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The Political integrity of Lalu Prasad


Faraz Ahmad

For all the multiple convictions and condemnations for a single “crime” of alleged ‘Fodder scam’ during his tenure as the chief minister of undivided Bihar, Lalu Prasad will go down in the annals of modern Indian history corresponding to the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as a leader of highest political integrity.

Look at his contemporary Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati who was roaring and walking tall once upon a time, but has apparently abandoned her fight against the ruling BJP for fear of BJP implicating her in corruption cases. And the BJP on its part has not only kept all such cases in abeyance but only the other day, of all the people Home Minister Amit Shah rose to her defence to claim she is a force to reckon with in UP and that because of her committed Dalit votes, a good section of Muslims will also vote for her. Immediately Behenji responded with a hearty thanks to the Union Home Minister. Shows the BJP is banking on the BSP acting as a spoilsport in the people’s bid to defeat the BJP in the current assembly elections and Behenji working to secure one more term for saffron clad Yogi Adityanath. Some fond hope for a leader, who in this current crucial UP Assembly election is hardly seen or heard.

Or for that matter the self-professed leader of the Muslim community, Asaduddin Owaisi who has fielded around 100 candidates only to act, as Lalu had described him a ‘Vote Katuwa’ and rightly so. Amit Shah offered Owaisi Z+ security, which he provided to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted in 2017 for 20 years on charges of rape and murder, released by the Haryana government on February 7 for 21 days furlough on parole presumably to influence Dalit Sikh voters of Punjab in favour of the BJP. Don’t forget even Rajiv Gandhi as a former Prime Minister was not favoured with such generosity, and died at the hands of a human bomb at Sripreumbudur with virtually no personal security cover, except for an unarmed Delhi Police inspector.

Look at the irony. A convicted rapist and murderer is roaming around free with Z+ security and a people’s leader Lalu Yadav has been languishing in jail in a series of convictions, coming one after the other for evidently a single so-called crime of presiding over the fodder scam worth close to one thousand crore, as his BJP/JD-U detractors often allege. And the anti-OBC media gleefully keeps predicting of more cases still pending against Lalu Prasad.

Even Mulayam Singh Yadav, played footsie with the BJP off and on. The decision of former Prime Minister V P Singh to implement the Mandal Commission report and empower the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) brought great hopes of transformation of the society through these OBC and Dalit leaders of northern India. But the years since, with the exception of Lalu Prasad, each one of them has capitulated to the BJP. Some for power and pelf like Nitish Kumar or Hukam Deo Narain Singh Yadav or Ram Vilas Paswan and even Sharad Yadav others fearing BJP’s propensity to file criminal cases, often baseless, against these leaders which will keep dragging on endlessly in the courts, like they are punishing Anil Deshmukh and now Nawab Malik through blatant misuse of central agencies.

I am certain that eventually the highest court will one day pronounce Lalu “not guilty” of committing any crime at all. But by then he might be dead and gone. Because in any case if Lalu had misappropriated public funds to the tune of around 1000 crore rupees, from the Bihar treasury in what has been described as “Fodder scam (meaning scam relating to cattle fodder) as is made out by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) then there would have been visible evidence of him having amassed at least some wealth. But the CBI after going on a fishing expedition all over the world for years to discover Lalu’s “ill-gotten wealth” submitted a charge sheet to the courts in a Disproportionate Assets (DA) case, finding Lalu’s total assets at only somewhere around 40 lakh rupees. And Lalu’s counsel claimed that even that amount was highly exaggerated because they calculated the cost of various pieces of land in his native village at Delhi’s land cost of that period.   

Had Lalu also compromised and made peace with the BJP, would he have suffered the same torture and humiliation, which no political leader, including Jagannath Mishra, in whose tenure the Bihar officials started fodder scam, faced? The BJP has become more upfront and blasé since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014 and later Yogi became UP chief minister in 2017. The latest, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister in Maharashtra Nawab Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), on some charges pertaining to alleged land purchase of 1999 in Mumbai. It is evident that the Modi government did not take kindly to Malik exposing the BJP plot in targeting film star Shahrukh Khan’s son and arresting him under the trumped up charges relating to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act when there was no such substance on his person.

Soon after Lalu’s RJD and JDU won against the BJP-LJP combine in 2015 assembly elections, and formed a government, sources in Patna started noticing that a prominent Yadav BJP leader was frequently flying to Patna meeting Rabri Devi, asking her to persuade Lalu to pull the rug from under Nitish’s feet. In turn she was offered that not only her son Tejaswi will be made the chief minister with BJP support but all fodder cases against Lalu will also be brushed under the carpet. The offer appears plausible because the BJP handled other leaders the same way, including the current Assam chief minister, Hemant Biswa Sarma, or Bengal’s Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari. Innumerable leaders from the Opposition crossed over to the saffron side once the BJP threatened to slap corruption cases against them. Lalu dismissed the offer point blank and soon thereafter was sent to jail. Only when that mission failed, they turned to Nitish who willingly obliged, jettisoned RJD and sat in BJP’s lap. If Lalu as the state chief minister can be convicted for the fodder scam during his chief ministership of Bihar, how should the same set of laws deal with Narendra Modi for the Rafael scam, the Nirav Modi scam, latest Gujarat coal scam, NSE scam, ABG scam, and you name it every day one or the other tumbles out of this Government’s cupboard, but there is not a murmur anywhere.

Even assuming Lalu’s guilt in fodder scam, it is unusual in judicial history to split the same case into several parts and then convict a person for the same alleged crime, successively and not even concurrently. Whether this is legally just, is a matter still pending with the higher courts. Meanwhile it is noteworthy that in October 2016 the case against Lalu in Disproportionate Assets (DA) case was decided in his favour and he was acquitted in that case on the basis of the CBI chargesheet submitted in the year 2000 under the then NDA government in Delhi. Just shows the animus against an OBC politician defiant of the BJP.


Urgency of a judgement on Hijab


Faraz Ahmad

Would the Karnataka High Court, deliberating on a petition by Muslim girl students seeking rescinding a recent state government order blocking their entry into colleges and institutions wearing a head scarf, variously called a ‘Hijab’, deliver its judgement on this contentious order before March 6?  Unlikely.

The whole issue has been played up by the BJP government led, curiously by a chief minister Basvaraj Bommai, whose father S.R.Bommai, former Janata Dal president for almost as long as it lasted, occasionally asserted his secular socialist credentials, to whip up communal passions to send across its reverberations as far off as Uttar Pradesh to influence its Assembly elections currently underway. Evidently the BJP’s appeal appears a bit waning and in need of a booster. It is therefore necessary that the Court delivers it’s verdict on the Karnataka government’s order blocking the entry of Hijab wearing girls entering educational institutions not just to aid Muslim girls’ entry into schools and colleges but also to restrain the BJP from capitalising on this apparent communal divide in it’s election campaign in UP.

