Second phase of violence in Assam: Update from NCHRO

 

Press Release

Guwahati, 30-11-2012.

Following the news reports about the second phase of violence and the continuance of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps for over five months in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) areas, a team of National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) visited the places and met the affected people, some authorities and concerned citizens with a view to collect the facts regarding. The team, consisting of NCHRO National Secretary Reny Aline, Executive Members Prof. A. Marx, G.Sugumaran And Assam State Committee Member Ansari visited at least 14 camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts in BTAD areas. The team met the IDPs there, took stock of the real conditions of the camps, both recognized and unrecognized. The team also met the Gossaigaon SDO Vinod Seshan IAS, the Bijni Police Station OC Aditya Deori, Goalpara MLA Monowar Hussain and some Intellectuals, academicians and HR activists from various social groups.

The team is moved at the sub human conditions in which the IDPs are now kept in the temporary shelters without any basic amenities necessary for a human being to survive. Most of the camps are situated in godowns, school buildings, river banks, paddy fields and drainage areas. In the winter season they are living without clothes suited to endure the cold and chilly climate. Most of them are farmers and they already lost one crop. Due to the lack of trauma counseling and proper medical assistance people are suffering from diseases and dying here and there. We have collected information about at least four deaths in the camps. The team is much worried to see hundreds of children loosing their education and playing and helping their parents in their daily works. We emphatically state that such a situation is a violation of Article 15 and 21 of the constitution which guarantees right to life and protection against discrimination on the basis of caste, religion etc. The IDPs are entitled according to UN guiding principles to proper security, food, shelter, medical aid etc.

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Dharmapuri atrocity - preliminary report

Preliminary Report

by 

Evidence,

God's Mercy Illam, 9B, P.T. Rajan Road, (Near Singarayar Colony), Madurai – 625 002. Tamil Nadu.
On 14.11.2012

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Initiate action who indulged in torching Dalit homes
Incidents of attack on Dalit residential areas rising in Tamil Nadu
4 villages, 60 Dalit homes were torched and 120 houses got damaged

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Natham colony is within the police station limit of Nayakkankottai village, Vellallapattim Panchayat, Dharmapuri district. On 7.11.2012 around 4 p.m nearly 1000 armed caste hindus went on a rampage with deadly weapons like knives, wooden logs, petrol bombs, sickles and forcibly entered the Dalit residences of Natham colony, Nayakkankottai village and attacked them brutally. Around 30 houses were torched, 120 houses were attacked and damaged. Dalit's properties and valuables like TV, Two wheelers, cycles,cars, shops, steel cupboards, cot and other belongings were looted. Likewise in Annanagar, Kondapatti, New colony, Sengal medu Maravadi villages around 30 houses were burnt and got damaged.

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Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 11

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 11: Hindutva, Gandhism, and the Caste Question

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 6 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

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The Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS

Faced with the growing assertiveness of Dalits and other Shudras against Brahminical hegemony and with their conversion to other religions, from the early years of the twentieth century onwards increasing numbers of orthodox Sanatani Hindus began to support the Arya Samaj's efforts to convert the indigenous Muslims to the Hindu fold and to Hinduise the Shudras so as to boost Hindu numbers and political clout. This represented a radical change in their attitude, because prior to this they had exhibited no concern at all for the despicable conditions of the Shudras. In his Presidential address to the Hindu Mahasabha in Benaras in 1923, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a hugely popular Sanatani Brahmin leader, went so far as to appeal to the Sanatani Hindus to accept the Untouchables as 'true Hindus'.[i] It is instructive to note that when Gandhi established the Harijan Sevak Sangh in 1932 in order to keep the Dalits within the Hindu fold, he arranged for Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to preside over its first meeting.[ii]

These Brahminical revivalists had by now clearly realised that unless the Shudras were fully Hinduised, there was little that could be done to prevent their mass conversion to Islam and Christianity. If this were to happen, the entire edifice of Brahminical supremacy, based on the labour and the enforced and religiously-sanctioned degradation of the Shudras, would come crashing down. Hence, they realised the need to devise various means to retain the Shudras within the Hindu fold. This was one of the main objectives of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was established by a group of Maharashtrian Brahmins in 1925. Explaining the reason for its formation, its first supremo, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (d. 1940), confessed that it was because of the emerging and rapidly escalating conflict between Brahmins, on the one hand, and non-Brahmins, on the other.[iii] This conflict was nothing but an expression of the growing assertiveness of the Shudras against Brahminical hegemony.

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Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 10

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 10: Transformations in the Colonial Period

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 10 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

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Caste and Religion

With the onset of British rule in India, which was formalised in 1857, the country witnessed the emergence of new religious movements among both Hindus and Muslims. These movements were related to the race for numbers among Hindu and Muslim elites, with political power for each community in the new dispensation linked to its numerical strength. Hindu and Muslim religious revivalist organisations and movements began to vie with each other to bring the oppressed castes into their respective folds. In part, this was clearly motivated by the desire to bolster the political fortunes of the 'upper' caste Hindu and Muslim elites, who claimed to speak for all of their co-religionists.

Numerous such movements emerged within the larger Hindu fold at this time. Many of them aimed at Hinduising the Shudras and preventing their conversion to Islam and Christianity. Some of them also sought to woo back into the Hindu fold Hindu converts or their descendants who were now Christians and Muslims. One such movement was the Brahmo Samaj, which was founded in 1830 by Ram Mohan Roy, a Bengali Brahmin. Although Ram Mohan Roy critiqued many superstitious and idolatrous aspects of popular Hinduism, he did not mount a radical critique of the caste system, Brahminism, and Brahminical supremacy. It is said that, following orthodox Brahminical practice, he employed a Brahmin cook, and refused all his life to remove his janeo, the 'sacred' thread that is the distinguishing mark of orthodox Brahmins.

