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Archives for : January2018

Kar Sevak Balbir Singh who helped demolish Babri Masjid is now Mohammed Amir ,determined to rebuild 100 mosques

Balbir Singh was a kar sevak who participated in the razing of the Babri Masjid. Today, as Mohammed Amir, his goal is to repair and rebuild 100 mosques.

Balbir Singh coverted to Islam in June 1993, and was given the name of Mohammed Amir

By Murali K Menon

The talk is of madness. The powerful hold it can take on one, and how the fear caused by the idea of madness can in itself be maddening.

Mohammad Amir, physically nondescript, with a triple Masters in History, Political Science, and English, and an itinerant pilgrim, should know what he is talking about: Long ago, 25 years to be precise, he had a dalliance with insanity.

We are sitting, deep into the night, in the well-carpeted office of one of Amir’s well-wishers in Malegaon. Among those ringed around him are a mechanic, a fruit-vendor, some traders and the loquacious principal of a junior college in Malegaon with a penchant for the dramatic and for hijacking the conversation.

Earlier that evening, Amir had addressed a gathering at the Mecca Masjid at Madhavpura. “Woh toh zameen ke neeche ki, aur aasman ke upar ki baate karte hain,” says one of his admiring audience.

Meditations on the afterlife — and on the ethics of Islam and social conduct of Muslims — might dominate his talks, but Mohammed Amir is often at the pulpit because of the torturous chrysalis he has emerged from, he now says.

Twenty-five years ago he was not Mohammad Amir but a certain Balbir Singh, and the highlight of his life until then was that he was among the handful of kar sevaks who had clambered up the dome of Babri masjid to strike the first blows. The same kar sevaks who were lionised by Bal Thackeray as his men.

“I am a Rajput. I was born in a little village close to Panipat,” he discloses. “My father, Daulatram, was a school teacher and a man of deep Gandhian leaning. He had witnessed the horrors of Partition, and went out of his way to make the Muslims in our area feel secure. He had wanted me and my three elder brothers to do the same.”

When he was ten, Balbir’s family moved from the village to Panipat so that the children could complete their secondary education. Panipat, he says, was a hostile city, especially to children from rural Haryana. Barbs were made about their clothes and gaucheness, and none of the other children played with them. The only place Balbir found he was not discriminated against was at the local RSS shakha. “I remember the first time I was there, they addressed me as ‘aap’. That made me feel so good. It marked the beginning of my association with them.”

About a decade or so later, Balbir, who had by then joined the Shiv Sena, started working with his brother in the family’s loom business and got married. He continued his studies on the side, garnering the triple MA degrees from Rohtak’s Maharishi University. To all appearances, it was the life of normal middle class householder. But a rank bitterness, unseen to the outside eye, ran through the family because of his political views. In that Gandhian household, he was the ‘chaddiwallah.’

The truth of the family lay somewhere in between. “People thought I was a hard-core Hindu fanatic, but that was not really the case. As my father never believed in idol worship, we didn’t go to temples,” he says. There was a copy of the Gita at home but he rarely, if ever, read it. His anger at the beginning of the tragically momentous Nineties was against historical wrongs, against Babur, Aurangzeb and the other conquerors.

“Brainwashing me was easy, because yeh bhavnayen (these emotions), they are deep-rooted. Back where I come from, if you did something that was not considered acceptable, even a simple thing like eating a roti with your left hand, people would ask, “Tu Mussalman hai ke?” (What is this? Are you a Muslim?) I thought that these Muslims came from outside India and had snatched our land and destroyed our temples.”

Plus, in a state like Haryana that valorises machismo, he said he wanted to do something that would effectively show his ‘mardangi.’ “When I left for Ayodhya in the first week of December, my friends told me, ‘kuch kare bina wapas na aana (Don’t come back without achieving something)’,” says Balbir who was among those being tracked by the Intelligence Bureau.

“Ayodhya was abuzz on December 5,” he recalls. “The men from VHP ruled the town and Faizabad. We stayed with thousands of other kar sevaks, heard the chatter going around. Advaniji was not important because he worshipped Jhulelal (the community god of Sindhis), and hence was not considered to be a Hindu; Uma Bharati was a drama queen. I was there with my close friend Yogender Pal. We were all impatient, we wanted to get going.”

A few distinct shards of the following day are still embedded painfully in his memory of it. One of them is an aural one, of the rousing slogans (‘Saugandh ram ki khai hai, mandir yahin banayenge’; ‘Kalyan Singh kalyan karo, mandir ka nirmaan karo’); he remembers mocking senior police officials as he walked along with the other kar sevaks towards Babri Masjid on that cold afternoon; and then the final rush and the frenzied scramble atop the central dome.

“I was like an animal that day. Only briefly, I got scared when I saw a helicopter approach us from a distance. Then, the rallying cries from below reached my ears and I felt emboldened again and plunged my pick-axe into the dome.”

A heroes’ welcome awaited Balbir and his friend Yogendra Pal when they returned to Panipat. Two bricks that they brought back from the rubble in Ayodhya were kept at the local Shiv Sena office, he says. At home, though, his father issued an ultimatum. “It was either him or me. One of us had to leave the house, and I decided that it would be me. I looked at my wife but she just stood there, so I left home alone.” As riots erupted across the country, Amir sought places of refuge where “Muslims wouldn’t be able to get him.” He remembers solitary wintry nights spent in fields, decrepit old buildings, drains…

“I would be scared of anyone with a beard.”

He was on the run for a couple of months and only returned home when he learnt that his father had passed away. But his other family members no longer wanted him. His father had specifically instructed that his second-born son shouldn’t be allowed to attend his funeral. “They said I was the reason for his death.”

But an even bigger shock awaited Balbir. His close friend and collaborator at Ayodhya, Yogendra Pal, had become a Muslim. The aftermath of the December 6 frenzy and the riots had left Pal deranged. When Balbir went to meet him, Pal told him that embracing Islam had helped soothe his mad thoughts and fears. “While talking to him, it occurred to me, would I too go mad because of the sin I had committed and what I had helped unleash? In fact, was I already going mad?”

It was at Pal’s instance that in the June of 1993, six months after the climax at Ayodhya, Balbir travelled to Sonepat to meet Maulana Kalim Siddiqui who had converted his friend Yogendra Pal.

Siddiqui heads the Jamiat Imam Waliullah Trust for Charity and Da’wah, which is based in Phulat, near Muzzafarnagar, and runs several madrasas and schools across north India. Siddiqui was in Sonepat for an event, and Amir went up to him and told him what he had done. He asked the maulana if he could come and stay at the madrasa in Phulat for some time. “I was still not sure if I wanted to convert, but he accepted my request. He told me that I had contributed to the destruction of one mosque, but I could always help build several others. They were such simple words. I sat down and began to cry.” After spending a few months at the madrasa, Balbir converted and was given the name Mohammed Amir.

“Aur meri zindagi phir se chal padi (my life got back on the rails again),” he says simply.

While at Phulat, Amir learnt Arabic and read the Quran, and, since he had majored in English, he taught at the madrasa. In August 1993, he reconciled with his family, and his wife joined him at the madrasa the same year. She converted to Islam soon after (Amir claims that she did it of her own accord). Their four children were all born in Phulat.

His life, anything but calm, took another turn in the early 2000s when his elder brother’s wife died. Amir convinced his own wife to get remarried to his elder brother. “My brother had children who would have become motherless. If not for her they would not have been able to cope. I owe her a great debt.” His brother, too, converted to Islam before marrying Amir’s wife.

After his wife left, though, his health began to fail and he was advised to move to the more salubrious south, which he did before going on to remarry, a widowed woman called Shahnaz Begum. But Amir, whose family sends him a monthly stipend, still often travels to Panipat to meet with them and his friends.

Between 1993 and 2017, he claims to have identified and restored several decrepit mosques in north India, especially in Mewat, with the help of the Waliullah Trust. Forty so far, he says, adding that he is especially proud of the work that he has done at a mosque in Mendu, near Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. “There are several mosques in various stages of disrepair across north India that even the Waqf Board is not aware of. I seek out such places, clear them of encroachments, tidy them up and get people to start worshipping there again. At some places, I also set up madrasas, and that is especially important for me, since I believe the bane of the Muslim community is their total disregard for education.” Sometimes, he says, he is helped by Muslims in and around the area; at others, he does it alone. His goal is to repair and rebuild 100 mosques. That would get him something close to atonement.

People associated with the Jamiat Imam Waliullah Trust, describe Amir as a quiet, committed man. “I met him in the early 2000s, and I would call him a gentleman and a social worker. He renovated the mosque near Hathras, which was abandoned after Partition. Some sixty students are now taught at the madrasa in Mendu,” says Zia-ul-Islam, a former section officer at the Aligarh Muslim University. Maulana Wasi Sulaiman Nadvi, who still teaches at Phulat, remembers Amir as a studious man who preferred his own company.

Presently, he says to the gathering at Malegaon, “When my health allows me and when I am not busy restoring decrepit mosques, this, talking to members of my community, is what I do. I always travel on my own money and return home as soon as my commitments are through.”

What does he talk to them about?

“Look at me, sir, I’m a ghissa-pita aadmi (a man who is worn out). What can I preach about but aman (peace)? That is what Islam has given me, and that is what I want to talk about. I tell my people that I was once a Hindu filled with hatred towards Muslims and ignorant about them, but people like me were, and are, in a minority.”

He advises them on the importance of not getting provoked. “I fear the worst, but I also tell them that Muslims are strong, too, and that while they can retaliate, a better way to engage with your oppressor is to forgive. It is a difficult thing to do when you consider yourself strong, but it sends out such a powerful message.”

Would it be accurate to describe his last 25 years as a quest to forgive himself?

“That would be one way to look at it, for letting down my father, for contributing to the deaths of so many people. But I also know that it’s a work in progress.”

The toughest kind of forgiveness is self-forgiveness and the road that leads to it is a lonely one, but it is also where mad meets the divine.

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India – Treated ‘worse than animals’: thousands of women feared trapped in ashrams

Nearly 250 women and 48 girls so far found confined behind gates in properties belonging to the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya religious organisation

Neither the din of traffic nor the roar of aircraft from a nearby airport could blot out the screams neighbours say they regularly heard from the apartment building in west Delhi.

On Saturday, on the second floor of the unassuming complex in Mohan Garden, authorities discovered 21 women and children living in a heavily fortified “spiritual university”, at least five believed to be minors.

Raids across India in the past week on properties linked to the same religious organisationAdhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya (AVV), have unearthed nearly 250 women and 48 girls apparently confined behind layers of locked gates.

Authorities in Delhi say they fear thousands more women could be living in similar conditions in the 300 properties estimated to be linked to the group nationwide.

Syringes and medicines were found scattered throughout the Delhi ashrams and many of the residents appeared to be drugged, according to Swati Maliwal, the city commissioner for women, who participated in five of the raids.

Most of the women have refused opportunities to leave the ashrams. Those who appear to be under 18 have been taken to shelters but are providing little concrete information, Maliwal said.

“We ask where they’re from, they can’t say. We ask them the address of their parents, they don’t have that. We ask how long they’ve been there, they give evasive answers,” she said.

Gurus are enlightening guides in the lives of many Indians, providing counselling on issues ranging from moral quandaries to the choice of a new car.

But months after a flamboyant guru, Ram Rahim Singh, was convicted of rapingtwo followers – sparking riots that killed 30 people – the raids of the past week have cast light on the immense, often unchecked power wielded by some spiritual leaders.

At the centre of the organisation is a self-styled “godman”, Virendra Dev Dixit, with a chequered history including allegations of sexual assault dating to 1998. He is currently being sought by police and could not be reached for comment.

Accusations contained in documents filed with the Delhi high court allege that Dixit, 75, is portrayed by ashram workers as an incarnation of the Hindu god Krishna, with the women and girls cast as his gopis, or wives.

The group claims to be a fundamentalist offshoot of Brahma Kumaris, an Indian spiritual movement with about 800,000 members and branches around the world including in the US, Australia and the UK. Brahma Kumaris disavowed Dixit decades ago and reject his beliefs.

Families have complained of losing daughters to Dixit’s organisation for decades but have been unable to secure official attention until this year, when the Delhi high court took up a public-interest lawsuit against the group.

The case was spurred by the November disappearance of a 24-year-old woman from a town near Jaipur in Rajasthan state. Family members said she had initially become involved in yoga and meditation events put on by the Brahma Kumaris.

