Video: Why do Indian intellectuals hate Hinduism? – S.L. Bhyrappa

S. L. Bhyrappa

Q : Dr. Bhyrappa, you have traveled extensively to almost all countries and have studied social behavior of democratic, communist and authoritarian societies. Why is it that in India a section of educated and intellectual people opposes everything related to Hinduism, be it it’s scriptures, customs, practices and beliefs? Is this behavior unique to India and if so, why? – IndicTales, 8 April 2019


 

 

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Hindus petition Modi Sarkar for equal rights – Swarajya Staff

Hindu group meets to petition for Hindu rights

Swarajya LogoThe group intends to petition the government to discuss and pass Dr Satyapal Singh’s Private Member’s Bill No. 226 of 2016 in the forthcoming parliament session. – Swarajya Staff

The Narendra Modi government rode to power in 2014 on the back of the promise of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”—development for all, appeasement for none. But in the last four years, that slogan has remained confined to speeches as the acute minorityism unleashed by Sonia Gandhi-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition in its decade long rule remains to be undone. During the UPA era, the government passed critical laws in education like the Right to Education Act that exempted minorities from its ambit, started various scholarships exclusive for minorities and created bodies that outlawed Hindus from becoming its members. The religious institutions such as temples are taken over by the government while churches and mosques remain untouched by the writ of the law.

It was expected that the Modi government will roll back these discriminatory laws and regulations which are stacked against the majority community but unfortunately, this has not been the priority of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

After waiting for over four years, a group of Hindu activists gathered in the national capital on the weekend (22-23 September) to press their demands. They deliberated upon various issues concerning Hindu society and passed a resolution issuing a charter which they intend to submit to the prime minister soon.

This gathering of prominent Hindus from all walks of life and throughout the country, included spiritual leaders, academics, authors, doctors, engineers, journalists, public intellectuals and concerned citizens. After a whole day of intense discussions and debates, a charter with a list of nine demands was agreed upon.

One of the most important demands includes ending legal and institutionalised discrimination against Hindus by the Indian State. The group intends to petition the government to discuss and pass Dr Satyapal Singh’s Private Member’s Bill No. 226 of 2016 in the forthcoming parliament session.

The bill is pending in the Lok Sabha and calls for amending Articles 26 to 30 of the Constitution to ensure equal rights to Hindus on par with minorities in the matters of

(a) Running educational institutions without undue interference of State;
(b) Removal of government control of Hindu temples and places of worship by restoring their management to Hindu society;
(c) Preserving and promoting Hindu heritage and culture.

Pointing to thousands of crores of foreign funding (Rs 18,000 crore in 2017-18) from institutions with ties to foreign governments and their agencies that goes into funding activities aimed at subverting Indian society and fueling conflict and separatism, the group is demanding that the central government completely ban all sorts of foreign contributions except those by Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) in their personal capacity (in recognition of their emotional connect with India) by repealing the existing FCRA and enacting a new Foreign Contributions (Prohibition) Act.

To protect and preserve Hindu native cultural and religious traditions, practices and symbols from unwarranted interference by both government agencies (including courts) as well as others, the group has urged the government to enact a Freedom of Religion Act as soon as possible.

The group also demands that the government sets up a public sector undertaking, Haindava Samskruti Jeernoddhaarana Nigam (Hindu Culture Restoration Corporation) with an initial seed capital of not less than Rs 10,000 crores and an annual grant of a similar amount for undertaking reconstruction and restoration of all damaged, desecrated, abandoned and dilapidated Hindu temples and sacred places; revival, nurturing, patronising and promotion of Veda pathashalas, various traditional and folk art forms, dance, music, sculpture, architecture, painting, etc.

Other demands by the groups include giving the same treatment to Indian languages as English gets, a complete ban on meat and beef export, tripartite division of Jammu and Kashmir into three states of Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu and an abrogation of Article 370 and a repeal of Article 35A.

The group will soon seek an appointment with the prime minister and submit its demands. – Swarajya, 24 September 2018.

Minorityism


 

In India, is it secularism or minorityism? – Michel Danino

Secularism

Prof Michel DaninoIn India, “Hinduphobia” is conspicuous in the treatment of interreligious conflicts: by definition, minorities are victims while an imaginary “majority” is invariably the aggressor. – Prof Michel Danino

In a recent keynote address to a history conference held by the Indian Council of Historical Research, Dr. R Nagaswamy affirmed, “Secularism in India means anti-Hinduism.” Is such a statement, coming from an acclaimed archaeologist, epigraphist and art historian, justified?

Earlier (The Great Secular Confusion, March 19; Bogeyman of Majority in India, April 2), I argued that the Indian Constitution and state are unsecular, despite their claims to the contrary, as they neither enshrine nor practise equal rights and, instead, deprive a perceived but largely constructed “majority” of privileges accorded to minorities. This, of course, has led to charges that India’s brand of secularism rests on minority appeasement. Although I hesitate to use terms with such a historical baggage, “appeasement” is justified when one recalls a “secular” Rajiv Gandhi’s 1986 overturning of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Shah Bano case, his ban two years later on Satanic Verses (which neither he nor his complainants had read), or the ban by seven Indian states on the film The Da Vinci Code, even as the Supreme Court rejected petitions to have its screening stopped.

Should these examples sound a little old, let us turn to Taslima Nasrin. The Bangladeshi writer was debarred in 2012 from the 36th Kolkata International Book Fair “following protests from fundamentalists”. Her crime? Highlighting atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh. Last year, invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival, she called for the “urgent” implementation of a common civil code in India: “Why are Islamic fundamentalists against a uniform civil law? Is not having a uniform civil law democratic?” she asked. “What do you mean by secularism, does it require you to encourage Muslim fundamentalists?” The Rajasthan Muslim Forum promptly protested that Nasrin had “too much freedom” and declared they had secured an assurance from the Fair’s organisers that she would not be invited to the event again—which the organisers abjectly confirmed. When, six months later, Taslima Nasrin landed at Aurangabad on a visit to Ajanta and Ellora, crowds awaited her at the airport: a leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen declared, “We will not allow her to step on the soil of our city.” The police had to send her back.

The recent case of the young Kerala actress Priya Prakash Varrier, of winking fame, appears tame in comparison, yet is symptomatic enough: Muslim groups from Hyderabad filed complaints against her and the film makers, objecting to a supposedly blasphemous (but actually Muslim) song that “outraged their religious feelings” and adding that winking is “forbidden in Islam”.

Did we hear indignant statements from our intellectuals and academics against such “intolerance” (of which hundreds more examples could be cited) and violations of the sacrosanct “freedom of speech”? Did we witness national or international campaigns? I recall no such thing—yet such protests and campaigns occur with clockwork regularity every time a Hindutva group resorts to similar goondaism. As columnist Minhaz Merchant put it recently, “Islamophobia is rightly condemned. Hinduphobia though is acceptable in living rooms across upper middle-class urban India where secular poseurs are many in number.”

