South Asia Citizens Wire  | December 19-20, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2335 - Year 8

[1]  Pakistan: Illegal Religious Edicts
     (i) Call to murder must not go unpunished (HRCP)
     (ii) Letter to the Pakistan Minister of Interior (Asma Jahangir)
       + Text of Fatwa by Mufti Khalid Shah
    (iii) Editorial: Fatwas, legality and the state (Edit, Daily Times)
[2]  Bangladesh: Secular Law or Illegal religious edicts
      (i) The curse of illegal fatwa Where is the 
rule of law? (Edit, Daily Star)
      (ii) A parallel system of justice cannot be allowed (Edit, New Age)
[3]  The Making of a 'New Nepal' (Rita Manchanda)
[4]  India: Representation of Muslims in Police 
Force and Communal Riots (Asghar Ali Engineer)
[5]  India: Watching The Waves, Silently - BJP 
has got a foothold in coastal Karnataka
[6]  India: Indore to become Indur, Bhopal Bhojpal
[7]  India: VHP's Moral Police targets young couples
[8]  Upcoming Events: 
(i) Public Hearing - Gujarat Genocide: Victim's 
Account after 5 years (New Delhi, 20 December)
(ii) Nyaygrah campaign for legal justice and 
reconciliation in Gujarat (Ahmedabad, 28 December)




Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Press Release

19th, December 2006


LAHORE:  HRCP has been shocked to receive a copy 
of a horrifying Fatwa’ (edict) issued by a cleric 
in the Darra Adam Khel area of the NWFP and has 
written to the interior minister asking him to do 
his duties.

The edict labels international organizations, 
including those falling under the UN umbrella and 
the International Red Cross, as well as local 
NGOs working for human rights, as agents of the 
Jews and the West. Most alarmingly, the Fatwa’ 
declares that it falls among the duties of all 
Muslims to target these organizations all over 
the world by murdering their members, using 
weapons of mass destruction against them, 
destroying their homes, targeting their vehicles 
and seizing their assets.

This Fatwa’ is only one among many issued this 
year in the NWFP targetting NGO activists, 
particularly women. Three women working with NGOs 
were murdered in the NWFP in 2006 alone. Another 
Fatwa’ issued by a cleric in Mansehra, has called 
on NGOs to pull out from the Hazara area or face 
action against themselves. HRCP has received many 
other complaints of harassment or intimidation, 
which has already led to some organizations 
curtailing their activities in the NWFP.

What is far more disturbing than the threats 
themselves is the failure of authorities to 
prosecute those responsible for making them. The 
latest Fatwa’, like many others distributed 
previously, is not anonymous. Its author has 
affixed to it his name and qualifications. The 
Fatwa’ has also been pasted up as posters across 
the Darra Adam Khel area. Therefore, the 
authorities cannot claim they are unable to trace 
the source of incitement to hatred and murder. 
Pretending ignorance of those guilty of preaching 
violence amounts to collusion.

The latest call to kill is an outcome of a 
failure to act previously against those 
delivering such messages of hatred. HRCP can only 
call upon those in authority to act now, before 
it is to late, and some of the terrible crimes 
called for are carried out.

Asma Jahangir

o o o


Mr Aftab Ahmed Sherpao
Minister for the Interior

19th December, 2006

Dear Mr Sherpao,

This is to bring to your notice an edict that has 
been widely distributed and pasted ion to walls 
in Darra Adam Khel. A copy is attached for your 
information and record.

The edict labels international organizations, 
including those falling under the UN umbrella and 
the International Red Cross, as well as local 
NGOs working for human rights, as agents of the 
Jews and the West. Most alarmingly, the 'fatwa' 
declares that it falls among the duties of all 
Muslims to target these organizations all over 
the world by murdering their members, using 
weapons of mass destruction against them, 
destroying their homes, targeting their vehicles 
and seizing their assets.

This 'fatwa' is only one among many issued this 
year in the NWFP targetting NGO activists, 
particularly women. Three women working with NGOs 
were murdered in the NWFP in 2006 alone. Another 
'fatwa' issued by a cleric in Mansehra, has 
called on NGOs to pull out from the Hazara area 
or face action against themselves. HRCP has 
received many other complaints of harassment or 
intimidation, which has already led to some 
organizations curtailing their activities in the 

What is most disturbing is the failure of 
authorities to prosecute those responsible for 
making these threats. The latest 'fatwa', like 
many others distributed previously, is not 
anonymous. Its author has affixed to it his name 
and qualifications. The 'fatwa' has also been 
pasted up as posters across the Darra Adam Khel 
area. Therefore, the authorities cannot claim 
they are unable to trace the source of incitement 
to hatred and murder.

