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This section includes news articles and positions relating to the threat of communalism and caste or other group prejudice in South Asia. 
Name Description
Caste-based eviction at Vedic centre site The worst of caste prejudice was demonstrated at a programme, attended, among others, by Mr LK Advani, in Delhi.
Peaceful Democratic Fantasy Oh, the fantasies we weave. Rajeev Srinivasan informs us about recent happenings at the American Museum of Natural History, whose showings -- this weekend -- of Anand Patwardhan's films have been cancelled. Why? Well, says Rajeev, they were "muckraking and shrill films", and of course Patwardhan is an "extreme leftist who portrays Hinduism as evil".
Manufacturing believers Veena Khanna, the Hindi teacher at MRSD, says, "It is so hard to remove the wrong ideas from their minds... to teach them that it was not the Muslims who built the Qutub Minar, that Muslims peeled off the sculptures of gods and covered them with Arabic script... Prithviraj Chauhan's sister used to look at Yamuna maiya from the top of the minar."
In Ayodhya, BJP, VHP are one AYODHYA: No one in this temple town believes that the BJP and the VHP are about to lock horns on the issue of building the Ram temple. The upcoming battle between the two may be making headlines in Delhi, but out here people dismiss it with a wry, knowing smile
Stop them right there The VHP has never made any secret of its abundant disrespect for the law of the land and democratic norms, it has made no promises it doesnt intend to keep.
Events Leading Up to Godhra Bajrang Dal Activists on Sabarmati Express beat up Muslims, Forcing them to shout Jai Shri Ram Slogans. Bhelsar (Faizabad), 24 February By Our Correspondent). Bajrang Dal workers armed with trishuls (tridents) , travelling to Ayodhya on board the Sabarmati Express this morning, let loose a reign of terror upon dozens of helpless Muslim passengers, Burqa clad women and innocent children. They also targeted the people waiting at the platform, forcing them to shout slogans of Jai Shri Ram, A few even declared themselves to be Hindus in order to escape their wrath.
Provocation Helped Set India Train Fire GODHRA, India, March 5 - For two days, as the Sabarmati Express snaked across northern India, some Hindu activists in cars S-5 and S-6 carried on like hooligans. They exposed themselves to other passengers. They pulled headscarves off Muslim women. They evicted a family of four in the middle of the night for refusing to join in chants glorifying the Hindu god Ram. They failed to pay for the tea and snacks they consumed at each stop. When the train pulled into this hardscrabble town in western India on the morning of Feb. 27, the reputation of its rowdiest passengers preceded it.
Protect people in Gujarat Eminent writer and Magsaysay award winner Mahasweta Devi today urged President K R Narayanan to immediately intervene to protect lives of innocent riot victims of Gujarat and prevent the violence from spreading further.
Hindu hardliners "led Gujarat attacks" Police in the Indian state of Gujarat say hardline Hindu leaders led some of the mobs involved in recent riots in which more than 600 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.
Indian Hindu Body Says It Softens Stand on Religious Site NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A powerful Hindu body called Friday to Muslims to reciprocate after saying it had made enough concessions on a disputed place of worship in northern India that is at heart of communal tensions.
first-hand account on recent happenings in Gujarat A first-hand account on recent happenings in Gujarat - the experience of students and faculty of the IIM, Ahmedabad.
Panchalthan case an embarrassment for Farooq Two related stories on the Indian government's murder of 5 innocent Muslims, represented as the elimination of a terrorist group in 2000, and the subsequent concealment of the murder through falsified DNA tests.
Gujarat Update Visits to the rural areas, just outside Ahmedabad in Ahmedabad and Kheda districts, show how barbarous the attacks on the Muslims have been. Mobs from outside, sometimes over 1000-strong led by leaders armed with rioting equipment and mobile telephones attacked isolated homes, homes and properties of Muslims from pre-identified lists.
KNOW THE RSS-GANG IN FULL RSS is a clandestine organization like any other fascist organization. It runs a well-organized mafia through its subsidiaries. There has always been much confusion about its different fronts that provide RSS with the opportunity to dissociate with any of these as per its convenience. For instance it used Hindu Jagaran Manch (HJM) for attacking Christians in late 90's and when public opinion, media and Parliament seemed to turn against it, RSS denied any relation with HJM. Recently, when nefarious designs of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Dharam Sansad were exposed before the Nation, RSS announced that these were independent organizations.