But quietly, over the past five years, she was growing closer to members of Dixit’s group.

One day last month, in what investigators believe is standard practice for new converts, the woman entered a local police station with a signed affidavit declaring she was joining the AVV of her own free will. Soon after, she vanished.

A frantic search effort by the family traced the woman to a large Dixit ashram in Rohini, a neighbourhood in the north-west of the capital.

In submissions to the Delhi high court, the family say they were only permitted to meet their daughter after protesting for days, and had to pass through seven layers of locked gates to meet her. They claim she was flanked by women guardians, and appeared to be anaesthetised.

“The girl told them, I am 24, I have come here of my own wish, and I should not be forced to go back,” said Satendra Singh Rathore, a lawyer for the family.

After their story was broadcast by Indian media, disaffected former members of the group and other families searching for their daughters reached out with their own allegations against Dixit.

According to the public-interest lawsuit, they include accusations that Dixit has sexually assaulted multiple women and children and keeps residents confined in conditions “worse than farm animals”.

A spokeswoman for the AVV declined to comment but the organisation has previously said its residents stay of their own volition and are well-treated.

In a society riven by caste hierarchy and yawning economic inequality, ashrams and large-scale spiritual communities, called deras, were an appealing site of social equality and fraternity, said Ronki Ram, a professor of political science at Panjab University.

Their popularity has grown as India’s economy has opened to the world and incomes have soared in past decades. “Once people have everything, a partner, a good job, a family, and find they are not really happy, they go to a dera,” Ram said.

Spiritual organisations have also stepped to provide welfare in places where the state had retreated, he said. “Some have their own schools, hospitals. When the state starts withdrawing from providing basic facilities, the deras fill in the gaps.”

He said politicians have been more likely to seek out gurus for votes than to try to regulate their communities: “They see [the gurus] have a large numbers of followers who can be constituencies.”

Dixit has never registered his organisation with the government. Years of criminal complaints against the guru did not heed a single inspection of his properties. Maliwal said it was typical of the lawless environment in which many spiritual leaders operated. “Nobody bothers to go inside their ashrams,” she said.

“These babas are very influential people, they have a lot of clout. Sometimes they have mafias, and sometimes they are mafias. Nobody wants to deal with this issue.”

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#Goodnews – Adanis Lose Defamation Case against The Wire, Senior Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

In yet another major victory for the top news portal “The Wire“, which republished  an article by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and three other journalists from the “Economic Political Weekly” (EPW), “Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group“, Principal Senior Civil Judge Jaiminkumar R Pandit, Bhuj, Kutch, has “rejected” the defamation suit against the publishers and authors of the article, even as directing them to remove a sentence and a word from it.

Industrialist Gautam Adani (Photo – The Indian Express)

Caravan News

AHMEDABAD: A Gujarat court has rejected the six-month-old defamation case filed by industrialist Gautam Adani’s Adani Group against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, senior journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of The Economic and Political Weekly, three other journalists and eminent news portal The Wire. The court only ordered the defendants to remove a sentence and an adverb from the 3500-word article.

The article “Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group” was published in EPW on June 17, 2017 and was reproduced in The Wire on June 19. The Adani Group was so furious over the article that EPW was forced to sack Thakurta.

Moreover, on June 24 and then on July 5, the Adani Group had sent the defamation notice to the publisher of the EPW, namely, Sameeksha Trust and the authors of the article – Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Abir Dasgupta, Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain. The Wire was also dragged to the court as it had republished the article.

In his November 16 order, which was ignored by the media despite the case being high profile, Principal Senior Civil Judge Jaiminkumar R Pandit, Bhuj, Kutch, rejected the defamation suit against the publishers and authors of the article. The judge, however, ordered the publishers to remove this sentence from the article: “The High Court was misled and wrongly recorded the customs duty on electricity from the SEZ to DTA will not be maintainable as this will lead to double taxation.” The judge also ordered removal of the adverb “Surprisingly” in the same paragraph.

Following the court order, The Wire has added the following note at the end of the same article. “The Wire had contested the application for injunction moved by M/s Adani Power Limited, regarding the article titled “Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group”. The Ld. Principal Senior Civil Judge (Bhuj-Kacch) has accepted all The Wire’s contentions in the said application and has only ordered removal of one line pertaining to a High Court decision as well as one adverb. The Wire is complying with the Ld. Principal Senior Civil Judge’s order dated 16 November, 2017 and removing the said sentence and adverb.”

Sub-titled “The government has quietly tweaked rules relating to special economic zones – and the new rules specifically favour the Adani Group” (June 17, 2017), the sentence of the article which the civil judge ordered to be removed is, “The High Court was misled and wrongly recorded the customs duty on electricity from the SEZ to DTA will not be maintainable as this will lead to double taxation”, and also the adverb “Surprisingly” in the same paragraph, as the allegation lacked “verification.”

Delivered on November 16 , 2017 , though surprisingly went unnoticed despite the high profile nature of the case, the order said, except this “direction”, all the prayers of personal defamation against the publishers and the authors were being “rejected”. As the EPW had already withdrawn the controversial article from its site following the defamation law suit, the direction pertained to “The Wire”, which refused to withdraw the republished article.
Complying by the order, “The Wire” said, in its endnote to the article, “The Wire had contested the application for injunction moved by M/s Adani Power Limited, regarding the article titled ‘Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group’. The Ld Principal Senior Civil Judge (Bhuj-Kacch) has accepted all ‘The Wire’s’ contentions in the said application and has only ordered removal of one line pertaining to a High Court decision as well as one adverb.”

The news portal added, “‘The Wire’ is complying with the Ld Principal Senior Civil Judge’s order dated November 16, 2017 and removing the said sentence and adverb”, even as upholding the order. It is not known if the Adani Group would approach a higher judiciary against the Bhuj court order.

The legal victory of the “The Wire” on the Adani defamation case comes alongside a major setback suffered by the son of BJP president Amit Shah, Jay, who filed a Rs 100 crore defamation case against “The Wire” for an article on meteoric rise (“16,000 times”) in his business activities following the party’s ascension to power at the Centre in 2014. The civil court, Mirzapur, Ahmedabad, vacated the “ex parte ad interim injunction” imposed on the news portal by it in October.
Ejecting the case, the court, in its written order, observed that that a questionnaire and an email were sent to the Adani Group before publishing the article, and that the article was published “upon material available”, hence the article “cannot be said to be defamatory”, and hence “there is no prima facie case.”

The article became controversial not just because it had sought to placate one of the top Indian business groups, widely regarded as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Soon after Adani Group filed its defamation case, the EPW withdrew the article from its online portal, making Thakurta, the main author, resign from his post as editor of the top research journal.

Reporting on the withdrawal of the article on the EPW, “The Wire”, which republished the article, not only declared that it would not take down the article, but commented, “Worried about the threat of an expensive lawsuit by one of India’s biggest corporate houses, the trustees running the journal (EPW) ordered the removal of an article critical of Adani Power Ltd.”

“The Wire” decided to fight the law suit filed by the Adani Group along with the article’s authors, who included Abir Dasgupta, EPW editorial assistant, and two independent journalists Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain.


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Angel investor, Mahesh Murthy booked for stalking and sexual harassment #Vaw

Angel investor Mahesh Murthy has been booked for stalking and sexual harassment on a complaint filed by a Delhi woman.

In April 2017, the woman had complained to the National Commission for Women that Murthy had made remarks that were objectionable, derogatory and of sexual nature, and also made obscene signs. The NCW had received other complaints too and sent them to the Maharashtra DGP in November.

The case has been registered under Section 354 (D), 509 of IPC and under Section 67 of IT Act at Khar Police Station in Mumbai. Section 354 deals with stalking and Section 509 deals with outraging the modesty of a woman. Section 67 of the IT Act deals with transmitting obscene material in electronic form.

“Even though Shri Murthy had allegedly, already posted an apology for some of his posts, NCW requested the DGP’s (Maharashtra police) personal involvement to investigate the matter and take strict action…. as such acts not only amount to outraging the modesty of women but also attract attention for cyber crime,” the NCW said in a note to the press.

A woman filed a complaint against Murthy last year. NCW took up the issue with the Director General of Police, Maharashtra pointing out “objectionable, derogatory, sexual and obscene signs on social media”. As per a press note put out by them on November 17, they requested the DGP’s personal involvement to investigate the matter and demanded strict action against the accused.

History of sexual misconduct allegations

Back in February 2017, Murthy even out a post on Medium titled “The confessions of a serial offender” attempting to justify and apologize for his behaviour. The comments section shows mixed reactions from readers.

But in April, FactorDaily put out a detailed report mentioning multiple women who had accused the venture capitalist of sexual misconduct. The allegations dated back to 2003.

Murthy’s founding partners at Seedfund, a venture capital fund had told FactorDaily they do not endorse or condone the alleged behaviour and added that there were at least two instances when the fund’s LPs (limited partners) asked about allegations against Murthy.

Specific instances mentioned in the report included a government official who shared screenshots from a WhatsApp conversation with Murthy, a Mumbai woman who was 19 when she was allegedly harassed and an American citizen who was residing in Mumbai.

Read more


NCW demands action against investor Mahesh Murthy regarding sexual remarks online #Vaw

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Arun Jaitley, The Name Is Bond. Dhoka Bond

by-Mahua Moitra

“Let me clear misconceptions, if any. I had announced in Budget speech that political funding needs to be cleaned up. A very large part of donation coming to political parties by the donors, quantum and source is not known…. electoral bonds substantially cleanse the system …Donors who buy these bonds, their balance sheet will reflect. It will ensure cleaner money coming from donors, cleaner money coming to political party and ensure significant transparency…. Electoral bonds will ensure clean money and significant transparency against the current system of unclean money…”

Thus spake Arun Jaitley, Honourable Finance Minister of India on January 2, 2018. Almost as if he were reassuring himself, that unlike the preceding year when his boss, the Honourable Prime Minister, had turned a televised New Year‘s Eve address to his pyaaren deshwaasiyon into a mini-budget speech complete with sector allocations and stolen his thunder, he was a man fully in control this year. No more unceremonious usurping of his role on live television, thank you very much.

And yet, in a dark repetition of the grand annual BJP game of “let’s pull the wool over the nation’s eyes”, Mr. Jaitley has yet again initiated, on national television, the follow-up to the demonetisation debacle, namely the electoral bond best described as the ‘Dhoka Bond’. Like its infamous fellow-traveller, demonetisation, which made three hollow promises (of removing black money, reducing terrorism and ending fake currency in circulation), this new electoral gimmick also offers lofty assurances. Unlike demonetisation, this scam does not need 50 days to gauge its efficacy – the ‘Dhoka Bond’ falls flat on every parameter on day one itself.

For the uninitiated – the electoral bond is a bearer instrument in the nature of a Promissory Note and an interest-free banking instrument. A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond from specified branches of the State Bank of India for any value in multiples of Rs. 1,000, 10,000, one lakh, ten lakhs or even one crore. The bonds will not carry the name of the payee and will be valid only for 15 days during which they can be used to make a donation only to those registered political parties who have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the most recent general or state election. The bonds can be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with an authorised bank.

The most basic and universally accepted principle of political funding is transparency. Adequate disclosure – of donor names, amounts, political beneficiaries – is absolutely essential in a functioning democracy. The voter has every right to know – nay, the voter must know! – who is funding which party and by how much. Ah, but then people would join the dots and see the picture emerge – the links between policy decisions and certain corporates who may have enriched political coffers? In Mr Jaitley’s skewed vision of the world, transparency means information available to the central government alone!

With the new ‘Dhoka Bond’ the voting public will not know who has bought an electoral bond. The beneficiary political party will ostensibly not know the donor’s identity and hence will only be required to tell the Election Commission that it received x amount by way of electoral bonds but will not need to disclose names. The donor company on its balance sheet will simply declare it has bought a bond to the tune of x but will not declare the name of the bond’s recipient. Does that sound transparent, Mr Jaitley?

The Companies Act, 2013, required that corporates could donate up to a maximum of 7.5 per cent of their average net profit in the past three financial years to political parties and were required to disclose the names of the beneficiaries in their profit and loss statements. Under Mr Jaitley’s stewardship, the government on March 23, 2017 moved an unprecedented 40 amendments to the Finance Bill, 2017, tagging along non-tax bills in the legislation to make them Money Bills. These included an amendment to the Companies Act, 2013, that proposes removing the cap that barred companies from donating more than 7.5 per cent of their average net profit to a political party. Also, the companies no longer need to disclose the name of the party to which the donation is made. The BJP-majority Lok Sabha passed the bill the very next day: the more balanced Rajya Sabha watched helplessly as it has no jurisdiction over a money bill.