We believe it is your obligation to act against 
those responsible for disseminating hatred and 
threatening lives.

Yours sincerely,

Asma Jahangir

Cc: Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Jan Orakzai, Governor NWFP

o o o
[see Text of Fatwa in Urdu by Mufti Khalid Shah ]

o o o


The Daily Times
December 16, 2006


A very curious case has been adjudicated by the 
Peshawar High Court involving a man who is 
alleged to have printed Quranic verses with some 
changes (tehreef) in them. The man was hauled up 
by the police and brought before a judge in 
Peshawar who gave him life imprisonment. Earlier, 
the same accused had been let off when the 
witness against him repudiated his statement. But 
after many years the same man turned around and 
revived the case and got the accused in trouble. 
The honourable High Court has now acquitted the 
man of the charge.

The life sentence at the Sessions Court was 
awarded on the basis of 12 witnesses and the 
fatwa of a local cleric. While handing down the 
acquittal, the High Court said that the 
government should constitute a body of religious 
scholars and authorise it to issue official 
fatwas on grave issues, and that the practice of 
unofficial fatwas should end. The cleric whose 
fatwa was made the basis of a life sentence was 
in favour of doing taweez with Quranic text 
written on pieces of paper, but when the verse 
apparently got changed in the process he 
recommended severe punishment to the man. Another 
sad fact is that the case was taken off the first 
time but after six years the police arrested the 
accused again because the plaintiff said he had 
withdrawn the case earlier under police pressure.

We are sure that the honourable High Court made 
its recommendations (about the need for an 
official body of religious scholars or muftis to 
issue fatwas) in jest, since Pakistan has a 
functioning Federal Shariat Court attuned 
especially to forestall the evil habit of issuing 
fatwas. If the government appoints a grand mufti 
then it is inevitable that he will be used for 
the government's specific political purposes, 
thus bringing Islam into disrepute. What, for 
example, would happen if the fatwa of the mufti 
were to be set aside by a court? Will the lower 
courts be bound by it; and what will be the upper 
courts' jurisdiction with regard to the fatwas 
thus issued?

It is a matter of great concern that the police 
should have registered a case against the man 
accused of tehreef on the basis of a fatwa. In 
fact there was no need for the fatwa at all 
because it is not within the ambit of law. The 
Sessions Court should have deemed it 
inadmissible. But it did not, confirming that 
there is a deep socio-pathological element 
involved here. Over the years our judiciary has 
become mentally soft on the clergy. Indeed, it 
would not be far wrong to say that in some cases 
our judges in the lower courts have assumed 
without any legal grounds that they are equal to 
the classical identity of a mufti appointed by a 
Muslim sultan.

The fact is that all manner of fatwas have done a 
lot of harm to our society. They are responsible 
for gradually cutting the ground from under the 
jurisdiction of the state. Fatwas have been 
obtained by the powerful to intimidate the less 
privileged and the muftis themselves belong to 
religious organisations involved in jihad and 
they are in a position to enforce the fatwa with 
coercion. For example, when the Jaish-e-Muhammad 
was riding high and had its 17 offices in Lahore 
under the patronage of certain intelligence 
agencies in Islamabad, its gun-toting youths made 
their pocket money through the enforcement of 

In Karachi the business of fatwas is rampant. 
Even if in some cases they are helpful in ending 
a dispute and getting one party to accept 
arbitration, it is essentially suicidal for a 
state to allow this activity. Pakistan's 
sectarian curse is based on dozens of fatwas 
issued by our Deobandi seminaries in 1986. The 
greatest apostatiser of them all, Maulana Haq 
Nawaz Jhangvi, gave the fatwa of takfeer in 1985 
and challenged the courts to hear him out and 
prove his fatwa wrong. When the state did not 
act, the Shias began to be killed. Many fatwas 
were also issued about the citizens of other 
countries, asking the people of Pakistan to kill 
them wherever they saw them.

