#India – Narendra Modi conspired to instigate Hindus post Godhra


29 June 2013, agencies

 

MODI1 

Zakia Jafri‘s lawyer on Saturday alleged before a court here that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had conspired to instigate Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers and other members of Hindu community after the Godhra train burning incident in 2002.Ehsan Jafri, Zakia’s husband and former Congress MP, was one of those who were slain during the riots across Gujarat after the Godhra incident.Advocate Sanjay Parikh, Jafri’s lawyer, made the allegation during the argument before Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra. The court is hearing Jafri’s petition against closure report of Special Investigation Team which gave a clean chit to Modi and others in the face of the charge of complicity in the riots as levelled by Jafri in her complaint in 2008 before the Supreme Court.

“After the Godhra train burning incident, a large number of kar sevaks indulged in provocative slogan-shouting at Godhra railway station and the situation was tense…And what he (Modi) did was to call VHP Gujarat general secretary Jaideep Patel to go to Godhra and Patel instigated other VHP men and Hindus against Muslims. Therefore, Modi conspired with Jaideep Patel to instigate negative and aggressive feelings of RSS, VHP workers against Muslims,” advocate Parikh contended.

“Real conspiracy began with this instruction to Patel. He (Modi) is the chief executor of the conspiracy,” Parikh said, adding SIT failed to probe this aspect of the case.Jaideep Patel, with 81 others, is facing trial in Naroda Gaam case in which 11 people from the minority community were killed.Jafri’s `protest petition’ demands rejection of SIT report and seeks further investigation by an independent agency. Her complaint accuses Modi of being involved in the conspiracy behind wide-spread violence and misuse of the state machinery during the riots.

“There was no need for the Chief Minister to inform a VHP man and be in close contact with him, knowing fully well that after the Godhra incident, tensions may escalate and what was required was restraint and specific measures to strengthen the law and order situation,” Jafri’s lawyer said.”He, therefore, committed an omission in not discharging his duty. He in fact, by his conduct allowed communal tension to escalate,” advocate Parikh alleged, opposing SIT’s conclusion that no case was made out against Modi and others.

Inaction on Modi’s part amounted to conspiracy and abetment, the lawyer said.He further alleged the state government was aware of heavy mobilisation for Maha Yagna at Ayodhya and still did nothing to control the situation by making proper security arrangement.Parikh also submitted a copy of a statement, dated August 15, 2009, given by the then senior state minister Suresh Mehta to SIT.”As per Mehta’s statement, he was sitting next to Narendra Modi in the assembly on February 27, 2002 when Modi said `Hindus should wake up now’. This shows his mindset against Muslims and that he wanted targeted violence against that community,” Parikh alleged.The hearing would continue on July 3.

 

#India- Films under the knife #censorship


OMAR RASHID, The Hindu

FILMMAKER:Anand Patwardhan.

FILMMAKER:Anand Patwardhan.

 The screening of noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s  Ram Ke Naam  (In the Name of God) was persistently protested by the students’ wing of a political party at a recent people’s film festival in Ayodhya, more than two decades after it was documented. The filmmaker talks about the film, censorship of independent opinions and much more in an interview:

How relevant do you think is the film’s initial controversy today?

Twenty-one years ago, the film got a “U” certificate, a Filmfare Award and a National Award for Best Investigative Film. The Doordarshan showed the film following an order by the Bombay High Court who ruled that it was made in national interest. Yet there are groups that oppose it without seeing it. They are told it is “anti- Hindu”. But in fact, in the last 21 years, several  karsevaks  who had actually gone to demolish the Babri Mosque confessed after seeing the film that they felt ashamed for what they had done. They realised that the issue was not religious, but political and financial.

Ram Ke Naam  does not oppose any religion. The voices of ordinary Hindus in and around Ayodhya are testimony to the fact that the communal virus in this country does not originate from the working majority but is largely injected by upper caste urban elements. These “leaders” generally get working class/caste people to do their dirty work, whether this is scavenging or participating in riots and looting.  Ram Ke Naam  interviews Pujari Laldas, head priest of the Ram Janma bhoomi/ Babri Masjid temple/ mosque who believed that Hindus and Muslims should both be allowed to pray at the site as they had done for centuries. Within a year of the Babri demolition, Pujari Laldas was murdered.

