Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Discussion on doctrinal issues
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Indian Muslim victims of hate crimes live in fear
Sun, February 20, 2022, 6:30 PM
Anwar Ali
Anwar Ali was allegedly killed by a Hindu mob in March 2019
As Uttar Pradesh, one of India's most polarised states, votes for a new government, the spotlight is on its 40 million Muslims. BBC Hindi's Kirti Dubey tracked the status of four cases involving hate crimes against Muslims during Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's tenure.

"He used to carry a thin towel on his shoulder. They stuffed that in his mouth as they killed him," said Kamrun Ali, wiping away her tears.

Her husband, Anwar Ali, was allegedly killed by a Hindu mob in March 2019 when he tried to prevent them from destroying an Islamic religious structure near his house in Sonbhadra district.

Police arrested 18 people - all local Hindus, including some minors - over his death but they were granted bail within a few months.

Ms Ali said her family is still waiting for justice.

Beaten and humiliated for being a Muslim in India

Who can stop India WhatsApp lynchings?

Lynchings and hate speech targeting Muslims have regularly made headlines since 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power.

Critics say the accused are often supporters of the party - and that anti-Muslim rhetoric by BJP leaders has emboldened them. The BJP denies the accusations, but its leaders rarely condemn such incidents.

Mr Modi himself was fiercely criticised for remaining silent for months after a 52-year-old Muslim man was lynched in 2015 in UP for allegedly storing beef in his home. The killing sent shock waves around the world but in the years since there have been several such attacks on Muslims.

Some of the worst incidents have happened in UP, where the BJP's Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-robed Hindu priest who has often made inflammatory speeches, became chief minister in 2017.

It's hard to say how many lynchings or hate crimes happen every year - in 2017, India's crime records bureau collected the data but did not publish it.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath at the release of the Development booklet highlighting development work during four years of his government, at Lok Bhavan on March 19, 2021 in Lucknow, India.
Mr Adityanath has sparked many controversies with his divisive rhetoric
In the four cases examined by the BBC, victims' families alleged police apathy and said they were dissatisfied with the cases' progress. The accused are out on bail in three of the cases, while no one has been arrested yet in the fourth, more than seven months later.

Prashant Kumar, additional director general of law and order in the state, denied allegations of police indifference and inefficiency.

"The public has no right to beat anyone and if such incidents happen we take strict action against the accused," he said.

But Mohammed Asad Hayat, a criminal lawyer who represents victims of hate crimes, alleged that the police's reluctance to anger powerful people has weakened such investigations.

"Lynchings happen under a political agenda," he said.

Meanwhile victims' families say they are living in fear, and some have even fled their homes.

Distraught families
Anwar Ali's eldest son, Ain ul Haq, alleges that the arrival of local school teacher Ravindra Kharwar sparked communal tensions in their village, Parsoi.

"He encouraged young Hindu men to assemble and raise slogans against the Imam Chowk (where a religious structure stood)," he says.

Mr Haq says the group damaged it twice, but both times police intervened and negotiated its rebuilding.

But on 20 March 2019, according to the case registered by police, Ali caught a group destroying it a third time, and they turned on him. His son says they killed him.

Ali's post-mortem report says he died of wounds caused by a "sharp-edged weapon".

Kamrun Ali
Kamrun Ali, Anwar Ali's wife, says they are still waiting for justice
The police investigation notes name Mr Kharwar as the main suspect. They raided his house but couldn't find him - he was marked as "absconding". Mr Kharwar denied allegations of his involvement.

When police filed charges, his name was missing. "We did not find any evidence against Ravindra Kharwar," the district's police superintendent Amarendra Singh said.

Mr Kharwar, a member of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - the ideological parent of the BJP - was transferred to a school in another village after Ali's death.

One of the main accused, Rajesh Kharwar, told the BBC that the school teacher used to tell them that Muslims are a threat to majority Hindus.

"We are in a deep mess and facing charges but he was saved," Rajesh, who is not related to the teacher, says.

But Mr Kharwar says he was at home during the murder and doesn't know the other accused.

Nearly three years on, Mr Haq said he is disappointed that all 18 accused are out on bail. It's unclear when the trial will begin.

The frustration is shared by Shahrukh Khan whose father, Sher Khan, was shot dead in June 2021 in Mathura district. Seven months later, there have been no arrests.

Mathura police superintendent Shrish Chandra said he was "not authorised" to explain why.

Police say the 50-year-old Khan was killed during a scuffle with "unknown" villagers while transporting cattle. But his son alleges that the killer was Chandrashekhar Baba, a religious guru who runs a cow shelter - Mr Chandrasekhar has denied this.

Shahrukh told the BBC he fainted when shrapnel from a bullet hit him during the fight. He says he woke up the next day at the police station, where he learnt of his father's death.

Shahrukh also alleges that he tried several times to add Mr Chandrashekhar's name to a police complaint but was dissuaded by police - an allegation Mr Chandra denies.

Sher Khan
Sher Khan was shot dead while transporting cattle
Mr Chandrasekhar says he intervened in a fight between Khan and some villagers and sent injured people to hospital.

It's unclear what sparked the fight but buffalo meat sellers and cattle traders have been assaulted by Hindu vigilante groups who accuse them of transporting beef. While cow slaughter is illegal in several Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh, buffalos are exempt from the ban.

Police however arrested Shahrukh and five others for cattle smuggling on a complaint filed by Mr Chandrasekhar.

"I couldn't even attend my father's funeral because I was in jail," Shahrukh says.

"If they [the accused] believed that my husband was a cattle smuggler, then they should have handed him over to the police. Why did they open fire at him?" asks Sitara, Khan's wife.

Victims fearful, perpetrators free
In May last year, a viral video of a group of men beating a man in Moradabad district led to outrage online.

When the BBC visited the house of the victim, Shakir Qureshi, his mother started crying out of fear. She eventually allowed her son to speak.

Mr Qureshi, whose family has been selling meat for decades, says he was taking buffalo meat to a customer on his scooter when a group of men blocked his way and accused him of carrying beef.

"I wept and pleaded with them that I wasn't carrying beef, but they kept thrashing me.''

Shakir Qureshi
Shakir Qureshi was assaulted while taking buffalo meat to a customer
He says he was too scared to report the assault to the police - he only did so after the video went viral.

Police arrested six people, including Manoj Thakur, who was associated with a cow vigilante group. Mr Thakur spent two months in prison before he got bail.

Moradabad senior police superintendent Bablu Kumar didn't respond to questions about the status of the case.

But Mr Thakur admitted his role in the assault to the BBC - he said he wouldn't have been arrested if the video hadn't gone viral.

After the assault, Mr Qureshi stopped selling meat - he now works as a daily-wage labourer.

Fear and resignation are not uncommon among victims' families who feel they have no other option.

In May 2017, 60-year-old Ghulam Ahmed was found dead in a mango orchard he was guarding in his village in Bulandshahr district - the post-mortem report says he died of "severe internal injuries".

Police arrested nine men linked to a right-wing group - Hindu Yuva Vahini - formed by Mr Adityanath in 2002. They are all out on bail and deny the charges.

Police say he was killed in retaliation against his Muslim neighbour eloping with a Hindu woman days before.

Inter-faith relationships have long been fraught in India, but in recent years, Hindu-Muslim couples have faced also the wrath of vigilantes who accuse Muslim men of luring Hindu woman to convert their faith.

Ghulam Ahmed
Ghulam Ahmed was killed days after his Muslim neighbour eloped with a Hindu woman
Ahmed's family was among the few Muslims in a village dominated by upper-caste Hindus.

The key witness, Ahmed's brother, Pappu, said he had seen men masked by saffron cloths leading Ahmed away. But he later refused to testify.

Ahmed's son, Vakil Ahmed, says he understands. He says the fact that the accused are from the powerful farm-owning community, while the Muslims mostly work as daily wage labourers, makes it harder for them.

He adds that the main accused, Gavinder, was "welcomed back with garlands" when he was released from jail. Gavinder has denied committing the crime.

The family has since moved away. "How can we continue to live in this village?" Vakil asks.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/in ... 17469.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

Twenty years ago, on February 27, 2002 a coach of the Sabarmati Express was returning with passengers from the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya when it was set ablaze near Godhra railway station by a mob consisting of people from the Muslim community. As many as 59 Hindu devotees, including children, were charred to death in the train attack. The incident triggered communal riots across Gujarat.

Latifa Yusuf Giteli is keeping a close watch on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, worried about the fate of a dear student, who is pursuing a medical degree and is stuck in the ongoing war.

The student was one of hundreds who have graduated from Giteli’s school, which she started in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, one of the worst communal clashes in India that left at least 1,000 people dead and left thousands injured. Now 60, Giteli said the violence pushed her to work for better education in her community.

“I visited a relief camp near Godhra where some of my relatives were seeking refuge after the communal violence. Some of them were beaten up, some were separated from their children, their houses burnt down. I also lost some of my relatives in the riots. I was shaken from the core and decided to do something to uplift the community,” said Giteli, who started a school for poor families and a training centre for women to earn a living.

The school which collects a nominal annual fee of ₹100 per student, initially saw enrolment of 8-10 students. Today, there are about 400 students at United Economic Forum Public School that teaches in English and Gujarati.

“Education has been one of the biggest drawbacks in our community. In the last twenty years, the biggest change in the post-Godhra scenario is education. Not only boys, today Muslim girls are taking up careers as doctors and physiotherapists. One of my students is stuck in Ukraine where he had gone to study medicine,” said Giteli who studied only till Class 7.

Mukhtar Muhammad, a businessman who turned into a social worker after the communal riots, agreed. “Education has certainly become very important and the Muslim leaders have also been of that view after 2002. The community has been living under heightened and constant fear ever since,” said Muhammad, who escaped a mob attack at Kalol in 2002.

He lived in a Hindu dominated society then where his was the only Muslim family. “I lived with Hindus then and did not have many Muslim friends. My car was attacked by a mob while traveling with my family and this is when I decided to move to a Muslim society,” he said. He now lives in the Juhapura area in Ahmedabad that has emerged as a big Muslim ghetto with a population of about 500,000.

Then there are others like Nadeem Jafri, founder and chief mentor of Hearty Mart, a retail chain whose success has become a case study at premier B-schools.

“There are two views. Some feel there is alienation of Muslims after 2002 and this is seen today not only in Gujarat but across India including Karnataka. But there is also hope and my story is about that. Back then, Juhapura did not even have a bank. Today it houses upmarket residential schemes and people from other communities come here to dine at the number of outlets that have opened here,” said Jafri who set up his first neighbourhood store at Juhapura in 2004.


