Lakshadweep – Another Victim of the Hindutva Agenda

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 28, 2021

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Several controversial legislative proposals in Lakshadweep have given way to protests by the indigenous population of the island. The legislation are said to attack their livelihood and lifestyle, and the locals of the island are fighting back. 

Praful Patel was appointed administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020. Unlike what is customary, he is not an IAS officer and was formerly a BJP MP. He served as Home Minister of Gujarat while PM Modi was Chief Minister. He replaced Amit Shah after he resigned following the accusation of Sohrabuddin Sheikh Shah’s alleged extra-judicial killing. 

Prior to this, he was also Administrator in Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Like the legislations being protested in in Lakshadweep at the moment, they, too, saw a series of attacks against the livelihood of the indigenous people. 

A few of the legislations being implemented in Lakshadweep are the ban of cow, bull, calf slaughter and the ban of storage and selling of beef, the legalization of alcohol, the inability for anyone with more than two children to contest elections etc. There are also some very contentious policies about land ownership and modification. 

When taken individually, while they are still arbitrary and unnecessary, they seem almost innocuous. The sinister idea is visible only when one looks at them all at once. The big picture, as it has been since 2014 for Indian Muslims, is grim. 

Lakshadweep has an overwhelming majority of Muslims, standing at over 95% of the total populace. In addition to this, over 94% come under Scheduled Tribes. 

Keeping this in mind, it is not surprising that the archipelago does not see the sale of alcohol, and sees no issue with the consumption of beef. With the current push for a Brahmin-centered Hindutva ideology, mainland India’s obsession with homogeneity has not quite reached the island yet. 

Praful Patel’s policies have been called ‘anti-people.’ The people of Lakshadweep have accused him of taking advantage of the fact that people are unable to mobilize at the moment due to COVID to implement policies that hurt the indigenous people of Lakshadweep. They say that it not only destroys their livelihood, but also their culture. The internet has been taken by a storm of activists tweeting #SaveLakshadweep and demanding the recall of Praful Patel. 

The BJP does not keep their biases a secret. From the changing of the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj, the whole fiasco surrounding the destruction of Babri masjid, the various open statements by Pragya Thakur to the CAA-NRC conflict, their stance is clear. It has been clear for decades, now. 

When Article 370 was abrogated and Kashmir was put into lockdown, India expected it to be an exception to the rule. That the same could not occur in the rest of India. After all, Kashmir has been disputed land right from the time of independence. The atrocities committed in Kashmir, internationally acknowledged as human rights violations, seemed disconnected from India to a huge number of Indians. 

The jailing of student activists fighting against the CAA-NRC, the suppression of dissent, the lathi charges during protests, the existence of UAPA are all symptoms of a larger problem. The legislations in Lakshadweep are the latest in a long line of a bigoted pattern falling into place. 

When British colonizers went to America, they had several ways of suppressing the indigenous people, the Native Americans. One of the lesser known of them was bison hunting. Since bison, or buffaloes, were the primary food source for the Native Americans, the colonizers took to large scale hunting of bison. A slogan popularized by the colonizer army was “Kill every buffalo you can. Every buffalo dead is an Indian [Native American] gone.”

The act of genocide does not only involve brutal massacre. It is larger than that. It a systemic thing. It is an attempt to rewrite history and omit a community’s existence in that land. Erasure of culture is the first step to genocide. 

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News Network
June 20,2022

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New Delhi: With the government standing its ground on the 'Agnipath' military recruitment scheme, some organisations called for 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday amid the ongoing protests demanding a rollback of the plan.

Here are the latest developments:

>> Even as the protests continued over the centre's 'Agnipath' short-term recruitment plan for armed forces, the Army today issued a notification for the induction of soldiers under the scheme. The online registration begins from July, said the notification.

>> Over 600 trains have been cancelled today in view of the Bharat Bandh call in parts of the country over the centre's 'Agnipath' scheme. The railways has suffered a major loss of property due to arson and rioting by the protesters over the last five days.

>> Congress leaders have sat on a 'Satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar in the national capital to express solidarity with the armed forces aspirants protesting against the 'Agnipath' scheme. Some Youth Congress workers were detained after they blocked a train at the Shivaji Bridge railway station near Connaught Place. Parts of Delhi witnessed traffic jams as the police have tightened security across the city and its bordering areas. 

>> In Haryana, a group of job aspirants blocked the Lal Batti Chowk in Fatehabad, while several others staged a protest on roads in Rohtak district. Security has been stepped up at several locations in Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal and Rajasthan also to avoid any untoward incident.

>> Uttar Pradesh Police said strict action will be taken against those found involved in jeopardising peace. In Punjab, the police have been asked to monitor the activities of social media groups which are allegedly mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme.

>> The Bihar government has increased security at party offices considered vulnerable. As of now, internet services remain shut in 20 districts. In Jharkhand, all schools will remain closed today amid protests over the 'Agnipath' scheme.

>> The three services of the military on Sunday came out with a broad schedule of enrolment under the 'Agnipath' scheme and warned those who indulged in violence and arson will not be inducted.

