The Tribune – Amid corridor buzz, Nankana Sahib gurdwara draws sea of devotees

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 12 November 2019. A large number of Sikh pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, to mark his 550 birth anniversary today.

The Sikhs carried out a ‘palki’ from the shrine and moved to eight other smaller gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib city. The pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara and performed religious rituals.

Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah said Sikhs expressed joy over the arrangements regarding the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor project.

The corridor was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhs’ holiest shrines in the Pakistani town of Narowal. The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan President Arif Alvi addressed the Sikhs at the Governor’s House in Lahore where Governor Sarwar had invited some 2,000 Sikh pilgrims, who had come from different parts of the world, including India, for a luncheon, Dawn News reported.

Alvi said Sikhs would be welcomed in Pakistan and doors would remain wide open for them at every occasion. He lauded Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee led by Chaudhry Sarwar for making arrangement for the corridor opening ceremony and for arrangements made for the birth anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan is advocating love and peace as wars are not the solution to issues, which could be resolved through dialogues,” he said. Governor Sarwar said, “Pakistan is a safe country for minorities and it is working for restoration of religious places of not only the Sikh community but also other minorities including Christians and Hindus”.

Notwithstanding their strained ties, India and Pakistan signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.

According to the pact, Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest Sikh Gurdawara.

Now, turn of guru’s birthplace, says Yogi

Lucknow – UP – India, 12 November 2019. UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said that after the Kartarpur Corridor, it was the turn of Nankana Sahib to open its door for the people of this country. “I extend my good wishes to you and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ensuring the opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

The day is not far when we will be able to visit Nankana Sahib too,” he said at a function to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Nankana Sahib is a city in Pakistan in which Guru Nanak was born. He said the teachings of Guru Nanak were spread across several countries.

BJP may have expelled Sunita Gaur, but it has always rewarded communal violence

Perhaps the simple truth is that she lacked the social capital necessary to receive the party’s protection, even reward,  for what she did.

Forwarded to the Man in Blue blog by Pieter Friedrich

Sunita Singh Gaur of Ramkola, Uttar Pradesh, India secured for herself a place in history when she soared to international infamy after an explicit social media summons for “Hindu brothers” to gangrape Muslim “mothers and sisters”.

The jaw-dropping demand might have attracted little attention if it were not for Gaur’s role as head of the Ramkola chapter of the Mahila Morcha of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Even then, it likely would have been dismissed as an aberration, the freakish ramblings of some bigoted crackpot who managed to slip unvetted into a party leadership role, if it were not remarkably consistent with the actions of some of the most notorious members of her party and the Hindutva ideology upon which it was founded.

“It was a religious duty of every Muslim to kidnap, and force into their own religion, non-Muslim women,” alleged V D Savarkar in the 1960s.

Decades after he articulated Hindutva as a religious nationalist political ideology, one which undergirds the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP, Savarkar penned a history of the Indian subcontinent which was posthumously published in English as Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History.

The voluminous work of questionable historical accuracy claims that Muslims (both as invaders and as rulers) systematically raped “millions” of Hindu women as part of a deliberate plan for “increasing the Muslim population with special regard to the unavoidable laws of nature”.

Mixing his telling of history with scathing criticism of the Hindu leaders of past ages, he accuses them of embracing “perverted religious ideas about chivalry to women” which restrained them from paying “the Muslim fair sex in the same coin”.

It was, as journalist Ajaz Ashraf noted, a call to employ rape as a political weapon. Survivors of rape who speak about their experiences invariably talk about how they wish that no one else ever has to go through such suffering. Savarkar, however, put his own words into the mouths of imagined victims.

Envisioning the “plaintive screams and pitiful lamentations of the millions of molested Hindu women which reverberated throughout the length and breadth of the country,” he speculated that their souls might say: “Let those Sultans and their peers take a fright that in the event of a Hindu victory our molestation and detestable lot shall be avenged on the Muslim women.

Once they are haunted with this dreadful apprehension, that the Muslim women, too, stand in the same predicament in case the Hindus win, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women.”

