1984 Sikh Massacre Remembered

Indira's Sikh assassins met swift justice, but the murderers of 3,870 innocent Sikhs still roam free a quarter of a century later. In addition to the Sikh pogrom, the year 1984 also saw a deadly gas leak in a factory owned by Union Carbide in Bhopal that killed over 2,000 people and left permanent injuries for many more for life.

In reaction to the Sikh killings in Delhi and other places, Indira's successor and son Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi declared at a massive rally in the capital that "once a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it shakes".

One of the worst massacres took place in two narrow alleys in India's capital New Delhi's poor Trilokpuri colony where some 350 Sikhs, including women and children, were casually butchered over 72 hours, according to media reports.

The charred and hacked remains of the hundreds of dead in Trilokpuri's Block 32 on the smoky and dank evening of 2 November 1984 were stark testimony to the unimpeded and seemingly endless massacre, according to the BBC.

Soon after news of Mrs Gandhi's killing by her Sikh bodyguards spread, Hindu mobs swung into action - like they did elsewhere in the city armed with voters' lists - in Trilokpuri against the low caste Sikhs inhabiting one-roomed tenements on either side of two narrow alleyways barely 150 yards long.

With local police connivance they blocked entry to the neighborhood with massive concrete water pipes and stationed guards armed with sticks atop them.

For the next three days marauding groups armed with cleavers, scythes, kitchen knives and scissors took breaks to eat and regroup in between executing their bloodthirsty mission.

The history repeated itself in Guj arat in 2002, only the pretext and the victims were different this time.

According to Pankaj Mishra, the author of Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond, the names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 are widely known. Some of them were caught on video, in a sting carried out last year by the weekly magazine Tehelka, proudly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims. But, as Amnesty International pointed out in a recent report, justice continues to evade most victims and survivors of the violence. Tens of thousands still languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes.

People like Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, BJP leader L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi represent the ugly underbelly of Indian democracy and a threat to India's secularism. Modi is currently in power in Gujarat, in spite of overwhelming evidence of his participation in 2002 anti-Muslim riots resulting in the massacre of thousands of Muslims. Mr. Advani has been held responsible for the destruction of Babri mosque and subsequent anti-Muslim riots. Mr. Thackeray is considered responsible for major anti-Muslim riots in Mumbai and continues to terrorize any one who disagrees with him.

While the India's western supporters and government leaders paint a very rosy picture of India's prospects, it is important for Indians and others to understand that there are significant risks in India. For example, the extreme Hindu Nationalists are continuing to stir up trouble in many parts of India. According to All India Christian Council, the 2008 violence has affected 14 districts out of of 30 and 300 Villages in the Indian state of Orissa, 4,400 houses burnt, 50,000 homeless, 59 killed including at least 2 pastors, 10 priests/pastors/nuns injured, 18,000 men, women, children injured, 2 women gang-raped including a nun, 151 churches destroyed and 13 schools and colleges damaged. The violence targeted Christians in 310 villages, with 4,104 homes torched. More than 18,000 were injured and 50,000 displaced and homes continued to burn in many villages. Another report said that around 11,000 people are still living in refugee camps.

SM Mushrif, the author of "Who Killed Karkare?" and former police chief of Maharashtra state, has raised some very serious questions about the role of the Indian intelligence in the increasing violence committed by Hindutva outfits against India's minorities, and how India's Intelligence Bureau diverts attention from it by falsely accusing Indian Muslims and Pakistan's ISI, as was done in Malegaon and Samjutha Express blasts.

Mushrif alleges the involvement of both Police Chief Raghuvanshi and Col. Purohit with Abhinav Bharat in Maharashtra, whose hand was evident in a series of blasts across the country. It has old connections with men like Veer Damodar Savarkar (whose relative Himani Savarkar leads the Abhinav Bharat movement), Dr Munje, who led the Hindu Mahasabha, and other Hindutva luminaries. It is at the Bhonsala Military Academy run by these groups that Purohit trained police officers, including Raghuvanshi. Mushrif asks a pertinent question: Will Raghuvanshi pursue the investigation against Purohit, his guru? A plausible answer is, perhaps no. Already charges have been dropped by a special court under MCOCA against 11 accused, including Purohit, on the grounds of insufficient evidence produced in the court by the prosecution.