In the aftermath of the unabated violence that lasted for about three days before the army troops intervened and brought the situation under control, the Supreme Court set up a special investigation team (SIT) in 2008. The SIT investigated nine major cases, including the violence at Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaam and Gulbarg Society case.

Incidents of communal clashes were however reported from various parts of the state for the next three to four months.

In the 12 major Godhra and post-Godhra riots cases, about 600 persons were accused, of which close to 200 have been convicted, over 150 being served life sentences. They include the nine post-Godhra cases that were ordered for reinvestigation by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, Godhra train burning case and Bilkis Banu and Best Bakery cases.

The trial courts have given their verdict in eight of these cases, but their decisions have been challenged in the Gujarat high court and Supreme Court.

Among the most high-profile cases taken up by the SIT was the Naroda Gaam case, where 11 people were burnt alive by a mob on February 28. “It has been twenty years and their families are still awaiting justice. The final arguments are on,” said Shamshad Pathan, a lawyer representing the victims’ families at a trial court in Ahmedabad.

Naroda Gaam is less than three km away from Naroda Patiya, where 97 people were killed by a mob in one of the most gruesome incidents of violence. One of the accused in this case was former state minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Maya Kodnani who was found guilty by the trial court and sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment in 2012. Another 32 people were convicted

The Gujarat high court acquitted her in 2018, citing that none of the witnesses against her were reliable. The high court upheld the convictions of 13 people, including Babu Bajrangi a former Bajrang Dal leader, and convicted three more while acquitting 18 of the 32 people convicted by the trial court. Bajrangi is out on bail on health grounds.

The SIT also investigated the Gulbarg massacre case, where 69 people were killed in a housing society during the rioting. Those killed included Congress MP Ehsan Jafri whose wife Zakia Jafri alleged wider conspiracy in the riots.

Jafri and activist Teesta Setalvad’s organisation, Citizen for Justice and Peace, blamed then chief minister Narendra Modi and about 60 others for their alleged inaction during the Gujarat riots. In 2012, the SIT gave a clean chit to Modi and submitted it to the local magistrate’s court, which accepted the report. Jafri challenged the report and sought reinvestigation, which was rejected by the court in October 2017. The matter is now being heard in the Supreme Court where Jafri has challenged the SIT report.


A special court in June 2016 found 24 people guilty in the case. 11 were convicted for murder, and 13 were found guilty of lesser offences, including rioting. The court acquitted 36 people.

In 2019, the Supreme Court awarded a compensation of ₹50 lakh to Bilkis Bano, who was gangraped in Dahod district of Gujarat on March 3, 2002. The court also directed the Gujarat government to provide her a government job and accommodation as per rules. In May 2017, a court in Mumbai upheld life sentence to 11 people for raping Bano, who was pregnant.

“There were 18 cases of post-Godhra riots in Panchmahals and Dahod in which I was involved to get justice for the victims. Except for the Bilkis Bano case, all the accused have been acquitted in the other cases,” said Mukhtar Muhammad.


In September 2008, the Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the train burning, said the fire was not an accident, but a conspiracy and that the coach was set ablaze by a mob.

“If the fire had occurred as a result of an accident, then in that case the passengers in coach S/6 would have got out of it through all the four doors of the coach. As a matter of fact all of them except three had got out of the coach on the yard side. If it was a case of an accidental fire, the windows of all the coaches on the left hand side would not have been found closed nor the windows of coach S/6 would have been found in broken condition. The accidental fire would not have led to such a high casualty or extensive damage to the coach. The persons who had gathered on the left hand side of the train, would have come there after seeing the fire. If they were merely onlookers then they would have tried to help the passengers,” according to the panel’s report.

In October 2017, the Gujarat high court commuted death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment and upheld life imprisonment of 20 convicts awarded by the trial court.

In August 2018, a special court in Ahmedabad awarded life imprisonment to two people convicted in the 2002 Godhra train burning case. Last year in February, the key accused – Rafiq Hussain Bhatuk – was nabbed from Godhra town. He was part of the core group of accused people involved in the conspiracy, according to the state police.

“The Muslims have been marginalised since 2002. The Godhra and post-Godhra violence changed the political scenario in Gujarat. The rival Congress was not committed to secular politics and it showed as they did not take any firm stand on Godhra. From 1981, Congress has been playing to the gallery,” said Ghanshyam Shah, a retired professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

He said though communal clashes have historical roots, their nature, modus operandi and scale have changed since the 1960s.

“They have been largely engineered for mobilising marginalised communities by invoking insecurity, communal consciousness and patriotism,” according to Shah.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-ne ... 91256.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

Pakistan condemns burning, vandalization of Muslims' houses by 'Hindu zealots' in India's Rajasthan

Naveed Siddiqui Published April 5, 2022

Properties set on fire during clashes in the Karauli area of India's Rajasthan state on April 2. — Photo courtesy Indian Express
Pakistan strongly condemned on Tuesday the "senseless vandalization and burning of more than 40 houses of" the Muslim community in the Karauli area of India's Rajasthan state by "Hindu zealots" during recent communal clashes, a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

According to Indian publication The Wire, the clashes broke out on April 2 "after stones were pelted at a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Hindu new year, prompting authorities to clamp a curfew, suspend the internet and deploy 600 police personnel".

Around 35 people were injured in the violence and 46 people were initially taken into custody by police for interrogation, a report by NDTV said, adding that a case was registered against 13 people. Later, the report said, police arrested another 33 people for violating the curfew order.

The reports said houses and shops were set on fire during the episode but did not confirm the number of properties that were damaged.

However, in its condemnation, Pakistan said over 40 properties belonging to the Muslim community were set ablaze and vandalised by "radical Hindu zealots belonging to the BJP-RSS (Bharatiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) dispensation with the connivance of local security authorities" during the clashes.

"Equally alarming is the apathy of state machinery which wantonly looked the other way and failed in its basic duty of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens," the statement said, adding that regretfully, minorities in India, especially Muslims continued to live under fear and intimidation.

"The BJP-RSS combine has enabled [the] perpetration of senseless violence against minorities as part of its ‘Hindutva’ agenda marked by hate and majoritarianism," the statement read.

It added that recent history was replete with traumatic instances that reflected the current Indian regime’s deep-seated animosity against Muslims in the country.

"Deafening silence of the BJP leadership and absence of discernible action against ‘Hindutva’ proponents must ring alarm bells across the international community. Rather than relenting in their hostilities against Muslims, the BJP-RSS activists have intensified the atrocities" the statement said.

In this connection, the FO cited the example of Yati Narsinghan, an infamous Haridwar priest, once again "brazenly" calling upon Hindus on April 3 to take up arms against Muslims.

"Pakistan calls upon the international community to take immediate notice of the worrying level of Islamophobia in India and prevail upon Indian authorities to prevent systematic human rights violations against minorities, particularly Muslims, and take effective steps to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all minorities in India," the statement read.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1683579/pakis ... -rajasthan
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Tipu Sultan: Painting of British defeat in India sold at auction
Aparna Alluri - BBC News, Delhi
Wed, March 30, 2022, 8:34 AM
The Battle of Pollilur

A painting capturing the momentous victory in battle of Indian rulers over British East India Company troops in 1780 has sold at auction in London.

Sotheby's accepted a bid of £500,000 ($658,000) for the painting.

It shows Haider Ali, the sultan of the kingdom of Mysore, and his son, Tipu, defeating Company forces in the famed Battle of Pollilur.

Tipu, known as the "Tiger of Mysore", became the Company's fiercest foe until he was defeated and killed in 1799.

Historian William Dalrymple has described the painting of what unfolded in Pollilur as "arguably the greatest Indian picture of the defeat of colonialism that survives".

Mr Dalrymple, whose book, The Anarchy, documents the rise of the East India Company in the 18th Century, has called it "the most crushing defeat" and one that "nearly ended British rule in India".

Tipu, who got his first command at Pollilur, "turned the tide" against the British, Mr Dalrymple told the BBC.

Scenes from the battle were first commissioned by Tipu himself in 1784. They were painted on the walls and frescoes of his palace - Daria Daulat Bagh - in Srirangapatnam, then the capital of Mysore in southern India.

Mural painting inside the Srirangapatam palace
Scenes of the battle are painted on murals in Tipu's palace in Mysore
Some of these scenes were also painted at least twice on paper using ink and gouache pigments.

One of those paintings was sold at auction in 2010 and acquired by the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. It was brought to England by Colonel John William Freese, who was in Srirangapatnam after Tipu's defeat. His family handed it down over generations before selling it in 1978 to a private collector, who sold it in 2010.

The origin of the second painting, which Sotheby's is now auctioning, is less clear. Given how similar it is to the one acquired by Freese, it's assumed to have also been brought to England by a British officer.

It first appeared at auction in the early 1980s, Benedict Carter of Sotheby's told the BBC. "But we don't know what happened to it in the 100 years before that." It has only been briefly displayed before, in 1990 and 1999, leaving it in a "pretty remarkable state", he said.

The painting depicts - in vivid, triumphant and gory detail - what happened on the morning of 7 September 1780.

Tipu ambushed Company forces led by Colonel William Bailie near a village named Pollilur not far from Madras (now Chennai), a major British trading outpost at the time. By the time Haider Ali arrived with reinforcements, the "work had been pretty much done", Mr Dalrymple says.

The 32ft-long painting, which stretches across 10 sheets of paper, shows Tipu atop an elephant while overseeing his troops. Towards the other end of the painting, his cavalry is attacking Company forces on both sides as they form a square around an injured Bailie, who is in a palanquin.

It even shows a cart of ammunition exploding - a moment in the battle, Mr Dalrymple writes in an essay accompanying the auction - that was recorded by Bailie's younger brother John: "Two ammunition tumbrils were hit and both blew up simultaneously, making 'large openings in both lines, on which their Cavalry made the first impression. They were followed by the Elephants, which completed our overthrow."

"It's a stunning masterpiece, it's unprecedented," Mr Dalrymple told the BBC.

He believes that's why despite the spectacular defeat, the paintings were commissioned by British officers such as Col Freese - because the murals in Srirangapatam were just as, if not more, striking.