A written submission by Nikhil Kumar, Director, Election Commission of India dated May 18, 2017 to the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Personnel vide memo No.287/PSC/02/Coord-2017 states clearly that the “… amendment in section 29C of the R.P. Act 1951 making it no longer necessary to report details of donations received through electoral bonds is a retrograde step as transparency of political funding would be compromised as a result of this change.” Depositions by senior EC officials before the aforementioned committee on May 19, 2017 reiterate this view with a certain Director General of the EC even stating on record that the “transparency aspect is a little suspect”! Officialdom’s understatement, Mr Jaitley, but do these statements cover you in clouds of glory?


The Orwellian script in the months to come is predictable. Corporate funding for the BJP will continue unabated. For everyone else – each time a company goes to a bank and buys a bond for say, 1 crore, and fills a KYC disclosure form, the details will be passed onto the RBI. The central government, the Finance Ministry and its allied arms such as the CBDT will have immediate access to this information. A delicate phone call will be made to the company to ensure the bond comes only the BJP’s way, or else… the forces of the CBDT, the CBI and all available heavy artillery will be unleashed on the corporate or individual.

Your newest gimmick, Mr Finance Minister, is truly transparent. In its malign objective. The goal it seeks is distinct even without a screening glass – Choke Opposition Funding. And move one step closer to the ultimate goal of a Vipaksh-Mukt Bharat. But be warned Mr Jaitley… the nation is analysing the ‘Dhoka Bond’… and this time, unlike last November, it won’t be easily conned.

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Nobel laureate Edmund S. Phelps on Saving the environment and the economy

We want economic growth that is ‘green’—without damaging or destroying the environment. At the same time, we want improvement of the environment without stopping innovation and economic growth, says Edmund S. Phelps
The worry is that our national economies, many of them already highly regulated in the name of stability, will become much more regulated in the name of a green economy. Photo:

The worry is that our national economies, many of them already highly regulated in the name of stability, will become much more regulated in the name of a green economy. Photo:

Every country has national problems, such as a dangerous loss of inclusion or a costly loss of growth. We learn that a solution does not happen without society’s understanding of the problem and a wide desire for action.

But with climate change, all countries have a shared problem, too. And although experts have gained understanding and reached a consensus on the objectives to be sought, these goals require wider support from society than exists so far.

As everyone knows, most of the climate change started with the burning of fossil fuels brought by the industrialization that began in the late 18th century and has been producing rising levels of carbon dioxide ever since.

A major point is that the climate has already deteriorated to such an extent that it has become costly to society and even dangerous to life: The violence of hurricanes has risen following the rise of water temperature in the Caribbean. Air quality is deteriorating noticeably around the world. And rising sea levels are threatening many low-lying cities.

In his recent book, Endangered Economies, economist Geoffrey Heal surveys the array of measures, public and private, taken to block further climate change. A point introduced by Heal is that the damage—in many cases, the devastation—done to our natural world has serious consequences not only for the air and water we depend on for our existence, but also for businesses, which have relied on free natural benefits like pollination, the water cycle, marine and forest ecosystems, and more. Thus, preserving “natural capital” would raise the rate of return on capital in the business sector. Businesses would react by investing more, thus boosting productivity in the economy. And with each such boost, we could afford a greater effort that would preserve still more of the world’s natural capital.

The world, then, must give up aspiring to economic growth so rapid that it is running down the world’s natural capital. We want economic growth that is “green”—without damaging or destroying the environment. At the same time, we want improvement of the environment without stopping innovation and economic growth.

In a series of powerful presentations and interviews, the Columbia economist and mathematician Graciela Chichilnisky contends that mankind’s survival requires that we remove the CO2 already accumulated in the atmosphere and ensure that it stays out of the atmosphere. To cover the cost, Chichilnisky proposes a marketplace in which the captured carbon is sold for commercial use.

Another possible solution is “regenerative agriculture,” such as what the biologist Allan Savory recently introduced in Patagonia.

If made profitable, these innovations could create an incentive for private actors to undertake carbon capture far beyond what a national government could afford to conduct. However, success will depend on whether “carbon farming” stays profitable even in a context of increasing supply, and thus falling prices.

We will also have to come to grips with fundamental challenges such as continuing population growth, industrialization, and weak governance. And we will have to strike a balance between fighting climate change and ensuring that most people still have lives that are worth living.

One might look at the growing body of research into climate change and conclude that we can rest easy: the experts have already worked out what needs to be done. But the experts themselves are not so naive. They know that businesses will not police themselves, and they recognize that much will depend on whether the profit motive can be harnessed for social good. The problem is that too many people assume that businesses, households, and policymakers will simply do what the experts recommend: that all companies—out of social pressure or threats from the state—will pay for the damage they cause; and that all governments will eventually institute carbon taxes or cap-and-trade arrangements to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions.

Another problem is that much environmental damage is not straightforward to control. Even if large public companies see fit to offset their pollution by, say, replanting rainforests in Central America, the earth has come to have a human population that is huge and still rising. This presents challenges. As the economist Dennis J. Snower showed some years ago, discrete individual activities—such as fishing, cooking on wood-fired stoves, or simply letting the water run—can contribute significantly to pollution and environmental degradation, but go largely unseen by governments, communities, and individuals. That being the case, any programme to protect the environment must be based on moral suasion: to call on all individuals—not just corporations—to summon whatever sense of altruism they have and curb voluntarily their own polluting.

Yet, another problem is that many countries are still undergoing industrialization. So, even if every country on the planet could reduce its per capita contribution to pollution, the ongoing rise in the proportion of the world’s population working in countries that are now in the stage of industrializing will pull up the global average. Clearly, this demographic phenomenon will make for tough sledding as we pursue Heal’s proposed measures to limit CO2 emissions.

We will also have to confront the fact that not all governments are able to stand up to vested interests. Powerful companies can get away with violating environmental restrictions issued by the government, especially if they are a major source of income and jobs.

More difficulties arise if most people are still poor but determined to become rich—as rich as the richest countries in the West. In such a country, the government might not be ready to cut deep into carbon emissions or other pollution lest it miss its growth target. It has been estimated that 20% of the world’s population accounts for 80% of the world’s consumption of natural resources. Because the right to survival trumps any one country’s right to ruin the environment in pursuit of growth, the countries leading the fight against climate change will have to be tough with those that think the costs of reducing emissions are too high.

Lastly, renewable energies could pose new challenges for wages and employment in the future. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the US wind and solar industries have been creating jobs—employing 777,000 people in 2016—while the coal industry has continued to shed them. But this is not a useful observation, given that employees flocking to new industries generally come from other industries, not from some vast pool of unemployed but well-suited workers. It would be absurd to think that total employment is raised by every newly arriving industry.

Economic theory implies that a new industry will expand overall employment only if its method of production is more labour-intensive than the cross-industry average. However, I have yet to see data for the renewables sector that addresses this issue, and I would not be surprised if the industry became highly capital-intensive over time.

I have long emphasized not just the material rewards of work—mainly wage rates (from the bottom up) and labour force participation rates—but also the non-material side of work (the various satisfactions that people get from the experience of work). Now that the imagination and ingenuity of our experts and engineers have helped us turn the corner, it will be important that we get back to business: to conceive of new products and methods of production, test them in the market, and strive for the new.

“Young America,” Abraham Lincoln once said, “has a great passion—a perfect rage—for the ‘new’.” It is time for us all to be young like that again. As the project to reclaim our environment plays out and as the other international challenges are being met and resolved, also to revive an older conception of work based on exercising one’s initiative and using one’s creativity. The good life must again be understood as a personal voyage into the unknown, through which one might “act on the world” and “make your garden grow”—in order to be “somebody.”

The worry—my worry, at any rate—is that our national economies, many of them already highly regulated in the name of stability, will become much more regulated in the name of a green economy. Yes, many regulations may be needed, but we must be careful in our efforts to save the planet that we do not strangle the sources of what makes life worth living. Project Syndicate

Edmund S. Phelps the 2006 Nobel laureate in Economics, is director of the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University and the author ofMass Flourishing.–Saving-the-environment-and-the-economy.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

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India – 2017 The Year of Love Jihad

In 2011, when Akhila Ashokan was eighteen, she left her home in T. V. Puram, a village in Kerala, for college in Salem, a busy town seven hours to the east. Her father, K. M. Ashokan, was an ex-military man; her mother, Ponnamma, a practicing Hindu. In Salem, Akhila studied homeopathy, boarding with five women, including two Muslim sisters, Jaseena and Faseena, with whom she studied, cooked, and talked. Akhila watched them pray. Soon after—it is unclear when, exactly—Akhila started to read books and watch videos that helped her understand Islam. Feeling the stirrings of a new faith, she began to pray. In 2015, she decided to call herself Aasiya.

To her father, Akhila seemed a changed person in November, 2015, when she returned home for a funeral. She was quiet and reserved, reluctant to join in the rituals. After the funeral, Aasiya resolved to declare her new faith, and returned to school wearing a hijab. Her mother, when she heard of the conversion, told Aasiya that her father had broken his leg and asked her to come home to see him. But Aasiya, wise to the extravagant emotional blackmail of Indian parents, refused. She began a residential program for new converts at Sathya Sarani, a religious institute in Kerala; took yet another name, Hadiya; and registered a profile on, a Muslim matrimonial site, where she noticed a man, bearded and lean, who worked at a pharmacy in Muscat, Oman. Shafin Jahan played goalkeeper for the F.C. Kerala soccer team, had a sweet smile, quoted Shakespeare, and hashtagged all his posts on Instagram. She met him, and then his family. Jahan’s Instagram went from pictures of food and football to photos of open skies and sunsets.

Even before Hadiya and Jahan got married, last December, Ashokan had taken his concerns to court, arguing that the people behind his daughter’s conversion had “unlimited resources in finances as well as manpower” and were enabling “illegal and forceful conversions.” His counsel argued that Hadiya, then twenty-four, was in “a vulnerable position from which she is necessary [sic] to be rescued and handed over to the petitioner.” Ashokan was convinced that Jahan, who had ties to the radical-Muslim Popular Front of India political party, was sent to disappear his daughter, and was backed by a shadowy organization with links to the Islamic State. (“I can’t have a terrorist in my family,” he said.) The judgment from the Kerala High Court, which came in the last week of May this year, sided with Ashokan. “In the first place, it is not normal for a young girl in her early 20s, pursuing a professional course, to abandon her studies and to set out in pursuit of learning an alien faith and religion,” the judges wrote. They were clearly unimpressed by Hadiya, a “gullible” and “ordinary girl of moderate intellectual capacity,” who had “apparently memorized” Arabic verses. Hadiya’s five-month marriage to Jahan was annulled; Hadiya was put in the care of her parents.

This past August, I looked up at a mute television tuned to the news and read the headline “Kerala girl denies forced conversion.” Onscreen, a policewoman stood beside a young woman wearing a red floral-print headscarf at the doorway of a home with beige walls and bars on the windows. The young woman seemed to be venting to another, older woman—her mother, I realized—who looked as frustrated as her daughter looked distraught. By that time, Hadiya had been kept at her parents’ house for three months, and was not allowed to leave.

When a charged video clip drops into the lap of India’s cash-strapped news channels, its echo is heard for days. In short order, Hadiya became India’s top story: everyone wanted to save a woman who showed no signs of wanting to be saved. In August, the National Investigation Agency, the Indian government’s top antiterrorism organization, began investigating Hadiya’s conversion and marriage. One news channel, Republic, said that more than twenty-five thousand tweets had shared a link to an investigation it had conducted into “love jihad.”

Fears around “love jihad,” a supposed form of religious warfare by which Muslim men lure Hindu women away from the faith, have circulated in one form or another in India for more than a century. According to Charu Gupta, a history professor at Delhi University who has written extensively about Hindu-Muslim marriages in India, Muslim rulers were frequently portrayed as decadent manipulators in the popular literature of the late nineteenth century. “In the nineteen-twenties, it went from rulers to all Muslims,” she told me. “They were called abductions then. Even elopements were seen as abductions.” These abductions effectively provided “one of the glues for Hindu unity” in a country divided by caste. Such fears have increased since 2009, with the emergence of Hindu nationalists as a dominant political force in India. In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, came to power promising development and freedom from corruption. In the past year, there have been selective bans—on films that are deemed to be sacrilegious, and on eating beef—while extremist mobs run wild. Modi has used Twitter to respond quickly to tragedies in other parts of the world, but so rarely talks about the religious eruptions in the country he governs, such as the lynchings of Muslims in B.J.P.-ruled states, that his merely acknowledging them makes news.

