Wednesday October 18, 2017
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Small parties gain importance in Kerala as election come closer

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Chennai Floods

Thiruvananthapuram: With assembly elections round the corner, small political parties in Kerala have begun scrambling for their place in the sun. During elections, they punch much beyond their weight, though remaining irrelevant most of the other times.

Those that would see a rejuvenation in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), at least in their efforts to attract attention, include the Janathiyapathiya Samreskhena Samithi (JSS) and the Communist Marxist Party (CMP), both of which have split vertically in the last one year, with rival factions of each moving towards the CPI-M led Left Democratic Front( LDF).

But the going is not likely to be easy. Neither of these parties has any representation in the assembly, even after the JSS contested four seats and the CMP three in the 2011 assembly polls.

KK Shaju, who is in the JSS faction in the ruling UDF, said that he had been told by the coalition that it would be difficult to give JSS seats.

“They have said that a seat for me could be considered, but the catch is that I have to join the Congress,” Shaju, who won twice earlier but had lost in the 2011 polls, told IANS.

The CMP floated by former veteran CPI-M leader MV Raghavan, a state minister in the earlier UDF cabinet, saw a split in the party after Raghavan passed away in 2014.

In 2011, the CMP was given three seats but lost all of them, including Raghavan’s. The party now is led by State Planning Board member CP John, who too lost in the 2011 polls.

Another party — Kerala Congress (Pillai) — led by R Balakrishna Pillai — a former minister and one of the founders of the UDF in the early eighties, was given two seats to contest in 2011. It won one. Early this year, following difference with the UDF, the party moved out. But it has not been taken in by the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the other major alliance in the state.

Six-time legislator PC George, who lost his legislatorship last month for defying a directive of his party (Kerala Congress-Mani, an ally of the UDF), has revived his Kerala Congress (Secular). But it is doubtful if he would be accommodated as an ally in the LDF.

“To win in my Poonjar constituency, I do not need the support of anyone, but since I will remain only a legislator, I may not contest this time,” remarked George, who recently met CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan but did not get any assurance.

In the LDF, the smaller parties also include the Indian National League which was given three seats to contest last time and the Congress-S that got one seat. Neither of them could win.

Fearing what they perceive would be shoddy treatment by the Congress party leadership in Kerala, the allies of the UDF had expressed their fears to party president Sonia Gandhi earlier this week when she was on a one-day visit to the state. They said they should be “treated with respect” when seat distribution talks begin.

“We told her that there should be a fair distribution of seats,” said former legislator and Kerala Congress (Jacob) party leader Johnny Nellore, who last won the polls in 2001.

The lone legislator of his party, Anup Jacob, is the State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies.

A senior leader, who did not want to be named summed up the dilemma: “The small parties are the bane of the fronts. They dominate when the margin between the rival fronts is close. Even a single party legislator has to be made a minister.They win with the votes of the majority party, but run their portfolio as their personal fiefdom.”

There are eight parties in the UDF while the LDF has six with George’s and Pillai’s parties in neither of the fronts.(Sanu George, IANS)

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‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ Witnesses escalating BJP-Left Confrontation

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Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Wikimedia

Hurling anti-left maneuver during Janaraksha Yatra Kerala, Indian BJP National President Amit Shah launched serious allegation against the ruling CPM government for triggering political violence and imputed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan the culpability for the mass killings of party workers in the state.

The BJP Chief traced back the origin of violence-centric politics in ”God’s Own Country” to the inception of the Communist regime. “Left always paralyses the state it rules. West Bengal and Tripura witnessed similar political vehemence under the CPM government”, elucidated the President.

Criticizing the Human Rights Activists of the nation, Amit Shah pointed out that they are very selective when it comes to what they support. “You turn your eyes away when our workers die. Why is there no march in Delhi? Violence has no color. More than 120 workers of the BJP have succumbed due to political violence so far. What was their fault? They were working for the betterment of Kerala”, complained the BJP Chief.

Acclaiming BJP’s ideology enthusiastically, Shah called upon the people to join as workers. Addressing the gathering at ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’, the President added that family members of the deceased have stood by the BJP and he wouldn’t let the martyrdom of the workers go waste.

Amit Shah inaugurated the ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ at Payyannur to protest against alleged killings of party workers. The “padayatra” was led by the party’s State President Kummanam Rajashekhharan.

The National President of BJP attributed the diminishing power of the CPM to their increasing reliance on political violence. Apart from CPM, the once dominating Congress is also losing momentum thereby giving BJP the opportunity to flourish with their ideology. “More the mud of violence, more the lotus will bloom” added Shah.

The BJP Chief assured his party workers and volunteers that BJP would fight the war with CPM until emerging victorious. Shah declared, “We must all unite against the rule of the Left Government.”

Shortly after the launching of the yatra, three BJP workers adorning the National Highway 66 were ambushed by anonymous men on Monday. During his address, Shah alleged that the assailants were CPM cadres who have also destroyed BJP flags in the area.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is ready to augment the saffron stand with his visit to Kerala on Wednesday. As per the report of Times Now, Adityanath will basically be in the Muslim-dominated district of Mallapuram.

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Kerala Catholic Priest Tom Uzhunnallil Abducted by ISIS Rescued from Yemen: Sushma Swaraj

The priest's release was achieved through the intervention of the Oman government

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Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnallil
Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnallil. Sushma Swaraj Twitter handle

Thiruvananthapuram | New Delhi, Sep 13, 2017: Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnallil, abducted by terrorists in Aden in March last year, has been rescued from captivity from an undisclosed location in Yemen.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the release of the Catholic priest, who was abducted in March last year.

