Nehru's Secularism Was An Aberration; Modi's Islamophobia is the Norm For India

As India and Pakistan turn 75, there are many secular intellectuals on both sides of the border who question the wisdom of "the Partition" in 1947. They dismiss what is happening in India today under Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership as a temporary aberration, not the norm. They long for a return to "Indian liberalism" which according to anthropologist Sanjay Srivastava "did not exist". 

India Pakistan Border Ceremony at Wagah-Attari Crossing

American historian Audrey Truschke who studies India traces the early origins of Hindu Nationalism to the British colonial project to "divide and rule" the South Asian subcontinent. She says colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India. These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author of "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King".  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds.

After nearly a century of direct rule, the British largely succeeded in dividing South Asians along religious and sectarian lines. The majoritarian tyranny of the "secular"  Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress after 1937 elections in India became very apparent to  Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of All India Muslim League. Speaking in Lucknow in October 1937,  he said the following: 

"The present leadership of the Congress, especially during the last ten years, has been responsible for alienating the Musalmans of lndia more and more, by pursuing a policy which is exclusively Hindu; and since they have formed the Governments in six provinces where they are in a majority they have by their words, deeds, and programme shown more and more that the Musalmans cannot expect any justice or fair play at their hands. Whenever they are in majority and wherever it suited them, they refused to co-operate with the Muslim League Parties and demanded unconditional surrender and signing of their pledges."

Fast forward to 2021, a Pew survey in India found that 64% of Hindus see their religious identity and Indian national identity as closely intertwined. Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi language. The survey was conducted over two years in 2019 and 2020 by Pew Research Center. It included 29,000 Indians.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party's appeal is the greatest among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being “truly Indian.” The Pew survey found that less than half of Indians (46%) favored democracy as best suited to solve the country’s problems. Two percent more (48%) preferred a strong leader. 

Indian anthropologist Sanjay Srivastava sums up the current situation as follows: 

"Our parents practiced bigotry of a quiet sort, one that did not require the loud proclamations that are the norm now. Muslims and the lower castes knew their place and the structures of social and economic authority were not under threat. This does not necessarily translate into a tolerant generation. Rather, it was a generation whose attitudes towards religion and caste was never really tested. The loud bigotry of our times is no great break from the past in terms of a dramatic change in attitudes – is it really possible that such changes can take place in such few years? Rather, it is the crumbling of the veneer of tolerance against those who once knew their place but no longer wish to accept that position. The great problem with all this is that we continue to believe that what is happening today is simply an aberration and that we will, when the nightmare is over, return to the Utopia that was once ours. However, it isn’t possible to return to the past that was never there. It will only lead to an even darker future. And, filial affection is no antidote for it".

Views: 222

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 18, 2022 at 10:48am

Dr. Audrey Truschke
@AudreyTruschke
Replying to
@woke_enigma
"For assailing a Brahmin, a Kshatriya ought to be fined 100, and a Vaishya 150 or 200; but a Shudra ought to suffer corporal punishment."

Manu’s Code of Law 8.267 (Olivelle trans).

https://twitter.com/AudreyTruschke/status/1560294331092987904?s=20&...

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 20, 2022 at 10:48am

'Pakistan isn't Collapsing, India Should Focus on Silver Linings. Boycott or War Aren't Options'


https://youtu.be/GNapL0APNUY


In a 30-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire to discuss his book ‘India’s Pakistan Conundrum’, Sharat Sabharwal ( ex Indian Ambassador to Pakistan) identified three preconceived notions that the Indian people must discard. First, he says it’s not in India’s interests to promote the disintegration of Pakistan. “The resulting chaos will not leave India untouched”.

Second, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that India has the capacity to inflict a decisive military blow on Pakistan in conventional terms. “The nuclear dimension has made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for India to give a decisive military blow to Pakistan to coerce it into changing its behaviour.”

Third, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that they can use trade to punish Pakistan. “Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India.”

https://youtu.be/GNapL0APNUY

------------

Historically, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been mired in conflicts, war, and lack of trust. Pakistan has continued to loom large on India's horizon despite the growing gap between the two countries. This book examines the nature of the Pakistani state, its internal dynamics, and its impact on India.