Another theory is that the two paintings were made as preparatory drawings when the Company restored the frescoes in Serirangapatnam under the orders of Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. Tipu himself had ordered the murals whitewashed after losing a subsequent war to the Company - the images were "incredibly bloody", Mr Dalrymple says, and having them painted over was perhaps a gesture of peace.

Despite his eventual defeat, Tipu was respected by the British for his military acumen and "the way he died gallantly in battle", says Mr Dalrymple.

So it's not so surprising to historians that the British chose to retain evidence of the Battle of Pollilur.

The painting's significance is drawn from the battle's import, Mr Dalrymple says. Tipu was "the most feared by the British", the only Indian ruler at the time who never allied with them.

By the mid-18th Century, the Company gained an advantage on the battlefield in India, thanks to military innovations in Europe. But Tipu, Mr Dalrymple says, managed to match them by 1780, as the win in Pollilur shows.

In Pollilur, Tipu's army had better guns, better artillery and his cavalry was better prepared in terms of inventions and tactics. They were able to fire rockets from their camels, for instance, and this was a technique, which, in turn, later inspired the British to invent their own rocket system.

But in the end, despite Tipu's continued resistance to the English, there was no lasting alliance among the Indian kingdoms that had emerged from a splintered Mughal empire.

Now, with his legacy as a Muslim king being re-evaluated in an increasingly Hindu nationalist India, the Battle of Pollilur is a reminder of the obstacle he posed to British conquest.

So much so that when he was killed, the victors took his campaign tent back to Britain, where it remains to this day - a trophy from the defeat of the "Tiger of Mysore".

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/gr ... 07904.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Madhya Pradesh: Why an Indian state is demolishing Muslim homes
Zoya Mateen - BBC News, Delhi
Thu, April 14, 2022, 7:40 PM
The people who would destroy his home came early in the morning, remembers 72-year-old Shaikh Mohammad Rafiq.

A soft-drink seller in India's Madhya Pradesh state, Mr Rafiq and his sons had had a long night. "It's Ramadan, so our business usually picks up later in the evening," he said.

So when the police first arrived at their doorstep on Monday morning, they were all asleep. "But when we heard a loud bang, we realised that someone was breaking the shutters of the gate," he said.

Outside, hundreds of officers backed with bulldozers had surrounded his house - located in a small Muslim neighbourhood in Khargone city - fending off anyone who tried to stop them. By the time they were finished, all that was left was rubble, he said.

"We were so frightened that we did not utter a word - just watched in silence as they took apart everything."

Several Muslim homes and shops are being torn down in Madhya Pradesh in the aftermath of communal violence which broke out on 10 April, the day of the Hindu festival of Ram Navami. Social media is flooded with distressing images of big yellow bulldozers ploughing into neighbourhoods, as weeping families stare helplessly.

This has sparked outrage, with critics calling it a thinly veiled attempt to marginalize India's 200 million Muslims by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP party, which is also in power in Madhya Pradesh. The state government has openly put the blame on them: "If Muslims carry out such attacks, then they should not expect justice," Home Minister Narottam Mishra told NDTV news channel.

It has also raised grave concerns about the "flagrant manner" in which these demolitions have been carried out, with experts saying there is no legal justification for doing this. Some have called it an instance of collective punishment against Muslims.

"You are disproportionately punishing people of one community without following any due process. This is not just illegal, but it also sets a dangerous precedent," said Arshad Warsi, a senior lawyer based in the state's Indore city.

"The message is: If you question or challenge us in any way, we will come for you, we will take your homes, your livelihoods and take you down."

The violence first began when large processions of Hindu devotees marched past Muslim neighbourhoods and mosques, playing incendiary music that called for violence against the minority community. At a few places, some Muslims and Hindu marchers are reported to have thrown stones at each other.

Many Muslims have accused the police of then allowing Hindu mobs to attack them. Videos showing frenzied men brandishing swords and desecrating mosques have shocked the country since Sunday.

'We Muslims are treated like the sacrificial goat'

Shahbaz Khan, 28, alleged that Hindu devotees broke minarets of a local mosque in Sendhwa city - about 85 miles (137km) from Khargone - and chased Muslims with stones.

But the "real horror" came the next day, when authorities "came out of nowhere" and bulldozed his house, he said.

"My wife and sister wept and begged the police to let us take our things - at least let them take the Koran out of the house - but they didn't listen," he said, speaking from the mosque where he's now taking shelter.

"We are left with nothing, but no-one seems to care. Every time we go to the police station, they shoo us away."

The state government says these demolitions are a form of punishment against those who allegedly participated in stone-throwing and arson. "The houses where the stones have come from will be turned into a pile of stones themselves," Mr Mishra said recently.

Legally, however, the move has been justified on the grounds of unauthorized construction - the police claim they are targeting illegal encroachments of people squatting on public land.

Khargone District Collector Anugraha P said "it's a mix of both".

"Finding out culprits one by one is a time-taking process, so we looked at all the areas where rioting took place and demolished all the illegal constructions to teach rioters a lesson," she explained.

But Mr Rafiq said there were no instances of violence in his neighbourhood. "I even have all my property papers to prove it's not illegal," he added. "But the police came out of nowhere, refused to listen to me and snatched my home."

Experts also question this logic - they say that punishing someone for an alleged crime using laws meant for another makes no sense.

Beaten and humiliated for being a Muslim in India

"Legality is being used as a cover - these homes were illegal even before the religious processions. You can't choose to act in retaliation because that is defiance of all due processes," political scientist Rahul Verma, says. "The state is showing a vengeful attitude."

Mr Warsi says that while the state has the power to demolish illegal buildings, there are various steps - serving the owner a notice, giving them a chance to reply or make a court application - that need to be followed before that. The police maintain that they served notices to the alleged encroachers, but at least three families the BBC spoke to denied this.

Moreover, there are other provisions under the state law (the Madhya Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1956), like asking the accused to pay a fine, which authorities could use first, Mr Warsi adds.

"Demolition of property is supposed to be the last resort."

But this is not the first time the Madhya Pradesh government of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has used this method as a way of serving justice. The government has demolished homes of rape accused, gangsters and other criminals in the past. "What we are witnessing is the kind of politics played in Uttar Pradesh - the so called UP model - is now seen in other states," Mr Verma says. "The aim is to appease the BJP's core Hindutva [hardline Hindu nationalism] vote base."A saffron-robed Hindu nationalist, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has styled himself as a hardline monk on a mission to eliminate crime in his state. His government routinely demolishes homes of alleged criminals - earning him the moniker of "bulldozer baba" or bulldozer monk. Of late, supporters of Mr Chouhan too have started calling him "bulldozer mama" or bulldozer uncle.

NEW DELHI, INDIA- JUNE 14: Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan clicked while addressing a press conference at party headquarters in New Delhi.
Critics say Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is trying to woo Hindutva voters
Both states have also introduced a raft of policies that are dubbed anti-Muslim, including legislation against interfaith love and a controversial law that allows government to recover damaged property from protesters.

The legislation was controversially used in Uttar Pradesh against opponents of a contentious citizenship law. When it was passed in Madhya Pradesh last year, Mr Mishra said it would be used against anyone "who destroyed government or private property during a protest, strike or riot, and that if necessary, the property of the accused would be seized and auctioned to recover the money".

But experts say that razing of houses to punish alleged crimes, without notice, has no legal basis under any law.

"You simply cannot do this," Mr Warsi says.

By denying any recourse, authorities were "taking law in their own hands and neutralizing the courts", leaving Muslims vulnerable to the vagaries of the state government, he adds.

"It's like the government was waiting for an opportunity to do this."
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

Associated Press
In India, hate-filled songs are a weapon to target Muslims
A devotee has the name of Hindu god Rama written on his forehead during a religious procession to celebrate Ram Navami, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram, in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, April 10, 2022. India’s hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused an anti-Muslim stance, but attacks against the minority community have recently occurred more frequently. In Madhya Pradesh state’s Khargone city, the festival turned violent after Hindu mobs brandishing swords and sticks marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Hindus participate in a religious procession to mark the Hanuman Jayanti festival in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, April 16, 2022. India’s hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused an anti-Muslim stance, but attacks against the minority community have recently occurred more frequently. In many cases, hate-filled and provocative songs that are blared through speakers during Hindu festivals have become a precursor to this violence.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A man watches a YouTube video of singer Laxmi Dubey in Prayagraj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, India, Thursday, April 21, 2022. Last week, Dubey performed some of her hits before a Hindu gathering in central India's Bhopal city. In one song, she exhorted a cheering crowd of Hindus to "cut off the tongues of enemies who speak against Lord Ram," videos from the event showed. Hate-filled and provocative songs that are blared through speakers during Hindu festivals have become a precursor to violence against Muslims.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Stay in the know at a glance with the Top 10 daily stories
Nawab Khan stands by the entrance of his shop vandalized by a mob on April 10 in Khargone, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in Khargone after Hindu mobs brandishing swords and sticks marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. Videos showed hundreds of them dancing and cheering in unison to songs blared from loudspeakers that included calls for violence against Muslims.

The body of Ibris Khan, 28, who went missing on April 10 during violence in Khargone and found a week later, is carried on a stretcher outside a mortuary in Indore, the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Monday, April 18, 2022. On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in Madhya Pradesh state’s Khargone city after Hindu mobs marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. Videos showed hundreds of them dancing and cheering in unison to songs blared from loudspeakers that included calls for violence against Muslims.


Muslim student Ayesha Anwar, 18, unable to attend school because of a statewide ban on the hijab in classes, chats with her friends at a cafe in Udupi, Karnataka state, India, Feb. 24, 2022. India's history is pockmarked with bloody communal violence dating back to the British partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. But religious polarization has significantly increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, with minority Muslims often targeted for everything from their food and clothing style to inter-religious marriages.

A devotee has the name of Hindu god Rama written on his forehead during a religious procession to celebrate Ram Navami, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram, in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, April 10, 2022. India’s hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused an anti-Muslim stance, but attacks against the minority community have recently occurred more frequently. In Madhya Pradesh state’s Khargone city, the festival turned violent after Hindu mobs brandishing swords and sticks marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A., File)
Hindus participate in a religious procession to mark the Hanuman Jayanti festival in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, April 16, 2022. India’s hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused an anti-Muslim stance, but attacks against the minority community have recently occurred more frequently. In many cases, hate-filled and provocative songs that are blared through speakers during Hindu festivals have become a precursor to this violence.