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Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 9

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 9 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

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It is likely that, like the Muslim so-called ashraf, the Brahmins, too, were greatly angered at Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq's patronage of the oppressed caste Muslims. After all, these Muslims, or their forefathers, had once been their slaves. An additional reason, one can surmise, for their probable resentment of the Sultan's policies was that these policies must certainly have made Islam an attractive option for many more Shudras who were desperate to be freed from the yoke of Brahminical tyranny.

At around this time there emerged across parts of India numerous social reformers who bitterly critiqued the caste system and preached an ethical monotheism. Many of them were heavily influenced by Islam. These were the Bhaktas, and the message of bhakti or selfless devotion to the one formless God that they taught was very similar to that of the Sufis. It was not, however, that all the Bhaktas were uniformly opposed to caste and caste-based discrimination. Some of them, particularly those of Brahmin origin, did not denounce caste as a social institution as such. The socially radical potential of the Bhakti movements was further limited by the fact that, over time, many of these were transformed into caste-like groups themselves. From being movements of social protest they soon compromised with the caste system. In this way, Brahminism was able to reassert itself and stave off the challenge posed by the Bhaktas, including those who had been deeply influenced by Islamic teachings, such as Kabir, Dadu/Daud and Nanak.

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Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 8

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims – Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq's Reign

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 8 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

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Sultan Firoze Shah Tughlaq, who succeeded Muhammad bin Tughlaq to the throne of Delhi, was quite a contrast to the latter. He was not well-read, including in religious matters, and nor was he observant of the rules of the shariah. Further, he was under the control of the ashraf nobles who had revolted against Muhammad bin Tughlaq and had placed him on the throne. He was beholden to them and did not dare act against their wishes. He was also devoted to fake mullahs and Sufis who were ardent supporters of caste discrimination. In order to please the ashraf nobles, mullahs and Sufis, he selectively killed various supporters of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, many of who are said to have been orthodox Muslims.[i] But he did not stopat this. He showered these men with lavish favours, appointing them to senior posts and granting them vast landed estates. Just as when Buddhism was extirpated from India Hindu kings bestowed on the Brahmins the posts, land, wealth and prestige that they had earlier possessed but had subsequently lost, so, too, the ashraf regained their hegemony on the death of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq. As Syed Ziauddin Barani put it, hardly able to conceal his glee, with Firoze Shah Tughlaq ascending the throne 'All the Syeds were blessed with a new life.'[ii]

The new Sultan killed many of his immediate predecessor's confidantes, granted the son of Qutlagh Khan, the ringleader of the conspiracy against Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the exalted title of Alap Khan and included him in the circle of leading nobles, and appointed Qutlagh Khan's brother Nizam ul-Mulk Amir Husain as governor of Gujarat. He gave back posts and perks to numerous mullahs, muftis, qazis and pirs that had been confiscated from them by Muhammad bin Tughlaq, reinstating them in place of those whom Muhammad bin Tughlaq had appointed. Thus, for instance, he removed Abul Fatah Shaikh Ruknuddin Multani from the post of sheikh ul-islam because he was opposed to wrongful innovative religious practices (biddat) and had been supportive of Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

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Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7

 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

Continued from here.

Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

[Part 7 of Masood Alam Falahi's Urdu book Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India')]

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Following the end of the short-lived Arab rule in western India, the Muslim dynasties that followed and ruled vast parts of India for some five hundred years all strictly upheld and enforced the Brahminical law of caste. In this entire period, the overall conditions of the oppressed castes who had converted to Islam remained pathetic. Because of this, the pace of conversion of the oppressed Shudras to Islam slowed down considerably. For many 'low' caste people who witnessed the Muslim rulers so passionately upholding caste divisions and discriminations, conversion to Islam no longer appeared as a means for social liberation. They saw no difference in their oppression and degradation under the Brahmins and that of 'low' caste Muslim converts. In this way, the caste-conscious Muslim rulers proved to be a great stumbling block in the further spread of Islam in India.

The reign of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq (d. 1351), who ascended the throne of Delhi in 1325, was somewhat different in this regard. He is said to have been a pious Muslim, an Islamic scholar in his own right. He was, so it is said, very regular in his prayers and had even memorised the entire Quran. At first, like most Muslim rulers of Delhi before him, he appointed large numbers of 'high' caste Muslims, especially those of foreign birth or descent, to top posts and bestowed on them vast estates and land grants. At this stage, he ignored the needs and interests of his own indigenous Indian subjects, Muslims as well as Hindus. However, later in his reign the Sultan developed sharp differences, to the point of enmity, with many of the foreign so-called ashraf elites whom he had earlier so lavishly patronised. The reason for this, as Kunwar Mohammad Ashraf writes, was that these foreigners had come to India simply to feather their own nests, to acquire as much wealth as they could and then quickly return to their countries. Therefore, their loyalty to the Sultan was always doubtful. Many of them were not interested in posts that would require them to stay on in India for what they considered was an excessively long period. Even those few who chose to settle down in India were motivated only by the desire for personal aggrandisement, not for promoting the prosperity of the country or for improving the functioning of the state's administrative apparatus.[i]

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