The text looks at key issues of the India-Pakistan relationship, appraises a range of India's policy options to address the Pakistan conundrum, and proposes a way forward for India's Pakistan policy. Drawing on the author's experience of two diplomatic stints in Pakistan, including as the High Commissioner of India, the book offers a unique insider's perspective on this critical relationship.


A crucial intervention in diplomatic history and the analysis of India's Pakistan policy, the book will be of as much interest to the general reader as to scholars and researchers of foreign policy, strategic studies, international relations, South Asia studies, diplomacy, and political science.


https://books.telegraph.co.uk/Product/Sharat-Sabharwal/Indias-Pakistan-Conundrum--Managing-a-Complex-Relationship/26726289

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 22, 2022 at 7:38am

Modi Is Rewriting India’s National Narrative
The prime minister’s annual Independence Day speech reflected how far political discourse has fallen in New Delhi.
By Dinsha Mistree, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford Law School, and Sumit Ganguly, a columnist at Foreign Policy and a professor of political science at Indiana University Bloomington.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/19/india-modi-independence-day-sp...


In his speech, Modi ticked the boxes by mentioning Gandhi and his commitment to inclusion, but he also departed from convention in important ways. First, he celebrated more than a dozen freedom fighters who had adopted a violent approach to independence. These freedom fighters operated independently of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, undermining Gandhi and nonviolence within India’s independence movement. By highlighting them in the speech, Modi subtly pushed back against the conventional narrative and Gandhi’s central role in it.

Second, although Modi touched on inclusion when it comes to geography and gender, he avoided mentioning secularism or religious tolerance. Instead, he sought to define Indians as Hindus: “This is our legacy. How can we not be proud of this heritage? We are those people who see Shiva [a main Hindu deity] in every living being,” he said. “We are people who see the divine in the plants. We are the people who consider the rivers as mother. We are those people who see Shankar [another form of Shiva] in every stone.” For India, a country with 280 million non-Hindu citizens that has struggled with religious tensions since its founding, Modi’s religious interjections clearly signal a break from the past.


Finally, Modi used the occasion to launch familiar jabs against the opposition Indian National Congress party while overlooking critical challenges facing the Indian state—including religious intolerance. He concluded his speech by slamming people who defend corruption and by condemning nepotism. But this was coded language that may sound like a threat to some Indian citizens: Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have weaponized charges of corruption and nepotism to go after political opponents and dissidents. Just days after Modi’s speech, his government conducted an anticorruption raid against Manish Sisodia, one of the main leaders of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party.

Modi’s Independence Day speech is emblematic of a larger change taking place under his rule, which has faced criticism for democratic backsliding—moving away from the very constitution that came shortly after its independence. The prime minister and the BJP are working to unshackle India from its liberal and secular moorings, advancing a new national identity that champions Hindu supremacy. This enterprise is in fact antithetical to the very foundations of Hinduism, which is an inherently pluralistic faith.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 23, 2022 at 10:31am

Dr. Audrey Truschke
@AudreyTruschke
Even the BJP-appointed VC of JNU isn't willing to whitewash Manu's misogyny.

https://twitter.com/AudreyTruschke/status/1562083606797090816?s=20&...


------

‘No god is a Brahmin’, says JNU Vice Chancellor, flags ‘gender bias’ in Manusmriti | Cities News,The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/no-god-is-a-brahmin-...


“All women, according to the “Manusmriti”, are shudras. So, no woman can claim she is a Brahmin or anything else. I believe it is only by marriage you get the husband’s or the father’s caste on to you. I think this is something extraordinarily regressive,” she said.

Hindu Gods do not anthropologically come from the upper caste, said JNU Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit while delivering the keynote address at the B R Ambedkar Lecture Series organised by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Speaking on the topic “Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s Thought on Gender Justice: Decoding the Uniform Civil Code”, Pandit said, “Anthropologically, scientifically… please look at the origins of our gods. No god is a Brahmin. The highest is a Kshatriya. Lord Shiva must be a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe. Because he sits in a cemetery with a snake… they have given him very little clothes also to wear. I don’t think Brahmins can sit in the cemetery. So if you see, clearly, the gods anthropologically do not come from the upper caste. Including Lakshmi, Shakti, all the gods. Or if you take Jagannath, very much a tribal. So, why are we still continuing with this discrimination, which is very, very unhuman.”

The JNU VC also said that the “Manusmriti” has categorised all women as “shudras”, which is “extraordinarily regressive”.

