The Indian Express – Use your power to protect ‘Raj Dharma’: Congress to President Kovind over Delhi violence

The death toll in the communal violence over the amended Citizenship law has risen to 34 in Delhi, and over 200 people have been injured till date.

New Delhi – India, 27 February 2020. Urging the President to use his power to protect ‘Raj Dharma’, a delegation of senior Congress leaders, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, presented a memorandum to Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday, seeking removal of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for ‘abdication of duty’ during the violence in the national capital, in which 33 people have died so far.

“Instead of taking active steps to remedy or diffuse the situation, the Central Government as also the newly elected Delhi Government, have remained mute spectators as completely mindless rage, designed violence and organised looting of property has continued unabated,” the memorandum read.

The memorandum stated that the situation is so grim that the Delhi High Court had to step in on Wednesday and remind the Home Ministry and the police of their duty to act against the instigators and rioters. “This is a shameful indictment of the Central Government, the Home Ministry and the Home Minister himself,” it read.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was also part of the delegation, said that they urged the President to use his power to protect ‘Rajdharma’.

Sonia Gandhi said that they felt satisfied after meeting the President as he said he will take cognisance of their demands.

The memorandum further added that though the violence has taken over the course of four days but the seeds of this division have been sown by deliberate, inflammatory remarks made by BJP leaders in the run-up to and even after the Delhi elections.

The death toll in the communal violence has now risen to 33 in Delhi, and over 200 people have been injured.

Congress had on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah, holding him responsible for “a colossal failure of duty”. It added that the Delhi government was equally responsible” for “not activating the administration to reach out to the people to maintain peace and harmony”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/congress-meets-ram-nath-kovind-delhi-violence-6289204/

The Tribune – Akal Takht extends help to violence-hit people in Delhi

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 26 February 2020. Coming to extend helping hand to violence-hit people of the national capital, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Wednesday asked the Gurdwaras in Delhi to extend all kind of possible help to the victims.

Flaying the violence in Delhi, he said, in a statement, that “the principle of Sikhism is to take care of any victim who comes for help”.

“Violence in Delhi is condemnable. There are reports of deaths and injuries to people. It is principle of Sikhism to take care of any victim who comes for help. The situation in Delhi is serious and so the managements of all Gurdwaras in Delhi should help the victims of violence in this time of grief irrespective of their religion,” he added.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/akal-takht-extends-help-to-violence-hit-people-in-delhi-47585

OFMI – Hindutva launches war on India’s minorities amidst Trump visit

Muslim neighborhoods in Delhi targeted with extreme violence

New Delhi – India, 26 February 2020. As US President Donald Trump visited India to discuss a trade agreement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi burned as mobs operating with police protection targeted Muslim neighborhoods throughout the country’s capital.

The violence began on 23 February after a leader in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party threatened to “take to the streets” if police do not clear away sit-in protests against India’s recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act.

“Three days’ ultimatum for Delhi Police: clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh,” said BJP’s Kapil Mishra while standing beside a senior police officer. “After this, don’t make us understand. We won’t listen to you. We will be peaceful till Trump leaves. After that, we won’t listen to even you if the roads are not cleared.”

Within hours, not days, violence erupted as pro-CAA groups took to the streets.

Mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Ram) attacked Muslim-majority neighborhoods of Delhi. Videos show masked, helmeted men armed with poles beating people, hurling stones and petrol bombs, all while police stand idly watching. Houses, shops, buses, and cars have been set on fire.

On 25 February, a mosque was set ablaze while men climbed the minaret to hoist a flag bearing the image of Hindu deity Hanuman. Residents of Delhi claim the violence is instigated by elements affiliated with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh paramilitary.

Nearly 30 people are dead, hundreds are injured, and even journalists report facing attacks and beatings for filming the violence.

“Hindu nationalists have a history of instigating communal conflict to try and influence American policy towards India,” says Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for Organization for Minorities of India. “We saw it with the Chittisinghpura Massacre in 2000.

