Friday, 28 June 2013

Is it Buddhist Terror: Monks leading mobs to attack Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar

The communal violence unleashed against the minority Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Barma (or Burma), has stunned the world.

One of most persecuted minorities, Rohingyas, are being attacked, tortured and killed across the country with impunity.

This is happening even as a horrified international community is urging the Burmese military leaders to check these crimes against humanity.

Now the Time Magazine's cover on the monk who has been described as 'The Face of the Buddhist Terror" has led to angry reactions from a few sections among the Buddhists.

A recent report suggested that 1,25,000 Muslims have been displaced internally in the large-scale attacks and violence against minorities in Myanmar. In fact, it is almost an ethnic cleansing. The issues are manifold.

First, the Myanmar's military government is least interested in protecting the minorities. The regime in Rakhine state treats the Rohingyas as outsiders. They consider them as Bangladeshis despite living in Myanmar for ages.

There is no citizenship for Rohingyas. With monks delivering hate speeches and spreading communal hatred, the local population is also turning against the Muslims. They are now seen as illegal immigrants and are referred to as Bengalis.

When they are forcibly deported, the authorities in neighbouring Bangladesh also refuse to admit these refugees in their country. It is such a humanitarian crises for this persecuted minority. Innumerable people including women and children have died when trying to leave the country, their boats have capsized.

The massacres in which even children were brutally killed last year have shown how the fringe lumpens are now taking centre stage in the country. The Buddhist majority is not doing enough to save or protect the religious minorities.

Yes, it is sad to link terrorism with any religion. Yes, Buddhism is considered a religion of peace. But when religious people like monks issue diktats and lead mobs to kill and rape, the situation in Myanmar has clearly gone out of hand. Even Aung San Suu Kyi has remained a mute spectator to the killings and mayhem.

She has done little to speak on the issue or even intervene in this conflict. The junta remains passive and international pressure hasn't prompted it to act. Even Dalai Lama, an international Buddhist figure, paid mere lip service, rather, than taking a bold stand in order to mediate.

The Time Magazine must be congratulated for exposing this religious fanaticism. One just hopes that the Buddhist majority would realise how their religion and the message of Buddha has been hijacked by the monks, who are giving bad name to Buddhism. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Jain family gets separate water connection to avoid line shared with Muslim, Christian families

A Mumbai-based Jain family got a separate water connection because they didn't want to share the same line with Christian and Muslim families.

This shocking case has once again shown how communalism permeates our society. The 'educated' and 'affluent' remain no less afflicted by this communal bug. Interestingly, the Jains are also considered a religious minority in India.

Though there instances when a few Jain, Bania and Gujarati families denied houses to Muslims or non-vegetarians across India, this incident has brought to fore the communal divide and deep seated religious prejudices in the country.

The report was first published in Times of India's Mumbai Mirror. It was later carried in other papers. Communals exist in all sections of the society. But this tendency reflected in Chogmal's Jain's application to BMC when he requested for separate water connection citing his religious reasons, is sickening.

It a sad story. To some, it may seem a small incident that could be ignored but in reality it shows how we lack values and all talks about our 'grand traditions, culture, history and civilisation' are just farce because there is nothing of that sort visible on the ground.

More so, when Jains who follow the path of Ahimsa or Non-Violence and Peace, turn to communalism, it looks distressing. For 70 years, these families were living together. The Aman Villa had a Amar-Akbar-Anthony till the revelation but not any more. Read the Mirror report here.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Election results indicate Nawaz Sharif's PMLN wins in Pakistan: Imran Khan's PTI, People's Party (PPP) lag behind

Contrary to expectations, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) failed to emerge as leading party in Pakistan.

As results of the elections for national assembly in Pakistan showed Pakistan Muslim League emerging as the clear leader in the National Assembly (NA).

Veteran Nawaz Sharif is again going to become Prime Minister in the country. The PML-N may form the government on its own. The PPP and PTI will fight for the second and third positions. 

The situation is bad for the Zardari-Bhuttos' PPP as it was struggling in different parts of the country. Still, it was an achievement for PTI which was winning in urban areas. While MQM may retain its hold in its pocket boroughs, the other political parties fared badly.

There are no major surprises for the election 2013 except the emergence of Imran Khan's party. The PTI will now play the role of a strong opposition. For PPP leadership it will be the time to reflect and go back to the people.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

South India shuts its door on BJP, Congress wins: Five reasons why BJP lost in Karnataka election

BJP has lost in the Assembly election in Karnataka.

The defeat will pinch the Saffron party for long as the sole state that gave it an entry into Southern India, has now rejected it.

But the party has none but itself to blame for the mess in the last five years.

