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Ramadan Ceasefire In Kashmir Meaningless If Media War Continues

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Ramadan Ceasefire In Kashmir Meaningless If Media War Continues

~By Saeed Naqvi

I have never seen the electronic media so totally defiant of the BJP government. Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s avowed intention to calm Kashmir by announcing a Ramadan ceasefire appears to have been dismissed as “appeasement of Pakistan and terrorists”.

A guest peering out of one of the six windows on the TV screen was frothing in the mouth. “Murderers of our brave jawans are being shamelessly appeased.” The other went one better: “a brave nation does what the Sri Lankan army did to the LTTE – just finished them off.” The anchor on this Aaj Tak show Thursday evening looked angrier than both. This apparently is common fare.

The Communist Party of India is receiving signals from its Kashmir unit that it may have to rename itself. The ‘I’ in the CPI has been hurting the state unit for quite some time. But after the recent surge in shootings, stone pelting, “encounters”, sustained images of wailing women, trailing the spate of funerals, and relentless media jingoism, the “I” now invites physical danger. True, a defunct party by any name will remain defunct, but even so, Communist Party of Kashmir (CPK) will atleast not incur the wrath of the street.

The relative Ramadan peace is a good occasion to take stock. Even in days of drift in Kashmir during the time of P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, there was a semblance of political control by the National Conference and the PDP. Elements of the Hurriyat had fingers on the street pulse. The scene recently has been anarchic: there was no control.

Recent increase in violence was described by reliable sources as “indigenous” which is not what officials say.  A narrative which discounts outside “meddling” is not honeyed music to the establishment. Nor to that shrill panel – on Aaj Tak. Ironical, isn’t it, that absence of outside support to the insurgency disturbs us?

Just when Kashmir was at fever pitch, the mayhem in Aligarh Muslim University erupted around the photograph of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Friends are in error if they consider the undiluted hooliganism on view in Aligarh an occasion to engage in a serious debate on Jinnah’s culpability in partitioning the country. The hoodlums of Aligarh were not busting their guts to have Jinnah’s portrait removed from the AMU union office. Quite the contrary. Hindu Yuva Vahini would love to provoke Aligarh hotheads to dig their heels in to preserve Jinnah in the university precincts. This will be the ammunition which can come in handy at all times. The campus will be the ordnance depot for frequent explosions in the service of the projected Hindu Rashtra.

This is not the first time in recent decades that AMU has been exploited for saffron politics. Ever since Prime Minister V.P. Singh aggravated identity politics by implementing the Mandal Committee report providing reservation in government jobs to lower castes, the BJP has rushed to prevent the caste structure from crumbling. Hindu consolidation, by building up the Muslim ogre, has been the obvious strategy.

Aligarh was frequently the target as part of this strategy. There was no Arnab Goswami in the 90s but Hindi newspapers played a lead role in widening the Hindu-Muslim divide.

A story appears in newspapers that, after horrendous riots in Aligarh city, some of the injured Hindus being taken to the University Medical College for treatment, are being killed by Muslim doctors and interns. Even though the university is only three hours drive from New Delhi, newspapers choose to rely on unverified agency copy which, in turn, quotes upper caste Hindi newspapers.

An incredible scene is being enacted on the outskirts of the university. Local scribes seated on chairs arranged in a circle under a mango tree, sip tea even as one Krishna Kumar Navman, BJP MLA from Aligarh, holds them in his thrall with graphic accounts of murders in the hospital.

“Has anyone visited the Medical College?”, I ask. They had not, they say, because it is “risky”.

At the medical college the picture is surreal: petrified doctors encircle me.

“No one has come to us for clarification”, they complain.

Why have they not reached out to the journalists with their story? After a long, pregnant silence, they speak up. They thought it would be dangerous stepping out of the campus “in the midst of communal violence”. This is what I call uninstitutionalized apartheid.

That was 30 years ago when there were no TV channels to inculcate saffron nationalism on the scale I saw the other day and which I have mentioned above.

Folks overtly agitated or elated at the turn of events in Aligarh, may find it sobering that Pakistan’s Jinnah is not the only leader around whom communal polarization can be contrived. Ram Navami processionist in Kankinara, 24 Parganas in West Bengal were so overpowered by the spirit of Rama that they pulled down the statue of Congress President and India’s first Education Minister, Maulana Azad – a person, who in his outlook was exactly the opposite of Jinnah. This was in preparation for the Panchayat elections currently in the news.

