The Asian Age – Unidentified miscreants open fire at Jamia Millia Islamia again

No one injured in the incident, the third in five days

New Delhi – India, 03 February 2020. In the third such incident inside of a week, two unidentified persons opened fire outside Gate No 5 of Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday night, the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) said.

A statement issued by the committee, a group comprising students and alumni of the university formed to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, said the attackers were on a red Scooty.

No one was injured in the attack. One of the miscreants was wearing a red jacket, the statement said. “Firing has taken place at Gate No 5 of Jamia Millia Islamia right now by two unidentified persons. As per report, one of them was wearing a red jacket and driving a red Scooty having vehicle no 1532 or 1534,” the statement said.

Police said they were verifying the JCC’s claims.

Asim Mohammed Khan, former Congress MLA from Okhla, said the incident occurred around 11.30 pm. “We heard the gunshot. That is when we stepped out to see and the two men left on a Scooty,” a student said. “We have taken down the vehicle number and called police,” he added.

This is the third firing incident in the Jamia Nagar area in a week.

On Thursday, a minor fired at anti-CAA protesters marching towards Rajghat, injuring a student. Two days later, a 25-year-old fired two rounds in air in Shaheen Bagh in Jamia Nagar. No one was hurt in the incident.

The incident on Sunday night triggered panic in the area. A police vehicle had reached the spot after the incident but was chased away by angry students.

Hundreds of students and locals gathered outside the university.

Many raised slogans against the Delhi Police. They also staged a dharna outside the Jamia Nagar police station. Shezad Ahmed, a JMI student and resident of Zakir Nagar, said they were not even allowed to protest peacefully. “We are not going to be deterred by such incidents. We will continue with our protest,” he added.

The Tribune – Sarnas take U-turn, not to back BJP in Delhi elections

Cite saffron party’s tie-up with Badals as the reason; instead, support two Congress nominees

Ravi S Singh – Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 04 February 2020. The show of unity put up by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Delhi, and Jag Aasra Guru Ott (JAGO) party against Badal-led SAD fell flat on Tuesday with regard to their support to parties like AAP, BJP and Congress in the Delhi elections.

The SAD-Delhi led by P S Sarna on Tuesday took a U-turn on its earlier stand to support the BJP.

SAD-Delhi secretary general H S Sarna, the younger one of Sarna brothers, had recently said his party had no reservations against the BJP after it did not oblige Badal-led SAD by sharing any seats in Delhi. He had further said his party “will not allow the BJP to feel isolated in the Delhi election” and would back it.

At a press conference, Sarna brothers took a contrary stand announcing that SAD-Delhi would not back any political party or candidate, which would seek support of the party led by Badals.

They announced support to Congress nominees Arvinder Singh Lovely (Gandhi Nagar) and Gurcharan Singh Raju (Vishwas Nagar). With regard to candidates in other constituencies, the choice to support nominees, including AAP, has been left to local leaders.

In response to a question on Badal party having announced unilateral support to the BJP, Sarna brothers said: “No, it is not unilateral. BJP chief JP Nadda sought support from SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal.”

Manjit Singh GK, who has announced support to the BJP, said: “There is no question of support to the Congress, which is responsible for the massacre of the Sikhs in 1984 and subsequently, rewarding the conspirators of the crime.”

Meanwhile, the JAGO party has extended support to the BJP on the ground that the Centre constituted a SIT to reopen and reprobe Sikh riot cases. Manjit Singh further said JAGO party and SAD-Delhi were two different political entities. He, however, said both the parties were on the same page with regard to opposition to the Badals.

Den Haag – Buitenhof – Kneuterdijk

31 December 2019

Tram 1 to Scheveningen Noord


31 December 2019

Tram 1 to Delft Tanthof

Tram 1 to Delft Tanthof

Tram 1 to Scheveningen Noord

Tram 1 to Scheveningen Noord

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Row over Hindu conversion of tribal Christians in India

Hindu group Sangh Parivar accused of divide-and-rule tactics in Gujarat

UCA News, 28 January 2020. Church leaders and activists in India have criticized a Hindu group, which claims to have reconverted tribal Christians in Gujarat’s Dang district.

As many as 144 members of a tribal community who had embraced Christianity many years ago were converted back to Hinduism in Bhogadiya village of Waghai taluka, a religious leader said. The event on 24 January 24 was organized by the Gujarat unit of Agniveer, a Hindu organization based in the district.

“The agenda of the Sangh Parivar (communal forces) has always been divisive and discriminatory and this is clearly visible in their so-called ghar wapasi (reconversion) programme. For several weeks now, the Sanghis have been trying their best to vitiate the atmosphere in the area,” Father Cedric Prakash, a human rights activist, told UCA News.

Jesuit Father Prakash, who is based in state capital Ahmedabad, added: “Their game, as in the past, is to divide and rule, to spread rumors and falsehoods. A very convenient manipulative act of theirs is this so-called ghar wapasi programme.

“No one is sure whether these [converted Christians] are locals or brought from outside or for that matter if these were actually Christians. Anyway, for those in the Catholic Church, we are convinced that the faith of the people is unflinching.”

Neha Patel, state president of Agniveer, told media that “we came to know that many tribals were converted to Christianity many years ago and many of them expressed interest to convert back to Hinduism, so we organized this program.”

He claimed that out of 144 people who converted to Hinduism, 60 were from Bhogadiya village while the rest were from neighboring villages.

