Prashant Bhushan

Tablighi Jamaat: Why FBI finds it a “recruiting ground” for Al Qaeda?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Tablighi Jamaat hates attention from the world. They prefer secrecy. But once Corona Vurs patients narrated their travel history from around India, the Nizamuddin headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat kept popping up. It blew the cover off on Monday.

Why Tablighi wishes to slip under the radar? How is it even possible with 80 million members, spread over 150 countries (Figures Pew Research Center) ? How it has evaded discourse in public when its’ nearly 100 years since it was born? More so when, its’ essence is to proselytize Islamic tenets?

Well, some did take notice all this while. A clutch of Central Asian countries—Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kazakhstan—have banned it.  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States feels its’ breeding ground for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. A WikiLeaks document released in 2011 claimed that Al Qaeda operatives used its’ Nizamuddin headquarters to obtain travel documents and shelter.

Kafeel Ahmed, a part of this movement, was arrested for the failed attack on Glasgow airport in 2007. A series of coordinated terrorist suicide attacks in London on July 7, 2005,  known as 7/7, which targeted commuters in the city’s public transport system, were carried out by Shehzad Tanveer and Mohammed Saddique Khan who used to pray at a Tablighi masque in Dewsbury, England.

Still Tablighi evades attention. And that’s because its goals appear innocuous. It wants to recreate lives of Muslims in the image of the Prophet Muhammad. The beard has to be of certain length; teeth-cleaning ought to be done with miswak (twig) and not toothbrush.  It professes to be apolitical. Women are segregated; often they sit in one room while a Tabligh elder shouts a lecture from behind a closed door.  It discourages worldly activities, ostensibly to prepare them for the Judgment Day,  From mosque to mosque, cities to cities, states to states, countries to countries, its missionary bands knock at doors, preaching a return to “pure” Islamic values. The lure seems pretty harmless: Why don’t you join us for a few days on the road and see for yourself?

Such promises often attract youth, angry or lacking identity. Men who want things in black and white, and nothing in gray. The other-worldliness holds attraction. The society around loses its lustre. “People are tutored that you don’t fit in, modern world is an aberration, an offense, some form of blasphemy,” says Khaled Abou El Fadl, an Islamic professor in US, “By preparing people in this fashion, you are preparing them to be in a state of warfare against the world.”

This detachment perfectly suits terror groups like Al Qaeda. Those with intense zealousness in Islam are kept in eye. Al Qaeda fish in the Tablighi pond of alienated and escapist youths. ”We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States, and we have found that Al Qaeda used them for recruiting, now and in the past,” said Michael J. Heimbach, the deputy chief of the F.B.I.’s international terrorism section.

A chilling analogy is drawn: Tablighi Jamaat is like electricians who set up poles and draw up lines. Till one day the mayor comes and switches on the lights.

Tablighi Jamaat, an Arabic word, means the “group that propagates the faith.” It’s hierarchical. There is an Ameer who dispenses advice to everyone.  Full-time members are usually elders. They make up the Shura or the Council. Younger members of course make up the missionary band. There is a daily mashoora (gathering).

In its Nizamuddin headquarters, Indian Muslims occupy the first floor. Arabs, Algerians, Tunisians, Indonesians, Malayasian etc devouts are spread on different floors. There is a room for communal lunch: people squat on the floor and eat on plastic sheets. There is little time spent on food or sleep. But for a brief siesta, most of the day is spent in Quranic recitation.

Malaysian political scientist, Farish Noor, says in his book Islam on the Move: “Saudi national Abdul Bukhary who was on the watch-list of numerous countries had managed to get himself into the Tablighi markaz (Centre) in Nizamuddin while claiming to be a Tablighi too.” FBI is on record that it has found Al Qaeda was using Tablighi Jamaat for recruiting new terrorists.

How is it funded? No one knows for sure. But the numbers are big. Nizamuddin markaz affords massive accommodation with accompanying food etc. An analyst, Alex Alexiev, wrote way back in 2005: “There is no doubt that some of the vast sums spent by Saudi organizations such as the World Muslim League on proselytism benefit Tablighi Jamaat.” For instance, the Tablighi headquarters of Europe, built in England, was funded by World Muslim League way back in 1978.

Tablighi Jamaat originated in Mewat region (now part of Haryana and Rajasthan) in 1926. The local muslims, known as Meos, shared Hindu traditions, like pheras (going around the sacred fire) in marriage; and celebrated Hindu festivals as they did their own, Eid etc.  In due course, local Muslims, to hold on to their identity, began Tablighi Jamaat.  Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas is said to have begun it.