>> The Home and Defence ministries on Saturday promised new 10 per cent quotas each in jobs for 'Agnipath' recruits after their four-year tenure in the armed forces. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the PSUs under his housing and petroleum ministries are also working on plans to induct 'Agniveers'.

>> The Home Ministry has further decided to give 3 years of age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles. 

>> Protests erupted in several states after June 14 when the centre unveiled the 'Agnipath' recruitment plan. Under the scheme, people between 17.5 and 21 years will be recruited in the armed forces for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

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Agencies
June 25,2022

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Lahore, Jun 25: Sajid Majeed Mir, one of India’s most wanted terrorists on whom the US has placed a bounty of USD 5 million for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has been jailed for over 15 years in a terror-financing case by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan, which is struggling to exit the grey list of the FATF.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police, which often issues convictions of the suspects in such cases to the media, did not notify Mir’s conviction.

His sentencing comes as Islamabad prepares for on site visit by the officials from the global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to verify the implementation of Pakistan’s relevant anti-money laundering and terrorism-financing reforms.

“An anti-terrorism court in Lahore early this month had handed down 15 and a half years jail term to Sajid Majeed Mir, an activist of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), in a terror-financing case,” a senior lawyer associated with terror financing cases of LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leaders told PTI on Friday.

Besides, since it was an in-camera proceeding at the jail, the media was not allowed.

The lawyer further said Mir has been in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore since his arrest in April. He said the court also imposed a fine of over Rs 400,000 on the convict.

Pakistani authorities had in the past claimed he had died, but Western countries remained unconvinced and demanded proof of his death. This issue became a major sticking point in FATF’s assessment of Pakistan’s progress on the action plan late last year. This was where things finally started moving in Mir’s case leading to his ‘arrest’, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

His conviction and sentencing were, therefore, major achievements that Pakistani officials showcased in their progress report given to FATF on its action plan during the latest plenary, the paper commented.

It indeed helped in convincing FATF members that Pakistan had finished all the required tasks, it added.

Mir, 44, is on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists. He has a USD five million reward on his head.

Mir is on India’s most-wanted list for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead, including six Americans.

Before the last meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan reportedly told the agency that it had arrested and prosecuted Sajid Mir in order to seek its removal from the global anti-laundering body’s ‘Grey list’.

Mir was called the “project manager” of the Mumbai attacks. Mir reportedly had visited India in 2005 using a fake passport with a fake name.

The FBI says that “Mir is wanted for his alleged involvement in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Beginning on November 26, 2008, and continuing through November 29, 2008, ten LeT attackers carried out a series of coordinated attacks against multiple targets in Mumbai, including hotels, cafes, and a train station, killing approximately 170 people.

“Six Americans were killed during the three-day attacks. Mir allegedly served as the chief planner of the attacks, directing preparations and reconnaissance, and was one of the Pakistan-based controllers during the attacks. Additionally, Mir allegedly conspired to commit a terrorist attack against a newspaper and its employees in Denmark between 2008 and 2009,” it said.

“Mir was indicted in the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Chicago, Illinois, on April 21, 2011, and was charged with conspiracy to injure the property of a foreign government; providing material support to terrorists; killing a citizen outside of the US and aiding and abetting; and bombing of places of public use. An arrest warrant was issued on April 22, 2011,” it said.

Mumbai terror attacks’ alleged mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has already been sentenced to 68 years imprisonment in terror financing cases by the Lahore anti-terrorism court.

The sentence is running concurrently, which means he will not have to spend many years in jail.

Mumbai attack operation commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi is also sentenced to several years in jail. Both Saeed and LeT militant Abdul Rehman Makki are also in Kot Lapkhapt jail in Lahore.

Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty, was arrested in July 2019 in the terror financing cases.

Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is instrumental in pushing Islamabad to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in Pakistan and using its territory to carry out attacks in India.

The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering.

Last week, the Paris-based FATF said Pakistan will continue to be on the “Grey List” of countries under increased monitoring, a statement from the Paris-based global money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog said on Friday.

It said Pakistan may be removed from the list after an on-site visit to verify the implementation of its reforms on countering terror-financing mechanisms.

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News Network
June 28,2022

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Mangaluru, June 28: Karnataka Home minister Araga Jnanendra has directed the Dakshina Kannada district police and the Mangaluru city police, to conduct station-level surveys of foreign nationals, who have overstayed their visas, and foreigners who have intruded, and are staying in the district without any valid documents.

He directed that the survey report should be submitted at the earliest. “It will take some time for the police to complete the survey. Recently in Bengaluru, illegal foreigners were arrested, and sent to the detention centre. A few have even obtained ration cards and voters’ identity cards,” he said.

Araga said that the law and order situation under the DK police and Mangaluru city police was satisfactory.

Since the conviction rate is low in DK, and the city police limits, the minister held a meeting with public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors, to ascertain the reasons for the low percentage of convictions.

“There are issues related to the shortage of staff, and cases coming for trial after two to three years. There are several instances of witnesses turning hostile, and sometimes issues are solved through compromise. In some cases, the conviction rate is 12% to 13 % only,” he said.

“A similar meeting was held in Chikkamagaluru recently, and I have directed the SP and commissioner of police to work in coordination with the public prosecutors,” Araga said.

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