9. Muslims flee villages, tension in Rajasthan (7) Jaipur, April 9: Communal tension forced Muslims to flee villages in Bhilwara district while curfew remained in force in Mandal town for a second day. Curfew was imposed in Mandal on Friday following group clashes during a procession and the death of one person in police firing. The trouble began when a saffron flag was hoisted on a mosque in Mandal on Friday and violence broke out while a religious procession was in progress. Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria told this correspondent an all-party committee would be constituted to restore communal harmony. "The committee will visit the troubled area whenever such situations arise in the state," he said. The home minister said the divisional commissioner has been asked to probe the incident in Mandal. When asked about the social boycott in Karjalia village in Bhilwara district, he said there was a problem and the government would try to bridge the gap between the communities. Facing ostracism, Muslims had migrated to safer places from Karjalia village, where an RSS activist was killed on March 1.
(Asian Age 10/4/05)
10. Dismissal of Rajasthan Minister, CBI inquiry demanded (7) JAIPUR: Accusing the Rajasthan Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria, of instigating violence against Muslims in the communally- sensitive Bhilwara district, the Sadbhav Manch and Rajasthan Muslim Forum on Monday demanded his immediate removal and institution of an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the recent spate of communal clashes in the district. A five-member delegation of the two organisations visited Mandal and Bhilwara towns on April 15 to take stock of the situation there and found that Muslims were living in a state of shock and terror with both the communal outfits and police targeting them. Muslims, who were forced to migrate from Karjalia, Kalias, Udo Ka Badia and Brah-mino Ki Saredi villages, are finding it difficult to return to their homes. The representatives of the two bodies, addressing a Press conference here after failing to get an appointment with the Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, alleged that Mr. Kataria had given signals to the district administration not to take action against the rioters who burnt a dozen shops of Muslims in Mandal, damaged two mosques - including the Jama Masjid - and two tombs in the town, and drove Muslims out of several villages. "Mr. Kataria has acted like a hardcore Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist during the turbulence over the past one month. The trouble-makers felt encouraged every time he visited Bhilwara during the period," Sawai Singh, convenor of the Sadbhav Manch, said and added that Mr. Kataria's "misbehaviour" with a delegation of Muslims in Bhilwara was equally outrageous. The delegation was told by the local people that the rioters, who were mostly the RSS and Bajrang Dal activists, were given a "free hand" to indulge in loot and arson during curfew in Mandal on April 8 and even the police personnel assisted them at some places in setting the shops on fire. "There was evidence suggesting that policemen provided kerosene and diesel to arsonists," said Abdul Latif, a member of the delegation.
(The Hindu 19/4/05)
11. Muslim family driven out of village (7) A MUSLIM family has been forced out of their village in Mansa, Punjab after a boy from the family married a Jat girl. The village panchayat decided to throw the family out and villagers promptly implimented the decision. About six months ago, Angrez Khan (26) had married Paramjit Kaur (25) apparently without the consent of the girl's family The couple had also sought police security Following several clashes between the two families since the marriage, the entire village has turned against the Muslim family. Finally the panchayat took the decision that the Muslim family leave the village.
(Hindustan Times. 25/4/05)
12. More to probe than meets the eye in violence-hit Rajasthan town (7) MANDAL (RAJASTHAN): Despite the district administration's claims of being impartial in the investigation into the communal clashes in Mandal early this month, justice eludes Muslims who were targeted by the communal outfits and the police and were left with their property destroyed, self-esteem outraged and religious beliefs humiliated. The violence in the town in Bhilwara district erupted during a post-Holi procession on April 8 following an incident of hoisting of a saffron flag on a mosque. Violent mobs indulged in arson to avenge the alleged pelting of stones on the procession and put a dozen shops on fire. It was followed by the police crackdown in which a large number of Muslims were beaten up and their houses ransacked "before their arrest. The 27 Muslims, who have been accused of attacking the procession, face the charges as serious as those of attempt to murder and promoting enmity between different communities. Though they have been granted bail after two weeks, they are still unable to overcome the trauma which they underwent in police custody. Only seven persons from the majority community have so far been arrested on charges of burning down shops. (Indian Express 28/4/05)
13. Mass migration of Muslims after murder of RSS activist (7) KARJALIA (RAJASTHAN): Mass migration of Muslim families from Karjalia village in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan following the murder of a Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh activist recently seems to have convinced the Sangh Parivar of the efficacy of its strategy to use an incident as a pretext to browbeat the minority community. Muslims have been terrorised and boycotted in the village even after their return. The developments in Karjalia since March 1, when 16-year-old Satyanarain Sharma - an instructor in the RSS 'shakha' -was found dead in a field, have made an alarming addition to the spate of communal incidents in Bhilwara. The arrest of two Muslim boys in connection with the murder on 'unconvincing* grounds has left the community aghast in the village. Satyanarain's father, Ramgo-pal Sharma, and the RSS activists of the village - who accuse three Muslim families of creating trouble in the past - had the support of none other than the Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria, who visited Karjalia on March 16 and offered to resign if the accused were not arrested within three days. Police acted swiftly and arrested Farooq Mohammed and Moin Khan the next day. The two boys were already in informal custody of the police since March 4 and an atmosphere of terror and intimidation was created in and around Karjalia.
(The Hindu 30/4/05)
14. Ten convicted in '89 Bhagalpur riots (7) Patna: In a significant order the District and Sessions Judge VII of Bhagalpur on Monday convicted 10 people while letting off 13 others in the infamous Bhagalpur communal riots case. A total of 23 people had been named accused in the case lodged in the Sultanganj police station on October 14, 1989. The final verdict, however would be delivered on May 12. It may be realled that in the Bhagalpur communal riots five people belonging to a minority community had been butchered in village Kamarganj on October 14, 1989. The verdict comes after a fifteen year long wait. A total of 1,158 people had been killed in those riots. So far, only 500 victims have received compensation which came soon after the riots.
15. New dimension to communal tension in Bhilwara (7) JAIPUR: A new aspect of alleged threats and intimidation has been added to the growing communal tension in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, with the authors of a report - exposing the role of Sangh Parivar in the recent anti-Muslim violence in collusion with the local police officials - being singled out and hounded with the intention to "muzzle criticism". The booklet, "Fasivad Ki Aa-hatein"
(Footsteps of Fascism), was published early this month to record the findings of a four-member team of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) that carried out an investigation following the violence in Mandal. The report has blamed the Bajrang Dal leaders for replicating the Gujarat model to target the Muslim community in the town. The chief writer of the booklet and a Dalit activist, Bhanwar Meghwanshi, alleged at a Press conference here on Tuesday that while the Bajrang Dal activists had launched a campaign to terrorise him and enforced a social boycott against him, police had also started harassing him and his family members, although no legal case had been made out against him. "The in-charge of Mandal police station, Bhajju Ram, and the officials under him visited my office in Bhilwara twice on May 4 and 6 and my residence in Sir-dias village on May 9 to make enquiries without spelling out the charges against me," Mr. Meghwanshi said. He said the complicity of the State machinery in the attempt to muzzle criticism amounted to an undeclared ban on the booklet.
(The Hindu 11/5/05)
16. Communal tension grips parts of Meerut (7) Meerut: THERE APPEARS to be an insidious pattern to the repeated communal incidents occurring in Meerut which threatens its fragile social fabric. On Thursday night, a group of people beat up a father and his 12-year-old son belonging to another community for allegedly teasing females in the walled area of the city. Speedy intervention by senior police and administrative officials, brought a potentially explosive situation under control with the help of local leaders. On Thursday the afternoon, the young daughter of a Congress leader, was molested by two youths on a motor-cycle, in the Kotwali area of the city. On hearing her cries for help, shopkeepers from the area helped rescue the girl. In the ensuing confusion the two young men managed to flee but not before the registration number of their mobike was noted. Once again, the local police arrived promptly, but by now the restive crowd protested against the growing incidence of eve-teasing. On their part the police, which included the Circle Officer, tried to pacify the crowd and assured them that the offenders would quickly be brought to book. The second incident on Thursday took place at about 8.30 pm, when Zaheer and his son Shadab of Ismail Nagar area were returning home after closing their shop, near Budhana Gate. It is alleged that somebody passed a remark at Zaheer to which his son protested. Soon a crowd gathered and one of them hit Zaheer's on his face. Shadab rushed home and soon hundreds of people from Ismail Nagar reached the spot and started shouting slogans against BJP (City) MLA. Soon a rumour was circulated that the local BJP MLA had been manhandled, though at that time he was sitting safely in a doctor's clinic. The agitated local residents started shouting slogans against the people of the other community. The local police informed all senior officials of district administration about the tension between the two communities.