“All women, according to the “Manusmriti”, are shudras. So, no woman can claim she is a Brahmin or anything else. I believe it is only by marriage you get the husband’s or the father’s caste on to you. I think this is something extraordinarily regressive,” she said.

In her speech on Monday, Pandit referred to the recent death of a nine-year-old Dalit boy in Rajasthan after he was allegedly assaulted by his upper-caste teacher.

“Unfortunately, there are many people who say caste was not based on birth, but today it is based on birth. If a Brahmin or any other caste is a cobbler, does he immediately become a Dalit? He doesn’t…. I’m saying this because recently in Rajasthan, a young Dalit boy was beaten to death just because he touched the water, didn’t even drink, touched the water of an upper caste. Please understand, this is a question of human rights. How can we treat a fellow human being in such a way?” she said.

Referring to Ambedkar’s landmark “Annihilation of Caste”, she said, “If Indian society wants to do well, annihilation of caste is extraordinarily important… I don’t understand why we are so emotional of this identity that is very discriminatory, very unequal. And we are ready even to kill somebody to protect this so-called artificially constructed identity.”

Speaking about the intersection of caste and gender, she said, “If you are a woman and you come from the reserved categories, you are doubly marginalised. First, you are marginalised because you are a woman, then you are marginalised because you come from a so-called caste, which is given all kinds of stereotypes.”
According to her, Buddhism proves the acceptance of dissent in “Indic civilisation”.

“I think Buddhism is one of the greatest religions because it proves that the Indic civilisation accepts dissent, diversity and difference. Gautama the Buddha was the first dissenter against what we call Brahminical Hinduism. Please understand he was also the first rationalist in history… we have a tradition revived by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” Pandit said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 2, 2022 at 9:40am

The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2022/09/the-edison-bulldozer-scandal-is-...

A bulldozer — celebrating far-right Hindu nationalist violence against Muslims — drove through the streets of Edison, last month at an Indian Independence Day parade. Many New Jersey politicians were present and claim to have been unaware of the bulldozer’s appalling symbolism of praising, even encouraging, the violent oppression of Indian religious minorities.

The backlash is continuing to grow, including calls for the organizers to be held accountable (they have since apologized) and for more people to learn about Hindutva hate.

For many New Jerseyans, the Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time.


I have been studying global Hindu nationalism for years, including a recent focus on Hindu Right goals and tactics in the United States. America, especially New Jersey, is a stronghold for Hindu nationalist groups who provide financial support and ideological guidance for the larger global movement. This extremist ideology — which has roots in early 20th-century European fascism — has flourished for decades, largely unchecked, in our state and has had many harmful consequences.

Hindu nationalists propagate their intolerant ideas in the United States through a network of organizations. Some of the most common include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA), and the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Sometimes a Hindu nationalist group registers as a foreign agent, such as Overseas Friends of BJP, which promotes the interests of India’s far-right ruling party. More commonly, Hindu nationalist groups try to spread and normalize their extremist ideas under the ruse of promoting Indian culture, such as at the Edison parade.

In the recent parade, the celebration of human rights violations was merely symbolic, but it is sometimes far more visceral for New Jersey communities. In 2021, federal agents raided a Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey and found Dalit men—who are at the bottom of a hierarchy of social oppression known as the caste system—held in bonded labor. Governor Murphy joined the many who condemned the “horrific, unfathomable” conditions of modern-day slavery. What he did not note is that the Hindu temple, part of the BAPS denomination, has strong ties with India’s Hindu nationalist BJP government. As of now, a case is pending in federal court in New Jersey that accuses BAPS of human trafficking in multiple states.

Hindu nationalists regularly attack lots of people—including Dalits, Christians, and the many Hindus who oppose Hindutva—but Muslims are their most common targets. In India, Muslims are subjected to daily violence and harassment, an abysmal situation documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2022, USCIRF recommended India for sanctions for the third year in a row due to rapidly worsening conditions in the country, especially attacks on Muslims.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 2, 2022 at 9:41am

The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2022/09/the-edison-bulldozer-scandal-is-...