Protection to anti namaz lumpens in Gurugram, or those who pasted a Maharana Pratap Road placard on Akbar Road (the placard was removed the next morning), Modi clenching his fist at Tipu Sultan during the recent campaign, are minor episodes in an epic of hatred being manufactured for 2019 ofcourse, and beyond if need be. In this gameplan there is no real, long term respite for Kashmiris, Muslims, or Indo-Pak peaceniks. Alongside, the rage of the dalits and tribals is spiraling out of control. There is an element of simulation in anti Muslimism for political reasons but the retribution faced by dalits and tribals in the countryside is visceral.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Election Commission advises Bengal Governor to not visit Cooch Behar on voting day

The Election Commission advised the Bengal Governor to call off his proposed visit to Cooch Behar on April 19.

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West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose has been warned by the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to visit Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19, since the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls will begin with a silence period on Wednesday evening.

According to those familiar with the situation in the EC, the poll body informed the governor’s office that no local program could be planned for the governor on April 19 due to the Model Code of Conduct and the election day.

The poll body added that if they had to provide local security cover for this unexpected proposed visit without a imminently known requirement, the tour would be a diversion because the district administration and police force will be completely occupied with election management on April 18 and 19.

As a result, under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, campaigning is prohibited in Cooch Behar starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

In order to ensure a free and fair election process, the poll board has asked all district election officers and district police chiefs to make sure that all prominent individuals, campaigners, and political workers who are not local voters leave the polling area once the silence period begins.

The seven phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place between April to June. Polls will be conducted in seven phases: the first on April 19 and the seventh on June 1. On June 4, the results will be announced.

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Lamborghini Gallardo worth nearly Rs 1 crore set on fire over business dispute

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner.

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A person who deals in the sale and purchase of old luxury cars and a few others has allegedly burnt an old but expensive model of Lamborghini Gallardo on a road in Hyderabad over a dispute with its owner on Monday. The police said the owner of the Lamborghini Gallardo, Neeraj wanted to sell off the vehicle, estimated to be worth up to Rs 1 crore, and had informed some of his friends to look for a buyer.

The police added that the main accused Ahmed had called a friend of Neeraj and asked him to bring the car. The said friend of Neeraj was known to the Ahmed. When the luxury car was brought to Mamidipalli Road which is situated on the city outskirts Ahmed along with a few others, burnt the luxury car using petrol and claimed that Neeraj owed him money.

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner. By the time fire department vehicles arrived at the scene it was too late as the luxury car was engulfed in flames and badly damaged. A video of the burning Lamborghini Gallardo has been circulating on social media.

The incident is a proof to the lengths to which disputes can rise. An expert spoke about the car that got burnt and said it was the Gallardo Spyder. He pointed out that it is a substantially older gen model which can only be found in the resale market. The expert further added the car has a powerful 5-litre NA V10 engine that made 513 horse power and 510 Nm of peak torque.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

2024 Lok Sabha elections: TMC releases manifesto, Mamata Banerjee vows to scrap CAA, stop NRC

The Trinamool Congress has today released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections

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West Bengal CM Mamta Banarjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) today released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In its manifesto, the TMC pledged to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stop the development of a National Register of citizens and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and stop its implementation nationwide.

The manifesto was unveiled by Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien, West Bengal Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, and Amit Mitra, who is the Special Advisor to the Chief Minister. However, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was not present at the event.

As Derek O’Brien unveiled the manifesto, he said, this is what they will do when the TMC, as part of INDIA bloc, forms government.

The Citizenship Amendment Act has long been opposed by the Trinamool Congress. Five years after it was approved by Parliament, the central government finally put the CAA into effect last month.

The party led by Mamata Banerjee has also expressed resistance to the National Register of Citizens proposal, claiming that West Bengal will never adopt it. 

The manifesto titled Didi’s 10 sapaths, alludes to 10 oaths made by Mamata Banerjee, popularly known as Didi.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party additionally pledges to raise the daily allowance under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to Rs 400 per day in addition to the UCC and CAA. Everyone has also been offered pucca houses by the party.

A monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for people over 60, free home delivery of 5 kg of ration for every ration card user, 10 free LPG cylinders annually for families below the poverty line, and universal healthcare coverage worth Rs 10 lakh are among the other significant commitments made.

Additionally, the Trinamool Congress has pledged to establish a price stabilization fund in order to control the cost of gasoline and LPG.

The party has assured the youth that every student will receive a monthly stipend up until the age of 25. A student credit card of Rs. 10 lakh will be awarded to those who choose to continue their education.

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