Moral policing by pink police

Last year the Police department in Kerala state of India started a “Pink Beat Patrol” for enhancing the safety for women and children in public places. The Pink Beat included  specially trained women police personnel. These police personnel was supposed to patrol on Govt run bus services and private stage carriers and was to be present at bus stops, schools, colleges and other public places. They were supposed to assist women, children and senior citizens travelling on buses. They were supposed to prevent street sexual harassment. These patrol vehicle was led by a women police officer and had two other women police personnel.


Unfortunately this laudable attempt to prevent infringement of human rights of women is having the opposite effect. Several reports had come out which point towards moral policing by the Pink Police.

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Persecuted Editor Dalvi launches her online news portal

Several months ago I had written a post carrying an appeal for financial support for an Urdu journalist, Shirin Dalvi, to start a new Urdu news website. Dalvi was dismissed from her job as editor of an Urdu newspaper and was forced to go hiding due to attacks on her by Islamic fundamentalists.

The fund-raising organised by Nirmukta and Milaap was a success and the targeted amount was soon raised.

Now Shirin Dalvi has launched her website.

Two years ago, Shireen Dalvi, ex-editor of the Lucknow-based Urdu newspaper Avadhnama’s Mumbai edition had to quit her job because she reprinted a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Prophet Mohammad after the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine. She is back now with an online portal which she claims has more progressive outlook as opposed to other Urdu publications.
The website launch of was held on Saturday in Bandra and was attended by Urdu journalists and social activists. “The website will focus on truth, news and opinions. The coverage will not be specific to one community,” said Dalvi who got to see one sided coverage from Urdu media during the Charlie Hebdo issue

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Intolerant theists forcefully cancel an atheist meet in India

The Hindutva brigade in India has used violence and intimidation to cancel a Nastik Sammelan (get together of Atheists) in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Not surprisingly, they got support from their supposed to be enemies, the Islamic clerics. This happened to a meeting called by Swami Balendu at his ashram. Balendu was a Hindu spiritual guru, but has turned into an atheist few years ago.

Over 50 activists of the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and local Hindutva groups reached the Bindu Seva Sansathan Ashram at about 10 in the morning and started shouting slogans and attacking the ashram property. Armed with sticks, the Hindutva activists broke the glass panels of the ashram,” Swami Balendu told The Hindu on phone from Mathura.

“Immediately after the attack, the Hindutva activists, accompanied by senior police officials, told us that the protest was a mere start and if we went ahead with the meeting then much bigger things could happen in the city,” he said.

“Even though it was a private event we had taken official permission. The Constitution permits us to be non-believers. But this seems like an all-out attack on the freedom of expression and the freedom to be a non-believer,” added Swami Balendu.

Saints from Vrindavan at collectorate in Mathura to lodge protest against Nastik Sammelan on Friday. (HT Photo)

Saints from Vrindavan at collectorate in Mathura to lodge protest against Nastik Sammelan on Friday. (HT Photo).

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Bengal blogger arrested for comments on Islam

In India it is very easy for the State to put you in jail for expressing your thoughts. This is especially true when the thoughts are critical of religion. This happened in India’s state of Bengal.

A freethinker blogger from Bengal, Tarak Biswas was arrested on Thursday for posting updates on the social media for criticising Islam religion. On Thursday, minutes after Biswas posted a message on the social media, one Sanaullah Khan registered a complaint with the Cyber Police Station of the Howrah Police Commissionerate demanding his arrest. According to the locals, Khan is a local leader from the ruling- Trinamool Congress party.



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Sacked and hounded Urdu journalist needs your help

Shirin Dalvi, the sacked and hounded Urdu journalist needs your help.

