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India faces more threats to its republic today than it did 66 years ago

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By Nithin Sridhar

India is today celebrating its 67th republic day. It was on this day 66 years ago that Indian constitution came into force. Indian constitution is not only central to Indian democracy, it also upholds the fact that India is a sovereign nation and it is no longer under foreign rule. Thus, the celebration of Republic Day is in many a sense symbolically more significant than the celebration of Independence Day.

Independence Day marks the day India became independent from British rule, but Republic day attests each year of our sustainment of that independence, of our democracy. Each Republic day marks another year when India has been successful in retaining her sovereignty, her democracy, and more importantly her Prana (life force). India is a very old nation with a very long history and culture of many thousand years. It is a living civilization that refused to die in spite of repeated invasions and occupations by outsiders. Its Prana, which was described as Ma Durga in Vande Mataram, is still alive and flourishing. Thus, Republic day does not just represent the formation of a new country, it truly marks the freeing of an old national spirit personified as Bharat Mata from the clutches of colonialism.

But, this Indian Prana, the very lifeline of our republic, faces more threats to its existence- internal and external- today, than it did in 1947 when India finally got out of colonialism. There are a number of breaking India forces (to use a term popularized by Rajiv Malhotra), who are continually attempting to exploit already existing fault lines in the Indian society and also trying to create new fault lines where none exist.

Let’s take a few examples from 2015 itself. There was a great uproar over the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq by few Hindus in Dadri allegedly over a rumor that a cow was killed and consumed. This was indeed a ghastly incident and was rightly condemned. But, did the incident really call for the whole propaganda of alleged intolerance rising in India? Did it really call for writers returning their awards over supposed intolerance? If such an incident indeed calls for such huge outrage, why was there no outrage, no return of awards over the death of Sanju Rathod, which happened many months before Dadri, and who was killed by a group of Muslims because a cattle belonging to a Hindu family grazed on the land belonging to a Muslim family?

Violence or murder is indeed ghastly and condemnable whether it is committed by people belonging to majority community or minority community. Yet, why only one deserved media attention and country wide staging of outrage and the other was equally ignored by everyone? This incident clearly establishes how there are certain breaking India forces working behind the scenes who exploited Hindu-Muslim fault lines that exist to defame India and create a false sense of fear and intolerance about India. The whole intolerance movement, which magically became silent after Bihar election’s outcome, points towards a deep nexus between people in various fields who have joined hands with breaking India forces.

A similar media bias and exploitation of an existing fault line can be seen with respect to Dalit issues. Any incident, any crime related to a Dalit is always portrayed as an issue of caste discrimination, though in reality it may not be. At the same time, any incident that identifies Dalit as a Hindu is deliberately suppressed as well. A comparison of the media’s treatment of suicide of Rohith Vemula with the media’s treatment of the recent murder of Savan Rathod clearly brings out the biasness.

Rohith’s suicide has been increasingly being portrayed as Dalit issue and issue of Caste oppression, though his family is claiming he was not even a Dalit. At the same time, the death of Savan Rathod, another Dalit, who was burnt by a group of Muslims simply because he was a Hindu, has been completely suppressed. This incident again reinforces the fact that certain sections of the media and outrage brigade has no real concern towards losing human lives or care towards increasing violence and crimes. They are only concerned at exploiting these historical fault lines of Indian society to further weaken Indian society and destroy the idea of India as Bharat- the living national spirit that had come down from hoary past.

These are not the only attempts at breaking India. The year 2015 was marked with various serious issues that were in many a sense manufactured to create a new fault line where none exist. The issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala and the ban on Jallikattu, and the outrage over elephants kept in temples are only a few major examples.

It is significant to note that each of these issues is related to Hinduism, Hindu traditions, and practices. The issue of prohibition of women into certain temples like Sabarimala was deliberately transformed from a religious issue into an issue of women’s rights. Similarly, Jallikattu was banned under the pretext of animal rights violations, though the ground reality was something different. These very same people who cry over supposed injury to temple bulls or temple elephants have continuously maintained silence over illegal cow slaughtering, celebration of beef eating, or even goat slaughtering during Bakrid, etc.

The fact of the matter is neither Jallikattu nor temples keeping bulls are by design violent in nature. There may be occasional incidents of injury to animals. But, such incidents can be minimized by proper regulation and monitoring. The outrage brigade is clearly not interested in such monitoring, because their actually concern is not the safety of the animals, but regarding how they can exploit the issue to dismantle Hinduism that forms the foundation of Indian life and Indian national spirit-Prana.

It is in this context that various initiatives that map elements of Indian society, be it Harvard mapping of the Kumbh Mela (exposed by Rajiv Malhotra), or reports about how burning incenses are causing air pollution, or reports released by the ilk of Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project’, must be understood. These are all attempts at dismantling Indian society, culture, and traditions, so that they could be broken down and Indian way of life is completely destroyed.

