The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

April 21, 2012

Collector Kidnapped: Naxals abduct Sukma collector in Chhattisgarh

Alex Paul Menon
Naxalites abducted the collector of Sukma district Alex Paul Menon in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.

This daredevil act has stunned the authorities, as neighbouring Orissa is already facing a similar hostage crisis as an MLA is in confinement there.

The Maoists fired at his vehicle, causing the death of at least one of his body guards, and took him to an undisclosed place.

Another of Menon's guard was stabbed and is critical. Naxals took Menon away on a motorcycle at gunpoint. After the incident, Chief Minister Raman Singh had a telephonic conversation with Union minister P Chidambaram.

Though Maoists haven't put any demands yet, it is suspected that they would ask for release of prisoners. The jailed Naxals were released in Orissa after government had agreed to set them free in lieu of the release of foreign tourists recently.

TIH Bureau

April 17, 2012

Dalits eat 'beef biryani' at Osmania University to oppose 'Food Fascism', five injured in clash as ABVP opposes the event in Hyderabad

Beef Battle at Osmania University
Dalit students who have been organising 'beef festivals' to assert their right to consume food of their choice, successfully defied right-wing groups' diktats at Osmania University (OU) in Hyderabad, by holding the fest, even as five persons were injured in clashes.

The 'Hindu' groups that largely comprise numerically small upper castes are opposed to the consumption of beef. The Upper castes, which mostly consist of Brahmin and Bania sections, are more aligned to right-wing groups and oppose eating beef, which is considered sacred by them.

Dalit groups under the banner of Democratic Cultural Forum (DCF) had the support of leftist unions also. The food was brought from outside. When the students were returning after eating 'beef biryani', they were attacked. 

Police resorted to cane-charge and lobbed teargas shells to control the situation. Five persons were injured while a couple of vehicles were torched in the violence. Apart from hundreds of students, intelligentsia, particularly, professors were part of the fest.

The right-wing ABVP, which is a youth front linked to RSS, had threatened that it would not let the festival take place on the campus. Banning and stopping cow slaughter is a pet project of the Saffron groups that have the backing of influential minority Jains, who oppose meat eating on religious groups.

But the Backward, Dalit and tribal communities, who form majority of Hindus, consume meat in India despite the resistance of the small Brahmin-Bania group that insists on purification of Hinduism by shunning non-vegetarianism.

Dalit students contest the upper caste claim that cow is sacred. Most of the Dalits assert that it has been an age old practice for them to eat beef, which is being opposed in the name of Hinduism. Oppressed for centuries, the Dalits, who were earlier called 'Untouchables' are now asserting themselves.

The 'Pedda Koora Panduga' fest that has been organised in other parts of Andhra Pradesh in the last couple of years was this year brought to OU. The event signifies the growing confidence among the hitherto oppressed groups who form almost a quarter (25%) of India's population.  

The Upper castes comprise less than 5% of the populace. The rest comprises Tribals, Backward Castes, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists. Traditionally the upper castes had a strong hold over the masses but this has weakened over the last few decades. 

Osmania University has been at the centre of many a movements. The Telangana agitation, which sought formation of a new state by carving it out from Andhra Pradesh (AP), mainly derived its strength from the university campus. 

TIH Bureau

Youth arrested for throwing meat at shrine in Hyderabad, booked for rumour-mongering too

Rakesh @ G Sivakumar
A youth, Rakesh, was arrested by the police for throwing beef at a temple in Hyderabad.

The incident had led to tension in the city as it was suspected to be the handiwork of a mischief monger among the minority community.

But police arrested a youth Rakesh Tej alias G Sivakumar who accepted that he had thrown beef at the Pochamma Temple

He confessed that he had bought meat from a butcher's shop and had thrown it at the shrine in SP Nagar.

The accused said that he had later circulated the rumours which had caused tension in the locality on April 10.

The incident comes in wake of incidents when right-wing groups have been found involved in attempts to hoist Pakistani flag.

It is suspected that the aim was to blame the act on minority community and turn it into Hindu-Muslim riots. It is not clear yet if Rakesh is linked to any of the Hindutva groups.

The incidents of hoisting flags occurred in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh recently. In both incidents, RSS-affilicated VHP, Sri Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal activists were found involved in mischief.

