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Muslim Migrants Denied Space by Own Community to Bury Dead in Uttar Pradesh

Nearly 400 families are trying to build their lives afresh in Budhana but are largely seen as outsiders in their own community

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A migrant reads the Muslim holy book of Quran at a temporary shelter. Image source: (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
  • Nearly 400 families have migrated to Budhana village after the Muzzafarnagar riots in 2013
  • These muslim families feel like outsiders here due to their own community
  • Wearing of skull caps and growing beards have become prominent in the recent years in an effort to maintain identity and solidarity

Nearly 400 Muslim families are trying to build lives in the small town of Budhana, Uttar Pradesh after the Muzzafarnagar riots in 2013. However, these families, some of whom are dhobis, are largely seen as outsiders in their own families. The worst form of rejection that they experience is denial of ground space for burial of the dead. Burying the dead is seen as a very religious custom in Islam.

According to the Economic Times report, Graveyards have been a political issue in western Uttar Pradesh for a lot of years. The Samajwadi Party’s endeavors to build and beautify graveyards as part of the 300 crore project in 2012 as a poll promise has been marred by Sanjeev Baliyan who is using his MP funds to build crematoriums for Hindus.

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Budhana village. Image source: viewphotos.org

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The gram pradhan in Budhana had allotted land for a common graveyard, but this move wasn’t of much help, since people continued finding it hard to find burial space. Finding space was especially hard if one was a dhobi or a low born Muslim woman. These families had to dig up in places on their own, and they would often find graves of other people while digging, said the Economic Times report.

Today, graveyards are allotted to various muslim communities – Saifis, Ansaris, Qureshis, Kumbe,Abbasis, Sheikhs and others, but none for the families that have migrated from places of violence. These communities have to pay around 1000 to 2000 rupees, or settle with burying their loved ones on top of other graves, which is considered not as effective a practice.

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In Bhainswal village, of Muzaffarnagar district, Muslims are disheartened by the fact that their graveyards are being taken over by the others. Cow dung, jaggery mounds and sometimes even garbage heaps are found in these graveyards, to the distress of the Muslims. Once home to around 500 families, barely 20 families reside in this village. Battles in the High Court are being fought to disallow the illegal encroachment of structures upon graveyard lands, said the Economic Times report.

Professor Sudhir Panwar, Member of Planning Commission, UP, had studied the migration in 2013 and its impact on the socio-economic dynamics of the population in the region. He told Economic Times that issue needs to be analyzed with utmost care since it affects not only politics, but also the social relations in the state. For example, wearing of skull caps and keeping beards, which has become a common sight now, was not a prominent practice earlier. It has only grown stronger in the recent years in an effort to retain identity.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    There should be no discrimination at least for the crematory. Everybody has to die no matter what! The government has to take some steps as these ceremonies are important in Islam

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This AI System Can Evade Censorship In India, China and Kazakhstan

Researchers develop an AI tool that evades censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan

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(AI)-based system automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan.

The tool, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), found dozens of ways to circumvent censorship by exploiting gaps in censors’ logic and finding bugs that the researchers said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday.

“With Geneva, we are, for the first time, at a major advantage in the censorship arms race,” said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland in the US and senior author of the paper.

“Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which artificial intelligence systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Ultimately, winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users around the world who currently don’t have them,” Levin said.\

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This AI system that evades censorship is called ‘Geneva’. Pixabay

To demonstrate that Geneva worked in the real world against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team ran Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google Chrome browser installed.

By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

The researchers also successfully evaded censorship in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, said a statement from the University of Maryland.

All information on the Internet is broken into data packets by the sender’s computer and reassembled by the receiving computer.

One prevalent form of Internet censorship works by monitoring the data packets sent during an Internet search.

The censor blocks requests that either contain flagged keywords (such as “Tiananmen Square” in China) or prohibited domain names (such as “Wikipedia” in many countries).

When Geneva is running on a computer that is sending out web requests through a censor, it modifies how data is broken up and sent, so that the censor does not recognise forbidden content or is unable to censor the connection.

Known as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically inspired type of AI that Levin and his team developed to work in the background as a user browses the web from a standard Internet browser.

Like biological systems, Geneva forms sets of instructions from genetic building blocks. But rather than using DNA as building blocks, Geneva uses small pieces of code.

Censorship
By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user is able to browse free of keyword censorship. Pixabay

Individually, the bits of code do very little, but when composed into instructions, they can perform sophisticated evasion strategies for breaking up, arranging or sending data packets.

The tool evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations). With each generation, Geneva keeps the instructions that work best at evading censorship and kicks out the rest.

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Geneva mutates and cross breeds its strategies by randomly removing instructions, adding new instructions, or combining successful instructions and testing the strategy again.

Through this evolutionary process, Geneva is able to identify multiple evasion strategies very quickly, said the study. (IANS)