The violent Hindutva extremists represent a very serious threat to India's secular democracy, peace and stability. It is important for Prime Manmohan Singh's government to take seriously the warnings from patriotic Indians like S.M. Mushrif, Pankaj Mishra, Yoginder Sikand and others. Delhi needs to act by ordering a high-powered and comprehensive investigation into the allegations of the involvement of Intelligence Bureau and other Indian state officials in persecution of minorities in India.

Related Links:

Gujarat in 2002

21st Century Challenges For Resurgent India

Radical Hindutva Government in Israeli Exile?

India's Guantanamos and Abu-Ghraibs

Gujarat Muslims Ignored by Politicians

The 21st Century Challenges For Resurgent India

Hindu Rashtra ideology was driving force for Malegaon conspirators

The Rise and Rise of Mangalore's Taliban

Who Killed Karkare?

Hindutva-Military-Intelligence Nexus

Malegaon Files

Samjhota Express Blast

Muslims Falsely Accused in Malegaon Blast

Hindu Nationalists Gang Up on Musharraf at Stanford

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Violence Against Indian Christians

Priest Survivor: Hindu Radicals are Terrorists

Gujarat Pogrom of 2002


Riaz Haq said…
Anti-#Muslim Malegaon Accused #Hindu Nationalist Terrorist Sadhvi Pragya Denied Bail. #Modi #BJP #India http://www.ndtv.com/cheat-sheet/sadhvi-pragyas-bail-rejected-by-mumbai-court-in-malegaon-blast-case-1424419 … via @ndtv

Berating the NIA, the court said charges against Sadhvi Pragya under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act would stay.
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that accusations against Pragya are prima facie true. It is difficult to accept the (bail plea) merely on the ground that the NIA has given a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya," the court said.
The NIA had, in a new chargesheet last month, dropped charges against Sadhvi Pragya and five others citing lack of evidence against them.
The court said today that the NIA, which took over the case in 2011, launched a "fresh investigation" instead of taking forward the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad's work on the case.
Seven people were killed and 101 injured when two bombs fitted on a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon, around 270 km from Mumbai, on September 29, 2008.
Sadhvi Pragya, Army Colonel Srikant Purohit and others were arrested and were charged with plotting the blasts as part of a pro-Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat.
The Anti-Terror Squad said Sadhvi Pragya's motorcycle was used in the attack. It also alleged that Lt Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya had met Swami Aseemanand , the main accused in the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007, and plotted the Malegaon blasts. Many witnesses have since turned hostile.
The NIA said in its charge-sheet that "during investigation, sufficient evidences have not been found" against Sadhvi Pragya. It also said the motorcycle registered in her name was used by an accused who is missing.
Both the Sadhvi and Col Purohit, called the face of "saffron terror" by the Congress, have been in jail for about seven years now.
The case was first investigated by Hemant Karkare as the chief of Maharashtra's Anti-terror Squad. Mr Karkare was killed battling the Lashkar e Taiba terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Riaz Haq said…
The hysteria over Bollywood’s baby Taimur shows that critics just don’t understand India’s medieval history by Shoaib Daniyal


Historical narratives are tricky things to construct, especially when people want to superimpose moral lessons on them. Who is a hero and who isn’t is extremely subjective and even more so when one goes as far back in time as the 14th century. The past truly is a different country and to make it fit modern standards of morality a fair bit of invention needs to be indulged in.