This “Hinduphobia” is conspicuous in the treatment of interreligious conflicts: by definition, minorities are victims while an imaginary “majority” is invariably the aggressor. If one protests—as one should—acts of aggression against minorities, one is secular; if one points out—as one equally should—that Hindus have often been victims too, one is “communal” or a “Hindutva” proponent. It is secular to condemn the 2002 riots in Gujarat; it is unacceptable to argue that they flared up in response to the unprovoked massacre of 59 harmless Hindu pilgrims at Godhra. No mainstream academic journal will entertain research papers on Hindu victims in Kashmir, West Bengal or Kerala (recall the massacre of eight Hindu fishermen at Marad, for which 62 members of the Indian Union Muslim League were convicted). No Indian academic will be invited abroad to speak on Islamist attacks on Hindu places of worship, from Gandhinagar’s Akshardham temple complex (where 30 devotees were killed in 2002) to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple at Varanasi four years later (ten dead, with some eighteen more elsewhere in the city). If at all, those acts of aggression are treated apologetically: the attackers had been “provoked”. If some condemnation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has been heard, albeit quite tame, it is perhaps because Sikhs are seen as a minority. And expectedly, if Hindus happen to become demographic minorities, as in Kashmir or a few Northeastern states (and soon in some districts of West Bengal), no one clamours for their minority privileges to be enforced.

Such language is deemed offensive in our “liberal” intellectual and academic spheres. Yet all it does is to call for equity: an equal state treatment of all communities regardless of their religions, an equal condemnation of attacks on any community whatsoever, and an equally firm strike at the roots of all religious fundamentalism—which includes foreign funding to religious organisations.

Meantime, our “secular” political parties go on further creating minorities for their short-term gains. In 2001, the Rajasthan High Court rejected a plea by a Jain educational trust; Justice M. R. Calla warned, “If we go on making classifications like this, … perhaps the pious concept of WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA would be defeated and frustrated and the people as a whole shall stand divided in innumerable parts.” Yet a “secular” UPA government accorded Jains minority status in January 2014, just as Karnataka’s Congress government recently did with the Lingayats. Justice Calla was right: division is indeed the rule of the game. – The New Indian Express, 17 April 2018

» Michel Danino is an author, guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, and a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research. 

Hindu Human Rights

Govt must address ‘minority’ syndrome – Tufail Ahmad

Muslims demand reservation

Tufail AhmadThe scope and mandate of the Ministry of Minority Affairs can be changed, which should also pave the way for elimination of quota system in years ahead. … Since minority politics has badly divided Indian society in recent decades, the Indian state must address this issue before it creates further long-term hostilities between Muslims and Hindus. – Tufail Ahmed

On my tour of Uttar Pradesh, I stopped for a few days to talk to Muslim opinion makers in Lucknow, one of the few cities along with Hyderabad and Karachi which have significant populations of Shia Muslims. I reached a conclusion that although the minority psyche among Indian Muslims is preventing their development, there exists a minority of Shias right among them who are doing well in life and do not engage in victimhood or minorityism. My contention, therefore, was also that the minority phenomenon in India is essentially a Sunni Muslim phenomenon continuing from a serious competition for power in early Islam.

Nevertheless, the current polls in Uttar Pradesh have once again ensured that political parties such as the Samajwadi Party, Congress, and the Bahujan Samaj Party used the minority card and the politics of secularism for electoral purposes. In fact, much before the elections got underway, a political rally of BSP on 19 October at Bahjoi in Sambhal district began with the recitation of Quranic verses. Speaking on the occasion, Atar Singh Rao of BSP also cited hadiths (sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad) to seek Muslim votes.

In the run-up to the elections, this use of religious symbolisms to attract ‘minority’ votes is not exclusive to BSP. Earlier, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited two Islamic seminaries—the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama of Lucknow and the Darul Uloom Deoband. These efforts are part of minority politics in India. There are several minority communities in India, but the term ‘minority’—and its associated politics—is used mainly for Muslims. Significantly, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Shias do not show victimhood associated with Sunni Muslims.

There are two ways to look at who constitutes a minority. One, the word ‘minority’ is derived from the Latin word ‘minor’ and the suffix ‘ity’—meaning the smaller in number of two aggregates which constitute a whole. As per this quantitative definition, a community is a minority if its numbers are fewer than that of the other community in the total population. The term ‘minority’ came into vogue after the introduction of parliamentary democracy in which the numerical strength of communities became a power. But a numerical definition is inadequate to explain social reality. For example, during the Apartheid, the black people were in a numerical majority in South Africa but they were discriminated against and subjugated by the white rulers who constituted a quantitative minority.

The numeric definition also does not explain whether a community is influential in an electoral constituency. Consider this: In 1952 elections, 67 percent MPs won with less than 50 percent votes. In 2004, only 24 percent MPs won with more than 50 percent votes. In 2009, only 17 percent MPs got more than 50 percent votes. In 2014, 61 percent MPs won with less than 50 percent votes. Indian democracy is in a situation in which candidates can win elections with just 30 percent votes, which encourages them to encourage identity-based politics. Consequently, a community with just about 20-30 percent population in a constituency can determine the outcome of an election and assert politically. This is the reason the BSP, the SP, the Congress, and others have been wooing Muslim voters in the UP elections.

This unfortunate stage in Indian democracy has been reached despite the country’s leadership being aware of the complexities of minority politics around the time of Partition, as recorded by Madhav Godbole in his new book Secularism: India at a Crossroads. Writing in The New York Times edition of 19 July, 1942, Jawaharlal Nehru noted: “The real problem so often referred to is that of the Muslims. They are hardly a minority, as they number about 90,000,000 and it is difficult to see how even a majority can oppress them.” Speaking on 24 January, 1947, Govind Ballabh Pant observed: “The question of minorities cannot possibly be overrated. It has been used so far for creating strife, distrust and cleavage between the different sections of the Indian nation.” Pant’s observation is a sad reminder that the minority politics continues even now.

The second way of looking at ‘minority’ is through a qualitative definition. As per it, a community can be called a minority if it is discriminated, segregated and subjugated by the majority community or the government. For example, Dalits in India were socially segregated and lived at the outer edges of villages for centuries. They were also discriminated through the practice of untouchability by upper castes. By a qualitative definition, Dalits can therefore be called India’s first sociological minority. As per this definition, even women qualify to be a minority. In this year’s UP elections, it was noticed that some Muslim women were willing to understand Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stand against the arbitrary practice of triple talaq which affects them. Another example of why the qualitative definition must prevail over the numeric criterion is this: The Muslims under the Mughal rule were numerically small but a politically dominant community.

A minority status carries with it an exclusion from full participation in the collective life of a society. This status is derived from its subordinate relation to a dominant group, which need not be a numerical majority. The Tibetans, living under the Chinese occupation, fully qualify for a minority status. A minority can be racial, linguistic, religious or caste group, if it is differentiated and discriminated against because of any of these factors. A group may be a minority either by choice or by compulsion. Sociologist Louis Wirth defined a minority as “a group of people who … are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment.” In the case of Indian Muslims, it appears they strive to single themselves out from the mainstream.

