The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

April 26, 2011

Communal riot in Meerut: Attack on Imam leads to clashes

Communal clashes broke out in Meerut, a communally sensitive town in Western UP, after a group of youths barged into a mosque and assaulted an Imam.

Police say that though there is slight tension in the City, the situation is now under control. Over two dozen persons were injured other than nearly 10 policemen who also sustained injuries.

Nearly 15 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident. Meerut has had a history of communal riots and was notorious for sectarian clashes between Hindus and Muslims till eighties, however, there has been no major clash since 1987.

The recent incident occurred when a group of Gujjar youths led by Sandeep entered the Chhoti Masjid in Qazipur on Hapur Road, and beat up Imam and some other devotees. The Imam was teaching Holy Quran to local children then.

As news spread, there was tension in the area. Reports say that despite calls to local SHO, the police didn't take any action and officers did not reach the place timely. This angered the minority population. Later there were clashes and the ire was mostly directed at police.

Many persons including policemen were injured. There were pitched battles on the street and police resorted to tear gas, cane-charge and use of rubber bullet to contain arson and violence. A house was set afire and the owner Naeem's wife and his daughters received burn injuries.

After flag march, the situation is now under control. Police said that city was now peaceful. There had been reports in newspapers for sometime that there were efforts to stoke communal feelings in Uttar Pradesh (UP) for the last few months.

With elections likely to be held in 2012 and the possibility that there could be an early election if BSP chief Mayawati goes for a poll by 2011-end, such incidents may help section of politicians who want polarization on communal lines to win votes.

Meerut, pronounced as Merath, had attained notoriety for the communal violence. The Maliana killings in which the role of UP's PAC was established, had occurred in 1987. Fortunately, the City had shed its communal past in the last 24 years and was no longer seen as a troubled place.

Prominent citizens and politicians have appealed to residents to maintain calm and ensure that there is no violence, as it can bring bad name to the City. Local MLAs and MPs have also said that the citizens should not pay heed to rumour-mongers and assist administration in bringing order.

TIH Bureau

April 24, 2011

Satya Sai Baba's death: A great journey ends in Puttaparthi in India

One of the most incredible personalities, Godman Satya Sai Baba, who turned a living god and commanded millions of devotees in India and abroad, died on Sunday.

Satya Sai Baba, 85, was ill and was in intensive care unit (ICU) for a month. On April 24, it was formally declared that the Baba had passed away due to cardio-respiratory failure in Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.

Though controversies surrounded him in lifetime, Sathya Sai Baba had a following in 178 countries and he left behind an empire that includes super-specialty hospitals and educational institutions.

Considered an 'avatar' of Shirdi's Sai Baba, the Satya Sai Baba had his devotees in most religions including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and even Buddhists. But critics termed his movement as a cult.

Baba faced many allegations in his lifetime. Magician PC Sorcar had thrown a challenge to him also. There was a charge that his miracles were nothing by magician's tricks and that he used to bring out 'sacred ash' or fruits hidden in his sleeve to devout.

Another serious allegation was that of sexual abuse of males, particularly young boys. His devotees claimed all these allegations were false, part of a smear campaign and that they were just a means to get cheap popularity.

Whether a human or a God, the truth is that in a country where most avenues are closed for poor, he had a soothing presence for millions who had strong faith in him and who believed that his 'darshan' could heal them miraculously.

Surely, his death marks the end of an era. It is to be seen how Satya Sai Baba's spirit legacy is carried and whether the cash-rich trust continues to work for the poor and under-privileged with the same zeal, after Baba's demise.

TIH Bureau

April 20, 2011

Minor Jain girl raped at the behest of lady monk!

A teenaged Jain girl who had been sent for spiritual training by her family was allegedly raped by five persons at the behest of a Jain 'Sadhvi'.

The victim, a 15-year-old girl, lives in an 'Ashram' in Gujarat's Panchmahal but was taken to Rajasthan recently where she was raped. Sadhvi Nirmal Prabha, a senior woman monk, had initiated the minor girl to the path of spirituality six months ago.

The 'diksha' ceremony had taken place in Rajasthan. The girl was taken to Netra Shivganj in Rajasthan and later to Khiwadi. The victim says that on the directions of Nirmal Prabha, a person Mahendra raped her and then four other youths also committed sexual act with her.

Nirmal Prabha's driver Pappu also sexually exploited the girl. The girl suffered the gang rape for months. She managed to escape to Falna and then reached Mount Abu from where she informed her family. Her father came to get her back to Pavagarh.

The girl has made some other sensational allegations. She said that the Sadhvi also used to drink secretly and watched pornographic clips. In her statement to police, she said that the woman monk had charged Rs 5,000 from the culprits for letting them rape her (victim).

On her complaint, the police have registered a case of rape against all the accused including the Sadhwi. Nirmal Prabha alias Nirmala Devi, who is charged with abetment of crime and aiding the rape accused, is a monk but was sometimes seen in Western clothes also, which surprised the neighbours.

