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O Allah! It is for us that we have gathered here and it is for us that we are breaking the fast: A reloaded Iftar

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

Picture credit: hindustantimes.com
Picture credit: hindustantimes.com

 

While paging through the withered pages of past, one might have run into a string of Ramdan fiestas hosted by Vajpayee when he was at the helm of affairs. Generally considered as a friendly gesture to address the largest minority of the nation, which kicked off with Jawaharlal Nehru’s close-knitted Iftar banquets, the ceremony over the period of time has hit a crooked path.

The pure spirit of Iftar has shriveled up. With the kind of grandeur demonstrated by the Iftar parties, the political maneuvering being exhibited and the paparazzi predominant during such parties, Iftar has somewhere down the line parted ways with its real essence – a customary which encompasses brotherhood and sodality.

Starting from the much celebrated Aam Aadmi, Arvind Kejriwal, to that of Congress’s chief, Sonia Gandhi, every who’s who in the political circle is trying to play their best cards through their customized versions of Iftar politics. Kejriwal’s Iftar was nothing less than a show-stopper in the midst of a political labyrinth. His foeman, Najeeb Jung and his much talked of predecessor Sheila Dikshit were found sharing candid snapshots with him, they were all smiles and hugs in the party. Even though the new found bonhomie might have raised millions of eyebrows, it clearly commemorated the true meaning of Iftar, especially when it has been emblazoned with political colours.

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Picture credit: dailyo.in

If this wasn’t enough, Mrs Gandhi’s Iftar party served a plushy platter of both fodder (politically propelled scoops) and food. Even though the party didn’t have a handful of political mavericks, her party fleshed out Congress’s preparation for the forthcoming monsoon session. The generally media-uncouth Rahul was found palling up with media persons. Taking a pot shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “I will speak in parliament, even if PM speaks or not,” as quoted in an India Today report. If one would have to summarize the entire Congress’s Iftar episode in a more flamboyant and hammy way, SRK’s much celebrated Om shaanti Om dialogue- “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost” – wouldn’t have refuted the core essence of their intent.

The Iftar saga would have been incomplete without President Mukherjee’s banquet. The fete wouldn’t have garnered currency and the kind of brouhaha it kicked off across media houses, hadn’t it been for Narendra Modi, who decided to snub the ceremonial.

Since Modi started off as the Prime Minister of the nation, he hasn’t done enough to address the largest minority of the country. Last year, he fended off wearing a skull cap, passing it off as a form of tokenism rendered by the Congress. However, without fail, our beloved Prime Minister’s pink slip to president’s Iftar party reinstated his coldness for the Muslim community.

A proper introspection of the Iftar saga leaves one baffled. With the holy month of Ramdan coming to a close, Indian politics has taken off to a different level. Despite the banquets orchestrated with never-found bonhomie and unusual handshakes predominating the Indian media and political circles, reflecting brotherhood with the festival of Eid knocking at the door, Iftar has turned into nothing less than a political circus wherein every inmate of the circus is trying his or her best to reap benefits.

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)