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Intolerance in India Concerns Rights Groups

Madeeha Anwar

The spike in violent attacks against India’s Muslim minority has raised concerns among rights groups, which are urging the government to take more decisive measures to protect the country’s minorities.

With an uptick in hate crimes against Muslims, India’s second-largest religious group, many rights activists are alarmed that intolerance toward minority groups is on the rise in the Hindu-majority country.

“There is growing insecurity and fear among minority groups in India, especially Muslims and Dalits,” said Jayshree Bajoria, a research consultant with Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“The government has failed to prevent or credibly investigate growing mob attacks on religious minorities or marginalized communities, often carried out by groups claiming to support the government,” she told VOA.

Analysts: BJP encourages violence

Indian General Election 2019 by Furfur is Licensed Under CC BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5,CC BY-SA 2.0, CC BY-SA 1.0

Analysts charge that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, has encouraged this trend by publicly supporting attackers against minorities.

BJP leaders have often “made inflammatory speeches against minority communities and promoted Hindu supremacy and ultranationalism, which has encouraged further violence,” Bajoria said.

The U.N has expressed concern about the targeting of minorities in India and has warned Indian officials of the consequences of their “divisive policies.”

“We are receiving reports that indicate increasing harassment and targeting of minorities, in particular Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis,” Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. human rights chief, said in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March.

Series of attacks

In recent months, rights groups have reported incidents of mob attacks, killings and sectarian violence against Indian Muslims.

In April, a 34-year-old Muslim man in Delhi’s Tihar jail was brutally beaten before a jail official reportedly engraved a Hindu sign on his back.

In March, a Hindu mob carrying wooden sticks and stones invaded a Muslim family’s house in New Delhi. The mob accused the family of playing cricket instead of celebrating Holi, a popular Hindu festival.

The family was reportedly told to “go to Pakistan” if they wished to play cricket.

Muslims, who make up about 14 percent of country’s population, say they have long been marginalized, targeted and discriminated against.

But recent violent attacks against Muslims have further raised fears among them, they say.

“I was born here and grew up on the roads in Delhi, and never felt as insecure as I feel now,” Tameez Ud Din, an alias used by a Muslim engineer from New Delhi, told VOA.

“The adoption of Hindutva ideology by the current government is to be blamed for the rise in attacks. We [Muslims] are killed in the name of cow protection and the attackers get political protection. I don’t feel safe anymore.” Ud Din said.

Cow vigilantism

Muslims frequently become victims of lynchings and other killings over transporting cattle, or allegedly selling, carrying, consuming or slaughtering cows, rights groups said.

Cows are viewed as sacred in Hinduism and it is illegal to sell or slaughter them in many Indian states.

A recent HRW report said “at least 44 people, including 36 Muslims,” were killed in cow-related violence from 2015 to 2018.

Last month, a video went viral on social media in which a 68-year-old Muslim man, Shaukat Ali, was seen surrounded by a Hindu mob who abused him, accused him of selling beef and later forced him to eat pork, which is strictly forbidden in Islam.

“Shaukat Ali was forced to eat pork. Those who were beating Ali knew that … nobody will face any consequence” under the BJP government, Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent Muslim politician from Telangana state, told reporters after the incident.

Hindu nationalism

Some analysts echo Owaisi’s concerns and blame the government for espousing a Hindu-leaning ideology, which has been responsible in fueling violence against Muslims.

Hindu nationalism, locally known as Hindutva, is driven by calls for racial and cultural superiority of Hindus in India.

“These vigilante groups doubtlessly feel that the authorities are on their side because there have been comments and actions, largely from elected BJP officials, aimed at showing Hindu nationalists that the government takes cow protection seriously. In some cases, BJP leaders have even publicly justified the attacks,” said Bajoria of HRW.

Members of Indian National Congress (INC), the opposition Indian political party, also blame the BJP government of embracing hatred-based politics.

“This increase in communal violence against Muslims is a result of BJP’s mentality,” said Pawan Khera, a spokesperson for INC.

“They have divided the country on the basis of religion,” he told VOA.

The Indian government, however, rejects these accusations.

“This is a bogie raised by our political rivals and groups which are inimical towards the BJP,” said G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, a BJP spokesperson.

“I would be happy to speak if you can offer any evidence-based analysis than flimsy and patchy motivated comments by some groups,” Rao told VOA.

Divisive?

Some experts charge that BJP’s alleged lack of action could translate to its support of these actions.