Recently, Firstpost interviewed Amana Begum, a Law student based in Jaipur, who offered a telling comment on the behaviour of Indian Muslims: “As a community, we want either victimhood or supremacy.” The Muslim elites too love to be called a minority because it helps them to receive some handouts from the government. Over the past few decades, the Muslim elites demanded setting up a minority financial corporation or an Urdu university, not the establishment of a chain of industrial training institutes for the education and training of the children of poor Muslim artisans and mechanics who work by the roadsides from Delhi to Kolkata. Therefore, it can be said that the minority politics used by Muslim elites to their benefit is harmful to common Muslims. There were also indications that in the UP elections, the minority politics was causing a reverse polarisation in favour of the BJP.

So, associated with the qualitative definition of minority are its behavioural characteristics. In the Indian society, the minority phenomenon can be described as a syndrome which moulds the behaviour of politicians, journalists, communities, or organisations such as political parties, NGOs and government departments. Everyone is a participant in this syndrome, which treats Muslims as a homogeneous group throughout India. This treatment of Muslims by non-Muslims and Muslims themselves is invalid because Indian Muslims are not homogeneous. Notably, Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir – or for that matter Sikhs in Punjab—cannot qualify to be a minority. Also, in Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims have sizeable population, they tend to behave as a dominant community, unlike a real minority which is subjugated.

Also, the lower castes among Muslims are not even considered a minority—both by non-Muslims and Muslims. So, the minority politics—whether practised by political parties or by journalists and authors when discussing Muslims in their writings—doesn’t even consider the welfare of Dalit Muslims and the Other Backward Classes among Muslims. This is despite a pioneering academic work carried out by sociologist Imtiaz Ahmed on caste-like divisions among Indian Muslims. It suits the media and the academic world to treat Muslims as a homogeneous community, as it suits the Sunni Indian Muslims who too like to see themselves as part of the Ummah, or the global Muslim nation. So, India has reached a stage where Indian Muslims behave like a dominant group, unlike a truly subjugated and discriminated group such as Dalits and women.

The ‘minority consciousness’ among Muslims is, therefore, more of a politics that prevents them from disengaging from emotional issues. To some extent, this is a north Indian phenomenon. The Muslims of southern India who have been largely free from minority consciousness have been able to register economic and educational growth while their northern counterparts remain emotionally engaged in issues which are more political than substantive. Also, compared to Muslims, India’s Christians, Sikhs and Parsis, though in a numerical minority, do not exhibit any ‘minority consciousness’—except for the fact that Parsis are worried about their diminishing numbers.

Given the highest degree of historical discrimination, social prejudices and forced exclusion from mainstream life, Dalits can be called a minority by compulsion. The Muslims in India are, unfortunately, a minority more by choice and less by compulsion, since they have been the ruling community in India, a primary reason why they conduct themselves boldly and assertively. In Lucknow, social anthropologist Nadeem Hasnain told me: “When will Muslims learn to live like a minority?” He added: “I think our biggest complex is that we have ruled India for 800 years.” The Muslims also enjoy a strong sense of history and culture which is an essential prerequisite for a community to take voluntary initiatives. And unlike the Dalits, Muslims carry no social stigma which could potentially inhibit their economic enterprise.

In conclusion, a key challenge is how to disengage Muslims from the minority consciousness. While any set of measures will require decades to bring about such change, some small steps can be initiated. One, political parties should close down their minority wings and start treating their Muslim members like all other members. Intellectually, the BJP is well placed to do this and therefore, it must set a precedent. Two, a case is pending before the Supreme Court which has been asked to rule that the Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institution. Unfortunately, this university encourages the minority consciousness among Muslims and sends a message to them that it is the only university in India where they can study.

If the apex court rules that the AMU is not a minority institution, it will unshackle Muslim minds and they will begin to think that there are thousands of other colleges open for them across India. In Aligarh, Tariq Islam, a professor at the department of philosophy, told me that if the Supreme Court rules against AMU, the university will start behaving like any mainstream university in India.

Third, the India government needs to make a decision to rename the ministry of minority affairs and change its mandate to include welfare of all disadvantaged Indians. Just as a suggestion, it can be renamed as the ministry for the welfare of the disadvantaged Indian citizens. It is a condition of democracies to help their underprivileged citizens, not communities. The government can think of including every Indian below the poverty line under this ministry’s mandate. It will also eliminate the electoral politics centred on demands for quota for Muslims.

There is a precedent for such a measure. The Planning Commission was renamed as the Niti Aayog and its mandate was changed. Similarly, the scope and mandate of the Ministry of Minority Affairs can be changed, which should also pave the way for elimination of quota system in years ahead. Importantly, it will help eliminate minority politics which harms Indian Muslims. Since minority politics has badly divided Indian society in recent decades, the Indian state must address this issue before it creates further long-term hostilities between Muslims and Hindus. – FirstPost, 16 March 2017

See other articles of the series on FirstPost

» Tufail Ahmad is a contributing editor at Firstpost and executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. He tweets @tufailelif.

Reservation

How the BJP has failed Hindu causes – Shreyas Bharadwaj

Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas

Shreyas BharadwajWhile Hindu children are taught that the Abrahamic monotheistic god is superior to their ancient gods, they might also be coerced into abandoning any symbols of their ancestral religion. Some might be expelled for fulfilling religious vows. Shouldn’t the BJP consider this an existential threat? – Shreyas Bharadwaj

Robert Conquest, the British-American chronicler of communist crimes against humanity, once listed the three laws of politics:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

2. Any organisation not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

3. The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organisation is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

A version of the second law is applicable to the party this writer’s family has voted for, i.e., the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for as long as this writer can remember.

Please do hear me out before you head over to the comments section.

Jizya TaxThe Right to Education Act is Jizya in secular India

The issue that reasonably informed Hindus have with the Right to Education Act (RTE) is simple. It is as anti-Hindu a legislation as it gets. That is quite a feat for any government to achieve in India given the sheer number of anti-Hindu laws we already have. The government that achieved this feat was the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The UPA at the time even managed to secure the BJP’s support when Parliament passed this sectarian legislation in 2009.

One has to ask, how could a political party with eminent lawyers like Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad in their ranks miss the fact that the RTE together with the ninety-third amendment amounts to a targeted tax on Hindu schools? How could they miss the fact that it effectively forces Hindu educational institutions and entrepreneurs to compete with Christian- and Muslim-run schools with one hand tied behind the back and one leg amputated?

Here is what it does:

It forces up the cost structure for Hindu-run institutions, destroys any semblance of autonomy and, therefore, forces managements to raise fees. Hindu parents faced with rising fees slowly begin shifting their wards to minority institutions. Christian institutions facing lower competitive pressures will now be free to fulfil their stated objectives.

Here is an example of that:

Christian Comic Kerala

While Hindu children are taught that the Abrahamic monotheistic god is superior to their ancient gods, they might also be coerced into abandoning any symbols of their ancestral religion. Some might be expelled for fulfilling religious vows. Shouldn’t the BJP consider this an existential threat? Will Hindu kids taught to think in such a manner about their own gods identify as Hindu in the future?