The fatwa is simply impermissible. Whosoever 
issues a fatwa commits a crime because he is 
issuing a judgement and asking the receiver of a 
fatwa to implement it. It is like opening a 
parallel court. The matter of fatwas brings to 
our notice the gradual erosion of state 
institutions in the face of social disorder, just 
like the diyat case where a killer can go 
scot-free after paying blood money. In many cases 
when a prisoner has been considered eligible for 
blood money but cannot pay the aggrieved party he 
languishes in jail forever. Here again "Islam" 
has been exploited simply to keep someone 
permanently in jail. Therefore the Supreme Court 
has done well to ask the government to set up a 
fund for payment of diyat for those prisoners who 
don't have the money to buy their freedom. *



The Daily Star
December 19, 2006

According to a press report, for a so-called 
'fatwa' issued by a local mufti in a village in 
Sunamganj of Sylhet, a girl was to be caned until 
she bled. This was a punishment to be meted out 
to her for having had illicit relations with a 
young man of the same village.

The girl is the daughter of a Freedom Fighter who 
ekes out a living by begging. He was also 
punished for the act of commission of his 
daughter, by having to do the rounds of a local 
mosque with shoes strung round his neck. To top 
it all, when asked, the officer of the local 
police station expressed his complete ignorance 
about the incident.

We are deeply shocked by the incident. We find 
the "judgment" passed by the local religious 
leader abhorrent and against all ethics and civil 
and religious norms. We cannot understand under 
what authority the girl's father was made to 
undergo such a humiliating punishment after being 
ostracized with his family for seven days, and 
going without food during that time. If anybody, 
it should have been the boy who should have been 
whipped for exploiting the girl and her father's 

There are several things that need to be 
addressed. First, who has given the authority to 
the religious leader to award any punishment to 
the girl and her father? Why are the authorities 
silent when the law of the land is being violated 
with impunity? Secondly, it is the poor and 
hapless girl who is already a victim of the 
lascivious act of the boy who walked her up the 
garden path only to discard her. And now she is 
being disgraced, and in a way violated in public, 
by making her face the public punishment. 
Thirdly, it exposes the moral bankruptcy and 
hypocrisy of the society when it stands by while 
a poor girl is humiliated, all in the name of 

We must point out the fact that in the past we 
have turned a blind eye to such incidents where 
the girls were punished after having been lured 
to immoral acts by men. And religion had been 
used, wrongly, to perpetrate the shameful 
injustice to women.

It was time the authorities came down heavily on 
those who use religion to take the law into their 
own hands and use it to pass judgments that are 
repugnant, both to the letter and spirit of the 
religion. We sincerely hope that the government 
will take appropriate measures to put a stop to 
all such acts, if the sanctity of our religion 
and the ideal on which this very nation was 
founded are to be preserved.

o o o

New Age
December 20, 2006


Another fatwa victim had a hairbreadth escape 
from savage flogging and public humiliation and 
possible death. Seventeen-year-old Mahmuda Begum 
of village Manirgati-Noyagaon in Chhatak, Sylhet, 
is the daughter of a freedom fighter who was 
driven to destitution and lived by begging. A 
last-minute rescue operation by the police saved 
her from undergoing public beating in 
implementation of a fatwa pronounced against her 
by a local madrassah teacher and khatib of the 
local mosque, Abdus Sobhan. This is not the first 
case of public humiliation of a poverty-stricken 
woman under the fatwa decree, nor will it 
possibly be the last if the bigoted and 
self-seeking ones and enemies of progress are not 
    The case against unmarried Mahmuda was that 
she bore an illegitimate child (who later died) 
after being seduced by a local influential person 
called Lala Mia. After Friday prayer the local 
arbitrators decreed that Mahmuda would be flogged 
publicly. But arbitrators ignored the seducer who 
was the prime sinner but vented their wrath 
against the poor girl who was obviously more 
sinned against than sinning. At the same time a 
humiliating punishment was inflicted upon the 
girl's father, the poor freedom fighter. After 
the story was published in the media police went 
to the village and rescued the girl and held four 
people. Abdus Sobhan who pronounced the decree 
and Lala Mia the seducer are absconding.
    Fatwa is legally untenable in a modern polity. 
A parallel justice system cannot be tolerated. In 
most cases the victims of fatwa are poor women. 
The salish or arbitration court are welcome only 
as means of dispute settlement through 
reconciliation; they cannot be allowed to 
pronounce sentence or assume the role of a court 
of law. If Mahmuda were guilty, a first 
information report with the police should have 
been filed and the legal process started. In most 
fatwa cases the victims are the poor who cannot 
manipulate opinions in their favour. If fatwa is 
allowed, it will roll back all social progress 
and land us into the age of darkness.
    It is remarkable that though our rural society 
is orthodox and social boycott, etc against 
transgressors was occasionally enforced, public 
beating of women for real or imagined crimes and 
sins was not known. The first well-publicised 
case of this nature took place in 1993, also in a 
Sylhet village, where Noorjahan, a poor woman was 
publicly flogged because a religious leader of 
the locality ruled that her second marriage was 
not in conformity with religious injunctions. The 
woman in her agony committed suicide. Since then 
this kind of persecution of women in the garb of 
religious ruling has been going on. A few years 
ago, in the context of one such incident of 
persecution of a woman, the High Court decided 
that fatwa is illegal. The government, in order 
to appease the fundamentalists, preferred an 
appeal against the ruling. The government must 
make its position clear whether fatwa as a 
do-it-yourself justice can be allowed to continue.