While employing distinctly unvarnished rhetoric in contrast to Savarkar’s flowery language, Sunita Singh Gaur proposed an identical policy. “To protect India,” she said in her Facebook post (which came to light in late June 2019), “Hindu brothers must barge into every Muslim home by making a group of 10 to 20, and gang-rape their women.”

The defilement, she insisted, must be done “openly on the streets,” after which the victims should be hung “in the middle of [the] bazaar for others to see.”

Gaur’s post prompted swift and extensive outrage as it was first shared across social media platforms and then widely reported by mainstream media. On June 29, Mahila Morcha national president Vijaya Rahatkar posted on Twitter: “The lady in question has been expelled.” Rahatkar offered words of assurance. “BJP Mahila Morcha will not tolerate any hateful comments whatsoever.

Yet, while the expulsion was necessary action, other recent statements, and actions, by higher-profile BJP leaders suggest that Gaur’s dismissal merely means that the party is washing its hands off a low-ranking member who became a liability.

Yogi Adityanath remains one of the most prominent and egregious examples of the BJP not only turning a blind eye to poisonous rhetoric but actually promoting those who employ it.

Few are more notorious, or prolific, when it comes to producing hate speech. When he was appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Amnesty International India took the exceptional step of issuing a statement directly denouncing a single politician. He must, said Amnesty, “publicly withdraw his previous inflammatory statements against Muslims and other religious minorities.”

A former MP, the volatile Adityanath founded the Hindu Yuva Vahini in 2002 to, ostensibly, “promote the harmonious development of society.” Allegations against the HYV include conversions, targeted killings, incitement of riots and burning of trains. “If I ask for blood, they will give me blood,” said Adityanath in 2009. “When I ask them to rise and protect our Hindu culture, they obey.”

Adityanath’s idea of how to “protect Hindu culture” closely resembles Sunita Singh Gaur’s idea of how to “protect India.” At one rally in the mid-2000s, he argued that a religious war is imminent because Muslim and Hindu cultures cannot co-exist, then sat and listened as another speaker called on the audience to dig up Muslim women from their graves and rape them.

At another rally, Adityanath dwelled on the supposed problem of Hindu girls eloping with Muslim men. In a call and response with the crowd of 1,000 or more, he declared, “If they take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, there will be 100 that we kill.”

Nevertheless, Adityanath was sworn-in as chief minister at a grand ceremony in 2017, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

Elsewhere in India, the use of rape as a political weapon has seen instances of BJP support for the rapists. In January 2018, after the abominable gang-rape of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, it emerged, was a conspiracy to terrorise the Muslims into fleeing the region.

The conspiracy backfired as several people were arrested, including a local Hindu priest and multiple police officers, one of whom was accused of master-minding, others of destroying evidence.

Rather than disavowing the accused, sections of the BJP leapt to their defence. The party’s state secretary, Vijay Sharma, founded the Hindu Ekta Manch for their support.

When the HEM organised a February rally of more than 5,000 people, at least three BJP state legislators joined: ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga as well as MLA Rajiv Jasrotia.

“We went there on the party’s instruction,” Ganga said. In April, when the Kathua rape, and these BJP leaders’ support for the rapists, made international headlines, Ganga and Singh resigned.

Meanwhile, as the Indian diaspora organised protests to support the child victim, Modi spoke out during a mid-April visit to London. Rather than censuring the ministers, he merely noted that “rape is rape,” and instructed to not “politicise rape incidents”.

Two weeks later, Jasrotia was sworn-in as a state cabinet minister and assigned the same portfolio vacated by Singh. Explaining that the party did not want Singh and Ganga to step down, BJP spokesperson Ram Madhav stated, “They resigned because the media created an impression that they were supporting the rape accused.”

In June, Madhav described their attendance at the rally as an “indiscretion,” using the opportunity to lash out at Congress for “trying to politicise the issue.” If attending a rally to support a gang who raped a child is an “indiscretion,” what does one call participation in a full-scale massacre of a minority community?

During the 2002 Gujarat riots too, attackers implemented what was essentially Sunita Singh Gaur’s recommendation. “Women and girls were gang-raped in public view before being hacked and burned to death,” reported Human Rights Watch.

