The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

July 24, 2012

Bodo-Muslim clashes in Kokrajhar cause 65 deaths, thousands flee due to communal violence in Assam

The attack by Bodos on Assamese Muslims and the counter-attacks have resulted in large scale deaths, destruction and displacement in Kokrajhar and adjoining areas of Assam.

Muslims are the worst affected as section of Bodo tribals see even indigenous Muslims as settles from Bangladesh. Scores of villages had been set afire while exodus was on from large parts of the Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts (BTAD).

The violence began when two Muslim leaders were shot dead. This led to reprisal and a series of violent attacks from both sides. The ethnic Bodo tribals who consider Bengali speaking Muslims as immigrants, targeted the religious minority.

Though official figure of those who died in the violence was 32 (the figure later rose to 65 and finally to 73), it is feared that the real number of those who died in the communal riots could have been much higher. Nearly 1,70,000 people, mostly Muslims, had been displaced and were moving to Dhubri and other parts.

The majority of the dead were Muslims. But Bodos have also suffered in the cycle of violence. While Army had been rushed, the clashes were still on. Due to fear of a genocide, minority community in hundreds of villages took their belongings and left the territory. Assam has been a volatile place for decades, as propaganda against Muslims has led to tension.

Incidentally, a Nepali migrant doesn't need a passport and is allowed to enter India, the situation is different in case of Bangladesh. Besides, even native Assamese and Bengali Muslims are termed as migrants and settlers.

'Illegal' migration has been a big issue in North East. BJP has also been in the forefront, raising the bogey of mass immigration of Muslims, thus stoking fear among tribals that they will become a minority in their own state.

Assam has seen even worst phases of Hindu-Muslim riots and ethnic violence in the past. In Neilly, thousands of Muslims were butchered in 1983. The ruling Congress party has sent its ministers to the region affected by the rioting. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has hoped that the situation will improve soon.


The Indian government has taken stern action against those fuelling rumours. The violence has been largely controlled. Hence, all citizens are urged, not give attention to provocative messages on social media, and esnure communal harmony.

TIH Bureau

July 23, 2012

Is Colorado shooter Jim Holmes just a gunman, not a terrorist!

Gunman or Terrorist!
Should James Holmes, the perpetrator of the massacre at a theater in Colorado, be termed an insane youth or a gunman despite the wanton killings, and not a terrorist?

The killings were immediately dubbed as 'not linked to terrorism'. Is it because he doesn't fit in the media created image that gunman of a particular religion alone is mostly deemed as a terrorist? Those professing other religions are simply 'gunmen'!

Ironically, the incident at the Aurora theatre took place just when the anniversary of the horrific massacre by a Christian fundamentalist, Anders Breivik, in Norway is round the corner. As many as 77 persons were killed in the firing.

Social networking sites are abuzz as people are forwarding a photograph with messages like, 'Jimmy Holmes was not a terrorist because he was not a Muslim'. The perception may not be exactly true as the motive of a killer is also to be ascertained.

In Middle East & Asian countries, that have huge Muslim populations, Facebook posts and tweets on the flawed connection of religious background and terror are being circulated. In this case, he was surely not driven by a religious ideology.

James 'Joker' Holmes, 24, had dropped out of his PhD on neuroscience. In the assault during the screening of Batman movie, he killed 12 people and wounded 58 others. But he did commit a horrendous crime. The English dictionary's word for a terrorist would perfectly suit him.

Then, shall the suspect be simply called a 'deranged shooter', 'massacre man' or a mere 'shooting suspect'? The debate that has cultural, political and ideological issues at the root will probably continue just like the debate on gun control in United States of America.

TIH Bureau

July 19, 2012

Spicejet accused of discriminating with Muslim ex-army official after disembarking him, victim gives legal notice to low-cost private airlines

Communal courier: Low-cost service hits a new low
Private airline Spicejet has been accused of misbehaving and discriminating with an ex-Indian army major, who was forced to deplane.

The victim Mohammad Ali Shah, said that he was given a 'threat' that his name (read Muslim) was enough for the airlines staff to term him a security threat and then no one would believe him.

Shah, who is the son of Lieutenant Gneral ZU Shah (now Vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University) and nephew of movie star Nasiruddin Shah, has now made a formal complaint with the National Minorities' Commission about the religious bias.

Shah was taken off the flight for 'security reasons' and when he protested, he faced the communal slur. Shah who spells his complete name as Mohammad Ali Shah said that his agent booked the ticket in the name Ali Shah, but this led to the staff exceeding their brief and forcing him to leave the plane.

If this was not enough, he faced communal abuse.  The issue hit media headlines when NDTV journalist Kashish's report was taken up as an issue on Barkha Dutt's 'The Buck Stops Here'. The incident occurred on June 28.

Ali Shah was about to take flight from Delhi go Guwahati. Shah says that suddenly he was asked to come out of the plane, without telling him reason to deboard. When he came down, he found his baggage open and tampered. When he asked about it, he was told that it had to be identified. 

Meanwhile, plane flew without him and when he protested, he was told that he should forget whatever happened as any complaint against him would not be doubted because of his name. Shah says he was ready to forget and forgive as he was offered a free ticket the next day. 

But when he arrived the next day, he was told that he will have to give it in writing that Spicejet didn't board him rather he was made to alight because of his own personal misconduct and that racial bias shouldn't be mentioned. 