Economic and Political Weekly
December 9, 2006

by Rita Manchanda




by Asghar Ali Engineer

(Secular Perspective December 16-31)

Sachar Committee Report has given figures of 
Muslim representation in police force in various 
states. Praveen Swami, a noted columnist and 
commentators of current events on Kashmir in 
particular, and Muslims in general, has written 
an article in Frontline (December 16, 06) "Bias 
and the Police" which is quite interesting to 
read. He examines these figures of Muslim 
presence in various states and maintains that it 
is not necessary that greater representation of 
Muslims in police force can ensure absence of 
communal violence.

Thus Parveen Swami says, "Representative policing 
is a seductive slogan, offering a one pill 
solution to an infinitely complex and apparently 
incurable malaise (emphasis in original). At 
best, however, it is a placebo -- not a 
prescription for building professional police 

  It is not that one disagrees with Mr. Swami but 
one has to put things in perspective by examining 
various factors, which lead to communal violence. 
Before we do so we would like to throw some light 
on representation of Muslims in the police force 
and communal situation in different states. For 
example in Kerala Muslims are 24.7 per cent of 
population and their representation in the state 
police is 12.96 per cent. Thus their presence in 
police is half their presence in the state 
population. Yet, Kerala is, by and large, free of 
communal violence.

Similarly, in Tamil Nadu Muslim constitute 5.46 
per cent of state population and Muslims are just 
0.11 in the police force and Tamil Nadu too, is 
not communally sensitive pace and barring few 
riots, it has been by and large free of communal 
violence. But then in Maharashtra Muslims are 
10.60 per cent in population and their presence 
in police is 4.71 per cent. But Maharashtra 
witnesses communal violence repeatedly and 
several parts of Maharashtra are communally 

In Uttar Pradesh Muslims are 18.50 per cent and 
their presence in police is only 4.24 per cent 
and who does not know how sensitive several parts 
of U.P. were ultra sensitive until yesterday. Yet 
today both U.P. and Bihar (in Bihar too Muslims 
are just 5.4 per cent in the police force as 
against their population of 16.53 per cent) are 
free of communal violence for last few years.

Thus Parveen Swami is right in asserting that one 
should not think that Muslim presence in police 
force will ensure communal violence free state. 
In fact no one maintains that presence of Muslims 
in adequate numbers in police force by itself can 
ever ensure riot-free society. What is 
maintained, and Mr. Swami also accepts it, is 
that proper presence of Muslims in police force 
would lead, and I would like to emphasise not 
entirely, but to some extent, proper handling of 
communal riot and post-communal-riot situation. 
A prejudiced police force can further aggravate 
the situation after out-break of communal 
violence and also can implicate more and more 
number of innocent Muslims on false charges of 
rioting, as often happens.

Let us remember that communalism and communal 
violence are fundamentally political phenomenon. 
Even if there is zero representation of Muslims 
in police force but political situation is 
congenial to communal harmony, there will be no 
outbursts of communal violence. And, on the other 
and, even if there is over-representation of 
Muslims in the police force, there is absolutely 
no guarantee that there will be no communal 
violence. In Andhra Pradesh Muslim presence in 
police force is 13.25 per cent as against their 
population of 9.17 per cent and yet Hyderabad 
area is communally quite sensitive and frequent 
communal riots take place.

Where there is political determination not to 
have communal violence, there will be none, even 
if police is highly prejudicial to Muslims and 
Muslim presence in police force is minimal. One 
has to carefully study the political situation in 
order to understand dynamics of communal violence.

