BBC News – Does JNU campus attack mean India is failing its young?

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent

New Delhi – India, 06 January 2020. Its list of alumni includes a Nobel-Prize winning economist, former prime ministers of Libya and Nepal, and many leading politicians, diplomats, artists and academics. It is also an internationally renowned centre for teaching and research, and is among one of India’s top ranked universities.

Yet the storied reputation of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) didn’t deter a mob of masked men armed with sticks, stones and iron rods running berserk on its sprawling campus on Sunday evening.

They attacked students and teachers and destroyed property even as the police refused to intervene for more than an hour. Outside the campus gates, another mob shouted nationalist slogans and targeted journalists and ambulances. Nearly 40 people were hurt in the violence.

Left and right-wing students groups have blamed each other for the violence. Most eyewitnesses told reporters that the mob was mainly made up of men belonging to the ABVP, the right-wing students group linked to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and a clutch of outsiders.

Ostensibly, Sunday’s violence appears to have been stoked by a dispute over a hostel fee hike, which has roiled the campus for the last few months.

University authorities have blamed the attack on a “group of students” who were opposing an ongoing admission process to register new students, it is widely believed that the statement referred to leftist students who have been protesting against the fee hike.

But there are deepening fears that the BJP wants to muzzle dissent on the campus, which has traditionally been a hotbed of left-wing politics. Ever since Mr Modi’s party stormed to power riding a crest of Hindu nationalism, JNU has been a constant target.

Students have been charged with sedition for making speeches, and the university has been vilified by the party and partisan news networks as “anti-national”. Its students have been called “urban” Maoists.

Sunday’s campus attack tells you a few things about India.

For one, it points to a breakdown of law and order in the capital, the responsibility of which lies with India’s powerful interior minister Amit Shah. If mobs can enter one of India’s best universities and the police fails to protect students and teachers, then who exactly is safe, many are asking.

Also, critics say BJP’s brand of politics is leading to expected, and disturbing, consequences.

Since they have been in office, Mr Modi and Mr Shah have relentlessly belittled and demonised political opponents and critics, calling them anti-national and and urban Maoists.

“By calling all protests as anti-national, an atmosphere of legtimisation of lawless violence has been developed,” says political scientist Suhas Palshikar. There’s been, he adds, a “systematic manufacturing of atmosphere of suspicion and hatred”.

The result is that there is dwindling tolerance for dissenting views. The incident, according to Roshan Kishore, a senior journalist and JNU alumnus himself, proves that “we are living in an age where ideological differences in places of learning will be crushed by brute force, and the state at best will remain a bystander”.

The university has an amazing diversity of students, cutting across class, caste, gender and religion. The campus is a “revolution of sorts” where the rich and poor, the influential and the obscure, the city-bred and students from villages meet, study and live, says Rakesh Batabyal, author of JNU: The Making Of A University.

“What happened on Sunday night is something the campus has never seen,” adds Atul Sood, a faculty member.

However, JNU is no stranger to violent conflict. In the 1980s teachers and students clashed over plans to change the admission policy. Newspaper headlines spoke about the “anarchy” on the campus. Students attacked homes of teachers. Police, according to many accounts, thrashed students.

A number of students were arrested and nearly 40 of them expelled from the campus. Force, writes Mr Batabyal, became a “new signifier for politics in the campus”.

Things are different this time. The government’s response to the violence has been frosty: it has refused to engage with protesting students. The JNU incident is the third time since December that protesting students have been targeted in campuses, students of two leading universities in Delhi and the northern city of Aligarh have recently borne the brunt of police brutality.

“The constant demonisation of students by the government continues to increase their vulnerability to such attacks and awards impunity to the attackers. It is imperative that the government listens to its citizens,” says Avinash Kumar of Amnesty International India.

What is more worrying, is that India’s opposition has failed to pick up the cudgels on behalf of the students. “A society which condones violence against its universities is only condoning the destruction of its future,” says Mr Kishore. India is clearly failing its young. – Pakistan categorizes Imran Chishti’s threats as an act of terrorism; Chishti arrested under non-bailable ATA charges

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 06 January 2020. On 05 January the Pakistani Punjab province’s police arrested Imran Chishti after registering an FIR No. 6/2020 against him under sections 295-A/ 290/291/341/506/148/149, 6 sound system / 7 Anti-Terrorism Act at Nankana Sahib police station.

Sharing the development over Twitter, the Punjab CM’s focal person (digital media) Azhar Mashwani said that Imran Chishti won’t be able to secure bail as he has been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

It is noteworthy here that Imran Chishti incited a mob Muslim persons to pelt stones at Gurdwara Sri Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib and had uttered highly inflammatory words against the Sikhs and Gurdwara Sri Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib on 03 January.

