10 March 2016 – Protests in Delhi

Fishworkers Protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Fishworkers from several parts of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to protest against the government’s policies towards the fisherfolk in the coastal regions of India. They demanded a separate ministry for fishing and criticized the government for allowing the constructions of innumerable ports without looking into the environmental hazards they pose.

Tibetans in Delhi protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Tibetans observed the 57th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day which took place on this day in 1959. The protesters called for global intervention in Tibet to save Tibetan Lives and send fact finding delegations in Tibet to access the real situation of the Tibetans living there under the Chinese regime.

Dalit Christians and Muslims Protests at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. National Council of Dalit Christians, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India strongly condemned Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawar Chand Ghelot for his offensive statements. The protesters demanded to grant SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims in India.

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NAPM Strongly condemns the murder of Prof. MM Kalburgi

ANOTHER BLOW TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY OF THE COUNTRY – RELIGIOUS OUTFITS SHUNTING THE DOORS OF SECULARISM IN INDIA

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) strongly condemns the murder of senior rationalist scholar Prof. M M Kalburgi and demands Govt. to order a probe into the matter immediately

August 31, 2015, New Delhi : Prof. M. M. Kalburgi hailing from Dharwad, Karnataka, a renowned rationalist scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Hampi University, Karnataka, was shot dead on 30th August 2015 by unidentified gunmen at his residence, at point blank range. The murderers escaped on a motorcycle. The National Alliance of People’s Movements strongly condemns the murder, which is suspected to be yet another attempt of right wing extremists to kill persons with rationalist views.

Earlier, leading rationalist and anti-superstition activist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on 20th August 2013, and left leader and outspoken critic of Hindutva, Shri Govind Pansare was murdered in Kolhapur on 20th February 2015. This latest foul murder of Prof. M. M. Kalburgi, along with the earlier two murders, is suspected to have been committed by right wing religious extremists.

With a BJP government at the Centre providing tacit support, right wing Hindutva elements are emboldened and are increasingly coming out openly against persons who are merely critical of Hinduism. They are intolerant of persons who differ from them, and deliberately get “hurt feelings” or “hurt sentiments” at the slightest excuse. They choose to interpret even mere discussions, debates and statements about Hindu practices and rituals as an insult to Hinduism, and resort to threatening and attacking speakers and writers. They have also been indulging in “moral policing” accompanied by violence. If this trend is not immediately checked and turned back, the people of India will lose their freedom of speech and association, and India’s secular democracy will turn into fascism.

So far, despite considerable popular uproar regarding the premeditated killings, the police has been unwilling or unable to make arrests in both Dabholkar and Pansare murder cases, which took place in broad daylight, just like the murder of Kalburgi. What is common to all three premeditated murders is that the victims had all been repeatedly threatened by right wing extremists due to their rationalist views and opposition to obscurantist beliefs.

Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shri Ram Sene have staged statewide protests against their views and are suspected to be responsible for the killings. Co-convenor of the Bajrang Dal’s Bantwal (Karnataka) cell, Bhuvith Shetty, showing his extremism towards religious freedom and independent views, is openly celebrating the murder with a tweet, which states: “Then it was U.R.Ananthamurthy and now M.M.Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die dogs (sic.) death. And dear K. S. Bhagwan you are next”. This is naked terrorism by a religious extremist, which government must urgently deal with in accordance with the law.

The Constitution of India guarantees liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship to all citizens, and prescribes development of scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform as every citizen’s fundamental duty. The words and actions of these fundamentalist terror groups goes directly against the spirit of the Constitution. But governments have been lackadaisical, perhaps even deliberately so, in investigating these crimes and reining in the groups which have been issuing veiled as well as naked threats (like the tweet above) to persons who are rationalist in thought and belief.

The rise of religious fundamentalism is bringing the democracy and secularism of India into serious question, and may permanently and irreversibly destabilize the Republic. It is high time for government to declare these religious outfits as terror groups and take necessary actions against them. Without such stern and rapid action, we may soon witness situations like those happening in Bangladesh, where Islamic fundamentalists are killing rationalist bloggers.