It is also, important to understand that in India 
we have no professional policing. Even if it is 
our ideal, reality is far from the ideal. Our 
society is divided vertically in caste hierarchy 
and horizontally in religious, regional and 
linguistic communities. Thus we all are carriers 
of caste, communal, regional and linguistic 
prejudices. Apart from our society, even our 
education system inculcate these prejudices in 
us. And our police being part of our society and 
having been educated in the same educational 
system cannot be free of these prejudices.

I have been to various institutions of police 
training and have examined there training system, 
there is nothing in it that can free the 
policemen of these socially acquired prejudices. 
Thus more often than not, a policeman becomes a 
Hindu or a Gujarati or Maharashtrian, a Brahmin 
or Rajput when there are caste, communal or 
linguistic clashes and often unabashedly so. When 
I was interviewing a police constable in Deonar, 
a Mumbai suburb during 1992-93 riots, he told me 
take off my police uniform and I am a Shivsainik 
at heart. It did not surprise me. The police 
behaviour was highly partisan during Mumbai riots.

Let alone, state police force (this category 
generally includes constabulary, sub-inspectors 
and inspectors) even IPS people are often not 
free of communal and upper caste prejudices. One 
should not treat the police force as homogenous 
one. The state recruits carry more raw prejudices 
both caste and communal whereas IPS force tends 
to be more sophisticated.

Undoubtedly there are secular and honest officers 
and also those who are secular but yet 
politically ambitious or aspiring to better and 
more lucrative posts. Such officers are equally 
dangerous though they may not be communal or 
casteist by inclination. Politicians use police 
officers for their own political purposes. Those 
police officers who do not give in to political 
demands are dumped into obscure posting rendering 
them quite ineffective.

It is well-known fact that there will be no 
communal violence, if it does not suit 
politicians in their power game. Both U.P. and 
Bihar were inflammable states for decades. The 
battle for partition was also fought mainly in 
these two states in north India. This legacy 
continued for decades after partition. But the 
scenario dramatically changed after 
implementation of Mandal Commission. The backward 
caste Hindus now entered into alliance with 
Muslims in U.P. and Bihar, in order to seize 
political power from upper caste Hindus. Thus MY 
(Muslim and Yadav) alliance created different 
compulsions. In both the states Yadav chief 
ministers curbed communal violence with 
determination lest they loose Muslim votes.

Nitish Kumar, the present Bihar chief Minister 
though an NDA ally and part of BJP communal 
outfit, is pursuing ‘secular politics' in his own 
political interests. He is also trying to win 
over Muslim votes for his survival. He is 
competing with Lalu Prasad in luring Muslims. He 
is ensuring that no communal violence occurs in 
Bihar. Not only that he demanded that the guilty 
of Bhagalpur communal riots (of 1989) be punished 
and Muslims given compensation.

He is even justifying the Prime Minister Manmohan 
Singh's statement that Muslims should get due 
share in development funds though BJP rocked the 
Parliament on this issue and did not allow it to 
function. It also threatened to launch a week 
-long agitation. But they are keeping quiet on 
Nitish Kumar's opposite viewpoint. They know in 
Bihar they cannot maintain coalition in power 
without such tactics. They even justified Nitish 
Kumar's stand. BJP pursued hard Hindutva policies 
in order to promote its own upper caste and 
middle caste Hindu vote bank.

Thus it will be seen that whole issue of communal 
violence is very complex one. We need secular 
police force not because it is the only effective 
way of fighting communal violence; even otherwise 
we need ideally a secular and professional police 
force. But problem again is political. Most of 
our politicians misuse police for their partisan 
politics and do not want professional and 
autonomous police force. It suits them to have 
casteist and communal police servile to their 

In order to have professional political force, 
they must be thoroughly grounded in secular 
values and constitutional spirit, something 
hardly any politician wants.  An autonomous 
police force is also double-edged sword. Autonomy 
can be effective only if police is really 
professionally trained and is freed from all 
prejudices. But ridden with these prejudices an 
autonomous force can be more dangerous for 
religious and linguistic minorities.

Also representation of minorities in police is 
highly desirable as Swami also points out in his 
article. Not to prevent communal violence as 
simple solution but to give justice to minorities 
and also to reduce gravity of communal violence, 
if it breaks out for political reasons. A secular 
police may not be able to prevent communal 
violence but can certain reduce its gravity with 
even-handed handling. And presence of minorities 
will certainly help in this respect. Post-riot 
investigations will also become more just.

Despite all political factors, a secular and 
representative police force (representative of 
minorities) is highly desirable.



