Archive for ‘Jharkhand’


Jai Shri Ram: The Hindu chant that became a murder cry

Tabrez AnsariImage copyright BBC HINDI
Image caption A video showing Tabrez Ansari pleading for his life was widely circulated on social media

In many parts of India, Hindus often invoke the popular god Ram’s name as a greeting. But in recent years, Hindu lynch mobs have turned Ram’s name into a murder cry, writes the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi.

Last month, a video that went viral on social media showed a terrified Muslim man tied to a pole being assaulted by a lynch mob made up of Hindu men in the eastern state of Jharkhand.

In the video, 24-year old Tabrez Ansari is seen pleading for his life, blood and tears streaming down his face.

His attackers force him to repeatedly chant “Jai Shri Ram”, which translates from Hindi to “hail Lord Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram”.

Mr Ansari does as told, and when the mob is finished with him, he is handed over to the police.

The police lock him up and his family is not allowed to see him. He dies four days later from injuries sustained during the attack.

Mr Ansari is not the only one to have been singled out in this manner. June was a particularly bloody month for Indian Muslims, who were targeted in several such attacks.

In Barpeta district in the north-eastern state of Assam, a group of young Muslim men were assaulted and then made to chant slogans like “Jai Shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (long live Mother India) and “Pakistan murdabad” (death to Pakistan).

In the commercial capital Mumbai, a 25-year-old Muslim taxi driver was abused, beaten up and told to chant “Jai Shri Ram” by a group of men. Faizal Usman Khan said he was attacked when his taxi broke down and he was trying to fix it. His attackers fled after a passenger called the police.

And in the eastern city of Kolkata, Hafeez Mohd Sahrukh Haldar, a 26-year-old Muslim teacher at a madrassa (religious seminary), was heckled while travelling on a train by a group of men chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

He told reporters that they made fun of his clothes and beard, and then insisted that he also chant the slogans. When he refused, they pushed him out of the moving train. Mr Haldar was injured, but lived to tell the tale.

The slogan-shouting and heckling is no longer restricted to the mob and the streets. Worryingly, it has also entered parliament.

When the newly-elected lower house convened for the first time on 17 June, Muslim and opposition MPs were heckled by members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when they stood up to take the oath.

The attacks on the minorities have been condemned by opposition politicians. Rahul Gandhi, before he resigned as leader of the main opposition Congress party, described the mob lynching of Tabrez Ansari as a “blot on humanity”.

Many critics, including cartoonist Satish Acharya, have also expressed alarm over the rising number of such incidents.

CartoonImage copyright COURTESY: SATISH ACHARYA
Image caption Cartoonist Satish Acharya says using Ram’s name to unleash violence risks widening India’s religious divide

In villages across north India, devout Hindus have traditionally used “Ram Ram”, “Jai Siya Ram” (goddess Siya or Sita is Ram’s consort) or “Jai Ram Ji Ki” as a greeting.

And many feel a sense of unease that these attacks and killings are being carried out in the name of a god revered by millions for his sense of justice and benevolence.

But “Jai Shri Ram” has now been turned into a cry of attack, meant to intimidate and threaten those who worship differently.

The invocation was first used as a political chant in the late 1980s by the BJP to mobilise the Hindu masses during the movement to construct a Ram temple at a disputed siteat Ayodhya.

The party’s then president LK Advani launched a march supporting the construction of the temple and in December 1992 mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram” marched upon the northern town and tore down the 16th Century Babri mosque.

The BJP believes the mosque was built after the destruction of a temple to Ram that once stood there.

The campaign galvanised Hindu voters in favour of the BJP and helped turn Ram from personal to political. Since then, the party has consistently invoked the deity during elections and the 2019 polls were no exception.

Critics say those who heckle minorities, inside parliament and outside it, see the BJP’s sweeping victory in the April/May elections as sanctioning their behaviour. The party won more than 300 seats in the 543-member lower house, propelling Mr Modi to a second term.

Mr Modi’s first term in power was marked by violence against minorities. There were numerous incidents of Muslims being attacked by so-called “cow vigilantes” over rumours that they had eaten beef, or that they were trying to smuggle cows – an animal many Hindus consider holy – for slaughter.

The prime minister did not condone such attacks, but was criticised for not condemning them either.

