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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)

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Cricket madness in Chicago

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

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Cricket has become a popular sport in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city.

By West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago

WLCA Working Committee

Hari Mohan, Harshavardhna Hedge, Kunal Tembhurne, Niranjan Kulkarni, Saurabh Nigam, Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Shekar Reddy Palla, Shwetabh Gaurav, Sunil Saini, Vivek Sarkar

About:

Cricket is more a religion, less a sport in India. People are obsessed with the sport and magnitude of love cannot be defined in words.

In the United States, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer are obviously more popular. However, Cricket has a strong presence due to the passion and love of Indians for the game. The Indian community in USA avidly plays and promotes cricket and, in the process comes closer to each other.

 

Cricket
The tournament played between Chicago Centaurs and Arrigo Avengers.

 

The passion for the game is unreal in USA too. Working men enjoy the sport in their free time. They even book grounds (baseball/soccer grounds) to practice and conduct tournament matches. The players are from all backgrounds – students, businessmen, lawyers, IT professionals to doctors. They all take out time out of their busy schedules and come together to rejoice the gentleman’s game in the windy city.

Tournaments in Chicago

As cricket has a strong presence in Chicago, many friendly yet competitive tournaments are conducted by cricket fanatics to keep the game alive.

Chicagotwenty20 tournament

Chicagotwenty20 is the oldest cricket tournament that was conducted in Chicago. It’s first season took place in 2009 and the tenth season was played in 2018. The league is played in 20 overs format. 56 teams participate from Chicago and are divided into groups 4 with 14 teams in each group.  Each team has a squad of 16 players with 11 playing and rest 5 as extras. Each team has a home ground. 7 matches are played at home ground and the rest at the opponent’s ground. The top eight teams from each group are qualified for the quarter finals. The tournament is almost four months long. The best player of the winning team is awarded the man of the match in every match. Best Batsman, Best bowler, MVP ( most valuable player) awards are given at the end of the season.

The 2018 season was won by team Yorkers. The Best Batsman, Highest score and the MVP award was given to Mr Pavan Shetty of team Yorkers, who scored 418 runs. The best bowler award was given to Sivakumar for taking 27 wickets.

 

Cricket
This is the team who connected via the meetup link which has more than 300 members.

 

WLCA Super 8 tournament

WLCA (West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago) was formed by four IT professionals in 2016 with the sole objective of promoting the game of cricket in Chicago City area. Based out of vibrant and affluent Chicago West Loop, WLCA is an assemblage of 300+ cricket players. These cricket enthusiasts come from different walks of life being corporate professionals, UIC/IIT students and local businessmen. There are hundreds of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

WLCA mainly involve in:

  • Organize annual cricket tournament
  • Coordinate weekly cricket games in different Chicago City park locations
  • Coordinating friendly games with other known Chicago Suburban teams
  • WLCA team represented Chicago City in other Chicagoland tournaments including Chicago T20 League and Soha Cup
  • Maintaining and making available Cricket Equipment Kit free of cost to playing group

The WLCA hosts Super 8 Cricket tournament which started in 2017 by the West Loop cricket association (WLCA). It is played under the format of 8 overs and 8 players in each team. This concept of tournament was the first to be launched by WLCA in Chicago. This is the shortest time-consuming format (2 days) and the played at the heart of Chicago Downtown. The first season was extremely successful (12 teams) and participating teams called out as the best organized cricket tournament amongst many happening in Chicago.

Season 2 played in 2018 organized by WLCA had 16 teams divided into four groups with four teams in each group. The semi-finals and final are played with 10 overs. There is a man of the match, best bowler, best fielder award for every match

Cricket
Westloop Wolves Team.

 

Here is the fixture and schedule of Season 2:

There are 16 teams participating in this short format cricket tournament.

16 team is divided into 4 groups.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winter Wolves (A1) Chicago Wild Kittens(B1) Arrigo Avengers(C1) Super 9s(D1)
Dark Knights (A2) Challengers(B2) Cook County(C2) Chicago Super Kings(D2)
Chicago Centaurs(A3) Hunters (B3) Westside Wolves(C3) River City (D3)
International Khiladies (A4) Ballers(B4) Knights(C4) CSK+(D4)

Each team in the group will play only two matches with the other two teams.

From each group top two teams will be qualified for the quarterfinals, then semis and finals.

Chicago Centaurs were the Champions and Super 9s were the runners up.

The tournament has become a big deal in no time. It was sponsored by big names like USBank (thanks to Susan Brown), Lodha Group (this group was also the associated sponsor of Ind vs, Eng Test Series in 2018) and Metra Spice Mart (Only Indian Grocery Store in Chicago Downtown). The tournament has gained momentum in no time and is likely to do so in the years to come.

Keeping the game alive overseas

Cricket has become a huge deal in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city. Tournaments like above help in maintaining healthy competition and something to be excited for.

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

 

Cricket
Dark Knights Led by Pranjal Chauhan

 

“My favourite sport and always loved to watch and play the game anywhere in the world anytime. Always loved to organize these kinds of tournament from childhood so continuing the same thing outside the country”, Says Harshavardhna Hedge, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.

“Well I love the sport and love my country. We get to relive our childhood and impart love for the game to the next generation. The community comes together and enjoy, and we also return to the society through charity”, Says Hari Mohan, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.