India thread: news only, no discussion

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  1. zgx09t
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    India can set up base on Moon in 10 years: Ex-DRDO scientist

    https://www.indiatoday.in/science/s...10-years-ex-drdo-scientist-1596986-2019-09-08

    Former DRDO scientist A Sivathanu Pillai has claimed India will be able to set up a base on the surface of Moon in ten years for extraction of the Helium-3.

    Speaking to the "War and Peace" programme on DD News, Pillai said, "In the space programme, we are one of the four countries that have complete mastery over technology."

    Pillai, who had spearheaded the Brahmos Missiles programme, said, "India will be able to set up a factory on Moon to process huge reserves of precious raw material and bring the extracted Helium-3 to Earth," a statement by War and Peace said.

    Helium-3 will be the new energy material for future, he said.

    Helium-3 is a non-radioactive material that can produce 100 times more energy than Uranium.

    Pillai said India's base on Moon will also "become a hub for future launches" for missions to other planets in the solar system.

    He said, "Now, there are interests from the US, Russia and China to create base on Moon, (so) India will naturally follow".
     
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    Frauds worth Rs 32,000 crore rattle 18 public banks within three months, reveals RTI
    In the first quarter of the fiscal, 18 public sector banks were rattled by 2,480 cases of fraud involving a huge sum of Rs 31,898.63 crore.

    https://www.indiatoday.in/business/...n-three-months-reveals-rti-1596960-2019-09-08

    total of 2,480 cases of fraud involving a huge sum of Rs 31,898.63 crore rattled 18 public sector banks in between April and June this year, an RTI query has revealed.

    The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) remained the biggest prey to frauds with 38 per cent share, Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaur told PTI on Sunday quoting an official of the RBI who furnished him replies to his RTI application.

    As many as 1,197 cases of cheating involving Rs 12,012.77 crore were detected in SBI in the first quarter, according to the RTI reply.

    After SBI, Allahabad Bank faced the heat with 381 cheating cases involving Rs 2,855.46 crore. Punjab National Bank stood third in the list with 99 sham cases worth Rs 2,526.55 crore.

    However, the information provided by the RBI does not give specific details of the nature of banking fraud and the losses suffered by banks or their customers.

    On losses suffered by PSU banks due to frauds, the RBI said it did not have figures available as to how much amount was lost by theses banks during the period under review.

    A total of 75 cases of fraud involving Rs 2,297.05 crore were reported in Bank of Baroda in the first quarter, while 45 cases of fraud amounting to Rs 2,133.08 crore in Oriental Bank of Commerce, 69 cases worth Rs 2,035.81 crore in Canara Bank, 194 cases worth Rs 1,982.27 crore in Central Bank of India, 31 cases of fraud of Rs 1,196.19 crore in United Bank of India were witnessed.

    Likewise, Corporation Bank detected Rs 960.80 crore worth fraud in 16 cases, Indian Overseas Bank Rs 934.67 crore in 46 cases, Syndicate Bank Rs 795.75 crore in 54 cases, Union Bank of India Rs 753.37 crore in 51 cases, Bank of India, Rs 517 crore in 42 cases and UCO Bank detected Rs 470.74 crore fraud in 34 cases.

    Other banks, which fell victim to fraud included Bank of Maharashtra, Andhra Bank, Indian Bank and Punjab and Sind Bank.
     
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    At least it's from an Indian news site.


    https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/ur...name-for-india-and-were-in-shock-2301271.html
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    News18 » Buzz
    [​IMG]2-min read
    Urban Dictionary Defines 'Rapistan' as an Alternate Name for India and We're in Shock
    And guess what Urban Dictionary describes India or Hindustan as? Rapistan. No, we're not kidding.


    News18.com

    Updated:September 8, 2019, 5:36 PM IST

    And guess what Urban Dictionary describes India or Hindustan as? Rapistan. No, we're not kidding.
    Most of us have used Urban Dictionary at one point or the other, especially if we're going to stay up to date with the latest lingo that millennials use; it was started by Aaron Peckham in 1999.

    For the unaware, Urban Dictionary basically lists and defines words that we use colloquially; it was initially started as a parody or a spoof of dictionary.com but can now easily be described as the go-to place for most youngsters looking up words that they wouldn't find on traditional dictionaries.