The creeping fascism in Gujarat: A translation of a flyer that is being circulated in massive quantities by the VHP in Gujarat.
No puja without SC permission: PM NEW DELHI, MARCH 11. The Vajpayee Government assured Parliament today that no ``puja'' would be allowed in Ayodhya without the permission of the Supreme Court. While the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, gave the assurance in the Lok Sabha, ...
Crippling a community every which way AHMEDABAD: We have paid the price for living decently,” a Muslim resident told me (Teesta) today. He is a resident of Paldi, an area dominated by Jains. Paldi is a locality in Ahmedabad inhabited by the upper middle class. Of the 5-6,000 population, there are about 1,000 Muslims. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 1, 02 the residents experienced utter terror and helplessness as a mob of 3-5,000 surrounded the apartment blocks dominated by Muslims and gutted them completely.
protest against the violence in Gujarat Tuesday March 8: In protest against the violence in Gujarat, and the Indian government's complicity in that violence, over thirty members of the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, joined the United for Justice with Peace (UJP) Coalition for a peace vigil held at Copley Square in Boston.
VHP activists storm Orissa Assembly Several hundred Viswa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists on Saturday stormed the Orissa Assembly ransacking a part of the complex in protest against alleged remarks made against the two organisations by members in the House on Friday.
Report on the Situation in Gujarat This report is a result of the visit to Gujarat by a central delegation of the CPI(M) along with representatives of the All India Democratic Womens Association from March 10 to 13, to express solidarity with the victims of the communal carnage and to get a first hand account of the terrible events on and from February 27. The delegation spoke to over a thousand people including citizens of both communities in affected areas, victims of the communal attacks, administrative officials in Ahmedabad, members of relief committees, members of the Citizens Initiative, various NGOs and intellectuals. The delegation also met the Governor Shri S.S.Bhandari on March 12 and gave him a memorandum with the main findings of the team and demands including the removal of the Chief Minister Narendra Mody.
Varanasi to Ajmer: SP braves saffron rage to keep Those who lost some faith in the khaki colour after the bloodletting and arson in Gujarat can take a bit of hope from neighbouring Rajasthan. Here, the state BJP unit wants the head of Ajmers Superintendent of Police Saurabh Srivastava, whos credited with having prevented a demonstration in Kishangarh in the district from reaching its bloody conclusion.
Women win over agitated youth with filial determination A small group of women, determined to win the agitated Muslim youth [...], formed a human chain to prevent the possible confrontation between the youth and police at Mecca Masjid on Friday.
Covert Riots And Media What's so spontaneous about an attack that leaves only the seventh shop on a crowded street burnt down?
After Riots, Some Muslims Fear for Their Future in India The mobs set fire to the lobby of the Signor Hotel but left the Opel car dealership next door untouched. Just below the charred shell of the Neeltop Hotel, a sweet shop is doing a brisk business. Under bright white lights, dinner is served at Vaibhav restaurant. But the Topaz next door is incinerated and another once-popular restaurant upstairs is black with soot.
It Is horrible: NHRC chief A "disturbed and shocked" Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), J.S. Verma, today spoke of a sense of insecurity among the people of riot-hit areas in Gujarat and called for "strong confidence-building measures by the State Government".
Gujarat rioters did it by the book The Manual of rioting is back in circulation. Even as the Narendra Modi government and the Gujarat Police talk about the "spontaneous" nature of the riots that followed Godhra, the pattern of violence can be found in guidelines laid down in a pro-Hindu booklet.
APPEASING THE HINDU RIGHT With the political power gained by whipping up majoritarian hysteria over Ayodhya slowly slipping out of its hold, the Hindutva fraternity is returning to the strategy of rightwing mobilisation. Thus Gujarat burns and Ayodhya simmers.