Suspicious persons visited us and there is another complaint of similar nature against her. It is also alleged that she was close to a builder and had secretly married him though the Jain priests take 'brahmacharya' vow and remain celibate.

TIH Bureau

April 12, 2011

Lakhs participate in Muslim congregation in Ludhiana

Lakhs of Muslims from all over the country participated in the Majis-e-Ahrar's conference organised in Ludhiana in Punjab. It was perhaps the biggest gathering of Muslims in Indian Punjab after partition.

Muslim leaders representing almost all the major schools of thought including Barelvi, Deobandi and Shia attended the programme which was held at Dana Mandi ground.

The Majlis' president Maulana Habibur Rahman Sani Ludhianvi said that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the last prophet and any attempt to confront Muslims on this issue will be resisted strongly.

"That Muhammad was the seal of prophethood is a belief central to all Muslims and the members of the community can't accept any dilution in this belief."

The Majlis had organised the event to mark the centenary of the movement 'Tehrik-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat' which was launched to counter the Ahmadiyya sect's controversial proclamation regarding their leader Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani.

Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet and the seal of prophethood. However, the Ahmadiyyas gave their leader Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani the status of a prophet, which caused a schism between the sect and mainstream Muslims.

The Ahmadiyya sect was based in Qadian town in Indian Punjab. After partition, the Ahmadiyya leadership shifted to Pakistan's Rabwah town. In Pakistan, Ahmadiyyas have been officially declared as non-Muslims due to their beliefs.

After independence, most of the Muslim population from Indian Punjab had migrated to Pakistan. Except Maler Kotla town in Sangrur district, the Muslims had almost disappeared from the entire state in the wake of post-partition killings.

But in the last few decades, Muslims have become visible in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and other major cities of Punjab. Muslim population is estimated to be over 1 million in Punjab now.

The recent conference-cum-rally organised by the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam-e-Hind was the biggest such gathering of Muslims in Indian Punjab in the last 60 years.

The programme had started with recital of the Holy Quran. Later Urdu poets rendered 'naats' praising the Prophet. Eminent Shia cleric Maulana Kalb-e-Jawad, Ulema, Sajjada Nashin Ajmer Dargah and clerics from J&K, West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, UP and other states were present during the programme.

TIH Bureau

April 3, 2011

India beat Sri Lanka in the final, win Cricket World Cup 2011

India erupted in joy as the country where cricket is a religion finally won the World Cup after an agonizing wait of nearly 28 years.

Led by Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni and inspired performances by Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and the entire cricket team, India thrashed Sri Lanka in the finals at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Dhoni played a captain's knock, hitting an unbeaten 91 and a last ball six to defeat Sri Lanka that had scored 274 thanks to Mahela Jayawardene's masterful century. For India, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli consolidated the innings after the early departure of Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag.

Finally, Dhoni along with Yuvraj Singh guided India to victory. Earlier, speedsters Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Yuvraj Singh did well to restrict Lanka though in final hours, during power play, Sri Lankan batsmen tried their best to take the total up.

But an inspired Team India made a successful chase. Earlier, India had beaten Pakistan at Mohali. In the earlier league matches, Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag and Raina also made important contributions with the bat. Yuvraj, with 15 wickets and over 300 runs, was the architect of Indian victory.

Zaheer Khan who clinched 21 wickets played an important role in India's victory. He emerged as the top wicket taker in the tournament along with Shahid Afridi who also got 21 wickets. For India, it was a sweet victory, more than a quarter century after Kapil Dev-led Indian team had won the 1983 World Cup.

For Sachin Tendulkar, it was an emotional moment as it was the sixth world cup he was playing in, and finally he was part of the Indian team that secured the coveted the trophy. There was euphoria across the country and celebrations began through out the nation.

TIH Bureau

'Saffron terrorists involved in blasts in Orissa, Karanataka

The right-wing Hindu group involved in terror strikes in nearly a dozen cities including Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad, also had a role in similar blasts in Karnataka and Orissa.

During interrogation with members of the extremist group Abhinav Bharat, its two key members have revealed that the organisation had set off bomb blasts in the two South Indian states. This gives a new dimension to the ongoing probe.

Hitherto the investigators didn't pay attention to involvement of Hindutva network in blasts in these two states. Though Orissa and Karnataka have witnessed large-scale communal riots in which Christians were targeted and churches were set ablaze, other than incidents of communal rioting.

It was in Orissa that Christian missionary Graham Steins and his children were burnt alive by a mob led by Dara Singh. However, the blasts in Hubli court which were earlier attributed to SIMI, had been found to be handiwork of a Hindu group led by Nagraj Jambagi.
The Hubli incident had given the first indication of fanatical Hindu groups using criminals for terrorism. Till now, the focus was mostly on Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi.

The blasts in which the role of Abhinav Bharat, Sanatan Sanstha and Jai Vande Mataram have been found include Malegaon blasts in 2006 and 2008, Modasa blast in Gujarat, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid at Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan, Kanpur, blast at Jama Masjid at Delhi, explosions at Thane, Parbhani, Purna in Maharashtra, Goa and the failed plot to target Bhopal congregation.

TIH Bureau

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