The last word must belong to Mushirul Hasan, former vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia. “Tablighi Jamaat claims to be totally apolitical. It’s a very convenient statement. No movement is apolitical. Every moment has an objective.”

In the present Corona tremor induced by Tablighi Jamaat, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan says that this congregation couldn’t disperse because of the nationwide lockdown on March 24.  But he won’t tell that on March 16 itself, no more than 50 were allowed to gather in Delhi.  On March 19, all institutions had been ordered close. On March 22, the Delhi government had announced a lockdown in the Capital. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan too has rushed to the defence of Tablighi Jamaat. He said in a tweet: “it’s unfair to blame them.”

Indeed, a series of incidents, such as ones in Shaheen Bagh, Jamia, Jaffrabad, Seelampur point towards an “Islamic insurrection of sorts  which has come to the surface in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)”, tweets Amit Malviya, head of the BJP IT cell. Thousands of preachers from abroad were in the town, concealing their purpose of visit. It’s as good a reason as any to press ahead with CAA-NPR-NRC exercise. India needs to find out the enemies who are illegally residing within its borders.

(This article is heavily based on pieces in New York Times and Live Mint. Of course references to Tablighi Jamaat as recruiting ground for terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda won’t be mentioned in our corrupt Lutyens Media).

 

Who’s afraid of “Lobby of Six”? questions Gogoi; Puts nation on alert

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s the last time readers you would hear about it. So I want you to be serious. Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India and now a member of the Rajya Sabha, has said that there is a “Lobby of Six” which controls our judiciary by maligning them.  You could make it a fun exercise. Or if you are serious, reflect how our system is compromised.

Three names immediately spring to my mind as suspects: Prashant Bhushan, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi.  They opposed tooth and nail matters of national importance, such as Rafale, Ram Temple, Article 370, EVM, Loya judge case etc in varying degrees, individually or collectively.  Remember the names who wanted an “impeachment” motion against then CJI Deepak Misra? A few judges too cross my mind for some strange verdicts. But I better not spell out my hunch.

( Or it could be that Gogoi might be hinting at a completely different set who work behind the scenes. So folks, send in your choice of “Lobby of Six” on my twitter or facebook handle.  Let this issue hang in our public discourse. For your newspapers are unlikely to give it wind. They have already dug up trenches to bury Gogoi’s views. I would follow up this pieces with due credit to your credible hunches).  

Gogoi says that this “Lobby of Six” took recourse to “maligning” to control judiciary.  You only “malign” through propaganda. And propaganda is best managed by media. This is rather easy. I remember a piece I wrote when a “sexual harassment” case was popped up against Gogoi last year.  Three websites with Leftist bent–The Wire, Scroll and Caravan—made a coordinated attack. They appeared hand-in-gloves with the forces who wanted to malign our judiciary. My piece then had tried to connect the dots. Read it and see if you agree with my deductions.

The Indian Express and The Hindu are two other national dailies which are more than suspects, in my humble opinion.  The judges and advocates they have in their rosters as guest columnists/rent-a-byte individuals, all have a bent towards a particular ideology.  Refer to the pages of these two newspapers when a “sexual impropriety” charge was made against Gogoi last April. Or the recent spate of articles they have had against Gogoi’s nomination in Rajya Sabha.  That Gogoi has now chosen to speak to Times of India, and not Express and The Hindu, carries its own message. Or it could be that Express and the Hindu didn’t approach Gogoi in the first place. The latter is worse: for the gold-standard in journalism is to hear both sides of story. Don’t pronounce someone guilty unless you’ve heard him.

Be that as it may, do read Gogoi’s interview in Times of India. He makes some pertinent points which deserve to be a part of the collective memory of we the citizens who unfortunately are also readers of a few disgraceful newspapers. As per the supposed perks on being a Rajya Sabha member, Gogoi puts forth the same arguments I had questioned Left-Liberals on in recent days.

Gogoi says that Ayodhya was a unanimous verdict by a bench of five judges. So all other were compromised? Rafale too was a unanimous verdict. So the other sitting judges were also compromised? Isn’t it a slur on their integrity? Gogoi also took on his critics who said he practiced “sealed cover” jurisprudence. “Should I have made public details on Rafale”? Pakistan would’ve laughed its guts out. Why was this bunch silent when the judiciary asked for sealed cover report on “2G scam”. Or when now the Supreme Court has asked for “sealed cover” report on Shaheen Bagh?

Strong words. And a bit of humour from his ex-Lordship: “I never was, never am and never will be afraid of anyone’s opinion, except my wife.”

Hopefully, Gogoi’s interview would give teeth to “independent” voices within the judiciary.  There is no reason to buckle down to this “Lobby of Six” or anyone else. You have nobody but your conscience to be answerable to.