Last year, in January, she was sacked from her post of editor of Mumbai edition of Urdu daily Avadhnama. Her crime was re-publishing of a Charlie Hebdo cartoon on the front page,  ten days after the horrific killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists by Islamic fundamentalists. This was a drawing by the assassinated French cartoonist Cabu published in 2006 cover of the magazine titled “Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalists,” in which a bearded man is shown covering his face and saying that “it’s hard to be loved by idiots.” It is still not clear whether the publishing of cartoon was a mistake or an honest attempt to criticise fundamentalists who killed cartoonists. Looking at her past record I tend to believe the latter, though faced with death threats she said it was a mistake.


Image credit – Indiatimes

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Malaysian rapper arrested for allegation of insulting Islam

In a music video produced by the popular Malaysian Rapper Namewee, five non Muslim characters were seen uttering the word Allah (God). Also a scene in a song was supposed to be in front of a mosque. This was enough for him to be nabbed from the airport as he returned to the country from a foreign trip and put in jail.

The musician, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, 33, was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday after returning from an overseas trip.

He was brought to Penang late last night and taken to the Penang courthouse this morning. The singer-songwriter is being investigated under Section 295 of the Penal Code for defiling a place of worship with intention to insult the religion. The section carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine or both, upon conviction. Assistant court registrar Ahmad Tajudin Zaini granted a four-day remand, which ends on August 25. Several religious groups had previously lodged police reports against Wee over his music video, claiming that it insulted Islam.

Namewee - Getty images

Namewee – Getty images

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A protest meeting against assault on a writer

My town Palakkad saw on this Sunday a protest meeting. It was against the cruel attack, presumably carried out by Islamist fundamentalist group on an upcoming writer Jimshar that took place near here on July 24th. His “crime” was giving a name to his book that did not please the Islamists.

The meeting was organised by the local chapter of Yukthivadi Sangham, the rationalist organisation. It was inaugurated by member of Indian Parliament (MP) and Communist Party of India leader M B Rajesh. The local member of Kerala legislative assembly (MLA) Shafi Parambil belonging to the Congress party also participated. Jimshar could not come due to his injuries.

M B Rajesh inaugurating the meet. Image credit : Malayala Manorama

M B Rajesh inaugurating the meet.
Image credit : Malayala Manorama

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“If you do not like a book, throw it away” – Madras High Court

On January 13, 2015, a well known Tamil writer,  Professor Perumal Murugan announced his decision to stop writing in a Facebook post.

Perumal Murugan

Perumal Murugan

He was under tremendous pressure from Hindutva organisations and caste groups. He came under attack for his novel Madhurobhagan in 2014, though the novel was first published in 2010.

Madhorubhagan is a fictional account of a poor, childless couple, and how the wife, who wants to conceive, takes part in an ancient Hindu chariot festival where, on one night, consensual sex between any man and woman is allowed.

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Professor in jail for criticising Hindu “god” !

Theists want their “gods”to be perfect in all counts. Not only gods but prophets too.

Most gods/prophets are real life characters on whom divinity is imposed. Some may be fictitious also.They are depicted as following a perfect path of life as per the prevailing societal values.

After their creation, after the godly tales are put into verses, it becomes difficult to edit it. Thus when the societal values change, gods/prophets look primitive. So they have to be defended by interpretations and reinterpretations and reminding of contexts.

Ram, the Hindu god, a character of the epic Ramayana is suffering from this change in values. Ram sent his pregnant wife Sita to the forest heeding to rumours of suspicion on her chastity. Ram did not believe in the rumours. But thinking that a King’s wife should be above any suspicion he abandoned her. At that time it was considered as an unselfish act of deciding to give away the most loved and precious “thing” ( yes, women = commodity) he had to be an ideal ruler.

Image credit Flipkart

Image credit Flipkart

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Freethinkers in India threatened with violence

The Freethinkers is a vibrant Facebook group run by atheists catering to users speaking malayalam language in India’s Kerala state. It’s open to all and is a space for vigorous debates on varying topics like religion, politics and atheism. It has a huge membership and was mass reported and closed several times but came back with a vengeance.

Now an anonymous Jihadi malayalam blogger has directly threatened the admins of the group with violence.

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