Ali Shah's lawyer has served legal notice terming it as 'blackmailing on part of Spicejet staff' who were not even authorised to do the security personnel's job'.  Shah has written to airlines regulator also other than NCM. Spicejet has termed NDTV report as 'incorrect, inaccurate and incomplete version of the entire incident'. 

TIH Bureau

July 18, 2012

Indian movie superstar of yesteryear Rajesh Khanna passes away

Alvida Rajesh Khanna
Rajesh Khanna, one of the biggest stars of Hindustani movie, died of illness at his residence in Mumbai on Wednesday.

With the death of Rajesh Khanna, 69, popularly known as Kaka, an era has ended in Bollywood. He was the reigning superstar in the seventies before Amitabh Bachhan arrived on the scene.

Khanna had acted in 163 films in his long career. He was born as Jatin Khanna in 1942 in Amritsar in pre-independent era. He had married actress Dimple Kapadia though they had a divorce later on.

Rajesh Khanna was considered a romantic hero and gave numerous hit movies in late 60s and 70s.Arguably, he was the biggest star after the era of Dilip Kumar. Girls queued up to have a glimpse of him in the era. Wherever he shot for a movie, his car would have lipstick marks.

'Kaka' was the prince charming of his era. Though not a stylist like Devanand, he had his own charisma. Rajesh Khanna also had a political career in later years. He became a member of Parliament (MP), representing Congress.

Khanna, a man of fine tastes, was a gentle Punjabi. He is credited of giving legendary scriptwriter pair Salim-Javed, their first break in the movie Hathi Mere Sathi. Rajesh Khanna is survived by two daughters Twinkle Khanna and Rinkle.

There was shock wave across the country as news of Khanna's death was reported. Though he was sick and had been hospitalised sometime back as well, people expected to hero to bounce back. Just recently he had waved at his fans from balcony.

Alas, it was his last Alvida (adieu). Rajesh Khanna would however continue to live in the hearts of his fans and through his blockbuster movies that include Aradhna, Amarprem, Kudrat, Mahboob ki Mehndi, Ittefaq and Namak Haram.

TIH Bureau

July 6, 2012

Muslims express concern over alcohol content in Coke and Pepsi, Cola companies worry over affect in Islamic countries

To drink or Not to drink?
The recent report that soft drinks like Coca Cola and Pepsi have alcohol content has sent a wave of panic among Muslim consumers, for whom consumption of alcohol is forbidden as per religious beliefs.

The soft drink companies seem worried that the sales of the beverages would be affected in Islamic countries and places where Muslims form a sizable chunk of the population, due to the renewed fears about presence of alcohol in the colas.

While the French magazine '60 Millions de Consummateurs' test results suggested alcoholic traces in colas, the companies insist that the cold drinks are essentially non-alcoholic with no such ingredient added during the preparation and the traces are often found in food also.

The level of alcoholic presence in some samples was below 0.001% or 10 mg per litre, which the companies say is negligible and shouldn't cause any confusion or anxiety among the Muslims. However, the news has generated diverse reactions amongst Muslims on the street.

There is no call though about ban on the drinks. The clergy has been silent. But there is apprehension that Muslims may avoid the drinks and switch to Islamic drinks or fruit juices. In Islam, consumption of alcohol is only permissible in extreme situation when it is required in the form of medicine.

The biggest markets are in India, which has a huge Muslim population, other than Gulf countries, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and in America. In Europe also, there is a growing Muslim population in France, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Russia.

The tests were conducted at the National Institute of Consumption (NIC) at Paris. Almost half of the cola drinks that were examined had minor alcohol traces. The companies insist that natural fermentation of fruits and processes can cause traces but alcohol has no place in the recipe and manufacturing process of their products.

TIH Bureau

July 1, 2012

Shame in Assam: MLA Rumi Nath, her husband beaten up by mob in Karimganj for her marriage to a Muslim

TV grabs show the attack on woman MLA
In a horrific incident, a fanatic mob attacked a pregnant woman MLA, Rumi Nath, for her recent marriage to a Muslim Zaki Zakir, after her conversion to Islam.

The shameful act of the angry mob that beat her up with such vengeance and brutality in Karimganj (Assam), shocked the nation as images were telecast on TV channels.

The self-righteous mob comprised people who considered a Hindu woman's second marriage as 'immoral'.

The bleeding victims, whose clothes were also torn, were whisked away by police much later. The incident occurred at a hotel in Guwahati where the couple was staying. The incident shows the rise of fanaticism in the North Eastern state. Even women were part of the mob that had broken into the hotel room.

TV grabs showed that the pregnant was thrashed and even kicked. Her husband was also punched and beaten up. The fact that the mob had overpowered the MLA's security and then broke the door of the room to enter and attack the couple, shows the rage and passion among the fundamentalists. 

Rumi was earlier elected to Assembly on a BJP ticket but she later switched to Congress. Some social organisations had threatened that she would not be allowed to enter the Barak Valley region, comprising Karimganj, Cachar and Hailakundi. 

Police said a section was trying to give a communal turn to the incident. Four persons have been identified for the attack. Rumi is a legislator for the second time. She has a child from her first marriage. Zakir is her second husband and there are allegations that she remarried without giving divorce to her first husband. 

TIH Bureau

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