It was during this year of the almost cheerful dismantling of law and order that the story of Hadiya became the soap opera we all watched. After the High Court’s ruling, one headline read, “isis Recruitment? Kerala HC Cancels Marriage Between Hindu Girl, Muslim Man.” The Times of India ran with “Kerala HC Cancels Marriage Due to Bride’s Alleged IS Links,” above a picture of a masked isis fighter. The reports, which rarely mentioned Hadiya’s version of events, left the reader with the vivid image of a father protecting his daughter from the Islamic State.

Lawyers I spoke to thought that the whole thing was nuts. “This should have been thrown out of court,” Amba Salelkar, a legal researcher, told me. “People are allowed the dignity of risk.” Newspapers reporting the story referred to it as the “Hadiya love-jihad case” without irony or quotation marks. After the judgment, Hadiya became a celebrity, the media’s hunger fuelled by the difficulty of catching a glimpse of her. Her appearances on television were furtive and fleeting: unauthorized recordings, glimpses through a phalanx of policemen hurrying her along. The video clip I saw, of Hadiya and her mother arguing, was filmed by a Hindu activist named Rahul Easwar, who was dismayed by her treatment. Jahan wrote Hadiya letters, but they were returned to him by Ashokan. Outside the family’s home, constables ordered by the Court to protect Hadiya and her family watched CCTV monitors and asked neighbors to alert them to visitors.

Days after the High Court ordered Hadiya to return to her parents’ home, Jahan contacted a young Supreme Court lawyer named Haris Beeran, and asked him to appeal the ruling. The case excited Beeran. “I thought it would be a challenge, judicially,” he told me. Navigating India’s justice system is its own unique brand of punishment, and for months, while Hadiya stayed with her parents, Jahan’s case wound through its endless plumbing. In the last week of November, both sides argued over whether Hadiya should be heard at all. “Their case was that Hadiya was so indoctrinated that she would have a ready set of answers,” Beeran recalled later. I followed live accounts from the New Delhi court on legal blogs and on Twitter. Hadiya stood listening for two hours before the judges turned to her. It was the first time in months that someone who mattered asked her what she wanted. And yet her presence in the courts was also a terrifying reminder that she was being asked to prove that she was worthy of freedom.

Later, everyone I spoke to was struck by her calm, and her lack of interest in lamenting her months of being held against her will. “I need the freedom to meet the person I love,” she said. “I am asking for fundamental rights.” She spoke about how her parents had tried to convert her back to Hinduism. She wanted to complete her education and leave all this behind. Finally, the judges agreed with Jahan’s lawyers that Hadiya didn’t sound brainwashed. They ruled that Hadiya could return to school and could once again make her own decisions. Even so, the Court decided to continue hearings over Jahan’s association with the Popular Front of India into January, 2018. This month, Hadiya and Jahan met for the first time in six months. The room in which they met was wired with closed-circuit cameras.

The court moved on, but the Hadiya story had reached a vast audience. “So many people who hadn’t believed in it before now do,” Gupta told me, of love jihad. The idea has a way of prying open hidden prejudices through multiple means, like so many keys, one of which might just turn the lock. In Rajasthan, schoolteachers attend fairs to learn about love jihad. In Kolkata, Hindu men are encouraged to fall in love with Muslim women as a form of counteroffensive. One key turned. The day after the couple’s meeting, a video surfaced that abruptly replaced Hadiya in the national mind. I watched it after spending days bracing myself, and then, too, only in a corner at home late one night. In the footage I saw, a Muslim laborer, later identified as Mohammad Afrazul, apparently unaware that he is being filmed, strolls under a tree, while another man, holding a pickaxe, jogs up behind him, takes aim, and lodges it in his upper back. Afrazul turns around, uncomprehending. “What did I do, sir?” he manages to shout. His attacker, later identified as Shambhulal Regar, from a town north of Udaipur, stumbles between blows, preparing to strike again. The camera follows, at a distance. “I am dead, I am dead,” Afrazul cries. Finally, he lies motionless where he has fallen. Regar speaks to the camera. “Jihadis,” he says, breathing deeply. “This is what will happen to you if you spread love jihad in our country.” Then he sets Afrazul on fire. (I later discovered that I had watched an edited version of even more violent footage.)

Hours after the video appeared, the Rajasthan state police brought Regar before a group of reporters. One journalist asked if he felt regret. “I am a regular man,” he replied from under a hood. By then, support for his actions had swelled. “Brother, we should chop up each and every one of these Muslims,” one person wrote in the comments section below the video online. Dozens of others offered their support. A fund drive for Regar’s wife raised more than three hundred thousand rupees (equivalent to nearly five thousand U.S. dollars). To prevent rallies from forming in support of Regar, as well as those calling for his death, the nearby city of Udaipur did what worried officials everywhere in India do these days: they banned gatherings of more than four people and turned off the Internet. Even so, on December 14th, as the light dimmed in the city, a man in a saffron-orange shirt climbed the newly inaugurated gate of the local court building and vigorously waved a flag dyed a luminous orange—a declaration of Hindu supremacy over the police and the courts.


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Ambrose Pinto: A God’s Man Who Walked The Talk



Ambrose pinto’s death after struggling with treacherous cancer for about Six months on 3 January of 2018 made me feel that this year would be bad for Dalits. His smiling face, hopeful of change, keeps flashing through my mind.

I last met him when I gave a special lecture at Indian Social Institute Benuluru on January 20, 2017, in memory of Fr.Henry Volken S.J, who founded the institute. That evening we had dinner at Akar Patel, well known journalist’s residence. It was at that dinner I was supposed to meet with Gauri Lankesh also. But she did not turn up. The whole nation knows what happened to her later.

Ever since I met Ambrose in the early 1990s he impressed me and our friendship continued. He was a scholar with great concern for the poor, human rights and human dignity.

As director of ISI Delhi he converted that institute into place of pro-Dalit Bahujan activism, theory and social interactions.

Earlier and later as principal of St.Joseph evening college he turned that college into a totally reserved place of SC/ST/OBCs students by undercutting upper caste seats. The issue went to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who called him and asked why that college does not admit upper caste students at all? As Ambrose told the CM “When we were admitting only upper castes, without observing reservation principle no Chief Minister asked us why were doing that? Now we have decided to admit SC/ST/OBC students more than the reservation quota principle, why are you questioning now?” He continued that policy till he was in that college.

Because of his committed transformative agenda in the Christian educational institutions hundreds of slum, village SC/ST/OBC students entered into high end jobs all over the country.

He trained those students to speak good English and earn high quality degree which would make them stand on their own legs all through life. He was doing the same at the St. Aloysius college that he was heading while he passed away.

Ambrose Pinto, a Jesuit by training, a dalit liberator by belief was uncompromising on Dalit human rights. Though a life time Jesuit he never looked at human problems within the framework of religion. He was secular to the core. Anyone who reads his writing in news papers ( he was a regular contributor to Deccan Herald and other papers) and journals like Economic and Political weakly, Mainstream, and so on he comes out as convinced Marxist, without proclaiming so.

But at the same time his commitment to the Ambedkar’s ideology and liberation of Dalits and Adivasis by using democratic instruments and Indian constitutionalism is unshaken. He was an excellent negotiator between Marxism and Ambedkarism with a Christian conviction of liberation theology at the core of his understanding. He would not refer to Bible as much as he refers to Marx and Ambedkar in his discussions and writings.

Ambrose has given a new definition to the concept ‘Jesuit’, a person who lives as whole time God man, only occasionally in the Jesuit garbs but most of the time in T-shirt and simple pant to work for the liberation of Dalits and Adivasis.

When he was in Delhi Ambrose expanded the public space so much that the ISI, Delhi became a place for new wave democratic movements, even at a time when the Bharatiya Janatha Party was in power. It became a place of everyday activity for progressives, nationalists and humanists. Though it was a short period of three years within those three years he became a noted person in all the progressive circles of Delhi.

Any new book in the market, that has a liberative message would find a platform for release, wherever Ambrose worked. Any protest meeting against injustice found Ambrose walking with a placard in his hand in the front row.

With Ambrose leaving us, of course a  same smile India looks poor, as a friend of Ambrose said in an E-mail message. In the absence of Ambrose also we must continue our work, which is as much his work.

Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University

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Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Palestinian Girl Ahed?


Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was recently arrested in a night-time raid on her home. The Israeli authorities accuse her of “assaulting” an Israeli soldier and an officer. A day earlier she had confronted Israeli soldiers who had entered her family’s backyard. The incident happened shortly after a soldier shot her 14-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, and fired tear-gas canisters directly at their home, breaking windows.

Her mother and cousin were arrested later as well. All three remain in detention.

There has been a curious lack of support for Ahed from Western feminist groups, human rights advocates and state officials who otherwise present themselves as the purveyors of human rights and champions of girls’ empowerment.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices.

Their campaigns on empowering girls in the global South are innumerable: Girl Up, Girl Rising, G(irls)20 Summit, Because I am a Girl, Let Girls Learn, Girl Declaration.

When 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the reaction was starkly different. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued a petition entitled “I am Malala.” The UNESCO launched “Stand Up For Malala.”

Malala was invited to meet then President Barack Obama, as well as the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and addressed the UN General Assembly. She received numerous accolades from being named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine and Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and again in 2014 when she won.

State representatives such as Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard as well as prominent journalists such as Nicholas Kristof spoke up in support of her. There is even a Malala Day!

But we see no #IamAhed or #StandUpForAhed campaigns making headlines. None of the usual feminist and rights groups or political figures has issued statements supporting her or reprimanding the Israeli state. No one has declared an Ahed Day. In fact, the US in the past has even denied her a visa for a speaking tour.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices. She has been protesting the theft of land and water by Israeli settlers. She has endured personal sacrifice, having lost an uncle and a cousin to the occupation. Her parents and brother have been arrested time and again. Her mother has been shot in the leg. Two years ago, another video featuring her went viral – this time she was trying to protect her little brother from being taken by a soldier.

Why isn’t Ahed a beneficiary of the same international outcry as Malala? Why has the reaction to Ahed been so different?

There are multiple reasons for this deafening silence. First among them is the widespread acceptance of state-sanctioned violence as legitimate. Whereas hostile actions of non-state actors such as the Taliban or Boko Haram fighters are viewed as unlawful, similar aggression by the state is often deemed appropriate.

This not only includes overt forms of violence such as drone attacks, unlawful arrests, and police brutality, but also less obvious assaults such as the allocation of resources, including land and water. The state justifies these actions by presenting the victims of its injustices as a threat to the functioning of the state.

Once declared a threat, the individual is easily reduced to bare life – a life without political value. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has described this as a time/place sanctioned by sovereign power where laws can be suspended; this individual can therefore now be made a target of sovereign violence. Terrorists often fall within this category. Thus, the execution of suspected terrorists through drone attacks without due judicial process ensues without much public uproar.

11-year-old Ahed cries during the funeral of her relative Rushdi Tamimi, who was shot by Israeli forces during a protest in November 2012 [Reuters/Mohamad Torokman


The Israeli police have deployed a similar strategy here. They have argued for extendingAhed’s detention because she “poses a danger” to soldiers (state representatives) and could obstruct the functioning of the state (the investigation).

Casting unarmed Palestinians like Ahed – who was simply exercising her right to protect her family’s wellbeing with all the might of her 16-year-old hand – in the same light as a terrorist is unfathomable. Such framings open the way for authorising excessive torture – Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennett, for instance, wants Ahed and her family to “finish their lives in prison.”

Ahed’s suffering also exposes the West’s selective humanitarianism, whereby only particular bodies and causes are deemed worthy of intervention.

Anthropologist Miriam Ticktin argues that while the language of morality to alleviate bodily suffering has become dominant in humanitarian agencies today, only particular kinds of suffering bodies are read as worthy of this care.This includes the exceptionally violated female body and the pathologically diseased body.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi stands inside a waiting cell ahead of the verdict in his trial at Israel’s Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 20, 2012 [AP/Diaa Hadid]
Such a notion of suffering normalises labouring and exploited bodies: “these are not the exception, but the rule, and hence are disqualified.”

