Is Cong’s anti-CAA stance trustworthy?

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 11, 2021

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Congress’ recent loss in Assam has caused discussions about the party’s stand in the CAA issue once more. The BJP, along with allies AGP and UPPL, who won the election did not mention the CAA further than in the manifesto, stating that it will be implemented as per parliamentary ruling. The Congress, on the other hand mentioned the CAA several times during the campaign, going as far to promise a law repealing the largely protested act. 

The passing of the CAA was met with a huge opposition in Assam. Owing to that, the BJP chose to omit the controversial act during the campaign altogether. While it may come as a surprise with the magnitude of opposition against the BJP the CAA caused in Assam, the tactic seemed to work in their favor.

Conversely, the Rahul Gandhi made it a point to publicly announce that that Congress was anti-CAA and would not allow it to be implemented if they get voted into power. Despite the repeal of the CAA being one the five guarantees the Congress gave prior to the election, it seems like the party isn’t unanimous in the idea.

Far from all the Congress leaders being confident in their anti-CAA stand, not even all the Congress leaders within Assam have expressed their stance openly. Sushmita Dev from Barak Valley for example shied away from making any clear statements on the matter. Unwilling to lose out on the votes from people who are pro-CAA, including the Hindu Bengalis, she has remained vague about the issue. 

While Rahul Gandhi and Jitendra Singh have made their stance clear at the central and state level, it is surprising that leaders within the state are not complying with the same. Vote banks and such are not an uncommon occurrence in India. However, when the Congress central leadership has spoken openly against the CAA on multiple occasions, they are making a stand against a decision made by the Center.

The BJP caters to a majorly Hindu audience with no qualms about that being public knowledge. The Congress, on the other hand, has made it a point to seem secular, and support minorities. Their decision to be anti-CAA, deeming it unconstitutional works in that vein. 

However, to pick and choose when to stress on this in fear of losing voters who support the CAA is contradictory to the principles of the party. Vying for the votes of the Hindu Bengalis by distancing themselves from their anti-CAA stance not only brings the Congress’ ideals into question, but also makes the public wonder how much control the leadership has on the members of the party. 

The question arises: Was this an individual blunder or a party blunder? Is the party selling out its values in exchange for votes? Or is it simply that the representatives are allowed to run amuck without respecting the ideals of the party?

While the Congress, unlike its counterpart, has in general refrained from making many blatantly discriminatory statements, they are no pinnacle of inclusivity. The Congress does continuously preach secularism and claims to want to support the minorities, yet the numbers speak for themselves. The representatives are overwhelmingly part of the majority.

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News Network
August 1,2022

Udupi, Aug 1: A teenage girl ended her life today by self-immolation at her house at Koravadi in Kumbhashi village near Kota in Udupi district.

The deceased has been identified as Ananya (15), a Class 10 student of Padukare government high school. She was reportedly suffering from depression for past few days. 

It is learnt that, Ananya, who was supposed to go to school in the morning, reportedly poured kerosene over herself and set herself on fire. 

Neighbours rushed to her rescue when she started scream. A partially burnt Ananya was taken to a hospital where she breathed her last. 

Ananya’s parents live in Bengaluru. She was living with her grandmother and aunt. 

A case has been registered in this regard at Kundapur police station. Investigations are on.

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News Network
August 4,2022

Lahore, Aug 4: A 1,200-year-old Hindu temple here in the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province has been formally opened to the public after it was reclaimed from a Christian family following a lengthy court battle, according to a federal body.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the federal body overseeing minority worship places in Pakistan, last month reclaimed possession of the Valmiki Temple situated near the famous Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore from a Christian family, which had grabbed the place of worship more than two decades ago.

Besides the Krishna Temple, the Valmiki Temple is the prominent Hindu temple in Lahore.

The Christian family, which claims to have converted to Hinduism, had been facilitating only the Valmiki caste Hindus for worship at the temple for the last two decades.

ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi said Valmiki Temple was formally inaugurated on Wednesday with over 100 Hindus, some Sikh, Christian and Muslim leaders gathered there to celebrate the occasion.

Talking to PTI on Thursday, Hashmi said the Hindu devotees performed their religious rituals and had langar (food) for the first time it was retrieved from the grabbers.

"Valmiki Temple will be fully restored in accordance with a master plan in the coming days," the spokesperson said.

The ETPB said the temple’s land was transferred to it in the revenue record, but the family 2010-2011, claiming to be the owner of the property, filed a case in a civil court.

Besides going into litigation, the family also made the temple only for the Valmiki Hindus, it said.

This left the ETPB with no option but to fight the case in court.

“This time, the court also reprimanded the petitioner for false claims,” the ETPB added.

Pakistan Hindu Mandir Management Committee (PHMMC) President Krishan Sharma said the ETPB'S move was a goodwill gesture and also a step towards mainstreaming the community and should be applauded, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The Valmiki sect of Hindus are a poor segment of the society who have no say or access, Sharma explained, adding they had regained access to this temple now.

“The role of Valmikis is very significant in Hindu mythology; had they not written the Ramayan, no one would know Ram. Earlier, this temple was not being used for worship, those possessing it didn’t allow anyone to enter. But now, every Hindu can come in and pray,” he added.

“We’re making efforts to promote religious tourism and rehabilitate many other temples and religious sites across the country. There are issues everywhere in the world, which are exploited by inimical forces in the region. So, such steps could silence them and counter their narrative,” Sharma added.

In 1992, in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in India, an angry mob wielding weapons stormed into the Valmiki Temple. It smashed the idols of Krishna and Valmiki, broke utensils and crockery in the kitchen and seized the gold with which the statues were embellished.

The temple was demolished to rubble and the building was set on fire. The shops in the neighbourhood also caught fire and it took days for the authorities to extinguish the flames.

The ETPB spokesman told the Dawn newspaper that a one-person commission constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan presented its recommendations to the government, stating that the temple must be renovated to provide better workshop facilities to the Hindu community.

But the ETPB, in the wake of the litigation, was unable to start restoration work at the temple constructed on 0.025 hectares worth millions in the heart of the city, the spokesperson said.

The ETPB looks after the temples and land left over by Sikhs and Hindus who migrated to India after the Partition. It oversees 200 Gurdwaras and 150 temples across Pakistan. 

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August 4,2022

Mangaluru, Aug 4: The district administration has slightly relaxed the evening prohibitory orders across Dakshina Kannada after August 5. 

In the wake of serial communal killings, Deputy Commissioner Dr KV Rajendra had issued an order to close all shops in the district from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. from July 29. This order will expire tomorrow morning. 

As per fresh order, shops in the district can remain open for three more hours from August 5.  

From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. all shops must remain closed for next three days, i.e. until August 8. Liquor shops can remain open till 6 p.m. during this period. 

Emergency services, hospitals, medical shops will be exempted from the order and can function normally.

The DC has also directed local authorities to keep a watch on shops in their respective jurisdiction.

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