The film was incidentally completed in 1991, before the Babri demolition. It was a warning to the nation that communal forces were about to inflict a grievous wound on our secular fabric. The warning went unheeded. By that time the film reached TV, the damage had been done. The Babri Masjid had been demolished, thousands of people in the sub-continent killed and a chain reaction of religious hatred unleashed that continues to wreak havoc to the present day.

The Babri demolition has completed 20 years, why do you think no mainstream film has been made on the issue?  Barring exceptions, I don’t have faith in mainstream Bollywood or for that matter Hollywood. They have the great advantage of mass reach but the very nature of the huge finances involved prevents political, social and cultural risk-taking. There is careful calculation and almost inevitable compromise. Sometimes when its heart is in the right place, a film can shift popular perceptions to a tiny degree but usually this happens only when the filmmakers believes their cause to be popular. So for instance, there may be some good films made against rape now but even here the chances are that the commercial instinct will send double messages while appearing to be pro-woman.

So the silence on Babri Masjid is not surprising. One sensitive fiction film that did touch this issue is Saeed Mirza’s  Naseem  though I won’t call it Bollywood and nor did it enjoy a big release. Incidentally when Saeed wanted to access TV footage of the attack on the mosque he could not find any, such had been the censorship. He ended up using sound clips from Ram Ke Naam .

Kamal Haasan’s 

Vishwaroopam  

was in the news for slightly similar reasons.

I am against censorship, especially of the extra-constitutional variety. I will not talk of the content of Vishwaroopam  as I have not seen the film, but the reviews of people I trust has me worried that the film indulges in stereotyping and sees the U.S. as an ally in the fight against terror. If this is true, I would still not call for censorship but I would find it problematic, because the U.S. is playing a deadly double game. They are both the authors of jihad  and now the victims of it. Bin Laden was their creation. They fought a proxy war in Afghanistan where they preached Islamic jihad against communists. Have they ever apologised? Peace may come to our planet the day the powerful neo-con lobby in America genuinely reveals how it used religion to divide the world. And Islamic  jihad  may realise that not Islam, not the Quran, but their enemy number one is their actual father.

Most human beings are not bigoted by nature. They are victims of manipulation. Just as  Ram Ke Naam  was able to win over  karsevaks . I am sure that even  jihadis  can be won over if they come into genuine and prolonged contact with those who believe in another idea of Islam. But if we merely practice revenge, judicial or otherwise, the cycle of violence will remain unbroken.

How has the film-making landscape changed since you made  Ram Ke Naam ? Are you freer today?

I continue to try and tell the truth as I see it. What is sad is that the real censorship in this country is no longer the censorship of the State. It is the censorship of the marketplace. Our films remain in the margins. Breaking out of this is the fight that must continue.

 

“…real censorship in this country is no longer the censorship of the State. It is the censorship of the marketplace. Our films remain in the margins.”

 

 

 

Sparks fly at IISc over Anand Patwardhan documentary on Babri masjid razing


By Aishhwariya Subramanian | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Proving that communal tension exists even within the hallowed halls of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a heated argument broke out at IISc on Wednesday after a documentary was screened on the campus about the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The documentary, Ram Ke Naam, which is Anand Patwardhan’s controversial take on the 20-year-old issue, was screened by a student body that has representatives from both IISc and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS).

When the documentary began, some students got into an argument with the organisers over its controversial content. By the time the documentary got over, the two groups erupted into a loud argument that left several members of the audience at loss for words.

Much of the problem arose from the posters used by the organisers. The posters contained a blurb from Patwardhan himself, describing Vishwa Hindu Parishad as a “militant group”.
“They plastered these posters, calling the VHP a ‘militant group’ all across the hostels in the campus. There is already some communal tension because of it and because of these posters, there are also counter posters put up in the hostels. They are just trying to cause trouble by screening this documentary, which is full of lies and does not even want to discuss the facts,” said a PHd student from IISc who did not wish to be named.

