“Mahatma Gandhi had once said that all religions are true, but they are not perfect. Through this he is saying that each religion can learn from another religion. A nation which is called so diverse which has millions of gods and over 700 languages.
“Now they are saying that you are a traitor. So if I am a traitor let me say something. At present in India, I don’t know how Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will harm Islam, but it will certainly destroy Hinduism,” he said, delivering a public lecture on the occasion of the Constitution Day at the Gandhi Peace Foundation here.
A vociferous critic of the policies of the Narendra Modi-led central government, Vajpeyi has been under attack by the Sangh parivar for returning his Sahitya Akademi award to protest rising intolerance in the country.
Referring to the recent controversy over the statements made by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, he said: “There is a difference between the nation and its government. The nation is larger than the government. Protesting against the government doesn’t mean one is protesting against the nation.”
Intellectuals and activists were present at the gathering to mark 66 years since the country’s constitution was adopted, and the present socio-economic political situation, democracy, existing inequalities and right to equality and justice were among the issues taken up. The event was organised by Jan Awaaz, a citizen’s platform created to highlight public concerns.
Among others who spoke were Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising, activists Usha Ramanathan and Nikhil Dey and Delhi High Court’s former chief justice Rajinder Sachar.
India, October 29, 2011: Four Muslims are listed among the top 100 rich Indians in the ranking for the year 2011, released by Forbes on 26th October 2011. Azim Premji (3rd) from IT industry Wipro, Yusuf Hamied (30th) from pharmaceutical Cipla, Habil Khorakiwala (80th) Chairman of generics maker Wockhardt and Irfan Razack (87th) from the real estate industry Prestige Estates are among the richest Indians.
Premji and Hamied are the regular persons listed in the Forbes richest person ranking for many years but Habil and Irfan are the recent entries to the Indian richest club. Shahid Balwa, Partner of DB realty and Etisalat, was also among the billionaires of 2010 ranking with the worth of $1.06 billion, but he is not in the list of 2011.
Azim Premji, prominent Indian Muslim consistently ranked in Forbes richest listing, is the head of India’s leading IT outsource agency Wipro with the worth of $13 billion which was $16.8 billion last year. Last December he was in limelight by donating $2 billion to his trust to fund his education charity which is the largest individual amount donated so far by any Indian. Premji is ranked 3rd among Indians and 36th in overall world billionaires ranking 2011. In March 2010, he was at the same position among Indian billionaires but worth of assets was $17.6 billion that is higher in comparison to 2011.
Yusuf Hamied & family is the renowned drug maker in India under the Cipla brand for last 75 years. His asset also declined from $1.95 billion in the year 2010 to $1.1 billion in March 2011. But they improved the business and current worth is reached to $1.75 billion. In the global ranking 2011, he is at position of 1057 among world richest.
Habil Khorakiwala has the family-owned pharmaceutical business under Wockhardt brand which has the main source of revenue from the United States and Europe. Now they have entered to develop hospital infrastructure in Indian major cities. Earlier in the year 2006, he was 746th ranked among the World billionaire with the net worth of one billion.
Irfan Razack is the managing director of real estate developer Prestige Estates group. He and his younger siblings, Rezwan and Noaman, who share fortune and work with him, took company public last year, raising $240 million. Has built over 45 million square feet of commercial, retail and residential properties so far; has 61 ongoing projects covering 62 million square feet in South India.
Mukesh Ambani with worth of $22.6 billion and Lakshmi Mittal with worth of $19.2 billion are at the top among Indian richest in the ranking of 2011 but the assets of both top Indian billionaires have decreased in comparison to last year. India’s 100 richest have lost 20% of their total wealth: They are collectively worth $241 billion, down from $300 billion a year ago, due in part to a 10% decline in the Mumbai Sensex and a falling rupee.
Guwahati, November 28, 2015: In an unusual development, the ruling party of Assam has demanded removal of the state’s governor. Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) on Friday took out a protest rally across Guwahati against Governor PB Acharya alleging the governor to be involved in activities of the RSS and trying to divide people in the line of religion.
The APCC demanded the removal of Acharya within a month, while submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee.
“We are demanding the removal of PB Acharya for acting and discharging functions like an agent of BJP and RSS. Even after complaining number of times, unfortunately, no action was taken so far. Recently the governor had made highly sensitive remarks publicly that ‘Hindustan is for Hindus’. Such statements have created serious repercussions not just in Assam but across the country,” said APCC president Anjan Dutta through the memorandum.
The APCC also said that the continuation of Acharya as a governor will bring divisions among the different communities of the state.