There were such incidents earlier also in the city that is considered ultra-sensitive. Stabbings were reported in the city in recent months and later a group Hindu Vahini was found involved in all these cases.

TIH Bureau

April 11, 2012

RK Raghavan-led SIT 'saves' Narendra Modi, gives him clean-chit in Gulbarg society massacre during Gujarat 2002 riots

Raghavan saw no offence
The RK Raghavan-led Special Investigation Team (SIT) has not found Narendra Modi guilty in the case of Gulbarg Society killings during the Gujarat riots.

The SIT report has confirmed the worst fears of the social activists and citizens. It was earlier suspected and there were allegations that SIT was soft enough, not taking action on the documents and records made available to it.

But now its closure report gives clean-chit to Narendra Modi. The SIT found no evidence that late Congress MP Ehsan Jafri had called up Gujarat Chief Minister when the killer mob had laid siege to his residence in Ahmedabad.

The SIT did not take into account the testimony of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, whom it considered unreliable. It also took little note of circumstantial evidences and 'couldn't corroborate that at a meeting, Modi gave directions that police should not act and let Hindus vent out their anger over Godhra'.

Perhaps, this was the reason that no offence was found after investigating the complaint of Zakia Jafri. Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran's report had differed from SIT findings. But now the court would weigh in both the reports, before taking a decision.

For now, SIT has given a clean-chit to Modi. The Supreme Court had constituted the SIT, which was headed by retired IPS officer RK Raghavan. Ten years after Gujarat carnage, one of the worst anti-Muslim massacres in Indian history, the SIT absolved Modi. But activists say that the fight is not over as yet.

TIH Bureau

Groups, victims' kin demand CBI inquiry into Aurangabad 'fake' encounter

Fake encounter: Azhar, not Khalil, killed
A high-level probe has been demanded to look into the alleged fake encounter by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Maharashtra's Aurangabad, in which a person was killed while two others were arrested.

Azhar Qureshi was killed by ATS personnel in the encounter. Confusion began when it was revealed that the youth was not Khalil Khilji, as reported earlier, but Azhar Qureshi.

 It was also found that Azhar, who belonged to Khandwa, had no case against him. Organisations are also urging the State government to order a CBI probe. On March 26, ATS team had gunned down the youth, Azhar Qureshi. 

Two persons Abrar and Shakir alias Khalil were arrested. Later two suspected SIMI activists, Aqueel Khilji and Zafar, were arrested from Buldana also. Lok Vikas Party (LVP) leader Abdul Rauf has urged the Prime Minister to order a CBI probe. 

The LVP members had staged a demonstration, urging the state to initiate a probe. Azhar's father and family members have also asked for a CBI inquiry. Fake encounters are often staged to win accolades.

In several cases it is found that the person, mostly poor, is killed after being dubbed as Naxal or hardcore criminal. The policemen get medals for 'bravery' and this is the lure for staging the encounters.

TIH Bureau

April 4, 2012

'Don't arrest Muslim youths under false terror charges', Bihar CM cautions ATS, Delhi police over indiscriminate arrests from the State

No more indiscriminate arrests!
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed his concern over the indiscriminate arrests of Muslim youths from different parts of Bihar without informing the state police.

In the State Assembly, Kumar said that such arrests could create law-and-order problem. He said that it was improper for investigative agencies to use words like 'North Bihar module', 'Darbhanga module' or 'Madhubani module' that defames Bihar and links Muslims with terrorism.

Taking a strong exception to the manner in which Delhi police Special cell and Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS) made frequent visits to Bihar, JDU supremo and state chief minister Nitish Kumar said that he would take up the matter at the central level.

At the upcoming conference to discuss the proposed NCTC, Nitish would raise the issue. The conference of Chief Ministers is being organised in Delhi soon. Of late, nearly a dozen youths from Bihar have been arrested from different parts of the state on charges of involvement in blasts.

In many of the cases it was later found that youths were innocent though. RJD leader Chandra Shekhar had raised the issue in the zero hour in the house. Replying to the query, the Chief Minister said that he understood the anxiety of the minority community and would strongly raise the matter at Delhi.

TIH Bureau

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