A man watches a YouTube video of singer Laxmi Dubey in Prayagraj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, India, Thursday, April 21, 2022. Last week, Dubey performed some of her hits before a Hindu gathering in central India's Bhopal city. In one song, she exhorted a cheering crowd of Hindus to "cut off the tongues of enemies who speak against Lord Ram," videos from the event showed. Hate-filled and provocative songs that are blared through speakers during Hindu festivals have become a precursor to violence against Muslims. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Nawab Khan stands by the entrance of his shop vandalized by a mob on April 10 in Khargone, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in Khargone after Hindu mobs brandishing swords and sticks marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. Videos showed hundreds of them dancing and cheering in unison to songs blared from loudspeakers that included calls for violence against Muslims.

The body of Ibris Khan, 28, who went missing on April 10 during violence in Khargone and found a week later, is carried on a stretcher outside a mortuary in Indore, the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Monday, April 18, 2022. On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in Madhya Pradesh state’s Khargone city after Hindu mobs marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. Videos showed hundreds of them dancing and cheering in unison to songs blared from loudspeakers that included calls for violence against Muslims.

Muslim student Ayesha Anwar, 18, unable to attend school because of a statewide ban on the hijab in classes, chats with her friends at a cafe in Udupi, Karnataka state, India, Feb. 24, 2022. India's history is pockmarked with bloody communal violence dating back to the British partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. But religious polarization has significantly increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, with minority Muslims often targeted for everything from their food and clothing style to inter-religious marriages.

Thu, April 21, 2022, 11:25 PM
NEW DELHI (AP) — The frenzied fury against Muslims began with provocative songs played by Hindu mobs that called for violence. It ended with Muslim neighborhoods resembling a war zone, with pavements littered with broken glass, charred vehicles and burned mosques.

On April 10, a Hindu festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ram turned violent in Madhya Pradesh state’s Khargone city after Hindu mobs brandishing swords and sticks marched past Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. Videos showed hundreds of them dancing and cheering in unison to songs blared from loudspeakers that included calls for violence against Muslims.

Soon groups of Hindus and Muslims began throwing stones at each other, police said. By the time the violence subsided, the Muslims were left disproportionately affected. Their shops and homes were looted and set ablaze. Mosques were desecrated and burned. Overnight, dozens of families were displaced.

“Our lives were destroyed in just one day,” said Hidayatullah Mansuri, a mosque official.

It was the latest in a series of attacks against Muslims in India, where hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused a rigid anti-Muslim stance and preached violence against them. But increasingly, incendiary songs directed at Muslims have become a precursor to these attacks.

They are part of what is known as “saffron pop,” a reference to the color associated with the Hindu religion and favored by Hindu nationalists. Many such songs openly call for the killing of Muslims and those who do not endorse “Hindutva,” a Hindu nationalist movement that seeks to turn officially secular India into an avowedly Hindu nation.

For some of the millions of Indian Muslims, who make up 14% of the country’s 1.4 billion people, these songs are the clearest example of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country. They fear that hate music is yet another tool in the hands of Hindu nationalists to target them.

“These songs make open calls for our murder, and nobody is making them stop,” said Mansuri.

The violence in Khargone left one Muslim dead and the body was found seven days later, senior police officer Anugraha. P said. She said police arrested several people for rioting but did not specify whether anyone who played the provocative songs was among them.

India's history is pockmarked with bloody communal violence dating back to the British partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. But religious polarization has significantly increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, with minority Muslims often targeted for everything from their food and clothing style to inter-religious marriages.

The hate-filled soundtracks have further heightened tensions, but the creators of these songs see them as a form of devotion to their faith and a mere assertion of being a “proud Hindu.”

“India is a Hindu nation and my songs celebrate our religion. What’s wrong with that?” said singer Sandeep Chaturvedi.

Among the many songs played in Khargone before the violence, Chaturvedi’s was the most provocative. That song exhorts Hindus to “rise” so that “those who wear skull caps will bow down to Lord Ram,” referring to Muslims. It goes on to say that when Hindu “blood boils” it will show Muslims their rightful place with their “sword.”

For Chaturvedi, a self-avowed Hindu nationalist, the lyrics are not hate-filled or provocative. They rather signify “the mood of the people.”

“Every Hindu likes my songs. It brings them closer to their religion,” he said.

Chaturvedi’s assessment is partly true. Despite the tacky production quality, poorly matched lip-synching and repetitive techno beats, many of the music videos for these songs have millions of views on YouTube and are a hit among the country’s Hindu youth.

Music in a variety of languages, and often in praise of various Hindu deities, has historically been an important part of Hinduism. Bhajan, a style of devotional music performed in temples and homes, remains a key part of this tradition. But observers say the gradual rise of Hindu nationalism has encouraged a more aggressive form of music that spawns anti-Muslim sentiments.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a journalist based in New Delhi who has written a biography on Modi, said the hate songs were first harnessed in the early 1990s by Hindu nationalists through audio cassettes that were set to the tune of popular Bollywood music, helping them appeal to younger listeners. The beginning of that decade saw a violent campaign by India’s right wing that in 1992 led to the demolition of a 16th-century mosque in central India by a Hindu mob, catapulting Modi's party to national prominence.

Mukhopadhyay said the songs have since become a “time-tested trope” of Hindu nationalists to “insult Muslims, disparage their religion and provoke them into responding."

“Most mob attacks against Muslims follow a similar pattern. A large procession of Hindus enters Muslim neighborhoods and plays hate speeches and incendiary songs which inevitably escalates into communal violence. The songs are, in fact, played with even greater vigor in front of the mosques to elicit a response from Muslims," said Mukhopadhyay, who has also written about major riots in India.

Over the years, the songs have become common during Hindu festivals and are not just limited to the fringe.

The day violence struck Khargone, T. Raja Singh, a lawmaker from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, led a similar procession of Hindu devotees in southern Hyderabad city and belted out a self-composed song that made veiled references to the removal of Muslims from the country. Police charged him with “hurting the religious sentiments of people.”

Similar songs that called for Hindus to kill those who do not chant “Jai Shri Ram!” or “Hail Lord Ram,” a slogan that has become a battle cry for Hindu nationalists, were also played in front of mosques in multiple Indian cities on the same day. They were followed by a wave of violence, leaving at least one dead in Gujarat state.

Meanwhile, the demand for these songs keeps rising.

Last week, the singer Laxmi Dubey performed some of her hits before a Hindu gathering in central India’s Bhopal city. In one song, she exhorted a cheering crowd of Hindus to “cut off the tongues of enemies who speak against Lord Ram,” videos from the event showed.

On Saturday, the same song was played in New Delhi during a procession marking another Hindu festival. TV broadcasts showed hundreds of Hindu youth, brandishing swords and homemade handguns, marching through a Muslim neighborhood as loudspeakers blasted the hate-filled music.

In a phone interview, Dubey said it showed her music was widely accepted.

“It is what people want,” she said.

___

Associated Press writer Omer Farooq contributed to this report from Hyderabad.
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

Reuters
Mumbai mosques turn volume down on call to prayer after Hindu's demands
Muslims are seen inside the Juma Masjid during Friday prayers in Mumbai
6/5

Mumbai mosques turn volume down on call to prayer after Hindu's demands

Mumbai mosques turn volume down on call to prayer after Hindu's demands
Mohammed Ashfaq Kazi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Mumbai

Rupam Jain
Sun, May 8, 2022, 5:52 AM
By Rupam Jain

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sitting in an office lined with books overlooking a giant prayer hall, Mohammed Ashfaq Kazi, the main preacher at the largest mosque in Mumbai, checked a decibel meter attached to the loudspeakers before he gave the call to worship.

"The volume of our azaan (call to prayer) has become a political issue, but I don't want it to take a communal turn," said Kazi, one of the most influential Islamic scholars in the sprawling metropolis on India's western coast.

As he spoke he pointed to loudspeakers attached to the minarets of the ornate, sand-coloured Juma Masjid in Mumbai's old trading quarters.

Kazi and three other senior clerics from Maharashtra where Mumbai is located said more than 900 mosques in the west of the state had agreed to turn the volume down on calls to prayer following complaints from a local Hindu politician.

Raj Thackeray, leader of a regional Hindu party, demanded in April that mosques and others places of worship kept within allowed noise limits. If they did not, he said his followers would chant Hindu prayers outside mosques in protest.

Thackeray, whose party has just one seat in the state's 288-member assembly, said he was merely insisting that court rulings on noise levels be enforced.

"If religion is a private matter then why are Muslims allowed to use loudspeakers all 365 days (of the year)?" Thackeray told reporters in Mumbai, India's financial hub and capital of Maharashtra.

"My dear Hindu brothers, sisters and mothers come together; be one in bringing down these loudspeakers," he said.

Leaders of India's 200 million Muslims see the move, which coincided with the holy festival of Eid, as another attempt by hardline Hindus to undermine their rights to free worship and religious expression, with the tacit agreement of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In recent weeks, a senior BJP leader began pushing for swapping marriage and inheritance laws based on religion with a uniform civil code, taking aim at rules that allow Muslim men, for example, to have four wives.

The BJP did not respond to a request for comment on Thackeray's initiative. It denies targeting minorities, and says it wants progressive change that benefits all Indians.

POLICE STEP IN

At the Juma Masjid, Kazi said he complied with Thackeray's demands in order to reduce the risk of violence between Muslims and Hindus.

Bloody clashes have erupted sporadically across India since independence, most recently in 2020 when dozens of people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Delhi following protests against a citizenship law that Muslims said discriminated against them.

While hardline Hindu leaders were seeking to undermine Islam, Kazi said, "we (Muslims) have to maintain calm and serenity."

The state took Thackeray's initiative seriously.

Senior police officials met religious leaders including Kazi earlier this month to ensure microphones were turned down, as they feared clashes in Maharashtra, home to more than 10 million Muslims and 70 million Hindus.

On Saturday, police filed a criminal case against two men in Mumbai for using loudspeakers to recite the early morning azaan and warned workers of Thackeray's party from gathering around mosques.

"Under no circumstances will we allow anyone to create communal tension in the state and the court's order must be respected," said V.N. Patil, a senior Mumbai police official.

A senior official for Thackeray's party said the initiative was not designed to single out Muslims but aimed to reduce "noise pollution" created by all places of worship.

"Our party does not appease the minority community," said Kirtikumar Shinde, adding that police had issued warnings to 20,000 party workers this month.

The issue of calls to prayer extends beyond Maharashtra. BJP politicians in three states asked local police to remove or limit the use of loudspeakers in places of worship.