Javed Anand and some other well-meaning Muslims have hugely criticised the Hijab practice and I too consider it unnecessary and I don’t think young girls or boys be forced or pressurised to wear any religious symbols at all. He has argued that Islam hasn’t enjoined any Muslim woman to wear Burqa or Hijab. Granted and therefore had I daughter, which unfortunately I don’t, I would have opposed any move to cover her in a veil.

But the issue before the Karnataka High Court, to my mind, is different from what Anand is perceiving or portraying. The issue is of certain freedoms granted to every citizen under Articles 25, 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. Article 21 guarantees to every citizen the Right to personal liberty. This means that a girl is free to choose what she would prefer to wear, particularly if she is a major College going girl. She is as much entitled to wear a head scarf as she has, to wear a short pant and a “tank top” if she so desires. Any attempt to dictate to her what to wear is problematic for me.

The reason why the government interference to girls’ head scarves called Hijab in colleges and schools is unacceptable because, for one it goes against the tenets of the freedoms granted to all citizens by the Constitution of India and two, because it has suddenly been sprung up by a BJP government to obstruct a practice of several years at the instance of the RSS-ABVP saffron brigade to whip up a communal frenzy.  As the campaign in UP started picking momentum and the BJP appeared losing ground, visibly in western UP Jat land which the BJP swept in 2017, and the people seemed wary of the BJP attempt to re-enact the Hindu-Muslim binary, boys in Karnataka wearing saffron scarves presumably belonging to the RSS student wing ABVP, suddenly started going to colleges, harassing young girls wearing Hijab. If that be so and that’s what appears to be, then it shouldn’t last beyond March 6 or perhaps even March 4, the day on which all campaign shall end.

Today Muslims girls are bearing the brunt of this patently communal excess of a BJP government with an eye on UP polls. Tomorrow when the elections to Kerala or Tamil Nadu are held the BJP might seek to communalise the Hindu voter there, it may well target along with hijab wearing Muslims girls also young nuns covering their heads and wearing a cross over their dress as the symbol of their devotion to the Christian faith and they do go to colleges and schools. Don’t they? When will such attack on minorities turn to the Sikh brethren we never know? Devout Sikh women also cover their heads with their “chunni/dupatta”. Will these girls also be asked not to cover their heads? We don’t know. Tomorrow they may block young Sikhs boys wearing turban from entering schools and colleges.

On the other hand we have a chief minister in UP and any number of BJP MPs in saffron robes, which no one seems to mind. Then there was a Jain naked Sadhu who addressed the Haryana Assembly wearing absolutely nothing and sitting above the speaker’s chair too. 

Article 25 of the Constitution grants to all Indian citizens the right to freely practice, profess and propagate their respective religions. Of course subject to public order, morality and health. The covering of head by a scarf in the class room causes neither. Many of these girls have been covering their heads with the scarf for many years now and from all accounts it hasn’t caused any disturbance to public order. Of course, a rider may be in order, that fully covering the face in a burqa or veil is a contentious issue because we don’t know who is going past in that veil and therefore there might be justification if the colleges or schools were to put a restriction on girls entering educational institutions in a burqa.

The issue before the court to my mind is not what Islam prescribes or proscribes. That is of little relevance to this case. Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides for equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. … “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”

The court has its task cut out insofar as whether the colleges and schools (and here we are now witnessing a new situation where even the all-girls minority institutions are following suit, presumably on stated or unstated Karnataka government order) have any right to prevent the girls to enter the institutions wearing the Hijab. Evidently not. if the Karnataka state’s objective is to communally polarise the people in a Hindu-Muslim divide for the UP polls, a fair judgement is needed to be delivered urgently without any further delay to ensure that these girls to return to their classes. Because any further delay could be perceived as influenced by politics of the day?


Were Ferozepur farmers a security threat to Modi?


Faraz Ahmad

What kind of threat our well-fortified, SPG protected Prime Minister face from the poor agitating farmers of Ferozepur, Punjab on Thursday, January 5, presumably because of whose street level agitation, BJP supremo Narendra Modi cancelled his first public meeting in Punjab to campaign for his party or so he implied?

If we go by the beating of breast by his mantris, santris and bhakts in and outside the godi media never before a Prime Minister of India faced a crowd of agitating and slogan shouting protestors. Of course Modi has not and therefore he probably felt a threat to his life as he told the Punjab officials at the Bhatinda airport, simply because the motorcade of our fakeer Pradhan sevak got stuck in a traffic jam for 15 odd minutes on account of agitating farmers present some distance away.   

These same farmers were denied a ‘darshan’ of their dear Prime Minister for a full one year and made to languish (and hundreds perished) in freezing Winter, skin drenching and pouring Monsoon rains and blistering heat wave of Delhi Summer, were anxiously waiting all night in freezing cold, accompanied by one more spell of winter rain, to bring to his notice his lack of concern for them, thumbing his nose at the hapless farmers who lost hundreds of their kin in the year-long dharna where the BJP government got huge nails inlaid on the roads leading to Delhi, lest the tractors dared cross into the national capital reserved only for the Prime Minister and his fellow Lutyen dwellers. The elections to the Punjab assembly are due next month or so and the PM and his party does not brook a defeat at whatever cost. That’s why the urgency of addressing an election rally in Ferozepur. Besides, as he told his Meghalaya Governor Satyapal Malik “Wo mere liye mare kya (Did they die for me?)” Naturally then, how could he imagine that farmers would be so angry as to want to show their anger to him by raising slogans and waving black flags? So probably he didn’t imagine people will be on the road not to welcome him. He, in fact, was expecting a huge response to his rally and got arranged 70,000 chairs for the expected audience, forget the fact that the local BJP could sense the anger and decided to ferry even those 700 from Jammu in buses.

That saffron clad criminal Yati Narsinghanand who called from a public platform on December 17-19 at the ‘Dharam Sansad’ in Haridwar, Uttarakhand for a genocide of Muslims; who dismissed the call by another woman ‘Sadhvi’ to arm all Hindus with swords, arguing that distributing swords to Hindus won’t suffice. To kill and exterminate all Muslims from India like the Rohingyas from Myanmar, many more sophisticated weapons are needed; who said the Police and the Army need not be fair and objective.  “They are our allies and they are with us,” addressing the police officer who stood smiling and nodding ascent. At the same “Dharam Sansad” one of those saffron-clad criminals declared that had he a revolver he would have shot the only non-Hindu Prime Minister of the country Dr Manmohan Singh “six times.” Dr Singh never reacted to that though. The speakers there threatened to launch a la 1857 mutiny against Modi government if it does not heed to its call of ridding the country of each and every Muslim by putting them to sword. That Yati Narsinghanand is strutting around freely openly announcing that he was working to make Yogi the Prime Minister in 2024, implicitly after ridding the country of Modi, is free to say or do as he fancies!