Here are the few reasons why the Karnataka's people voted against the BJP:

1. Anti-Christian violence including attack on Churches and priests in 2008 that continued even later
2. Bellary brothers took corruption to a new level
3. Sri Ram Sene thrashed women, couples publicly
4. Right-wing Hindutva outfits had free run for the last 5 years
5. Inter-religious couples, Muslims also faced the ire

You can add to it INCUMBENCY and YEDDY factor.

In Karnataka, which prided on its culture, BJP had allowed organisations like Ram Sene, Bajrang Dal and similar other groups, a free run. The state machinery rarely acted against them. As Bangalore became Bengaluru, the last five years also saw state getting defamed.

For coastal Karnataka (around Mangalore) where education levels are high, the activities of RSS lumpens had brought shame. It was no longer a modern state. The image of educated Kannadiga had changed to an uncouth, bigoted person.

Women had seen enough of rioting and moral policing. From Valentine's Day to parties in pub, nothing was beyond the Saffron reach. Perhaps, this was enough. Karnataka's pride was wounded. Yeddyurappa's exit also cost BJP dearly.

But it was a decisive vote against BJP. In 65 years after independence, Karnataka had never seen such a phase of communal riots and disharmony that it went through after BJP came to power in 2008. Now Congress has got the mandate, a clear majority in 2013 polls.

There will be expectations. The BJP should reflect on its wrongdoings. For the moment, its' celebration time for Congress though they can't be complacent. BJP is out of South India despite Narendra Modi campaigning here. Let's see what strategy they have for future as General Elections are not far away now.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Migration of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs): Don't make it Kashmiri Pandit Vs Kashmiri Muslim Issue

The Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) had to leave their home state Kashmir. Their displacement was a monumental tragedy.

Every sensitive persons understands their pain and speaks in support of the community. Even 'separatist' leaders today urge the KPs to return.

While every such issue must be looked with a humanitarian aspect, the Kashmir issue gets communalised in a strange way: Militants targeted Kashmiri Pandits but they also targeted Kashmiri Muslims, thousands of whom died in the last three decades.

On one hand the issue of exile of the KPs is raised, the issue of security forces' excesses is a Holy Cow. Nobody wants to discuss the 'mass graves' found in the Valley. TV channels don't want to talk about the 'missing thousands' of children and teenagers in J&K.

They ignore atrocities like rapes and custodial tortures. Life is not easy for a Kashmiri even today. The channels don't show it. Journalists visit refugee camps but avoid talking about fake encounters or human rights abuse. Over 200 Kashmiri Pandits died in the militant attacks in Kashmir. It is a shame. 

But also around 47,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed in this conflict. This is also a big shame. If the former is a holocaust or genocide as described repeatedly, what is the latter? Both are not different and should not be seen differently.

Ironically, in the last few years, focus is less on getting the KPs back, but more on exploiting the migration of the Pandit community, to serve narrow political interests and further a particular ideology that divides people on religious lines.

The right-wing political parties and groups who have tried their best to milk the issue of displacement has never supported the Kashmiri Pandits wholeheartedly. For them, it is just a routine exercise to target the so-called secularists or further their own agenda.

Often people say that KPs shouldn't have migrated, rather they should have stayed, endured and fought. Just like Muslims who suffered tremendously in Gujarat but continued to live despite a hostile administration, police and angry neighbours.

I don't buy this argument and to discuss it more than two decades later, it's a bad joke. All situations are different. There are different versions of what happened in the era when Jagmohan was governor and KP exodus began. Today the J&K government is repeatedly calling KPs to return.

Government may not be doing as much as one expects but the society is also welcoming them. Separatist leaders say that they open arms for KPs. Hundreds of jobs have been given to KPs recently and they have returned also. Muslims go out of way to ensure success of Amarnath Yatra (Vaishnav Devi) every year.

There are many real life stories of Muslims keeping the temples safe all these years. In this situation, pitting KPs against KMs is totally wrong and deplorable. On social networking websites, enormous amount of hate is directed against Muslims, who are blamed for KP exodus.

This serves the Sangh Parivar, BJP and RSS. But it doesn't help the Kashmiris, either Hindus or Muslims. It doesn't help non-Kashmiris in India. This only helps in furthering the divisive agenda of a segment. But many fall in this trap.

Unfortunately, people who talk of one tragedy, don't want to talk about another tragedy. Naturally, the issue gets communalised and puts victims as opponents. Why both tragedies shouldn't be spoken about in the same breath? When you talk of militants killing people, why it doesn't include all.

Why the encounters, illegal detentions and firing on 'stone pelters' (teenagers and boys) is not considered as a tragedy. It either deliberately (by design) or unknowingly becomes a Kashmiri Pandit Vs Kashmiri Muslim issue. We shouldn't let this happen. Don't divide. Don't differentiate sufferings.

It is not KP Vs KM. It should be Kashmiri Pandit+Kashmiri Muslim. Or simply Kashmir.

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