Gaur’s explicit post advised rapists to “cut them and impale their vagina”, and, as HRW reported, countless eyewitnesses reported women in 2002 were “raped and cut” while one victim even arrived at a refugee camp “unconscious and with an iron rod stuck inside her vagina.”

“I made bombs, rocket launchers, swords, and distributed them across Gujarat,” boasted Haresh Bhatt in a video secretly filmed by Tehelka. Then coordinator of Bajrang Dal, Bhatt continued, “Firearms and swords were smuggled in from other states as well.”

Speaking about Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, he said, “What he did, no chief minister has ever done, he had given us three days, after three days, he asked us to stop and everything came to a halt.” Speaking to The New York Times at the conclusion of those three days, Bhatt dubbed himself “the first enemy of Muslims.”

“We didn’t spare any of them,” local Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi told Tehelka. “They shouldn’t be allowed to breed. Whoever they are, even if they’re women or children, there’s nothing to be done with them; cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards.”

He bragged about his role in the attack on the Muslim majority Naroda Patiya neighbourhood. In one of the worst massacres of the three-day pogrom, over 70 of the Naroda dead (according to official figures) were women and children. “Everyone was on a killing spree,” said Bajrangi. “There were bodies everywhere.” They “dumped the corpses in a well”, except for those they set on fire.

“Hacked, burnt, set on fire, many things were done,” he said. “We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated.” Praising Modi for doing what “nobody can do,” he declared, “It was his hand all the way.”

At the end of the day, he said, “I came back after I killed them them, called up the home minister, and went to sleep.” The home minister then was Gordhan Zadafia. In charge of state security forces then, he is a long-time VHP activist turned BJP politician.

“I spoke to Gordhan Zadafia,” said Bajrangi. “He told me to leave Gujarat and go into hiding.”

One of the participants who didn’t go into hiding was BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, despite partnering with Bajrangi as a key leader of the Naroda Patiya massacre. Eyewitnesses repeatedly identified both of them, testifying that they distributed weapons and urged on the attackers.

“Mayaben was moving around all day in an open jeep,” Suresh Richard, one of those attackers, told Tehelka. “She was saying, ‘Jai Shri Ram. Jai Shri Ram.’ She kept raising slogans. She said, carry on with your work.”

What was Richard’s work? “When thousands of hungry men go in, they will eat some fruit or the other,” he said. “Many Muslim girls were being killed and burnt to death anyway, some people must have helped themselves to the fruit.

The fruit was there so it had to be eaten. I also ate…. That scrap-dealer’s girl, Naseemo…. I got on top…. Then I pulped her.” Afterwards, he said, he “had to go killing again.”

Although Vijaya Rahatkar claims it has expelled Sunita Singh Gaur because the BJP Mahila Morcha “will not tolerate any hateful comments whatsoever,” participation in the wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children was not enough to convince the BJP to expel MLA Kodnani.

She was later made Minister of State for Women and Child Development. Haresh Bhatt, meanwhile, was rewarded with a seat in the state legislature. “Clearly, it was the Hindutva card that worked in our favour,” said Bhatt when he won in December 2002. “This election was fought for establishing a Hindu nation.”

Bhatt was never charged. Kodnani and Bajrangi were finally charged, however. Their trial began in 2009. In 2012, ten years after the pogrom, both were convicted and sentenced, Kodnani to 28 years and Bajrangi to life. Yet Modi, who allegedly did what “no chief minister has ever done”, never faced any legal repercussions.

In 2010, while the Supreme Court was investigating the pogrom, there was talk that Zadafia might testify against Modi. That idea died as Times of India reported that RSS executives were contacting Zadafia to “persuade him not to take this step at this juncture.”

Then, in 2012, the court’s investigating team concluded that there was not enough prosecutable evidence to charge Modi. That cleared the path for him to campaign for the prime ministership. Then in April 2018, a Gujarat court acquitted Kodnani. In March 2019, the Supreme Court determined that Bajrangi was “in bad shape” and should be granted bail.

For his loyalty and silence, Zadafia was entrusted with managing the BJP’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It was a cathartic release for a man who once was considered likely to turn state’s evidence against Modi.