The Prime Minister seems to face no threat or fear from such dangerous elements. Thanks to a Congress government in Chhatisgarh, the other criminal Kalicharan, was arrested but even after that, he wore a huge smile on his face as the Raipur court remanded him to only one-day Police custody, confident of support of his Hindutva patrons. And that Sulli/Bulli bai online auction of hundreds of Muslim women by anti-Muslim rabid elements, which included the hapless and unfortunate 52 year old mother of the JNU student who mysteriously disappeared after an altercation with the ABVP crowd who came to his hostel room to threaten him, these elements are no threat to the Nation’s peace and tranquillity? The Prime Minister appears quite comfortable in the company of all such elements and considers this an ideal situation.

That naturally raises the question did these farmers utter or intend to harm the Prime Minister? Not at all. The Prime Minister who waited in his car for 15 long minutes, had he walked a few steps, spoken to the farmers, heard their grievances, reassured them, it is common sense the farmers would have moved away, the crowd would have melted,  giving way to the Prime Minister’s cavalcade. In fact their leader said, they were not even aware of the Prime Minister’s cavalcade stuck at some distance from them and did not believe the senior police officers when they informed them about it. They were aware only of the earlier plans of the Prime Minister to fly in a helicopter to the public meeting. They were there only to show black flags to the buses adorning BJP flags and going to the PM rally on the same route, they said. But then how could he and his drumbeaters gone to town preparing ground for dismissing the Congress government in Punjab and imposing President’s rule there to loot the elections?

According to Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi the chief secretary informed him at 1.30 am that the protestors wanted to meet the Prime Minister and the chief minister felt that could be arranged. But the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) did not respond to the calls.

But if the Prime Minister and his Government feared the poor farmers so much he should have stuck to the earlier plans of flying directly to the venue and if the weather was inclement he should have cancelled his visit from Delhi as advised by the Director General (DGP) of Punjab Police. But that could not serve his political purpose.

In any case, the moot question is why did the ‘Pradhan Sevak’ feel so threatened by peaceful farmers, anxious to meet him and draw his attention to their plight?


Bracing for probable poll violence in BJP ruled states


Faraz Ahmad

The way the first ever BJP government of Tripura flaunted its muscle, physically beating down its political opponents blatantly, unmindful of the exposes, and looted the local bodies through sheer violence preventing other political candidates to even file their nominations for the local bodies elections in the state under the leadership of its Bangladeshi migrant chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, has touched a new low in mobocracy.

The Supreme Court taking note of the complaints of large-scale rigging ordered despatch of additional central forces to maintain law and order. But it seems to make little difference to Biplab Deb’s BJP government, as videos went viral of the capture of polling booths even in the capital city of Agartala, making a mockery of democracy and elections. For instance, in one video a woman voter was seen going to the EVM to vote but before she can press the button a man standing next to the polling officer walks up, presses the button in full view of the polling officer and walks back smiling to the officer, while the poor woman agape walks away. Has any action been taken by either the BJP government or the Election Commission or the apex court which has been approached? Not yet. Nor would it ever be. That’s the so-called democracy we are to experience in Modi times.

After all when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the gumption to stonewall any discussion on the repeal of the farm laws, in Parliament lest the Opposition shows him the mirror, If the Rajya Sabha Questions department strikes away, after admitting a question on the unannounced martial law against Indians living abroad coming to help the agitating farmers, to cover the sly action of Modi’s government, why would the chief ministers of BJP states, not be encouraged to shelve the rule of law too.

Back to Tripura, in the run up to the local bodies polls, the first thing the BJP government did was to prevent candidates from CPI-M and now emerging Trinamul Congress (TMC) from filing their nominations. Thirty-six candidates, including 15 candidates of the opposition CPI-M, four of Trinamool Congress (TMC), eight of Congress, two of the AIFB, and seven Independent candidates “withdrew” their nominations, election official claimed. Ambassa Municipal Council, Jirania Nagar Panchayat, Mohanpur Municipal Council, Ranirbazar Municipal Council, Bishalgarh Municipal Council, Udaipur Municipal Council and Santirbazar Municipal Council had no opposition candidates. One report said of some 300 odd seats, BJP candidates returned uncontested on 136 seats and another put the figure at 112. No surprise then that the BJP won all but a handful of seats,

Mind you this is the UP model, repeated in Tripura. Earlier similar steam rolling was evident in Assam as well. The BJP successfully finessed it first in Uttar Pradesh where the Yogi Adityanath led BJP assaulted and even recorded instances of molesting women candidates of Samajwadi Party in the local bodies’ elections. Thus, even after losing the first phase of local bodies elections, they managed to foist their sarpanches and municipal chairmen of their choice through sheer flexing of muscles.

It is now obvious that Modi decided, much against his wishes, on the eve of elections to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab, to repeal the three controversial farm laws, not out of any compassion for the suffering farmers but from sheer expediency of retaining power in the four states it is ruling, only to save BJP’s electoral prospects in the above three states. Otherwise, he remained unmoved for a year by the farmers’ plight as they were kept at bay on the Delhi borders while they observed peaceful dharna opposing Modi push to corporatize agriculture. To date there is no feeling of regret or remorse for putting India’s bread giver the untold hardship in bitter cold winter, sweltering summer heat, pouring monsoon and police atrocities, including putting spikes on highways to create as many and as unsurmountable obstacles in the path of these farmers, as can be.

As for Punjab, for all his effort, BJP may even score a Duck because it does not have a government in Punjab. The past results from Bihar first, then Assam then local elections in Uttar Pradesh and now in Tripura show that it needs to be in government in a state to indulge in arson, violence and all such activities strictly forbidden in poll bound states, to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere. Note for instance how the state of Jammu and Kashmir was slaughtered and turned into two union territories because on its own the BJP could never come to power there.

West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress is ruling, has proved this even more conclusively. Since the BJP did not have a collaborating state machinery to back it nor the muscle power to beat down its political opponents, it faced a complete rout.

The BJP has a government in all the four states, going to polls next round. But return of power in Uttar Pradesh crucial for retaining power at the Centre in 2024, as none else than Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in a public meeting recently, it will want to win at any cost. Analysts mentioning insiders report that the anti-incumbency factor against Yogi and now even for Modi on account of his sheer arrogance during the CAA agitation, then the farmers’ dharna and even the large scale pandemic deaths has become such a political liability for the BJP that in the normal course the non or anti-BJP parties could in all, win as much as 300 plus seats, according to an inside assessment of the RSS/BJP. But the official machinery is under Yogi’s command and he demonstrated in the local bodies’ polls his muscle power as well. After this to expect a normal peaceful poll in the BJP-ruled states in 2022 will be living in a fool’s paradise. Particularly since the Opposition has neither the bureaucracy with it nor money and muscle power.

All this is worth mentioning because it is now imperative on the part of the Opposition to stand together and fight unitedly the BJP trend of “looting” polls through sheer violence while the institutions meant to ensure fair polls in the interest of democracy stand and watch silently this orgy of violence.

