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Hindus are Human too: Does anybody remember Sanju Rathore?

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By Nithin Sridhar

Sanju Rathore. Does the name ring a bell? No? I guessed so. Not many have heard the name. He was a 15-year old boy from a small village in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. He ‘was’ a small boy, because he is no longer alive. He was shot dead in a communal clash in the last week of July.

Now, let’s try again, but with a different name.

Mohammad Akhlaq. Does the name ring a bell? Yes? Of course. Thanks to the extensive media coverage, almost the entire world knows about how an innocent Muslim man was killed in the last week of September by a Hindu mob after rumors were spread that the Muslim family had killed a cow and had consumed it.

Let’s get back to Sanju Rathore. Two months before the ghastly lynching of Akhlaq in Dadri, Sanju Rathore was shot dead in an equally ghastly manner in Rampur. The Cattle belonging to a Hindu family were allegedly grazing on the land belonging to a Muslim, following which there was a minor clash on the afternoon of July 29th. After this, the members of Muslim community attacked a Hindu religious site and fired at members of the Hindu community. Sanju Rathore, an innocent 15 year old got shot in his neck and died on his way to the hospital.

Sanju’s father has alleged that some people had used loudspeakers and instigated Muslims from the neighborhood to take revenge on those who had left their herd to graze in the fields belonging to Muslims.

Any unbiased person will immediately perceive many commonalities between these two cases. To begin with, both started as a minor conflict over cattle; both turned into communal clashes due to perceived harm to the respective communities; the tensions were fanned in both cases by spreading rumors through loudspeakers; and finally, an innocent person was mercilessly murdered in both the cases.

So, logically we should have seen similar outrage, similar outpourings during the aftermath of both the incidents.

After the Dadri incident, there was a huge outrage. The journalists, writers, and intellectuals, all of them expressed their shock and concern over the issue. Newspapers and TV channels provided extensive coverage and commentaries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was questioned regarding his silence, and the dangers of rising communalism were promptly pointed out. Many writers returned their Sahitya Academy Awards as well, as a mark of protest.

Now, let’s turn to Sanju Rathore’s murder. Except for a few news outlets, no 24X7 coverage was provided. No newspaper articles, no commentaries were written. No writers returned their awards. Most people are not even aware that a 15-year old Hindu boy was killed by a Muslim mob over a trivial issue.

Why was this so? What explains this selective outrage of the media and the public intellectuals? What differentiates the Dadri lynching from Rampur shooting? Why the former was treated with outrage and the latter with silence? Did Sanju deserve to die? Did not he deserve sympathy as well? Did his family not deserve compensation the way Akhlaq’s family got?

Now, let’s consider another incident- the murder of Prashanth Poojary in Moodabidri, Karnataka. He was a flower seller who was campaigning for the protection of cows and for the closure of illegal slaughter houses. True he was a Bajrang Dal activist, but does that make his murder less ghastly? Further, he was not killed because he was a Bajrang Dal activist, but because he tried to prevent illegal cow-slaughter.

One famous journalist writes that Poojary’s death has a political context and hence cannot be compared to Dadri incident. He further insinuates that somehow, Poojary himself is to blame for his murder as he got mixed up with communal politics. The question is, if his argument is really genuine, then what political context did Sanju Rathore’s shooting had? Why was his death not covered then?

He further writes that the only crime of Akhlaq was that he was a victim of a rumor and that he belonged to a particular community. Wasn’t Sanju’s crime along same lines as well? Was he not targeted because he belonged to a particular community as well? Then, why not cover his case then?

From the behavior of the media and the public intellectuals, it becomes clear that in the present India, the life of a Hindu has no value. Sympathy, outrage, protection, human rights, all these terms do not apply to a Hindu life. A Hindu life lost deserves only silence and suppression. All the outrage and lessons in communal harmony and secularism is remembered only when the victims are from the minority community.

This is because an issue about Hindu life lost does not serve the agenda of the media and the intellectuals. It does not help them, because they cannot use this to brand the government communal, they cannot use this to gain TRPs, and they cannot use this to further the agenda of breaking India forces that fund them.

It is not the contention of the article to say that Dadri murder was less ghastly. The point being made is that every communal clash is ghastly, every life is precious and every murder is horrible. The life of an innocent Hindu is as precious as an innocent Muslim and the murder of Hindus is as horrible as murder of a Muslim. After all, Hindus are Humans too.

(Photo: tribune.com.pk)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)

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India sends Emergency Fuel Supplies to Sri Lanka

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena's request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

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India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka, confirmed PMO onTwitter (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 9, 2017 : Following reports of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) rejecting a shipment of petrol from Lanka IOC (LIOC), the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian Oil, India on Wednesday made emergency fuel supplies to Sri Lanka following a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

“In the telephone conversation with Sri Lankan President @MaithripalaS, PM @narendramodi conveyed that India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka and assured India’s continued support for development cooperation,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena’s request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

LIOC has made available 3,500 kilo litres of its own stock to CPC, Doordarshan said in a shared tweet.

A ship with an additional 21,000 kilo litres of petrol also left for Sri Lanka and additional petrol is being made available from Kochi refinery in Kerala.

Citing CPC sources, the Sunday Times said an emergency fuel supplies’ shipment that arrived at the Colombo harbour on October 17 had been tested for a second time and rejected on a quality test.

However, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he did not agree that LIOC was responsible for the current fuel shortage in the country and said two oil shipments would be arriving in the country within two day, acording to a report in the Colombo Page.

“Apart from petrol shipment arriving on November 8, another shipment is due from India on November 9, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe informed the parliament on Tuesday responding to a question raised in the parliament regarding the fuel crisis,” the statement said.

It said that Wikremesinghe said a discussion was held with the Indian High Commissioner in this regard and the Indian ship would arrive either November 9 or 10. (IANS)

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Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

Indian Rape survivors still face barriers in justice and humiliation with two-finger tests, reported the Human Rights Watch

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Rape Survivors
Rape survivors face humiliation during investigation. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.

The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.

“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.

“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.

“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.

The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.

The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

Rape survivors
Rape survivors feel harassed at police stations and hospitals. Pixabay.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.

“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.

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It said that lack of witness protection law in India makes rape survivors and witnesses vulnerable to pressure that undermines prosecutions.

The human rights body said that some defence lawyers and judges still use language in courtrooms that is “biased and derogatory” toward sexual assault survivors.

“The attempt at shaming the victim is still very much prevalent in the courts,” Rebecca Mammen John, a senior criminal lawyer in Delhi, was quoted in the statement. (IANS)