Islamic groups in Pakistan that also espouse the idea of a majoritarian Islamic state and are still active despite the state’s claims of reining them in.

The very fact that some of the provisions in our Constitution discriminate against non-Muslims gives the right-wing groups a sense of impunity. Some argue that the provision whereby the state can decide who is a Muslim goes against the spirit of Pakistan as propounded by the founders of this nation. It is also a battle for the soul of Pakistan.

The writer is an author and journalist