So how does the Opposition contend with this or is it willing to give a walk over to the BJP despite the political situation on the ground? The only way to counter the BJP strategy is to take a leaf from the farmers’ unity, combine the Opposition strength; counter the Modi-Yogi-Amit Shah strategy with peaceful mass movement on the streets till the results of these elections are announced. It’s not easy and considering that none of the main contending opposition parties, namely Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the reinvigorated Congress under Priyanka Gandhi are all fighting against each other. But on this one issue of jointly facing BJP’s violence with combined peaceful dharnas and sit ins in every district, every town in UP maybe they can all agree if they intend to counter the BJP strategy to “loot’ the polls.


Why would Modi be contrite over Kangana’s remarks?


Faraz Ahmad

Questions are being raised why the Prime Minister has maintained a stoic silence on Padma Shri film actress Kangana Ranaut’s much applauded public pronouncement at the Times Now summit that what we got on 15 August 1947, was only a “bheek (alms)” presumably from the British, for before that date India was a colony of the British Empire.

Of course, her remarks make a mockery of all the ostentation being displayed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government apparently to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, notwithstanding his determination to destroy all the heritage monuments built assiduously in New Delhi not just by the British but the government of independent India like Shastri Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan et al—to have not just his own Parliament but Sansad Bhawan as well. It’s obviously a concerted attempt to obliterate from the people’s memory the contribution by his predecessors to India’s progress and development. 

Do we really expect the Prime Minister, his party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or their alma mater the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to feel contrite on account of the lady, honoured just a few days back for similar utterances earlier, by President Ram Nath Kovind with the prestigious Padma Shri award? If anything, the Prime Minister, as always on such matters, through his studied silence, is endorsing Kangana’s views about India achieving freedom only with his becoming the Prime Minister in 2014. Why he alone, this appears to be the unpublicised view of the entire Sanghi brigade.

Former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president late Ashok Singhal publicly announced to the world at a press conference days after Modi became the Prime Minister that India has achieved freedom now after 1000 years.

And what of Modi? Did he not derisively dismiss India’s remarkable achievements before he occupied the Prime Minister’s chair? He remained undeterred and unrepentant like Kangana even when someone fished out a speech by the first BJP-NDA Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Lok Sabha declaring that he would be the last person to dismiss India’s achievements by the governments preceding him and the sacrifices of Nehru.

There is no need to pick on Kangana, chasing the world of glamour, because we don’t know whether she could spare time and energy to read up on the independence struggle, the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters, thousands who were killed in successive police firings and lathi charge during the Quit India movement, the many fasts and satyagrahas of Mahatma Gandhi, and his self-sacrificing followers, the Congress leaders, which forced the British empire, crumbling under its own weight to Quit India. But yes, there is certainly a remarkable difference—socially, economically and politically– between the India that achieved its independence and progressed through decades of determined effort to emerge a major economic power under his predecessor noted Economist Dr Manmohan Singh, and India under Modi. Manmohan Singh could be faulted for many things but his commitment to secularism and peace was unparalleled even within his Congress party. Modi’s most charitable remarks about Muslims on the other hand in the context of Gujarat pogrom which he presided over was, “Kutte ka bachcha bhi gadi ke neeche aa jaye to afsos to hota hi hai (Even of a puppy is run over by a car one feels sad).

Modi successfully demonstrated in his 12 years rule in Gujarat how hate campaign against the hapless minorities can galvanise a huge population cutting across caste and class barriers to usher in a majoritarian state. Impressed by this remarkable feat, the right wing Indian establishment consciously and knowingly projected Modi as “Vikash Purush” (the Development Man), aware of what actually was in store and whose ‘vikas’ was expected from a leader whose real agenda was to establish a majoritarian corporate oligarchy in which 20 crore strong Muslim population becomes electorally irrelevant.

That’s what Ashok Singhal had proudly hoped with Modi’s advent in the national capital and that’s what the hydra headed RSS and its many offshoots have been performing with impunity, now that the Sangh pracharak is leading a clear majority government since 2014. Two days ago, a young teenage specially abled boy with only one arm, selling fish in Benares was dragged away by the UP police and beaten mercilessly. With tears in his eyes and with whole body aching the young fellow lying in the hospital was narrating his plight. On August 25 a Muslim Dosa vendor was dragged by his hair and nearly lynched for selling Dosas in a Hindu area in Bareilly. On June 19, a Muslim vendor Rizwan was assaulted with lathis in West Delhi’s Uttam Nagar area and forced to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ the war cry of the Hindutva brigade of the Sangh. In August only, a Muslim bangle seller in Indore was assaulted for selling bangles to women in Hindu area. Instead of any action against the assailants, the Madhya Pradesh Police registered a case against the bangle seller. Standup comedian Munawar Faruqui, was arrested along with Nalin Yadav, who organised the show, in Indore on New Year Day for making people laugh on a complaint of one Eklavya Singh Goud, the son of a BJP MP. The upmarket garment store FabIndia popular for its ethnic kurtas and other similar stuff had to remove one of its ads because BJP MP from Karnataka Tejaswi Surya objected to a misspelt Riwaj (tradition) Surya believed was an Urdu word.

At least in these cases the government could plead no direct involvement. But the way the poor Muslims living in shanties in Assam were singled out to demolish their habitat, and were driven away was no less heart rending. Add to that the police photographer getting himself videographed jumping upon the chest of a dead Muslim in full view of the police force under the command of the Chief Minister’s brother and then proudly circulating the video of this inhuman act. In Tripura Hindutva brigade went around attacking Muslim houses, mosques and abusing and assaulting them. But the BJP government there slapped the draconian UAPA upon the fact-finding team of lawyers comprising of Ansar Indori and Mukesh, when it reported the complicity of the state in its report ‘Humanity under attack in Tripura; #Muslim lives matter’. Two days later two Delhi-based women journalists who had gone to do a story of this, were detained in Assam and cases slapped on them by Agartala police.

Closer home it has become impossible for Muslims to offer their Friday congregational prayers in the upmarket so-called cosmopolitan Gurgaon nee Gurugram as the New India now refers to this ancient place. Their mosques and dargahs are under illegal occupation and the government makes no effort to remove illegal occupation there. But when they offer prayers in the open space the BJP men come and obstruct them.

Former RSS chief Guru Golwalkar’s vision of a Hindu Rashtra was that Muslims shall have no rights not even civil rights except the right to serve and promote Hindutva. Modi has surely brought about a situation wherein the Hindutva brigade is free to do as it likes—lynch, assault and then also arrest and jail the victim with no redressal for months and sometimes years together. Definitely if this is Kangana Ranaut and her fellow travellers’ concept of independence, for which she has apparently been honoured with Padma Shri, such “independence” has come only with Modi’s advent.


Modi’s problems with ‘Congress Gotra’


Faraz Ahmad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a problem with the “Congress Gotra” (meaning primarily the Congress DNA).