“The stay of the governor Acharya will bring division among the people of the state in the line of religion. He is the constitutional head of the state and he should behave accordingly but unfortunately, he is doing the opposite,” Dutta added.
The APCC will ‘do a ‘gherao’ at the Raj Bhawan on December 7 and if the governor is not removed within a month the APCC will stage protest in front of the Governor’s House every day.
Earlier, the governor came under severe criticism after his controversial remark ‘Hindustan is for Hindus’. During a book launch event in Raj Bhawan in Guwahati the governor had said, “Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can stay here. They cannot be outsiders. There is nothing to be feared about that. But how to accommodate them is a big question and we should think about that”.
People from political parties and civilians have also expressed their displeasure at the statement of the governor.
AIUDF chief and MP Badruddin Ajmal termed it as an attack to the constitution. “Strongly condemn Assam governor’s statement. He is a constitutional authority and his statement is direct attack on the constitution,” tweeted Ajmal.
In another tweet the perfume baron said that though the governor has RSS background, now he is holding a constitutional post. “He shouldn’t try to polarise Assam before 2016 election,” Ajmal added.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), an influential peasants’ organization of the state has also condemned the Acharya. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said that such remarks clearly indicate that the governor wants to play politics in the name of religion.
“As we take care of nature, we have to take care of the marginalized and oppressed people in our country,” Father Devasagaya Raj, secretary of the Indian Catholic bishops’ office for dalits and lower classes, told ucanews.com.
The priest highlighted the importance of the pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, which was addressed to every person on the planet.
When nature is exploited, dalits are also exploited and discriminated by society, he said.
“Let us take a vow to protect the rights of these people and give them their due place in the society,” Father Raj said, adding that the encyclical, while talking about saving the climate, also includes the “social climate.”
In the encyclical, the pope blamed human greed for the planet’s critical environmental emergency.
The Catholic Church in India annually celebrates The Day for the Liberation of Dalits on the nearest Sunday following the U.N. Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
Hence, Dec. 13 this year is to be observed at the parish level to educate “our own Catholics about the rights of the dalits,” said Father Raj.
There will be special prayers in parish churches and liturgies will be centered around the theme of climate, castes and care for the Earth, he explained.
Indian society comprises the high castes — Brahmins (priests, teachers), Kshatriyas (kings, warriors) and Vaishyas (merchants, artisans). The Sudras (laborers, peasants) make up the lowest caste.
Those not born into these four castes were the outcasts, formerly called untouchables, who are now called dalits, a Sanskrit term meaning “trampled upon.”
The dalits have long been the target of disempowerment, oppression and persecution even though the Indian Constitution abolished caste discrimination and made “untouchability” because of religious sanction a punishable offence.
It guarantees quotas, for dalits and other underprivileged classes, in government jobs and in educational institutions.
However, Christian and Muslim dalits are denied these benefits on the grounds that their religions do not recognize the caste system.
Christian dalits in India have been fighting for their rights as enjoyed by their Hindu counterparts for more than half a century.
Church leaders estimate that at least half of India’s 23 million Christians are of dalit origin.
New Delhi, November 27, 2015: With incidents of religious persecution of minorities happening across the country and the Indian government’s inaction to control it, a section of people from Muslim and Christian communities with decent incomes have started weighing the option of moving abroad but are not fully convinced to make the move yet.
Rashid Rehman, a 42-year-old footwear importer from East Delhi, said the thought of leaving did occur to him, but he quickly brushes it aside with his unflinching faith in secular India, which strengthens when he sees countless number of Hindus speaking up for the minorities and condemning hate crimes.
“I don’t think we will leave [India]. Until our Hindu friends are talking on our behalf, until we understand that their hearts don’t want us, we are not going anywhere,” he said.
However, the recent violence inflicted on Muslims makes him anxious and then obtuse statements coming from senior ministers who “either tacitly justify the violence or come up with vague statements to ensure accountability”.
“The fear factor is there,” he said.
Rehman said he is not sure what kind of future his children will face if “the Hindu versus Muslim mentality is systematically nurtured”.
Many on social media argue that India has gone through several bouts of religious violence and yet its secular character has remained.
A Delhi-based computer engineer, who is a Christian, said he was contemplating moving out “if the situation remains the same”.
He said that the reason for his migration was not just communal tensions but “other forms of intolerance as well”.
Recently famous actor Aamir Khan reopened a debate about intolerance by saying that his wife recently suggested moving from India.
Though they abhor the idea of leaving, they are still considering it to ensure that their children grow up in a society free from religious prejudice.
The first round of migration among elite Muslim families — those who would hang out with people like the “Ambanis and Tatas” — happened in the early 1990s, after the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the subsequent riots.