Let’s take a force that is near-universally seen as the good guys in popular Indian history: the Marathas. The Marathas were successful towards the end of the Mughal period, building up a confederation over large parts of the subcontinent. Of course, this was done through war and conquest, and in the chaos of the Mughal twilight, contemporary accounts of the Marathas are often rather negative, cutting across what we would today see as “Hindu” and “Muslim” sources.
In the 18th century, the Marathas invaded Bengal, killing, by one account, four lakh Bengalis. Repeated raids and conquests of Gujarat were also, as almost everything in medieval India, a rather violent affair. In another case, Maratha armies raided a thousand-year old Hindu temple to teach Mysore sultan Tipu Sultan–who was its patron–a lesson. The Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha state enforced untouchability so brutally that BR Ambedkar actually saw their defeat at the hands of the British to be a blessing.
Contemporary accounts of the Marathas in Bengal are obviously far from flattering. Similarly, as late as 1895, there were strong objections in Gujarat to the plans of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to institute a Shivaji festival across India, with the Deshi Mitra newspaper of Surat disparaging it as a “flare up of local [Marathi] patriotism”.
India’s medieval period did not have the sort of nationalisms and community mobilisation that modern India would see under the Raj. As newspapers and technology knit the people of India together, a Hindu consciousness would revise the image of the Marathas as “Hindu.” Calcutta city’s intelligentsia at the time, in fact, celebrated a Shivaji festival and the city still has statues of Shivaji. Gujarat, where Hindutva has been a powerful political force for decades now, has adopted Shivaji with even more gusto, building statues in cities like Surat, which, ironically, were sacked by the Maratha chief early on in his career. This confusion is nothing new. Today, Punjabi Muslims in Pakistan see themselves as inheritors of the Mughals but in 1857 signed up enthusiastically for the East India Company’s armies to defeat the Mughal-led revolt against the Raj.
That which we call a rose

Naturally, then, the name Shivaji or Bhaskar–a Bhaskar Pandit led the Maratha raids on Bengal–are hardly taboo in modern India, given this modern narrative of the Marathas.
Riaz Haq said…
Stanford scholar Audrey Truschke on #Muslim rule in #India: #Mughal rulers were not hostile to #Hindus https://shar.es/1YGNDz via @Stanford

Truschke, one of the few living scholars with competence in both Sanskrit and Persian, is the first scholar to study texts from both languages in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals. The Mughals ruled a great swath of the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries, building great monuments like the Taj Mahal.

Over several months in Pakistan and 10 months in India, Truschke traveled to more than two dozen archives in search of manuscripts. She was able to analyze the Mughal elite's diverse interactions with Sanskrit intellectuals in a way not previously done.

She has accessed, for example, six histories that follow Jain monks at the Mughal court as they accompanied Mughal kings on expeditions, engaged in philosophical and religious debates, and lived under the empire's rule. These works collectively run to several thousand pages, and none have been translated into English.

Truschke found that high-level contact between learned Muslims and Hindus was marked by collaborative encounters across linguistic and religious lines.

She said her research overturns the assumption that the Mughals were hostile to traditional Indian literature or knowledge systems. In fact, her findings reveal how Mughals supported and engaged with Indian thinkers and ideas.

Early modern-era Muslims were in fact "deeply interested in traditional Indian learning, which is largely housed in Sanskrit," says Truschke, who is teaching religion courses at Stanford through 2016 in association with her fellowship.

Hybrid political identity
Truschke's book focuses on histories and poetry detailing interactions among Mughal elites and intellectuals of the Brahmin (Hindu) and Jain religious groups, particularly during the height of Mughal power from 1560 through 1650.

As Truschke discovered, the Mughal courts in fact sought to engage with Indian culture. They created Persian translations of Sanskrit works, especially those they perceived as histories, such as the two great Sanskrit epics.

For their part, upper-caste Hindus known as Brahmins and members of the Jain tradition – one of India's most ancient religions – became influential members of the Mughal court, composed Sanskrit works for Mughal readers and wrote about their imperial experiences.