His malicious journey against secularism, liberalism and constitutional parliamentary democracy started from Ahmedabad in 2001 when he was appointed the unelected Gujarat chief minister and progressed full steam in Delhi since 2014. When the country elected a full majority BJP government led by him, he set about the task of shaping the nation in the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) mould, having successfully tested the Sanghi model in the Gujarati laboratory. And he also dispelled all the façade of his being a NDA Government stating that he can now fully implement his agenda since BJP enjoys full majority in the Lok Sabha, meaning he can no longer be constrained by other so-called NDA partners. If they are there they are at their own sufferance.

Modi proclaimed to the Editor of the Open magazine P R Ramesh that all governments before him were fundamentally formed under the leadership of a person from “Congress Gotra”. And that is why for each of them there was no difference between their political thought process and economic thought process.” He is clearly putting the Congressmen, the socialists and the communists all in the same “Gotra.” To some extent he has a point. After all each of the leaders preceding, him for all their various ideological and political differences, had no disagreement on the pre-eminence of liberal, secular constitutional parliamentary democracy. Ironically the Editor of Open magazine, on whom Modi bestowed a rare unusual favour of giving an interview, also belonged to the same “Gotra” before his later day conversion and same holds true for another favoured thus, Swapan Dasguta, all came from the Left stream and Ramesh an ex SFI activist, was once upon a time so strident that he would mock us for sitting and drinking with our former Editor in Sunday Mail T V R Shenoy, a member of Advani’s think tank. Of course, this band of ex Leftists changed too many colours before reaching the pinnacle. First many of them hitched their cart to the then rising star in the BJP, Pramod Mahajan. Slowly this band of neo coverts moved away from Mahajan, after he was closely identified with Vajpayee because of which Advani started distancing himself from Pramod. The next mentor was Arun Jaitley and Advani. But the moment Sangh dropped Advani and rooted for Modi, it took no time for the neo converts, with the sole exception of Chandan Mitra, to switch sides and not look back. Open was the right forum for Modi to pour his heart out because Modi’s other well-known acolytes like Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar, Rahul Shiv Shankar, Anjana Om Kashyap, Deepak Chaurasia or Sudhir Chaudhry ex-Communists lacked the finesse and subtlety not to sound blatant propagandists Thus Open provided Modi the much needed credit of speaking to the Press.

Returning to the Gotra issue, Modi however realises that before him, came his one-time mentors former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who ruled the country for six years from 1998 to 2004 and that government was led by not just Vajpayee, but had Modi’s saviour L K Advani, because of whom he survived Vajpayee’s ire post Godhra massacre of Muslims patronised and facilitated by the official machinery under his leadership. Had it not been for Advani, Modi would have been sacked immediately, because that is what Vajpayee had decided on his way to the Goa national executive meeting, disclosed none other than former Union Minister and one time BJP’s lone intellectual Arun Shourie.

Vajpayee was not just constrained by the presence of other parties in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by him, but said on the floor of Parliament how he valued India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s invaluable contribution to the progress of India, a red rag to Modi. And Advani who for all his hard line and patronage to Modi still had tremendous respect for the institution called Parliament. He stayed away from Parliament the moment his name appeared in the Hawala scam and returned only when he secured a clean chit from the court. Again, when the then Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa figured in a corruption case, he announced in the party meeting that he would not step on the stairs of Parliament till Yediyurappa resigns. And the Karnataka chief minister had to go. Third, he refused to accept a second term to Nitin Gadkari’s presidentship because of the allegation of big scam in his Purti group of companies.

Contrast this with Modi, to date, not a word on the Rafael scam can come out because a chief justice of India chose not to open the case, despite being submitted documentary evidence. Before that the court also ruled out any probe into the Birla-Sahara scam, where Modi’s name appeared in print.

His record on condoning corruption is remarkable. From Kiren Rijiju to Himanta Biswa Sarma, to Mukul Roy to Suvendu Adhikari to how many more, the list is endless of those whom the BJP not just publicly accused of corruption through press conference TV interviews and official statements but sought high level probe. But the moment they switched sides, they had become pure and innocent in BJP’s eyes and even elevated as chief minister as in the case of Sarma.

Yes, sure enough there is vast difference between all the previous governments and Modi’s. While his predecessors like the great economist Dr Manmohan Singh too were pushing for liberalisation of the economy since 1985, but not for outright sale of the country’s silver, Railways, Airlines, ports and airports, all to a handful of his very close friends with often times not even the requisite qualification to acquire or run a particular industry. That’s the difference between Modi’s Sanghi gotra and his predecessors’.


Why Modi did not mention Afghanistan/Taliban in his UN address?


Faraz Ahmad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 was too restrained and cautious about the singular issue concerning India’s security– the foisting of Talibani regime forcibly by Pakistani Mullah-military establishment upon the hapless peace-loving people of Afghanistan. He seemed content with joining QUAD group which the Americans have devised merely to confront China in the South China sea.

In his 21-minute brief speech, delivered to virtually an empty house and vacant benches the Prime Minister did not utter the word Taliban or Afghanistan even once as per the English translation of his speech put out on its site by the Ministry of External Affairs. He made a general mention in the prepared Hindi text of the inadequacy and inability of the United Nations to act as an able peace maker to prevent war, strife and terror spreading all over today’s world.

Even in the government version as reported by some sections of the media, the Prime Minster touched very lightly on Afghanistan and Taliban, and underlined that the world is facing an “increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism,” adding that the comity of nations has to ensure that no country takes advantage of the “delicate situation” in Afghanistan. He is reported to have said that the recent Afghan crisis has raised further questions on the relevance of the United Nations as an effective arbitration body. But the more reliable MEA version does not mention the word Afghanistan or Taliban or Haqqani, anywhere in the text.

The Prime Minister seemed satisfied with the earlier Quad joint statement: “In South Asia we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic and human rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation…we denounce the use of terrorist proxies and military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including cross-border attacks.”

So much for combating terror! What security can be guaranteed with two top functionaries of this Talibani-Haqqani proxy regime of Pakistan, having served 14 years in the US’ Guantanamo Bay detention camp for their terrorist activity? Mullah Fazel and Abdul Haq Wasiq, are now in charge of intelligence and security to Talibani mullahs in the new setup. How much they care for world reaction is evident from the fact that they have begun their medieval barbaric terror. Under orders of Herat governor Mawlawi Shir Ahmad Mujahir, four persons were publicly hanged for the people at large to come and witness it presumably for some act which the mullah governor pronounced as crime. It was not clear what crime the poor fellows committed, maybe none, except perhaps rubbing the mullah the wrong way.

In fact, earlier this month while addressing the countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting held at Dushanbe in Tajikistan through a video conference, Prime Minister Modi was more forthright and outspoken when he had called upon the international community to take a decision on the critical question of the “recognition” of Taliban regime in a “thoughtful and collective manner.” Though even here he avoided naming Taliban, he did warn the world community that were this trend of approving the principle of might is right to prevail, it would lead to the rise and spread of terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world.