Sunshine in Shekhawat A multi-religious, multi-caste, youth group from a small town in Rajasthan dares to take the plunge. And triggers a cavalcade of protest against the latest hate campaign that Hindutva has launched against anti-national Muslims
Stories of Humanity in the riots [Note to readers: It was suggested on the Forum of Indian Leftists listserv that stories of the small resistances and affirmations of dignity and humanity amid the murderous riots in Gujarat be collected.  Several members of that forum, notably Raja Harish Swamy, have provided ZNet with these materials in that interest.-- ZNet South Asia]
Unkindest Cut The police establishment is in the midst of a storm over the transfer of some dutiful IPS officers
Sectarian Strife It is the month of Muharram, and unless President Musharraf cracks down on the fundamentalist groups as he promised in his January 12 speech, sectarian violence will escalate in Pakistan.
ethnic cleansing in ahmedabad The recent widespread communal violence in Gujarat has shocked the world. The UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson has also voiced her deep concern. People from all walks of life in India have reacted with shock and dismay. The BJP government of Gujarat, as well as the NDA government at the Centre, have attributed the communal violence which broke out in Ahmedabad and other places on 28th February 2002, to the anger of the Hindus over the gruesome burning of ram sewaks in Godhra in the early morning of 27th February. The spontaneous outburst of the people following the massacre of the VHP activists, they argue, reached such proportions because of the failure of the Opposition parties to condemn the incident unequivocally as well as the role of the national media which publicized one sided stories. The Home Minister has also commended the role of the Narendra Modi government in the Parliament, in having created a record of sorts by controlling the violence within 72 hours as opposed to previous instances of communal riots under non-BJP regimes.
"Fidayeen" strike at temple in Jammu JAMMU MARCH 30 . In the first-ever attack by a suicide squad (`fidayeen') in the heart of the Jammu city, two terrorists struck the usually heavily-crowded Raghunath temple at 10.20 a.m. today. Both were killed and are yet to be identified.
Who are the guilty? The best way of fighting communalists is not by tiptoeing around them in the hope of letting sleeping dogmas lie, but by taking them on frontally every time they break the law.
Arms and the man  It is a measure of the cynicism that pervades Indias political climate today that many commentators have responded to Pakistan President General Pervez Musharrafs major ad- dress to the nation of January 12 with the question: "But will he be able to deliver results? Can he change ground realities? Will he really be able to stop cross–border terrorism and bring Pakistans jehadi fanatics to heel?"
LTTE group addresses public in Vavuniya Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday April 2 . Melavan who led a team of eight Tiger cadres and crossed forward defence lines at Vilakkuvaiththakulam, north of the border town of Vavuniya, yesterday, under the terms of the cease-fire agreement between the government and the LTTE has said he is confident peace will evolve this time around and that 70% of the Tamil people want peace.
WHAT FACE WILL I SHOW TO THE WORLD? AHMEDABAD April 4. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, has made no secret of his displeasure about the way the Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat has handled the riots and asked the people to shun violence and restore amity and peace in the State.
Tamil Tigers apologise to Muslims in Sri Lanka COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels reached out to the country's Muslim minority on Friday, apologising for expelling them from the north and promising talks to heal the rift.
A diabolic act: Sonia NEW DELHI APRIL 7. The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, today criticised the ``unprovoked and diabolical attack'' on mediapersons in Gujarat and said it ``exposed the autocratic nature'' of the State Government.
Lanka Troops, Tamil Tigers reopen "highway of death" A strategic highway to the ravaged northern Jaffna peninsula was reopened for the first time in 12 years on Monday after a last minute deal between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Naipaul strikes again As was to be expected, V.S. Naipaul has held Muslims responsible for the carnage in Gujarat. If Lady Nadira Khanum Alvi Naipaul is still looking for a reason to leave him, this could be it. However, from all accounts, she is now more Naipaul than Naipaul, so on that one count, we can all take a rest.
Time not ripe to give up Eelam goal: Prabakaran KILLINOCHCHI, (NORTHERN SRI LANKA), APRIL 10. The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Prabakaran, claimed here today that he was sincere about peace and wanted a political solution with the Sri Lankan Government but reiterated his commitment to an ``independent Tamil state'' in no uncertain terms.
Gujarat and the rule of law The most urgent task today is to find a way of reinstating the rule of law... Every problem has to be solved with the country's interests in mind and not that of only a section of the people.