It was largely Mumbai-centric with several families moving to Europe and the Gulf. Their children struggled to establish ties with the new world, but as they grew up they began to make peace with their “Non-Resident Indian” (NRI) identity.
- the hindu
Haryana, November 25, 2015: Recently, a District Collector in Haryana passed an order prohibiting processions under Sec. 144 Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), which resulted in a small local Church, being prevented from meeting. The High Court of Haryana in response to a Writ Petition upheld the right of the worshipers to congregate there and directed the police to provide them protection during their Sunday morning worship service. In another case, a District Collector in Tamil Nadu refused permission to continue worship services at a church premises on the grounds of purported communal disharmony and ill-will among people in the area. This action has been challenged and is presently pending adjudication in the appropriate Court of law.
Both these cases raise very important questions of law, on the reasonable restrictions that can be placed on the Fundamental Rights of every citizen recognized under Part III of the Constitution of India. No person can be divested of his Fundamental Rights. They are incapable of being taken away or abridged. The Constitutional protection available to the citizens of India for exercising their Fundamental Rights has great significance. Article 13 is indicative of the significance the framers of the Constitution intended to attach to the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. Article 13(2) emphatically states: The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.
One should never lose sight of the fact, however, that there can be no unfettered personal right or liberty guaranteed to an individual without compromising the interests of the general public. There is a need to balance an individual’s liberties on one hand and the interests of the larger community on the other.
Hence, a person can claim Fundamental Rights against the State subject to the State imposing some permissible restrictions in the interest of social order. The term social order has a very wide ambit and includes “law and order”, “public order” as well as “security of the State”. The State can by exercise of its legislative power regulate these rights by imposition of reasonable restrictions on them.
A citizen can move the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution to enforce his Fundamental Rights. Every High Court is also conferred with the power to enforce Fundamental Rights by Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The question that often requires the decision of the Courts in such matters is whether on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, the restrictions imposed on the Fundamental Rights by or under the authority of law actually lie in the sphere of “reasonableness” and whether their imposition was unavoidable for the greater common good.
The reasonableness of the restrictions are tested against the parameters provided for this purpose in Part III itself. For instance, the reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in Article 19(1)(a) are permitted by Article 19(2) only on the following grounds:
– In the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with Foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
In a pluralistic society like India, the Freedom of Conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion is vital and is guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution. However, this freedom is tempered by the following qualifiers – “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part”.
It is evident, therefore, that unreasonable and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the State will not stand up under judicial scrutiny. They are not valid unless they are unavoidable in a given situation and can never exceed the extent and duration essential to ensure public interest.
- adf india team
Hyderabad, November 25, 2015: A group of educated Muslims is planning to float a pressure group which will subsequently lead to a pan-India political party to take care of the community’s interests in a country where it constitutes 14 percent of the 1.2 billion population.
A retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer has sought opinion from members of the community, including NRIs, on the proposed group.
Mohammad Shafiquzzaman, who retired as special chief secretary in the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2013, has mooted the idea of the group to take care of the interests of Muslims in particular and to have a complete agenda of welfare governance in general.
In a letter seeking opinion from the community, he said the problems of Muslims cannot be solved without political empowerment.
“As proved by recent Bihar elections, the battle cannot be won alone and requires the support of all liberal and sensible sections of society to make India a livable place for all,” he wrote.
The proposed group will work on the basis of “right, not charity”. Its policy will be “non-confrontational but it will not shy away from fighting against any injustice or discrimination, through all legal means available to the citizens of this country”.
The need for a separate group was felt as existing parties are limited to small geographic areas catering to localised emotional/administrative needs. “These parties either do not have or have not been able to spell out their vision to resolve larger Muslim issues, not even policies to address issues of general governance.”
He believes security and identity and educational and economic backwardness are the primary problems of the community.
Stating that Muslim youth were being targeted on false charges of terrorism, he added that the fact that things were no better under Congress or the so-called secular governments indicates that the problem of security is primarily because of bureaucracy and not politicians.
The group will influence, agitate and take legal recourse to ensure that the bureaucracy is de-communalised, both through training and punishment.
It will initiate a debate on the definition and causes of terrorism so that the disease is addressed and not the symptoms.
The group proposes to supplement governmental efforts by community efforts to remove educational backwardness.
He feels the need to make efforts at the level of primary, secondary and intermediate education rather in the field of opening commercial higher educational institutions.
He believed that an educated work force will be able to make its own place in the job market. The group will strive to supplement it by securing job reservations for Muslims in different states and at the Centre.
The civil bureaucracy also needs to be trained as to the true meaning and spirit of secularism and made to understand that secularism means the state maintaining either equal distance from all religions or equal proximity to all religions.
