Dark clouds over India and Gaza

With fascist powers controlling the world and our subcontinent, each day brings along news that hits the very soul, but May 15 was particularly bad; loaded it was with depressing news. One after another. First the numbers of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza-Israel border was perhaps the highest in recent years. What, with 58 Palestinians killed and almost 3,000 injured by Israeli soldiers in one day. Why? Simply because they were protesting the opening of the US embassy in Occupied Jerusalem. Those images were much too shocking. I am reminded of successive Palestinian envoys detailing the harshest possible atrocities heaped on the hapless Palestinians, sitting sieged and besieged in their own land! I’m also reminded of the press conferences of fiery Palestinians and the emotions they’d generated amongst the Indian masses.I do also recall that warm hug that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gave Indira Gandhi when she had hosted an elaborate reception for him in New Delhi, with hundreds of invitees around. Of course, those were the days when there were no security phobias. That was the phase of Government of India’s close bonding with Palestine and Palestinians. Alas, today GOI’s stand is more than tilted; more than aping Israel and America, following their barbaric policies!

Thankfully, sections of our people are more than nudging that justice for Palestinians prevails. I have just received this mail from the Indian Writers Forum. Quoting from it:

‘In solidarity with Gazans braving Israeli bullets: boycott HP [Hewlett Packard]… As you read this, Gaza is being massacred by Israel yet again. Fresh news of killings and injuries are still pouring in, as the protests are set to continue and Israel's brutal attacks are set to escalate. These protests are part of the Great March of Return that started six weeks ago, with Palestinians in Gaza demanding their basic rights to exist and to go back to their homes, their villages on the ruins of which Israel was established rendering them refugees. The march has intensified on Nakba Day, 15th of May, which marks 70 years since the mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages and towns to establish Israel. This year it was marked by the US shifting its embassy from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem, against international law and mandate. Most of those in besieged Gaza are refugees from 1948. As they face brutal repression at the hands of Israel and courageously carry on their protests, it’s urgent for the international community to send them a message of solidarity. For the past 12 years, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been the most effective form of global solidarity to the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Israel's regime of illegal occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism is enabled and sustained by collaborative regimes and corporations. By building concrete boycott campaigns, we can isolate Israel and non-violently pressure it to respect international law and Palestinian human rights…Hewlett Packard (HP) companies entrench Israeli oppression of Palestinian people in a myriad of ways. By providing computers to the Israeli military, that is presently running a carnage in Gaza, HP enables the illegal occupation of Palestine. HP maintains the racist population registry that is the basis for the ID card system. This is the backbone of the  brutal segregation and apartheid imposed upon Palestinian people. HP maintains its spin-off, DXC Technology, in an illegal Jewish-only settlement in West Bank thus furthering the colonisation of occupied Palestinian territories. HP truly harms Palestinians. By building a consumer boycott of HP, we can pressurize it to end all these contracts which sustain Israel's criminal regime over Palestinian people. The Boycott HP campaign has received a great push across the world with churches, local councils and other civil society organisations joining and taking forward the call. Most recently, the Dublin City Council broke institutional ties with Israel and with HP companies. This concrete step can be taken forward at various levels by us in India. We can also get our schools, colleges, offices, organizations and other institutions to severe or phase out contracts with HP. If you have an HP product, make sure it is your last. Building this grassroots campaign, we would be sending a concrete and meaningful message of solidarity to the protesters in Gaza and Palestinians everywhere.’

May 15 also brought along election results from Karnataka. They are pointers to the fact that the Right-Wing cadres have well-infiltrated into the electorate. How else could one explain the BJP faring well in these elections; far beyond the expected strain. Though efforts are on in full swing to keep the BJP out from governance but the stark fact stares hard: RSS has strengthened its hold in the  southern states. Call it a wakeup call or a shocker but this is the reality of the day. And unless the Congress and its allies do not strengthen their cadres and grassroots workers, the going would get more than tough. Even the basic day-to-day survival of the non-fascists could be at risk.

May 15 also saw the collapse of a bridge in Varanasi, killing and injuring many. If this is the state of affairs in the home constituency of  Prime Minister  Narendra Modi, one can well  imagine the condition of freshly constructed structures in other cities; smart or the not-so-smart ones! In fact, the bridge collapse also raises questions over the other upcoming structures and projects, getting all too hurriedly constructed because of the upcoming Pravasi Divas, slated to be held in Varanasi this coming winter!

Don’t know whether the other dark realities of Uttar Pradesh will be getting exposed or kept under wraps. Let’s see till  about when Yogi Adityanath and his government can carry on their tactics...misruling to such an extent that breaking apart are not human structures but even those built with concrete and cement!

Dark are these times, when even to offer namaz one needs to get State sanction or protection or that okaying nod. Mind you, this horrifying situation is prevailing and spreading out. Space to pray is not just shrinking but getting strewn with hurdles not just in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and Madhya  Pradesh and Haryana but even in the national capital. To quote the Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Dr Zafarul Islam Khan from his latest press release on May 12: 

‘Delhi Minorities Commission has issued sou motu notices regarding Gulshan Masjid in Mehrauli where anti-socials have stopped namaz for the last few days, have damaged prayer mats and attacked the imam. A year ago these elements had demolished graves inside the mosque compound. The DMC notices have been issued to DCP South, SDM South and Delhi Waqf Board to file a report about what action has been taken against the anti-socials who have attacked the imam and have stopped namaz in the mosque for the last few days.’

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