"The Mughals held onto power in part through force, just like any other empire," Truschke acknowledges, "but you have to be careful about attributing that aggression to religious motivations." The empire her research uncovers was not intent on turning India into an Islamic state.

"The Mughal elite poured immense energy into drawing Sanskrit thinkers to their courts, adopting and adapting Sanskrit-based practices, translating dozens of Sanskrit texts into Persian and composing Persian accounts of Indian philosophy."

Such study of Hindu histories, philosophies and religious stories helped the Persian-speaking imperialists forge a new hybrid political identity, she asserts.

Truschke is working on her next book, a study of Sanskrit histories of Islamic dynasties in India more broadly.

Indian history, especially during Islamic rule, she says, is very much alive and debated today. Moreover, a deliberate misreading of this past "undergirds the actions of the modern Indian nation-state," she asserts.

And at a time of conflict between the Indian state and its Muslim population, Truschke says, "It's invaluable to have a more informed understanding of that history and the deep mutual interest of early modern Hindus and Muslims in one another's traditions."

- See more at: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/september/sanskrit-mughal-empire-090915.html#sthash.Y7zZog9s.dpuf
Riaz Haq said…
#Bengaluru, #India: #Hindu Doctor forces #Muslim woman to chant 'Krishna Krishna'


A woman has alleged that a government doctor forced her to chant “Krishna Krishna” to carry out a tubectomy surgery on her. The doctor, the woman claimed in her police complaint, threatened to cancel her surgery if she did not obey his order.

According to the complainant, Naseema Banu (22), a resident of Nandini Layout in Yeshwanthpur, she and her husband had decided that Naseema would undergo tubectomy surgery after the birth of their second daughter 10 months ago.

Knowing of a tubectomy surgery camp being held at Chintamani Government Hospital on Tuesday, Naseema, her husband and aunt left for Chintamani and enrolled her name in the hospital. After hours of waiting for her turn, when Naseema went to the operation area, she saw doctors asking patients to chant “Krishna Krishna” during the operation.

“I was asked to come for the surgery at 1 pm. The doctors operating on women were asking the patients to chant Krishna Krishna while being operated. As I was a Muslim, I started saying, Allah Allah, to which the doctors objected. I tried to convince them saying I am a Muslim and I cannot chant Krishna’s name, but the doctors refused to accept my explanation,” Naseema said in her complaint.

She further said that the doctors threatened to cancel her surgery if she did not chant “Krishna Krishna” and that she was forced into chanting it.

After the surgery, Naseema approached the Chintamani city police station and lodged a complaint, stating that her religious sentiments were hurt by the act of doctor Ramakrishna, who according to her forced her into chanting “Krishna Krishna”.
Riaz Haq said…
In Samjhauta Case Order, Judge Expresses Anguish Over Lack Of Evidence


"I have to conclude this judgment with deep pain and anguish as a dastardly act of violence remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence," read the order, which rapped the prosecution for leaving gaping holes in the evidence it submitted.

The people responsible for the blast in Samjhauta Express, in which 68 people died, remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence, Special judge Jagdeep Singh wrote in the 160-page order which was made public today. The four men accused in the case, including Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk, were acquitted by the court on March 20.
The blast on February 18, 2007, had ripped apart two coaches as the Samjhauta Express, reached Panipat. The train was on way from Delhi to Pakistan's Lahore, and those who died were mostly Pakistan nationals.

Four years later, the National Investigation Agency had filed a case against eight people, including Aseemanand.

The agency said the accused were upset with the terror attacks on several temples - including the Gujarat's Akshardham, Jammu's Raghunath Mandir and Varanasi's Sankat Mochan Mandir - wanted to avenge them. Only four were brought to trial - one of the accused died and three others could not be arrested.

"I have to conclude this judgment with deep pain and anguish as a dastardly act of violence remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence," read the order, which rapped the prosecution for leaving gaping holes in the evidence it submitted.