(Post script: As to how our judiciary functions, listen to the voice of a fearless amongst us, legal hawk Vibhor Anand, who had penned for us a few pieces in the past).

What’s so great about RS seat to Ranjan Gogoi which is giving ulcers to our Left-Liberals?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Frankly, what kind of nincompoops we have in our public discourse.

Indian Express is jumping up and down on Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India, having taken up the Rajya Sabha nomination by the President, Ram Nath Kovind.

It’s like a barking dog which hasn’t pissed for two hours and is scratching at the exit door.

Express has scavenged its own plate of former lawyers and judges who have a hangdog expression of a mongrel in claiming arbiters (judiciary) would now be seen in bed with the litigant (government).

(In a separate story, this rag typically distorts an old Gogoi exchange with a lawyer. Gogoi had asked the lawyer if he believed post-retirement jobs is a scar on judiciary. Express puts it as Gogoi’s own views!!! Do click this hyperlink and mark the difference between the headline and the text.)

For god’s sake, what’s Gogoi’s crime? How does it fit the punishment he is getting at the hands of mockingbirds?

Shekhar Gupta, like a devil quoting from the scriptures, finds it morally repugnant on his website. Should we even bother what the cocktail-couple Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose think about it? Or second guess what shows up on the twitter timelines of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan?

Would somebody ask these hopeless creatures how does a Rajya Sabha seat benefit a former Chief Justice of India? Does he get more money than he would have otherwise as post-retirement benefits? Does he get more in terms of travel benefits which a senior citizen in Makkhiganj gets by way of routine? Is a salary of Rs 16,000 such a lolly?  Is it worth your time to spend time in a branch of legislature where you could be flanked by illiterates?

Want to know his daily, dearness and travel allowance? The sum he would get for office-expense? The free telephone calls which would be his privilege? Click this link and quarantine yourself in a fortnight of shame. Just ask yourself what could have goaded Gogoi to accept the Rajya Sabha offer when he could have easily put his feet up and basked in the afterglow of his Ram Temple judgment? How big is the perk of a Rajya Sabha seat for a former Chief Justice of India?

A Manmohan Singh to this day, with bypass surgeries and all, thinks he could contribute at 88. ( Some loyalties don’t come with expiry dates). A Yashwant Sinha still can’t live without the limelight. The legal legend, K. Parsaran is busy with Sabrimala after Ram Temple at the tender age of 92. Why this nation would like to lose out on a living authority on law and Constitution in Gogoi? Wouldn’t it prepare our legislatures to be Constitutionally correct in passing a contentious bill?

Could you guess who were Franklin Roosevelt, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama before they became the president of the United States? Or Clement Atlee, Tony Blair for United Kingdom? Lawyers, of course. Why their legal stances didn’t come in their way of vying for White House or 10 Downing Street? How come no barb comes the way of Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi who take sides on “religious” battles while remaining stalwarts of “secular” Congress?

Just think. How many would be more worthy than Gogoi to be in Rajya Sabha? What does he gain by way of money or power or prestige? Would he be remembered in annals as a legal light or a member of parliament? Why would he open himself to ridicule in such a polarized society? To hear and read nonsense from imbeciles? How is it “copulating” between judiciary and legislature when the man is in no position to influence the former or to be the casting vote on the latter?

It would also do us no harm to know of Gogoi’s background. He belongs to a royal family from his mother’s side. His father was once the chief minister of Assam. Power and money isn’t new to him. He was born into it. Adulating heads he would’ve seen from the very first day of his life. And now we are supposedly giving him “nirvana” with a Rajya Sabha seat. No shit, Sherlock.

And how does Narendra Modi gain in influencing Gogoi’s presence in Rajya Sabha? Wouldn’t he be better off in choosing a yes man than one who could intellectually be a problem? Why to convey even a hint of suspicion on Ram Temple judgment? Well, of course, unless Modi thinks that our Parliament could do with the presence of such a luminary.

This is the level of discourse India is reducing itself to these days. A few newspapers and crackpots are its’ Pope. Throw them out in the first sewer you find on our roads. A few deranged are telling you to take leave of your common sense.

Don’t do it.

 

 

Is Indian media hand in gloves with Arvind Kejriwal?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Since our newspapers don’t ask a few simple questions to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, could we the readers pose a few and then judge if the two could be acting in concert? Accomplices hidden in plain sight?