Now some may say that things will change now that we Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but on current record, the Prime Minister doesn’t appear motivated to protect the interests of Hindu educational institutions. In fact, the government is “effectively” implementing the RTE. We have seen some tinkering, with HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar saying “learning outcomes will be a part of the RTE Act”. However, the government hasn’t said anything on removing the onerous input requirements and costly mandates imposed exclusively on Hindu-run institutions. And this is a government pilloried by the mainstream media for being pro-Hindu.

It is not as if BJP governments in the states are doing any better. In a recent instance, the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra preferred to force a Hindu-run educational institution to go to court over non-payment of RTE dues rather than do the right thing and pay up. This episode ended with the Bombay High Court preaching to the school management to not worry only about money and fulfil their ‘social obligations’. We have to ask, what prevented the Fadnavis government from paying those dues on time? Was it because he had no skin in the game, given that his own children study in convent schools?

Since education is in the concurrent list, many other state governments thankfully paid only lip service to implementing the RTE. The Maharashtra state government, however, implemented the RTE . This is the same government which would never fail to transfer government grants in aid to educational institutions, especially the minority ones, due to the fear of being branded communal.

What’s worth pointing out is that it’s not as if the current political scenario is against the states and they can’t do anything to mitigate the impact of the RTE Act. The BJP-run states, for instance, can raise the compensation from the current minuscule amounts. For example, the reimbursement amount set by the government in Punjab for students from the economically weaker section admitted via RTE is Rs 1,370 per child for the year 2014-15. What prevents state governments from raising it to about Rs 20,000?

State governments can also make rules to relax teacher training requirements and to have teachers’ salaries in RTE schools match government school salaries. In fact, state governments should create a teacher subsidy fund to subsidise only the RTE schools (and therefore not subsidise RTE-exempt minority institutions). The payment cycles should be rationalised, and all reimbursements should be phased throughout the academic year. The state governments can strive to ensure there is no backlog in reimbursements. State governments or even the centre can expand the exemption list from only religious and linguistic minorities to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes, women and atheists. States can also exempt RTE schools from the no-objection certificate and similar requirements for setting up new branches.

All this and more can be done, but the BJP needs to first realise that the RTE is a blatantly anti-Hindu legislation.

Ready to wait campaignTemples, traditions and superstition laws

Over the past year, we saw two major ‘social justice’ movements aimed at securing entry for women at temples. While the first one was about allowing women to worship in the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple, the second one dealt with ending discrimination by the management of the Sabarimala Ayyappaswamy temple. As usual, the social justice groups blew the conch for such attacks on Hindu traditions and the “secular” commentariat joined in. In a sign of the times, the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sided with these groups over traditions. The argument was this: nothing in our holy books (of which we have many) mandated such a thing, and these rituals or traditions weren’t an essential part of Hinduism.

Instead of questioning the “social justice” groups and judges who sided with them on whether they had the authority to decide what is and what isn’t an essential part of Hindu dharma, Hindu “leaders” joined them in the name of “progress”. Never mind our ancient traditions, never mind the fact that we are not an Abrahamic religion with a book to guide our lives, never mind the fact that devout women worshippers came out with the campaign #ReadyToWait. Hindu “leaders” jumped at the chance to be minor saints in the church of progressivism.

One could list other such instances as well—no significant measure against the demographic invasion from Bangladesh, the destabilising activities carried out by foreign-funded Christian missionaries and many more.

To show its voters that it retains a pro-Hindu tilt, the BJP used to resort to tokenism. Remember Yoga Day, for instance? And there too, they took out Om from the prayer because it would offend Muslims and Christians. The party now feels so sure of securing the Hindu vote in future elections that it doesn’t even indulge the Hindus with these tokens.

The BJP should not forget that it is able to sell the slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas only on the strength of the Hindu vote. That won’t be the case when Prime Minister Modi leaves the arena though. To prevent such a disaster, the BJP should heed Swarajya’s R. Jagannathan’s suggestion—accept that it gets insignificant amounts of the “secular” vote and openly accept its pro-Hindu image. The BJP needs to fight its own mental colonisation before it can fight for Hindus.

PS – This writer leaves the applicability of Conquest’s third law on the BJP to the readers’ imagination. – Swarajya, 14 December 2016

» Shreyas Bharadwaj is a student at BML Munjal University. He is the campus coordinator of Students For Liberty. He is a young conservative who tries to spread conservative principles among his fellow students. With inputs from @yenkak. @mnshzz and @colonelgerard.

Hannibal defeats Rome

As was said to Hannibal by his own commander Maharbal, after the Carthaginians had inflicted a crushing defeat on the Romans at Cannae: “You know how to achieve victory, but you don’t know how to use victory.” In the end, Hannibal was defeated.

Perversion of secularism and the non-implementation of a uniform civil code – Nithin Sridhar

Nithin SridharIndia should have evolved an indigenous social and legal system rooted in Dharma. … Such a social and legal system would have developed unique responses to challenges that are unique to Indian society; would have been fair and righteous towards everyone, irrespective of their affiliations, and would have been, at the same time, firmly rooted in Indian civilization. But since we have already imported an alien system of secularism, it would do us good if we remove the prevalent perversions and implement it in its true sense by enacting a fair uniform civil code. – Nithin Sridhar

Dalai Lama Quote India is probably the only country, wherein the concept of secularism is most perverted, both in principle and practice. After Independence, India, first borrowed this alien principle without giving a thought regarding its necessity and applicability in Indian society, and then perverted it beyond measure to selectively implement it for petty political ends, with disastrous results.

Secularism in simple terms means “separation of State and Religion”. That is religious concerns will not dictate State policies and the State will not interfere in religious activities. This concept of secularism originated in the European society, necessitated by the constant struggle for power between the Church and the Monarchy. Secularism was thus a unique solution in response to unique challenges prevalent in Western civilization in general and European society in particular.

Since Indian civilization, being rooted in the concept of Dharma, wherein even a ruler is subjected to its tenets and answerable to his citizens, no dichotomy between religion and government ever existed. More importantly, the very concept of religion as understood in Western (Abrahamic) civilization is alien to India. Sanatana Dharma is not merely a religion bound by certain principles of faith, instead it is a way of life based on eternal principles that sustains all life—individual, social, ecological, and universal. Thus sacred as well as secular, social and political as well as religious and spiritual, all aspects of life derive their sustenance from Dharma. Thus, dichotomies like religion vs. science, state vs. church, etc., which were an important force in the European society, never even sprouted in India.

Yet, ignoring these realities of Indian civilization, the Indian leaders, after independence, first imported secularism into India and then perverted its tenets and selectively implemented them in appeasement of certain “minority” communities, all the while being discriminating towards the majority community. How else can one explain contradictory actions of various state and central governments during the last seven decades?

