Hindutva and the hypocrisy of beef politics

Police in the Indian state of Haryana is very busy nowadays. It is not because of a sudden spurt in robberies or rapes. Those crimes are always there but no one is much bothered about it. They are currently busy sniffing out presence of beef in Biriyani, a rice  and meat preparation.

 The National Crime Record Bureau’s latest data shows that Haryana has the second highest number of complaints being lodged at police stations after Uttar Pradesh in the country.
Police officials in the state’s Mewat district, however, have been given a different priority collecting biryani samples from street vendors to check for beef.
Mewat is Haryana’s only Muslim-dominated district and the diktat from the state government’s Gau Sewa Ayog (Cow protection commission) has come just ahead of Bakri Eid, the Muslim religious festival, on September 12.
Bharti Arora, DIG in charge of the special task force to check cow smuggling and slaughter, and Mewat SSP Kuldeep Singh along with Ayog chairman Bhani Ram Mangla met locals in Mewat on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Mangla said the directions to the police were issued in the wake of a number of specific complaints that the biryani vendors were serving beef. After Mewat, sampling will be done in other districts as well.

Haryana has one of the most stringent cow slaughter acts in the country with a maximum jail term of 10 years.

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Only incitement to violence against state is sedition

Police arresting Indian citizens on charges of sedition has been increasing recently. The latest being the cases against Amnesty International and movie actress and Congress leader Remya. Though most of the cases are finally dismissed, the accused are put into lot of hardships and the process of defending the charge itself has become a punishment. The Indian Supreme Court has now reiterated that only incitement to violence and public disorder can be prosecuted under Sedition law.

The Supreme Court on Monday asserted that “making a strong criticism of the government” is not even defamatory, let alone seditious. The court also directed all authorities, including police and trial judges, to follow its Constitution Bench ruling which stated that only incitement to violence and public disorder could form the basis of a sedition charge. A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday U Lalit maintained that it would not be within the fold of criminal jurisprudence to issue uniform guidelines for registration of FIRs under sedition charge, but underscored that a larger bench has already provided necessary safeguards that should be followed by all authorities. “Suppose somebody makes a strong criticism of the government… even a case of criminal defamation cannot be filed, let alone a case of sedition. Every magistrate is bound by what we said in the Kedar Nath (case),” said the bench. In Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar, 1962, a Constitution Bench had ruled in favour of the constitutional validity of Section 124A (sedition) in the IPC, but had added a vital caveat: that a person could be prosecuted for sedition only if his acts caused “incitement to violence or intention or tendency to create public disorder or cause disturbance of public peace”.

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Real patriarchy and ‘phantom’ patriarchy

Recently saw an article written on Facebook by an atheist from Kerala, India, probably in response to allegation of sexism in presentations in atheist meetings in my state. This is in form of an imaginary dialogue with his daughter who has been brought up in a liberal way. He starts this dialogue about real and phantom patriarchy while watching a veiled Muslim girl of his daughter’s age  passes by. He equates feminists to post modernists so that the attack is easier. He writes :

In that fantasy world of subtle conspiracies, the battle continues as patriarchy exists in all its subtle forms which occasionally find their expression in comments or jokes or speeches of even the ‘so-called’ liberals. For those imaginary crusaders, it is sexism everywhere trying to discipline the female body. Modernity and its institutions, for them, are nothing but another form of converting the woman’s body into  a ‘docile body’.

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Sri Lanka declared malaria free

Finally some good news in the health front from South Asia. Sri Lanka became the first major country in the region to be declared malaria free by World Health Organisation.A country is declared free of malaria when it does not report any indigenous cases for three consecutive years.

In a remarkable public health achievement, Sri Lanka was today certified by WHO on having eliminated malaria, a life-threatening disease which long affected the island country.

“Sri Lanka’s achievement is truly remarkable. In the mid-20th century it was among the most malaria-affected countries, but now it is malaria-free. This is testament to the courage and vision of its leaders, and signifies the great leaps that can be made when targeted action is taken. It also demonstrates the importance of grass-roots community engagement and a whole-of-society approach when it comes to making dramatic public health gains,” WHO Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said here.

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Sham miracles an affront to scientific temper

Hey, why do you bother when a church establishment which you do not believe in, makes one of its dead members Saint with pomp and publicity ? Since it does not involve you,  why make a fuss out of it ?

This is a question many atheists faced in connection with the canonization of Mother Teresa.

There are several reasons why it bothers me and other atheists. The Vatican is not just issuing a sainthood certificate. To make a guy or gal Saint, the Pope should be convinced  that they have done two miracles on this earth after their death.  It is thus openly questioning science and scientific methods by proclaiming the alleged miracles to be true. Thus the Catholic Church is wilfully indulging in spreading superstitions. It is misleading people and make them turn away from science and scientific methods.

Miracles, according the Church, are supposed to be happenings that do not have any credible scientific explanations. Let us for a moment concede that the alleged miracles has really no scientific explanation at present. Does that mean the Saints did it from heaven? Or does it mean Science has yet to find a good reason for it ? Science has found credible explanations for many things that were considered miracles thousand years ago. So will the Church take away the Sainthood when the “miracle” get a scientific explanation ?

Image credit - Oxford oratory website

Image credit – Oxford oratory website

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Missing- Muslim reformist movement

Triple talaq ( men divorcing women saying talaq three times ) is to protect women from being killed by their unsatisfied husbands

Marriage is a contract in which both parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex.
Polygamy as a social practice is not for gratifying men’s lust, but it is a social need.

These are some of the gems of wisdom  bullshit that came out of the top most Muslim law committee  of India representing all sections of Indian Muslims ,  The All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

They were opposing the attempt by the Supreme Court to reform primitive religious personal laws which is still prevalent in India. Actually Muslim personal laws in India are more primitive and anti woman than many of the Islamic countries. Any attempt by activists and authorities to reform it has been facing stiff resistance from the patriarchs who control the religion with iron hands and still want to live in with a skewed gender equation of 8th century Arabia.

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“Please do not interfere in our religious customs”!

This is our traditional religious practice. We are following this for hundreds of years. Please do not interfere in our religious customs. Government should not try to change it.

In India we hear this again and again from believers of all religions. Recently when there was a discussion about having a Uniform civil law regardless of religion, many Muslims were against it. They were arguing that as a minority they have the right to practice their religion as per their traditions. They do not want to raise the legal age for marriage or to ban polygamy or triple talaq. When some women protested against entry ban in some Hindu temples, government was asked not to interfere in religious customs.

This is not something new. Throughout the history of humankind, change, especially in religious beliefs and customs, was resisted quoting traditions. Many archaic and cruel customs found proud defenders. Those who want to reform were termed apostate aiming to destroy religion.

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