Indian Express is gushing today how effusive are 1000 pilgrims in praise of their CM for “sponsoring” a trip to Amritsar under the Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana (Chief Minister’s Pilgrimage Plan); the second one is planned for Delhi-Vaishno Devi-Jammu route on July 20-24. The massive lead story on “The City” page also has a three-column photo, bettered only by a four-column image in The Hindu. These newspapers of course haven’t written a single line in a fortnight on the silence of Kejriwal since a 100-year-old Durga Temple was vandalized in the very Capital which mandated for his party. Couldn’t they see this man is protecting Muslim votebank on one hand and pandering to Hindu votes with the other? Anyone communal please?

(See this classic image with the piece, courtesy The Hindu. Red carpet welcome at the railway platform, images of “Kejriwal” (mask) carrying elders like Shravan Kumar did to his parents in a basket on a pilgrimage).

In the wake of 2019 Lok Sabha disaster where AAP won only one seat, a panicky Kejriwal mooted free rides to Delhi women on metro and buses. Our newspapers, page after page, had full-page advertisements on one side and screaming reports and interviews on the other, lauding the move. The bubble was first pricked by Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (Hardeep Puri) and then by everyone’s metro man (E. Sreedharan). Kejri had apparently announced the scheme even without submitting the proposal to its partner, the Union government!

Without as much as batting an eyelid, Kejriwal’s revised pitch restricted itself to free ride for women in only Delhi buses before it too was deflated: But sir, what’s to your promise of CCTVs in buses to help women’s security? This litany of lies were exposed by government ministers/officials but elicited not a single comment from our newspapers.

AAP is gung-ho about what it has done to improve schools and education in the Capital. No newspaper has questioned: But sir what’s happened to your election manifesto of hundreds of schools in the Capital? How many have been built?

Have the newspapers questioned: Kejri sir, it’s alright you were making new friends with Lallu Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu; Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee to save “freedom” and “democracy” but what do we make out of your tattered credentials as a credible friend when Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Ashutosh, Ashish Khaitan, Shazia Ilmi, CD Gopinath, Kumar Vishwas, Medha Patkar etc parted ways? We are not even talking of Anna Hazare.

Are you the same Kejriwal who once dumped his government because the people didn’t want an association with Congress and, now, was seen begging for an alliance for the 2019 Polls? The same man whose crusade against the “corrupt” ended in apologies to Gadkaris and Jaitleys? The same man who didn’t want the perks of VVIPs and is now deep into it?

Have our newspapers questioned: When your friends are distrustful of you what makes you think the nation would trust you? Isn’t it evident in results of assembly elections in Punjab, Haryana, Goa where a majority of your candidates lost deposits? Shouldn’t you be sent to a desolate island for such wholesome betrayal of people who gave Delhi on a plate to your AAP within two years of its formation?

But no, our newspapers are gushing. Readers can’t see the “deep state” which nurtures both but the telltale evidence of Kejriwal’s “dole” to newspapers in the form of government advertisements—around Rs 1000 crores on publicity in five years—is in plain sight. It has fallen foul of CAG but our newspapers are deaf to the uproar.

AAP had taken hold of everyone’s imagination because it catered to primarily urban voters who were disenchanted with the chicanery of political parties. It was seen as creating a parallel political paradigm. Parallel democracy, if you may. We now know better that it was a ruse to fuel the personal ambition of one man. But read our newspapers and you would get no sniff of such betrayal of masses.

 

Arvind Kejriwal and the political philosophy behind his lies

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Politicians and criminals have one thing in common: Both believe they would never be caught.

We now know Arvind Kejriwal announced free ride for women in metro and bus even before he had made proposal either to his cabinet or to Centre or to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). We also know it wouldn’t have any sobering effect on the man. I mean somebody who has made a roaring career out of lies, why fix something which ain’t broken.

Kejriwal and his dozens of lies are known.  And boy, did they work.  Delhi saw him as a crusader against corruption. He said he had evidence of corruption against Sheila Dikshit, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley.  That he would never be seen in the same frame with the corrupt political classes of the country. That as income-tax commissioner, he was straight as an arrow. That he was against VIP culture of big bungalows and security cover.  That he would never take support from the Congress. And once elected, he would have hundreds of schools and buses; free water and electricity etc.  The muffler-man, who coughed between his sentences, was the pin-up politician not just on auto-rickshaws.

We later learnt that he was never an income-tax commissioner.  That a five-room bungalow and Z security cover were his first candies. Corruption? Well he apologized to Sheila and Dikshit and Arun Jaitley and everyone else in the town. The guy who helped Robert Vadra in his alleged land deals found his way in the AAP land acquisition committee.  Another with a 300-crore scam on farmers’ money became a member of the AAP agriculture reform committee and got a Lok Sabha ticket;  the activist who stood by the Muslim juvenile brutal rapist who inserted and took the intestines of Nirbhaya out became his party AAP’s face for Bengaluru Lok Sabha seat;  from Mamata to Sonia to Lalu Yadav to Chandrababu Naidu, he never missed any photo-op and stood shoulder to shoulder on the podium of the corrupt.