Let’s take the example of religious institutions like places of worship belonging to various religions. Various state governments, especially in South India have taken control over Hindu temples and are earning crores of rupees from them. This is a clear violation of secularism, which mandates no interference of governments in religious activities. Add to this is the fact that out of the crores that these state governments are earning from temples, only a fraction of the amount is set aside for the maintenance of temples, and the rest is diverted to the government’s coffers. How is it secularism? Now consider this, the same state governments have allowed a free functioning of churches and mosques without any state intervention in the name of “secularism”. Moreover, crores of taxpayers’ money are spent by some of the state governments to help minority communities to renovate and build their places of worship.

In other words, the state governments have encroached upon places of worship belonging to the majority Hindu community, all the while allowing churches and mosques a free run. They are, further, looting the money from the temples and then spending taxpayers’ money on the churches, mosques, and the like. This is how secularism—the separation of religion and government—is being practiced in India. But this perversion of secularism and discrimination against the majority is, perhaps, most visible in the case of religion-specific personal laws enshrined in our constitution, despite the fact that the Directive Principles call for the eventual adoption of a uniform civil code.

Hindu Code BillsThe presence of numerous personal laws goes against the very essence of secularism. Add to this, the fact that the way these personal laws have been enacted is completely discriminatory in nature. On the one hand, the Muslim community is governed by the laws which are largely derived from Sharia and Islamic jurisprudence. Similarly, Parsis have personal law rooted in their tradition. The Jews are not governed by any personal laws, but instead are governed by the dictates of their religion. Christian personal laws are also in sync with their religious tradition. On the other hand, the majority Hindu community is governed by secularized Hindu laws which are uprooted from Hindu tradition and practices. Though custom and usage have been deemed important in the Hindu personal laws, yet through passage of various civil laws like Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, etc. the rules governing Hindu marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. have been thoroughly secularized. Regarding the Hindu Code Bills of 1950’s, Dr. Parminder Kaur, Assistant Professor, Guru Nanak Dev University Regional Campus, Gurdaspur, writes in her article thus: “The Hindu Code Bills were a series of laws aimed at thoroughly secularizing the Hindu community and bringing its laws up to modern times, which in essence meant the abolition of Hindu law and the enactment of laws based on western lines that enshrined the equality of men and women, and other progressive ideas.”

Thus the Hindu community has been forced to shed its centuries-old customs and traditions, whereas minority communities like Muslims are freely allowed to retain their practices. Add to this the fact that Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, etc. all come under these Hindu personal laws, and thus are denied personal laws based on their own traditions and practices. It is a different issue that Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists share a common framework of Dharma with mainstream Hinduism and are deeply rooted in Indian culture and tradition. The point is just like various communities within mainstream Hinduism have their unique customs and practices, even Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists have their unique customs and practices, all of which have been discarded and replaced by secularized Hindu personal laws. This is a classic case of discrimination in the name of “secularism”.

The argument here is not that the present secularized Hindu laws are bad for the society, or that Hindus must imitate the customs and practices prevalent in Hindu society many centuries ago. The issue here is one of fairness and equal treatment. Either there should be a uniform civil code keeping with the true notion of secularism, wherein all citizens are treated as citizens, without reference to their religion in civil issues, or there should be as many personal laws as necessary to cater to various local customs, traditions, and practices. Even if one were to have a uniform Hindu personal law in such a scenario, then it must have enough flexibility and space to accommodate diverse local beliefs and practices among various communities, and these are to be framed after discussions with various religious authorities and community leaders from across the country and be rooted in Hindu religion and traditions. This is definitely not the case in the present scenario, wherein minority Muslims are allowed to follow religious principles, whereas majority Hindus, including Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists are forced to follow secularized personal laws.

Ishwar Chandra VidyasagarMore importantly, there was no necessity to secularize Hindu laws and Hindu society to usher in positive changes that were necessary, according to changing times. These positive changes could have been evolved from within Hindu tradition and culture itself. Hinduism has always been an evolving religious tradition. The presence of numerous smritis, dharma shastras, and many other texts, with each putting forward different viewpoints suitable to their own time and space, is the best evidence regarding flexibility and continuous evolution of Hinduism. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who was instrumental in bringing in the Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act of 1856, accomplished it by putting forward evidences, illustrations, and arguments from within the Hindu tradition. Thus, genuine Hindu personal laws, suitable for present times, rooted in values like righteousness, duty, fairness, equal opportunity to women, etc. could have been easily evolved from within Hindu philosophy and culture, through a consensus arrived after discussions and debate among various religious authorities and representatives of various Hindu communities belonging to different geographical regions. But, short-sightedness and a romance with western ideals and systems of governance, made our Indian leaders ignore Indian ideals and models present within Indian civilization.

This import of secularism, and later its perversion in the form of discriminating personal laws, have done not much good for the minority communities, especially women of those communities, either. Polygamy is prevalent and legally sanctioned under Muslim personal laws, whereas it is prohibited for everyone else. A Hindu woman has an absolute right over maintenance from her husband upon divorce, but a Muslim woman will not get maintenance beyond the period of iddah. Similarly, the grounds of divorce have been detailed and the elaborate legal process have been thoroughly established in the case of Hindus and Christians, but a Muslim woman could be divorced merely by a repetition of “talaq” thrice by her husband. The Hindu undivided family gets tax rebates, but others are bereft of this benefit. Similar discriminations exist in the case of adoption laws as well.

The gist is the perversion of secularism which has resulted in non-implementation of a uniform civil code, which has not done any good to anyone. On the one hand, the Hindu personal laws have ushered in equality and fairness in certain spheres of social life in Hindu society, but have done so at the cost of uprooting Hindu society and the legal system from the foundations of Dharma, which is bound to have adverse effects over a long-term. On the other hand, presence of separate personal laws for minority communities has kept them away, especially Muslim women, from gaining any benefits that are available for Hindus.

Ideally, India should have evolved an indigenous social and legal system rooted in Dharma (righteous duty) and Indian civilization. Such a social and legal system would have developed unique responses to challenges that are unique to Indian society; would have been fair and righteous towards everyone irrespective of their affiliations, and would have been, at the same time, firmly rooted in Indian civilization. But since we have already imported an alien system of secularism, it would do us good if we remove the prevalent perversions and implement it in its true sense by enacting a fair uniform civil code. – IndiaFacts, 9 July 2016

» Nithin Sridhar is an editor at IndiaFacts and writes on politics, religion, and philosophy from Mysore. He tweets at @nkgrock.

Nehruvian Secularism

Shah Rukh Khan Quote

Ambur: Tamil Nadu Police against Jihad – B. R. Haran

B. R. Haran“When we analyse the Ambur violence … we can clearly discern that extremists have been emboldened by the vote bank chasing and minority appeasing attitude of political parties. They have developed a mindset of showing numerical strength … to intimidate the police and government. … The state government—whether DMK or AIADMK—doesn’t give enough freedom to the police to crackdown on extremist elements. … Even if some officers take or attempt to take legal actions against fundamentalist organisations and activists, they are either transferred or subjected to enquiry or arrested.” – B. R. Haran

Pavithra w/o PalaniPart One

On the night of Saturday, 27 June 2015, organised violence was unleashed on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway and connected roads by a mob from Ambur, a town in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The violence targetted the police force and caused serious injuries to over 50 personnel and an equal number of members of the general public (mainly bus passengers), some of them severely. Public property worth over Rs 10 crores was destroyed.