An Indian artist puts final touches to statues of the Hindu God Lord Ram in Hyderabad on April 13, 2016Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Millions of Hindus revere the god Ram for his sense of justice and benevolence

But right after the BJP’s stunning victory in May, Mr Modi expanded his earlier slogan of “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (development for all) to include “sabka vishwas” (to win the trust of everyone), giving rise to hopes that this term would be different.

A few days after Tabrez Ansari’s death, he told parliament that he was “pained” by the incident and that “the guilty must be severely punished”.

But many Indians doubt that any serious action will be taken against those who carry out such attacks.

Several dozen people have been killed and hundreds injured since 2014 in mob attacks, but there have been convictions in only a handful of cases.

In others, the accused remain free, often due to a lack of evidence, and some have been seen being feted by Mr Modi’s party’s colleagues.

BJP leaders often downplay such incidents, calling them “minor” and accusing the press of “maligning the image of the government”.

One BJP MP recently told a news website that the popularity of the slogan “Jai Shri Ram” was a sort of protest by Hindus “against a certain bias and tilt of the polity towards minorities”.

“They are also asserting that we are Hindus and we count as Hindus,” he said.

But critics say that there are other – better – ways of doing that.

Source: The BBC


Jharkhand: Arrests over lynching of India Muslim man

Tabrez AnsariImage copyright BBC HINDI
Image caption A video showing Ansari pleading for his life has been widely circulated on social media

Indian police have arrested five people after a Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob.

Tabrez Ansari, 24, died days after being attacked by people who accused him of stealing a motorcycle in the eastern state of Jharkhand.

A video showing Ansari pleading for his life, and being forced to say chants praising Hindu gods has been widely circulated on social media.

His family alleges that police denied him treatment despite his injuries.

His wife Shahista Parveen told the BBC that Ansari had been tied to an electricity pole overnight and only handed to police the next day who then arrested him for theft.

He was transferred to a hospital four days later. She says he was beaten only after refusing to repeat the chants praising the Hindu gods.

State police have denied wrongdoing.

There have been several incidents of lynching reported in the state in recent years.

Source: The BBC


Maoist rebels kill five policemen in eastern India

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) – Maoist rebels killed five policemen in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand on Friday, a senior police official said, the latest in a series of attacks on security forces.

The policemen were patrolling a weekly market, M. L. Meena, additional director general of police in Jharkhand, told Reuters by telephone from Ranchi, the state capital.

The attack took place near the state border with West Bengal, Meena added.

Last month, suspected leftist insurgents killed at least 15 police and a civilian in a landmine attack on two security vehicles in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The Maoist insurgents, also known as Naxals, have battled a number of state governments for decades. They say they are fighting on behalf of people who have not benefited from a long economic boom in India, Asia’s third largest economy.

Source: Reuters


Priyanka meets Rahul Gandhi as he stays firm on quitting as Congress chief

The meeting between Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi comes in the backdrop of reports that the powerful working committee of the party may meet in the next three-four days to discuss the leadership issue.

INDIA Updated: May 28, 2019 13:42 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,Randeep Surjewala,Congress spokesperson
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with his sister and AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi. (ANI file photo)
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met her brother, Congress president Rahul Gandhi amid reports that he wants to quit after the crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
Priyanka Gandhi, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot and Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala arrived at Rahul Gandhi’s 12, Tughlaq Lane residence on Tuesday morning. The meeting between Rahul Gandhi and senior Congress leaders comes in the backdrop of reports that the powerful working committee of the party may meet in the next three-four days to discuss the leadership issue
Rajasthan’s ruling duo Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot calling on him amid rumblings of discontent in the state and his insistence on quitting.
The Congress has denied that any such meeting has been scheduled in the near future. “These reports are baseless,” KC Venugopal, general secretary in-charge of organization who is responsible for convening Congress Working Committee meetings.
On Monday, Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal met Rahul Gandhi. But Patel insisted that he had gone to meet Rahul Gandhi for routine administrative work. “I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel tweeted.
Three more state Congress chiefs resigned on Monday taking ‘moral responsibility’ for party’s poor performance in Lok Sabha elections. Other than Sunil Jakhar (Punjab) and Ajoy Kumar (Jharkhand) and Ripun Bora (Assam), HK Patil, who was tasked to oversee the Karnataka Congress campaign in December, also put in his papers.


Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Randeep Singh Surjewala arrive at the residence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Source: Hindustan Times

At Cong’s big meet after poll defeat, Rahul Gandhi’s next move is the focus

Rahul Gandhi, who had fronted the opposition campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has owned responsibility for the crushing defeat at the meeting.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: May 25, 2019 14:07 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, NewDelhi
Lok Sabah elections 2019,General elections 2019,Congress
Seated next to Rahul Gandhi as he shared his brief analysis of the election is UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (Sanjeev Verma/ HT Photo)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday is leading a review of his party’s devastating performance in the Lok Sabha elections at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, or CWC.
Rahul Gandhi, who had fronted the opposition campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has owned responsibility for the crushing defeat at the meeting. Seated next to Rahul Gandhi as he shared his brief analysis of the election is UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, former minister P Chidambaram and Congress’s leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was also present.
Television channels initially said Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign at the CWC which was rejected by the top panel but later put out a clarification. Three senior Congress including Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar, HK Patil, who was tasked to oversee the Karnataka Congress campaign and Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik have resigned after the election debacle.
The Congress won just about 52 seats in the Lok Sabha in this round of national elections, a shade better than its worst performance ever, in the 2014 elections, when it ended up with 44 seats.
Congress leaders have indicated that the CWC could go for a deeper analysis of the election outcome that goes beyond the obvious. Some drastic action could also follow.
Senior Congress leaders assembled at the party’s Working Committee meeting in New Delhi.

For now, the Congress’s top priority is to get the party fighting fit in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand that will head to assembly elections later this year. Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be held anytime soon and Delhi will go to the polls in February next year.

Some new general secretaries and in-charges of states are also expected to be appointed soon.
Gandhi had made it clear at an unusually brief news conference after the poll verdict came on Thursday that the party was determined to fight back. “Have faith and we will work and sort this out in the time to come,” Gandhi said, his message to party workers and supporters. “Love never loses, and I am certain that we will emerge stronger and work better… love will guide us.

The Congress which did not get the post of the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha in 2014 may not get it this time also. A party should get 10 per cent, or 55 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, to be entitled to the Leader of Opposition designation for its leader.

Rahul Gandhi has already taken responsibility for the party’s performance in the Lok Sabah elections but hasn’t elaborated on the next step yet.

Source: Hindustan Times


‘One chowkidar has defamed all others’: Rahul Gandhi’s renews attack on PM Modi

Rahul Gandhi renewed his attack on PM Modi over Rafale deal controversy during his public rally in Jharkhand

INDIA Updated: Mar 02, 2019 15:58 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Rahul Gandhi,ranchi,jharkhand
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing a public rally in Jharkhand on Saturday.(Photo: Twitter/INCIndia)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday renewed his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterating his charge that he misled the people on the issues of providing corruption-free government, job creation and addressing farm distress. Gandhi said PM Modi’s image has changed from a leader who promised to bring “achchhe din” (better time) to “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief).

Speaking at the Congress’s Parivartan Ulgulan Maha Rally at the Morahbad in Jharkhand, Gandhi said, “One chowkidar has defamed all chowkidars of India…All the chowkidars of India are honest…Everyone knows that when someone says chowkidar chor hai, it refers to Narendra Modi.”

The Congress president alleged that PM Modi “snatched” Rs 30,000 crore from the Indian Air Force (IAF), which protects the country, and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and gave it to industrialist Anil Ambani in Rafale deal.

Gandhi has been targeting PM Modi over Rs 58,000-crore Rafale deal with France that India signed in 2016 for the purchase of 36 fighter planes. A similar deal was being negotiated when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power before 0214 for the purchase of 126 Rafale jets.

The Modi government renegotiated the deal with France terming the previous one unworkable. The Congress and other opposition parties have alleged that commercial favouritism was done in Rafale deal.

Gandhi on several occasions has alleged that PM Modi personally ensured that Ambani’s firm, Reliance Defence gets contract in Rafale deal. Both the government and the Reliance Defence have rejected the allegation as baseless. Reliance Defence is an off-set partner of the Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets.

Addressing his first rally in Jharkhand since 2014, the Congress president repeated his charge against PM Modi saying, “It is a matter of shame that Indian Air Force protects the country, air force pilots sacrifice their lives but the prime minister steals money from the air force and puts it in Anil Ambani’s pockets.”

He claimed that in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the “chowkidar” will be defeated. He promised that if voted to power the Congress government will implement a minimum income guarantee programme for the poor.

Source: hindustan Times

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