17. Communal Violence Bill takes a 'beating' (7) New Delhi: Picture this: Standing in the middle of a polluted pool of water and trying to kill the mosquitoes around it. Wouldn't it make more sense to simply clean the pool? This analogy was used to criticise the contents of the Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill, 2005, at a conference in the city. The bill, as it's name suggests, addresses only communal violence. There is no mention of curbing communalism per se, the propaganda that leads to the violence or nipping the problem in the bud by stopping political parties from spreading such propaganda. The draft bill was also criticised for the immense power it had vested in the police and state machinery Vibhuti Narain Rai, former IG of police who has encountered several communal riots, said: "There is no need to vest such draconian powers to the police and state since they will use it as a licence to persecute minorities." He also said that there had to be a machinery to punish officers found shirking duty or conniving with the perpetrators of violence. Justice Verma said: "There is no need for fresh laws, existing laws should be implemented properly. There are no provisions for ensuring accountability of the law enforcement machinery. There should be an institutionalised mechanism for punishing police officers and magistrates for then- acts of commission and omission in a Gujarat-like situation."
(Times of India 19/5/05)
18. 1984 riot victims to get Rs 1.23 lakh each (7) NEW DELHI, May 22. - Holding the state liable for its failure to protect the life and liberty of citizens, Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to pay a compensation of Rs 1.23 lakh each to all those who suffered injuries during the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. "It is the bounden duty and responsibility of the state to secure and safeguard the life and liberty of an individual from mob violence," Ms Justice Gita Mittal said in her landmark judgment, which would benefit about 2,800 Sikhs injured during the riots in the Capital. The court asked the government to pay the compensation within a month to one Mr Manjit Singh Sawhney, who was injured and lost his sister in a mob attack which killed seven at Tuglaqabad railway station in November 1984. It also asked the Centre to pay him an additional amount of Rs 11,000 as cost of protracted litigation that went on for four years. To secure parity among all those who suffered injuries during the riots and were given an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2,000 only, Ms Justice Mittal ordered that they all be paid the enhanced amount. It took note of the fact that in the case of Mrs Bhajan Kaur, who lost her husband in the same place during the riots, a general order was passed in July 1996 directing the Centre to pay the enhanced compensation in all similar cases. The court calculated the compensation payable to the petitioner at Rs 75,000 with interest from the date of incident Which was quantified at Rs 50,000. It deducted Rs 2,000 that had already been paid to him as exgratia.
19. Victims of Gujarat riots begin a new chapter in Delhi School (7) NEW DELHI: Their tales tug at your heartstrings. Each of the 25 children from Gujarat whose lives fell apart in the wake of the communal riots that rocked the state in 2002, has a harrowing story to narrate. After the riots, even as these children were trying to gather the scattered pieces of their broken lives, living in a resettlement colony (started by Jan Vikas) called Kashimabad near Kalol, Act Now For Harmony And Democracy (Anhad), a Delhi-based NGO, has reached out to them. In a quest to help them leave their sorrowful past behind and move on, and also to enable them to go to a school, to study, to dream, to live, the NGO recently brought these children to the capital. These
25 children have been admitted into the Balwant Rai Mehta School at GK II and are staying at Apna Ghar (a recognised hostel by the school) at Jaitpur. "Many of them have still not got over the trauma that they underwent," says Ms Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad. It will still take some time for the psychological wounds to heal, she adds. (Asian Age 25/5/05)
20. Mob sets fire to 2 mosques after acid attack (7) MANDI, MAY 27: AN angry crowd set two mosques in the town on fire this evening after a man threw a bottle of acid at passengers of a private bus, seriously injuring at least 11 people, including a five-year-old. Doctors attending to the injured said four persons with more than 50 per cent burns may even lose their eyesight due to the attack. Police later arrested the culprit, Mohammad Mahboob, from Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. He has reportedly confessed to the crime. According to the Mandi police, the incident occurred outside a bus stand around 3 pm, when Mohammad threw a bottle of acid at 22-year-old Mamta from Drubal village. Mamta was sitting inside the bus which was leaving for Koon. As news of the acid attack spread, crowds began pour onto the streets. They collected in city squares and marched to the two mosques - Moti Masjid in Ramnagar Mandi and Janta Masjid on Jail Road. Police sources said some of them raised slogans and incited the mob to set fire to the shrines in retaliation to the acid attack. Those injured in the acid attack were identified < as Mushan (5), his mother Sheela, Shalu (all from Koon village), Mamta (Drubal village), Champa, Puran Chand (Kataula), Bhoop Singh (Banau), Manohar Lal (Badoh), Yog Raj, Shankar and Roop Singh.
(Indian Express 28/5/05)
21. Town tense after RSS man killed in Orissa (7) Bhubaneswar: The death of a Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh supporter in police firing has sparked off tension in Champua, a tiny town in the tribal-dominated Keonjhar district, on Wednesday, reports our correspondent. The RSS, along with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, were protesting against "police inaction" to arrest an attempted rape accused belonging to minority community. The situation has been volatile in the RSS stronghold Keonjhar district as the Sangh Parivar has called for a district-wide bandh on Thursday. Senior police officials and four platoons of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Orissa Armed Police Force have rushed to the spot. Over 3,000 supporters of the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal on Wednesday laid siege around Champua police station.
(Asian Age 9/6/05)
22. Minorities panel may probe violence (7) MANGALORE: The State Minorities Commission is weighing its options of conducting an investigation into the circumstances that led to communal clashes in Mangalore taluk on June 8. The Commission's Chairman, K. S. M. Masood, told The Hindu here on Sunday that the members of the commission are shocked at the frequent communal disturbances in Dakshina Kannada district and majority of them feel that they are being engineered by groups or organisations with ulterior motives and political gains. Mr. Masood said since two of the commission members are not immediately available for conducting an independent inquiry, he, along with officials, will tour the affected areas on Tuesday to undertake a preliminary study. Once the commission has full quorum, he will lead the commission in forming an independent body, which will undertake a detailed probe into various incidents of communal flare ups. Mr. Masood recalled that during the incident when two people were stripped and paraded in Ajjarkad in Udupi some time ago, he had recommended to the Government to declare the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi as "`communally sensitive and disturbed districts," but it has not been done.