So what do you make of a man who vowed never to seek Congress’ support and then begged for it in 2019 General Polls. Who would swear by the safety of women but would neither utilize the quota of 11,000 buses nor install CCTVs in it; who sheds copious tears on the poor and the vulnerable but won’t utilize Centre’s fund for Ayushman Bharat and Swachh India campaigns;  who wouldn’t  regularize colonies, provide free water and electricity and move on to his next set of lies.

This is the man who once called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward and a psychopath.” Who is accused of choosing between Hindu and Muslim crimes.  Who blames Centre for all his failures including the Jan Lokpal bill which in reality is pending with his own AAP government;  who used Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption and dumped him at the first opportunity; all those who stood by him—Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Shazia Ilmi, Kumar Vishwas, Kapil Mishra and Alka Lamba—were cast aside either by design or conduct.

All politicians lie. But all lies are not equal. The difference in Kejriwal and others is that he uses them as  his political philosophy. He replaces actual facts with alternate facts to manipulate the emotions and feelings of the masses.  This is what we call Post-Truth: Oxford English dictionary defines it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. “ In short, make-belief prevails over reality.

Most call Arvind Kejriwal an anarchist. I call him a fascist. As philosopher Jason Stanley says: “The key thing is that fascist politics is about identifying enemies, appealing to the in-group and smashing truth and replacing it with power.”

When a politician is caught in his lies, he pays for it either with apology or punishment or both.  There is both shame and consequences involved. In Arvind Kejriwal’s case, it’s neither.  Hopefully, the cost of it would be known in Delhi elections in six months’ time.

 

In Australia’s crackdown, a warning to Indian media

Politicians and criminals have one thing in common: Both believe they would never be caught.

We now know Arvind Kejriwal announced free ride for women in metro and bus even before he had made proposal either to his cabinet or to Centre or to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). We also know it wouldn’t have any sobering effect on the man. I mean somebody who has made a roaring career out of lies, why fix something which ain’t broken.

Kejriwal and his dozens of lies are known.  And boy, did they work.  Delhi saw him as a crusader against corruption. He said he had evidence of corruption against Sheila Dikshit, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley.  That he would never be seen in the same frame with the corrupt political classes of the country. That as income-tax commissioner, he was straight as an arrow. That he was against VIP culture of big bungalows and security cover.  That he would never take support from the Congress. And once elected, he would have hundreds of schools and buses; free water and electricity etc.  The muffler-man, who coughed between his sentences, was the pin-up politician not just on auto-rickshaws.

We later learnt that he was never an income-tax commissioner.  That a five-room bungalow and Z security cover were his first candies. Corruption? Well he apologized to Sheila and Dikshit and Arun Jaitley and everyone else in the town. The guy who helped Robert Vadra in his alleged land deals found his way in the AAP land acquisition committee.  Another with a 300-crore scam on farmers’ money became a member of the AAP agriculture reform committee and got a Lok Sabha ticket;  the activist who stood by the Muslim juvenile brutal rapist who inserted and took the intestines of Nirbhaya out became his party AAP’s face for Bengaluru Lok Sabha seat;  from Mamata to Sonia to Lalu Yadav to Chandrababu Naidu, he never missed any photo-op and stood shoulder to shoulder on the podium of the corrupt.

So what do you make of a man who vowed never to seek Congress’ support and then begged for it in 2019 General Polls. Who would swear by the safety of women but would neither utilize the quota of 11,000 buses nor install CCTVs in it; who sheds copious tears on the poor and the vulnerable but won’t utilize Centre’s fund for Ayushman Bharat and Swachh India campaigns;  who wouldn’t  regularize colonies, provide free water and electricity and move on to his next set of lies.

This is the man who once called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward and a psychopath.” Who is accused of choosing between Hindu and Muslim crimes.  Who blames Centre for all his failures including the Jan Lokpal bill which in reality is pending with his own AAP government;  who used Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption and dumped him at the first opportunity; all those who stood by him—Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Shazia Ilmi, Kumar Vishwas, Kapil Mishra and Alka Lamba—were cast aside either by design or conduct.

All politicians lie. But all lies are not equal. The difference in Kejriwal and others is that he uses them as  his political philosophy. He replaces actual facts with alternate facts to manipulate the emotions and feelings of the masses.  This is what we call Post-Truth: Oxford English dictionary defines it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. “ In short, make-belief prevails over reality.