In Gujarat, the VHP puts its pamphlet where BJP mouth is The sum total of the Vishwa Hindu Parishads new consciousness campaign is contained in a two-page pamphlet in Gujarati printed on blue-coloured paper thats now doing the rounds of the state.
A Cynical ploy THE WAY THE Bharatiya Janata Party has responded to the demand for the removal of the discredited Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, smacks of contempt as much for political morality as for the groundswell of independent and political opinion that has wanted him to go because of his administration's colossal failure in handling the communal flare-up post-Godhra.
Sri Lanka considering lifting ban on LTTE BENTOTA, Sri Lanka: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Monday Sri Lanka was considering lifting a ban on Tamil Tiger rebels ahead of face-to-face peace talks scheduled to take place in Thailand in May or June.
Govt., Opposition bracing for battle NEW DELHI APRIL.16. The standoff between the Government and the Opposition parties on Gujarat issue continued in Parliament today forcing both the Houses to adjourn for the second consecutive day without transacting any business.
Violence against minorities in Bangladesh Bangladeshs election day on 1 October 2001 was relatively peaceful. The election itself was relatively fair. But, things began to change immediately thereafter, indeed, right with the announcement of the election trends that indicated that the regime in power, the Awami League, was heading for the worst ever electoral performance by a national party in Bangladesh. A clear winner emerged in the combination of moderate and right-wing forces under the leadership of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The dramatic violence that soon erupted in many parts of the country had two notable characteristics.
ACCUSED: MINISTER IN MODI GOVT A minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet in Gujarat has been accused of leading mobs that torched and burnt houses in an Ahmedabad locality in complaints lodged with the Ahmedabad police commissioner.
Human Rights Commission Report on Gujarat These Proceedings on the situation in Gujarat are being recorded in continuation of earlier Proceedings of the Commission dated 1 and 6 March 2002.
HOW HAS THE GUJARAT MASSACRE AFFECTED MINORITY WOMEN A six-member team of women from Delhi, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu and Ahmedabad undertook a five-day fact-finding mission from March 27 – March 31, 2002, to assess the impact of the continuing violence on minority women in Gujarat.
Gujarat tragedy has lowered us in our own eyes: Sonia NEW DELHI Apr. 26. The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, today warned against economic growth breeding ``pernicious fundamentalism'' and stressed that it should take place in an all-inclusive social framework.
Neither war nor peace SRI LANKA is between war and peace. There are three scenarios that can emerge from the ceasefire agreement between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government: war, peace, or no war-no peace.
Democracy Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn't very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved 'OM' on her forehead.
Report on Genocide in Gujarat The torching of bogey S-6 of the Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express at Godhra on February 27, in which 58 passengers, including 26 women and 12 children, were burnt to death, is an unpardonable act. The perpetrators of this grossly inhuman crime must be tried swiftly and given the most stringent punishment. But, for the burned corpses of the ill-fated passengers to become the justification for armed squads of the ruling BJP and its brother organisations — RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal — to launch a pogrom that sits well with what the UN defines as genocide against the innocent Muslims of Gujarat?
India: Gujarat Officials Took Part in Anti-Muslim Violence "What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims," said Smita Narula, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials."
In The Reign Of The Headless Horse The recent carnage in Gujarat is not just a fresh chapter in the subcontinent's annals of horror: it may well prove to be the prologue to horrors yet-undreamt-of. In the aftermath of the slaughter, it has become clear that the machinery of state and possibly even the financial apparatus of the commercial world were bent to the task of instigating and supporting mob violence. In other words, two of the most important forces of order in society were turned to exactly the opposite purpose: undermining peace and promoting violence. This is a grim augury for the future, and it has been made grimmer still by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's speech in Goa. In endorsing the action of the Gujarat mobs and in demonising an entire community, he has essentially abdicated the Government of India's claim to sovereignty in administering justice. This is an outrage; a clear and culpable dereliction of duty on the part of the BJP-led government and the prime minister himself.
Deflections To The Right Deflections To The Right A few fund-raising organisations come under the scanner for diverting overseas charity money into RSS propaganda activity

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail

8 Oct 2008

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