(The Hindu 15/6/05 IN)
23. Sangh Parivar activists disrupt tribunal hearing, Prafulla Das
BHUBANESWAR: The hearing by the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights on the communal situation in Orissa was disrupted by Sangh Parivar workers here on Tuesday. The tribunal members, including two retired judges, were allegedly harassed and threatened with dire consequences. "The Parivar activists threatened to rape us and parade us," said Angana Chatterji, a member. The public hearings, intended to find out whether there was any communal tension in the State and, if so, the causes leading to such a situation, were held in Phulbani, Keonjhar, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur districts during the last few days. Tuesday's hearing was the final session. `Highly deplorable' Justice K. K. Usha, former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, and Justice R. A. Mehta, former Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court, who were among the four members conducting the hearing at Red Cross Bhavan, termed the incident as "shocking, outrageous and highly deplorable." Later, at a press conference, the tribunal members said that several activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had come to depose responding to the invitations sent to their State offices earlier. Four of them, including two women, deposed without any hesitation and their submissions were taped with their consent. Trouble started when the activists received a fax message from the organising secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's State unit, asking them not to participate. Activists' threat The Parivar workers then allegedly demanded that they be given the audiotapes containing the submissions. When the tribunal members said that the Sangh Parivar testimonial was necessary to the tribunal's work, the activists threatened that they would use any means to take possession of the tapes, Dr. Chatterji said. Tapes destroyed With tension building up, Dr. Chatterji destroyed the tapes in front of the Parivar members as demanded by them. The hearing ended and the tribunal members decided to leave the venue. As they were proceeding towards their vehicle, the Parivar members, comprising nine men and two women, said the tribunal was funded by foreign agencies, she said. They threatened to rape the women members and parade them naked. (Source: Gujarat Development: email@example.com ) (The Hindu, Jun 15)
24. Sangh activists threaten judges heading probe, Satyasundar Barik
Bhubaneswar, June 14: Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists threatened dire consequences to two former high court judges who were conducting a hearing of the Hindu nationalist organisations here on Tuesday. Former Chief Justice of the Kerala high court K. K. Usha and former acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat high court R. A. Mehta were part of the Indian People's Tribunal (IPT) which was recording deposition from members of the Bajrang Dal and VHP on communalism. The two former judges, while addressing a press conference here after the derailing of the tribunal process, regretted and deplored the high-handed and aggressive actions of the Sangh Parivar. The Indian People's Tribunal on environment and human rights had been conducting a state-level investigation on communalism in the state for the last four days. The IPT had recorded the deposition of members of the Bajrang Dal and Sangh Parivar at four communally sensitive places - Keonjhar, G. Udayagiri, Jagatsinghpur and Bhadrak. Some invited representatives of the Bajrang Dal and VHP had come to offer testimonies here in the morning. All was going well until the members received a fax from the organising secretary of the VHP directing them to keep away from the "self-appointed Indian People's Tribunal." After receiving the fax, Sangh Parivar members demanded that they be given the two microcassettes recording their sessions. The tribunal members attempted to reason with them and persuade them to leave the tapes in the tribunal's custody, stating that the Sangh Parivar testimonial was necessary to the tribunal's work. The Sangh Parivar members who deposed had done so with informed consent, the tribunal members argued. Subsequently, the Parivar members aggressively responded to former Justice Usha and former Justice Mehta. Convenor of the tribunal Angana Chatterji alleged that Sangh Parivar members had threatened to rape them if the tape was not handed over to them (the Bajrang Dal and VHP). "We immediately left the place after we heard that the 11-member-gang of Sangh Parivar called their bosses at Cuttack for reinforcement," Ms Chatterji said.
(Source: Gujarat Development: firstname.lastname@example.org) (Asian Age, Jun. 15)
25. Rs 7-cr suit filed against VHP, RSS and BJP (7) Twenty one people filed compensation suits totalling over Rs seven crore against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bhartiya Janata Party and VHP leader Dr Pravin Togadia in the city civil and sessions court in Ahmedabad on Monday. This came up following the legal notices served by the next of kin of the Gulbarga society massacre in Ahmedabad during the post Godhra communal riots. "The suit has been filed for loss of life, trouble and trauma and damage to property," said lawyer for the victims Ershad Mansuri. Among those who have filed for compensation include Zakia Jaffri, widow of the late MP. The compensation cases have been based on the Kerala High Court judgement of July 28, 1997, wherein it was ruled that in the case of bandh calls, the caller shall be responsible for the damage to private and public property. This judgement was subsequently ratified by the Supreme Court. Compensation is being sought on the ground that death and destruction was the result of the bandh call given on February 28, 2002 by the state unit of the VHP and supported by the state unit of the RSS and the BJP. It was due to this call, it has been stated, that communal sentiments were heightened and a section of the community attacked the Gulbarga housing society, killing people and destroying homes and belongings.
26. To 'protect' Hindu girls, BJP govt orders 2 colleges to swap buildings (7) BHOPAL, JUNE 27: This is a tale of two colleges which threatens to divide one city right down the middle-on communal lines. In an order that has no precedent, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has ordered that two prestigious colleges, both almost 50 years old, ''swap'' their premises. One is the MLB Girls College in the old city, a neighbourhood with a significant Muslim population. The other is the Hamidia Arts and Commerce College, about 4 km away, in the New Market area. Behind this bizarre idea is state higher education minister Uma Shankar Gupta. His reason: ''The girl students (at MLB) were facing lots of problems and a memorandum to this regard had also been submitted. Since the student strength and infrastructure in the two colleges are almost the same, we decided to go for the swapping.'' The ''problems'' the Minister refers to are explained by Aradhna Malakar, the Bhopal chief of the women's wing of the BJP's Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP): ''The decision is welcome. The students of the all-girls MLB (about half of the 300 students are Muslim, the rest Hindu) were being lured by the youth of the old city neighbourhood where the college is situated and conversions had become rampant.'' Both the minister and the ABVP's claims run contrary to police records. A senior police official, who declined to be named, said that there were hardly any complaints of ''eve- teasing'' or harassment reported from the college. ''There could be a few cases but such cases are routine even in other colleges situated in the New Bhopal areas or anywhere for that matter,'' the officer said.
(Indian Express 28/6/05)
27. Tension following group clash (7) BANGALORE: There was tension on Tannery Road in K. G. Halli Police Station limits on Wednesday following a communal clash. Two vehicles were damaged in stone throwing. The police said around 8.30 p. m. a youth belonging to a particular community was committing nuisance on the roadside when a group of youths belonging to another community reportedly thrashed him. The youth, who was assaulted, went home and returned with nearly 20 people of his community. The two groups clashed with each other and indulged in stone-throwing. As tension mounted in the area, shopkeepers closed down their shops, the police said. The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Security has been tightened in the area.
(The Hindu 23/6/05)
28. UCF Delhi condemns the act of violence at Ayodhya
(7) The United Christian Forum- Delhi (UCF - Delhi) strongly condemns the act of violence at Ayodhya. President of the UCF - Delhi, Bishop Karam Masih, urges the government to maintain communal harmony, peace and public order and appeals to all political parties to refrain from using this act of violence for political gain. UCF- Delhi also expresses its sympathy with those hurt because of the attack and appreciates the courage displayed by the security personnel in the face of personal danger. UCF - Delhi also urges citizens of India to recognise this attempt to destroy the communal harmony of the nation and prays that we would stand steadfast in our resolve to maintain peace.
Rev. Richard Howell, Secretary, United Christian Forum- Delhi source: EFI News, email@example.com
29. IUML, Bajrang in Mataram war (7) Bhopal, July 12: The Ayodhya attack, the London bomb blasts, and the ruling BJP's decision to encourage the singing of Vande Mataram in government offices and schools seems to have goaded communal organisations, both Hindu and Muslim, in old Bhopal to settle scores through a poster war. The first poster, printed in the name of the Indian Union Muslim League, was seen pasted on a few walls on Monday. It warned Muslims against intoning Vande Mataram since it would be deemed a direct affront to Allah. Co-religionists, in fact, were told to even avoid being seen anywhere near the anthem-singing site. Failure to comply would invite instant retribution. The local Muslim clergy, however, promptly took the initiative to cool off tensions by assuring their brethren that there was nothing to worry about since the singing of Vande Mataram hadn't been made compulsory. The state government circular on the subject had only requested optimum participation in the singing on the first day of every month. The Bajrang Dal responded with its very own posters during an anti-terrorism rally the same day. Responsibility for the poster was credited to a Delhi-based body called Akhand Hindustan Morcha, whose address and telephone numbers were imprinted. The creators of the poster were contacted in Delhi and they did not hesitate to admit that they were behind its publication. Police sources, however, told this newspaper that there was nothing overly objectionable in the contents. It primarily sought to inform the public of how some misguided Islamic fundamentalists were bent on spreading violence in the name of jihad, the London bomb blasts being the latest evidence of it.