Most call Arvind Kejriwal an anarchist. I call him a fascist. As philosopher Jason Stanley says: “The key thing is that fascist politics is about identifying enemies, appealing to the in-group and smashing truth and replacing it with power.”

When a politician is caught in his lies, he pays for it either with apology or punishment or both.  There is both shame and consequences involved. In Arvind Kejriwal’s case, it’s neither.  Hopefully, the cost of it would be known in Delhi elections in six months’ time.

Arrest over photo-shopped image: A curse has befallen on Mamata’s Bengal

(It’s a reprint from NewsBred).

This is a poser for you, readers. Please tell us what’s common amongst Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Tejaswi Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Pritish Nandy, Vir Sanghvi, Karan Thapar, Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Raveesh Kumar, Rana Ayoob, Saba Naqvi, Ramachandra Guha, Harsh Mander, Apoorvanand, Faizan Mustafa, Siddharth Vardharajan, Sadanand Dhume, Christophe Jaffrelot etc. Stumped?

Ok, let me try to suggest a few alternatives to you: (a) They all are anti-Modi; (b) They all stand for “freedom of speech”; (c) They all are for democratic, secular values; (d) they all are against totalitarianism; (e) They all are for feminism and stand for equality and dignity of women; (f) for freedom of press; (g) they are all of the above.

One option which you all must have missed and I would name now is that they all are SILENT on arrest of BJP’s young leader Priyanka Sharma by the totalitarian government of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Like they were silent when CBI officers were held as hostages; police officers under probe being shielded; violence in elections; opposition candidates unable to file their nomination papers; TMC goons forcing voters favourably in polling booths; arrests on mere chants of “Jai Shri Ram”; scuttling of Ayushman Bharat only because it’s BJP’s scheme; Refusing to pick up Modi’s phone on Fani cyclone because she doesn’t consider PM a PM; refusing to let BJP land helicopters for scheduled rally; preferring Ramzan over Durga Puja; custom officials harassed only because they found 2kg gold in the bags of wife of Mamata’s nephew; number of alleged scams etc.

I cite these instances to show how fake are these forces and the ethical and moral cloak they use to hide their agenda. But at a more urgent level, this has probably encouraged Mamata Banerjee to go berserk. Look at the issue of Priyanka Sharma. She circulates a photo-shopped image of Mamata Banerjee, imposed over a latest picture of actress Priyanka Chopra. A complaint is filed and she is sent to 14-day judicial remedy. Mind you, Priyanka Sharma hasn’t created the image, only shared it. Yet amongst thousands of such shares, she alone has been made to bear the brunt of suppression. The clear corollary is that she is made to suffer because of her political affiliation which Mamata can’t stand.

Yet these forces are silent. Even as the hashtag #ISupportPriyankaSharma on twitter is building up a considerable steam. Twitteratis are so upset that they are changing profile picture with the one which has landed Priyanka Sharma in trouble. “Arrest me, if you must,” is an assertion by many twitter-users under the above hashtag. Yet none of these forces are taking note. A BJP worker is jailed for sharing photo yet it’s Modi who’s a “Hitler.”

Newspapers are wrongly defined as a bridge between people and the government. In Lutyens Media, people don’t matter. Or only a certain kind matter.  A Modi is hauled for uttering “Bhrashtachari No.1” while a Mamata Banerjee can get away literally with murder.  Remember, she recently said she would put pebbles in soil and present it as rasogoolas so it breaks Modi’s teeth? How did these forces react? Silence.

I remember an instance when RSS ideologue Prof. Rakesh Sinha had a non-bailable warrant issued against him by West Bengal police for posting a picture of his with his mother in Mahakal temple in Ujjain. The West Bengal police acted on the complaint of an individual who felt Sinha’s “provocative” picture spoilt the communal harmony in the state! An aghast Sinha didn’t know what hit him. “I haven’t even visited West Bengal in the last two years,” a baffled Prof. Sinha had said. Where was the outrage from these soldiers of “democracy”?

The sixth phase of 2019 General Elections would be over on Sunday. Election Commission, worried over history of violence in West Bengal during elections, spread the one in the state to all seven phases. Yet, even the cover of central armed forces haven’t been much of a help. In each of the six phases so far, violence has happened; cases of rigging have been reported. Yet the names mentioned above haven’t bat even an eyelid. Shekhar Gupta, head of Editors’ Guild, instead is drooling over Mamata “fighting fire with fire, venom with venom.” A Rajdeep Sardesai is gushing and asking Mamata Banerjee the secret of her energy. (Boost, of course, you terrible).