Issues of unemployment, hunger, threat of violence, police brutality, and denigration of cultures are thus often not considered deserving of humanitarian intervention. Such forms of suffering are seen as necessary and even inevitable. Ahed, therefore, does not fit the ideal victim-subject for transnational advocacy.

Relatedly, girls like Ahed who critique settler colonialism and articulate visions of communal care are not the empowered femininity that the West wants to valourise. She seeks justice against oppression, rather than empowerment that benefits only herself.

Her feminism is political, rather than one centred on commodities and sex. Her girl power threatens to reveal the ugly face of settler-colonialism, and hence is marked as “dangerous”. Her courage and fearlessness vividly render all that is wrong with this occupation.

Ahed’s plight should prompt us to interrogate our selective humanitarianism. Individuals who are victims of state violence, whose activism unveils the viciousness of power, or whose rights advocacy centres communal care, deserve to be included in our vision of justice.

Even if we don’t launch campaigns for Ahed, it is impossible for us to escape her call to witness the mass debilitation, displacement and dispossession of her people. As Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

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India 2017- A year of Hatred, Impunity and Heightened Identity Politics

CSSS Team: Irfan Engineer, Neha Dabhade, Suraj Nair[1]


According to the monitoring by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), the number of communal incidents reported in the print media and web portals have declined in the year 2017 as compared to 2016. However, polarization along religious lines has sharpened. Muslims and Christians are targeted in the form of hate crimes by Hindu supremacists. The justification for such attacks is sought by the perpetrators by weaving a discourse on cow protection, making cow the holy symbol and equating it to nationalism and the issue of ‘love jihad’. The lack of action by the State against hate crimes has encouraged violence and emboldened the perpetrators of violence. The Hindu supremacists have been targeting minorities without fear and worst, publicly claiming, and glorifying their violence. This is possible because of environment of impunity for the hate crimes provided by the State resulting in insecurities for the Muslims, Christians and Dalits. The result of such low intensity but brutal hate crimes is further stigmatization of the minorities and polarization amongst communities along communal lines.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Parliament, till the month of September, the year 2017witnessed 296 incidents of communal violence, with 44 deaths. The years 2014 and 2015had experienced 703 and 751 communal incidences with 86 and 97 deaths respectively according to MHA data. Highest number of communal incidents occurred in Uttar Pradesh – 60. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal too figure high on the list(Tripathy, 2017).MHA collects data from the State Governments, which in turn collects from all police stations. Only a fraction of the communal incidents are reported in Media. However, since the year 2016, MHA has stopped publicizing the data on communal incidents and there is no way to ascertain the number of communal incidents recorded by the police throughout the country. CSSS’s monitoring of communal incidents for the year 2017 is therefore based on the incidents reported in media.

In 2015, while the MHA data reported 751 incidents of communal violence in which 97 persons were died and 2264 persons were injured, the 5 daily news papers monitored by CSSS – Mumbai editions of The Indian ExpressThe Times of IndiaThe HinduSahafat and Inquilab for reports on communal incidents, reported only 47 incidents in which 15 lives were lost and 272 suffered injuries. This is indicative of underreporting of communal incidents in print media. Like every year, CSSS monitored incidents of communal violence throughout the year tracking the five newspapers in two languages – English and Urdu mentioned above.

The five dailies, in 2017,reported 43 communal incidents resulting in 7 deaths and injuries to 136persons in comparison to 62 communal incidents, 8 deaths and 676 persons injured in 2016 as given in Table 1 and Graph 1.

Table 1: Comparative Table of Communal Incidents in 2016 and 2017

Year Communal Incidents Death Injuries
2017 43 7 136
2016 62 8 676


Graph 1: Comparative Chart of Communal Incidents in 2017 and 2016



Out of the 7 deaths, 2 were from Hindu community while 4 were from Muslim community and religion in one is unknown. 17 arrests were made from the Hindu community while 31 arrests were made from Muslim community in cases related to 43 communal incidents as given in Graph 2.

Graph2: Religion-wise breakup of No.of people killed and arrested


This like every year points out at two things- first, the majority of victims of communal violence are from the Muslim community and secondly, though they are largely victims, they are also arrested in large numbers. According to NCRB data, 20.9% of the under trials are Muslims which is much higher than their representation in population (Rath, 2017).  Criminalization of the Muslim community has been a continuing trend which at one level also problematizes the response of the judicial system in India to communal violence.

Out of 43, 17 are reported from Uttar Pradesh, 7 from Maharashtra, 4 from Gujarat and 3 each from Bihar and Rajasthan as given in Table 2 and Graph 3.

Table 2: State wise no. of Communal Incidents

Sr. No. State Count of Incidents
1 Uttar Pradesh 17
2 Maharashtra 7
3 Gujarat 4
4 Rajasthan 3
5 Bihar 3
6 West Bengal 2
7 Jharkhand 1
8 Madhya Pradesh 1
9 Telangana 1
10 Karnataka 1
11 J&K 1
12 Odisha 1
13 New Delhi 1
Grand Total 43


Graph 3: State wise no. of Communal Incidents



34 incidents out of 43 incidents took place in states ruled by the BJP, 1 in Congress ruled states and 8 in states ruled by other parties. However BJP rules in 18 states, Congress in 5, 10 other states are ruled by other parties as given in Graph4.

Graph 4: Regime wise break up of no. of Communal Incidents.


Change in the pattern of communal violence:

Post 2014, perceptible changes can be observed in the trends of communal violence in India. While earlier, large number of people from a community or neighbourhood was targeted as a form of collective punishment for an alleged wrong or any trigger of conflict, since the BJP has come to power, individuals from Muslim community are being targeted by vigilante groups largely under the pretext of cow protection or love jihad. The targeting is in form of mob lynching or hate crimes. The Hindu supremacists act as vigilantes without fear and the role of state is complicit as can be seen from the cases. The most trivial dispute between members of different communities were given communal hues and become a communal incident. Thus some of the trends are in continuation of 2014, 2015 and 2016. The following points explain the trends in greater details:

  1. Change in Modus Operandi:

Aim and the modus operandi of violence have seen a change from last few years. While earlier pre 2014 violence was directed at a large or sizeable number of individuals from a community, in 2017 the violence was directed at individuals from the Muslim community. In that sense, it was controlled violence and not large scale. This was achieved through lynch mob violence and justified through communalized discourses. What is particularly disturbing is that the violence was brutal and gory and turned into a public spectacle. In 2017, 15 individuals were killed and 49 injured in mob lynching incidents. Amongst the 49 injured, 38 were Muslims while the religion of 11 was not specified. The incidents of mob lynch stands at 23. State wise breakup of the incidents is given below in Graph 5.

Graph 5: State wise no. of Mob Lynching incidents


Out of these 23 incidents of mob lynching, 21 were related to cow. In one of the incidents, in Faridabad, UP, polio-stricken auto-rickshaw driver Azad and a minor were on their way from Fatehpur to Old Faridabad carrying buffalo meat when they were waylaid by six persons in a car near Bajri village. Police arrested three persons in connection with this incident. The three have been identified as Lakhan, Dileep and Ram Kumar. The trio was, however, granted bail within hours of the arrest. Azad claims that the Bajrang Dal activists continued to beat them up even in the presence of policemen.

In another incident, two persons were lynched at a village in the Dhupguri block of West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district in the early hours of August 27th under suspicion of stealing cows. The villagers noticed that a pick-up van carrying cows was aimlessly wandering around the area. When challenged by the villagers the van picked up speed and tried to escape. However, the villagers soon captured the van and caught hold of Mr. Sheikh and Mr. Hussain. The driver fled from the spot. After questioning the two for a while, the locals had beaten them to death. According to Anwar’s father Mahamadul Hussain, he had received information that Anwar and Sheikh were beaten to death after they were unable to pay INR 50, 000 demanded by the locals. Three persons have been arrested related to this incident.

Other 2 incidents out of 23 were related to inter-religious marriage and over a Muslim covering his head with headscarve. A 60-year old man was beaten to death by a group of people in Bulandshahr on 2nd May as they suspected him of aiding a couple from different faiths to elope. Riyazuddin Ahmad, had eloped with a girl from Fazalpur who belongs to a different community. Tension was simmering since then. In no time, members of the Hindu YuvaVahini began threatening Ghulam Ahmed as they thought he knew the whereabouts of the couple. On 2nd May the group questioned him on the whereabouts of the couple. When Ahmed was unable to answer they beat him mercilessly with rods leading to his death. In the second incident, a group of men travelling in a train from Delhi to Haridwar first heckled and then beat up three fellow passengers, identified as Gulzar Ahmad, Mohammad Israr and Abu Bakr, near Baghpat in UP on Thursday, ostensibly “for covering their heads with rumaal (headscarves)”.

  1. Re-victimization of the victims:

The trend of re-victimization of the victims by the state continues this year too. Instead of bringing the perpetrators of violence to justice and using that as a deterrent, the State is criminalizing the victims of violence. This leads to re-victimization. In Maharashtra, two meat traders were beaten up by a cow vigilante squad in Malegaon, on suspicion of possessing beef. Video footage of the incident appeared to show the men being slapped and abused, and told to say “Jai Sri Ram” (“Hail Lord Ram”). Nine men have been arrested. However, the two meat traders also face criminal charges for “outraging religious feelings” (Amnesty International, 2017).

In Aligarh, cow vigilantes beat up five people they claimed had illegally slaughtered a buffalo inside the premises of a private dairy in Gandhi Park area. The owner of the dairy, Kalu Baghel, was operating from his compound in Panna Ganj locality. After a buffalo had stopped yielding milk, he decided to sell it. Imran, a cattle trader, offered to buy the buffalo provided the dairy owner gave allowed him to slaughter the animal on the premises of the dairy. A group of five people — four butchers along with Imran — were in the middle of slaughtering the buffalo when the blood of the animal oozed out of the gates of the dairy and was spotted by some bystanders. The police have arrested the five people along with the owner of the dairy for illegal slaughter. However, no case has been registered against the assaulters (The Tribune, 2017).

On May 26 three youths in Washim, Maharashtra was thrashed for allegedly carrying the meat. One of the attackers made a video of this incident and circulated it on social Media. Seven suspected cow vigilantes were arrested from the Rajora village. The police have also booked the three victims for the possession of “beef” under various sections of the amended Maharashtra Preservation and Security of Animals Act. Later a local court released all the accused on a bond (Hindustan Times, 2017).

  1. The response of the State:

The response of the State has been callous and its attempt at trivializing targeted violence is a mockery of justice. The state response can be problematized at various levels. At one level, the State is ushering legislations that are victimizing the minorities and infringing on basic rights of citizens and at another level carrying out shoddy investigation which is hampering prospects of justice and convictions. These policies and responses are shaped keeping in with the ideology and agenda of the ruling dispensation. The ideology backed with the statements of representatives sworn under Constitution are excluding and discriminating against vulnerable sections like Muslims, Christians and Dalits. The policies also betray this hegemony. For instance the cow protection law covers almost 99% of Indians and now in force in 84% of Indian States and Union territories. The law criminalizes slaughter of cows and in states like Gujarat even transportation of cows for slaughter as well as possession of beef(Saldanha, 2017).

Like mentioned above, the victim is not only victimized when he/she is attacked and violence perpetrated against them but also at another level when justice is denied by carrying out shoddy investigation. This affords certain impunity and political patronage to the perpetrators who fearlessly continue such attacks and hate crimes. RSS leaders’ murders are investigated by NIA(The Indian Express, 2017) while there is shoddy investigation into the killings of innocent citizens who are victims of hate crimes notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence against the Hindu supremacists in the cases. For instance, Pehlu Khan, was beaten up brutally by self-styled cow protection vigilante group in Alwar, Rajasthan. The vigilante group accused Pehlu Khan of transporting cow for slaughter. Khan in his dying declaration named six accused, three of them having links to right wing organization. All six were given a clean chit and investigation has been closed against them by the Rajasthan police (Mukherjee, 2017). Investigations also focused if Pehlu Khan was engaged in any illegal smuggling of cattle.

What is particularly vicious and gives encouragement as also to some extend legitimacy to the acts of hate crimes are the statements and discourses put forth by the political leadership and authorities holding constitutional positions. For instance, Sangeet Som who is a BJP MLA claims that Taj Mahal was has no place in Indian culture and its creator wanted to wipe out Hindus (Hindustan Times, 2017). The Prime Minister himself demonizes the Muslims by referring to the Mughals in a derogatory way. He likened the Congress party’s mindset with ‘Mughal mindset’ recently (Mathew & Saiyed, 2017). Yogi Adityanath in response to Tipu Sultan Jayanti being celebrated in Karnataka said that it’s a shame that instead of worshipping Hanuman, Tipu Sultan is being worshipped (The Indian Express, 2017). This discourse is entrenching the mindset that Muslims are secondary citizens of the country and thus deserve to be persecuted or discriminated against.