(Asian Age 13/7/05)
30. Builders want to demolish mosque(7) Mumbai: The residents of CST Road, near the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, are up in arms against Diwan Builders because the builders want to demolish the Hafzul Imam Masjid, which comes in the way of their construction of a huge building tower. To placate the Muslim residents in the area, the developers have promised to build another mosque in close proximity to the current one. "The real estate prices in and around BKC are anything between Rs 14,000 and Rs 16,000 per sq ft. The builders want to earn big bucks. Though the builder has promised us that he will construct a masjid in the area, it is a sentimental issue. Any place of worship being brought down becomes a controversy in Mumbai," said Taufeeq Ahmed, a resident of Mohammed Estate where the mosque stands. The mosque has been there for about 35 years. This newspaper tried to contact Mr Bhupendra Mehta, the manager of Diwan Builders, but could not get in touch with him. Diwan Builders has many construction projects in this area. The construction activity falls under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) SRA scheme. "Under SRA rules, no house of worship can be brought down. Also, this structure is pre-1995 and leaves no room for the builder to demolish it," said Mr Sirish Upadhyay of the Students and Youth Association. (Asian Age 15/7/05)
31. Muslims angry over VHP plea to vacate houses near mandir (7) Lucknow : Muslim residents of Ayodhya have reacted with anger to the VHP's petition to the President and Union Home Minister, asking that occupants of houses on the periphery of the Ram Janmabhoomi complex be made to leave on the plea that they are vulnerable to jihadi pressure and hence a security threat. Nearly all the occupants are Muslims. Haji Mehboob, a senior leader of the Babri Masjid Movement and president of the Anjuman Muhafiz Muazib Avadh, dismissing the move, said, "the VHP demand is totally unjustified. We are not going to tolerate this. We also plan to meet the President and Union Home Minister to put forward our side of the story. The VHP can't be allowed to whip up a communal divide. They have already failed in their designs and have been exposed before the people of Ayodhya and Faizabad." Saying that most of the houses were at least four generations old, he justified his stand by adding, "the VHP is simply looking for an issue since their efforts to encash on the terrorist strike have failed miserably for lack of public support." There are about 50 houses and shops belonging to the minority community in the periphery of the RJB complex mainly in Duari Kuan, Karziana, Panji Tola, Katra and Tehri Bazar localities accounting for a population of nearly 3,000 families. Ironically, when the VHP was meeting the President, the Nehru Yuva Kendra was taking out a sadbhavna yatra in Ayodhya to promote communal amity. However few seemed to notice the procession on Tuesday and many dismissed it as an "official exercise."
32. Communal harmony at its best (7) Gandhinagar : Picture this camaraderie. Despite a High Court order terming the ban on animal slaughter during the Jain festival of Paryusan "illegal and unconstitutional", the butchers of Ahmedabad have struck a blow for communal differences by volunteering to keep meat-shops closed during the eight days of the festival. The Jain Sangh, in turn, has decided to find a way to compensate the financial loss these meat-shop owners will suffer on account of their decision. A spokesman of the Qureshi Jamaat, an organisation of meat-shop owners has appealed to all its members to respect the sentiments of the Jain community and refrain from doing business during the most sacred period for the Jains. "It is a plea we have made to the people involved in this trade and we are confident they will respond with magnanimity," says Rizwan Ahmed, one of the leaders heading a local organisation of meat-shop owners., Most involved in the trade welcomed the decision of the Gujarat High Court which had upheld their right to carry on their business unhindered even during the period of Paryusan. However, they also felt that rights apart, there was need for the communities to be sensitive to each other's beliefs. "Mutual respect and love is the need of the hour and we have responded in this spirit," he said. Earlier, Vishwa Hindu Parishad general secretary Pravin Togadia had said Hindus and Jains would not allow the killing of animals during the holy period. He had also urged meat-shop owners to voluntarily keep their establishments closed during the period.
33. 'Communal conflagrations a thing of the past in Hyderabad' (7) Hyderabad : A gathering of non governmental organisations, working for promotion of peace and communal harmony, called for strengthening the mechanism of bureaucratic accountability and closer relationship between the official machinery and the civil society organisations to check the communal violence in the country. Non governmental, social activists and serving senior police officials came together on a single platform in Hyderabad over the weekend to dissect the problem of communal violence and other conflicts and suggest solutions. The "Workshop of peaceful coexistence" organised by Aman Public Charitable Trust, New Delhi and Confederation of Voluntary Association, Hyderabad was attended by more than 60 representatives of various NGOs to share their experiences in different parts of the country. The workshop heard the reports of study of communal situation in two of the most sensitive Indian cities Hyderabad and Bhiwandi and one of the most communally peaceful city Bikaner in Rajasthan. Three senior police officials from Hyderabad city police making a presentation on how the situation in Hyderabad turned around over the last one and a half decade said that several factors had contributed to the change. The Additional Commissioner of police AK Khan said that since the last major riot in 1990, when the city was under curfew for 75 days and 300 people lost their lives, the city has not seen any major riots, even though triggers were there. He gave the credit for the change to the people, who had become mature, to the economic prosperity, to the stake people have built in peace and good governance. "Huge communal conflagrations that used to happen earlier is definitely a thing of the past," Khan declared. On the role of the political parties, Khan said that they were not trying to foment trouble as much as they used to do in the past. (Pioneer 8/8/05)
34. Scared, Muslims flee workplaces (7) Guwahati : Fear and panic have gripped Bengali speaking Muslim daily wage labourers in Assam with hundreds of them fleeing their workplaces, including many from the State's main city of Guwahati, apprehending a crackdown by authorities to deport them to Bangladesh. A Government spokesman confirmed the exodus and said it was a result of some 'mischievous propaganda' by people with 'vested interests' to scare away religious and linguistic minority people to leave their workplaces. "There is no need for panic. We have asked the police and civil authorities to maintain strict vigil so that no genuine Indian citizens are harassed by people with some political affiliations trying to create communal tension," the spokesman said. "We cannot say the people who have left for some reason are all Muslims. There could be people from other faiths as well," he added. Many of these Bengali workers were engaged in construction works, brick kilns, and pedal rickshaws in Assam, besides doing menial jobs. The immediate provocation for the exodus is the repealing of the controversial Illegal Migrants
(Determination by Tribunals) Act to identify illegal Bangladeshis. The Supreme Court, last month, decided to replace the 22-year-old IMDT Act with the Foreigners Act in Assam saying the previous legislation was a hindrance in identifying and deporting illegal Bangladeshis from the State. Under the IMDT Act, the onus of proving one's citizenship rested on the complainant rather than the accused, while it is just the reverse under the Foreigners Act.
35. CPI (M) calls for law to tackle communal violence
(7) NEW DELHI: Underlining the need for a comprehensive model law to tackle communal violence, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has suggested that the Centre should take the initiative and consult all States on this. "There is an urgent need for the Central Government to take the initiative for consulting all the States to evolve a mechanism by which the States' rights and autonomy shall be maintained on the one hand and, on the other, necessary legislative powers should be acquired to deal with the prevention of communal riots and providing speedy justice to the victims," an editorial in the recent edition of the party organ People's Democracy said. In the backdrop of the report of Justice G. T. Nanavati Commission that probed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the editorial said the question of punishing the perpetrators of communal strife was necessary not only from the viewpoint of humanism and compassion but it was imperative that justice be delivered in order to strengthen the secular democratic foundations of the modern Indian republic. The National Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance Government speaks of a comprehensive law to deal with communal violence. The editorial said while few would disagree with the need for such a law, concerns were expressed during the discussions while formulating the CMP. These concerns relate to the federal structure of the Constitution under which the division of responsibilities and authority between the Centre and the States places the issue of law and order as a State subject.