Here in New Jersey, Indian Muslims are mainly safe from Hindu nationalist violence, although not always. In 2019, the Rutgers-New Brunswick Hindu Students Council — a Hindu nationalist group — invited a Hindutva demagogue from India to speak. The off-campus event featured Islamophobic hate speech. It also involved a recent Rutgers-Newark alum — and Kashmiri Muslim — being heckled and physically assaulted by others present. At the time, few noticed beyond the South Asian American community, but it is one brick in a larger edifice of anti-minority, Hindu nationalist hate.

At a meeting of the Edison city council on Aug. 22, a councilmember applauded the activists who had called out the parade bulldozer as a hate symbol: “By you bringing this to our attention, it stops it from going forward... what you’re doing today by bringing awareness is the first step, and that’s the strong step that needs to be done. You’re educating us.” I appreciate his words. But I wonder if he and the other councilmembers have any idea what that education often costs those brave enough to speak.

U.S.-based Hindu nationalists regularly attack South Asian community groups, such as the Indian American Muslim Council, which has been active on the bulldozer issue. They smear individual members and spread Islamophobic rumors about entire organizations, such as when the far-right Hindu American Foundation and its allies attacked IAMC last year. Hindu Right attacks in the United States can put one’s family at risk and even require the use of safe houses.

As a professor who works on Hindu nationalism, I am also subjected to regular Hindu nationalist attacks. I often require armed protection when I speak publicly in America, due to the threat of Hindu supremacist violence. While law enforcement has kept me safe thus far, it has not stemmed the waves of hate unleashed against me and Rutgers, my employer. Hindu nationalists are part of the Global Far Right, and so we sometimes see bleed-over ideas, such as the anti-Black racism lobbed against Rutgers administrators, including President Jonathan Holloway, in a recent propaganda piece by a Hindu nationalist.

Anti-Asian hate crimes are growing in New Jersey. By targeting South Asian Muslims and Dalits, as well as Hindus who disagree with them, Hindu nationalists in the United States are contributing to that alarming trend. If we are to confront and begin to counter such hateful assaults, we must recognize Hindutva’s deep roots and long-standing harms in New Jersey.

A hard truth is that while many New Jerseyans are only now learning the basics of Hindu nationalism, many of our state’s minority communities — especially South Asian Muslims — have lived for decades with the spectre of fear and intimidation imposed by purveyors of this intolerant ideology. It is time for that era to end, and for us to say together — Hindutva hate has no home in New Jersey.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 3, 2022 at 7:27am

MENENDEZ, BOOKER STAFF MEET WITH IAMC, CAIR-NJ AND INDIAN-AMERICAN GROUPS FOLLOWING INDIA DAY PARADE INCIDENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today released the following statement condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Day Parade in Edison last month:

https://www.menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/menendez-booker-staf...

“This week, our offices met with leaders and members of New Jersey’s South Asian community who were angered and deeply hurt by the inclusion of a bulldozer in the India Day Parade in Edison last month. The bulldozer has come to be a symbol of intimidation against Muslims and other religious minorities in India, and its inclusion in this event was wrong. New Jersey is proudly home to some of the most diverse communities in the nation, including one of the largest South Asian communities, and all ethnic and religious groups have a right to live without intimidation or fear.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 3, 2022 at 7:52am

Ex #RSS Worker Says Top #Hindutva Leaders Involved in Nanded Blast. Yashwant Shinde also claimed that he was told by a senior VHP leader about a #terror training camp that was underway to “carry out blasts across the country”. #Modi #India https://thewire.in/communalism/rss-worker-affidavit-right-wing-lead... via @thewire_in

Shinde is not a prosecution witness in the case. But he claims to have come forward finally because he “couldn’t stay silent anymore”. He told The Wire, “I spent the past 16 years convincing every RSS leader, including Mohan Bhagwat, to take action against those involved in the terror activities. No one paid heed to my pleas. So here I am, before the court, willing to depose everything that I have known for so long.”



------


Mumbai: Sixteen years after a bomb exploded at a residence of a Nanded-based Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh (RSS) worker, a former senior functionary of the organisation has moved an application before a special CBI court claiming that several senior right-wing leaders were directly involved in the incident.

The applicant, Yashwant Shinde, was an RSS worker for close to 25 years and also had associations with other ultra-right-wing groups like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. He has claimed that over three years before the blast, a senior VHP worker had informed him about a terror training camp that was underway to “carry out blasts across the country”.

