CASE AGAINST BD TEEN GIRL FOR HATE SPEECH ON HIJAB ROW

Police in Karnataka have registered a case against a Bajrang Dal teen girl for delivering an incendiary speech on the Hijab row in the state. Identified as Pooja Veerashetty, the 19-year-old allegedly gave a call for Muslim genocide at an event in Vijayapura district, where people had gathered to outrage the death of a Bajrang Dal worker earlier this month. “If you ask for water, Indians will give you juice. If you ask for milk, we’ll give you buttermilk. But, if you want the Hijab all over India, we will chop you all with Shivaji’s sword,” Veerashetty is quoted saying in a video that surfaced on social media last week. Police in Gol Gumbaz reportedly registered a suo moto case on February 27 against Veerashetty under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which include promoting religious enmity and criminal intimidation.

KARNATAKA POLICE BOOKS RANA AYYUB OVER HIJAB REMARKS

The Karnataka Police in Dharwad have registered an FIR against journalist and author Rana Ayyub for allegedly describing students and others who have been harassing and intimidating Hijab-wearing Muslim students in Karnataka as “Hindu terrorists” during a television interview. The FIR was registered at Vidyagiri police station in Dharwad under Section 295 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) following a complaint by one Ashwath, a volunteer of Hindu IT Cell. Ashwath had filed the complaint following the interview Ayyub gave to BBC. Last week, United Nations-appointed independent rights experts issued a statement calling on India to end relentless misogynistic and sectarian attacks against journalist Rana Ayyub.

‘INDIA AMONG TOP 10 AUTOCRATISING NATIONS’

India has reportedly figured in the top 10 autocratising countries of the world along with El Salvador, Turkey and Hungary, with projections ominously indicating that there will be a further decline in democracy in the country, according to the latest report of the V-Dem Institute on the state of democracy globally. After being classified as ‘electoral autocracy’ in the last year’s report, India continues to hold on to its dubious honour even in this year’s report. Consequently, India finds itself in the category of the bottom 40% to 50% of countries. Titled Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature, the Swedish institute’s report notes that a new wave of democratisation is being seen in 15 countries while 32 countries reel under autocrasation. The countries are categorised based on V-Dem’s liberal democracy index (LDI), which captures both electoral and liberal aspects of democracy and goes from the lowest (0) to the highest (1) levels of democracy. The report highlights that autocratisation has “worsened” in India along with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region in the last decade.

CHRISTIAN PASTOR ASSAULTED, FORCED TO CHANT ‘JAI SHRI RAM’

The Delhi Police registered a first information report (FIR) on March 3, days after a pastor alleged that he was thrashed, humiliated and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by a group of unknown persons, who accused him of carrying out religious conversions “forcibly”,  a report said on March 3. The incident took place on February 25 at South Delhi’s Fatehpuri Berri area but the pastor, Kelom Tet, filed the complaint two days later at the Maidan Garhi police station, the report added. In his complaint, the pastor alleged that on February 25, a group of men harassed him and forced him to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ when he was on his way to work after meeting one of his friends. Tet alleged in his complaint that the men snatched his Bible and tried to tear it, the police said, adding that the pastor was also allegedly punched and kicked.

OVER 100 INSTANCES OF HATE SPEECH IN ADITYANATH’S POLL SPEECHES

Much has been made of Yogi Adityanath’s ‘communal agenda’ across his campaign in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh elections. Some highlights involved a state-sponsored advertisement in a national daily with an anti-Muslim dogwhistle, the use of the ‘80 vs 20’ division of the electorate into Hindus and minorities, and the use of ‘abba jaan’ in September to target the minority community for commandeering foodgrains meant for all. But while the particularly offensive use of anti-Muslim signals in the BJP’s messaging has been widely reported, the day-to-day anti-Muslim rhetoric of Adityanath’s electoral campaign has become so normalised as to be taken for granted. This shift in rhetoric is dangerous when seen in the context of the anti-Muslim violence perpetrated by fundamentalist groups like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, signalling as it does the state’s implicit support for violence against Muslims.

RAM SENE MOB CLASHES WITH MUSLIM GROUP AT SHARED DARGAH

The Karnataka police arrested 167 Muslim residents of Aland, a town in the state’s Kalaburagi district, and registered five First Information Reports (FIR) following communal tensions at a local dargah between Hindu and Muslim groups on March 1, the Indian Express reported. Right-wing activists of the Shree Ram Sene had earlier announced their intentions to hold a ‘purification’ puja at the Raghava Chaitanya Shivalinga in the Ladle Mashak Dargah on March 1 to mark Mahashivratri and supposedly ‘cleanse’ an insult from November last year. The dargah authorities had planned a sandaal procession and a Shab-e-Barat. Foreseeing a conflict, the Karnataka police had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in the district from February 27 to March 3 in the region and barred members of all communities from accessing the dargah on March 1. Shree Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, Sene state president Siddalinga Swamy, right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapur and others known for making inflammatory speeches were barred from entering Kalaburagi.

DALIT RTI ACTIVIST BEATEN, FORCED TO DRINK URINE

A Right to Information (RTI) activist, who belongs to the Dalit community, was allegedly beaten up and forced to drink urine by several people at Panihar village, in Madhya Pradsh’s Gwalior district, after he purportedly sought information under RTI about a village panchayat, a report citing police said on February 28. The victim, Shashikant Jatav, 33, was locked up in a room and beaten up by seven people on the evening of February 23, according to the complaint registered at Panihar police station by his wife, Renu Jatav. According to Town Inspector, Panihar police station, Praveen Sharma, two of the seven accused named in the FIR have been arrested. In her complaint, Renu stated that her husband was forced to drink urine filled in shoes, allegedly after he sought information related to Bahri village panchayat, which, she complained, made some people in the panchayat angry and triggered the attack.

A TURKISH EXECUTIVE’S APPOINTMENT AS HEAD OF AIR INDIA BLOCKED

Former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci, who was to take charge as Air India’s new CEO soon, has now reportedly declined the job offer. This follows opposition to his appointment from Hindu nationalist groups in India. Citing the reason behind his rejection, Ayci said his appointment was “coloured” by the Indian local media. “I have come to the conclusion that it would not be a feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such a narrative,” he was quoted as saying. Ayci’s decision has come days after the Tata group announced that he would take charge on or before April 1. Since news of his appointment broke, the far-right Hindu nationalist group and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) had opposed Ayci’s appointment.

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