The role of the police has been questioned in communal violence. While it is well established that police have their biases against certain communities, what makes their role and credibility dubious is their heavy reliance and association with the Hindu Supremacists. In various cases, the police have flouted laws by allowing lawlessness to thrive and thereby giving extremists and vigilante groups unbridled impunity. In Pehlu Khan’s case, Sadhvi Kamal was given access to the accused in police custody. She glorified the act of the accused (lynching Pehlu Khan to death) by equating it to that of Bhagat Singh. This obviously helped in normalizing the violence and strengthens the exclusivist discourse on nationalism which currently centers around symbols like cow. This act of the police when juxtaposed with its lackadaisical approach in making a strong case for conviction of the accused clearly exposes the partisan role of the police in this case. The ‘Anti- romeo’ squads in UP that targeted Muslim youth made up of plain clothes policemen implicated innocent in false cases and assaulted them. The police also supported actions of vigilante groups indulging in moral policing.

  1. Theatre of violence:

An important trend in communal violence is that while earlier it was largely an urban phenomenon, now it is taking place in rural areas as well. The issues like cow are gaining strength in rural areas. State wise break up shows, as mentioned above, majority of the communal incidents took place in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, out of 43 incidents, 24 incidents have taken place in the ‘Hindi belt’ or ‘cow belt’- Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, continuing to be the communally sensitive region in the country. The western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat remain to be the hotbed of violence, having 11 communal incidents between the two. Gujarat faced elections in the end of 2017 and BJP retained power in it. However, since 2014, the theatre of violence extends to states like West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala. Karnataka will face state assembly elections shortly this year. West Bengal is increasingly becoming volatile with the BJP accusing Mamta Banerjee of Muslim appeasement which BJP allege is leading to terrorism in the state and influx of Bangladeshi migrants. This along with organizing aggressive processions during Ram Navami has led to deepening of ‘Hindu’ identity amongst the Hindus in the state which helps BJP to garner support. In Kerala increasing polarization can be observed. One of the pointers was the case of 24 year old Hadiya who converted to Islam from Hindu religion out of free will and later married a Muslim man. The Kerala government annulled her marriage and gave her custody to her parents who kept her in house arrest in abdominal state. Her parents were supported by Hindu supremacists in Kerala. West Bengal and Kerala are ruled by non BJP parties. Machinations to expand their support base have made these states turbulent and prone to intense attempts to polarize communities and spread hatred against Muslims.

  1. Triggers of violence:

The immediate causes of communal violence perhaps best tells the story of communal violence in India. The smallest and most trivial incidences were exploited and manipulated by the Hindu supremacists to bring about communal tensions. The depth of polarization of the communities achieved can be gauged from incidents where personal enmity between members of two communities has been turned into conflicts between two communities and giving it a dangerous communal spin. For instance, in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, an altercation over setting up a stall between vendors from two communities led to communal violence. Stone pelting ensued which led to 17 injuries and damaged shops and houses. In Nandurbar, Maharashtra there was communal violence after a customer refused to pay a bill at an eating joint.

Largely the trend continues from last year where social media has been used to spread communal tensions by posting objectionable and derogatory posts about religious leaders or Gods. These are then used as a pretext to attack communities and spread hatred. The Baduria and Bashirhat riots were triggered off by a derogatory post on facebook allegedly circulated by one Souvik Sarkar. Some Muslims protested against it and attacked his house. This incident was used by the BJP to mobilize the Hindu community by terming it as a national issue and spreading hatred against Muslims. Similar incident took place in Bhadrak, Odisha.

Processions of tazia or Durga puja or Ganesh idols/ songs in front of places of worship during Ram NavamiDurga PujaMorahamhave been one of the frequent reasons for communal incidents between two communities in places like Banswara in Rajasthan and Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Mischievous elements to foment communal tensions are placing meat in places of worship leading to communal tensions like was the case in Surat.

  1. Hate Crimes:

While mob lynching was one form of violence, another form was hate crimes. Hate crime are crimes that are committed out of hatred and to perpetuate more hatred and instigate similar violence. Hate crimes are vicious because innocent are targeted without even knowing their identity or for no enmity. For instance, Shambulal Raigar, a trader from Rajsamand in Rajasthan called Afrazul, a Muslim worker under the pretext of work and hacked to death using Afrazul’s tools. Raigar made his minor nephew shoot the video of him axing Mohammad Afrazul to death and made the video viral. Raigar in the video justified the hacking by claiming that he was ‘saving’ the Hindu women from ‘love jihad’ by killing Afrazul. He did not know Afrazul and Afrazul hadn’t married a Hindu woman. This hate crime has to be contextualized in the environment where the BJP in its election manifesto in Uttar Pradesh had included forming of ‘anti- romeo’ squads to protect Hindu women. Such agenda and aggressive campaigning on the issue has deepened the notion of women as ‘honor’ of the community and promoted hysteria about their bodies and agency.

The major change in the pattern of communal violence has been the hate crimes in past year. Individuals from Muslim and Christian communities have been targeted due to their religious identity without fear, rebuke or regret. Hate crimes are not isolated cases but part of a larger discourse that is dominating the public spaces conscience to demonize the Muslim and Christian communities. It points out to deeply entrenched violence and intolerance in the country. Cow and ‘love jihad’ were the issues exploited to target the Muslims. Pehlu Khan, Junaid, Afrazul are only a few names that have been senselessly killed by people who didn’t even know them. Public spectacles are made out of brutal killings and violence condoned by the State.

Anti-Christian violence is on a rise which manifests itself in attitudes as well as physical attacks. The desecration of holy crosses in South Goa in a highly charged atmosphere of intolerance exacerbated with hate speeches of Sadhvi Saraswati was aimed at symbolic violence. It was nonetheless a warning that Christians in the ideology of the Hindu supremacists are second class citizens. In Aligarh, RSS affiliate Hindu Jagran Manch had issued letters to schools to not celebrate Christmas which believe promotes Christianity (The Indian Express, 2017). In Satna in Madhya Pradesh a group of 30 priests and seminarians singing carols was detained by local police who acted upon the complaint of Bajrang DalBajrang Dal accused the choir of forcibly converting the villagers to Christianity(The Indian Express, 2017). The Hindu supremacists are intensely campaigning against the Christian community by strengthening the stereotypes and narratives that Christians aim at converting Hindus by force or luring them with inducements.

Why is it important to talk about them? Apart from the fact that, certain communities are targeted owing to their religious identity (majority of the hate crimes are against Muslims), such hate crimes question the basic foundation of democracy and pluralism in India. It challenges the notion of equal citizenship and fraternity. Uncontrolled hatred will breed more hatred and engulf many more marginalized groups- Dalits, farmers, trade unionists, writers, women etc.


The hate crimes and communal incidents in 2017 have led to deepening of communal identities. With controlled violence more effective polarization has been achieved by strengthening discourse of hatred against not only Christians and Muslims but also other marginalized sections. This has encouraged violence and impunity which in turn is naturalizing it. This is leading to a vicious cycle of violence. The State has in effect condoned this violence by taking very little action and provided cue to Hindu supremacists and vigilantes to perpetuate violence in an enabling environment. The State has been largely complicit in this violence by sharpening identity politics through saffronization of history, campaign on cow and inter-religious marriages. This is heralding the country in a direction where Constitutional values are blatantly disregarded or violated and Hindutva hegemony is endangering lives and citizenship rights of Muslims and Christians.



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Mathew, L., & Saiyed, K. (2017, December 8). The Indian Express. Retrieved December 30, 2017, from The Indian Express:

Mukherjee, D. (2017, september 14). Hindustan times. Retrieved December 30, 2017, from Hindustan Times:

Saldanha, A. (2017, April 29). Hindustan Times. Retrieved December 31, 2017, from Hindustan Times:

The Indian Express. (2017, December 19). Retrieved December 31, 2017, from The Indian Express:

The Indian Express. (2017, December 19). Retrieved January 1, 2018, from The Indian Express:

The Indian Express. (2017, November 18). Retrieved January 2, 2018, from The Indian Express:

The Indian Express. (2017, December 21). Retrieved December 31, 2017, from The Indian Express:

Tripathy, R. (2017, August 9). The Indian Express. Retrieved December 30, 2017, from The Indian Express:




Communal Incidents in 2017: A Brief Summary

By CSSS Team: Irfan Engineer, Neha Dabhade and Suraj Nair


Communal Riots in North Zone:

State No. of Date of Incident Killed Injured Arrested
Uttar Pradesh 17 3 47 58
Bihar 3 0 3 125
Rajasthan 3 1 1 44
J&K 1 0 0 0
Jharkhand 1 0 4 0
Madhya Pradesh 1 0 6 12
New Delhi 1 0 0 0
Grand Total 27 4 61 239


Communal Riots in Uttar Pradesh:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 11, February 2017 Nayagaon Bijnor 1 1 1
2 03, March 2017 Lakhimpur Lakhimpur Kher 0 1 5
3 20, April 2017 Sadak Dhudhli Saharanpur 0 0 20
4 10, May 2017 Nandrauli Sambhal 0 NA 6
5 06, June 2017 Naseerpur Muzaffarnagar 1 NA 20
6 11, June 2017 Meerut Meerut 0 3 0
7 28, June 2017 Kulapur / Shirpur Muzaffarnagar 0 0 NA
8 17, July 2017 Varanasi Varanasi 0 0 2
9 21, July 2017 Khailam Bareilly 0 NA 0
10 11, August 2017 Aligarh Aligarh 0 2 0
11 02, September 2017 Barla Muzaffarnagar 0 0 0
12 03, September 2017 Salempur Saharanpur 0 0 0
13 01, October 2017 Param Purwa / Rawatpur Kanpur 0 30 0
14 01, October 2017 Sikandarpur Ballia 0 6 0
15 02, October 2017 Chhaprauli Noida 0 1 0
16 04, November 2017 Nagla Mewati Aligarh 1 3 4
17 14, November 2017 Kotiwala Muzaffarnagar 0 0 0


11th February 17, Nayagaon, (Bijnor)

 Communal tension was palpable in Bijnor district of western Uttar Pradesh on 11thFebruary after a 16-year-old boy was killed and his father critically injured in Nayagaon village on 10th Feb. The accused were Muslims. Some unidentified people stabbed a farmer Sanjay and his 16-year-old son Vishal at Nayagaon when the farmer had gone to irrigate his field. Vishal was shot three times and died on the spot. Sanjay was fatally injured. Police arrested Iqbal, former head of Penda village involved in this incident and seven others were named as main accused in the murder of the boy.  The incident came nearly five months after killing of three Muslims in Penda village on September 16 last year over eve-teasing incident (Hindustan Times, 12/02/2017 / Indian Express, 12/02/2017).

