On 2nd Cover:
Communal propaganda and violence by the Sangh Parivar continue unabated, as the Sangh outfits feel emboldened by the Modi Government at the Centre.
Here, the RSS and BJP have an eye on the 2017 Assembly polls, and are emboldened by the UP Police’s laxity in investigating and prosecuting the Dadri case that shook the whole country’s conscience. The case diary does not have statements of witnesses outside the victim Akhlaque’s family. The temple priest who was made to announce the false news of cow slaughter from the temple’s public address system, has not been made an accused or a witness in the case. The weapons recovered: blood stained sticks and iron rods - have not been subjected to thorough forensic tests. The police has simply failed to probe and establish the elements of planning that made such an attack possible, and instead the charge-sheet has already ruled out any criminal conspiracy behind the lynching.
Meanwhile Muzaffarnagar has been on the boil again, with several attempts to foment violence over alleged “love jehad” complaints. In at least one of the cases, it appears that a consensual sex video has fallen into the wrong hands and is being circulated politically as a ‘rape video’ of a Hindu woman by a Muslim man. The circulation and political hype over the case has caused immense trauma to the woman. In another case, where an ASHA worker committed suicide after circulation of a rape video, too, the case is being given a communal turn rather than being treated as a crime against women.
The Sangh outfits continue with their manufactured ‘cow slaughter rumours’. Gau Rakshak Samiti members beat up a Muslim couple in a train at Khirkiya railway station in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh on 15 January. The communal forces are emboldened to the extent that after the arrest of two persons, one self imposed leader of a ‘Gauraksha Commando Force’ has ‘warned’ the district superintendent of Police of “a repeat of September 2013” when Harda town had witnessed riots over false cow slaughter rumours. This Commando Force leader, named Surendra Singh Rajpurohit alias Tiger, is an accused in those riots as well as a dozen other cases of arson and rioting.
The social activist in Mangalore Vidya Dinker, co-ordinator of Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development and National Campaign Committee member of All India People’s Forum (AIPF), received a volley of abusive remarks and threats of death and rape on social media sites, when she protested against the stalling of the Shahrukh Khan starrer Dilwale by Bajarang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Abuse continued even after she lodged a formal complaint against 22 Bajrang Dal members with the police. An arrest was made, but this seemed to be a mere face saving measure as the local administration still failed to provide protection and conduct the screening of the said movie in city’s cinema halls for days. Citizens across the country held protests against this incident.
Shripal Sabnis, elected president of the All India Marathi Literary Conference and author of 29 books received a barely veiled threat by Sanatan Sanstha lawyer Sanjiv Pulalekar as an ‘advice to “go for a morning walk”. Sanatan Sanstha is the organisation under scanner for the deaths of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and CPI leader Govind Pansare who were shot dead while they were on a morning walk. In protest against this threat, scores of citizens and organizations went out together on a defiant morning walk with banners and placards.
A “Jawabdehi Yatra” (Accountability Journey) was attacked on the evening of January 16 near Aklera police post in Jhalawar, Rajasthan. This 100 day journey was being undertaken by over seventy social activists under the banner of the Soochana Evam Rozgaar Adhikar Abhiyan (SR Abhiyan)– a network of more than 100 citizens groups in Rajasthan.
Activists and volunteers of the MKSS and other citizens groups who were carrying out a state wide campaign focusing on issues of transparency, accountability, and the delivery of social sector entitlements, were subjected to a brutal assault. This attack was planned and pre meditated, carried out by lumpen goons under the leadership of the BJP MLA Kanwar Lal Meena. Video footage of the attack clearly shows the BJP MLA from Aklera, inciting his compatriots while mercilessly beating activists himself, as they were engaging with the public at a popular market place. Victims include noted theatre and social activist Shankar Singh. Women were also manhandled and beaten, cameras and vehicles were reportedly smashed, and onlookers terrorized. What makes the incident even more condemnable was that it took place in the home District of Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and the Lok Sabha Constituency of her son, Dushyant Singh.