December 25, 2006

The BJP has got a foothold in coastal Karnataka-thanks to the Congress

As the Sangh parivar paints coastal Karnataka 
saffron, the Congress remains a helpless 
bystander. Party veteran and ex-Union minister 
C.K. Jaffar Sharief told Outlook: "Unfortunately, 
Congress leaders from this region, Oscar 
Fernandes, Veerappa Moily, Janardan Poojary and 
Margaret Alva are all in Delhi. The people's 
representatives must be there to counsel partymen 
to tackle the Sangh. But there seems to be a lack 
of ideological commitment. Earlier, S.M. Krishna 
as chief minister allowed the communal elements 
to grow."

Today, within the Congress' Karnataka unit, there 
is division and despair. Some feel the only way 
out is the Gujarat route, playing the soft 
Hindutva card. Take Poojary who was MP from 
Mangalore (1977 -1991), now riot-scarred. In 
1991, the Ram temple movement swept him aside-or 
so he believes. He responded by renovating the 
city's Gokarnath temple, getting Rajiv Gandhi to 
inaugurate it before launching an annual Dussehra 
yatra to rival the royal one in Mysore. He 
defends this today, saying this shrine was one of 
the first in the south open to Dalits-and 
therefore the renovation and the Dussehra yatra 
was as much about social reform as religion. But 
clearly, it was an attempt to win back the Hindu 

Journalist and member of Karnataka's Communal 
Harmony Forum Gauri Lankesh says, "The coastal 
belt has a long tradition of peaceful 
Hindu-Muslim co-existence. But no more. And the 
Congress here-like in Gujarat-is rapidly becoming 
the BJP's B team." Party general secretary 
Margaret Alva disagrees: "The BJP has no issue 
but communalism, and Deve Gowda (former prime 
minister) is making them respectable. We are 
fighting them politically." Asked why this isn't 
evident, she retorts, "Do you expect us to take 
to the streets?"

Some Congressmen are worried that targetting Deve 
Gowda will only help the BJP fill the 
non-Congress space: Says a local leader, "If that 
happens, Karnataka will be the first southern 
state where the BJP will establish itself as a 
major party-thanks to us."



The Times of India


[ 18 Dec, 2006 0242Hrs Ist Times News Network ]

BHOPAL: After Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, 
Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru, the Jabalpur 
Municipal Corporation has passed a resolution to 
rename the city to Jabalipuram.

The BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government is also 
mulling renaming Bhopal to Bhojpal and Indore to 

The resolution was passed in the Jabalpur 
Municipal Corporation meeting on Saturday, both 
by BJP and Congress members. Corporators said the 
city was being renamed after a sage in the 
'Ramayana'. The resolution has been sent to the 
state government.

According to some BJP members, every part of the 
country should be renamed after carrying out 
historical analysis and research.

BJP leader Anil Dave told TOI, "Post 
Independence, we removed British statues from the 
country. So why can't we remove the British names 
of our cities?"

"It was a demand by the people of Jabalpur to 
name it after 'rishi' Jabali who had his 
meditation camp here," Jabalpur mayor Sushila 
Singh said. "Let us connect our city with the 
history and culture of our country. Jabalpur on 
the banks of river Narmada is a sacred place of 
Hindu sages."

Congress corporator Jagat Bahadur Singh said, 
"Sadhus gathered in my ward in Narsingh and 
proposed that the city be renamed after sage 
Jabali. This was Congress agenda, not the BJP's."

Renaming Bhopal to Bhojpal (the city of king 
Bhoj) after Bhoj Deva - the Paramara king who 
ruled the region from 1010 AD to 1055 AD and was 
a soldier, builder, scholar and patron of 
learning - was BJP's agenda.

Bhoj Deva's position in history matched 
Vikramaditya Chandragupta II who ruled from 
Ujjaini (now Ujjain).

The first attempt to connect Bhopal to Raja Bhoj 
was made in 2002 when the name of the city's 
airport was changed to Raja Bhoj International 


December 09, 2006 at 20:23

MORAL POLICE: The workers were armed with hockey 
sticks and lathis and thrashed the young men.

Ahmedabad: After the Meerut Police carried out 
Operation Majnu to crack-down on pesky 
eveteasers, it was the VHP's turn to moral police 
the society.

VHP and Bajrang Dal activists misbehaved with 
young couples and beat up boys in a park in 

The party workers alleged that some boys were 
"harassing girls" and thus they decided to teach 
them a lesson.

Among the VHP workers were some girls as well. 
The workers were armed with hockey sticks and 
lathis and thrashed the young men.