The deputy chief minister of country's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, said over 60,000 unauthorised loudspeakers had been removed from mosques and temples.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/mu ... 31221.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

Published on May 10, 2022 06:48 AM IST
INDIA NEWS
How ‘Tejo Mahalaya’ theory gathered steam in Uttar Pradesh
The case number 356, filed by all lawyers had an extraordinary ask: Allow Hindu devotees access to the premises of the Taj Mahal for worship because the iconic 16th-century Mughal monument, one of the most recognizable buildings on the planet, was originally a Shiv temple called Tejo Mahalaya.
The petition said that many Hindu groups have been claiming that the Taj Mahal is an old Shiva temple which was known as Tejo Mahalaya, adding that the same is supported by many historians as well.
The petition said that many Hindu groups have been claiming that the Taj Mahal is an old Shiva temple which was known as Tejo Mahalaya, adding that the same is supported by many historians as well.

In the summer of 2015, a group of seven petitioners filed a plea before the civil judge (senior division)in Agra. The case number 356, filed by all lawyers had an extraordinary ask: Allow Hindu devotees access to the premises of the Taj Mahal for worship because the iconic 16th-century Mughal monument, one of the most recognisable buildings on the planet, was originally a Shiv temple called Tejo Mahalaya. The petitioners said the court should allow Hindu devotees to perform “darshan” and “aarti” within the monument, where currently only Muslim devotees are allowed to pray at a mosque that abuts the world heritage monument. They also asked for opening locked rooms there.


The petition was filed in the name of Sri Agreshwar Mahadev Nagnatheswar Virajman Tejo Mahalaya Temple Palace by next friend Hari Shankar Jain, the main petitioner. Next friend is a legal representative of someone incapable of maintaining a suit directly.

“There are at least 109 archaeological features and historical evidence to establish beyond any doubt that the suit property is a Hindu temple. The structure of the main building is on a marble platform, in square layout and has eight faces, both outside as well as from inside; and the three faces on East, West and South are entries to the sanctum sanctorum, while the North side is closed with a ‘Marble Jali’. These are essentially the structural features of every “Shiwala” in North India,” said Jain in the petition

The petition was not successful, and is still pending in the lower court in Agra. But a near-identical petition with similar asks was filed in the Allahabad high court last week, seeking directives to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to open 20 rooms inside the Taj Mahal to check for the possible presence of Hindu idols.

“It is said that Taj Mahal was named after the name of Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal. However, in many books, the name of the wife of Shah Jahan was described as Mumtaz-ul-Zamani, not Mumtaz Mahal. Also, the fact that the construction of a mausoleum takes 22 years for completion is beyond reality and totally an absurdity,” the petition stated.

The new petition comes at a time when Hindu groups are pushing for their claims to be recognised at two other major sites – the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi and the Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Eidgah complex in Mathura. In both cases, Hindu activists allege that Hindu structures were demolished to build Islamic structures.

INDIA NEWS
In Agra, the controversy over the Taj Mahal, considered one of the modern wonders of the world, was first stirred by historian Purshottam Nagesh Oak’s 1989 book Taj Mahal: The True Story. In the book, Oak claimed Taj Mahal originally was a Shiva temple and a Rajput palace named Tejomahalaya, which Mughal emperor Shah Jahan seized and adopted as a tomb.

The theory has been repeatedly debunked by several historians, and even by the Union government in a response to Parliament in 2015. Yet, it continues to find traction, and has increasingly become popular among a section of Hindu activists.

In 2000, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Oak to declare that the Taj Mahal was built by a Hindu king.


In the 2015 Agra case, when the court issued notices to the central government, Union ministry of culture, home secretary and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the latter said in August 2017 that Taj Mahal was not a temple but a tomb. On the basis of available records, ASI asserted that Taj Mahal was constructed by Shah Jahan in the memory of his queen on land obtained in exchange from Raja Jai Singh, grandson of Raja Maan Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur.

“Thereafter, the petitioners had moved an application in the Agra court on October 25, 2017 demanding videography and photography of the closed chambers of the architectural marvel through the advocate commissioner, but the application was rejected on the ground of lack of specifications. The petitioners filed a revision against this order of the civil judge, Agra. Now May 25, 2022 is fixed as the date for a reply in the court of the additional district judge (Second) Agra,” said Rajesh Kulshrestha, the counsel for the petitioners.


In November 2015, the Union culture ministry told the Lok Sabha that there was no evidence of any temple at the Taj Mahal.

Historians have also disputed these claims. “There are historic documents and references about a purchase being made by Shah Jahan from Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur for this prime land on the bank of the river Yamuna. There might have been some temples in such vast land but the theory of erecting Taj Mahal at a site which earlier was a temple does not hold ground,” said RC Sharma, a veteran historian of Agra. “Much discussion about the possibility of Shiv Temple began after the book by PN Oak but there is enough reference and material which goes against it,” he added.

In May 2017, right wing organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, staged a protest at the Taj Mahal. Later, some of them entered the monument wearing saffron. Shiv Sainiks in Agra make it a point every year to offer water from the Yamuna as a ritual in the Hindu holy month of Shravan.

In November 2018, Rashtriya Bajrang Dal women’s wing district president Meena Diwakar managed to offer an “aarti” at the mosque within the Taj Mahal premises.

In January 2021, four Yuva Vahini activists of the Hindu Jagran Manch were arrested for reciting Shiv Chalisa and waving saffron flags on the Taj Mahal premises. It was a near-repeat of a October 2017, when a dozen young men recited Shiv Chalisa in the Taj Mahal, but were stopped by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel and later released after tendering an apology.


On May 4, a seer from Ayodhya was stopped from moving towards the Taj Mahal after he gave a call for a Dharam Sansad at the monument, claiming it was a Shiva Temple. The seer called himself Jagadguru Paramhans Acharya of the Peethadheshwar Tapaswi Chhavni in Ayodhya. He also announced his intention to install a Shiva idol at the monument, alleging that it was a temple. He was taken to the outskirts of Agra by police and later asked to return to Ayodhya.

Hindu activists are hopeful that the May 4, 2022 petition – which is yet to be heard – will be successful. On Monday, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha activists led by Sanjay Jat, national spokesperson, distributed “laddoos” as they moved towards the Taj Mahal but were stopped at the barrier before the western gate by state police. “Urs can be observed within Taj Mahal premises and biryani distributed in the Taj Mahal premises, but we are not even allowed to distribute laddoos,” Jat said

https://www.hindustantimes.com/
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Gyanvapi mosque: India dispute could become a religious flashpoint
Soutik Biswas - India correspondent
Tue, May 17, 2022, 6:51 PM
In Varanasi, one of the world's oldest living cities, Hindus and Muslims have prayed close to each other in a temple and a mosque that sit cheek by jowl.

The heavily-guarded complex points to its uneasy history. The Gyanvapi mosque is built on the ruins of the Vishwanath temple, a grand 16th Century Hindu shrine. The temple was partially destroyed in 1669 on the orders of Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor.

Now the place is in the throes of a dispute which could stoke fresh tensions in Hindu-majority India, where Muslims are the largest religious minority.

A bunch of Hindu petitioners have gone to a local court asking for access to pray at a shrine behind the mosque and other places within the complex. A controversial court order which allowed video-recorded survey of the mosque is said to have revealed a stone shaft that is the symbol of the Hindu deity Shiva, a claim that has been disputed by the mosque authorities.

After this, a part of the mosque has been sealed by the court without giving the mosque authorities a chance to present their case. The dispute has now reached the Supreme Court, which said on Tuesday that the complex would be protected, and prayers will continue in the mosque.

This has triggered fears of a re-run of a decades-long dispute involving the Babri Masjid, a 16th-Century mosque which was razed to the ground by Hindu mobs in the holy city of Ayodhya in 1992.

The dispute reached a flashpoint in 1992 when a Hindu mob destroyed a mosque at the site
The Babri dispute reached a flashpoint in 1992 when a Hindu mob destroyed a mosque at the site
The demolition of the mosque climaxed a six-year-long campaign by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - then in opposition - and sparked riots that killed nearly 2,000 people. In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the disputed site in Ayodhya should be given to Hindus who are now building a temple there. Muslims were given another plot to construct a mosque.

A 1991 law called the Places of Worship Act disallows conversion of a place of worship and maintains its religious character as "it existed" on 15 August 1947, India's Independence Day. Critics of the dispute in Varanasi say this is a defiance of the law. Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent Muslim leader, says the "mosque exists and it will exist".

A leader of the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh state, where Varanasi is located, believes nothing is set in stone. "The truth has come to light... We will welcome and follow orders of the court in the matter," Keshav Prasad Maurya, the deputy chief minister, says.

It is not entirely clear what truth has to be uncovered.

For one, it is widely accepted that a temple existed at the site. The shrine was "grand in scale and execution, consisting of a central sanctum and surrounded by eight pavilions", according to Diana L Eck, a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard University.

It is also established that in less than a century, the temple was "torn down at the command of Aurangzeb", Prof Eck says. "Half-dismantled, it became the foundation of the present Gyanvapi mosque".

It is also accepted that the mosque is built on the ruins of the temple. In Prof Eck's description "one wall of the old temple is still standing, set like a Hindu ornament in the matrix of the mosque".

"When viewed from the rear of the mosque, the dramatic contrast of the two traditions is evident: the ornate stone wall of the old temple, magnificent even in its ruined condition, topped by the simple white stucco dome of today's mosque".

The fact that a part of the ruined temple's wall was incorporated into the building "may have been a religiously clothed statement about the dire consequences of opposing Mughal authority", according to Audrey Truschke, author of Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth.

Historians believe one reason why the temple was attacked by Aurangzeb was that its patrons were believed to have facilitated the escape from prison of Shivaji, a Hindu king who was a prominent enemy of the Mughals.

"Temples patronised by persons who had submitted to state authority but who subsequently became state enemies were often targeted by Mughal rulers," says Richard M Eaton, who teaches South Asian history at the University of Arizona.

Varanasi
Varanasi is one of the world's oldest living cities
At least 14 temples were "certainly demolished" by Mughal officers during Aurangzeb's 49-year rule, according to Prof Eaton, who has recorded 80 examples of desecration of temples in India between the 12th and 18th Century.

"We shall never know the precise number of temples desecrated in Indian history," he says. However, what historians do know as fact is far from the exaggerated claims by the right-wing that up to 60,000 temples were demolished under Muslim rule.