The National Alliance of People’s Movements, therefore demands that

1) CBI must thoroughly investigate the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M.Kalburgi with a sense of urgency, arrest the suspected murderers and the guiding forces behind them, and ensure that sufficient hard evidence is made available to the public prosecutor to secure conviction.

2) Prime Minister Narendra Modi must unequivocally declare his stand as well as the union government’s stand regarding all the three premeditated murders, and institute procedures to deal with such acts of terrorism.

3) Terrorist outfits regardless of the religion to which they belong or claim to support, must be declared as “terror groups” since, in direct contravention of the country’s democracy and secularism, they openly violate the freedom of speech by threatening and even eliminating persons who express different views.

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Samajwadi Jan Parishad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnam Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh, Nandlal Master – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; Bhupender Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam – NAPM, Delhi

Condemn the politics of Fundamentalism and Hate! Stop Suppression of Freedom of Expression!!

Condemn the politics of Fundamentalism and Hate!

Stop Suppression of Freedom of Speech and Expression!!

3rd February 2015, New Delhi: In the wake of the 2015, India is seeing an upsurge of hate and fundamentalism on one hand and outright suppression of the right to free speech and expression on the other, with vigilante groups and non-state actors imposing censorship through hooliganism and assertive fundamentalist voices, in the name of nationalism with the tacit support of the State.
This republic day, the advertisement by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (DAVP22201/13/0048/1415) portrays an outdated version of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution when the words Socialist and Secular were not inserted by the 42nd Amendment. Some of the fundamentalists have also openly endorsed this error on the part of the Ministry saying that India is not a secular country! On the same day, there was a so called public uproar regarding the issue of Vice President of the Country not saluting in the republic day ceremony when the flag was being hoisted. The public debate and the media attention forced the Vice President to issue an official statement stating that his actions were guided by proper protocol. The irony of situation is that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have not yet issued any statement with a clarification, at least, or an apology, at best.

People of the country have also witnessed “the death of the ‘author’ Perumal Murugan” this year, when his book Mathorubhagan was opposed for allegedly portraying the Kailasanathar temple in Tiruchengode and women devotees in bad light and demands of his arrest were made. Not just the author was made to delete all controversial portions and submit written apologies, he was also forced to leave his home town and he has now decided to give up writing altogether.

In Kolkata, on the evening of 31st January, 2015, members of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, resorted to hooliganism and agitation against Bangladesh country and eventually forced the shutting down of the stall by the Department of Tourism of Bangladesh at the ongoing Kolkata International Book Fair. The issue was regarding the sale of a tourist map which showed parts of Kashmir within the boarders of Pakistan. While the map may be an issue to raise questions or even democratically agitate, the way the entire Book Fair was hijacked by this hooliganism was undemocratic. Hate mongering through repeated shouting of slogans such as ‘Bangladesh Murdabad’ was clearly an attempt to shame the very notion of democracy.

National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements strongly condemns the actions in all the events highlighted above and other events where the freedom of speech and expression, as envisaged by the Constitution of India, is being trampled through hooliganism and spreading of fundamentalism and hatred. We would like to bring the attention of the State authorities to these important matters and request them to take necessary actions so that the public space is not disturbed by the overtly hate mongering actions of the fundamentalist groups. We also call upon the citizenry to strongly condemn the actions of those in power who are trying to hijack and force public views and discourses and jeopardize the tolerant and understanding fabric of multi-cultural, geo-political land called India.

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Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti &Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah &Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru & Richa Singh –Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM, UP;Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union &Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini &Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi

In 2 Minutes An Indian Muslim Breaks 5 Stereotypes About Muslims

Courtesy: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2014/09/stereotypes-about-muslims/#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=542a5a8ac285fdcf&at_ab=per-4&at_pos=0&at_tot=1

At a time when we are faced with growing Islamophobia and communal polarisation being perpetrated by certain groups for vested interests, this audio blog by Saif Ahmad Khan comes as a very crucial intervention. Saif takes on 5 common prejudices that many people hold against Muslims, and counters each of them with tact and reason. Hear for yourself and tell us what you feel.