The girls said that they wanted to weed the 
society of men who used girls for their own means.

The Ahmedabad police were nowhere to be seen and 
the VHP activists were law unto themselves for 
quite some time.

Says a girl who was beaten up, "When I tried to 
stop them, they hit me four times with stick. I 
hope no other girl is treated like this."

The man behind the lathicharge is said to be 
Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi.

"We have not taken the law into our hands. We 
just want to teach girls how to live decently," 
was all Babu Bajrangi had to say.

Bajrangi is accused of one of the deadliest 
massacres during the 2002 Gujarat riots, the 
Naroda Patia massacre.

o o o
Dec 17, 2006 - 11:08:06 PM

Bhopal, Dec 17 - Activists of the Bajrang Dal 
have warned young couples here against meeting in 
public places or be ready to be punished.

Resorting to so-called moral policing, Bajrang 
Dal members raided Manuabhan Ki Tekri - a picnic 
spot here - that also has a Jain temple within 
its premises and made young couples do sit-ups 
for indulging in actions against the 'culture of 
our country'.

Though the incident took place Thursday, it came 
to light Saturday when a regional news channel 
showed clips of couples being subjected to 

The Bajrang Dal has now warned of intensifying 
their movement against what they call 'obscenity'.

'Bajrang Dal will not tolerate any obscenity at 
places of religious importance. We took action 
after we found them in a compromising position 
and we will continue to take action against such 
activities,' Vishal Purohit, a Bajrang Dal 
leader, told IANS.

The hardline Hindu group, however, says it was 
forced to resort to extreme action since the 
police had failed to check such 'indecent' acts.

'We were compelled to take the law into our hands 
after police took no steps against our complaints 
regarding obscenity in public places. We once 
again urge that police personnel be deployed at 
religious shrines to curb the display of such 
obscenity,' Purohit said.

Said Superintendent of Police A.K. Singh: 'No one 
has made any complaint in this connection. We 
will act if we get a complaint from anyone.'

In the past few years, Bajrang Dal has disrupted 
Valentine's Day celebrations by vandalising gift 
shops and burning hundreds of cards.




- Wednesday December 20 th from 11a.m to 4 p.m at 
the Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New 

8, Vithalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg
New Delhi-110001


To: The Chief Reporter

Citizens for Justice and Peace, a Citizens group 
working with the victims of the Gujarat Genocide 
of 2002, and SAHMAT wish to invite you to be part 
of a Public Hearing on the plight of the victims 
five years after the State sponsored Genocide.

The day long Public Hearing is scheduled for 
Wednesday December 20th in New Delhi from 11a.m 
to 4 p.m at the Indian Social Institute, Lodhi 
Road,New Delhi.

Present will be victims of the violence and legal 
representatives to give an update on the current 
status of relief and justice, five years after 
the events.

This is a follow-up to the victims testimony which we organised in 2002.

Please send a photographer and a reporter to cover the hearing.

Citizens For Justice and Peace
Teesta Setalvad
Ram Rahman


(ii)  Nyaygrah campaign for legal justice and reconciliation in Gujarat

  Dear Friends

On Dec 28 morning from 10 to 12.30 pm, workers, 
friends and supporters of the Nyaygrah campaign 
for legal justice and reconciliation in Gujarat 
will gather at Ahmedabad. On this morning, Indira 
Jaisingh has kindly agreed to release the legal 
manual prepared by Lawyers Collective and Aman 
Biradari, and Ram Kumar Narayan will release the 
report of the survey of the latest condition in 
all 81 relief colonies.

We are on this occasion going to invite all the 
justice workers, as well as affected people who 
have resisted, fought fear and boycott, spoken 
the truth in courts under very adverse 
circumstances, and shown extraordinary compassion 
and courage. It would be great if it is possible 
for you to kindly join us at Ahmedabad on this 

Gandhiji spoke of Satyagraha as a people's 
struggle for truth. In the context of continued 
injustice, impunity and economic blockade faced 
by  people in Gujarat only because they follow a 
different faith, a people's campaign for justice 
and equal rights guaranteed under the 
constitution,  peace and reconciliation in under 
way in Gujarat called Nyayagrah.

Nyayagrah's efforts for legal justice is founded 
on the strategy of mass community based 
lawyering. Most organisations decided to focus 
all their attention and resources on selected 
major 'test cases', where there was a great deal 
of loss of life, and to fight these with the best 
legal talent, and considerable  resources and 
efforts for witness protection and support. The 
outcome of these efforts has been very salutary. 