A real Mamata Banerjee is very different from the Mother Teresa-like sari she wears.  Her autobiography conveys the image of a woman who likes to play the victim card. She is deeply insecure about losing control. She is also extremely star-struck. Just look at the number of MPs, MLAs and ministers who are stars and starlets in West Bengal. A whole lot of them were recruited in 2014 General Elections. Many more have been made candidates for the 2019 General Polls. Why, she even got a few from across the border to do her bidding.

This piece is just not about naming game. The most troubling is the intimidation which any Indian citizen in any state could be subjected to by the longest arm of law in West Bengal. Judiciary hasn’t been much of a help. Nor the Centre who many believe should’ve imposed President’s Rule in West Bengal seasons ago. Even Islamic State declaring they have an emir in West Bengal hasn’t brought home the horrible truth that West Bengal could be a beehive of Islamic/Jihadists designs today.

West Bengal is slipping out of Union. All the ideals enshrined in our holy book, the Constitution, are being butchered today. The worry is, we are all being reduced to spectators. Some by design, some by helplessness. Time for a saviour. Maybe, May 23 could throw up light.

Amen.

 

Yogendra Yadav hits a new low with his lies

Yogendra Yadav has the cultivated voice of an actor who is dressed up in a kurta-pyjama, made distinctive by his non-use of politicians’ whites. He was part of the troika with Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal before the once-mufflerman got rid of them. He has since formed Swaraj India, so anonymous it could challenge an IAS-aspirant in its quiz test.  News networks such as NDTV and India Today are the ones who keep him going. But for some elections, somewhere in India, at any time of the year, Yadav would go unnoticed on a busy street.

I do find him sometimes on The Wire and the Firstpost, slightly amused when he sings paeans in praise of Jignesh Mewani; and definitely irked when he distorts history to run down Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as he did in his edit-piece in the Hindu on Wednesday.

Yadav must be reading from the dubious books of Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib to suggest that since its inception in 1925, RSS has never been part of a national movement. Which national movement sir, the one where we didn’t seek complete independence from British but only sought dominion status? (truth to tell, India was still a dominion to British empire on August 15, 1947).

If Yadav remembers the year of RSS formation, he also ought to have told his readers that it came in the backdrop of Khilafat movement (1921-24) where Muslim leadership was appeased to the extent that Moplah rebellion occurred which butchered thousands of Hindus.

The slaughters were so macabre that this is what Madras High Court noted after the event: “…(these) murderous attack indicate something more than mere fanaticism…the only survivors were those who either got away or were left as dead.”

Yadav then does the cheap act of lampooning Veer Savarkar for seeking mercy from the British in the Cellular Jail of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and thereafter meekly follow the conditions imposed on him. Doesn’t Yadav know that only the most dangerous prisoners were kept in that “kaala paani” jail? That Savarkar, unlike Nehru who was given a bungalow with his choicest curtains and a garden in his jail-term, was a prisoner marked D (dangerous) and went through most unspeakable cruelties: flogged, manacled, made to eat gruel which was riddled with worms?

As for his mercy petitions, it is known to everyone but the fake history peddlers that Savarkar’s clemency pleas were a tactical ploy like Shivaji’s letter to Aurangzeb during his arrest in Agra as he didn’t want his life’s mission to end behind bars.

Yadav would like us to believe that Savarkar went quiet and obeyed British after he was released. In fact Savarkar spent 27 years in jail and under prison-restricts terms between 1910-1937. He helped found the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha and worked ceaselessly against caste discrimination and untouchability in the years which Yadav terms as “quiet.”

Yadav has a problem with Savarkar and his Hidutva philosophy but wouldn’t tell readers that one of India’s tallest freedom fighter was a self-avowed atheist! He would not mention how Savarkar was wrongly implicated in Mahatma Gandhi’s murder.

Yadav then tars Shyama Prasad Mookerjee for “collaborating” with Britsh during 1942 Quit India stir which he terms as the “biggest anti-colonial uprising.” A view has lately gained ground that “Quit India” was as phoney as “non-cooperation” and “civil disobedience” movement, meant only to vent out the frustration of Indians. Quit India stir was a desperate attempt of Congress which had committed the grave error of resigning from its’ provincial governments in 1939.  Without a say in national politics, and with Muhammad Ali Jinnah and British in alliance, Congress whipped up Quit India just to stay relevant. As soon as it was launched, all of its leaders were put behind bars. Jinnah got a free field to pursue—and finally accomplish—his dream of a Pakistan.