It was also an affirmation of his ideological commitment. Upon announcement of his appointment, Economic Times reported, “What is, however, unquestionable is the 64-year-old leader’s Hindutva credentials as his ties with RSS and VHP always remained strong.”

Zadafia’s efforts paid off. The BJP swept the parliamentary elections in Uttar Pradesh. “Earlier it was a Modi wave,” he told The Week. “This time, it is a Modi tsunami across India.”

On May 28, just a few days after the results of that ‘tsunami’ were announced, Modi posted a video on Twitter. Set to a melodramatic musical score, the video shows him paying obeisance to a photo of Savarkar.

It was not Modi’s first time eulogising the father of Hindutva. “Savarkar ji’s personality was full of special qualities,” he said in 2014. “He was also a striking poet and a social reformer who always emphasised on goodwill and unity.”

Yet what was it that Savarkar so poetically emphasised as necessary for regeneration of the motherland? “Were a serpent (an inveterate national enemy) to come with a view to bite the motherland, he should be smashed to pieces with a surprise attack, deceit, or cunning or in any other way possible,” he wrote in Six Glorious Epochs.

Accusing Muslims of “slaughtering Hindus irrespective of their age or sex and pulling down the Hindu holy places of worship,” he declared: “Because the Hindus did not emulate the Muslims in this respect, these local Muslims who were left alive and unmolested, turned traitors, like serpents fed and fostered as pets.”

“A serpent, whether male or female, if it comes to bite must be killed,” he asserted. Arguing that “the whole of the Hindu nation” was, during times of Muslim rule, “utterly infatuated with the perverted sense of virtues,” he specified one of those virtues as “the suicidal Hindu idea of chivalry to women.”

The problem, he insisted, was that “only Muslim men, and not women, were taken prisoner” and that “even when they were taken prisoner in battles, the Muslim women, royal ladies as also the commonest slaves, were invariably sent back safe and sound to their respective families.”

He was horrified that “this act was glorified by the Hindus as their chivalry towards the enemy women and the generosity of their religion.” Such chivalry must be rejected as a vice rather than a virtue, so thought Savarkar.

Sunita Singh Gaur seems to have thought the same. Her despicable comments are inexcusable, yet she may certainly be excused for mistakenly believing that she could get away with expressing such views as a BJP leader.

Many other party leaders have succeeded in actually enacting rather than merely expressing the extent of violence Gaur recommended. Perhaps the simple truth is that she lacked the social capital necessary to receive the party’s protection, even reward, for what she did.

She lacked the political power of an Adityanath, a Kodnani, or a Modi.

One thing is certain. Expelling Gaur is not a panacea for the hatred which the BJP has not only tolerated but given safe haven, fostered, and purveyed throughout the country. The very first step on a sincere journey towards eradicating “hateful comments” – and the horrifying atrocities they produce, would be the rejection of Savarkar and his poisonous ideology of Hindutva.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

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The Asian Age – Editor, TV channel head arrested over defamatory content against Adityanath

During a debate on the channel on June 6, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said.

Noida – UP – India, 09 June 2019, The head of a private television news channel and its editor were arrested here Saturday for allegedly broadcasting defamatory content against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, police said.

During a debate on the channel on 06 June, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said.

Workers affiliated to a political party had approached the police with a complaint against the news channel for broadcasting the claims of the woman without verifying facts, a senior official said.

“This could have led to a possible law and order situation,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Vaibhav Krishna said. During probe it was also found that the channel did not have any requisite licence to operate, he said.

An additional complaint over the illegal operation of the channel was made by district additional director, information, at Phase 3 police station following which an FIR under IPC sections 420 (fraud), 467 (forgery of documents) and related offences was registered, the officer said.

“They have been arrested on both counts for the defamatory content as well as illegal operation of the channel,” Krishna told PTI. The channel’s version was not immediately available.

Dawn – India bans BJP state chief minister from campaign after anti-Muslim comment

New Delhi – India, 15 April 2019. India’s election commission on Monday banned a Hindu state chief minister from campaigning for three days after anti-Muslim comments in an election that will end next month.

The saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath, a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, had been warned this month about his campaign speeches, the election commission said.