“This Hindu nationalism or state-sponsored anti-Muslim sentiment is a dangerous game that will divide the country,” Ashok Swain, an Indian-born professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University in Sweden, told VOA.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra “Modi has made it India vs. Pakistan, or Hindus vs. Muslims, or rest of India vs. Kashmiris,” he said.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a former professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, holds a similar view.

“Modi’s right-hand man, Amit Shah, has termed Muslims as ‘termites’ for the country, and all the minorities are scared of this statement as they know there will be consequences,” Chenoy said.

Some analysts believe that BJP is only trying to win elections by appealing to its anti-Muslim base and is not at war with Muslims.

“Any party or Indian government cannot operate without Muslims. I think Modi will understand it, too. BJP’s behavior is because of the election season,” Rajeev Sharma, a New Delhi-based political analyst, told VOA.

The 2019 Indian general election is under way in India and a new government will most likely be announced by the end of the month.

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India News Brief

5 July, 2020

COVID-19 Cases In the State of Maharashtra Crosses 200,000, 7074 Fresh Cases and 295 Deaths reported in the Last 24 Hours
Single Day Spike in COVID-19 Cases in India:21,771 Cases
India Set to Overtake Russia as 3rd Worst Hit by COVID-19 Pandemic

Total COVID Cases: 648,318 Death Toll: 18,655

India's Most Affected States:

Maharashtra: Total Positive Cases: 192,990 Total Deaths: 8,376

Gujarat: Total Positive Cases: 34,686  Total Deaths: 1,906

Madhya Pradesh: Total  Positive Cases: 14,297 Total Deaths: 593

West Bengal: Total Positive Cases: 20,488 Total Deaths: 717

Delhi: Total Positive Cases: 94,695 Total Deaths: 2,923

Rajasthan: Total Positive Cases: 19,256 Total Deaths: 443

Uttar Pradesh: Total Positive  Cases: 25,797 Total Deaths: 749

Tamil Nadu : Total Positive Cases: 1,02,721 Total Deaths: 1,385

Andhra Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 16,934 Total Deaths: 206

Telengana: Total Positive Cases:20,762 Total Deaths: 283

Karnataka: Total Positive Cases: 19,710 Total Deaths: 293

Punjab: Total Positive Cases: 5,937 .Total Deaths: 157

Jammu and Kashmir: 8,019 Total Deaths: 119

The West Bengal Government Allows 50 People at Marriage Functions and Funerals during the current phase of COVID-19 Lockdown from 1 July to 31 July.
According to Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, morning walks will be allowed from 5.30 a.m to 8.30 a.m provided social distancing and other norms.
The new guidelines issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 30 June: Schools, colleges, educational institutions, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places, and even metro services will continue to remain shut until July 31

India Reports 18,522 New Cases and 418 Deaths in 24 Hours 

COVID-19: Highlights 

Schools May Reopen in August According to Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokriyal.

Religious Places Visit: No Touching of Deity, No no Sparkling of Holy Water No Prasada in Temples Wearing Mask Thermal Screening is a must 

Shopping Malls Visit: Elderly People With 65 Years of Age and Children Below 10 Years Are Advised to Stay at Home.

Restaurant and food courts in malls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or sprinkling of holy water, in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions on stepping out of home. Masks to be mandatory, and the Aarogya Setu app 'recommended' for all.

Use of masks, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation, the guidelines  require people above 65 years of age, specially  people with comorbidities, pregnant woman, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home. Masks are mandatory at all times, including inside restaurants

15 Day Amarnath Yarra Starts from 22 July

Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Indian Health Ministry 

Lockdown extends till June 30

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed..

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

COVID-19: Delhi Death Toll Rises to 82 in Last 24 Hours

Probable Guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.

More travel routes are likely to open in Lockdown 5.0.

From June 1, the Railways will operate 100 pairs of mail or express trains, bookings have already begun. Then AC class services will resume.

Some states have already begun intra-state buses. Other states may  begin intra-tate bus services after June 1.Metro  services may begin in a limited manner, with lesser passenger capacity, social distancing norms and longer stops at each station.

Shops selling non-essential items were allowed to open during Lockdown 4.0.. More shops may open in Lockdown 5.0 even in markets.But no confirmed news regarding opening of shopping malls.Now many shops that have re-opened in market areas are operating on an odd-even basis.

Some cities have already allowed salons and beauty parlours to open with strict social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear is a must.In containment areas the same rule may prevail in Lockdown 5.0.

The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will soon announce the guidelines of   schools reopening.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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