Thursday, September 15, 2011


Friday, September 16, 2011


Alarms bells were sounded among Urdu readership, when Mumbai’s prominent Urdu daily, Inquilab, changed hands and was bought together with the parent company, Mid-day by a Hindi newspaper group. Though the Hindi group put out word that there will be no change in Inquilab’s steller role in projecting Muslim issues, today’s edition shows how political pressure would have worked, when Inquilab did not put the gory details of Bharatpur riots in which  4 Muslims died and police is accused of being most brutal with Muslim protestors over a public Qabarastan dispute. The other 3 Mumbai’s Urdu newspapers, Urdu Times, Sahara and Sahafat, all carried the news of Bharatpur riots on front page; some covering the news in across the front page headlines and giving full perspective of the riots. Unfortunately, Inquilab could only spare a small one column space on the front page, though clearly making out that all dead were Muslims.

India’s Muslims had always had to contend with communalized press that is owned by other than their community. It is only those that made a conscious effort to stick to the line of secular reporting, that at times have did justice to the aggrieved community that has been routinely mauled and attacked by both rioters and police, all throughout Free India’s 64 year history. Even yesterday’s Bharatpur Riot, has been ignored by Time of India; though more mainstream newspaper, The Indian Express has given a fairly detailed account on its 2nd page.

For all practical purposes, the main concern of Indian Muslims has remained security. Hundreds of communal riots from cities, to smaller towns to villages, has been organized by the dominant political and social groups to deprive Muslims any semblance of a peaceful and dignified life. They are tolerated only as far as they can vote en mass to give the essential marginal push to winning side. These communal riots are at times organized with dual purpose in mind: force Muslims to vote for any particular political party or candidate, or on the other side, impress Hindu majority that the ruling government and its police force is not ‘appeasing’ Muslims. The police has to resort to harsh measures to attack Muslims, their properties, their homes and their dignity, to prove to their bosses that they are on the job.

This sordid saga of forced democracy, has never been given full attention by the Election Commission of India, to go after the genesis of such riots that distort and debase democratic elections in the ‘world’s largest democracy’.

And to compound the tragedy, avenues for Muslims to voice their grievances, are being restricted day after day. It is therefore a sad day for readers of Urdu ‘Inquilab’ that a newspaper that has a long history of secular affiliations, should fall into the hands of people who hardly have any sympathy for Muslim lives in India.

Some fault lies with the community, which had a robust media presence during freedom struggle days, has now completely forgotten its leadership role and has not bothered to own or participate in Media and Media related activities, so that their community’s issues get publicized. Community leaders should realize that in this modern age of communication, media is the first line of defence to any beleaguered community. Besides, it is a very lucrative business industry that should attract sizable investment.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Day after clash, tension in Bharatpur continues

Submitted by admin4 on 15 September 2011 - 1:00pm

Jaipur : Tension persisted in Rajasthan's Bharatpur district Thursday, a day after clashes between two communities over a plot of land claimed at least four lives and left 21 injured, mostly with gunshot wounds, police said.

Curfew was imposed in Gopalgarh and nearby areas in the district, about 170 km from here, and prohibitory orders banning the gathering of five or more people on the outskirts were enforced by the district administration to contain the tension.

"Curfew has been imposed in Gopalgarh, Kaman, Sikari, Pahari, Jurhata and Kaithwara police station areas," said an official.
The armed forces have been called in.

"Situation is tense, but under control. People are not being allowed to come out of their houses. No untoward incident was reported after the clash," said Bharatpur Superintendent of Police Hinglaz Dan.

A district administration official added that bullets continued to be fired from both sides till about 10 p.m. Many shops were set on fire and looted.

Amongst the injured is a Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer, who was deputed as additional district magistrate (ADM) in Bharatpur.

Police said the dispute between the Gujjar and Meo communities was over a piece of land with one group claiming that it was for a burial centre and the other that it was for a pond.

"In the revenue records of the district administration, the land had been allotted for a burial centre mistakenly. When people approached senior officials, the case was referred to a sub-divisional magistrate. The other group claimed the disputed land was for construction of a pond," said an official.

A meeting to discuss the issue was held Wednesday in the presence of two legislators.

"As soon as the meeting ended, incidents of arson and stone pelting were reported in the area and soon both groups got engaged in a gunfight," the official said.

Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal told reporters that police had also fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

There was confusion over the death toll. The administration first said eight people were killed but Thursday morning brought the number down to four.

Fri, 16 Sep 2011


Bharatpur clash: Day after, no arrests, death toll four

Posted: Fri Sep 16 2011, 01:57 hrs Gopalgarh:

Empty cartridges strewn over the road and charred remains of what used to be shops are reminders of the violent evening that shook the sleepy village of Gopalgarh in Rajasthan on Wednesday.

The police had opened fire on two groups who were engaged in a gun battle after firing in the air through the day in a show of might during an ongoing land dispute. Bodies of three people were taken away from the spot on Wednesday night, while another was found decaying in a field nearby on Thursday morning.

Krishan Kunal, District Magistrate of Bharatpur, where Gopalgarh is situated, said two of the 21 others who were injured were critical.
However, a day later, authorities were yet to arrest or detain anyone or even seize any firearm that may have been used in what they said was a fierce gun battle that lasted well over an hour.

“We have registered a criminal case of murder, rioting and arson. No one has been detained so far, nor have any seizures been made,” said Hinglal Dan, SP, Bharatpur. Dan said they had not yet taken a count of how many rounds the police fired. Another senior police officer said they had identified at least 15 rioters.

When asked about the weapons that the warring groups may have used, DM Kunal said, “All I can tell you is, they had good weapons.” Rescuers were till late on Thursday trying to pull out from a well nearby what could be two more bodies, but Dan said only a post mortem could confirm if they were human remains.

The deathly silence that prevailed in the empty streets of Gopalgarh on Thursday was broken only by the loud hum of riot control trucks and police jeeps.

Kunal said law and order had been fully restored by Thursday morning and security personnel were taking out flag marches in and around the village. The police said a curfew enforced in six police station areas adjoining Gopalgarh will continue on Friday too.

All the four who died in the gun battle belonged to the dominant Meo community, while among the injured were also those from the rival Gujjar community, the police said. The warring groups attacked each other with guns, butcher’s knife and anything they could lay their hands on, the police said.

The DM said the trigger was a piece of land a little more than six bighas situated next to the village mosque. The Meos say the land belongs to graveyard that shares its boundary with the plot, while the Gujjars say they own it. Kunal said the dispute has continued for nearly four decades. “After the two communities fought again two months back, we asked the Sub Divisional Officer to begin a case to settle the ownership dispute. The case is subjudiced,” Kunal said.

Fresh trouble began when men from the two communities began arguing over the land again on Tuesday, and rumour spread that the Imam had been roughed up. The unrest began to simmer when on Wednesday morning hundreds of Meos and Gujjars from neighbouring villages converged at Gopalgarh, the police said. Some Jats also came.

District management and police officials who had reached the place called representatives of the two communities to the police station less than 50 m away to resolve the dispute, said officials. Just when a resolution was about to be made, gun shots were heard outside, policemen recalled. “We ran outside and saw the two groups had begun firing at each other. A few senior officers who ventured nearer to the rioters had to rush back,” a policeman said.

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