The commission said Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had spoken about a “green virus” in a speech last week in reference to Muslim voters who he said were being wooed by opposition parties.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been playing to its nationalist base and painting its rivals as soft on terrorism and eager to appease Muslims, who make up about 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population.

A BJP spokesman said the party was inclusive towards all communities. “The party believes in all-together development for all, and we don’t believe in any polarization,” spokesman Harish Srivastava said.

The election commission also imposed a ban on the leader of the Dalits, people at the bottom of the Hindu caste structure, saying she had violated a code of conduct by asking Muslims to vote en bloc for opposition candidates.

The ban on Dalit leader Mayawati would run for two days, it said.

A spokesman for Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is in an alliance with another regional party in Uttar Pradesh, could not be reached for comment.

The commission on Monday also banned Azam Khan, a leader from the Samajwadi Party (SP), an ally of the BSP, and minister Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for violating the code of conduct.

Khan was banned for three days, while Gandhi was banned for two days.

Staggered voting in the general election began last Thursday and will end on May 19.

Although jobs, nationalism and conditions for farmers are the main issues, religion is an important and sensitive topic.

The BJP repeated in its manifesto a commitment to build a Hindu temple in the northern town of Ayodhya at a site disputed by Muslims, seeking to gain the support of majority Hindus.

Last week, BJP president Amit Shah referred to illegal Muslim immigrants as termites and vowed to throw them into the sea.

Surveys suggest Modi’s ruling alliance looks set to win a majority smaller than in the last election in 2014, when it secured a commanding win on a promise to turn India into an economic and military power.

BBC News – Congress manifesto: India opposition pledges to review armed forces act

India has entered full election mode: voting is due to begin on 11 April, with the final ballot cast more than five weeks later on 19 May. Every day, the BBC will be bringing you all the latest updates on the twists and turns of the world’s largest democracy.

Congress promises to review a controversial anti-insurgent law

What is happening?

India’s main opposition party Congress has promised to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Acts (AFSPA) if elected, according to its election manifesto.

The law allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant.

It also protects soldiers who may kill a civilian by mistake or in unavoidable circumstances during an operation.

AFSPA has been blamed for “fake killings” in Indian-administered Kashmir and the north-eastern state of Manipur and campaigners say it is often misused.

The party has also promised to scrap a contentious colonial-era law on sedition if it comes to power.

Why does this matter?

Critics, including human rights campaigners, have argued that AFSPA is undemocratic and has given the armed forces carte blanche power.

The law has always been seen as controversial, but it hasn’t really been an election issue in years. In 2011, P Chidambaram, who was the home minister at the time, said he would review the law, sparking outrage from the opposition.

To some extent, it is a risky strategic move from the Congress, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already criticised them, calling the idea “positively dangerous”.

The announcement to amend the law comes as analysts say that the BJP has begun to treat national security as an election issue after a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir in which 40 Indian paramilitary were killed.

The manifesto also gives more details on the party’s most ambitious welfare proposal, a basic income scheme that promises 72,000 rupees ($1050) yearly to India’s poorest households.

Economists have told the BBC that funding the scheme will require scrapping existing government subsidies on food and fertilisers, and removing certain tax incentives.

‘Narendra Modi’s army’

What is happening?

The chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has drawn fire from the opposition for referring to India’s army as “Narendra Modi’s army”.

Yogi Adityanath, known for his fiery and controversial rhetoric, repeated a common accusation from the governing BJP party that the opposition Congress “used to serve terrorists biryani [a rice dish]”, an allegation stemming from rumours that 2008 Mumbai attacks gunman Mohammad Qasab was served biryani on Ramadan while he was in Indian custody.

He continued: “Modi ji’s sena [army] gives them only ‘golis’ [bullets] and ‘golas’ [bombs]”.

Why does it matter?

Mr Modi and the BJP are making national security their number one campaign issue ahead of the vote, continuously accusing the Congress of being weak on terrorism.

Various opposition leaders from across party lines called this comment from Mr Adityanath “an insult to our armed forces” and called on him to apologise.