(The Hindu 16/8/05)
36. No relief for riot victims: CPM (7) New Delhi, Aug. 16: Observing that relief for the victims of Gujarat riots does not appear near and that the Nanavati Commission's report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has singularly failed to establish culpability, the CPI(M) has reiterated the necessity of enacting a comprehensive law to deal with communal violence in order to improve the justice delivery system. Recalling the mention of such a law in the national common minimum programme of the UPA government, the editorial, published in the latest issue of the CPI(M) mouthpiece People's Democracy, said there was an urgent need for the Union government to take the initiative of consulting all states to evolve a mechanism by which the states' rights and autonomy shall be maintained on the one hand and, on the other, necessary legislative powers should be acquired to deal with the prevention of communal riots and providing speedy justice to the victims. The editorial, titled "Punish the perpetrators of communal strife", also said it was an "ironic coincidence" that on a day when the government tabled the action taken report on the Nanavati Commission report, the Supreme Court came out with a blistering comment that the Gujarat police was either "conniving with the accused or worthless". The editorial read: "For three long years after the gruesome state- sponsored communal carnage in Gujarat, the guilty are yet to be apprehended, while the victims continue to languish. This, despite a huge array of circumstantial evidence available through media reports and eyewitness accounts." "While the various cases concerning the Gujarat carnage continue to be heard in various courts, neither relief for the victims nor the elimination of fear and insecurity for the minorities appears near. It is once again ironic that the same Justice Nanavati is now to probe the Gujarat carnage!"
(Asian Age 17/8/05)
37. In Rae Bareli, how a routine crime acquired communal overtones (7) DALMAU (RAE BARELI), AUGUST 21: A group of small-town tough guys tease a girl. A man from the girl's locality objects to it. An altercation takes place, then a fistfight and finally gunshots, killing the man. A revenge killing follows. This scene is common in Uttar Pradesh. But its entire complexion changes when you throw in the fact that the tough guys were Muslims. That the man who objected was a Hindu, a Dalit, and an Army jawan posted in Jammu & Kashmir's Rajouri area. And that Dalmau village, where it happened, is a stone's throw away from Rae Bareli, constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. A clinical look at the incident doesn't give it a communal colour-nothing similar has happened before in Dalmau. Neither is there a political setting that may have planted the seeds of communal hatred here. In fact, it could well have passed off Friday last as any other incident, and it quite did. Yet, this incident has now filled the air with communal tension in a village of around 20,000 people. At first, it was only between Bachchi Ali-and his boys-and Ramesh Sonkar, the jawan. Now, it is They and Us, Hindus versus Muslims. ''Most communal fires at many places across India have started from such incidents, especially eve-teasing,'' says a senior IPS officer. Indeed, there are now more policemen than people in the Miya Ka Tola pocket, where people disappear behind half-closed doors at the first sight of ''outsiders''. And, in the smaller pocket of butchers within Miya Ka Tola, they have all fled in fear after Naeem Mohammed, one of them, was lynched in retaliation to Sonkar's killing.
(Indian Express 22/8/05)
38. Mau on boil for 3rd day (7) Lucknow: EVEN AS shoot-at-sight orders were issued in riot-torn Mau, a fresh bout of violence on Saturday claimed two more lives, tak_ing the total death toll in the Dussehra-triggered commu_nal clash to five. The State Government, however, claimed that only three per_sons had been killed, nine injured and 30 shops either looted or set afire. Eighty nine persons have been arrested. Mau was dogged by vio_lence for the third consecu_tive day despite the State Government's Friday claim that the situation "is under control and the administra_tion has done a commend_able job." The Saturday bout had Principal Secretary (Home) Alok Singh and DGP Yashpal Singh scurrying for a situa_tion assessment of the riot-torn town on Saturday even as four senior police officers and five companies each of the PAC and the RAF were battling the situation under curfew conditions. Communal tension was sparked off in the township on Thursday after a group clash over the use of loud_speakers during a Bharat Milap procession. This snowballed into violence, arson and looting. Despite curfew on Friday, miscreants roamed the streets indulging in arson and violence. A dozen were seriously injured after mis_creants lobbed bombs into the Brahmin Tola locality. Anti-social elements armed with semi-automatic firearms opened indiscrimi_nate fire near the branch of Oriental Bank of Commerce injuring several persons. In Kathupurwa locality, houses of two local journalists were set afire. The violence result_ed in the exodus of a particular community. Despite a flag march by the RAF and PAC personnel, marauders pelted the Shahganj passenger train with stones, com_pelling the Railways to divert several trains, including the Lichhavi Express, from Ballia.
39. Violence spreads in Mau, two more are killed (7) Lucknow: Violence continued unabated in Mau district for the third consecutive day on Sunday after a communal flareup that has claimed seven lives so far. Two more persons were killed and five others injured in a fresh bout of violence on Sunday. While one person was shot dead near the railway station, another was killed in mob violence near Madanpura. Three dead bodies were also recovered from the riot- affected areas. More than 180 persons have been arrested in connection with the riots that began on Friday, following a dispute over use of microphone during the traditional Bharat Milap programme that is a part of the Dussehra festivities. Four senior officials, including the commissioner, the district magistrate, the deputy inspector-general of police and the senior superintendent of police, have been suspended. While Mau town remained largely peaceful on Sunday, communal violence spread to the suburban areas and outskirts of the township, from where sporadic incidents of communal clashes were reported throughout the day. There were reports of a school being burnt down by rioters even as the paramilitary forces continued to stage flag marches in the township. The state election commission has, meanwhile, deferred the panchayat elections in Mau district, where polling was scheduled for October 17 and 20. The state's principal home secretary, Mr Alok Sinha, told reporters that curfew was on in Mau town and the district administration had been asked to make arrangements for the supply of food to residents.
(Asian Age 17/10/05)
40. Peace meets held, no fresh violence (7) MAU: Shoot-at-sight orders remained in force as additional forces were deployed in sensitive areas and peace meetings were organised on Monday to defuse the situation in this curfew-bound town where communal riots have claimed seven lives. Additional security personnel were rushed to areas where fresh incidents were reported on Sunday and a close vigil was being maintained, according to official sources. While senior police officials including the DIG (Range) are camping in the town to monitor the situation, meetings of peace committees were being organised to diffuse the tension. Essential commodities were being provided to the people residing in curfew-bound areas, they said. So far 32 people have been injured while 180 arrests made in connection with the riots that broke out last week over Dussehra festivities. Meanwhile, the local independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari, denied allegations of inciting violence saying the BJP had hatched a conspiracy to trigger communal violence ``with a view to gain political mileage and malign my image''. He demanded that the town be handed over to the army for maintaining law and order and registration of cases against the suspended Commissioner, District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and Circle officer. Several long and short distance trains passing through Mau or originating here had either been cancelled or diverted to other routes as a precautionary measure, sources said. Movement of roadways buses coming here from Gorakhpur, Azamgarh and Ballia had also been suspended. Ten companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and two of the Rapid Action Force had been deployed in the town where senior officials, drawn from neighbouring districts were camping, they said.
(The Hindu 18/10/05)
41. Ansari, BJP leader booked for inciting riots in Mau (7) MAU: Police on Tuesday lodged FIRs against controversial independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari and BJP Member of Legislative Council Ramji Singh for inciting communal riots here even as an uneasy calm prevailed in the curfew-bound town with Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) jawans patrolling the streets. Mr Ansari, who was seen moving in an open jeep escorted by armed guards during the riots, was booked along with 100 others under various sections of IPC on charges of inciting riots, murder and violation of curfew, official sources said. Director-General of State Police, Yashpal Singh, said raids were going on to arrest Mr Ansari and action would be taken against him soon. Mr Ansari on his part blamed the Hindu Mahasabha for the communal tension and said he would co-operate with the probe ordered by the State Government on Monday into the riots. The district administration also lodged an FIR against BJP member of Legislative Council, Ramji Singh and some Hindu Yuva Vahini activists for inciting riots, they said. Curfew continued for the fifth consecutive day and shoot-at-sight orders remained in force as jawans of the Rapid Action Force, PAC and police personnel patrolled the streets under supervision of senior officials. Mr. Yashpal Singh, who was here along with the Principal Secretary, Home, Alok Sinha to review the situation, also assured that peace would be restored in the town within a day or two. Seven people were killed and 36 injured in the riots that erupted on Thursday last over Dussehra celebrations leading to imposition of curfew.
