Wedding ceremonies attacked in ‘secular’ UP
Surendra Singhal, Deoband
After formation of the Samajwadi Party Government in UP, intolerance of a particular community is not only increasing but has become more violent and aggressive. This communal frenzy has been posing serious strains on communal harmony and cultural heritage. These tendencies are posing serious challenges for law and order in the state and administration is looking helpless in front of anti-social elements. The situation is such that Hindu wedding ceremonies are performed under the shadow terror.
Two such incidents occurred in Saharanpur block in a week’s time. The first episode took place in Padli village of Muzaffarnagar, a wedding procession of a villager’s daughter Shri Deepachand Upadhyaya was on. Around 3.15PM a group of around dozen hooligan youths of Muslim community not only objected to the band and procession around the mosque but started stone pelting and firing on the procession. Along with the groom Abhishek more than two dozen relatives were injured. When the situation was out of control, the bride side approached the police. Finally, District Collector Shri Kaushal Raj Sharma and SSP Shri Hari Narain Singh reached the villages and controlled the situation. The wedding ceremonies were completed in the presence of top administrators.
According to Shri Ajay Kumar, DySP, the situation is still tensed in the village. An FIR is registered against the attackers under various sections of IPC. The main culprits arrested are named as Firoz Quraishi and Mobin Quraishi, aged 25 and 28, respectively. Their 10 more companions are believed to be absconding. Though there are merely 25-30 Muslim families in the village, they have become threat to the peace and harmony of the entire society. Police has ordered strict action to curb such incidences in the future.
A similar incident took place in Hardakhedi village of Saharanpur on March 3, 2014. During the wedding procession of the sons of Kartaram Kashyap, Jayveer and Sandeep, a group of Muslims objected to the DJ and started stone pelting. They also damaged Bhumia Kheda, a Hindu temple. A woman called Pritam lost her life at the hands of miscreants. District Collector Sandhya Tiwari took the stern action and somehow controlled the situation.
Saharanpur has been witnessing such violent and communally disturbing incidences after regular interval. Last year, on August 6, communal tensions were erupted on the occasion of Shivratri. This all shows the growing fundamentalist tendencies among Muslims in the Western UP There is a obvious expectation among peaceful people that administration takes precautionery measures and prevent such tendencies.
Ajnala Martyrs Case: Revolutionaries buried under the question mark
After nearly 157 years, the skulls of freedom fighters were dug out from a well at Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj, Ajnala, near Amritsar when a team of volunteers, historians and Gurdwara management committee started an excavation on its own, as the site is not protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Shri Surinder Kocchhar, the researcher and historian who spearheaded a campaign to exhume the bodies of 1857 Indian soldiers. The excavation began and the first relic appeared after digging to the depth of 7 feet. Slowly, broken skulls, jaws, leg and arm bones were found and history started unfolding and researcher demanded Union government to seek all details of the 282 martyrs from the British Government. “I have been told by my lawyer that the case has to be filed in the Supreme Court. I will try to complete all the formalities,” said Kocchhar. He said he was hopeful that the British government would have all the details.
In further analysis of information gathered during the course of his research work on Kallianwala Khoo, also known as Shaheedan Wala Khoo, revealed that the Indian soldiers killed and buried in the well were Hindus. In his book ‘The crisis in the Punjab’, Frederick Cooper, the then Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar wrote that ‘decorative necklaces’ worn by the soldiers were removed from their necks before they were buried,” Kochar said, adding that Cooper mentioned the word, Janeoo, to explain the “decorative necklaces”. Memorandum has also been submitted to the Chief Minister Shri Prakash Singh Badal.
Chief Minister Shri Parkash Singh Badal promises for memorial of the soldiers. Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh also assured for the memorial and museum in memory of the martyrs and the remains of all martyrs be cremated with full military honours.
High drama over portfolio distribution
High drama over distribution of portfolios amongst members of Harish Rawat cabinet in Uttarakhand continued for more than one month. It came to end on March 4 when the CM acceded to the mounting pressure coming from all sides. Ever since their swearing-in ceremony on February 1, all the 11 cabinet members were crying hoarse for distribution of portfolios using all their lung power, while wily Harish Rawat had been deferring, and making a long string of announcements concerning all the ministries.
The state BJP spokesman Suresh Joshi said all the announcements made by Shri Harish Rawat related to providing reliefs to Kedarnath disaster victims, flood victims in Kumaon region as for construction of roads, new school buildings, hospitals, bridges and other government buildings—are mere election related hollow announcements.
Two days after taking over as CM, Harish Rawat visited the cloud-burst hit areas in district Rudraprayag and Chamoli to announce that separate disaster management teams of officials with administrative and financial powers would be appointed in Garhwal and Kumaon regions to provide succor to the victims. In Tharali, he said he had come to heal the wounds of the victims, and promised to provide relief and financial aids to them at their doorsteps.
BJP said these announcements cannot be fulfilled as the state government does not have enough money in its coffer. He maintained that all these assurances are empty noise to befool the gullible people.
Earlier, during the tug-of-war on distribution of portfolios, all eleven cabinet members had started rebelling against Harish Rawat saying they felt jobless without portfolio being assigned to them. A minister, Harak Singh Rawat, a perennial dissident, was sulking both over non-distribution of ministerial portfolio and a political rival Tilakraj Behar being appointed without his prior consent as chairman Seed Certification Agency, a post Harak Singh held as Agriculture Minister in former CM Vijay Bahuguna’s cabinet. When making this crucial appointment, Harish Rawat ignored him and Harak Singh started raising hue and cry against the Chief Minister. Though the reason being officially given for the delay in distribution of portfolios was the ongoing budget session in Uttarakhand Assembly, Harish Rawat was, in fact, indecisive about the portfolios to be allocated to the ministers.
The CM was horns of dilemma due to the hot lobbying by the ministers for the plum portfolios only, because it is the end of current financial year, when they have an opportunity to make the biggest kills in depleting their annual ministerial budgets. At the height of discontent among the ministers, general secretary All India Congress Committee and Uttarakhand in-charge Ambika Soni on February 16 assured ministers in Dehradun that portfolios would be distributed after conclusion of the state assembly’s budget session.
Meanwhile, former CM Vijay Bahuguna and MP Satpal Maharaj continued to hit at the Chief Minister. Shri Bahuguna said, “The distribution of portfolios should be made as soon as possible, as it is hampering developmental works in the state.” The Opposition leader in the state assembly Shri Ajay Bhatt also criticised Congress leaders for washing their dirty linen in the public, and indulging in an unabashed in-fighting. He said, “Congress Party is indulging in heavy in-fighting; the party leaders are busy setting scores over each other without caring for the public welfare. An inordinate delay in distribution of portfolios has badly affected the developmental works in the state.”
‘PM's scholars’ booked for sedition in Meerut
A group of Kashmiri students at Swami Vivekanand Subharti University in Meerut on March 2 was booked for sedition after they cheered Pakistan during a cricket match that India lost.
A total of 67 students, some of them recipients of PM scholarship, were suspended on March 3 for celebrating Pakistan’s victory in the Asia Cup match.
The college alleged that the students celebrated loudly in the dorm and raised pro-Pakistan slogans, which led to a fight with other students and escalated into vandalism and stone-throwing.J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called it “unacceptably harsh punishment” and said he would ask his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Akhilesh Yadav to drop the charges.
Interestingly, Lashkar's chief Hafiz Saeed has offered scholarships to the expelled students.