A former Army Chief General, Shankar Roychowdhury, told NDTV that the Indian military serves “the government of the day, not a political party”.

The comments from Mr Adityanath came a day after he was embroiled in another controversy. He travelled to a village where a Muslim man was lynched for allegedly eating beef, and addressed a rally where one of those accused of the murder was seated in the front row of the audience.

Mr Adityanath also indirectly referred to the incident, accusing the previous state government of “curbing the passion of Hindus” and adding that he had taken immediate steps to shut down slaughterhouses.

Hindus consider cows sacred and killing them is illegal in several states including Uttar Pradesh.

BBC News – Uttar Pradesh: Campaigning takes communal tone in crucial India state

The battle for UP gets ugly

What happened?

Today is the last day for political parties to hand in their nominations for the first phase of voting that will begin on 11 April. And campaigning has started in earnest, warts and all.

In the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, the chief minister, firebrand Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, referred to one of the opposition Congress party candidates – a Muslim named Imran Masood – as the “son-in-law” of militant Masood Azhar.

Azhar is the Pakistani-based founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which in February carried out a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 40 troops and sparked tit-for-tat strikes between India and Pakistan.

Why does this matter?

Mr Adityanath’s comments indicate what tone the campaigning is going to take in the days leading up to voting in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs to parliament.

However, Imran Masood is also a controversial figure. He was arrested in 2014 after a speech in which he threatened Mr Modi, saying he would “cut him into pieces”.

“Saharanpur [constituency] also has the son-in-law of Azhar Masood, who speaks in his language. You have to decide whether you will elect a person who speaks in Azhar Masood’s language or Modi-ji’s lieutenant in Raghav Lakhanpal, who will ensure development for all,” Yogi Adityanath said at a rally on Sunday.

In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of which Mr Adityanath is a member, swept Uttar Pradesh with what political commentators described as a clever mix of communal division and promises of development.

Mr Adityanath seems to be following a similar formula this time around.

In the wake of the Kashmir suicide attack a tough stance on Pakistan has become a major theme of the BJP’s campaign. On Sunday India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had a Twitter spat with Pakistan’s information minister over a news report that two Hindu girls had been abducted and forcibly married off in Pakistan.

The Deccan Chronicle – UP government forms SIT to investigate 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur

About 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India during the pogrom that broke out after Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31 October 1984.

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 06 February 2019. A four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to investigate the circumstances that led to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur following the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Headed by retired Uttar Pradesh director general of police, Atul, the team includes retired additional director (prosecution) Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava and retired district judge Subhash Chandra Agarwal. It will also include a senior-level officer from the Uttar Pradesh police.

The SIT has been asked to submit its report in six months, an official statement said on Tuesday.

According to official records, about 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India, including 2,100 in Delhi, during the pogrom that broke out after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October 1984.

The Tribune – Yogi ‘misled’ Sikhs over ’84 Kanpur riots probe

Tribune News Service

Lucknow – UP – India, 28 December 2018. The All-India Riot Victims Relief Committee (AIRVRC) on Friday accused CM Yogi Adityanath of misleading the Sikh community on the issue of setting up a special investigating team (SIT) to probe the 1984 riots in Kanpur.

At a press conference here, committee head Kuldip Singh Bhogal said while the CM at a Sikh meet in Lucknow on October 28 had claimed to have set up a SIT to probe the matter, his government had repeatedly failed to submit a report with the Supreme Court as sought by the latter.

Bhogal said the life sentence awarded to former Union Minister Sajjan Kumar had motivated them to step up efforts to bring the Kanpur culprits to book. “Three years ago, we learnt through an RTI query that 127 members of the community were killed in Kanpur.

A committee delegation visited various police stations and found that most of the records against the rioters were missing. None had been chargesheeted, leave alone punished.”

Subsequently, the committee filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a CBI probe and a SIT. The apex court asked the Union Home Ministry to file an affidavit in this regard.

“It has been more than a year, but no affidavit has been filed. Nor has a SIT report been sent to the court,” Bhogal said. The case is listed for hearing on January 2.

The committee presented cheques for Rs 11,000 each to 1984 riot widows Parkash Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur on behalf of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (DSGMC).