(The Hindu 19/10/05)
42. City of Taj back to normal (7) AGRA: A day after clashes broke out between members of two communities here over allega_tions of misbehaviour with a woman who had allegedly stolen clothes from a store in Subhash Bazar on Sunday, normality re_turned to this historic city of the Taj on Monday. For a change, the bazaar - a hub of wholesale business in clothes and shoes - remained open on Monday, nor_mally the weekly holiday. Though business was brisk, some shopkeepers said custom_ers from far-off areas were still sceptical about coming all the way. "This is the festive season and we cannot afford to lose out on this annual opportunity," said one shopkeeper. All of them had to down their shutters on Sunday after vio_lence broke out. One of the sales managers of Rajkumar and Sons in Subhash Bazar - the point where it all started - speaking on condition of anonymity said one of their boys had noticed that a woman had not paid for the clothes she had taken along with her. He spotted her at some distance and asked her to pay up. However, the woman allegedly told the people of her communi_ty that the shop staff had mo_lested her while frisking her on the pretext of recovering "sto_len" clothes. Following the allegations, some men from the nearby Mantola locality con_fronted the staff. An argument broke out between them and led to fisticuffs. More and more peo_ple joined in from both sides and began hurling stones.
(The Hindu 25/10/05)
43. Mau MLA close to media, far from cops (7) Lucknow, October 23: SO NEAR, yet so far. It sums up the cat-and-mouse game between the Uttar Pradesh police and the Mau strongman, Mukhtar Ansari - the local MLA - wanted for fan_ning communal fires during the October 17 Mau riots. And the cops are cutting a sorry figure. Readily available to the media, he is proving slippery for the po_lice, who raided four places in Lucknow on Sunday. DGP Yash-pal Singh said, "The arrest is not as easy as was considered." Jointly addressing a press con_ference with the DGP, principal secretary, home, Alok Sinha said efforts were on to net Ansari. The police had filed an FIR against him last week in connec_tion with the murder of one Ram Autar in Mau. But the don-turned-politician cocked a snook at the STF team, which went to Mau on Thursday to arrest him, and landed in Luc_know with supporters in tow. Even the police witness, Jitendra Yadav, who had slapped the murder charge on Ansari, turned hostile and "retracted" the allegation. Strangely, the government has not withdrawn security provid_ed to Ansari. The DGP said the constables deployed for his secu_rity were also with the abscond_ing MLAs. The Mau SP has ap_parently sought the help of the Ghazipur and the Lucknow po_lice to nab Ansari. Though the DGP refused to at_tribute any "political pressure" to the delay in arresting him, sources said the government gave the green signal only on Saturday night after a meeting between chief minister Mu-layam Singh Yadav and Gover_nor T. V. Rajeswar. The Governor had been to Mau on Saturday to take stock of the situation.
(Hindustan Times 24/10/05)
44. New twist in Ansari FIR, more violence in Mau: School burnt (7) ALLAHABAD OCTOBER 21 : FRESH incidents of arson in parts of curfew-hit Mau- from where no violence was reported during the recent ri_ots-has unnerved local offi_cials even as Jitendra Yadav, who had named Mau MLA Mukhtar Ansari in an FIR, ac_cusing him of murdering his brother, turned hostile today. The MLA was charged with instigating crowds during the recent riots in Mau. According to the police, three houses, a shop and a convent school were burnt last night. This is the first such inci_dent in the riot-hit town after Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended five senior officials for laxity in checking the outbreak of violence. "We will look into the incidents. It is surprising that such a thing has happened despite deployment of policemen at all sensitive points," the DM of Mau, Mukesh Meshram, told media persons. With GovernorT VRajeshwar Rao scheduled to will Mau tomorrow, district officials fear he might send an indicting re_port to the Centre, like he had done after visiting Gorakhpur following the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis. Meanwhile, Yadav, who was today presented before the media by Ansari's brother Afzal Ansari, said he was called to the Kotwali Police Station on October 17 and asked about the role of Mukhtar Ansari in the murder of his (Yadav's) brother Ram Pratap Yadav in Mau on October 14. "Though I stated clearly that one Haji Vakil Ahmed Simlawale was responsible for the murder, the police said Mukhtar Ansari was present on the spot at that time, and made me sign a paper," he said. He added he was mentally disturbed and signed the paper but came to know the details through the media the next day. Yadav said he met the chief minister this morning and told him what had actually happened.
(Indian Exp 22/10/05)
45. Muslim tea vendor was thrown out of coach in Godhra (7) AHMEDABAD: A passenger of the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Ex_press told the G. T. Nanavati -K. G. Shah judicial inquiry com_mission, probing the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat, here on Saturday that a Muslim tea vendor was "thrown" out of the coach at the Godhra railway station by kar sevaks travelling in the coach. Virpal Chedilal, who was trav_elling in the train with his wife and daughter-in-law, told the commission that he and some other passengers were prevent_ed by kar sevaks from taking tea from the vendor just because he was a Muslim. The vendor was "bundled out" of the coach by the slogan-shouting kar sevaks which he believed could have sparked off the disturbances. He said that when the train had halted at the Godhra platform, he had got down to buy some snacks and at that time "every_thing looked normal" and there was no tension. He said all through the jour_ney up to Godhra, the kar sevak's behaviour with other passengers and railway officials was "very very bad and rude." Another pas_senger, Ram Naresh Gupta, also told the commission that though he had five confirmed berths in the adjoining S-7 coach, he was rudely turned down by the kar sevaks who had occupied them, and he and his family had to travel sitting at the narrow pas_sage adjacent to the lavatory in S-6 coach. Both Mr. Virpal Chedial and Mr. Gupta were late entrants on the list of witnesses who were included at the request of the State Government. Both of them claimed that they had smelt heavy smoke "possibly emanating from burning petrol-like substance," but both ad_mitted to having not seen any_one pouring inflammable fluid inside the compartment. Nei_ther of them had either seen the fire till they managed to dis_embark from the coach nor had any idea how the fire started. But both of them were con_vinced that in the packed coach, carrying not less than 250 pas_sengers, it was not possible for anyone to ignite a stove. Mr. Gupta said he heard some noise which could be caused by break_ing of some "glass bottles" but had no idea from where they came and what these contained.
(The Hindu 23/10/05)
46. Communal clashes in Agra, PAC deployed (7) AGRA, OCTOBER 23: Tension prevailed in Agra after police fired in the air to disperse rioters following clashes between Hindu shopkeepers and Muslim residents here today that left several injured. Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel were finally deployed to patrol trouble-torn areas in Mantola locality, where the clashes broke out, as the district administration described the situation as ''tense but under control''. A near-curfew like situation prevailed in the locality with police forcing residents to stay indoors, official sources said. The trouble erupted following an altercation between a Muslim woman and the owner of a garment shop, police said. Subsequently, some youths confronted the shopkeeper while other traders rushed to his help, they added. Soon, the situation acquired communal overtones as members of the two communities traded blows and indulged in stone-pelting, said police.