The BJP was in power when, on the eve of US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India, Indian intelligence agencies killed 35 Sikhs in cold blood and blamed it on Muslim terrorists to try to sway Clinton against Pakistan. Clinton saw through it then, and we can only hope Trump will see through it now.”

Trump has only offered praise for Modi, however. “We did talk about religious freedom, and I will say that the prime minister was incredible in what he told me,” said Trump after their meeting. “He wants people to have religious freedom and very strongly.”

Reporting from Delhi on 25 February, social activist Harsh Mander said the situation in the north-eastern section of the city “worsens alarmingly,” writing, “Mobs roaming with guns, shooting, and arson. Even ambulances are being blocked.

The police has failed completely in protecting innocent lives. Intense fear. To prevent all of Delhi from burning, the only recourse is to call in the Army. Now.”

“We ask you to raise your voice against the state-sponsored violence against Muslims in India,” said the Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) in an open letter to concerned groups and individuals in the USA. “It is particularly shameful that this should be happening during the visit of President Trump, who is a close ally of Modi.

Far from condemning the attempts of Modi’s government to establish a Hindu majoritarian state, Trump has lauded the Indian government for its efforts towards ‘religious freedom’, an effort that seems to include the torching of places of worship by the goons supported and encouraged by the ruling party.”

CAFI concluded: “The situation can rapidly deteriorate into even greater violence and slaughter, even as Trump feasts at Modi’s table. The time to unite against these reprehensible actions committed by world leaders is now.”

“This is a time when we see what people are truly made of,” said Balbir Singh Dhillon, president of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara. A businessman who was falsely jailed and tortured in India in the 1990s, he says that what is happening to the Muslims in India today happened to the Sikhs and Christians just yesterday.

“Any American politician who is truly for peace and pluralism in India has an obligation to speak out now. Congressmen like Ro Khanna, a Hindu-American of Indian descent who has publicly denounced ‘Hindutva,’ should be leading the charge against this new wave of hate and violence in Delhi. Why is he silent? Where are our other representatives when we really need them?”

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit OFMI.org for more information.

www.OFMI.org

The Print – The Delhi pogrom 2020 is Amit Shah’s answer to an election defeat

The violence was clearly orchestrated to end peaceful protests against Amit Shah’s ‘chronology’.

Shivam Vij

New Delhi – India, 26 February 2020. Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police Rajesh Deo has told the Delhi High Court it has not seen the video of Kapil Mishra threatening violence in northeast Delhi. This one headline alone tells you everything you need to know about the violence in Delhi.

Kapil Mishra is a BJP leader, the Delhi Police is run directly by Home Minister Amit Shah, the right-hand man of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kapil Mishra made his provocative speech in the presence of a senior Delhi Police officer, making it clear that he wanted his followers to take the law in their own hands.

The Delhi pogrom of 2020 is state-sponsored. Anyone who cannot see that is pretending to be blind. In numerous accounts, videos and photos, we see the Delhi Police purportedly aiding and abetting the violence, either by looking away or actually participating in it.

A Delhi Police constable has been killed, as has an Intelligence Bureau official. The 24 dead (so far) include people from both religions — but more Muslims. When mass violence is provoked against a community, the community strikes back in defence.

That’s how it becomes a riot, spun as an ‘equal fight’ between two sides. Both are then blamed. But the truth is that it is primarily Muslims who have been targeted, Muslim shops burnt, a cemetery desecrated, a mosque taken over, pages of the Quran burnt, and so on.

What was the purpose of this violence? First, it was to prevent the scaling up of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests. The women sitting in Seelampur, a Muslim-dominated slum area, rightly felt it was no use sitting there. Shaheen Bagh got attention by virtue of being in south Delhi, even though it is in a Muslim-dominated area. But Seelampur? It was like speaking to themselves.