As for RSS playing no role in 1942 Quit India movement, let Aruna Asaf Ali’s words debunk Yadav’s claim. Aruna Asaf Ali had revealed that RSS Delhi sangachalak Lala Hansraj Gupta had given her shelter in his own house during the 1942 Quit India. Prominent Congressmen like Achutrao Patwardhan, despite being a strong critic of RSS, and others were kept safe in swayamsewaks’ homes.  Be it food, safety or in illness, RSS stood like a wall in safeguarding Congress leaders.

Yadav has no qualms in besmirching the reputation of Mookerjee who saved Hindus by championing the cause of Bengal partition after the Muslim League government of Bengal butchered and raped thousands of Hindus in the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946. Mookerjee was the man who set up 5000 relief kitchens during the 1943 Great Bengal Famine of 1943.

Yadav then trains his guns on Nathuram Godse-RSS connection. He would never tell the readers that Godse left RSS because it considered the latter to be a “coward.” As per the Justice Jeevanlal Kapur-headed 1969 Government-appointed Commission report, not only RSS was not involved in Gandhi’s murder but “in Delhi also there is no evidence that RSS as such was indulging in violent activities as against Mahatma Gandhi or top Congress leaders.”

And this man has the gall to call RSS an anti-national. What do you think we should call you Mr Yadav?

MSM Fake News Monitor: Indian Express on BHU

(Facebook today came out with a full-page advertisement in Indian Express (September 26, 2017) with 10 tools for a reader to check if a news is fake. It asks readers to check headlines, evidence, photos, source to spot a Fake News. It’s a good reference point to monitor our English national dailies—Lutyens’ Media– who abound in Fake News. It’s a start today and we would gradually warm up to daily planting of Fake News by mainstream media.)

Indian Express today had 7 stories on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) violence, running from its Front Page to multiple pages inside its Delhi edition. It fails the Facebook Fake News Challenge on multiple counts.

EVIDENCE: A front page piece attributes several issues which girl hostellers face in BHU. There is not a SINGLE source attributed!!! Further there is no attempt to investigate—in this or in any other BHU story in Indian Express today if there is truth in (a) Outside BHU elements creating ruckus; (b) attempt to destroy the University property; (c) police targeting only these “troublemakers” (d) BHU Vice-Chancellor alleging protests politically motivated.

Interestingly, THE PROTESTORS THEMSELVES SAY THE OUTSIDE ELEMENTS HAVE CAUSED THE TROUBLE!!! Why Express has made no attempt to investigate it? Or other news reports? (see image)?

SOURCE:  Seema Chisti writes thus on Edit Page in today’s Express: “BHU has pushed for no Wi-Fi (How can the new VC risk Wi-Fis, as girls would watch porn). Meat-eating must be curbed and early bedtimes enforced. The VC, who defended RSS ideas, was keen to stamp out any trouble in BHU.”

The Facebook Fake News Challenge asks readers to be sceptical of the source you don’t trust. Seema Chisti falls in this bracket. She never mentions she is Seema Chisti Yechury, wife of Communist powerhead, Sitaram Yechury. Readers can’t be faulted if she is perceived as part of Communist propaganda machine.

One, there is Wi-Fi in girls’ hostel (so they can watch porn, Ms Chisti). Two, meat-eating is not curbed (Extra Rs 30 ensure it); Three, early bedtimes are not enforced–Girl students can take permission from BHU authorities and stay out as long as they want.

Let’s not even stoop to reply her charge on the BHU VC having RSS leaning (And why readers must not presume you are a Communist loudspeaker, Ms Chisti?)

HEADLINES:  The Front Page headline of “Why women BHU students are separate and unequal” is classically ambiguous. You can interpret it both ways—that WHY SHOULD girls have separate rules or WHY SHOULD NOT there be separate rules.. But for the standard tactics of misleading headlines, I would give a more concrete example.

On Page 11 of Indian Express, one of its exclusive story has this headline: “Rohingya illegal, purse-strings open for Lankan Tamil refugees”. Now this headline clearly aims to influence the readers that the Modi government is discriminatory; it has one policy for Rohingya Muslims and another for Non-Muslims. What it shamelessly hides is that Rohingyas are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and not REFUGEES! So the two instances can’t be compared. Unless the newspaper sees no difference between apples and oranges.

As an aside, click on this link to see how from politicians (Ashok Gehlot, Sanjay Sharma), to journalists (Mrinal Pande, Swati Chaturvedi) to lawyers (Prashant Bhushan) have blatantly peddled lies on the BHU affair and make up your own mind on these Fake News Promoters.

(Post Script: Mainstream Media Fake News Monitor isn’t exclusive to this writer. Any discerning reader who spots Fake News in our mainstream media can use the platform and share it with others—but don’t forget to tag the headline MSM Fake News Monitor. Only then we would know the extent to which Lutyens Media lies).