Addressing the SCO in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said, “The first issue is that the change of power in Afghanistan is not inclusive, and has taken place without negotiation. This raises questions about the acceptability of the new system,” he said, adding, “representation of all sections of Afghan society, including women and minorities, is also important,” and stressed that “India supports the central role of the UN on this issue.

“Secondly, if instability and fundamentalism continue in Afghanistan, it will lead to terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world. Other extremists may also be encouraged to seek power through violence…So together we must ensure that the soil of Afghanistan is not used to spread terrorism in any country…Third, developments in Afghanistan could lead to an uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking. A large amount of advanced weapons remain in Afghanistan. Due to these, there will be a risk of instability in the entire region,” the Prime Minister surmised at the SCO meeting.

His clear and unambiguous criticism of the Taliban’s forcible and violent occupation of Afghanistan in the SCO meeting, sent alarm bells among the open and surreptitious supporters of this regime. The US created this Frankenstein and unable to tame it down in 20 years because of cohabiting Pakistan which was providing them safe haven, it has let lose those menacing bearded monsters calling themselves Mullah this and Mullah that on the poor  Afghans. We were educated by the Sufi saints Bulle Shah, Baba Sheikh Farid and Sant Kabir that Mullah’s place is in the mosque and his jurisdiction does not extend beyond the masjid. The Talibani mullahs have proved that you allow the mullah an inch and he will take the whole country. And I insist that these mullahs wouldn’t have crossed the Pakistani border, where they were fattened all these years, but for the active moral and logistical support of Pakistani Mullah-Army establishment, with current Prime Minister Imran Khan a mere puppet in their hands.

No sooner Modi addressed the SCO conference, Saudi Foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud came rushing to New Delhi to “persuade” India to go soft on Taliban and allow them to consolidate their hold on Kabul. Unlike in the past when it openly encouraged and supported the mullah Taliban regime, this time round the Saudis are more subtle and full of innuendoes. But look deeper and Saudi Arabia too is simply seeking consolidation of the Talibani regime with international recognition, but not a word on why occupation of a territory by violence and terror be provided legitimacy? And therefore, who will stand guarantee that these mullahs will honour the rights of women, ethnic minorities and in effect all citizens of Afghanistan? Who will restrain them from exporting terror in the name of Islam? Saud had “stressed the Kingdom’s support for the Afghan people and the future choices they make for their country without any external interference,” as put out by Saudi Foreign ministry. What did it imply? That let them fight and settle the issue by the simple might is right principle and no one, India included, should raise a finger at them. Prince Faisal visited Islamabad before coming to New Delhi.

Meanwhile their other backers Qatar and Pakistan have issued a veiled threat to the comity of nations, in particular to sceptics like India not to isolate the Talibani regime, lest they become furious and unmanageable. Pakistani Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi counselled the world leaders at the UN to be “Realistic, engage and above all don’t isolate them (Taliban), “Try an innovative way of engaging with them.” That’s like telling the world not to rebuke or punish an abrasive, recalcitrant teenager who considers everything he has snatched forcibly from his young cousins as his. The Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani went one step further and stressed upon world leaders at the UN general assembly “the necessity of continuing dialogue with Taliban because boycott only leads to polarisation and reactions” urging the world leaders not to repeat the past mistakes in Afghanistan “to impose a political system from outside.” What was the Sheikh seeking that the world should quietly and meekly give in to the Talibani excesses currently being enforced in Afghanistan today, abandoning any pretence of democracy, as a system devised by the people of Afghanistan? But who decides that and how did the Qatar Emir come to this conclusion? Also, what is his locus standii, unless he has the tacit support of Joe Biden to soften the world to the new Talibani patriarchal, authoritarian order in Afghanistan? 

Encouraged by such strong support the Taliban Foreign minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi in a letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres pressed upon the United Nations to recognise them as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, while Mullah Nooruddin Turabi of Taliban who enforced the public beheading and chopping of hands in the previous Talibani incarnation, reiterated to the AP correspondent Kathy Gannon that he would resort to the executions and chopping off of hands once again. “Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments…No one will tell us what our laws should be.”

This is the Talibani usurpers’ swagger seeking recognition and acceptance by the comity of nations by sheer use of force and violence! For them India is an enemy territory. Who will stop them from exporting terror to India? None. The world has to put an end to it and it cannot do it but with force and by isolating Pakistan first. For once a slightly sober, saner voice emerged from US Vice President Kamala Harris. But that is insufficient and got drowned in the cacophony? Was it not imperative for our Prime Minister to forcefully present our apprehensions about Taliban to the UN General Assembly? More so when back here in India his BJP party, his Government at the Centre and in numerous states, with the active connivance of his embedded TV channels and other media are spreading the fear of Taliban every day, projecting the entire Indian Muslim community as Taliban?


Who can talk of Terror now?


Faraz Ahmad

The entire world, India included, has forfeited the right to even utter the word Terror because of the way it has capitulated and meekly handed over Afghanistan on a platter to the listed terrorist Haqqani group of Taliban, the brute medieval barbaric proxy mercenaries of Pakistan.

I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but the fact remains that I was hundred percent certain that the Taliban are incapable of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Also, that Pakistan has been nursing expansionist designs on Afghanistan from the day they lost East Pakistan and Bangladesh was created thanks to the courage and resolve of our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

I had seen a video somewhere quite sometime back in which a learned scholar of Islam in Pakistan spoke very honestly and frankly on Zia-ul-Haq’s brand of Jihadi Islam which has systematically ruined Pakistan. Asked about Jihadi terror, he said that as long as the young boys in the madrasas are taught day in and day out that Muslims alone have the right to rule the world and the nation state is anathema to the Islamic Ummah, there can be no end to terror, be it inside Pakistan or outside. In an interview with India Today and Kuldip Nayyar soon after Indira Gandhi was voted back to power in 1980, Zia rejected the concept of nation state describing Muslim Ummah as one homogenous entity. He also dismissed modern democracy as alien to Islam and in fact called himself Ameer-ul-Momineen, a title bestowed on Hazarat Ali.

Ironically for their own narrow interest of finishing off the Soviet Union, nee Communism, the United States in collusion with the Wahabi Saudi Arabia and the mullah in khaki, General Zia, nurtured this variety of Islam. Sure enough, they succeeded in sabotaging almost all progressive nationalist democratic movements and governments in Muslim countries. Later after the demolition of Twin Towers of New York by Pakistani-Afghan-Saudi terrorists on September 11, 2001, the hawkish US administration made a huge noise about its resolve to wipe out terrorism from the entire world. All that they did was to wipe out poor Saddam Husain and ruin a prosperous and modern country, Iraq.