Then, there are of course the Christian missionaries and their evangelization projects like Joshua Project, Project Thessalonica, etc. using which they harvest the souls; and the rising influence of radical Islam and Islamic terrorism, as witnessed recently in Malda violence and the recent arrests of ISIS suspects. These are other major threats to Indian society.

It is high time that the Indian political establishment, as well as the common citizens, stop whitewashing burning issues and start identifying the power centers that fuel these breaking India forces and develop proper responses and mechanism to counter them. Unless Indian society develops these necessary responses, we are at the risk of losing our national spirit, our national Prana in the coming decades.

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No Sikh Regiment in R-Day parade ‘sad and regrettable’: Badal to PM

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Chandigarh: The controversy over the exclusion of the Sikh Regiment from the Republic Day parade in Delhi refuses to settle down, with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday describing the episode as “sad and regrettable” in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saying that the community was “hurt”.

In his letter, Badal said “the absence of the Sikh regiment from the Republic Day parade was sad and regrettable”.

Badal urged the central government to issue necessary instructions and guidelines “to ensure that the Sikh Regiment is never kept out of Republic Day parade in future”.

“A widespread feeling of hurt and resentment (has been) caused by the non-inclusion of the Sikh Regiment in the Republic Day parade where French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest,” Badal said in the letter.

According to reports, the Sikh Regiment, which had participated in the parade earlier, was excluded this time.

The Sikh community has been at loggerheads with the French government due to the latter’s ban on students wearing turbans in schools in France as it was seen as a religious symbol.

“The Republic Day parade is always regarded as a great occasion to showcase India’s multi-cultural and multi-religious identity, highlighting its secular ethos.

“As a vibrant and fiercely patriotic minority community in the country, the Sikhs are always seen as the most powerful symbol of this multi-dimensional identity and secular character of the country,” Badal said.

“The exclusion of the Sikh Regiment from the parade would be regrettable at any time but it was doubly so this year because of the presence of the French president as a special guest at the event.

“The Sikhs have been facing several practices in France which amount to the denial of freedom to observe the fundamental religious practices to the community, including a ban on the wearing of turbans one of the five symbols of their religion,” Badal said.

Incidentally, the French president started his India tour on January 24 from Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana which was designed by French architect Le Corbusier.

Hollande was received at the Chandigarh airport by Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who is also the acting Punjab governor, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher.

However, Punjab Chief Minister Badal was admitted to a hospital a day earlier and could not meet Hollande. But his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal did not step in to receive the French president.

Modi, breaking protocol, specially flew to Chandigarh to welcome the French president at the famous Rock Garden. (IANS)

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Indian community celebrates Republic Day in Egypt

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Cairo: The Indian community celebrated the 67th Indian Republic Day in Egypt with great spirit and enthusiasm.

India’s Ambassador Sanjay Bhattacharyya hoisted the national flag at India House and read out the address to the nation by President Pranab Mukherjee.

“I am very enthused by the fact that a lot of Egyptians showed the active interest in this event… people have been very excited about the significance of this event. I think our Egyptian friends see a close connect between our traditions and their’s,” Bhattacharyya said.

He said the year 2016 will be even more exciting with a busy calendar of high-level exchanges, business meets and cultural events.(IANS)

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Does Human Rights Watch report feed atrocity literature against Hindus and India?

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By Nithin Sridhar

Human Rights Watch, an international advocacy group on human rights has just released its ‘World Report 2016’ assessing the human rights conditions prevalent across the globe in the year 2015. The report analyses human rights conditions in various countries on wide range of parameters.

Yet, even a cursory look at its assessment of India reveals its biasness and one-sided reporting. While it has rightly highlighted few issues like lack of Police reforms in India, or the regressive law against homosexuals, it completely loses its sense of balance when dealing with issues of free speech, communal violence, etc. Further, its coverage of India appears to be completely motivated, especially when it makes irresponsible remarks like ‘India was a weak proponent of human rights at the UN in 2015.’Its criticism of Modi-led BJP government clearly goes overboard as well! The whole report reads more like a propaganda pamphlet than an unbiased reporting.

Let’s take the issue of Church attacks that had surfaced in December 2014 and early 2015. Though, there was a huge outcry after the attacks with the media giving it a communal color, later investigations clearly revealed that they were cases of random thefts and vandalism and there was absolutely no communal motive behind them. (See Rupa Subramanya’s piece in Firstpost). Moreover, Delhi Police itself had rubbished the idea that Christians were being targeted. The data with the Delhi Police, further revealed that in 2014, around 206 temples, 30 gurdwaras, 14 mosques as against three churches that were targeted. Till mid-February, 2015, 14 temples, two mosques, four gurdwaras and one church were targeted by the thieves.