(Indian Exp 24/10/05)
47. 108 riot accused set free (7) Baroda, Oct. 25: A Baroda fast-tra court on Tuesday acquitted 108 persons accused in the Makarpura rioting and murder case. They were arrested by the Makarpura police for killing Munna Khan Pathan and Sakir at Laxminagar Turning, in the Tarsali area of Baroda city, on March 13, 2002. Though fast-track court judge P. N. Atodaria acquitted 108 accused per_sons, the court questioned the role of the police and indicted it for failing to prevent the violence. Judge P. N. Atodaria acquitted the 108 accused persons because the complainants failed to submit any concrete evidence against them. Mr Atodaria said that Makarpura police sub-inspector N. J. Vaneja, who was present at the place, did not inform his superiors about the incident, did not ask for any extra police personnel, and encouraged riot_ing. Mr Atodaria gave the decision after getting statements from 45 eye_witnesses and people injured in the riot that day. However, the police did not conduct any identity parade before eye-witnesses in this, case. The court said that "in srjite of policemen being pre_sent when the incident occurred they could not identify the accused persons, and that if they had taken enough pre_cautions the incident could have been prevented." The accused were part of a crowd between 2,000 and 2,500 people who also set on fire two motorcycles at the place and damaged two Tempos carry_ing a few Muslim families by throwing stones at them. The accused were also carrying deadly weapons, like knives and swords. Five or six people were injured in the stone-throwing.
(Asian Age 26/10/05)
48. Bill recommends riot-sensitive tag for areas, unclear on authority (7) NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 28: THE Communal Harmony Bill cleared by the Union Cabinet calls for de_claring an area "communally sensitive" before the proposed act comes into play but surprisingly, the Centre is yet to de_cide who will declare an area "commu_nally disturbed". The note circulated to the Cabinet, which The Indian Express has accessed, does not specify who will be responsible for declaring an area "communally sensi_tive". Moreover, the Centre has not been able to decide on the parameters to be followed to declare an area "communally sensitive". Though initially the Home ministry had sought to empower itself to rush central forces to "communally sensitive" areas and take charge of the situation, these provi_sions do not figure in the final draft sent to the Cabinet. In its present shape, the act fo_cuses more on "relief and rehabilitation" for victims and "speedy justice". The bill proposes the formation of "councils" at the district, state and the central levels for mon_itoring relief, rehabilitation and adminis_tration of the area as long as it continues to be notified as "communally sensitive". The act proposes more stringent penal sentence against the guilty and trial by "special courts". It also makes it manda_tory for the police to establish centres for recording of First Information Reports (FIR) in the affected localities and also in the relief camps whenever set up. The very declaration of an area as "communally sensitive", however, is likely to hit a hurdle. If states are granted the power, it would defeat the very purpose of having such a legislation.
(Indian Express 29/11/05)
49. UP riots over cow slaughter (7) Lucknow, Nov. 5: One person died and 13 were injured in communal clashes in three villages in Barabanki district on Friday evening. Twelve persons have been arrested and additional forces have been deployed in the villages. The station officer of Mohammadpur Khala has been suspended for dereliction of duty and the circle officer has been transferred. District magistrate Ashish Goyal said that the situation was tense, but under control. The clashes were the fallout of escalating communal tension in the area following an incident of cow slaughter on Diwali. According to reports, on the night of Diwali two local youths Chakkane and Gufran, slaughtered a cow and were found selling the meat. This led to verbal clashes and tension between two communities, but local police officials immediately swung into action and pacified the two groups after promising action against the offenders. Two days later, when one group found that no action has been taken against Chakkane and Gufran and the two were roaming freely in the village, it led to a free-for-all in which about two dozen houses were burnt down and two shops were gutted. As violence spread to two adjoining villages, senior district officials rushed in with additional forces and brought the situation under control. A case for inciting communal violence has been filed against 12 persons and efforts are on to arrest the two youth responsible for the clashes.
(Asian Age 6/11/05)
50. Tension in Mau areas; night curfew continues (7) Mau (U. P.): Tension gripped Sabzi Mandi and Hatti Madari areas here on Tuesday following arson and stone-pelting even as the night curfew continued in the riot-torn town. Some people tried to set ablaze a house in the Sabzi Mandi area but a police picket reached the spot forcing them to flee, police said. Stones were hurled at some houses in Hatti Madari triggering tension, they said. Security personnel, however, prevented the situation from going out of control. Curfew was clamped in the town following communal clashes during Dussehra festival in which 12 people were killed and 40 others injured.
(The Hindu 16/11/05)
51. Mau probe indicts BJP MP (7) Lucknow, November 20: A THREE-member probe panel led by senior IPS officer VN. Rai, ADG (vigilance), set up to probe last month's Mau riots has indicted BJP MP Yogi Adityanath. It said the MP - with considerable clout in eastern Uttar Pradesh - had a role in the flare-up and "intervention of secular forces was essential to stop communalism." The state would have to show its will power, otherwise, several other Maus can happen, the report inferred. According to the report, Yogi functioned through different fronts like the Hindu Yuva Vahani, Hindu Jagran Manch, Sri Ram Shakti Prakoshtha, Gorakhnath, Purvanchal Vikas Manch, Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha and the Hindu Mahasabha. Accusing the district administration of failing to control the riots, the report said it was the most violent of all flare-ups. For the first time, rioters organized themselves in "such a systematic manner", the report added. The report also cited many firsts. Schools and hospitals belonging to the minority community were vandalized and religious places of a particular community desecrated. Powerlooms - the textile town's lifeline - were also destroyed. However, not everything was lost, the report noted. "There were saner elements, who risked their lives to protect people." The report also took a dig at Mukhtar Ansari -often dubbed the Mau strongman. "It is common belief that the Mau district administration used to dance to Ansari's tune and officers of his choice were appointed in the district. Such an administration might have been good for other things, but countering communal riots was not possible for these officers. That is why the riot continued," the report hit out.
(Hindustan Times 21/11/05)
52. Mulayam says no to judicial probe into Mau riots
(7) LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday rejected the Op_position demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation or judicial probe into the recent Mau communal riots. Protesting the decision, the entire Opposition, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Con_gress, staged a noisy walkout from the Assembly after a four-hour discussion. Mr. Yadav said a three-mem_ber enquiry committee headed by the chairperson, Revenue Board, and former Chief Secretary, Neera Yadav, would be asked to give its report at the earliest. "If the members were not satisfied with the report the government would consider a judicial probe." A sum of Rs. 5 crores would be spent for reconstruction work in Mau town. Denying allegations that the government stood a mute spectator during the riots, he said it was its harsh measures that resulted in the "instant controlling" of violence. The Chief Minister gave a clean chit to Mukhtar Ansari (Independent MLA from Mau) and said the Hindu Vahini instigated communal violence. "The government would be forced to take strict action against the Vahini, an outfit of the B JP MP from Gorakhpur Yo_gi Adityanath, if it did not give up its evil design to divide society." The House witnessed noisy scenes when Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey did not allow the lone Hindu Mahasabha member Radha Mohan Das Agrawal to participate in the discussion. Later, he was allowed to speak at the intervention of the Chief Minister.
(The Hindu 24/11/05)
53. Cabinet approves communal violence bill (7) NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 24: THERE shouldn't be an_other Godhra, but the govern_ment will be better prepared in that eventuality. As per the National Common Minimum Programme, the UPA Cabi_net today approved the Com_munal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005. Briefing mediapersons, De_fence Minister Pranab Mukh_erjee said the Bill would be in_troduced in Parliament and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will put the draft pro_visions of the Bill on its web-site so that a widespread, in_formed debate can take place on the same. Asked if the Bill included a provision that allowed the Centre to prevail over states, Mukherjee replied in the affir_mative. This is a significant provision as law and order is a state subject. According to the preamble to the Bill, it is in exercise of the constitutional "duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance". Though the exact provisions of the Bill approved by the Cabinet today are not known yet, an earlier draft finalised by the MHA, envisioned giv_ing the Centre unprecedented powers over states. Moreover, it equipped the armed forces with draconian powers of arrest, search and seizure and called for special courts to try cases, even arm_ing them with the power to ex_tern people "likely to commit a scheduled offence". However, before the draft reached the Cabinet, the Home Ministry version of the Bill was studied by the Prime Minister's Office and the Na_tional Advisory Council headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
(Indian Express 25/11/0555)
54. Mau tense after lynching of youth (7) Varanasi, November 26: THE SCARS of the recent riots still fresh, Mail witnessed communal tension again on Friday after a youth from the minority community was lynched by a mob for sexually assaulting a minor girl. Markets remained closed and demonstrations were held on Saturday to protest the as_sault on the minor. According to sources, the 13-year-old, a resident of Mahrania under Kotwali police station, had left home to dump some waste but did not return for a long time. Her worried family members were told that some youth had taken her inside a powerloom unit in Kyaritola area. A mob accompanied the girl's family to the powerloom unit and found the girl unconscious. The furious mob then got hold of Mohammad Khursheed, a youth present there, and beat him up. Khursheed, who was critically in_jured, was taken to Varanasi for treatment where he was declared brought dead. The news spread like wildfire, bringing back communal tension in the area. Additional police force had to be deployed in several areas of the town to prevent violence.