Responding to a Bharat Bandh call by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, the women decided to move their protest to a road underneath the Jaffrabad metro station Saturday night. This blocked a road. Unless you block a main road, how do you get the attention of the mainstream? This is not the first time a road has been blocked by a group of protesting people.

But BJP’s Kapil Mishra said the blocking of a road was somehow a matter serious enough for people to take law in their own hands. He demanded that the road be cleared in both Jaffrabad and nearby Chand Bagh.

The Delhi pogrom 2020 is Amit Shah’s answer to an election defeat

Tolo News – Abdullah: High Level Talks About Crisis Ongoing

Reuters has reported that the United States has asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to defer his second-term inauguration.

Anisa Shaheed

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 February 2020. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday said that his recent talks and meetings with some of Afghanistan’s mainstream political leaders, including former president Hamid Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, and the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalamy Khalilzad, were focused on the election crisis.

Abdullah, speaking to media after meeting with tribal elders in Kabul, once again rejected the announcement of the presidential election results by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) as ‘illegitimate.”

“The illegitimate announcement of the election led to the crisis, and, so far, no one has accepted the election results,” said Abdullah in a question asked by TOLO news’ reporter Anisa Shaheed about reports that Abdullah had been asked to accept the results.

However, Abdullah refrained from providing any further details about his talks with the political leaders, but said that the talks and meetings will continue.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that the United States has asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to defer his second-term inauguration over concerns it could inflame an election feud with his political rival and jeopardize US-led peacemaking efforts.

The presidential palace so far has not made a comment about the report by Reuters.

Both Abdullah and Ghani previously said that they will be sworn in as president on Thursday.

“Mr Khalilzad told us that the US was not aware of the issue, but I don’t think that the US was unaware of the move by Arg (presidential palace),” said Sayed Eshaq Gailani, head of Nahzat-e-Hambastagi Afghanistan party.

“I want to make one suggestion to our foreign partners, and that is keeping silence over transparency issues in the election process is a sin,” said Anwarul Haq Ahadi, the former Minister of Finance who runs as Chief Executive in Abdullah’s campaign team.

“Today we gathered here to endorse the truthfulness of Dr. Abdullah and to show the support of the Pashtun people to him,” said Haji Din Mohammad, the deputy head of the High Peace Council (HPC).

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/abdullah-high-level-talks-about-crisis-ongoing

Sikh24.com – Delhi Violence: Dal Khalsa seeks Amit Shah’s resignation

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 26 February 2020. Dal Khalsa has sought resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah for allowing non-state actors to collude and connive with Delhi police to unleash mayhem and terror on anti-CAA protesters, who have been staging peaceful protests since the last two months all over the capital Delhi and elsewhere.

Strongly condemning the violence and vicious role of police targeting a particular community, the organization slammed the present day government for making a precious attempt to reduce a political movement to a law and order problem.

“This is a gross failure of the entire Indian system comprising a hateful government, a biased bureaucracy and an indifferent justice system,” reads a statement by Dal Khalsa.

“Delhi is in flames and the pro-CAA people are indulging in arson and looting right under the nose of the police and the administration”, said party Spokesman Kanwarpal Singh.

He said it reminds of the horrific moments of November 1984, when lumpens let loose terror and mayhem against innocent Sikhs.

The party leader said the situation in the country is volatile and a spark is needed to turn it into a disaster.

Seventy two hours before the US President Donald Trump was to arrive in India, we wrote a letter to caution him about the current dynamics of the situation and to bring to his notice how the fascist plans of his friend Narendra Modi’s government were playing havoc with the lives of minorities and nationalities.

It’s ironic that the visiting dignitary was deeply concerned about the radical Islamic terrorism but least bothered about rising radical Hindutva terrorism, which is showing it’s ugly face right now at the time of his presence in the capital.

The BJP is culpable and responsible. The Indian Home Minister must resign forthwith. Like CAA and NPR, he stands rejected by a large section of the population.