Imran is an elder brother of Mohammad Hassan, who is accused of abducting and forcibly marrying Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur after getting her converted to Islam in August last year.

The Pakistan government has set an example by categorizing the Imran Chishti’s threats of converting Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib into Ghulaman-e-Mustafa as an act of Terrorism despite being an Islamic state.

This is in contrast to India, where such threats are passed to the minorities by radical Hindu elements almost every day and the radical Hindus, who demolished Babri Masjid, are roaming freely without any fear even after 3 decades.

Pakistan categorizes Imran Chishti’s threats as an act of Terrorism; Chishti arrested under non-bailable ATA charges

Den Haag (NL) – Zuiderpark – Melis Stokelaan

Den Haag NL
Zuiderpark – Melis Stokelaan
24 December 2019

Tram stop Zuiderpark – Tram 9 to Scheveningen Noord

Tram stop Zuiderpark – Tram 9 to Scheveningen Noord

Melis Stokelaan

Melis Stokelaan


Tram tracks along the Zuiderpark

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

NDTV – Khalsa Aid Founder faces right-wing trolling over Nankana Sahib post

“What is the situation at Nankana Sahib? Was there a mob of fanatics throwing stones at the Gurdwara Sahib”? Khalsa Aid founder Ravi Singh wrote on Facebook.

Mohammed Ghazali

New Delhi – India, 07 January 2020. The founder of Khalsa Aid, an NGO that provides humanitarian aid around the world and is based on Sikh principles, was trolled for his Facebook post about the mob attack on Pakistan’s Nankana Sahib Gurdwara last week.

Hundreds of angry people had surrounded the historic gurdwara, built at the place where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have been born. Media reports said the mob, that threw stones at the gurdwara, was led by the family of a boy who had allegedly abducted the daughter of an official of the gurdwara in August last year and forcefully converted her.

“What is the situation at Nankana Sahib? Was there a mob of fanatics throwing stones at the Gurdwara Sahib”? Ravi Singh wrote on Facebook after videos of the mob throwing stones at the gurdwara emerged.

Several people reacted angrily to Mr Singh’s post, asking him why his organisation continues to serve in Muslim countries. They even targeted him over his NGO serving tea to anti-Citizenship Act protesters in Delhi.

“You should serve tea and snacks to those who threw stones at the gurdwara. They must have been cold,” a user named Abhinav Kaushal wrote.

“I haven’t seen a word again Pakistanis from you about this incident. If the same thing happened in India, everyone including you would start blaming the government,” another Facebook user wrote.

Mr Singh hit back at the trolls. “The right-wing Indians are dancing with joy ! Such damn losers!” he wrote. Mr Singh made a separate post after some Facebook users linked the Citizenship Act to the attack on the gurdwara. “Let’s not get diverted from the draconian CAA Bill,” he wrote.

“CAA has nothing to do with Sikhs, rather it will give respect to the community. The entire India is against what happens in Nankana Sahib and you are concerned about CAA,” a user named Vikas Yadav wrote.

The Print – Hindu Raksha Dal claims responsibility for Sunday’s JNU attack

In a video posted to social media, a man named Pinki Chaudhary from the right-wing group said those involved in ‘anti-national activities’ would face a similar attack.

New Delhi – India, 07 January 2020.  A fringe right-wing group, Hindu Raksha Dal, has purportedly taken responsibility for the attack on JNU students in a video posted on social media.

The video, which was posted on social media on Monday and has gone viral since, shows a man identifying himself as Pinki Chaudhary saying that those who resort to “anti-national activities” will be treated in the same way that JNU students and faculty were.

He later told news channels that others involved in “anti-national activities” will face similar attacks.

There was no immediate reaction from the police on Chaudhury’s claims.

“For several years, JNU has been a bastion of communists and we will not tolerate it. Hindu Raksha Dal, Bhupendra Tomar, Pinki Chaudhury take the responsibility of what has happened in JNU, all of them were our volunteers. Those who cannot do such work for Mother India don’t have the right to live in this country,” Chaudhary was seen as saying in the video.

“We are always ready to sacrifice our lives for Mother India. We will not tolerate anyone who speaks against the religion,” he added.

Efforts to reach out to Chaudhary were unsuccessful with his phone switched off.

More than 35 students were injured on Sunday when a masked mob went on the rampage, attacking students and professors and vandalising property.

The JNUSU has accused the RSS-affiliated ABVP volunteers of attacking the students.

Hindu Raksha Dal claims responsibility for Sunday’s JNU attack