with love to indore

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bangladeshis in Indore

I have written earlier about bangladeshis in indore ( here ) and now this news item confirms that they are indeed involved in crime in indore

This news item also points to links of local people with bangladesh

Everyone remembers the case when son of a prominent muslim businessman in city was kidnapped by bangladeshis and huge ransom was paid.

Interesting thing is in jewelery market of Indore called sarafa large number of bangladeshis operate but police does not seem to care.

Reason is simple, labor is cheap and skilled so traders ( who otherwise fund huge religious functions of all hues and colors) do not let police touch them. Local BJP leaders who get funds from traders do not make noise about these guys and same thing applies to so called 'dharm raksha samiti' who are first to create nuisance for every roadside shrine or stone.

Same people will whip communal frenzy if anything untowered happens in city becuase of these bangladeshis.

These hidden enemies are more dangerous than open enemy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mutiny of Jabalpore ratings

Radioactive Rebels?

Signalsmen of the Jabalpur mutiny of 1946 wonder why they aren't heroes

On the quiet morning of February 26, 1946, some 120 men of the 'J' company of the Signals Training Centre (STC), Jabalpur, defied their British superiors and broke free from their barracks. Part of a radio signalling unit, they were angry at the abuse heaped on them by their British counterparts.

They were also upset at the incarceration of two Indian National Army (INA) officers at Red Fort in Delhi. The ranks of the mutineers swelled to 1,700 men, armed with nothing more than Congress and Muslim League flags. Shouting slogans, the patriotic mutineers protested peacefully for some days till a bayonet charge by the Somerset Light Infantry brought the mutiny to a halt.

Eighty men behind the mutiny were court-martialled and dismissed without pay and pension. Forty-one others were sent to prison. But the incident was quickly hushed up. The British officers stationed in Jabalpur were replaced by Indian officers and most of the records destroyed. And so, a chapter in India's struggle for freedom was virtually buried. The recognition due to the soldiers for standing up to British might was denied them.

In sharp contrast, the naval ratings who mutinied just days ahead of the Jabalpur mutiny were recognised as freedom fighters. The mutiny was officially recognised as part of the freedom struggle by the government of India. The men were allowed to serve in the navy of independent India and retire with full pensionary benefits, pay and allowances. What's more, they were awarded special freedom fighter's pensions. All that the mutineers of Jabalpur received for their efforts was a bayonet charge, rigorous imprisonment and dismissal without benefits.

The Jabalpur mutiny, though lost to public historians, left a deep impact on the British. The then commander-in-chief of the British Indian army, Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck, sent several secret cables back to London, discussing a quick transfer of power from British hands to the Indians. Seeing the Jabalpur and the navy mutiny of Bombay together, the British were worrying about the probability of a larger insurrection. Therefore, when the men of the 'J' company stood in defiance, they made history—this was the first and only major instance of Indian army regulars challenging the British.

The effect was telling. The naval mutiny—and another in the air force, a few days earlier—could be contained. But the shock was from the Jabalpur mutiny, for the British Indian army and its loyalty was considered the backbone of British rule in India.

Maj Gen V.K. Singh and his book

The account of the Jabalpur mutiny has now been recorded in The Contribution of the Indian Armed Forces to the Freedom Movement, a recent book by Maj Gen V.K. Singh (retd), chairman of the signals corps's history cell.

Singh chanced upon the few remaining records of the Jabalpur mutiny while working on the official history of the Corps of Signals. He has already published the second volume of the corps's history and is busy collating material for the third and final volume. "I saw what Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck wrote to the army commanders, worried that the loyalty of the Indian troops couldn't be taken for granted anymore. This had a profound impact on the British and probably quickened the departure of the British from India," Singh told Outlook.

It was in 2002, when Singh reopened dusty files of the Corps of Signals, that he lighted upon this forgotten chapter of the mutiny. "It seems that the men were agitated at the result of the INA trials, in which two officers were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. The fact that Indian troops were treated as inferior to the British and paid less also added to their anger," says Singh.

He immediately took up the cause of getting the mutiny recognised as a part of the freedom struggle.However, he only ran into the impenetrable Indian bureaucracy. As letters flew between Singh, the directorate of signals, ministry of defence, and the ministry of home affairs (MHA), the bureaucratic machinery continued to hold out. Singh took pains to point out to any official who would care to hear him out that the Jabalpur men had been ignored while recognition had been accorded to the naval ratings who participated in the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, which ironically took place a couple of weeks before the Jabalpur mutiny.

A list of the court-martialled
Click here for large image

Meanwhile, one of the survivors of the mutiny, Lance Naik Neelakantan Nair, went to the Kerala High Court seeking directions to the MHA. In July 2003, the court directed the MHA and the state government to look into the matter and report back in six months. But nothing came of it. Finally, in a letter dated February 14, 2003 (No 8/2/2003-FF-P), the MHA stated that the issue of granting freedom fighter status to the mutineers had been "considered and it has been decided at the level of the home minister that they cannot be treated as freedom fighters."