03rd March 17, Lakhimpur, (Lakhimpur Kher)

Curfew was imposed in Lakhimpur city following clashes over an objectionable video which was allegedly circulated by two students. The curfew was imposed on 2nd March.  The city police arrested the two students who had allegedly circulated the video. However, protests began and the markets were also closed. There were reports of clashes and firing following which the district magistrate announced the imposition of curfew till further orders. One person was injured in the cash. Meanwhile, heavy police force has been deployed in the city. 3 BJP members were arrested related to this incident. (Sahafat, 04/03/2017 and Indian Express, 03/03/2017

20th April 17, Sadak Dhudhli, (Saharanpur)

Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh witnessed communal clashes on 20th April after BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal and other party leaders took out the “Ambedkar shobha yatra,” allegedly without police permission, through the communally sensitive parts of the city. Senior Superintendent of Police, Saharanpur, Love Kumar, ordered filing of FIR against Mr. Lakhanpal and over 500 others for the violence, vandalism and attack on the house of the Senior Superintendent of Police and the DM office. Sadak Dudhli village, on the outskirts of Saharanpur, has a mixed population of Muslims and Dalits. After the Yogi Adityanath government took charge in Uttar Pradesh, Hindu groups, in coordination with local BJP leaders, announced that they would take out a procession, called ‘Shobha Yatra’ in local parlance, through the village. The police denied them permission as it was a communally sensitive area, but the BJP leaders went ahead. The procession was attacked with stones when it was about to enter the Muslim area of the village. Two FIRs were registered, one for the communal clash in which 10 persons from both sides had been booked and another for the attack on the SSP’s house and vandalism and rioting on the road in which BJP MP’s supporters were found to be involved. (The Hindu, 21/04/2017)

10th May 17, Nandrauli, (Sambhal)

A Muslim youth and a married Hindu woman who were having an affair fled on May 8 which resulted in tension in the Nandrauli village. Muslim houses were attacked as a result of this. Fearing lives many Muslims families fled the village. According to villagers, the situation took a turn for the worse on the night of 10th May, when a mob attacked more than 12 Muslim houses in the presence of police officials. While 6 people have been arrested related to this incident. Four police officers also suspended because of their failure to prevent the riots. (Sahafat 13/5/17 and Times of India 16/05/2017)

06th June 17, Naseerpur, (Muzaffarnagar)

One person was killed and over a dozen were injured in the violence that was triggered by a petty fight over overflowing water from a sewage line. Police arrested 20 people on charges of murder and rioting after communal violence. Iqbal was on his way to the local mosque on Monday when he got into an argument with one Brijpal over a flowing drain. The issue was sorted out in the afternoon at a meeting of the village elders, who persuaded them to arrive at a compromise. But by the evening, the issue flared up again and led to a violent clash in which people attacked each other with firearms and stones. Brijpal and his son Akash were injured in the firing. Akash succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital. The police arrested the Naseerpur village head, Sabir on 08th after he was named in an FIR filed by Brijpal. Sabir  however, claims that he had nothing to do with the clash. (The Hindu, 09/06/2017)

11th June 17, Meerut, (Meerut)

Meerut region witnessed communal tension when the residents saw a broken idol. To protest, the mob blocked the road and burned the vehicles. A medical college was also damaged by the mob. To disperse the mob the police resorted to latti charge and used firing. 3 people got injured in this incident. (Inquilab 11/6/17)

28th June 17, Kulapur / Shirpur, (Muzaffarnagar)

Rumors were spread that cow is being slaughter at Kulapur and Shirpur. To confirm, police raided both the areas but was unable to find anything related to cow slaughtering. While they failed to arrest people in Kulapur they arrested innocent people on false charges of spreading news from Shirpur.  The protestors pelted stone on the police. However, police were unable to find the culprits for spreading the rumors. (Inquilab 28/06/2017)

17th July 17, Varanasi, (Varanasi)

Trouble broke out when rumors were spread about Kabristan land grabbing which led to fight among the members of two communities. Some extremist elements tried to escalate this tension. However, the police arrived and resorted to lathi charge and used tear gas to disperse the mob. According to SP R. Bharadwaj 2 Muslims were arrested for spreading rumors and case are filled against unknown persons. (Sahafat 17/7/17)

21st July 17, Khailam, (Bareilly)

On the last day of the Kanvar Yatra, a group of a particular community reportedly attacked the kanvar devotees around 7:15 pm in the evening on 21st July when they were passing through the village Khailam. During the stone pelting, police and ITBP jawans deployed there also sustained injuries and were sent to the hospital for treatment. Residents from a particular community were having objection over the Kanvar Yatra passing through near the Khailam village.  According to police, heavy police forces have been deployed in the area and situation brought under control. (Times of India 22/07/2017)

11th August 17, Aligarh, (Aligarh)

Tension prevailed in Aligarh after police resorted to firing to disperse a group of people who turned violent after Friday prayers and pelted stones. The crowd was protesting the murder of two brothers, Mohammad Wasim and Mohammad Aashu, by a man called Suresh from another community. Two persons, including a policeman, were injured in the clash. The Upper Court Street, where the clash occurred, was strewn with bricks and stones and riot police was deployed in the area. What sparked off the protest was the statement of BJP MLA Sanjeev Raja, justifying the killing as an act of “self-defence”.  To control the mob, police restored to lathi charge and used tear gas and chilli bombs. Though he denied that any firing took place, local residents claimed that police personnel fired in the air to disperse the mob. A police vehicle was also damaged by the protestors. Police said a case will be registered under various sections of the IPC after identifying the youths in the video, as the entire incident was recorded. One police personnel was injured in this incident. (Times of India 12/08/2017)

02nd September 17, Barla, (Muzaffarnagar)

Muzaffarnagar remained tense on Id-ul-Azha after unidentified persons threw pieces of meat at a place of worship at Barla village on 2nd September. Some of the villagers noticed that the gate of the religious place was open and when they went inside, they found meat and blood. The villagers and the local BJP and RSS leaders demanded immediate action.  The village and its outskirts remained tense as the villagers staged a protest at the police station. The police took the complaint from the villagers and promised to register an FIR. The situation was tense but under control. To ensure peace and law and order, police  deployed PAC personnel and extra police force in the village. (The Hindu 03/09/2017)

3rd September 17, Salempur, (Saharanpur)

The two communities living in the village were on the verge of clashes after devotees found pieces of meat inside a temple on 3rd September.  As the news spread that a temple was desecrated, people gathered outside its main gate. An agitated mob start protested against the desecration and demanded action against the culprits. However, Police reacted proactively and talked to community elders in the village and brought about a compromise. While the villagers accuse someone tried to incite the violence, police says that it seems a dog must have brought the meat to the temple. (The Hindu 04/09/2017)

01st October 17, Param Purwa / Rawatpur, (Kanpur)

Communal clashes at two places in Kanpur left nearly 30 people, including five policemen, injured while nearly 10 vehicles and four shops were either set afire or ransacked. Trouble began in Param Purwa when a Tazia procession — commemorating the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of prophet Muhammad — took a different route instead of the permitted one. Trouble broke out when the tazia procession was taken out from the Hindu dominated region for which they didn’t have permission. Tempers flared quickly, and the two sides clashed, pelting stones at each other. Anti-social elements torched a police vehicle, ransacked a police outpost and shops and set afire five two-wheelers in the area. In Rawatpur, the organizers of Ram Baraat refused to allow the Tazia procession on Saturday night. As the issue was being resolved on Sunday, 01st October morning, bricks were thrown from a temple on police teams involved in negotiations. Police resorted to baton charge on the crowd. (Hindustan Times, 01/10/2017)

01st October 17, Sikandarpur, (Ballia)

Communal clash erupted when Tazia procession was passing from Jalpa Chowk near Rasidia Masjid at the district’s Sikandarpur town and the rumour of stone pelting on the procession spread. This resulted in clash between the two communities. In the muddle, unidentified anti-social elements attacked people with sharp-edged weapons, injuring six. They also set on fire two bikes and two bicycles. (Hindustan Times, 02/10/2017)

02nd October 17, Chhaprauli, (Noida)

A local mosque in Chhaprauli village in Noida Sector 135 was allegedly vandalized after another community raised objections over Friday prayers being offered. Some youths beat up the Imam and broke the windows and vandalized the graveyard. The attackers had been demanding that the mosque stop operations. Security forces were deployed in the area as a preventive measure. (Indian Express, 03/10/2017)

04th November 17, Nagla Mewati, (Aligarh)

A fight broke out between members of different communities over demolition of toilet which was used by the visitors near the mosque. The toilet was constructed over the land which belonged to Ram Veer and Bunde Khan. However, Khan sold his share of land to Veer, who decided to demolish the toilet. Ram Veer reached the spot with some other people and attempted to demolish the toilet this led to an argument between them and the residents. When Ram Veer’s associates attempted to go on with the demolition, the other group started pelting stones on them. Someone then used Ram Veer’s licenced rifle to fire on the local residents. A bullet hit Mohammad Haseen’s neck. The shooting angered the locals who rushed onto Veer and his associates. Police rushed to their rescue. Veer was critically injured and so were his two brothers. Ajay, Vikas, Akash and Shivam were arrested and police were conducting raids to arrest the other accused in the case. (Indian Express, 06/11/2017)

14th November 17, Kotiwala, (Muzaffarnagar)

A small petty fight among two groups resulted in communal tension in the Kotiwala region. On 14th November Mujeeb along with his friend was travelling in his bike when suddenly his bike collided with a 12-year boy, son of Vikas Agarwal. This resulted in to fight among them. Soon the passer-by also joined the fight which resulted in communal tension. (Inquilab 15/10/17)


Communal Riots in Bihar:

Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Arrested –
1 04, April 2017 Baghibagdiha Nawada 0 1 21
2 02, October 2017 Jamui Jamui 0 2 24
3 02, October 2017 Piro Bhojpur 0 0 80

04th April 2017, Baghibagdiha, (Nawada)

Tension arose on 04th April morning after some Hindu devotees reportedly found posters related to Ram Navmi festival torn near the Sadbhavna Chowk area. As the matter was brought to police’s notice, protesters decided to block traffic at adjoining NH-31. As the road blockade continued, people from both communities started throwing stones at each other and shouted slogans against each other. Some private vehicles were also damaged. To control the situation police rushed to the spot with police reinforcement and dispersed the mob. However, tension prevailed in the region, On 05 April midnight, Aurangzeb, a policeman was attacked while he was on duty near a Lord Hanuman temple, following which forces were dispatched to quell any communal flareup. (Indian Express, 03/04/2017, 07/04/2017 and Times of India, 07/04/2017)

02nd October 2017, Jamui, (Jamui)

Trouble broke out on 02nd October afternoon, when a tazia procession for Muharram was crossing the town police station area, a crowd gathered. Police opened fire to disperse them in which 2 persons- Banti Shah (25) and Jitu Singh (22) got injured. According to a police officer back on 30th September an idol of Durga was hit by a stone during immersion which had left the local Hindus angered. 24 people have been arrested related to this incident. (Indian Express, 03/10/2017)

02nd October 2017, Piro, (Bhojpur)

Bhojpur police also made 80 arrests to help avoid a clash during a tazia procession on 2ndOctober 2017. (Indian Express, 03/10/2017)

Communal Riots in Rajasthan:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 11 Thu, May 2017 Banswara Banswara 0 NA 40
2 09 Sat, Sep 2017 Ramganj Jaipur 1 1 0
3 19 Tue, Dec 2017 Bagpura Rajsamand 0 0 0


11th May 2017, Banswara, (Banswara)

Members of two communities fought with each other over a disputed religious site in Kalika Mata area. On 11th May the groups had clashed with each other when ‘Shab-e- Baraat’ procession was passing by the locality at around 11 pm. Members of both the groups pelted stones, attacked each other with swords, rods and sticks and even damaged police cameras when the cops tried to intervene. A lady police officer’s fingers were chopped during one of such scuffle while more than 10 policemen sustained injuries. Some three dozen people were hurt during various incidents according to police. Curfew has been imposed in the entire city. On 12th also stone pelting was reported in the area. (Sahafat, 17/05/2017 and Times of India, 14/05/2017)

09th September 2017, Ramganj, (Jaipur)

A petty dispute between a police constable and a motorcycle-borne couple led to clashes between the residents and the police, following which the curfew was imposed around 1 am in Ramganj area, where the violence broke out. Angry protesters pelted stones at the police, torched nearby vehicles and vandalized public property. In retaliation, the police fired several shells of tear gas at the mob. One cop was injured, and one person died in the incident. (The Hindu, 09/09/2017 and Times of India, 09/09/2017)

19th December 2017, Bagpura, (Rajsamand)

Protests over the removal of an idol by the district administration from government pastureland led to tension between two communities in Rajsamand on Tuesday, 19thDecember.  Government officials removed an idol of Hanuman which was installed illegally on government pastureland in Bagpura village on 18th December night. This led to protests by residents, with a crowd starting to assemble at the spot. They believed that members of another community were responsible for removal of the idol by the district administration. The land is owned by the government and members of another community occasionally go there to offer namaaz as they have a no-objection certificate issued by the local panchayat samiti. After the idol was installed, they submitted a memorandum objecting to the development. After the crowd was dispersed, the protesters went to the village and there was stone-pelting between two communities. A car was also set on fire and the mob tried to burn a shop, but the police thwarted their efforts. Four people have been arrested related to this incident. (Indian Express, 20/12/2017)

Communal Riots in J&K:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
1 14 Thu, Sep 2017 Leh Leh 0 0 4


14th September 2017, Leh, (Leh)

Ladakh Buddhist Association suspects that a Buddhist woman who was converted to Islam in 2015 and married to a Muslim man from Kargil in July 2017 may have done so under duress. A deadline was issued by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) for people from Kargil to leave. A week ago, the LBA held a public rally where they asked people from Kargil, who were living and working in Leh, to “leave town by September 14 and tell their leaders in Kargil to arrange employment for them”. (Indian Express, 15/09/2017)

Communal Riots in Jharkhand:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 11 Tue, Apr 2017 Ranchi Ranchi 0 4 0


11th April 2017, Ranchi, (Ranchi)

The administration in Ranchi invoked prohibitory orders and deployed heavy security on the streets on Tuesday, 11th April 2017 to defuse communal tension after groups of Hindus and Muslims pelted stones at each other. Violence erupted when Bajrang Dal members, who had taken out a rally to mark Mahavir Jayanti, allegedly played an objectionable song in front of a mosque. Four people were injured in this incident. (Hindustan Times, 11/04/2017) and Scroll, 11/04/2017)


Communal Riots in New Delhi:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 09 Tue, May 2017 Mehroli New Delhi 0 0 NA


09th May 2017, Mehroli, (New Delhi)

A small petty fight among the children of two different communities led to communal tension in that area. Minority community people protested the arrest of people from their community in front of police station. (Inquilab, 09/05/2017)

Communal Riots in Madhya Pradesh:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 30 Tue, May 2017 Bhopal Bhopal 0 6 12


30th May 2017, Bhopal, (Bhopal)

On 30th May the Old City area near Hamidia Hospital witnessed communal violence when a group of people claimed that some minarets were found during the ongoing construction work inside the hospital. They claimed the minarets were that of a mosque and wanted to offer prayers there. However, the district administration refused to give permission to them to offer prayers. Members of another community wanted to offer prayers in a temple inside the hospital campus very close to where the minarets were found. The district administration refused to give them permission to offer prayers, too.