Thus, the so called ‘church attacks’ were clearly a case of random theft and vandalism, without any communal angle. Yet, the report of Human Rights Watch chose to write: “Churches were also attacked in several states in 2015, prompting fears of growing Hindu nationalist militancy under the BJP government.” This is clearly a case of distortion of facts with a clear agenda to defame Modi-led government and to create a false impression of religious intolerance. The Human Rights group needs to answer what Hindu militancy are they speaking about? Which Hindu outfits have taken up arms and have gone on a killing spree in India? Did India witness any large scale massacre of non-Hindus by any Hindu outfit? What is the basis of such assertions? More importantly, if Church attacks were indeed carried out by growing Hindu militancy, then why would they target Hindu temples and Sikh Gurudwaras?

It is obvious that the motive behind giving a communal color to Church vandalism was to discredit the whole Hindu movement by branding them as ‘militants’ and to discredit Modi-led BJP government that is trying hard to bring India on the path of progress.

On one hand, the report speaks about the growth of non-existing Hindu militancy, but at the same time conveniently ignores the presence of numerous jihadi terrorists, naxalite groups, and other militant separatist outfits that are active in India. They do not forget to highlight the importance of accountability of security forces deployed in areas like Kashmir, but ignore the human rights violations committed by Kashmiri militants.

The report rightly highlighted the few incidents in which Muslim men were killed over allegations of killing cows and consuming beef. But, here again, it forgets to include cases of killings where the victims were Hindus and the perpetrators were Muslims. Thus, no Sanju Rathod, no Prashanth Poojary finds any mention in the report. Further, the report is completely silent about sustained attacks on Hindus and Hindu temples by members of the Muslim community in West Bengal. According to a report prepared by Hindu Samhati, there have been 34 cases of Hindu persecution between March 2008 and January 2015. On January 29, 2015, for example, a mob of around 1000 Muslims ransacked Hindu shops and looted them in a place called Usthi in West Bengal. Yet, these attacks on Hindus finds no mention in the Human Rights Report.

It appears that Hindus, because of their being a majority in India, have lost any claims towards human rights in the eyes of International Human rights organizations. What else explains their step-motherly treatment towards Hindu? What explains their choice in dedicating an entire section to analyze the ‘treatment of minorities’ but not sparing even a few lines to write about human rights issues being faced by the Hindu majority?

The report does not stop at this. It further alleges that Indian government harassed various civil society organizations using Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), because they had criticized the politics of the government. It cites the government imposition of restrictions on Ford Foundation and Greenpeace and the suspension of Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust as examples of government harassment and intimidation of civil society members. But the fact is the imposition of restriction and cancellations of registrations were done because these organizations allegedly violated the terms of the FCRA.

Teesta, for example, has been charged with diversion and misuse of foreign funds received by her trust for educational and social purpose. Similar charges exist against other organizations as well. The report seems to suggest that NGO’s and members of civil society must be given a free reign irrespective of the corruption and other illegal activities they indulge in. Many of the NGO’s have for a long time indulged in various anti-national activities. Many like Ford Foundation have clear links with the CIA and has tried to intervene in the internal politics of India. (See Surajit Dasgupta’s two part piece in NitiCentral here and here). These organizations receive huge foreign funds under various pretexts and then use those funds for breaking India activities (See the book ‘NGOs Activists and Foreign Funds’). The Human Rights Watch report conveniently whitewashed all the illegal activities of the NGO’s that led to government action against them, and has instead chosen to portray government action as an infringement of freedom of civil society! In other words, Human Rights Watch appears to support, at least in principle, the breaking India activities that few of these NGO’s are involved in.

The report did not forget to mention the Award Wapsi brigade and how they protested against the silencing of dissent by the government. One wonders, if there was any real silencing of dissent, how did so many writers, filmmakers, etc. managed to return their awards and air their protests publicly? It is quite obvious that the whole discourse on intolerance were manufactured with ulterior motives and had no basis in reality. Yet, the report chose to highlight it, without even investigating the veracity of the claims made by the Award Wapsi brigade.

It is very evident from the report that it is nothing better than an atrocity literature against India, especially Hindus, that attempts to portray Hindu movements as ‘militancy’ and India as a country that perpetrates violence against minorities. This is not the first time that Human Rights Watch has been accused of shoddy work and showing clear biasness. There have been allegations of them being influenced by the US government policy and showing a clear bias in reporting on Latin America, Israel, Ethiopia, etc. They have been accused of ignoring anti-Semitic violence. To this, we must now add their ignoring of anti-Hindu violence and their clear bias in the treatment of India.

Irrespective of the intentions of the Human Rights Watch, their prejudices and preconceived notions about Hindus, and their shoddy work has ensured that their report has ended up as a mere atrocity literature that will be used by breaking India forces. (Photo: www.thetoc.gr)