The judge also criticised the investigating agencies for coining terms like "Muslim terror" or "Hindu fundamentalism".

"It is generally noticed that a malaise has set in the investigating agencies which coin various terms law Muslim terrorism, Hindu fundamentalism etc or brand an act of criminal(s) as act(s) of particular religion, caste or community," read the order.

The court said that criminals cannot be projected as representatives of the religion, caste or community they belong to. Such branding is totally unjustified, the court added.

Highlighting that many of the witnesses turned hostile during trial, the judge said in the order that a system should be developed to protect witnesses.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed concerns about safety and protection of witnesses and "therefore it is again high time we put in place some sound and workable witness protection scheme at the earliest so that every criminal trial be taken to its logical conclusion," read the order.
Riaz Haq said…
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has earmarked Rs1,000 million for the development of Kartarpur in the Federal Budget 2019-20.

The funds will be used for land acquisition and development of infrastructure of Kartarpur under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the next financial year 2019-20.

According to the data released by Planning Commission, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, the estimated cost of the project is Rs3,000 million for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

The Kartarpur Corridor will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province holds religious significance for the Sikh community. It is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539.

Pakistan will build a corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.

In November last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone for the corridor. Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Indian Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri had attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s India
The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.
By Dexter Filkins


The morning of Shah’s arrest, Ayyub awoke to find that her reporting was the top of the news. A popular television anchor read the entirety of one of her pieces on the air. “I was just a twenty-six-year-old Muslim girl,” she said. “I felt people would finally see what I can do.” Her stories, along with others, set off a series of official investigations into the Gujarati police, who were suspected of killing more than twenty people in “fake encounters.” But, she thought, even Shah was not the ultimate kingpin. Her source had told her that the police were under intense pressure to stall the investigation and to hide records from federal investigators—suggesting that someone powerful was trying to squelch the case. The headline of one of her stories was “so why is narendra modi protecting amit shah?”

Despite the evidence piling up around Modi, he only grew stronger. Increasingly, he was mentioned as a candidate for national office. In 2007, while running for reĆ«lection as Chief Minister, Modi taunted members of the Congress Party to come after him. “Congress people say that Modi is indulging in ‘encounters’—saying that Modi killed Sohrabuddin,” he told a crowd of supporters. “You tell me—what should I do with Sohrabuddin?” he asked.

“Kill him!” the crowd roared. “Kill him!”

Within a few weeks of Shah’s arrest, Ayyub hit on an idea for a new article: “If I can go after Shah, why not Modi?” She told her editors at Tehelka that she suspected Modi of far graver crimes than previously reported. If she went undercover, she argued, she could insinuate herself into his inner circle and learn the truth.

In the United States, it is a cardinal rule of journalism that reporters shouldn’t lie about their identity; undercover operations tend to be confined to the industry’s yellower margins. In India, the practice is more common, if still controversial. In 2000, Tehelka sent a former cricket player, wearing a hidden camera, to expose widespread match-fixing and bribery in the sport. Later that year, two reporters posing as representatives of a fake company offered to sell infrared cameras to the Ministry of Defense. Thirty-six officials agreed to take bribes; the Minister of Defense resigned.

Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka’s editor, told me that he authorized stings only when there appeared to be no other way to get the story. In this case, he said, “Modi and Shah were untouchable. The truth would never come out.” He told Ayyub to go forward.

As she began reporting, Ayyub created an elaborate disguise, designed to appeal to the vanities of Gujarat’s political establishment. “Indians have a weakness for being recognized in America,” she said. “The idea that they would be famous in the United States—it was irresistible to them.” She became Maithili Tyagi, an Indian-American student at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, visiting India to make a documentary. She invented a story about her family, saying that her father was a professor of Sanskrit and a devotee of Hindu-nationalist ideas. Ayyub, who has distinctive curly hair, straightened it and tucked it into a bun. She rehearsed an American accent, and, for added verisimilitude, hired a French assistant, whom she called Mike. Only her parents knew what she was doing; she stayed in touch on a separate phone.
Riaz Haq said…
In #Delhi’s worst violence (#pogrom) in decades, a man watched his brother burn. He and his brother were the only #Muslim family on the block. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #India https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-delhis-worst-violence-in-decades-a-man-watched-his-brother-burn/2020/03/05/892dbb12-5e45-11ea-ac50-18701e14e06d_story.html

Hours before Anwar Kassar was shot and burned to death, he was having tea with a neighbor.