The Nanded bomb explosion that occurred on the intervening night of April 4 and 5, 2006, was one of the three explosions that occurred in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the span of a few years. In the other two blasts – in Parbhani (2003) and Purna (2004) – the courts have already acquitted all the persons, who were accused of hurlings bombs at mosques.

The CBI, which took over the case from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, has claimed that the blast occurred accidentally at the residence of one Laxman Rajkondwar, allegedly an RSS worker. Rajkondwar’s son Naresh and Himanshu Panse, a VHP activist, were killed while assembling the bomb. The investigating agencies believe that the bomb would have been used to target a mosque in Aurangabad.

Shinde claims to have known Panse since 1999, when the latter was working as a full-time VHP worker in Goa. At a meeting in 1999, Shinde claimed that Panse and seven of his friends had agreed to undergo weapons training in Jammu. This training, Shinde alleges, was imparted by “Indian Army jawans”.

-------------------

Advocate Sangameshwar Delmade, who represents Shinde in the Nanded court, told The Wire that he was also initially skeptical about why Shinde is coming forward now. “I had in fact even posed this question to him. He told me that there was a threat to his life all along. And now he has reached a point where his conscience doesn’t allow him to stay quiet,” the lawyer said.

Shinde, according to his affidavit, joined the RSS when he was 18. He is 49 now. “I have had to distance myself from all these Hindu organisations now. They are no longer working for the ‘Hindu cause’. They are mere puppets in the hands of the ruling party,” he claimed.

As a way of establishing his “credentials”, Shinde’s affidavit lists out events he had participated in during his youth. In 1995, Shinde was arrested under the Public Safety Act for allegedly attacking Farooq Abdullah during his visit to Rajouri in Jammu. Although the court later acquitted Shinde, he interestingly takes responsibility for the attack in this application before the Nanded CBI court. Following this act, Shinde underwent training to be a “pracharak” and was eventually made the head of Bajrang Dal’s Mumbai unit in 1999.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 3, 2022 at 11:23am

With India being the world's fastest growing major economy, its lead over the U.K. will widen in the next few years

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-overtakes-uk-to-become...

India has overtaken the U.K. to become the world's fifth-largest economy and is now behind only the US, China, Japan and Germany, according to IMF projections.

A decade back, India was ranked 11th among the large economies while the U.K. was at the fifth position.

With record beating expansion in the April-June quarter, the Indian economy has now overtaken the U.K., which has slipped to the sixth spot.

The assumption of India overtaking the U.K. is based on calculations by Bloomberg using the IMF database and historic exchange rates on its terminal.

"On an adjusted basis and using the dollar exchange rate on the last day of the relevant quarter, the size of the Indian economy in 'nominal' cash terms in the quarter through March was $854.7 billion. On the same basis, the U.K. was $816 billion," stated a Bloomberg report.

With India being the world's fastest growing major economy, its lead over the U.K. will widen in the next few years.

"Proud moment for India to pip the U.K., our colonial ruler, as the 5th largest economy: India $3.5 trillion vs UK $3.2 trillion. But a reality check of population denominator: India: 1.4 billion vs UK 0.068 billion. Hence, per capita GDP we at $2,500 vs $47,000. We have miles to go... Let's be at it!," Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said in a tweet.

India has a population 20 times that of the U.K. and so its GDP per capita is lower.

"We just became the 5th largest #economy in the world, surpassing the U.K.!," tweeted Anil Agarwal, chairman of mining giant Vedanta group. "What an impressive milestone for our rapidly growing Indian economy... In a few years, we will be in Top 3!"

India's GDP expanded 13.5% in the April-June quarter, the quickest pace in a year, to retain the world's fastest growing economy tag but rising interest costs and the looming threat of a recession in major world economies could slow the momentum in the coming quarters.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 13.5% year-on-year compares to a 20.1% expansion a year back and 4.09% growth in the previous three months to March, according to official data released earlier this week.

The growth, though lower than the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) estimate of 16.2%, was fuelled by consumption and signalled a revival of domestic demand, particularly in the services sector.

Pent-up demand is driving consumption as consumers, after two years of pandemic restrictions, are stepping out and spending. The services sector has seen a strong bounce back that will get a boost from the festival season next month.

But the slowing growth of the manufacturing sector at 4.8% is an area of worry. Also, imports being higher than exports is a matter of concern.