Nyayagrah attempts to complement and support 
these major efforts for justice. Despite the very 
important wider impact of the legal efforts 
focussed on a few major cases, in a practical 
sense an estimated 80 to 90 percent of 
the victims still had to struggle on their own to 
fight their legal cases. This would be a 
formidable human rights challenge even in more 
'normal' circumstances, but it can be devastating 
both for justice and people's morale in the 
situation of massive unprecedented state 
subversion of justice. This is compounded further 
by the atmosphere and intimidation, in which 
large numbers of people are being coerced to 
concede to humiliating 'compromises' of agreeing 
to withhold or even reverse their evidence 
that can bring the guilty to book.

  Legal justice for the victims of 2002 is the 
core of our work but we are also committed to 
working towards building trust and peace between 
the two communities. The fundamental philosophy 
underpinning the campaign is that justice is a 
prerequisite to peace and work of building trust 
between the two communities has to be on terms 
which are fair and grounded on values of 
equality, respect and care for the other. We 
therefore are against compromises that were 
reached under coercive and unjust 
circumstances. We have heard of Muslim citizens 
being denied the right to legal justice as a 
precondition to returning to their village homes. 
We are resolutely against any reconciliation 
based on such unjust foundations.

The Nyayagrah team is a mix of Hindus/Muslims, 
men/women, middle class/working class, 
believers/non-believers who are drawn together by 
their commitment to the ideal of equal 
citizenship rights for all Gujaratis irrespective 
of their religion, class or gender. We are 
committed to pursuing our aims within certain 
ethical parameters, to struggle to pursue the 
path of truth and justice by striving to follow a 
truthful and just path. We are clear in our 
advice and guidance to nyaypathiks not to offer 
any inducements to victims and witnesses to fight 
their cases and not to make their willingness to 
fight a condition of our support. The battle for 
justice and healing will be a long drawn out one.

  The campaign is presently primarily working in 
the four districts of Ahmedabad, Sabarkantha, 
Kheda and Anand.  One major part of our efforts 
for legal justice has focussed on the Supreme 
Court. Nyaygrah with Lawyers' Collective fought a 
long battle in the Supreme Court to challenge the 
closure without trial of more than 2000 
cases registered after the carnage. The historic 
order from the Supreme Court in September 2004 to 
re-examine all cases that were summarily closed 
or acquitted opened up the opportunity to secure 
justice for thousands of  survivors of the 
Gujarat carnage. We persisted with our efforts in 
the Supreme Court. An enormous success of 
Nyayagrah is that the Gujarat  government in 
January 2006 has finally had to bow down to the 
repeated pressures in the Supreme Court as well 
as on the ground, and ordered the reopening of 
all but 22 of the closed cases. This means that 
the opportunity t! o secure justice has been 
successfully reclaimed for thousands of the 
victims of the massacre. But we realised that now 
the battle has to be strengthened on the ground, 
directly with the survivors who live each 
day with fear and hate.

  Overall, we have now contacted affected 
persons/families in 844 cases in the four 
districts. This indicates a progress of 627 
further contacts since February. It is estimated 
that about 50% of the affected people 
are internally displaced. The justice activists 
have to make many visits before they are able to 
win the confidence and trust of the victims to 
start discussing the details of their individual 
cases and ascertain what the problems in each 
particular case are. Taken across the four 
districts, we have managed to convince affected 
persons in 334 out of 844 cases which translates 
to about 4 in every 10 case
contacted so far has agreed to fight his/her 
/their case. It is important to remember that 
because of the phenomenon of omnibus FIRs (First 
Investigation Report) where entire villages, 
sometimes 2-3 villages were included in a single 
FIR. The result is that a case may easily have 
30-40 victims/witnesses and the justice activists 
in such cases have to contact numerous people and 
call group meetings to inform and advise the 
people about their legal rights and the nature of 
support Nyayagrah can give them to fight for 

It would be wonderful if you can make the time to 
join us at Ahmedabad on the morning of 28 Dec, 
for the release of the legal manual and report on 
colonies, to reflect and share in the on-going 
work for justice and reconciliation, to meet the 
justice workers and survivors, and to celebrate 
their courage, compassion and humanity.

Thank you for your on-going solidarity.

Warm regards,

Harsh Mander
Darkness can never drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
  Martin Luther King Jr.
Aman Biradari
R-38/A, Second Floor, South Extension Part II,
New Delhi 110 049


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