More than 10 days have passed since Delhi descended into violence on a scale not seen in decades, and the full measure of the bloodshed is still emerging. What happened was far worse than anyone knew at first: At least 53 people were killed or suffered deadly injuries in violence that persisted for two days. The death toll continues to rise.

The majority of those killed were Muslims, many shot, hacked or burned to death. A police officer and an intelligence officer were also killed. So too were more than a dozen Hindus, most of them shot or assaulted. The police force — which is directly overseen by the central government — has come under criticism for failing to stop the violence. Witnesses say some officers joined the attacks on Muslims.


A widower, Anwar lived alone in a one-room brick shed in the narrow, congested alleys of a neighborhood called Shiv Vihar. When he was younger, he worked ironing clothes. In later years, he rented carts to vendors and reared goats on a small vacant plot. His brother Saleem, an auto-rickshaw driver, lived on the adjacent street with his wife and children.

When trouble arrived, it came swiftly. On Feb. 24, large-scale violence had broken out nearby between Hindus and Muslims after a provocative speech by a member of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in which he threatened opponents of the citizenship law.

The next morning, Saleem said, he stepped outside his cramped two-room home and saw his car had been vandalized. Several young men were pushing it away, a prelude to setting it on fire. He rushed back inside and shouted at his wife, Nasreen, and his five children, the youngest 7 and the eldest 20, to run outside. They left so quickly they didn’t have time to put on shoes.

Two doors down, the maroon iron gate to his neighbor’s house was open. Saleem’s whole family ran inside. “A mob is coming,” he told his neighbors in desperation. They locked the gate and told the family to get upstairs. On the third floor, Saleem locked his family into a room and ran toward a window with a view of his brother’s home.

He recalled seeing a mob of a few hundred people, most of them wearing helmets, armed with sticks, swords and small pistols. He heard shouts of “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to Lord Ram,” a rallying cry of Hindu nationalists and the ruling party.

Then he watched, helpless with terror, as Anwar was killed.

Saleem and Jitendra Kumar, a painter who lives in the area, gave similar but independent accounts of Anwar’s death. Other witnesses provided details that matched Saleem’s and Kumar’s descriptions of the events.

First, the mob vandalized Anwar’s home, throwing his clothes and supplies out the door and setting them on fire, Saleem said. Anwar cursed at the rioters destroying his home, Kumar said.

Some men held Anwar’s arms while another shot him twice, and then the mob hurled him into the fire. Anwar staggered to his feet and was shot a third time. The assailants heaved a nearby bicycle rickshaw on top of him, trapping him in the flames.

The mob was not finished. Its next stop was Saleem’s house, where rioters rampaged through the tiny home, breaking everything in sight, according to several of his neighbors. Then they set it on fire. Neighbors said they yelled down and pleaded with the mob to stop out of fear that their own homes — Hindu homes — would be set ablaze.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's Trudeau tantrum as Trudeau speaks for #Sikhs. Trudeau has become a massive pain in the neck for #India. #Canada has 18 #Sikh members of Parliament, more than India. #Trudeau has boasted that he has more Sikhs in his cabinet (3) than Modi. https://www.wsj.com/articles/india-throws-a-trudeau-tantrum-11607643923?reflink=desktopwebshare_twitter via @WSJ

In a failed attempt to stall the farmers, authorities have lobbed tear-gas shells, dug up trenches, erected concrete barriers and deployed water cannons and phalanxes of baton-wielding policemen. Despite several rounds of negotiations with protest leaders, the standoff shows no sign of abating. Farmers have threatened to hunker down for months and to block all traffic to and from the national capital.