“I am happy to inform that Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued,” she said.

The priest’s release was achieved through the intervention of the Oman government.

According to reports reaching Kerala, after his release the priest was flown from Yemen to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.

He has left Oman on a chartered flight — either for New Delhi or for the Vatican, reports said.

The media in Oman confirmed the news of the release of the priest and posted a picture of him — standing in a room with the picture of the Oman king in the background.

He will be flown to Kerala later in the day.

Expressing happiness at the news, the priest’s brother Mathew Uzhunnallil said their prayers have been finally answered.

A spokesperson of the church Fr C. Jimmy told the media that the news has been received with a great sense of happiness.

In March 2016, militants barged into a care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Yemen’s Aden and shot dead many people, including four nuns of the charity organisation, among whom one was from India.

After the shooting, the militants took away the Catholic priest. Since then, other than a few videos released from time to time, there has been no news of his whereabouts.

Uzhunnalil’s ancestral home in Ramapuram in Kottayam district is presently shut as two of his brothers live abroad, while another lives in Gujarat. (IANS)

 

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Is There a Pattern in Love Jihad Cases? Hindu Girl Elopes, Gets Converted, Marries Muslim Man

The agency on Wednesday claimed that the Love Jihad campaign is following a 'pattern' that has been emerging in Kerala

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Love Jihad
Pakistani Hindus Girls undergo forcible conversions in Pakistan

August 17, 2017: A Hindu girl, Ravita Meghwar living in a village in Pakistan for 16 years was recently married off to a Muslim Man. The family members of the Hindu girl believe that the kidnappers drugged them and abdicated their daughter. Ravita who was rechristened to Gulnaz says she eloped and married by her own choice.

In the recent years, case after case has been reported of Hindu girls converting to Islam in the courts in Pakistan’s southern eastern Sindh province which is also the home to the majority of Pakistani Hindus. Lower-caste and low-income Hindus in Sindh work on farmlands for powerful, rich landowners as a result of which they face discrimination and are often cut off from the Hindu community at large.

The purportedly forcible conversions of Hindus have almost similar pattern in the cases. Targeting of minor girls has deeply disturbed the Hindu population in Pakistan.

The alarming situation feeds into a wider judgment-

After 70 decades of Partition of Indian Sub continent, Pakistan isn't safe for Pakistani Hindus. Click To Tweet

Today Pakistan is deemed as an Islamic nationalist state where hardline religious groups are an intimidating force, and religious minorities are voiceless.

Pakistan was established as a Muslim state in 1947 where the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah proclaimed that the religious minorities should have the independence to live in the nation and follow their religion, however, as the time elapsed such has not been the scenario

The prominent Islamic religious organizations are striving hard to convert Hindu girls to Islam due to which some Hindus are leaving their settlements and migrating to other cities in Pakistan, or even so leaving Pakistan completely and departing to India. The community of Hindus in Pakistan has sharply declined from roughly 23 per cent in 1947 to barely 6 per cent presently owing to coerced conversions, suppression and oppression in Pakistan, mentioned ANI.

Ravita Meghwar’s brother-in-law, Lajpat Meghwadh says with respect to the issue, “The person who Ravita has gone off with has no connection to the family, except that they had a dispute. He has never come to our house”.

There are two contradictory perceptions from both the religious groups- while the Hindu activists claim that young girls are kidnaped, forced into converting to Islam, and wedded to Muslim men in an orderly manner, the Muslim leaders are defensive about the issue saying that conversions are a way of meriting blessings. Shockingly, these conversions are often strengthened by powerful muslim clerics and local politicians which assert that the girl voluntarily flew, converted, and married.

This poses a hurdle for lawyers who have to decide the justice for such cases. And in most of the cases, the girl’s assertion to marry at her own will settles the case, whereas her parents live in denial.`

Forced conversions became the focal point of the nation in 2012 when three Hindu girls were reported to have been forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men.

Before we know what those cases were, here is a brief understanding of ‘Love Jihad’:

Where did Love Jihad come from?

In Islam, ‘Jihad’ typically means struggle or battle for a religious cause. Hence, ‘Love Jihad’ basically is a push to instill infatuation in girls of religious minorities by feigning love and hopes of marriage. In 2009, there were claims of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and Mangalore. In 2009, Justice KT Sankaran (Retd.), observed there were indications of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and that the government should mull over a law to prohibit such instances. “Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion,” the court said.

Some of the famous cases of Love Jihad: 

In 2014, a case of Kaleem and Shalu Tyagi’s love affair from Meerut caught national attention which was pitched as a case of ‘Love Jihad’.

In the same year, another famous case where a national-level shooter Tara Shahdeo alleged that the person whom she thought to be a Hindu was actually a Muslim and that her in-laws were coercing her to convert to Islam.

This year, again with the Hadiya case, ‘Love Jihad’ came into recognition. The Kerala High Court declared the marriage of a Hindu girl and Muslim man null and void after the woman’s father testified that his daughter has been recruited by Islamic State (IS) in Syria. After this, the Muslim husband approached the Supreme court seeking justice. On Wednesday, NIA stated that ‘Love Jihad existed’ in a response to SC orders. The agency further claimed it was not a distinctive incident on the part of Love Jihad campaign but a ‘pattern’ that has been emerging in Kerala, mentioned PTI.


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