As for Afghanistan and Pakistan, they quietly let the Taliban sneak into nooks and corner of Pakistan and thrive there. Imagine Osama Bin Laden was living comfortably with all his harem and brood next to the military base in Abbottabad, evidently under the protection of Pakistan army which runs its military academy in this hill town, around 150 kilometres from Islamabad akin to our Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun on the foothill of Mussoorie. Both the USA and Pakistan feigned that they knew nothing about Osama for a long time. It is obvious that Pakistan was hiding Osama and the USA was aware of when and where. When the time came the US sent its small force to kill him right under the nose of Pakistan army and not a leaf in the academy fluttered barely 800 metres from Osama’s home while the US helicopters descended killed Osama took away his body and flew in a swift operation. Later the Pakistan military establishment blamed it all on a poor doctor whereas it is obvious that this was a US operation in collusion with the Pakistan military establishment.

Returning to the issue of Afghanistan and Pakistan, two things are always clear to all those watching Pakistan. One they have not forgotten the separation of East Pakistan and nurse a grouse against India to this day. I am not talking of ordinary people of Pakistan who are like any of us, perhaps a little more generous and hospitable. After all we both are from the same stock. But the Army-mullah ruling clique nursing a grouse against India over the creation of Bangladesh and unable to do much harm to India, turned their expansionist designs in the direction of North West again under Zia’s leadership and guidance. Pakistanis always looked at the next door smaller state of Afghanistan as easy game and therefore the Afghans always resented and suspected Pakistanis.

And their suspicion and resentment against Pakistan has proven to be justified what with all the assurances extended by the US and its allies on behalf of Taliban proving ethereal. Lt General Faiz Hameed, the chief of Pakistan’s military espionage agency ISI descended upon Kabul on September 4 and on September 7 the Taliban announced, amidst huge demonstration by women and young men against Pakistan on the streets of Kabul, that Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund will be the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. Thus, all the apparent so-called moderates led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar showcased by Qatar and USA in Doha are now out of reckoning and the reins of the government have passed firmly into the hands of the intolerant, hard line medieval communally charged Haqqani group, which eventually implies remote controlled by Pakistan’s mullah-military establishment with no representation of women in the Government nor any pretence of an “inclusive and “representative” government in Afghanistan, tom tommed in Doha.

How much the Afghans fear and resent this mullah dispensation became evident with the kind of risk the people of Afghanistan took to come out on the streets and demonstrate against this treachery and tyranny, knowing full well that the Talibanis will hunt and hound each one of them. But the international community is happily sitting and watching this farce. After all they had a deal with Taliban to let out their men safely and the Taliban honoured their deal. But soon as they left all doors and airports were closed for others. The mediator Qatar sent its aeroplane on September 9 to evacuate more than a 100 US and its white allies from Kabul. That happened with no hindrance by any Talibani who were busy lashing and brutalising journalists who chose to report on women demonstrations against Pakistani Haqqani Talibans. And yet in the BRICS conference the same day chaired by our Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi there was not a mention of the name Taliban or even the listed terror group Haqqanis! Doha has promised more such flights to safely take away each and every person, the US wants out. Others be damned.

The US had been preparing to leave Afghanistan for long. We have invested heavily into Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan love India and Indians. The Northern Alliance which was fighting Taliban at Panjshir was defeated by Taliban yesterday through treachery and deceit. First they offered peace to Ahmed Masoud’s men and while pretending to negotiate thus silencing their guns they succeeded in besieging them, cutting off their supplies and even electricity and then pounding them, while the world looked on amused.  The establishment of Haqqani rule in Afghanistan is not a death knell of poor Afghans alone but more importantly major trouble for us. They are sworn enemy of India. It was incumbent upon us to go to the aid of the Northern alliance with all our resources and provide a bulwark against Pakistani aggression in Afghanistan, not just for the safety of the Afghan people but equally to strengthen our defences. One wonders, had Indira Gandhi been alive today, could Pakistan swallow Afghanistan like this and we would have watched this from the sidelines? She would have raised a hell.

Even out of power Rajiv Gandhi flew across the globe to mobilise world opinion against the 1990-91 US attack on Iraq. The net result was that the then Chandra Shekhar government had to withdraw the offer of refuelling American planes in Bombay then, though by then Congress had withdrawn support to Chandra Shekhar and it was in the process of re-election. That’s what is expected from a visionary leadership.


Are we being blinded by the communal virus?

Faraz Ahmad

Javed, a resident of Sambhal in western Uttar Pradesh, booked in February this year, by the UP Police for theft and slaughter of a cow, and in jail since March 8, meaning six months, put in a bail petition in Allahabad High Court, pleading that the UP Police had deliberately and wilfully falsely implicated him in the alleged crime, when he was not even present at the said spot.

 Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav before whom the bail petition came up on Wednesday September 1, had before him a simple issue whether there was any substance in Javed’s allegation in his petition– that the UP Police had deliberately falsely implicated him, presumably for his religion, (which is currently prevalent in Yogi raj), as grounds for seeking bail after languishing for six months in prison. This is not the first instance of such cases coming up before the Allahabad High Court. And why Allahabad alone, almost every high court in the country and even the Supreme Court have before them innumerable similar pleas seeking a court relief on merit of the case under the law. That’s where the matter ends. Javed’s case has reached not even the trial stage, which means so far, the Police hasn’t bothered to submit a charge sheet in the court yet and without that the man has completed the maximum prescribed 180 days in prison where the law provides for bail. Besides the Supreme Court has oft times stated in its successive judgements that in most cases except where a heinous crime like murder or rape has been committed, bail and not jail should be the rule. In the case of Arnab Goswami Justice D Y  Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, elevated from the Allahabad High Court, had reiterated this rule while granting bail to Arnab Goswami.

Meanwhile Chief Justice of India Justice N V Ramanna expressed grave concern on September 2, over attempts by a section of the media to give a communal colour to news…, adding “The country is going to get a bad name ultimately. He made these observations while hearing a petition which sought action against certain news channels for presenting news of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi with communal overtones. One wonders though if this communal virus, that Justice Ramanna rightly highlighted, is spreading faster and wider than the Corona virus and whether this is evident in the media alone or is spreading to other decision making institutions crucial to the fair and just treatment of all Indian citizens.

 Justice Shekhar Yadav wrote a 12-page judgement, which according to news reports, spoke at length on the sanctity of the Cow and the need to protect the cow at all costs. Denying bail to Javed, Justice Yadav said, “You can’t take away lives for tastebuds of a few…Eating cow meat can never be a fundamental right…” virtually pronouncing Javed guilty of cow slaughter before the trial has taken place or charges framed. It is apparent from these observations that Justice Shekhar Yadav has undoubtedly presumed Javed’s guilt of cow slaughter even before the actual trial has begun. There might have been some justification for such an observation against Javed perhaps, had even a lower court found him guilty and Justice Shekhar Yadav had been called upon to confirm Javed’s guilt. But here the matter is at a very preliminary stage. Ever since Narendra Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat and 12 years later now ruling the country for last seven years, Muslims have been implicated in so many cases. But after they have been incarcerated for more years than their alleged and unproven crime, the courts found no evidence against them.