Amid a pandemic, recession and border face-off with China, the protests represent the most serious challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his re-election last year. More than half of Indians earn a living from agriculture. No government can afford to be seen as hostile to their interests.

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Enter Mr. Trudeau. Speaking over video last month to Canadian Sikhs—many of whom maintain close links with their families in Indian Punjab—the prime minister called the situation in India “concerning.” He asserted that Canada would “defend the right of peaceful protest.”

Founded in the late 15th century in Punjab, Sikhism is the most global of the faiths rooted in India. (Indian Buddhism has dwindled over time.) Boston University’s World Religion Database estimates that about 2.5 million of the world’s 28 million Sikhs live outside India. The Sikh diaspora encompasses dairy farmers in Italy, hoteliers in Kenya, maize farmers in Ethiopia, and policemen in Malaysia. But the largest and most prosperous overseas Sikh communities have sprouted in the Anglosphere: 570,000 in the U.K., 529,000 in Canada, 410,000 in the U.S. and 170,000 in Australia.

In Canada, Sikhs account for only 1.4% of the population, but their concentration in certain districts and close-knit communities give them political clout. Canada has 18 Sikh members of Parliament, more than India. Mr. Trudeau has boasted that he has more Sikhs in his cabinet (three) than Mr. Modi. Both Mr. Trudeau and his predecessor, Stephen Harper, have visited Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Mr. Trudeau’s Indian critics complain that, in pursuit of the Sikh vote, Mr. Trudeau turns a blind eye to elements in the community that back the creation of a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan. In 2017, Mr. Trudeau attended an event that eulogized separatists killed by Indian security forces. And three years ago, a visit to India turned into a PR disaster after a reception for the prime minister included a Canadian Sikh convicted of attempting to murder an Indian Sikh politician.
Riaz Haq said…
#India is no stranger to chamber of horrors it faces in #COVID19 #pandemic with people gasping for breath and dying on the streets. Earlier 1984 #Bhopal #gas leak was the worst industrial disaster in human history when similar scenes unfolded. #Coronavirus https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2021/04/india-covid19-moral-failure/618702/

India may be classified as a developing or middle-income country, and by international standards, it does not spend enough on the health of its people. Yet this masks many of India’s strengths in the health-care sector: Our doctors are among the best trained on the planet, and as is well known by now, our country is a pharmacy for the world, thanks to an industry built around making cost-effective medicines and vaccines.

What is evident, however, is that we suffer from moral malnutrition—none of us more so than the rich, the upper class, the upper caste of India. And nowhere is this more evident than in the health-care sector.

India’s economic liberalization in the ’90s brought with it a rapid expansion of the private health-care industry, a shift that ultimately created a system of medical apartheid: World-class private hospitals catered to wealthy Indians and medical tourists from abroad; state-run facilities were for the poor. Those with money were able to purchase the best available care (or, in the case of the absolute richest, flee to safety in private jets), while elsewhere the country’s health-care infrastructure was held together with duct tape. The Indians who bought their way to a healthier life did not, or chose not to, see the widening gulf. Today, they are clutching their pearls as their loved ones fail to get ambulances, doctors, medicine, and oxygen.

I have covered health and science for nearly 20 years, including as the health editor for The Hindu, a major Indian newspaper. That time has taught me that there is no shortcut to public health, no opting out from it. Now the rich sit alongside the poor, facing a reckoning that had only ever plagued the vulnerable in India.

Averting our gaze from the tragedies surrounding us, remaining divorced from reality, in our little bubbles, are political and moral choices. We have been willfully unaware of the ricketyness of our health-care system. The collective well-being of our nation depends on us showing solidarity with and compassion toward one another. No one is safe until everyone is.