The violence erupted after the death of 26-year old Shameel Ahmed, allegedly due to torture by police, while in illegal custody. Shameel Ahmed, a native of Pallikonda, worked in a leather manufacturing company in Ambur. There, he allegedly developed a relationship with 23-year old Pavitra, wife of Palani; the couple has one child.

Fearing social unrest on account of caste and communal sensitivities (Pavitra is a Hindu dalit), the management dismissed both from service on getting wind of their illicit relationship.

Later, Shameel Ahmed managed to get a job in Erode. He allegedly asked Pavitra to come and stay with him. At any rate, she seems to have joined him on 13 June.

Finding his wife missing, Palani filed a complaint in Pallikonda Police Station alleging that Shameel Ahmed had kidnapped Pavitra. But Shameel Ahmed claimed he had sent Pavitra back to Pallikonda and had conveyed the same to her family.  As Pavitra had not returned, acting on Palani’s complaint, the Pallikonda police took Shameel Ahmed for interrogation on 15 June.

After the police sent him back home after questioning, Shameel Ahmed developed some ailments and was admitted to government hospital in Ambur. Later he was shifted to Vellore government hospital, but as his condition worsened, he was shifted to Government Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital, Chennai, where he died on 26 June.

The victim’s family claims that Shameel Ahmed was illegally detained by the police for four days from 15 to 19 June in a private place and tortured brutally; he subsequently developed complications and finally died without responding to treatment. The police have refuted this.

Ambur Town Police StationAs news of the death of Shameel Ahmed spread, the community reportedly got permission from the police to take his body in a procession for burial. But more than 500 persons gathered in strength and stormed the Ambur Police Station, demanding immediate arrest of the Inspector and constables involved in the alleged torturing of Shameel Ahmed. They demanded that a murder case be filed against those police personnel.

At the complaint by Shameel Ahmed’s family, the police registered cases against Inspector Martin Premraj, Special Sub-Inspector Sabarathnam, Constables Nagaraj, Aiyappan, Murali, Suresh and Muniyan under Section 176(1) of the Cr. P.C. and placed them under suspension. First Divisional Magistrate Justice Sivakadatcham also ordered a judicial enquiry. Despite this prompt action by the Police and Judiciary, the Muslim organisations persisted with the demand of arresting the concerned police personnel, slapping a murder case on them, and resorted to violence.

The violence wreaked on Chennai-Bengaluru Highway brought traffic to a standstill. Buses, trucks, cars and even two wheelers were stoned and nearby buildings damaged.  Even as police reinforcements brought in, the mob swelled (to more than 3000 as per media reports) and indulged in violence and arson. They burnt down one van, one mini bus, four two wheelers, two police jeeps and a TASMAC wine shop. They ransacked nearby buildings, including two private clinics and Ambur Town police station. Nearby places like Nellikollai also witnessed violence.

The Police force led by Deputy Inspector General Thamizhchandran, Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari, Deputy Superintendents of Police Ganesan and Vijayakumar tried to control the mob, activists belonging to Islamic fundamentalist organisations began to target the police; more than 50 police personnel including Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari and 15 other policewomen were gravely injured and later hospitalised. Hundreds of police personnel were seen running for cover as they were attacked by sharp stones, blades, surgical blades and knifes. 

Aslam BashaA Planned Attack?

The local MLA, Aslam Basha, belongs to Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), the political face of the fundamentalist organisation Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK).  He allegedly instigated the mob and though he refuted the allegations, reports indicate that Muslims traders had been asked to down their shutters as early as 7.30 pm.

Sources say that youth from outside were brought in a day earlier and accommodated by the local fundamentalist organisations. Hence, the police are investigating whether the violence was pre-planned. The Bharatiya Janata Party and other organisations have demanded the arrest of MLA Aslam Basha under the National Security Act.

The local people and Hindu organisations suspect that the episode is an instance of “Love Jihad, the enticing and trapping non-Muslim girls into love, marriage and conversion. In Tamil Nadu this is said to be quite prevalent in districts like Vellore, Dindukkal, Nagapatinam, etc., and has embroiled both unmarried and young married girls. In this instance, Pavitra, the mother of a child, went all the way to Erode. The fact that her lover had the audacity to call her family and tell he had sent her back to Pallikonda, suggests he had strong organisational backing. He was also the local head of the Indian Tauheed Jamath. 

It is pertinent that Pavitra has still not reached her home and her whereabouts are unknown. It is therefore important to investigate whether Pavitra is alive or dead, and if dead, how, and where her body is. 

Ambur RiotersPost-Violence Scenario

The police could identify and arrest only 95 persons from the thousands who indulged in the mayhem. Although nearly 200 people were arrested initially, Aslam Basha’s interference and influence led to the release of many; finally the police detained only 95 persons, who have been sent to Vellore, Cuddalore and Salem prisons. 

The police have formed two separate squads to find out the whereabouts of Pavitra. The Revenue Department has formed four teams of officials to investigate the loss caused by destruction of public properties.

Meanwhile a fanatic group called ‘Facebook Muslim Media’ has reported in its timeline that:

A conglomeration of 24 Muslim political parties and organisations have met the Director General of Police in Chennai and submitted a memorandum listing their various demands. The team included its convener Mohammed Hanifa, K.K.S.M. Thekalan Bhagavi – State President of SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India), Mohammed Ismail – State President of Popular Front of India, S.N Sikkandar – State President of Welfare Party and Dharvesh Rashadhi – Chennai District President of Jamath-ul-Ulema. Apart from Director General of Police Ashok Kumar, Inspector General (Intelligence) Kannan, Deputy Inspector General Ishvaran and Superintendent of Police Arularasu also took part in the meeting.

The Muslim leaders submitted a memorandum with the following demands:

  • Inspector Martin and other police personnel of Pallikonda Police station who have tortured Shameel Ahmed and caused his death must be arrested under Section 302 and a murder case must be slapped on them.
  • The family of Shameel Ahmed must be given a solatium of Rs 20 lakhs.
  • Departmental action must be taken against those police officers who lathi-charged the general public in Ambur.
  • All those general public who were arrested must be released immediately
  •  Above actions must be taken immediately so as to remove the fear from the minds of the general public and prevalence of peace in Ambur.

In fairness, one may point out that in the demands submitted by the Muslim organisations, the term “General Public” alludes to one community only but has been used as a ploy to suggest that the general public supported them and joined in the violence, and thus escape from the law in the name of the general public.  

Hindu Munnani founder president, Sri Ramagopalan, issued a statement warning, “If people are driven to a situation of protecting themselves, if police themselves do not have security and protection, then the consequences would be disastrous”. He demanded that, “those who have instigated the violence, those who have spread it, those who have led the violence and those who have indulged in it must all be brought to book and the government must initiate severe actions against them.” 