In desecrating temples, Mughal rulers were following ancient Indian precedent, Prof Eaton says.

He adds that Muslim kings since the late 12th Century, and Hindu kings since at least the 7th Century "looted, redefined, or destroyed temples, patronised by enemy kings or state rebels as the normal means of detaching defeated rulers from the most prominent manifestations of their former sovereign authority, thereby rendering them politically impotent."

This is not exceptional, say historians. European history had its share of religious conflict and desecration of churches. Northern Europe, for example, saw many Catholic structures demolished or desecrated during the Protestant revolt in the 18th Century. Such examples include the desecration of Utrecht Cathedral in 1566, or the near-complete demolition of St Andrews Cathedral in Scotland in 1559.

But as Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent commentator, observes: "Secularism will be deepened if it lets history be history, not make history the foundations of a secular ethic." And that the ongoing dispute in Varanasi can only end up opening "another communal front".

Such concerns are premature, says Swapan Dasgupta, a right-leaning columnist. "There is, as yet, no demand for the removal of the mosque and the restoration of the previously existing state of affairs… Also the law does not allow any scope for the present religious character of a shrine to be modified," he wrote. "To that extent, the present tussle in Varanasi is aimed at securing greater elbow room for worshippers."

Such assurances do not find many takers. Last year the Supreme Court accepted a petition challenging the Places of Worship law, which by itself could open a fresh fault line.

"This campaign [in Varanasi] is just the beginning of a series of demands in respect to other places of worship on which there are [Hindu] claims," says Madan Lokur, a retired justice of India's Supreme Court.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/gy ... 57729.html
kmaherali
Posts: 24342
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Opinion: In the world's largest democracy, 'looking Muslim' could cost your life

Post by kmaherali »

Video: 'We have been living in terror': Muslims in New Delhi say they are being targeted

(CNN)When, as journalists, we prepare for a job, we think carefully about our questions, locations and equipment. But for one of us, documentary photographer Roshan Abbas, there is an added consideration -- how much of his true identity to reveal.

Abbas, co-author of this article, is a Muslim man in India. A country where, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's watch, Muslims are being vilified and evicted from their homes, their freedom of religious expression stifled.

It's oppression Abbas has experienced firsthand, choosing not to wear a kurta -- a loose, collarless shirt -- that might point to his identity as a Muslim, when traveling the country for work.

The decision is cautionary. In public spaces, there looms a sense of uneasiness. Mob lynchings of Muslims who look visibly Muslim have arisen in the past.

Likewise, Muslim women wearing hijab can face backlash and discrimination, even though there's no national ban on religious garments in public spaces.

Abbas also takes care not to disclose that he attends Jamia Millia Islamia -- a Muslim university associated with student-led protests against the government. The campus has been closed on-and-off since 2019 amid a tumultuous relationship with the government.

Just one example of the targeted persecution of Muslims is a controversial citizenship law granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants, introduced by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019.

Prime Minister Modi has previously suggested that people protesting against the law can be "identified by their clothes" -- a clear reference to Muslim protesters. Little wonder then, that Indian Muslims feel they have had to change how they dress, eat and speak in public.

Tensions between Indian Hindus and Muslims have been flashpoints for decades, even before the British left in 1947 and the country gained independence. But since Modi's government came to power in 2014, crimes against the Muslim minority have steadily increased.

Until recently, members of the BJP hadn't outwardly acknowledged their goal of making India a Hindu nation. Othering Muslims, the country's second largest religion, has proven to be an effective strategy in the BJP's majoritarian politics.

Now, India's roughly 200 million Muslims -- just over 14% of the population -- are defending their right to live.

Last month, local authorities and bulldozers razed shops and homes in Jahangirpuri -- a low-income, predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Delhi. The demolition followed communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the area. It mirrored the manner in which authorities responded to similar outbreaks of violence in other parts of the country -- with bulldozers.

What we are seeing in India is more than the systemic oppression of Muslims and other minorities. Prior to 2014, Muslims already accounted for only 14% of the population, but almost 20% of inmates in India's jails.

But with authorities having abandoned their fundamental duty to safeguard the constitutional rights of minorities, India's Muslim population is being rendered insignificant by the day.

What's more, open calls for violence against Muslims have become increasingly frequent. Following the southern state of Karnataka's controversial ban on headscarves in classrooms earlier this year, a member of a Hindu nationalist youth group called for those who wore hijabs to be "cut... into pieces."

And in December last year, a Hindu leader at an event in the northern state of Uttarakhand called for "Hindus to take up weapons" to ensure a "Muslim didn't become the prime minister in 2029."

Yet world leaders seem unbothered by the state of affairs on the ground in India. There are no sanctions or wide condemnations of the Modi government. What little international media coverage there is of the situation -- in our experience as journalists -- been pushed aside to cover the war in Ukraine. And while that news needs due coverage, so does this.

There have been some international breakout moments. On his recent visit to Gujarat, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited a JCB plant and posed for photos on a bulldozer -- the same brand of bulldozers used to demolish Muslim-owned shops and homes.

This caused outrage both in India and the UK, with members of the opposition in the UK even going so far as to question whether Johnson's trip to India "helped legitmize the actions of Modi's far-right government."

Image
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves from a digger at a JCB factory in Gujarat, during his trip to India in April.

It is perhaps unsurprising that Modi has yet to condemn the recent spurts of communal violence across the country. Despite India being the world's largest democracy, and constitutionally secular, the BJP has repeatedly stoked the flames of communalism, othering Muslims, branding them dangerous and violent.

In recent years, several BJP-governed states passed a "love jihad" (or "anti-conversion") law. The law aims to prevent women from converting when they marry outside their faith, particularly, as the nickname suggests, keeping Hindu women from marrying Muslim men. It's been likened to the 1935 Nuremberg laws banning marriages between Jews and those of "pure" German blood in Nazi Germany.

This year, we find ourselves inching further toward a propaganda nation-state. A controversial film about a fictional university student who finds out Islamist militants murdered his Kashmiri Hindu parents was openly praised by Modi.

The film enjoyed a "tax free" status in several states to make it more accessible to a wider audience. However, this too was accompanied by anti-Muslim sloganeering and its screening in "mixed population areas" of Delhi was accompanied by increased police presence.

Islamophobia has permeated every aspect of Indian society. Our cities are being renamed to erase traces of Muslim history, while Muslims in metropolitan areas face ghettoization on account of structural biases.

And while beef and meat bans intimidate economically deprived marginalized groups including Muslims, the gross double standards of beef exports from India continue. (Cows, for those unfamiliar, are sometimes considered sacred in Hinduism.)

Indian Muslims are forced to navigate social spaces with an eye of caution, amid a so-called "anti-terror" law to arrest and incarcerate for years without trial. For many activists and journalists jailed under the law, their only fault is their Muslim identity. But any unjust incarceration does more than silence the brave; it instills a sense of fear in the young minds of the Muslim community.

Indeed, in March the international alliance, Genocide Watch, put out a genocide warning -- Muslims in India are under threat. India on the Brink, a genocide prevention summit, also declared that the country was on the brink of genocide.
How Abbas dresses for work is just the tip of the iceberg; Muslim women continue to face the brunt of Hindu nationalism. What's happening to India's Muslim population is a humanitarian issue we should all be paying attention to.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/19/opinions ... index.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Qutub Minar: Why India's tallest minaret is embroiled in dispute
Soutik Biswas - India correspondent
Wed, May 25, 2022, 7:16 PM
Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world with the height of 72 meters. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered as the most striking of Delhi’s sites highlighting eight centuries of Islamic rule.
The Qutub Minar is a soaring 12th-Century, five-storey tower, rising up to 73m (240ft)
It is one of India's most iconic and popular monuments, containing some of the earliest structures of Muslim rule in the country. But now a court will decide whether temples demolished centuries ago at the Qutub Minar complex in Delhi should be restored.

The World Heritage site is a soaring 12th-Century, five-storey tower, rising up to 73m (240ft). Inside the red-and-buff sandstone monument, there are 379 steps.

This tower of victory - possibly inspired by Afghan minarets - was built by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first sultan of Delhi, after defeating the Hindus in 1192. It was expanded upwards and renovated by three successors. Historian William Dalrymple noted that the Qutub Minar tower, which looked like a "fully extended telescope placed lens down on a plateau in [Delhi's] Aravalli hills" was a "boastful and triumphant statement of arrival".

The fortified complex housing the minaret has a chequered history. Twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples located there were demolished and the debris was used to construct Delhi's first mosque at the site. The plinth of one of these temples was retained and expanded to accommodate the mosque, which was itself "built piecemeal", according to a 1926 note on the monument by JA Page, a senior official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Members of Hindu organisations carry flags and recite Hanuman Chalisa outside the Qutub Minar demanding to rename the monument as 'Vishnu Stambh' on May 10, 2022 in New Delhi, India.
Hindu right-wing protesters have demonstrated outside the Qutub complex
There's more to the complex than the minaret. They include a 1,600-year-old 20ft-high Iron Pillar which has survived the ravages of nature and time, five arches and a tomb of one of the sultans. The buildings are decorated with Hindu and Muslim motifs. In his note, Mr Page said the group of monuments comprised the most notable historical remains of Delhi, both in terms of "antiquity and arresting design".

More than 800 years later, courts in India are wrestling with a plea seeking the restoration of 27 temples in the complex.

In November, a civil court rejected the petition saying that India had been ruled by several dynasties and wrongs committed in the past "cannot be the basis of disturbing peace of our present and future". Now the petitioner has challenged the decision in a higher court. "When there was a temple in existence much before the mosque, why can't it be restored?" asked Hari Shankar Jain, who believes Hindu deities still exist in the complex.

Archaeologists are clear about the status of the complex, which is a protected monument under a federal law. They say its character is "irreversible and frozen". But similar disputes, backed by Hindu groups, are brewing over mosques built on demolished Hindu shrines in the cities of Varanasi and Mathura.

Muslim kings since the late 12th Century, and Hindu kings since at least the 7th Century, have looted, redefined or destroyed temples patronised by enemy kings or rebels, historians say. "Every ruler has tried to stamp his political authority and his imperial might by destroying what were the biggest religious symbols. It's not that all temples were destroyed - only the ones which had political significance," says historian Rana Safvi.