The Dal khalsa leader went on to lash out at senior BJP leaders and ministers for their hateful speeches. He held that provocative remarks like “goli maaron (shoot them)” are responsible for the mayhem in the Indian capital.”

Delhi Violence: Dal Khalsa seeks Amit Shah’s resignation

Dawn – Comment: Three days of violent attacks in Delhi could not take place without state sanction

Violence in Indian cities simply does not take place over multiple days without the state’s active involvement.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

New Delhi – India, If it had been an hour or two, there might have been the argument that the police was unprepared. If it had come out of the blue while an important dignitary was visiting the national capital, one might have argued that the Home Ministry was blindsided. If it was taking place in a hard-to-reach part of the country, you could have said that the terrain made things difficult.

But when violent anti-Muslim mobs are able to roam freely in Delhi, India’s capital, for three whole days, after a ruling party politician stood in front of a top police officer and threatened to take violence into his own hands, it is clear that they have the sanction of authorities.

From videos and reports of Delhi Police either turning a blind eye or even taking part in the violence, to the silence of top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, there can be no doubt of the state’s role in the events of the last few days.

If the police were unable to stop the anti-Muslim mobs, they should have said so and called in the army to establish the peace. Yet, after a meeting on Tuesday, the Delhi Police said it had things under control, even as entire sections of the national capital were unreachable unless you were a member of a violent mob.

Reports and eyewitnesses over Monday and Tuesday made it clear that the mobs had the backing of the police and even their active involvement in some cases.

While many will point to violence coming from “both sides”, and undoubtedly there were incidents of stone-pelting from anti-Citizenship Act amendment protesters, the police’s partisan decision to support one group should be a clear indicator of what is going on here: state-sponsored mob violence, that is leading to retaliation.

It is worthless attempting to understand why the BJP-led government would want to resort to such violence, especially at a time when the USA president was visiting the capital.

Such speculation attempts to read tea leaves and look past the actual religiously divisive and violent rhetoric used by many in the party time and again: “shoot the traitors”, “we will enter their houses and beat them up”, “there is only one name, that is Jai Shri Ram.”

Home Minister Amit Shah admitted that his party should not have used such rhetoric in the run-up to elections in Delhi, in which the BJP was trounced. But the BJP politicians who made such statements saw small slaps on the wrist from the Election Commission at the most.

It is one of those politicians, Kapil Mishra, who gave an ultimatum to the police and sparked off the current round of violence in the capital. While other BJP leaders in the capital have even questioned his words, there has been no response from the party’s central leadership. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have been loud in their silence.

All of this again leads to the straightforward conclusion: The BJP-led government is responsible for three days of violence in Delhi.

This article was originally published on Scroll.in and has been reproduced with permission.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1536773/comment-three-days-of-violent-attacks-in-delhi-could-not-take-place-without-state-sanction

The Statesman – Residents of northeast Delhi form human chain for safety of children going to school

It can be seen in the video that the locals made a human chain to escort schoolchildren to safety amid the ongoing tensions in the national capital.

New Delhi – India, 25 February 2020. Residents of Yamuna Vihar in northeast Delhi are reportedly forming a human chain to ensure the safety of schoolchildren.

In a video that is being circulated on social media and is reported to be of the northeast Delhi, people are seen forming a human chain to escort their schoolchildren to safety.

A Twitter user shared the video with the caption, “This is happening now at Yamuna Vihar in East Delhi. Locals form a human chain to escort schoolchildren to safety. Police are nowhere to be seen.

Remember this is Delhi, barely 20 km north of Hyderabad House, the site of Modi-Trump joint statement an hour or so back.”

It can be seen in the video that the locals made a human chain to escort schoolchildren to safety amid the ongoing tensions in the national capital.

“Hope Delhi school administrations will take a call on a day-to-day basis on keeping the schools closed particularly in sensitive areas given the law & order situation,” a user wrote.

A post read, “Salute to these people….”

Another user wrote, “These are the small things that just remind me that humanity is still not strangled a political death.”