The BJP, Hindu Makkal Katchi and other Hindu organisations have demanded the arrest of Aslam Basha, MLA from Ambur, under the National Security Act.

Al-Umma leader M. Mohammed AnsariAttacks on Police by fundamentalists not new 

Islamic fundamentalists attacking the police and security forces is not new Tamil Nadu and it has been going on for years. To cite a few instances, on 29 November 1997, traffic constable Selvaraj was murdered by three Al Umma activists in broad daylight, for charging them for driving without a driving license.

Eighteen months before this, four policemen were murdered by fundamentalists in Coimbatore and Madurai, including Jailer S. Jayaprakash of Central Jail, Madurai and Warder G. Boopalan of Central Prison Coimbatore.

Support from successive Governments and Political Parties 

Since independence, almost all political parties have been following Nehruvian Secularism, an euphemism for pandering to minorities at the cost of the rest of society. The desire of political parties to secure vote banks has encouraged audacious elements to exploit the weakness of politicians in various ways, a practice that has become pervasive across the nation in all states. This has naturally had a deleterious impact on law and order.

One consequence, especially in Tamil Nadu, is that religious conversions, encroachment of lands, and terrorist activities have increased in leaps and bounds. In Tamil Nadu, the deliberate anti-Hindu politics of the Dravidian parties have made matters worse. As a result, there has been an alarming and steadfast increase in Christian conversions and Islamic fundamentalism over the past five decades, with no relief in sight.

The Ambur violence must be seen in this background only. – Vijayvaani, 5 July 2015

Palani Baba, Abdul Nazer Mahdani & Badsha

Sword of JihadPart Two

There has been a surge in the growth of jihadi elements in Tamil Nadu in the last two decades. When a countrywide ban was enforced on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Tamil Nadu unit took on the avatars of “Al Umma” and “Jihad Committee”; Al Umma made its first major strike at the RSS Hqrs in Chennai in November 1993, killing 11 swayamsevaks.

The Jihad Committee, which has been regularly indulging in communal riots in the state, disintegrated when its leader, Palani Baba, was murdered. Thereafter the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) was launched in 1995 by Hyder Ali, a SIMI activist and former associate of Palani Baba in the Jihad Committee, who left Al Umma after a tiff with its president Basha. He was joined by Jawahirullah, another SIMI activist.

When Al Umma was banned for the Coimbatore blasts in February 1998, it changed colour as “Manitha Neethi Pasrai” (MNP). Thus, neither the banning of SIMI and Al Umma, nor disintegration of the Jihad Committee, reduced Islamic fundamentalism in the state. In fact, it started growing in different avatars with the support of the Dravidian parties, which go to any extent for the sake of vote banks. At present, the state has as many as 24 extremist organisations including recent additions such as the Popular Front of India (PFI), Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamath and Indian Tauheed Jamath, etc. Their aggressiveness has increased manifold over the last two years, with the state government turning a blind eye in order to protect its vote banks.  

US Consulate, ChennaiRecent Incidents

• 28 October 2011: A pipe bomb was planted en route BJP leader L. K.  Advani’s yatra between Thirumangalam and Srivilliputhur; investigation has been slow and tardy.

• 25 June 2012: State Intelligence and local police busted a training camp secretly conducted in Ramanathapuram; 30 youths from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were detained but left off later. The name of the organization and the reasons for youths coming from far off places and the secret nature of the camp were kept secret by the police for reasons best known to them.

• 14-18 September 2012: Muslim outfits mobilized thousands of people including women and children and hit the arterial roads (Mount Road and Cathedral Road) close to the American Consulate, to protest against the movie Innocence of Muslims. The crowd indulged in violence and American Consulate was attacked; vehicles were stoned and police were not spared. The entire stretch of Mount Road was used for namaaz and the violent protests continued for four days. For the first time in the history of this country, the American Consulate remained closed for four days. The AIADMK government did not take any action against the marauders, but made a scapegoat in the Chennai Commissioner of Police and transferred him out.

• 23 October 2012: Dr. Aravind Reddy, secretary BJP Medical Wing was murdered in Vellore. Though initial arrests were made by police citing enmity due to real estate businesses, it has now come out that he was murdered by jihadis (Al Umma).

• 26 October 2012: BJP National Executive Committee member H. Raja attacked in Illayangudi.

• 6 November 2012: RSS Tiruppur district secretary Anandan severely assaulted in Mettupalayam, near Coimbatore.

• 19-22 December 2012: Tamil Nadu Touheed Jamath issued handbills in Triplicane area with irreverent comments on saint, Ramalinga Vallalar. Members of Hindu organisations lodged a complaint with Zambazar police and the police booked a case against the complainant under non-bailable sections, while the accused was booked under bailable section after a mob besieged the police station. A police officer justified this action by saying that if a Muslim is arrested they would mob the station in hundreds!

• January 2013: Vishwaroopam, a Tamil movie produced by actor Kamal Hassan, faced the ire of Islamists. Though the movie talked only about Taliban terror, 24 Islamic outfits hit the streets and protested against the release of the film. In an act of appeasement, the government imposed a temporary ban. The Chief Minister conceded through a special press meet that she couldn’t provide security to all 524 cinema theatres and that the government would facilitate the negotiation between Kamal Hassan and the Islamic outfits. She made a special mention about “Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamath”, saying that with 7.5 lakh members it is a pan-Indian organisation. Islamists welcomed her statement by pelting stones and throwing petrol bombs at some theatres in the state. No arrests were made, possibly under government orders.

• 19 March 2013: BJP functionary, Murugan, murdered in Paramakudi.

• 15 April 2013: Hindu Munnani functionary, Manjunath, grievously attacked in Coonoor; five TMMK cadres arrested.

• 17 April 2013: Hindu Munnani functionaries Hariharan, Venkatraj and Jayakumar attacked while pasting posters condemning the attack on Manjunath in Coonoor; 10 TMMK cadres arrested.

• 21 April 2013: Senior BJP leader M.R. Gandhi attacked in Nagercoil.

• 15 May 2013: The state government announced that Memorials for Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan would be constructed to commemorate their fight against the British.

Sebastian Seeman and Yasin Malik• May 2013: Seeman, president of Tamil separatist outfit, “Nam Thamizhar,” brought Kashmir separatist leader Yasin Malik to Chennai to deliver a special address during a public meeting in Cuddalore, in memory of LTTE’s defeat. He even approached the Chennai High Court and obtained permission for the event, and until then the state government was not even aware of the visit of Yasin Malik. Waking up at the eleventh hour, the state government banned the public meeting. But, the event was held inside a marriage hall and Yasin Malik and Seeman addressed the gathering and were allowed to leave. No case was registered against either, despite their anti-national ranting.

• 1 July 2013: Hindu Munnani state secretary, S. Vellaiyappan, hacked to death by terrorists in broad daylight in Vellore.

• 6 July 2013: Muslims assembled in thousands and went on a rally without permission to the Secretariat violating the ban order, demanding enhancement of reservation from 3.5% to 7.5%., exemption for Muslims from Tamilnadu Marriage Registration Act 2009 and release of Muslim prisoners who have served more than 10 years in jail. The city came to a standstill for a few hours and even though the police stalled their march and dispersed them, no legal action was taken against them.