(Hindustan Times 27/11/05)
55. Bihar MPs fight over killings in East Champaran
(7) NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 13: Bihar's RJD members clashed with JD(U) and BJP members of the state in the Lok Sabha today forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for lunch 15 minutes before schedule. RJD members targeted the newly elected Nitish Kumar government, saying that fear psychosis has gripped the minority community in Bihar following the killing of five persons in broad daylight in east Champaran district. Raising the issue during zero hour, Devendra Prasad Yadav demanded that the Centre seek a report from the JD(U)-BJP government immediately, and a committee visit Bihar for an on-the-spot study of the situation. Taking a dig at the Kumar government, Ram Kripal Yadav, also of RJD, said that such incidents were taking place in the regime of those who had promised good governance. ''As soon as they came to power, such attacks on minorities have started taking place. Such a government should be dismissed,'' he said. Countering the charge, Prabhunath Singh of JD(U), and some BJP members, said that the killings were due to a land dispute and minorities were not targeted. RJD members, including Raghunath Jha, insisted of having their say in spite of speaker Somnath Chatterjee making it clear that only those who had given notices would be allowed to speak. The members continued to protest, and the Speaker adjourned the house.
(Indian Exp 14/12/05)
56. "Treat communal violence as genocide" (7) NEW DELHI: Activists, lawyers, politicians, and citizens concerned have urged the Government to change the provisions of the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill to incorporate the definition of genocide and criminalise mass crimes committed with State complicity. The Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the just-concluded winter session. At a meeting here on Saturday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Nilotpal Basu said there was a need to question the assumption in the Bill that communalism was promoted by the State Government and prevented by the Central Government. Recommending that any law on communal violence empower civil society organisations, he said that Parliamentary debates on the Gujarat pogrom had depended heavily on reports by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and civil society organisations. Social activist and co-editor of Communalism Combat Teesta Setalvad said that state-sponsored violence needed special responses. She said an alternative drafted by civil society organisations had defined `genocide,' `crimes against humanity,' and included a `chain of command responsibility.' She said the NHRC should be given a statutory role in preventing and controlling communal violence and overseeing rehabilitation efforts. Nithya Ramakrishnan, lawyer, said courts should have the power to take cognisance of these crimes without having to wait for the State Government to declare the area `communally disturbed.' Some felt that a separate law was not needed. T. N. Misra, former Director-General Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said: "The need is of good officers who are committed to the ideals enshrined in the Constitution. If impartial, competent, honest officers are posted, there is no need for another bill. The laws of the land, as they exist today, are sufficient to prevent communal violence."
(The Hindu 25/12/05)
57. Police avert communal clash near Anand (7) AHMEDABAD: About half-a-dozen auto rickshaws and shops were damaged and set on fire in a communal clash at Napadwanta village near Anand town in central Gujarat on Thursday. Timely intervention by the police, however, managed to avert a riot after a youth was stabbed and seriously wounded by some members of the rival community following quarrel over occupying a seat in a State bus.
(The Hindu 2/12/05)
58. Relative of Mau MLA surrenders (7) LUCKNOW: One of the 10 accused in the sensational killing of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai on Thursday surrendered in a Ghazipur court. Ejaj-ul-Haq, a relative of controversial Mau Independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari, surrendered before the Ghazipur Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), who remanded him to 14-day judicial custody. He was later sent to jail. Ansari, who is also accused in the high-profile murder case, is already lodged in jail in another case. Meanwhile, resentment prevailed in east Uttar Pradesh districts over the gruesome assassination of Mr Rai. His last rites were performed amid stepped-up security at Varanasi on Wednesday night. Even as the BJP protest continued, party president Lal Krishna Advani is slated to visit Ghazipur on December 6 to offer condolences to the bereaved family. Mr Advani, possibly with some senior national leaders, would visit Mr Rai's native place, the State BJP spokesman said here. A dharna to protest the daylight killing of the MLA continued for the third day in Varanasi on Thursday with the State BJP president, Keshari Nath Tripathi, leading it. Senior party leaders Rajnath Singh and Kalarj Mishra also sat on the dharna demanding a CBI probe into the incident. According to a report from Varanasi, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had telephoned Rajnath Singh and urged him to discontinue the indefinite dharna. A report from Ghazipur said an agitated mob had vandalised and set afire the Tazpur railway station in the district. On Wednesday night, Karimuddinpur railway station was also damaged by a rampaging mob protesting the killing.
(The Hindu 2/12/05)
59. Civil society groups critkise Communal Violence Bill (7) NEW DELHI: Civil society groups and individuals across the country have criticised the Communal Violence (Prevention, Con_trol and Rehabilitation Bill), which the Central Government introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 5. Rejecting the Bill, they called upon the Government to consult all stakeholders and civil society groups and prepare a new law, which would strengthen the hands of citizens to make the Government accountable. In a statement, 42 organisations and individuals said the Government had not consulted civil society groups or try to forge a consensus on the Bill. Citing the Gujarat instance where the State Gov_ernment was found to be 'complicit' in the violence against Muslims by many independent investigations, the statement said that instead of giving the Government more powers, the law should concentrate on giving citizens the power to hold the Government accountable and criminally liable for their acts of omission and commission and failure to protect or rehabilitate victims and failure to punish the guilty. Emphasising that the Bill did not provide for punishment against public servants who failed to prevent communal violence, it said the Bill required prior consent of the State Government to prosecute public servants. The statement said the existing power of the Central Government to intervene in cases where the State Gov_ernment had a hand in the violence was negated by a provision, which required the Centre to seek permission of the State Govern_ments for such an intervention.
(The Hindu 18/12/05)
60. Majnu row acquires communal colour (7) Meerut : The Meerut controversy over police brutality on couples in a park took a queer turn on Thursday with Bajrang Dal volunteers behaving like moral police in another park as the custodians of law stood around like mute spectators. On their part, Samajwadi Party activists have blamed the police of being communal as most of the boys rounded up under Operation Majnu belong to the minority community. Meanwhile, the status of the Senior Superintendent of Police RR Verma remained wrapped in mystery through the day. While the city was agog with rumours of his transfer, his seniors here, the Zonal Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General of Police, remained mum. Secretary (Home) Alok Sinha told The Pioneer from Lucknow that Verma was away on two day's leave. Bajrang Dal activists attacked couples in Gandhi Park giving Samajwadi Party activists an opportunity to claim that they had targeted youths of the Muslim community. The Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal took out processions on Thursday and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Then activists of these outfits went to Gandhi Park on Thursday afternoon and chased couples sitting there talking to each other. These activists beat up the couples but policemen on duty there refused to come to the aid of the hapless youth. "We will not allow Muslim youth spoil the girls of Hindu community," said Sanjay Bajpai, an office-bearer of Bajrang Dal. Meanwhile in a damage-control exercise, the Uttar Pradesh Government has ordered a probe by a DIG into the beating up of couples by police and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav promised stern action against errant officials. The Government also decided to conduct administrative inquiry to "fix responsibility" on the officials involved in 'Operation Majnu' which triggered a nationwide outcry over moral policing. "I admit the mistake committed by the police. I am totally with the young couples. Action has been initiated against some police officials connected in this matter," Mr Yadav told reporters in Delhi.
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