Commenting on such a trend recently in Delhi an Additional Sessions Judge, Justice Vinod Yadav had pulled up the Delhi Police for lack of efficacy and fairness in the investigation in a case of alleged assault and grievous injuries caused to one Nasir in the North East Delhi by certain persons allegedly owing allegiance to RSS during the riots of February, 2020 and said that it had been done in a most casual, callous, and farcical manner. “Police have miserably failed in their statutory duties” in the case,” he said, also noting that police had sought to create a “defence for the accused persons named in Nasir’s complaint”.

In another case on Thursday, Justice Vinod Yadav while discharging the brother of former AAP municipal councillor Tahir Husain, named Shah Alam, of the charge of looting and vandalising a shop during the February, 2020 North-East Delhi riots, castigated the Delhi Police in the harshest language stating, “When history will look back at the worst communal riots since the Partition” in Delhi, “the failure of the investigating agency” to conduct a “proper investigations …will surely torment the sentinels of democracy.” Debunking the Delhi Police, he charged it with trying to “merely pull wool over the court’s eyes.” He also commented that there are a “large number of accused persons who have been languishing in jail for the last about one-and-a-half years merely on account of the fact that the trial in their cases are not being initiated.”

As for Justice Shekhar Yadav of Allahabad High Court, he made a remarkable disclosure that “Scientist believe Cow is the only animal that inhales oxygen and exhales oxygen too,” adding “Panchkavyam which is made from cow milk, curd, butter, urine and cow dung is beneficial in the treatment of some ailments and as per Hindu religion, there are 33 gods and goddesses which reside in the cow.”

Justice Shekhar Yadav also warned that “Every time we forget about our culture, foreigners attacked us and enslaved us, and if today also if we don’t become alert, then the example of Taliban taking over Afghanistan is before us and we should not forget it,” he stated in his 12-page long order denying bail to Javed, “falsely” implicated by UP Police in a cow slaughter case.    

Justice Shekhar Yadav’s observations in this case would not have gone down well with the Sanghi brigade either for he said, that “Muslim rulers like Babur, Akbar and Humayun imposed a ban on cow slaughter during their festivals.” Now this would appear a sacrilege to the Hindutva proponents who preach and propagate that Mughal emperors were the worst criminals and tyrants in the history of India.


For Modi and his Sanghi bhakts is Taliban still a terrorist enemy or a friend?


Faraz Ahmad

So we are now sitting across the negotiating table at Doha extending our hand of friendship to Taliban with Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal breaking bread with the Head of Taliban’s Political office in Doha, Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.

According to media reports soon as the last of American plane took off from Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul, to beat the deadline set by the Taliban marauders, the Indian ambassador called up Stanekzai on phone and invited him over. Within no time Stanekzai drove in to hold a formal and official meeting with the Indian ambassador.

News reports underlined that this meeting was cleared right at the top, implying Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. These reports stated that the Prime Minister keeping a close watch on developments in Kabul, had comprised a high level group comprising primarily of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and some more senior officials, to ponder over India’s immediate priorities and thereupon evolve Indian strategy vis a vis the emerging situation in Afghanistan and our role therein.

But even before that, India had joined the club of the US-led group of western nations in according recognition and respect to the forcible occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban, whom till the other day, we considered Pakistan sponsored terrorist marauders. The US and its NATO allies were explicit in their priority of getting out of Afghanistan safely with no damage to their lives and others be damned and they succeeded in that by meeting the deadline of August 31 midnight set by Taliban. But how did it meet our interests to capitulate before Taliban within no time, exposing ourselves to international ridicule and mockery by Pakistan? In fact even Russia and China, already negotiating with Taliban did not join the US sponsored UNSC resolution of August 27.

Evidently at the instance of the US, the UNSC, chaired by India’s permanent representative at the United Nations, T S Trimurti till yesterday, first stated on August 16 , a day after Taliban took over Kabul that, “The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.”

Then on August 27, a day after the Kabul airport bombings that killed more than 100 people including 12 US troops, Tirumurti, presiding over the UNSC, condemned the “deplorable attacks”. on behalf of the Council in a statement.

But while reproducing the earlier August 16 statement one telling significant change was noticeable wherein it was stated, “The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country.” Here any reference to the Taliban was omitted indicating that the UNSC members, including its current chairman India, did not consider anymore Taliban as marauders, or Pakistan’s proxy mercenaries but as the government of Afghanistan, just because they have usurped the Afghan country by sheer force and not through any consent from the people of Afghanistan.

India’s former Permanent Representative at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, pointed this out in his Twitter account saying, “In diplomacy…a fortnight is a long time…The ‘T’ word is gone.” When a segment of Muslim population in India overtly or subtly welcomed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, offering all kinds of arguments to support their contention, the typical pro-Modi TV channels picking up some obscure bearded cleric went to town expressing horror at them for supporting a terrorist outfit out to export terror to India and threaten our security and condemned their position as a support to Jihadi terror. Barely two weeks back the T word symbolised terror in the perceptions of our pro-Modi, Sanghi media and the BJP leaders as well.

But on Friday minutes after the Kabul airport bombing, in which hundreds of innocent civilians were killed, as also some US defence personnel, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, accompanied by two cabinet colleagues including Piyush Goyal and Prahlad Joshi and foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla conceded to the Opposition leaders on Friday that the “Doha process for a smooth transfer of power had not fructified,” implying that while the US and other powers had assured India that the process of US and NATO troops leaving Afghanistan would be smooth and non-violent that has not “fructified.” He however told the leaders of political parties invited by the Government to clarify its stand that, “Let the situation settle. You will have to keep patience on the question of our future policy,” when asked about the government’s approach towards the Taliban. The macho Modi government is completely silent on how, be it the US and NATO or Russia and China axis, both the rival groups who have been negotiating with Taliban for more than a year now have kept India out of any consultation or negotiations with the Taliban whom they were preparing to hand over Kabul on a platter. But this Government owes certain explanation to us Indians and the people of Afghanistan how come it failed to fight for our security and protection of Afghan national interests while the others were busy striking a deal, ignoring the safety, security and well-being of the Afghans and that when we were heading the UN Security Council.

But the moot point is, with Modi doing a complete about turn on the “terrorist Taliban” what would be the stand of the embedded Press? Will they start singing the same tune? And what about all those whom the government arrested for celebrating the Taliban victory in Afghanistan and slapped terror charges at them. If Taliban are our friends then what would they be who celebrated their victory in Afghanistan? Or will the godi media and Sanghi lynch mobs still continue to raise the Taliban spectre to target Indian Muslims by creating a fear psychosis in to keep the communal issue sizzling for the impending UP Assembly elections?

Personally I still maintain that Taliban are medieval barbarian Pakistan trained mercenaries who are terrorising the people, especially women, youth and children in Afghanistan and should only be dealt with force, which Indian alone possesses at this juncture. But then I have no means to persuade either Modi or the large entourage of his Sanghi bhakts.