The then home minister and currently the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, L.K. Advani, as the letter states, did not find the mutiny and its impact adequate enough to club it with the freedom struggle. After much persuasion from the signals corps, some of the participants, 41 out of over 1,700 mutineers, were granted a meagre pension while the others were dismissed since official records showed that they had been "discharged on administrative grounds". What the MHA forgot to look into was a small but critical detail on the discharge certificates. The men had been discharged, the certificate stated, for taking part in the "Jubalpore STC mutiny".

"It is absurd. All the naval mutineers have been recognised and feted by the government as freedom fighters. They too were discharged on administrative grounds. But the same logic didn't hold true for the men who suffered for decades for participating in the mutiny," says Singh. Ironically, the naval mutineers were also radiomen just like the ones in Jabalpur.

M.A. Kochuvareed, a mutineer

Eighty-seven-year-old M.A. Kochuvareed, who was a havildar during the Jabalpur mutiny and is one of its few survivors, has laboured to seek recognition from the government for nearly 60 years. His memory is fading, but Kochuvareed still remembers those fateful days of the uprising in great detail. "Just two weeks before the mutiny, we had heard Pandit Nehru at a rally in Jabalpur. He told us that even a chotta harkat (minor move) on our part would be enough to bring down the British flag and raise the Indian tricolour. Many were already agitated and we decided to take on the British soon after that. A few days after the mutiny began the British sent in a bayonet charge that killed nearly eight people and injured 30 others," Kochuvareed recounted to Outlook.

Indian officers such as Brig Terence Baretto and Maj Gen K.K. Tiwari, both then war-weary captains in the British Indian army, were rushed to Jabalpur by army headquarters and the command of the unit was handed over to another Indian officer, one Lt Col Mukherjee. "As an adjutant I was in charge of the quarterguard where the men had been incarcerated and we heard from them about how they had been ill-treated by their British counterparts.I learnt a lot from them," remembers Tiwari.

So why did the British hush up the Jabalpur mutiny? They feared trouble if the news of the revolt spread to other army units across British India. A year later, as independent India finally became a reality, the brave men of Jabalpur became a footnote in the forgotten records of the Corps of Signals

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Boy of Beard petition is from MP

Once again example of how ignorant journalists in MP are.

This fellow is from MP to be precise from sironj and no one here has a clue about it


BLOGS / Sundeep Dougal
FAQ: The Supreme Court's Beard Judgement

I Background

1.1. Is it true that a 'restriction has been imposed on beard and burqa' because of the SC ruling it as a sign of the Taliban?

No such restriction has been imposed or even suggested. There is a controversy because of certain reported remarks of a Supreme Court judge that are not part of any iudgement or ruling. But even those remarks (a) do not imply the above and (b) whatever the judge is reported to have said is not part of any court record and we only have sketchy PTI reports to go on [See here and here] about what the judge said and in what context.

1.2. So what is the origin of this controversy?

It started with a Madhya Pradesh schoolboy Mohammed Salim, studying then in Class X at Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School, who was expelled from school in December last year, apparently because of "keeping a beard against campus rules". The rules of the school -- a government-recognised minority institution -- say all students must be clean shaven. Salim first moved Madhya Pradesh High Court but it dismissed his plea saying the school had the right to frame its own by-laws as a minority institution. He then moved the Supreme Court.

1.3. What were the grounds for asking the rules of the school to be changed?

Salim’s counsel, former Delhi High Court judge B.A. Khan cited Article 25 of the Constitution -- which guarantees all citizens the fundamental right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion -- and argued in front of a two-judge bench on March 19 that the right to keep a beard was a fundamental part of a Muslim’s religion. He contended that the school’s rules were therefore in violation of his client's fundamental right to religion. The petition also charged that the school rules were discriminatory as it allowed Sikh students to keep beards and sport turbans, but, in Salim's case, had insisted that he either follow the rules or leave.

2. Supreme Court's Response

2.1. What was the court's response?

The court directed justice Khan to find out and report if the school was government-aided and adjourned the case till March 30

2.2 Why?

The Supreme Court had earlier held that minority aided schools could be considered state institutions under the Constitution. Fundamental rights lie only against the state and its functionaries, not against private citizens or institutions. On the other hand, a private un-aided minority institutes has the fundamental right under Article 30 -- "the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions"

2.3 So what was it? What did the courts rule?

It was apparently not a government-aided minority institute. The court dismissed the petition. Please note, this is all the Supreme Court order says:

Upon hearing counsel the Court made the following


The special leave petition is dismissed.

3. The Controversy

3.1 So where is the confusion? How did the controversy start?

We have the PTI reports [See here and here], according to which there was an exchange of words between the petitioner's lawyer, retired High Court justice BA Khan, and Justice Markandey Katju, speaking for the Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Raveendran. Justice Katju is reported to have said, inter-alia:

...secularism could not be overstretched and Talibanisation of the country could not be permitted ... We don’t want to have Talibans in the country. Tomorrow a girl student may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa. Can we allow it? ... [R]eligious beliefs could not be overstretched. “I am [a] secularist. We should strike a balance between rights and personal beliefs. We cannot overstretch secularism.”