Additionally, an uneven monsoon is likely to weigh upon agriculture growth and rural demand.

The GDP print will, however, allow the RBI to focus on controlling inflation, which has stayed above the comfort zone of 6% for seven straight months.

The central bank has raised the benchmark policy rate by 140 basis points in three installments since May and has vowed to do more to bring inflation under control.

Besides tighter monetary conditions, Asia's third-largest economy faces headwinds from higher energy and commodity prices that are likely to weigh on consumer demand and companies' investment plans.

Also, consumer spending, which accounts for nearly 55% of economic activity, has been hit hard by soaring food and fuel prices.

The GDP growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal was higher than China's 0.4% expansion in April-June.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 22, 2022 at 6:24pm

India arrests dozens after nationwide raids on Muslim group PFI (Popular Front of India)

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/22/nationwide-raids-on-muslim...


India’s top investigation agencies arrest 45 Popular Front of India members for alleged terror links after simultaneous raids in 15 states.

Officials at India’s top investigation agencies say they have conducted nationwide raids and arrested 45 people associated with a prominent Muslim organisation for alleged terror links.

The simultaneous raids on the offices of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and homes of its members were conducted by the federally controlled National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at 93 locations in 15 Indian states, the NIA said in a statement on Thursday evening.

NIA said the searches were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases related to “funding of terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations”.

“As on date, the NIA is investigating a total of 19 PFI-related cases,” said the statement.

Most of the arrests were made in the southern states. In Kerala, where PFI enjoys considerable influence in Muslim-majority areas, 19 people were arrested, the NIA said in its statement.

Arrests were also made in Tamil Nadu (11), Karnataka (7), Andhra Pradesh (4), Rajasthan (2) and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, according to the statement.

Earlier, Indian media reports said more than 100 PFI leaders and members were arrested in the raids.

The PFI was established in 2007 after the merger of three Muslim groups – the National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity in Karnataka, and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu.

In 2009, the organisation formed its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), to contest elections.

PFI says it works for the rights of Muslims and other marginalised communities in India. But right-wing Hindu groups, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accuses the group of violent attacks on its members.


‘Totalitarian regime using agencies as puppets’
Federal minister Giriraj Singh accused PFI of “working against India” and his counterpart Ramdas Athawale said the group was “linked to terror organisations”.

“We don’t have problems with running an organisation or bringing together Muslim community. But taking the name of this country and spreading terrorism, then there is a need to take action. I welcome the NIA and ED raids,” Athawale told reporters.

“PFI should change itself if they want to live in India … They should stand with India.”

But the PFI called the NIA and ED raids a “witch hunt” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

“Popular Front will never ever surrender on any scary action by a totalitarian regime using the central agencies as its puppets and will stand firm on its will for recovering the democratic system and spirit of the constitution of our beloved country,” it said in the statement shared with Al Jazeera.

The raids sparked protests in several parts of Kerala, where the PFI has called for a strike on Friday. Similar protests were also reported from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states.

Rights activists have accused the government of using investigative agencies to harass and intimidate groups critical of its policies. Muslim organisations have particularly come under attack and are often accused of terror links, they said.

“There are Hindu supremacist organisations and their leaders who are regularly giving calls of violence against Muslims. How come their organisations face no scrutiny whatsoever, let alone raids and all? Those people are allowed to go free, they are not punished,” activist Kavita Krishnan told Al Jazeera.

Comment

You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal


Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!




    Blog Posts

    Hateful Hindutva Ideology Infects Indian Diaspora

    Hateful Hindutva ideology is spreading rapidly among the Indian diaspora. Individuals and organizations connected to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are actively working to promote India's divisive Islamophobic politics among the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and their children. Hundreds of the RSS shakhas (branches) are now found in at least …

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on October 4, 2022 at 9:30am — 6 Comments

    US-Pakistan F-16 Deal: Indian EAM Jaishankar Throws a Tantrum

    “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things," said Indian External Affairs Minister Subramanian Jaishankar to his American hosts in Washington. He was lashing out at the United States for the State Department's explanation for the $450 million F-16 "sustainment" package sale to Pakistan. Earlier,  the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in an announcement: 

    “This proposed…

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on September 29, 2022 at 5:30pm — 20 Comments

    © 2022   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service