The group is of the view that the best government is the one that governs least. It feels that threshold level bar on “offences” must be upped particularly in those fields where violations are rampant so that the harassing potential of lower level bureaucracy is reduced.
It also feels the need for large-scale reforms in curtailing the discretionary powers of bureaucracy.
A 1977-batch IAS officer, Shafiquzzaman had a clean image as a bureaucrat. He fought many legal battles against the government over service issues.
In one such case filed by him, the Hyderabad High Court last week issued a contempt notice to a former chief secretary for his alleged role in according unlawful promotions to certain IAS officers.
Mumbai, November 24, 2015: Hundreds of activists of the Hindu Sena on Tuesday staged a vociferous demonstration outside the home of Bollywood megastar Aaamir Khan protesting against his statements on intolerance.
The activists shouted slogans like “Aamir Khan murdabad”, “Aamir Khan chale jao”, and attempted to force their way inside the actor’s home in Bandra but were prevented by a substantial police presence there.
Later, around a dozen activists were detained and taken to the Bandra police station.
An official said police have deployed in adequate numbers to prevent any untoward incident.
On the issue of beefing up security, the official said that would be decided by a separate department depending on the requirement.
Meanwhile, while on a visit to Solapur, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis declined to comment on Aamir Khan’s comment.
“I have better things to do than react to all such statements. There are more pressing issues of the state than talking about these things,” Fadnavis told media persons.
In Pune, state Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam termed Aamir Khan’s comments as “treason” and said the actor was welcome to go to Pakistan if he felt so insecure in India.
“In India, we gave you so much love — Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. We looked at your art and not your religion. Does it mean we have been feeding milk to a snake?” Kadam said.
In Satara, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday declined to react to Aamir Khan’s remarks while offering condolences to the family of Col. Santosh Mahadik of the Indian Army who died fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
Telangana, November 24, 2015: A mob of around 60 Hindu radicals stormed a Christian prayer meeting in India, beating the believers who had met together. A pregnant Christian woman was among those beaten, and lost her baby as a result of the attack.
Around 40 Christians had met together to pray in the home of another Christian in the Mahabubnagar District of India’s Telangana state on 12 October, according to International Christian Concern. At around 7.30 pm, a mob of Hindu radicals, led by the previous village surpanch (council president), broke into the house shouting insults at the Christians.
They beat the Christians harshly, including the women and the children. One of the believers in the group, 25-year-old Swapna, was four months pregnant at the time and begged the attackers to leave her alone because of her pregnant condition. They beat her anyway and she was later discovered to have lost her baby.
The authorities arrested seven people in connection with the attack after the believers registered the incident with local police. However, they were released on bail later the same day.
A similar incident of violence against Christians meeting together to pray in the private home of a believer took place recently about 35 km (22 miles) outside Delhi. The Christians were beaten and dragged to a police station where they were told, “This is a Hindu nation. Your kind of prayers are not allowed,” according to a report published by Christian Today on 13 November.
Christians in India are frequently the victims of violent attacks, and these have increased dramatically since Hindu-nationalist President Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. Prayer meetings are often raided and Christians beaten; many rural Christians have been expelled from their villages and refused access to the village well and pastureland; and others have been forced to convert to Hinduism, often with violence.
Hyderabad , November 24, 2015: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday said that the Muslims would not leave the country, come what may, and that they would continue to live here as “proud Indians”.
“Muslims will not succumb to dog whistle politics of the Sangh Parivar and other fascist forces but continue their democratic struggle for justice, due share and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the country,” the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad told reporters here.
When asked for reaction on Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s revelation on Monday that his wife asked if they should move out of the country due to security situation prevailing in the country, the AIMIM leader said, “I can’t speak for a film star. I can only speak as a proud Indian Muslim that I will never succumb to all these dog whistle politics of the Sangh Parivar and other fascist organisations.”
“They can’t create fear in our hearts and minds because this is our county. So long as life on earth survives, Muslims will live in India as proud Indians,” he added.
Owaisi said Indian Muslims would definitely struggle for their due share and rightful position, which no one could deny them since it was what the constitution guarantees.
“We are Indians not only by birth but by choice. We have seen many adversities, many riots; thousands of lives were lost. We have also seen destruction of Babri Masjid,” he said.
Owaisi said grievances of Indian Muslims had always been with parties in power as they did not give them the rights the Constitution guaranteed. “Still this is our country. We will continue to fight. We will continue to struggle and definitely get our due share and our position,” he added.
The AIMIM leader said Muslims would not disappoint great freedom fighters who dreamt of Muslims living in the country as proud Indians.