M’RASHTRA TO STUDY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITION OF MUSLIMS
The State Minority Development Department of Maharashtra has commissioned the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct a study on the social, economic and educational development of the Muslim community in 56 cities in the state that have a substantial Muslim population. In a government resolution, the department earmarked `33 lakh funds for the project. It will be the first pan-state study on the Muslim community after the Mehmood-Ur-Rehman committee set up in 2008 by the erstwhile Congress-NCP government under retired IAS officer Mehmood-ur-Rehman, which was tasked with studying the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Maharashtra. The government expects that the new study will provide recommendations to bring Muslim community into the mainstream by studying its social, economical and education conditions.
`58C. LOSS TO GUJARAT DUE TO LAND ALLOTMENT TO ADANI FIRM
In its fifth report tabled before the Gujarat Assembly on September 21, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has noted that owing to the inappropriate classification of forest land transferred to Adani Chemicals in Kutch for Mundra Port and SEZ by the forest and environment department, the company paid the state government `58.64 crore less. The PAC has recommended to recover the full amount from the company in three months and to take action against officials concerned for inappropriate classification of the land, causing loss to the state government and “undue” benefit to the company. In its report, the PAC – headed by Congress MLA Punja Vansh – has cited an audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India that noted the “undue” benefit of `58.64 crore to the company due to the inappropriate classification of land.
BJP LEADER’S SON, TWO OTHERS ARRESTED FOR KILLING A GIRL
The son of a Bharatiya Janata Party leader was arrested in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district on September 23 for allegedly killing a 19-year-old girl. Pulkit Arya, the son of former Uttarakhand minister Vinod Arya, owns a resort where the girl, identified as Ankita Bhandari, worked as a receptionist. She had been missing since September 19. Pauri Additional Superintendent of Police Shekhar Chandra Suyal reportedly said that Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta were arrested after they confessed to killing the missing girl and throwing her body into a canal. In the morning of September 24, the body of the girl was recovered by the police from Cheela canal near the premises of the Vanatara resort owned by Pulkit Arya. And, the Vanatara resort was demolished on the orders of the state government. On September 24, the BJP expelled Vinod Arya and his son from the party. The brother of the accused was also removed as vice president of the state OBC commission.
SINCE 2014, 4-FOLD JUMP IN ED CASES AGAINST POLITICIANS
The cases filed against opposition leaders have grown four-fold since 2014, under the NDA government. Out of the 121 cases against politicians under Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe currently, 115 or 95 per cent, are against Opposition leaders, a report in the Indian Express showed. Six out of the 124 cases are against BJP leaders, the report added. The pattern is similar to that of the CBI. In the last 18 years, over 200 opposition politicians were probed by the CBI. These were nearly 80 per cent of all the CBI cases in the period. During the NDA-II government, that came into power in 2019, the top three parties in terms of leaders being probed were Congress, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC), and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). 24 Congress leaders, 19 TMC politicians and 11 NCP politicians are being probed currently. Under the current NDA-II government, the report added, at least six family members of the key Congress politicians are under ED lens.
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION OVER 200 IN THE FIRST 5 MONTHS OF 2022
Reports of increasing numbers of Christian persecutions have reached the Supreme Court. This was following the petition for protection filed by Archbishop Peter Machad, the National Solidarity Forum, and the Evangelical Fellowship of India. In the petition, it was noted that approximately 500 attacks were made against Christians in 2021 and about 200 attacks in the first five months of 2022. However, the Indian government dismissed them as self-serving reports that were based on conjecture. In a report by Hindustan Times, they also told the SC that Christian organisations and individuals had a “hidden oblique motive” behind the public interest litigation. The Union Home Ministry explained in an affidavit that the agenda may be in line with hopes that they could get assistance from outside their country and meddle in the nation’s internal affairs.
CBI OPPOSES RSS WITNESS’ AFFIDAVIT IN NANDED BOMB BLAST CASE
In a hearing on September 22, the Central Bureau of Investigation asked the District Court at Nanded in Maharashtra to reject an application by Yashwant Shinde to appear as a witness in a case relating to the April 2006 Nanded blast. Shinde has been a pracharak of the RSS since 1990. On August 29, he had filed a sworn affidavit to the Nanded court claiming that he participated in several meetings in which members of the RSS and its affiliate VHP – including Milind Parande, who is currently the secretary general of the VHP – planned a series of bomb blasts across the country. He also claimed to have undergone training in bomb making, under the guidance of Parande, along with around twenty others in 2003. In 2006, a powerful blast had taken place at the residence of Laxman Gundayya Rajkondawar, killing his son and his son’s friend, and injuring four others. The blast was later linked to a larger conspiracy that included explosions at Masjids in Jalna, Purna and Parbhani in 2003 and 2004. Shinde claims that these blasts were conducted by the same group he trained with. Following Shinde’s submission, the court had sought responses from the CBI and the accused in the case.
HIGHEST ISLAMOPHOBIC TWEETS FROM INDIA OVER 2-YEAR PERIOD
Nearly 86 per cent of anti-Muslim posts on social media come from the US, the UK and India, a report by the Australian-based Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has found. Over a two-year period, between 28 August 2019 and 27 August 2021, India saw the highest figure, with 871,379 Islamophobic tweets, followed by the US with 289,248, and the UK, with 196,376. The report, Islamophobia in the Digital Age, states that in India, the rampant Islamophobia is a result of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) normalisation of hatred against Muslims. “We conclude from this that Twitter is drastically failing at removing anti-Muslim content,” the report noted. “This is unsurprising given that they do not automatically screen posts for hate, but rather only act once a report has been filed. “In practice, however, even when Islamophobia is brought to their attention, a mere 3 per cent of flagged tweets end up being removed.”