Ornate Walls Of Qutub Minar Complex, Delhi, India - stock photo
The buildings in the complex are decorated with Hindu and Muslim motifs.
Why was Qutub Minar built? Ms Safvi says one reason could be to serve as the minaret of the mosque in the complex from where the muezzin would call the faithful to prayer. Another possible reason, she says, was to use as a military watchtower to track enemy movement. However, the "most probable" reason seems that it was a victory tower, similar to minarets in Ghazni, by "which it seems to be influenced".

The sturdy tower has survived two lightning strikes - one damaged the fourth storey and the sultan replaced the original sandstone with marble and sandstone and built two additional storeys and added a cupola at the top. The cupola added 12ft to the height, but an earthquake toppled it over. (The tower survived two quakes.)

Today, the Qutub Minar is more than just a historic monument and a Delhi landmark. For one, it is embedded in generational memories of long-time residents of Delhi.

Ms Safvi remembers her first visit to the minaret in 1977: "I had climbed the first storey and seen the then beautiful surrounding countryside. My elder sisters talk of an earlier visit in the 1960s when we had gone all the way to the top of the minaret." The tower, a popular excursion spot, was closed to visitors in 1981 after a stampede killed 45 people - mainly schoolchildren - on the narrow staircase.

Thai Wok, Restaurant in the capital set against the beautiful backdrop of the Qutub Minar in New Delhi, India
The tower is located in a neighbourhood, dotted with swish eateries
The monument is located in a gentrified neighbourhood, dotted with swish eateries and upscale boutiques. In promotions and Instagram handles, rooftop bars, lounges and restaurants with a "killer view" of the minaret are hawked as "perfect for your next date night". One eatery handle even calls the view "CrazySEXY".

All this is far removed from the turbulence over the monument in the streets and courtrooms. Earlier this month, members of a Hindu right-wing group were detained for demonstrating and chanting prayers outside the complex.

Last week, Mr Jain, the petitioner, told the court that a demolished temple "doesn't lose its character, divinity or sanctity". He said he had a constitutional right to worship at the Qutub complex.

The judge mused: "The deity is surviving for last 800 years without worship. Let it survive like that."

The verdict is due in a few weeks.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/qu ... 02458.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Aurangzeb: Why is a Mughal emperor who died 300 years ago being debated on social media?
Geeta Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
Fri, May 20, 2022, 6:43 PM
Portrait of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb known as Alamgir I (1618-1707), ruler of India from 1658 to 1707, 18th century Indian miniature.
Mughal emperor Aurangzeb
A Mughal emperor who died more than 300 years ago has become a hot topic of debate in India in recent months.

Aurangzeb, often described as the "last effective Mughal emperor" ruled India for nearly 50 years from 1658 to 1707 - but he was never a favourite in the eyes of historians.

For a start - he came to the throne after imprisoning his father and having his older brother killed.

And in comparison with other Mughal rulers, he fared badly - his great-grandfather Akbar was described as the benign secular ruler, grandfather Jahangir was known for his love for art and architecture and father Shah Jahan was the great romantic who built the Taj Mahal.

But Aurangzeb, the sixth emperor and a devout Muslim, was often described as a ruthless tyrant who was an expansionist, imposed tough Sharia laws and brought back the discriminatory jizya tax that Hindu residents had to pay in return for protection.

He was also described as someone who hated music and other fine arts, and ordered the destruction of several temples.

All that happened in the medieval era - but the hate he's been getting recently has been unprecedented.

It started when the dispute over the Gyanvapi mosque began bubbling in the holy city of Varanasi - the mosque is built on the ruins of the Vishwanath temple, a grand 16th Century Hindu shrine destroyed in 1669 on Aurangzeb's orders. Now, his name is trending on social media with thousands of disparaging references, can be found in court files and has been invoked by India's present-day Hindu nationalist rulers.

In December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about "Aurangzeb's atrocities, his terror" at an event in Varanasi. "He tried to change civilisation by the sword. He tried to crush culture with fanaticism," Mr Modi said.

He mentioned the Mughal ruler's name again last month - speaking on the occasion of the 400th birth anniversary of Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur who was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam.

"Even though Aurangzeb severed many heads, he could not shake our faith", Mr Modi said.

His comments seemed to baffle a Canadian-American journalist who asked on Twitter why the Indian Prime Minister was "giving a long speech attacking a Mughal emperor who died 300+ years ago"?


In a series of tweets, historian Audrey Truschke responded that Hindu nationalists believed that "Muslims oppressed Hindus for hundreds of years so they deserve to be oppressed today, as retribution for the past".

She said Aurangzeb's name was being used as "a dog whistle to signal that it is acceptable to hate and use violence against present-day Muslims".

In the days since this Twitter discussion, much more hate has been heaped on Aurangzeb.

Describing him as a "butcher", the mayor of the city of Agra said all traces of him should be removed from public places. On Twitter, the Mughal emperor was called "an invader" who wanted to wipe out Hindus and one user suggested that all monuments and buildings by Mughals built over Hindu places of worship should be bulldozed.

On Thursday, his tomb in the western state of Maharashtra was shut to visitors after a regional politician questioned "the need for its existence" and called for its destruction.

Historian Nadeem Rezavi, author and professor of medieval history at Aligarh Muslim University, says Aurangzeb is "a very convenient name" to bring up to demonise India's Muslim minorities who, in recent years, have been at the receiving end of violence from Hindu mobs.

Prof Rezavi says the Mughal emperor did demolish a number of Hindu temples and imposed the discriminatory tax on Hindus, but he was a complicated figure, and not completely evil.

"He gave the highest number of grants for maintaining Hindu temples, he himself was two-thirds Hindu by blood because Akbar, his great-grandfather, had married a Rajput [a warrior Hindu caste], and there were more Rajputs in higher echelons during his rule than that of any other Mughal."

Tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.
The tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Maharashtra has been shut to visitors after threats
Despite popular perception, Prof Rezavi says Aurangzeb was not a fundamentalist in his personal life and that he "enjoyed wine, played the veena - an instrument favoured by Hindu goddesses - and more music books were written under him than any other Mughal".

But, he adds that Aurangzeb "invoked religion to cover up for his political failures and strengthen his authority - much like India's present-day leaders.

"But the question to ask is that even if Aurangzeb was all dark and evil, a sectarian and fundamentalist, who destroyed temples, should we be emulating him today?" Prof Rezavi asks.

"He was a tyrant and an emperor who lived 300 years ago. At the time there was no modern democracy, there was no constitution to guide him. But today we are guided by the Indian constitution and laws of parliament, so how can you duplicate the deeds that were done in the 16th and 17th Century?

"So if someone is indulging in the politics of 17th Century, they are committing a far greater crime then Aurangzeb did in the 17th Century," he adds.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/au ... 13204.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Nupur Sharma: Prophet Muhammad controversy tests India-Islamic world ties
Vikas Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
Mon, June 6, 2022, 4:11 AM

India has been forced to try to placate its partners in the Islamic world after growing anger over controversial comments made by two senior officials of the country's ruling party about the Prophet Muhammad.

Nupur Sharma, who was a spokesperson of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made the remark in a televised debate last month, while Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the party's Delhi unit, had posted a tweet on the issue. The comments - especially Ms Sharma's - angered the country's minority Muslim community, leading to sporadic protests in some states. The BBC is not repeating Ms Sharma's remarks as they are offensive in nature.

The two leaders have issued public apologies and the party has suspended Ms Sharma and expelled Mr Jindal.

"The BJP strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities of any religion. The BJP is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy," it said in a statement.

Critics say Ms Sharma and Mr Jindal's comments reflect the deep religious polarisation that the country has been witnessing over the past few years. Hate speech and attacks against Muslims have risen sharply since the BJP came to power in 2014.

Experts also add that the BJP's response may not be enough after what looked like the country's internal matter took an international turn - Kuwait, Qatar and Iran called Indian ambassadors to register their protest on Sunday. Saudi Arabia also condemned the remarks on Monday.

Qatar said it expected a public apology from India.

"Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate," Qatar's ministry of foreign affairs said.

Saudi Arabia also used some strong words in its statement. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the BJP," it said.

India's ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, said the remarks from some "fringe elements" did not represent the views of the Indian government. Senior BJP leaders and other diplomats have also condemned the controversial statement.

The 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and Pakistan have also criticised India. But Delhi criticised both, as it usually does, saying their comments were "unwarranted and narrow-minded".

Analysts say that the top leadership of the party and the government may have to make public statements on the issue. Not doing so, they say, runs the risk of damaging India's ties with the Arab world and Iran.

Too much at stake
India's trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, stood at $87 billion in 2020-21. Millions of Indians live and work in these countries and send millions of dollars in remittances back home. The region is also the top source for India's energy imports.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a regular visitor to the region since coming to power in 2014. The country has already signed a free trade agreement with the UAE and is in talks with the GCC for a wider deal.

Mr Modi famously attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi in 2018 - it was termed as an example of the growing ties between India and the region.

While Delhi's relations with Tehran have been lukewarm over the past few years, the controversy could overshadow Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian's upcoming visit to India.

Experts said the controversy could overshadow some of India's recent successes.

"Efforts by the current government to improve ties to the Gulf states have been real and the relationships stand transformed. Another bright spot is the handling of the Ukraine crisis," former Indian diplomat Jitendra Nath Misra said.

"India's under-staffed Foreign Office will need to spend precious human resources dealing with issues that don't advance India's interests. We diplomats do our best to enlarge India's circle of friends and it's the sort of firefighting that we can do without," he added.

Another former diplomat Anil Trigunayat, who has served in the Arab world, said that India was in a difficult situation and only sincere efforts at the leadership level could prevent a negative fallout.

"Exemplary action under the law must be taken so that such fringe elements do not repeat it and create societal chaos and cause damage to the country's reputation," he said.

Other analysts say the diplomatic cost from the fallout could greatly hurt India's interests in the region.

"Indian officials often react defensively when foreign capitals, including close friends of New Delhi, criticise Indian domestic matters. But in this case, expect Indian diplomats to work quickly to defuse tensions with apologies and other forms of damage control," said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center think-tank.
.
Millions of Indians live and work in the Gulf countries
Arab nations are also looking to take concrete action to soothe anger among their own people. Hashtags criticising India have been trending in these countries and the incident has been the top story in their media outlets.

Some of these hashtags have called for a boycott of Indian products. There have also been reports of some stores in Qatar and Kuwait removing Indian products from their shelves.

Mr Kugelman said the relationship was important to both the GCC and India and both sides would be looking at mitigating the risks.