Our actions compound, one small act at a time—not pressing for greater attention to the vulnerable, because we are safe; not demanding better hospitals for all Indians, because we can afford excellent health care; assuming we can seal ourselves off from our country’s failings toward our compatriots.

A prior Indian tragedy shows the shortcomings of that approach.

Shortly after midnight on December 3, 1984, in the central Indian city of Bhopal, a tank in a pesticide factory leaked, releasing methyl isocyanate into the night sky. What would unfold in the following hours, days, weeks, months, and years was the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Officially, the Indian government says that 5,295 people died overall—others put the death toll far higher—and hundreds of thousands suffered chemical poisoning. The run-up to and the immediate aftermath of the incident were chaotic: The company that owned the plant had not kept its security and safety precautions up to date, and locals and medical professionals in the area were not aware of how to protect themselves.

Over time, toxic pollution from the plant contaminated the soil and groundwater around the site, resulting in higher-than-average rates of cancer, birth defects, and respiratory disorders. The area is still a toxic mess. The company, the local and state government, and India’s federal authorities have all consistently blamed one another. The deaths began decades ago, yet the suffering continues now.

Riaz Haq said…
US Cites #Indian PM Narendra Modi's Immunity After #Gujarat2000 killing of #Muslims To Defend Protection To #Saudi Crown Prince #MBS. #Modi was banned from entering #US during 2005-14 over his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim #Pogrom. #Khashogi


"It is a longstanding and consistent line of effort. It has been applied to a number of heads of state previously. Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993, President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001, Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014, and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers," said Patel.


The US government has cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defend the immunity provided to Saudia Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The US intelligence community found that Mohammad bin Salman, often called MBS, ordered the killing of Khashoggi in 2018. However, he not been sanctioned and the US government continues to engage with him and the ruling Saudi family.


The Joe Biden administration on Thursday submitted in response to a lawsuit filed by Khashoggi's fiance Hatice Cengiz that MBS has immunity in the United States as he is a head of a government. MBS was recently appointed the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. While the decision attracted critcism from Cengiz and human rights advocates, the Biden administration defended the move and cited precedents, involving Modi.

What did US government say?
Modi was sanctioned by the United States during 2005-14 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The ban wan on his entry into the United States was lifted in 2014 when he became the Prime Minister of India. US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel cited Modi and others to defend the immunity to MBS.

Riaz Haq said…

Ashok Swain
Modi’s Home Minister says the mass killing of 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, India in 2002 was done to teach minorities a Lesson! In which world, a ruling regime takes credit for killing 2000 of its own citizens?



"Rioters Taught Lesson In 2002...Permanent Peace In Gujarat": Amit Shah
Parts of Gujarat had witnessed large-scale violence in 2002 following the train burning incident at Godhra railway station in February that year.


Ahmedabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said anti-social elements earlier indulged in violence in Gujarat as the Congress supported them, but after the perpetrators were "taught a lesson" in 2002, they stopped such activities and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) established "permanent peace" in the state.
Parts of Gujarat had witnessed large-scale violence in 2002 following the train burning incident at Godhra railway station in February that year.

Addressing a rally in Mahudha town of Kheda district in support of BJP candidates ahead of the next month's Assembly elections, Mr Shah alleged, "During the Congress rule in Gujarat (before 1995), communal riots were rampant. Congress used to incite people of different communities and castes to fight against each other. Through such riots, Congress had strengthened its vote bank and did injustice to a large section of the society." Mr Shah claimed that Gujarat witnessed riots in 2002 because perpetrators became habitual of indulging in violence due to the prolonged support they received from the Congress.

"But after they were taught a lesson in 2002, these elements left that path (of violence). They refrained from indulging in violence from 2002 till 2022. BJP has established permanent peace in Gujarat by taking strict action against those who used to indulge in communal violence," the Union minister said.

Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for abrogating Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Shah alleged that the Congress was against it because of its "vote bank".

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