Tension gripped after arson and stone pelting following differences between Muslims and Hindus over the right to pray inside Hamidia Hospital complex. There were two rounds of stone pelting in the area, first was reported around 8.30pm when a large number of Muslims had gathered on the road for Iftar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members started heading towards a temple inside the hospital complex to offer prayers. A second round of stone pelting started around 10.30 pm when Muslims came out on the road after namaz in a nearby masjid. Several vehicles were damaged during the riot. Large number of security forces was deployed to prevent further violence in the region. Police administration arrested 12 persons related to riot. (First Post, 31/05/2017, Hindustan Times, 31/05/2017, New Indian Express, 31/05/2017 The Hindu, 31/05/2017, Times of India, 31/05/2017 )

Communal Riots in East Zone:

State No. of Date of Incident Killed Injured Arrested
Odisha 1 0 0 43
West Bengal 2 1 0 6
Grand Total 3 1 0 49


Communal Riots in Odisha:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 06 Thu, Apr 2017 Bhadrak Bhadrak 0 0 43


06th April 2017, Bhadrak, (Bhadrak)

Violence erupted in Bhadrak on 6th April, after a group staged demonstration near the town police station demanding immediate arrest of those involved in posting offensive remarks against Hindu deities on social media. Though the district administration clamped prohibitory orders, tension persisted and violence broke out 07th after a peace meeting convened by the administration to restore normalcy and maintain communal harmony failed to yield result. As many as 43 people were arrested in connection with the violence which left several shops gutted and vehicles damaged.  The escalation in tension prompted the administration to impose curfew and ban the social networking sites. 36 platoons of force were deployed in the area to curtail any further violence. (The Hindu, 09/04/2017 and Times of India, 09/04/2017)


Communal Riots in West Bengal:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 10 Sat, Jun 2017 Purulia Purulia 0 NA 5
2 02 Sun, Jul 2017 Basirhat North 24-Parganas 1 0 1


10th June 2017, Purulia, (Purulia)

The Purulia town in south-west West Bengal witnessed tension after clash between two groups over social media posts that allegedly hurt religious sentiments. According to local residents, a few persons were injured in the violence. Rapid Action Force [RAF] was deployed in the area. Tension started brewing when a member of one community allegedly posted a comment on social media hurting the religious sentiments of the other community. The situation flared up when the second group responded with a counter post. Members of the two communities took to the streets and resorted to vandalism. At least five persons were arrested. (The Hindu, 12/06/2017)


02nd July 2017, Basirhat, (North 24-Parganas)

Communal clashes broke out in North 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal over an “objectionable” post on Facebook, prompting the state government to rush 400 troops of paramilitary BSF to assist the police in containing the situation. There was no deployment of police in Baduria itself, the town in which the communal tension first erupted. Instead, 300 personnel from paramilitary forces were deployed along with RAF and local police in Basirhat, 15 km away, where the violence had spread.  The Hindu student was arrested on the same day of incident who allegedly circulated the post. Dozens of shops and houses, and at least six police vehicles, were torched by a mob. One person who was injured in the violence later died at a hospital. (Hindustan Times, 16/07/2017 and Indian Express, 06/07/2017)


Communal Riots in South Zone:

State No. of Date of Incident Killed Injured Arrested
Karnataka 1 0 0 14
Telangana 1 0 0 0
Grand Total 2 0 0 14


Communal Riots in Telengana:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 14 Tue, Mar 2017 Salempur Hyderabad 0 0 0


14th March 2017, Salempur, (Hyderabad)

Two failed attempts were made to communalize the Hyderabad City on the aftermath of UP Election. First in Salempur bait was kept in the church and later in a mosque’s mall “Jai Shree Ram” was found written. In both the cases police intervened and any further escalation was prevented. (Inquilab 14/03/2017)


Communal Riots in Karnataka:


Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
1 08 Sat, Jul 2017 Bantwal Dakshina Kannada 0 NA 14


08th July 2017, Bantwal, (Dakshina Kannada)

Tensions ran high in Dakshina Kannada’s Bantwal after several people were injured and a few vehicles were damaged in stone throwing during the funeral procession of slain RSS worker Sharath Madivala who was murdered on 4th July. In spite of heavy police presence the riot broke out because some miscreants threw stones and soda bottles on the procession. Police arrested 14 people related to this incident. (Times of India, 09/07/2017)


Communal Riots in West Zone:

State No. of Date of Incident Killed Injured Arrested
Gujarat 4 1 34 0
Maharashtra 7 1 41 52
Grand Total 11 2 68 52


Communal Riots in Gujarat:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
1 30 Mon, Jan 2017 Surat Surat 0 NA 0
2 25 Sat, Mar 2017 Vadavali Patan 1 12 0
3 10 Thu, Aug 2017 Vadodara Vadodara 0 20 0
4 01 Sun, Oct 2017 Vadodara Vadodara 0 2 0


30th January 2017, Surat, (Surat)

On 30th January a head of dead calf was found in the residential area. This resulted in tension in the region. Some extremist taking advantage of this situation attacked the shops which belonged to a non-vegetarian person. Many people including 2 police were injured in this incident. As per police, the dead calf was eaten by the stray dogs and the dogs brought the head of calf to the area. (Inquilab, 31/01/2017)

25th March 2017, Vadavali, (Patan)

One person was killed and at least 12 were injured in a clash between two communities at Vadavali village in Gujarat’s Patan district following a scuffle between two students of Class 10 after their Board exams. Two students were climbing down the stairs in their school after their exams when one of them fell. This led to an argument that turned physical and other students joined in. The students alerted villagers and soon, a mob of around 5,000 people attacked the Muslim residents of Vadavali village, ransacked dozens of homes and torched around 20 houses, vehicles and other properties. A 25-year-old, Ibrahim Belim, was killed in the violence and at least five of the injured are said to be critical. Police fired more than seven rounds and lobbed dozens of tear gas shells to disperse the mob. A number of Muslim residents of Vadavali fled to neighboring villages and many took shelter at a medical college in the nearby Dharpur village. (Indian Express, 26/03/2017)


10th August 2017, Vadodara, (Vadodara)

Communal clashes broke out when the Ganesh Idol procession was passing through Mandvi area of the city. When it reached a crossroad, streetlights went off and the stone-pelting started. Several shops and some 40 vehicles parked in the area were damaged and set ablaze by the mobs. (Hindustan Times, 11/08/2017)


01st October 2017, Vadodara, (Vadodara)

Communal clashes broke out during Tazia procession while it was passing through the Panigate area. Some members from two different communities allegedly hurled abuses and threw stones at each other.  Police official present on the spot fired two rounds to disperse the mob and immediately brought the situation under control. Two persons were injured in firing. (First Post, 02/10/2017)

Communal Riots in Maharashtra:
Sr. No. Date of Incident Location District Killed –
Injured –
Arrested –
1 01 Wed, Feb 2017 Malegaon Malegaon 0 4 0
2 01 Wed, Feb 2017 Jalna Jalna 0 0 17
3 01 Wed, Feb 2017 Kalyan Thane 0 2 0
4 02 Thu, Mar 2017 Chinawal Jalgaon 0 17 0
5 10 Fri, Mar 2017 Trombay, Mumbai Mumbai 0 17 18
6 10 Sat, Jun 2017 Nandurbar Nandurbar 1 0 1
7 14 Mon, Aug 2017 Narkhed Nagpur 0 1 16


01st February 2017, Malegaon, (Malegaon)

Right wing organization organized a rally for security of cow and the progeny. The rally went through a Muslim dominated area and forced them to close the shops which resulted in fight amongst them. Stones were pelted on Muslim shops. Muslims in other Hindu dominated areas were also attacked. (Inquilab 16/02/2017)


01st February 2017, Jalna, (Jalna)

At Malang Chowk, Partur, Jalna district, during Shiv Jayanti, some miscreants removed the green flag. The miscreants also beat up some youth, torched some houses and shops of Muslims and vehicles were also torched. Police arrested 17 people related to this incident. However, local allege that these are innocent which further worsened the situation. Jameet-Ul-Uleme distributed relief material to the victims. (Sahafat 21/2/2017 & 25/02/2017)

01st February 2017, Kalyan, (Thane)

The Kalyan region witnessed a communal tension when some extremists hit a Muslim boy and misbehaved with the Muslim women. However further escalation was prevented due to police arrival in the area. (Inquilab 16/01/2017)

02nd March 2017, Chinawal, (Jalgaon)

A small altercation over setting their ‘Tella‘ among street venders belonging to different communities led to communal tension in the chanwal villge. Soon the community members joined the fight, stone pelting followed from both the sides. 17 people got injured due to this. Houses and shops were also damaged in this incident. (Inquilab 02/03/2017)

10th March 2017, Trombay, Mumbai, (Mumbai)

Arvind Chinva, a resident of Cheetah Camp posted a morphed image of a Muslim religious site on Facebook. When the Muslim community of the area gathered around the police station and demanded his arrest, the police delayed it which resulted in agitation of the mob against the police. The mob of 150 assaulted the policemen and set a police vehicle on fire. The police reacted by using lathis, tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse the mob. They made 17 arrests including corporater of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Shahnawaz Hussain and two minors for rioting and attempting to murder. Arvind Chinva who posted the objectionable picture was arrested under section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Information Technology Act. (Times of India, 20/03/2017 and Scroll, 29/03/2017)

10th June 2017, Nandurbar, (Nandurbar)

On the night on June 4, Shabbir Pinjari, who ran an eating joint allegedly got into a confrontation with a customer, drunkard Sachin Marathe who refused to pay the bill. Marathe set Pinjari on fire with an inflammable liquid which he had in his possession. Pinjari was shifted to various hospitals and subsequently succumbed to his injuries. The news of his death created tension in the city and members of the Muslim community decided to close down their establishments in protest. Stones were subsequently pelted from both the sides in areas such as Balajiwada. Police had to fire tear gas to disperse the mob. (Indian Express, 11/06/2017)


14th August 2017, Narkhed, (Nagpur)

The changing of name of a WhatsApp group, posting of objectionable messages and then circulation of pamphlets calling for a social and economic boycott of Muslims in Narkhed led to communal tension. Police said a group of Muslims then allegedly attacked a member of the group, Subhash Waghe, a doctor, in his clinic for an alleged offensive post. Police and locals intervened and brought the situation under control. Police arrested 16 people from the Muslim community for the assault, and booked Waghe and others for posting “provocative” messages on the WhatsApp group. But angered by the attack on Waghe, unknown members of a rival group printed and circulated pamphlets calling upon Narkhed residents to boycott Muslims and stop business with them. Police registered a case against unknown persons (Indian Express, 14/08/2017).


[1][1] We are thankful to Prof. Indra Munshi and Prof. Nasreen Fazalbhoy for their valuable comments, inputs and consultation.

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