On Monday, the violence took an ugly turn in the city as stone-pelting started in Maujpur, a neighborhood of Jaffrabad, and the protesters later also shot fire at the police personnel.

In the violence, seven people including a cop were killed and nearly 100 were injured. After Jaffrabad and Maujpur, violence spread to Chandbagh and Bhajanpura areas as well following which an unspecified number of houses and shops were damaged or burnt.

Home Minister Amit Shah had held a late-night meeting with the Delhi police chief, the Union Home Secretary, and other senior officials to overview the situation in Delhi.

Shah today also chaired a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, Congress leader Subhash Chopra, BJP leader Manoj Tiwari, and others.

Residents of northeast Delhi form human chain for safety of children going to school

The Tribune – Malerkotla woman’s death brings communities together

Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus organise bhog ceremony after no one from kin came forward

Parvesh Sharma – Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 23 February 2020. Muslims, with the help of Sikhs and Hindus, organised the “bhog” ceremony of a Sikh woman, Rani (55), in Malerkotla on Sunday. She passed away in her rented accommodation on 15 February. She was a divorcee and worked as a maid. After none turned up for the last rites, Muslims pooled in money cremated the body as per Sikh tenets.

“Rani got divorced 15 years ago. Since then, she had been staying at a colony in Malerkotla in a rented room owned by a Muslim family. With the help of our Sikh and Hindu brothers, we organised the ‘bhog’ and performed the ‘antim ardas’ at Gurdwara Sahib Baba Namdev in Malerkotla as per Sikh rituals,” said Aslam Kala, a Malerkotla resident.

After her death, the landlord, in whose house she was putting up, informed members of her family, but they refused to attend the cremation.

Sapinder Singh, a retired government employee, said: “Our Muslim brothers have made us proud and proved that we are united. But the attitude of Rani’s family has been shocking as they refused to perform her last rites. Her daughter had expressed her desire to come, but her husband did not allow her.”

“Aslam has followed Sikh rituals and we offered him support,” said Karnail Singh, another resident.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/malerkotla-womans-death-brings-communities-together-46251

Hindustan Times – Pakistan is safe, maximum Sikhs from India should visit gurdwaras there: Akal Takht Jathedar

People of both India and Pakistan don’t need to fear visiting each other’s country. Pakistanis are loved by people in India, says the Jathedar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 24 February 2020. Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has said that Pakistan is a safe country and maximum Sikhs from India should visit all historic gurdwaras there.

In a video shared by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh, the jathedar can be heard saying: “Historic gurdwaras hold big importance for SIkhs. ‘Darshan-didar’ of these gurdwaras has given me immense pleasure and peace of mind.

I have no word to recognise the love shown by Pakistan’s sangat and common people towards me. Not only me, locals also share warm vibes with every person coming from India here.”

“People of both India and Pakistan don’t need to fear visiting each other’s country. Pakistanis are loved by people in India,” Giani Harpreet Singh said.

He further said, “I would like to give a message to Sikhs living across India that they should come here in maximum numbers to have ‘darshan’ of historic gurdwaras.

By doing so, they will not only get the blessings of the Guru, but also get rid of illusions about the atmosphere in Pakistan. They will come to know that peace prevails in this country. So, Indian Sikhs should visit here.”

“We want historic gurdwaras, many of which are in a state of neglect, to be reopened. Footfall of Sikhs at these gurdwaras will help them getting restored,” said the jathedar.

Speaking on low footfall at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, which was the last resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak, the jathedar said, “Complicated procedure of getting permission for the pilgrimage and condition of passport are the main hurdles. Governments of both the countries should sit together to find out a solution.”

He appreciated the PSGPC’s efforts for the betterment of the gurdwaras and welfare of the Sikhs living in Pakistan.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pak-is-safe-maximum-sikhs-from-india-should-visit-gurdwaras-there-akal-takht-jathedar/story-p4bMc8jcAycnFC8r01DIdN.html