The same reports also show the following exchange:

Salim’s counsel Justice (retired) B.A. Khan argued that sporting a beard was an indispensable part of Islam.

“But you [Justice Khan] don’t sport a beard,” Justice Katju told counsel.

The sequence of events is not clear, but it would seem, at least to this writer, that Justice Katju got carried away at retired justice BA Khan's harping on the fact that "keeping a beard is mandated (FARD) by Islam".

3.2 So is that really the case?

No. Beards do not find any mention in the Quran. The law books describe the injunctions about keeping a beard as a Sunnat and not Fard. Following a sunnah is considered good for a Muslim, but it is not obligatory. For every mufti who says shaving is 'haraam' one can find another who would say it is only 'makruh' but not 'haraam.' And as a Muslim you are free to follow either of the two as your own conscience urges. But to come back to the topic, the question of beards should not even have come up as 2.2 above makes clear and the order seems to be relying only on Article 30:

The court then said a minority institution had its own set of rules and rights provided by Article 30 of the Constitution and the same could not be breached by any person. “If there are rules, you have to obey. You can’t say that I will not wear a uniform I will [wear] only a burqa,” the Bench observed.

3.3 So why did Justice Katju make the remarks he did in 3.1 above?

We do not know. We can only speculate. We have heard some of the speculations [For example: here and here]. I hold no brief for Justice Katju but, because his remarks have earned adequate censure, it is time to speculate some more:

Is it possible that Justice Katju was reminded of the Taliban because they are the only prominent group in the news who insist that Musllm men should not shave their beards and that Muslim women should necessarily wear a burqa and impose these conditions by force? Perhaps he was just irked at the plaintiff's advocate -- also a retired justice of the HC -- repeatedly and insistently making statements that he felt were not correct?

While almost all would agree that he should have stopped with issuing the order and providing the legal basis for it, and while the exchange between the counsel and the learned judge seems to have got rather pointed and personal and should have been avoided, it would be a bit of a stretch to insist that Justice Katju meant to imply that any bearded man or a burqa-clad Muslim woman is a Taliban or Taliban-supporter. Keeping his position in mind, the learned judge would perhaps have done well not to have made such statements that are liable to be misconstrued and misinterpreted, particularly because of reporting problems -- which is what seems to have happened.

4. Legal Angles

4.1 What are the legal ramifications of Justice Katju's remarks?

None whatsover. It should be borne in mind that there is routinely a lot of give and take between judges and counsel in the supreme court, especially given that counsel in this case was an ex-colleague on the (HC) bench. Most significantly, the order of the Supreme Court does not consist of "the reported remark about Taliban". Therefore it cannot even be considered as obiter dicta.

4.2 Do the Courts have any business deciding what constitutes the basics or fundamentals of a religion? Has Justice Katju not ended up legislating on religion?

No -- see 3.2 and 4.1above. Besides, Justice Katju would not have 'legislated religion' from the bench, were it not for the fact that the plaintiff demanded an exemption from the customary rights of an unaided minority institution.

It is the plaintiff that sought to test and push the boundaries of the constitution, and the judge's ruling was judicially conservative, stare decisis in nature.

Besides, since the petitioner approached and invoked the power of the court to protect something which he claimed repeatedly, insistently, as a mandatory part of his religion, it could well be argued that the court would be obliged to examine the question whether that really is the case or not.

The plea was not to protect the right to keep a beard as a basic human freedom of an individual but that it was so mandated by religion. Any court, while adjudicating, shall necessarily address itself to the prayer and the grounds adduced in support of the prayer. But, in any case, it would appear that the two-judge bench did not really get into Article 25 and stayed largely focussed on Article 30. {cf, 2.1, also see here) once it determined that it was an unaided institute.

This order pertains to the rights of a minority institution whether it can impose a code that includes dress and beard, the order does not deal with the right of an individual Indian citizen to wear what he or she likes or keep a beard or not.

The rest all seems to be an informal -- and avoidable -- exchange between a sitting judge of the SC and a retired judge of the HC, appearing as a senior advocate for the petioner, after the order had been passed and would seem to have no bearing on the case.

4.3 By the way, why are the Sikhs treated differently?

There are two issues here. One, for the Sikhs, kes, unshorn hair, has very much become a part of their accepted identity. It is also one of the five basic features which determines a khalsa -- kachhaa, kanghaa, karaa, kes and kirpan. Two, the stare decisis principle represents judicial conservatism--it won't take away any rights of Sikh boys already enshrined in law and in practice, but it will hesitate to add new rights to newer groups on that basis. Incidentally, countries like France, when imposing their recent laws, have not allowed any exemption to the Sikhs as well - but that is a different debate.