"As concerned as Delhi should be about this angry response from such a strategically critical region, India is also shielded from further damage by its own clout. Because of their economic interests, Gulf states need India to keep importing their energy, they need Indians to continue living and working there, and overall, they need to keep doing business with India," he said.

He added that there might be limits to how far these countries would go in responding to these anti-Muslim comments.

Growing polarisation
Critics say that religious polarisation has increased in India since the BJP came to power. And the past few weeks have been particularly tense after some Hindu groups went to a local court in Varanasi to seek permission to pray at a centuries-old mosque, claiming that it was built on the ruins of a demolished temple.

TV channels have held provocative debates and social media has seen rampant hate over the issue. Many people associated with right-wing organisations often make controversial statements on TV shows, but critics say Ms Sharma wasn't a "fringe element" as the BJP has claimed. She was an official spokesperson of the party, tasked with representing the BJP's views.

Analysts add that the international fallout over the controversy should be a wake-up call for India.

"Delhi is learning that when it comes to the country's increasingly toxic politics, what happens in India often doesn't stay in India. As India's global clout grows and its diplomatic and economic partnerships abroad become stronger, there's more at stake when its domestic politics cause unhappiness abroad," Mr Kugelman said.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/nu ... 21801.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Nupur Sharma: India destroys houses of several Muslim figures after protests
Sun, June 12, 2022, 9:25 PM
House demolished in India
Officials have ordered the demolition of houses of Muslims accused of prompting riots
Security forces in India have demolished the homes of several Muslim figures allegedly linked to riots triggered by derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.

The property owners in Uttar Pradesh were told to vacate their homes beforehand.

Muslims have been protesting after anti-Islamic comments made by two leading members of the governing BJP.

Police have arrested more than 300 people in connection with the unrest.

The remarks were made by BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma during a TV debate in May. The BBC is not repeating Ms Sharma's remarks as they are offensive in nature.

Who is Nupur Sharma?

The comments incensed Indian Muslims and outraged more than a dozen Islamic nations. The head of the party's Delhi media unit, Naveen Kumar Jindal, was also expelled for sharing a screenshot of her offensive comment in a tweet.

Their comments - especially Ms Sharma's - led to protests in some states.

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, Yogi Adityanath, then ordered the demolition of any illegal establishments and homes of people accused of involvement in riots there last week, the BJP's state spokesperson said.

One house demolished was that of a politician named Javed Ahmed, prominent English-language newspaper Hindustan Times said. His daughter, Afreen Fatima, is a prominent Muslim rights activist.

Properties of two more people accused of throwing stones after Friday prayers were also demolished in the state.

Mrityunjay Kumar, Yogi Adityanath's media adviser, tweeted a photo of a bulldozer demolishing a building and said: "Unruly elements remember, every Friday is followed by a Saturday."

There has been widespread condemnation of the demolition.


Critics say Ms Sharma and Mr Jindal's comments reflect the deep religious polarisation that the country has been witnessing over the past few years.

Hate speech and attacks against Muslims have risen sharply since the BJP came to power in 2014.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/in ... 32203.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
Nupur Sharma: India court says Prophet row 'set country on fire'
Fri, July 1, 2022 at 12:31 PM

Nupur Sharma made the controversial comments in a TV debate
India's top court has rebuked a former spokesperson of the ruling party for her controversial remarks on the Prophet Muhammad.

The court told Nupur Sharma that "her loose tongue has set the entire country on fire".

Her remarks in a TV debate sparked violence in some parts of the country and also led to several Islamic nations registering strong protests with India.

The court also asked her to appear on a TV channel and apologize to the nation.

The judge was hearing Ms Sharma's petition seeking to curb different investigations ongoing against her in several parts of the country.

The court rejected the plea, saying "the petition smacks of her arrogance, that the magistrates of the country are too small for her".

Her lawyer told the court that she had apologiszd and withdrawn her comments.

But the judges said "she was too late to withdraw, and that too she withdrew conditionally, saying if sentiments were hurt".

The court also said being a spokesperson of a party does not give a licence to say anything hurtful.

Ms Sharma was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) spokesperson when she made the remarks.

She was suspended from the party after several Islamic nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran, officially registered diplomatic protests.

The incident threatened to derail India's improving diplomatic ties with these countries.

The court also observed that "her outburst is responsible for the unfortunate incident at Udaipur".

The city in the northern state of Rajasthan is on the edge after two Muslim men beheaded a Hindu tailor. They filmed the act and uploaded it online, saying the attack was in retaliation to Kanhaiya Lal's support to Ms Sharma on social media platforms.

Who is Nupur Sharma?
Until she was axed, the 37-year-old lawyer was a much sought-after "official BJP spokesperson" who appeared night after night on TV debates to represent and defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

A student of law at Delhi University, Ms Sharma began her political career in 2008 when she was elected as the president of the students' union as a candidate of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh movement.

Her political career picked up pace in 2011 when she returned to India after doing her masters in international business law from the London School of Economics.

Brash and articulate, her ability to argue and put forth her point of view in both English and Hindi won her a place in the BJP's media committee for the 2013 Delhi assembly elections.

Two years later when fresh elections were called, she was the BJP's candidate against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

But the recent controversy has seriously damaged her political career.

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/nu ... 28927.html
swamidada
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Islam and Hinduism's blurred lines

Post by swamidada »

BBC
The rise and rise of anti-Muslim hate music in India
Raghvendra Rao - BBC News, Delhi
Sun, August 7, 2022 at 6:54 PM
Sandeep Chaturvedi
Chaturvedi started his career as a singer of devotional songs
Sandeep Chaturvedi, 26, is readying to record his new song in a makeshift studio in the city of Ayodhya in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The song is about a mosque that has became a subject of controversy after Hindus claimed the right to worship there. It is riddled with innuendos against Muslims. But Chaturvedi says the song could get him back in business.

Chaturvedi's songs are part of a growing trend of music on YouTube and other social media platforms where supporters of the Hindu right-wing spew venom at Muslims.

Why people get away with hate speech in India

The lyrics are abusive or threatening. They are usually based on the premise that Hindus have suffered for centuries at the hands of Muslims - and now it's payback time.

Writer and political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay says that in addition to being a source of income, such music fetches their singers some attention. But for him, this is not music. "This is a war-cry. It's as if music is being used to win a war. This is a misuse of music and this has been happening for years."

Hate music
Chaturvedi has his own make-shift studio
Chaturvedi started his career as a singer of devotional songs about a decade ago, but he changed tack a few years later when he decided to compose songs about "Hinduism and nationalism". The idea, he says, was to get an image makeover.

He hit a jackpot of sorts when a music video he produced in 2016 became an overnight sensation amongst the right-wing Hindu nationalist ecosystem.

The lyrics of are too incendiary to be reproduced here. But the tone of the song was straightforward: a warning to the Muslim community about what will happen the day Hindu nationalism rises.

The young Indians spreading hate online

Chaturvedi says this song garnered millions of views on YouTube before his channel got suspended, following thousands of complaints. He blames Muslims for reporting his song as inappropriate content.

He rues losing "millions of subscribers", but refuses to divulge the money he was making from YouTube. He said it costs him around 20,000 rupees (£207; $253) to create a music video.

"I wasn't making much money from YouTube. What's more important is the recognition I got as a nationalist-revolutionary singer," he insists.

Chaturvedi has since created a new channel on YouTube. But the number of views on some of the content he uploaded has not been encouraging. He is hoping to change that with his latest song.

Often accused of targeting Muslims through his music, Chaturvedi is unapologetic. "If I plead with folded hands to get what is mine, will you agree? You won't. So we have to be provocative, don't we?"

Upendra Rana is another creator making similar music in Dadri near Delhi.

His mission is to "correct" history and his songs are paeans to Hindu warriors where Muslim rulers are portrayed as villains.

"Many things that are true have been hidden while falsehoods have been imposed on us," he claims while talking about the history taught in schools.

Hate music
Updendra Rana has hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers
Rana says that he gets a steady income from the videos he uploads on YouTube.

"We are bringing foreign currency to India. YouTube pays in dollars," he beams, pointing to wall-mounted YouTube Silver Play Button that shares space with images and portraits of Hindu warriors.

Ever since Rana moved on from composing devotional and romantic songs to ones with "historical" overtones, he has become a kind of star in Dadri. He has close to 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and many of his songs have been viewed millions of times.

Rana says that creating a music video costs him a mere 8,000 rupees (£84; $100). He has his own set-up to record and edit videos and a team comprising a cameraperson and an editor.

The young Indians spreading hate online

Mr Mukhopadhyay says the trend of weaponising music against minorities is reminiscent of events that have occurred in the past. He recalls the controversial foundation stone-laying programme in Ayodhya in 1989 organised by the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which culminated in the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992.

"Just before that, an industry of audio tapes had sprung up. They contained religious songs and so-called provocative slogans related to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue [Hindus believe that Ayodhya is Lord Ram's birthplace] and these tapes used to be played in processions to mobilise people."

Three decades on, the tone has become shriller.

Compositions proclaiming "if you want to live in India, learn to say Vande Mataram ("I praise you, Mother")… and learn to live within your limits", or "thinking of Hindus as weak is the enemy's mistake" make no effort to hide who they are targeting.

These songs have also helped right-wing organisations "mobilise" their cadres.

Hate music
These "nationalistic" songs are viewed by many youngsters
"Youngsters like these songs as they raise their enthusiasm and morale," says Pinky Chaudhary, who heads the right-wing Hindu Raksha Dal group. He argues that such songs help create awareness among the youth.

"I feel a sudden rush of energy when I listen to these songs. They remind me of the things we were subjected to at one point of time and where we have reached now," says Vijay Yadav.

A sketch-artist currently pursuing his studies from the Lalit Kala Akademi, India's national academy of fine arts, Mr Yadav, 23, says he loves listening to this kind of music.

The "sudden rush of energy" Mr Yadav talks about was believed to be on display this April when violent clashes were reported from several states during Hindu festivals.

The man who helped Lord Ram win the Ayodhya case

During these incidents, offensive music blared through loudspeakers when Hindus took out religious processions and moved close to Muslim-dominated areas.

In some of these clashes, incendiary and provocative songs - including Chaturvedi's composition from 2016 - were allegedly instrumental in triggering the violence.

Chaturvedi denies such allegations.

"I am just trying to create awareness through my music. Nothing comes from love. We have to fight and snatch what is ours."

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/ri ... 12078.html
Post Reply