The student body group, on the other hand, said they simply wanted to screen the documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

They also noted that several students from the IISc had written to the Students’ Council prior to the screening to get it canceled. The Students’ Council, in turn, wrote to the registrar and the public relations officer of the institute. While the administration gave the group the green signal to screen the documentary, the PRO was present the entire time.

“I just want to clarify that this documentary was not screened on behalf of the IISc but by the students’ group called Concern,” he said. Overall, the public screening was attended by close to 150 people, most of whom were from the IISc.

While the scuffle between the protesters and the organisers never turned physical, one of the protesters raised the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘.

 

BELOW IS A REACTION FROM RAVI, WHO WAS THERE AT THE SCREENING

 

From: ravi <ra.ravishankar@gmail.com>
Date: 15 December 2012 23:34

I went for the documentary screening and find this report very
problematic, right from the way it is pitched: “communal tension” in
the “hallowed halls” of IISc! The problem wasn’t one of “communal
tension”, it was more a reaction by a small group of rabidly
pro-Hindutva students to a film they feared would expose the Hindutva
movement’s blood-stained past and give the lie to its claim to
represent all Hindus.

The report describes the documentary as Anand Patwardhan’s
“controversial” take on the Ramjanbhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, and
attributes much of the problem to the publicity posters which
described the VHP as “militant”. Is any popular anti-Hindutva work
non-controversial? Why should a work be defined by the ruckus raised
by the Hindutva forces? If an adjective was badly needed, why not
“award-winning” instead of “controversial”? As for describing the VHP
as militant, I too find it problematic since the term has a fairly
neutral meaning; “fascist” would have been more accurate.

Here is my understanding of how the events unfolded. The screening was
organised by a student group called Concern
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Concern-IISc/142948592461127>. Once the
screening was finalized, and necessary permissions taken from the
appropriate IISc authorities, publicity posters were put up. A motley
group of rabidly pro-Hindutva IISc students swung into action, put up
misleading counter-posters, and persuaded the Students Council
President to write to the IISc public relations officer recommending
cancellation of the film. A petition was also circulated to this
effect, and it apparently got about 100 signatures. However, Concern
folks got wind of this action, and eventually managed to let the
screening go ahead with an important caveat — there was to be no
discussion after the screening, and Concern was responsible for
evacuating the audience out of the venue once the film ended. There
was considerable uncertainty about whether the event will go ahead
until the day of the screening … The pro-Hindutva students also
threatened a legal suit if the posters describing the VHP as
“militant” were not removed, but (I think) Concern didn’t budge.

About 150-200 people came for the screening. I was about five minutes
late, but heard from a friend that when the organisers attempted a
brief intro to the film, the Hindutva group (sanghis) started shouting
and the screening was started hurriedly without an intro. Not that it
kept the sanghis quiet though. They continued to shout once in a
while, either when they were particularly aggrieved (as when none of
the Hindutva supporters interviewed in the film seemed to know exactly
when Rama was born; a sanghi in the audience asserted that Rama was
born 9.5 lakh years ago, and claimed fossil evidence to this effect!)
or to express approval for Narendra Modi or an egregious character on
screen (like when Advani barked “Mandir Wahin Banayenge” — we’ll
build the temple THERE). I think the guy who set Rama’s age at 9.5
lakh years departed midway through the screening, perhaps embarrassed
at his antics and not wanting to be identified in public (much like
the anonymous sanghi quoted in the DNA report). Another one shouted
out a suggestion: invite Subramanian Swamy to know the truth about
Ayodhya!

When the film ended, the sanghis who had stayed back started shouting
immediately. Concern folks tried to get everyone out of the room
immediately, but the sanghis wanted a captive audience. It later
turned out that they haven’t been able to muster such big audiences
for their events, so wanted to have a say then and there. In the words
of one of them, paraphrased as I remember: “When we have some events
to talk about corruption or issues of national interest, no one turns
up. But for this biased documentary, so many have come.” The room was
soon cleared, and a shouting match ensued outside. The Sanghis
departed with cries of “Jai Shri Ram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Concern is a
Naxalite group, Ban Concern” etc.  For me, this was a good taste of
sanghi thuggery when they lack numbers and don’t have the active
support of the administration. Friends told me that a similar
screening in other campuses, such as Hyderabad Central University
which has a strong ABVP unit, would be more fraught with danger.
Likewise for events outside university campuses.