• 19 July 2013: BJP state general secretary, auditor Ramesh, murdered in Salem.

• After an uproar from Hindus across the state in the aftermath of several murders of Hindu activists and leaders, the AIADMK government was forced to speed up the investigation and finally the police apprehended Police Fakrudhin, Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik who were involved in many terror acts and murders. However, other activists who aided them have not been apprehended so far. Those absconding are also suspected for involvement in the bomb blast at the BJP office in Bengaluru.  

• 19 June 2014: Hindu Munnani president (North Chennai), Suresh, hacked to death by jihadis.

• October 2014, at S.P. Pattinam in Ramanathapuram district, local sub-inspector Kalidas was attacked with a knife by an extremist named Saiyed. He fired in self-defence resulting in Saiyed’s death. But under pressure from Islamic organisations, the AIADMK government slapped a murder case on sub-inspector Kalidas and sanctioned a solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the extremist’s family.  

When we analyse the Ambur violence in the backdrop of these incidents, we can clearly discern that extremists have been emboldened by the vote bank chasing and minority appeasing mentality and lackadaisical attitude of political parties. They have developed a mindset of showing numerical strength even for petty issues and indulging in huge protests to intimidate the police and government.

The state government (whether DMK or AIADMK) doesn’t give enough freedom to the police to crackdown on extremist elements. They give oral orders to police and pressurise them not to take any legal actions against Islamic fundamentalists. Even if some officers take or attempt to take legal actions against fundamentalist organisations and activists, they are either transferred or subjected to enquiry or arrested. As a result, the police force has become weak and spineless.

As a corollary, Muslim protests have acquired a new dimension over time. The Ambur violence shows how they have evolved, using teenagers to indulge in stone-pelting police and public property, a practice normally seen in Kashmir where the separatists involve teenagers in stone-pelting. Yet, for the first time in Tamil Nadu, such a strategy was employed in Ambur, along with blades, surgical blades, knifes and wooden logs. Surgical blades are normally used by jihadis in Kerala, but have now come to Tamil Nadu.

Employing jihadis from outside the area or the state to execute crimes (either violence or murder) is the latest strategy being adopted in Tamil Nadu. In Ambur too, jihadis from outside were deployed, a large many of them teenagers (youth not more than 17 years old). Thousands of members of various organisations were gathered through Facebook and Whatsapp messages. Sources say activists from other states and even foreign countries are seen across the state in various towns; they are mainly housed in mosques and jamaths.  It is imperative that the police investigate their identities and antecedents, especially why they have entered the state, and whether they carry valid travel permits and visas.

Although it is almost a week since the Ambur violence occurred, barring the BJP, no other political party has had the courage to condemn the violence, only because it was perpetrated by one community!

Self-styled Dalit champions like Thirumavalavan and Krishnasami, who run the so-called Dalit parties and join hands with minorities to separate Dalits from the Hindu mainstream, have not had the guts to protest against the disappearance of Pavitra. They have not even cared to meet her husband, Palani.

Tamil Nadu PoliceHelpless Police Force

Some junior police personnel, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Tamil daily Dinamalar  (30 June 2015) that:

“On 27th night we were only 800 personnel on duty. But those [who] indulged in violence were not less than 6000 people. When Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari was attacked, we acted in defence and tried to stop it. The violent people pelted stones on us and attacked us with wooden logs. As we were less in number, we simply couldn’t do anything.  We were forced to run for life. Many police women wept and cried out while they were running for cover and security. The Muslims burnt down buses and other vehicles which came that way.  They attacked the bus passengers. We had to remain as mute spectators for two reasons. 

“Firstly, we were instructed not to ‘lathi charge’ the violent men as the RK Nagar by-election (where Ms Jayalalithaa was contesting) was going on, not to shoot down the perpetrators and to talk to them and pacify them. The higher authorities have told us, ‘You must take the blows but should not return them or retaliate’. So, we had to withdraw.

“Secondly, we were very less in number. This must be the first instance in Tamil Nadu in which 54 police personnel have run away from the scene of violence after getting severely assaulted. We are ashamed of it. There was no mistake on our part; we had to abide by the orders of our superiors. After getting assaulted by the violent men, we had to take treatment at hospitals. Our superior officers came and met us at the hospital and consoled us. But they didn’t even enquire what happened and how we got hurt.”     

Martin PremrajInvestigation handed over to CB-CID

The Crime Branch CID (CB-CID) has taken over the investigation and has taken Inspector Martin Premraj into custody at an undisclosed place for interrogation. They have taken the investigation into four directions namely, Ambur violence, Pavitra’s abduction, interrogation of Pallikonda police and death of Shameel Ahmed.

Meanwhile TMMK branch secretary Sikkandar (32), TMMK town secretary Imran (26), Iqbal (34) of Reddi Thoppu, Muneer (24) of Gaspah and Thauhath (24) were arrested. With this the number of arrested persons has gone up to only 118. 

Union Home Ministry’s move 

The Union Home Ministry has asked the Intelligence Bureau to investigate the violence. Sleuths from IB have met the injured police personnel recuperating at Vellore and Ambur government hospitals. They have gathered some vital information such as (i) the attack was pre-planned by a fundamentalist outfit (ii) they conducted 12 secret meetings in this connection which were funded by a few industrialists of Ambur and Vaniyambadi and (iii) the names of the important persons who instigated the activists to indulge in violence.

JayalalithaaChief Minister must act NOW!

When the state fails to protect the police and security forces doing their duty, the latter naturally refrain from taking action against fundamentalists and start fearing them. This does not augur well for the security of the state and the consequences can be disastrous.

During the Vishwaroopam episode the Chief Minister admitted: “Tamil Nadu Touheed Jamath is a huge organisation with more than 7 lakh members; it must be taken into confidence and the issue must be negotiated with them, for it is also a pan-Indian organisation. The government cannot afford to provide security for 524 cinema theatres, as we do not have enough strength in the police force.”

Then, when the jihadis indulged in mayhem, killing half dozen people and maiming scores of Hindu activists and leaders, the then Director General of Police met the Chief Minister at her Kodanadu (Ooty) office-cum-residence and presumably as per her instructions came out with a detailed press statement. It said, “The Hindu activists were murdered due to money laundering, real estate issues and illicit relationships. This has got nothing to do with jihadis.”

Later in the assembly, the Chief Minister stated, “Most of the criminals are first time offenders. Hence it would not be possible to gather intelligence inputs about them. Crimes cannot be eradicated totally, but could only be controlled”.

The Chief Minister has till date not said a word about the unprecedented violence at Ambur. Is it not the duty of her government to clear the atmosphere of fear which has engulfed the state, especially since the formation of her government in 2011? The Chief Minister owes an explanation to the people about the increasing Islamist aggression, and also immediate and necessary action to restore peace and harmony. – Vijayvaani, 5 July 2015

» B. R. Haran is a senior journalist in Chennai.

Ambur Riot