“We have not forced anybody to change their religion. Since long ago, Christian missionaries have been converting Hindu tribals to Christianity. We will continue holding similar drives to bring more tribal Christians back to Hinduism,” Patel said.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said that “no Hindu organization ever brought succour to the Dangs the way the Christian missions did.

The Church came here a century ago when there was little but despair. “Where were all these Hindu leaders when they were rotting in poverty? These preachers showed us the true path and gave us dignity.”

Dang district police superintendent Shweta Shrimali said officers had attended the conversion venue. “No complaints have been registered against anybody. We will probe if the conversion happened voluntarily,” she added.

Ramu Chaudhary, one of the tribals who converted to Hinduism, said: “I embraced Christianity around eight years ago. I was very sick at that time and the missionary people took good care of me. After I was cured, I converted to Christianity. Now I realize that since my ancestors were Hindu, why remain a Christian?”

India’s Freedom of Religion Acts or anti-conversion laws are state-level statutes that have been enacted to regulate religious conversions. The laws are in force in eight out of 29 states: Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

The laws seek to prevent any person from converting or attempting to convert, either directly or otherwise, another person through forcible or fraudulent means, or by allurement or inducement. However, the anti-conversion laws in Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh appear to exclude reconversions to native or original faiths.

Penalties for breaching the laws are one to three years of imprisonment and fines from 5,000 to 50,000 Indian rupees (US$74 to US$735).
Some laws provide for stiffer penalties if women, children or members of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes are being converted.

Despite criticism of India’s anti-conversion laws, human rights bodies have acknowledged that these laws have resulted in few arrests and no convictions. However, some observers note that the laws create a hostile, and sometimes violent, environment for religious minority communities because they do not require any evidence to support accusations of wrongdoing.

India is home to a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. The subcontinent is the birthplace of four major world religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. According to 2011 census data, 80 percent of the population of India is Hindu, 14 percent Muslim, 2.3 percent Christian, 1.7 percent Sikh, 0.7 percent Buddhist and 0.4 percent Jain. – The Daily Fix: In BJP’s India, children are questioned while ‘goli maro’ minister keeps campaigning

It should be clear that a minister leading chants calling for gun violence at a political rally is a much bigger threat to the peace than a school play.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

New Delhi – India, 05 February 2020. This is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s India:

In one part of the country, the police have spent five days interrogating children as young as nine and arrested a parent and a teacher for sedition in connection with a school play that contained one line about hitting people with slippers.

In another, a Union Minister who led chants of “shoot the traitors” continues to campaign for the BJP, even as gunmen actually attacked protesters not long after.

On Tuesday, the Karnataka Police took some children aside at the Shaheen Urdu Medium Primary School in Bidar for the fifth day in a row to be questioned about a school play that the police has declared seditious.

This is because of allegations that some lines in the play, intended to raise awareness about the concerns of Muslims around the discriminatory Citizenship Act amendments, insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many on social media spread the allegation that the play included a line about beating the prime minister with a slipper, even though many news organisation have debunked this.

Instead, video clips of the play show that one of the children says that anyone who demands documents to prove one’s citizenship should be beaten with chappals.

Double standards

Read that again: the Karnataka Police has been interrogating children, between nine and 12 years old, for five days now about one line in a school play. Two people have been arrested on sedition charges, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly said the section can be invoked only in cases of an act that leads to public disorder.

Meanwhile in Delhi, Union Minister Anurag Thakur is back on the campaign trail ahead of Delhi elections on 08 February. Last week, Thakur was prohibited from campaigning for three days by the Election Commission of India for making “undesirable and objectionable statements”.

This action came after he was seen on video at a BJP rally leading a familiar right-wing chant, in which he asked, “What should we do with ‘traitors’?” The crowd roared back, “Shoot the bastards.”

Thakur’s party has repeatedly made it clear that it believes that any opposition to its brand of Hindutva politics is equivalent to treason. In effect, the “traitors” whom BJP supporters want shot are anyone who disagrees with the party.

The context is that the party has been attempting to demonise protesters who have been demonstrating for nearly two months in the capital and around the country against Citizenship Act amendments that many believe will be used to harass Indian Muslims.

Indeed, not long after Thakur’s “shoot them” chant, gunmen attacked peaceful protesters in the capital on three separate occasions. One BJP Member of Parliament, Arjun Singh, defended these gunmen saying, “Our young children, who have been misguided, are resorting to firing in confusion.”

Disturbing discourse

Whatever you think of India’s sedition laws, which have been chronically been misused by governments of all stripes, it should be clear that a Union Minister leading chants calling for gun violence at a political rally is a much bigger threat to the peace than a school play with talk of chappals.

The effects of such actions, the trauma faced by those children, the polarisation of society, are not easy to undo. The BJP knows it is playing with fire, brazenly hoping it will gain power even if it has to scorch the earth to get there.

That Anurag Thakur, whom the Election Commission temporarily banned, received no criticism from within his party and continues to campaign is as clear of a sign of how far the BJP is willing to go in its desire to polarise voters to win elections.

That the abhorrent interrogation of children has not received universal condemnation is another sign of the depths to which the BJP has brought discourse in the country to, at a time when Union Minsiters can call their political opponents “terrorists” (despite the BJP giving a person accused in a conspiracy a party ticket to run for Parliament).

But then, this is the India’s that the BJP has assembled. And with the Delhi elections still a few days away, and many more polls in upcoming months, this discourse is not going to change soon.