All in all, this event was an interesting contrast to the previous
screening of Ram Ke Naam that we had organised several years ago at
UIUC. The sanghis at UIUC didn’t want to crawl out of the woodwork and
stand exposed for their politics, but it turns out some of the sanghis
at IISc felt no such restraint. Perhaps they expected some support
from the neutral section of the audience, and when none was
forthcoming their boorishness took over. Such hostility to a
two-decade old documentary makes one wonder how much more rabidly they
would react to an event on contemporary Hindutva, or its practice in
Gujarat.

ravi

One fateful push- Dec 6


 – ‘Ek dhakka aur do ” Toppled many of our  smug assumptions

Bachi Karkaria 06 December 2012,TOI

 It`s still called ‘December 6’. America’s ‘9/11’ hadn`t yet changed the way we label momentous events, so no one talks of ‘6/12’, but it was arguably the first since ‘August 15’ or ‘June 26’ to make a date with calendar immortality. Sixteen years before 26/11, we had sat transfixed to the TV screen, and felt the clammy hand of future history. Trishul-brandishing kar sevaks smashing those domes to the hysterical chorus of instigation marked the triumph of Hindutva, which had rolled forth with L K Advani`s Toyota-turned-rath-turned juggernaut. It had crushed all the bleating opponents in its path – indignant `pseudo-secularists` and fearful minorities alike. Parsi me, a mere molecularity, what would i know of majority resurgence and its embarrassing cousin, betrayal?
Yet, far away, the reverberating crash of those totemic domes was felt in a Bombay still to become Mumbai, still foolishly cosmopolitan, still hopelessly obsessed with being the city of gold for all those willing to work hard at bettering their lives, regardless of caste, creed and class of birth. Indeed, we, so ostensibly far removed in space, time and mojo from that allegedly modern epic unfolding in Ayodhya, we felt it harder than many places closer to it, on all these counts.

We were hit by a not-known-before intensity of communal riots. More portentously, we became the country`s first urban killing field of RDX. And under that macabre pile-up of bodies and rubble, died the raison d`etre of Bombay. We still await the resurrection. That`s if anyone still hopes for it. Or even wants it.

To watch the fall of the Babri domes was to witness an iconic moment. Then, a more pedestrian thought bludgeoned our consciousness. The children were in a school in the predominantly Muslim Mazgaon area. We rushed to bring them home. But it was only a precautionary measure. Who would have thought how ferociously Ayodhya`s tidal wave would break on a seemingly communalism-neutral Bombay?

Coming from a Calcutta, which shut down fully during Durga Puja, i had been dismissive of this city where business shutters weren`t downed during the parallel Ganeshotsav. It was evident that the preferred Poojas were the nubile Bedi and Bhatt. Who would have imagined the communal insanity, which killed 900 people, and wasn`t tamed till January 5, 1993?

And who could have ever visualised the surreal image of Bombay`s power towers literally brought to their knees the following March 12, when 13 serial blasts shook the city, claiming 250 unsuspecting lives and injuring 700 within minutes.

As a journalist reporting on both, the riots and the blasts, it was a ghoulishly exciting time. Two cameos have stayed with me. That of a dazed greybeard clutching on to his caged parrot as he stood beneath the dusty oil painting of a Parsi worthy in the Dadar Parsi Colony`s Palamkot Hall; the wizened Muslim was among the petrified inmates of the nearby Muslim slum who had swarmed through its placid gates. And the equally incongruous image of three delicate tea-cups hanging intact from a kitchen rack in a Worli building blown apart in the blast.

As a human being, it was shaming. So many of our assumptions about Bombay were shattered along with those faraway domes. People i had known closely turned out to be unmitigated bigots just under their sophisticated skin. Hindu-Muslim couples found themselves socially split apart. And i still can`t forget how it utterly broke my proud friend Habiba Miranda when her grown-up boys requested her to let them take down the calligraphed blessing which had hung above their front door forever; they didn`t want to attract the attention of the vengeful mobs breaking into Bombay`s most exclusive buildings. Wealth, for the first time, was not a cordon sanitaire.

 

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