    And guess what they describe India or Hindustan as? Rapistan. No, we're not kidding.

    A Twitter user named Nida Malik asked Urban Dictionary what "Rapistan" meant on Twitter.

    @urbandictionary Rapistan

    — NIDA (@NidaMalik55) September 7, 2019

    To that, Urban Dictionary replied, "Rapistan: an alternative way to say Hindustan or India."

    Rapistan: an alternative way to say Hindustan or India. the co... https://t.co/8iAtzlomLY pic.twitter.com/b3DRIsdM6W

    — Urban Dictionary (@urbandictionary) September 7, 2019



    In case you think this is a joke, here's a screenshot of the word's meaning on their website:

    [​IMG]

    Now, here's the thing - before you go trashing Peckham or the website for this, let us remind you that Urbandictionary.com is a crowd sourced website. That means any user is free to define a word as he or she pleases. The website is clever enough to quickly capture the word and even track variations in meanings over time. Also, the site allows a user to write opinion as descriptions of words, which is probably what happened in this case.

    As MIT Technology Review reports, the problem with this system is that very little is known about the users or the people defining and describing the words. Thus, it is impossible to figure out if the definition being used is accurate or simply the opinion of a small group of people.

    A Reuters report which had been published last year stated that India is the most unsafe country for women, facing a risk of sexual violence and rape. Similarly, a report by the United Nations also showed that at least 95% women in the national capital feel unsafe. In 2016, over 36,000 cases have been registered under the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012). Following such reports, a large number of people had blasted India and its people on social media calling the country "rapistan" or a "country of rapists."

    Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

    [​IMG]
     
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    https://www.npr.org/2019/08/21/751541321/this-is-it-im-going-to-die-indias-minorities-are-targeted-in-lynchings

    'This Is It. I'm Going To Die': India's Minorities Are Targeted In Lynchings


    "It's like they are trying to erase us — erase all of my people," says Jaibuna, the widow of Pehlu Khan. The 55-year-old Muslim man was beaten to death in 2017 by Hindu men who objected to his transporting cows.

    Furkan Latif Khan/NPR
    Last year, a long-distance truck driver, Mohammad Hashim, was hauling a load of refrigerators out of New Delhi when a dozen strangers on motorbikes forced him off the road.

    They pulled him out of his truck and demanded he open the back. They wanted to see if Hashim was transporting cows or beef — which is illegal in many Indian states, because cows are sacred in Hinduism, the majority religion in India.

    "But I'm just the driver, and I'm not allowed to open the back of the truck. It was locked," Hashim, 45, recalls. "So they pulled on my beard and tried to force me to chant 'Jai Shri Ram.'"

    Long-distance truck driver Mohammad Hashim, 45, survived an attack by a Hindu mob last year. A dozen men on motorbikes forced him off the road and beat him. He suffered a broken leg and fractured vertebrae.

    That slogan — which means "Praise Lord Ram," a Hindu god — has long been known as a prayer. Now it's an incitement to mob violence against India's minorities.

    Hashim, a Muslim, refused to chant in praise of a Hindu god. So the men started beating him.

    "I thought, 'This is it. I'm going to die,'" he recalls. "Then I went unconscious."

    Human Rights Watch reported at least 44 such murders between May 2015 and December 2018. Hundreds more people have been injured in religiously motivated attacks.

    Most of the victims are Muslims, members of the country's largest religious minority. They comprise about 15% of India's 1.3 billion people. Other victims include lower-caste Hindus and Christians.

    Most of the attackers are devout Hindu men, known as "cow vigilantes," who take it upon themselves to enforce beef bans. Some of them claim ties to the BJP. Last year, a BJP minister met with a group of men convicted of a lynching and draped them in flower garlands.

    After Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a second term in a landslide victory in May, a new parliament was sworn in, dominated by his BJP. As opposition lawmakers, particularly one Muslim politician, recited the oath of office, some BJP lawmakers taunted them with chants of "Jai Shri Ram."

    Last month, a BJP state minister was filmed heckling a Muslim lawmaker and trying to force him to chant "Jai Shri Ram" outside the Jharkhand state assembly.

    In an April report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom condemned what it called the Indian government's "allowance and encouragement of mob violence against religious minorities." In June, after a lynching in Jharkhand, the U.S. commission called on the Indian government to "take concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation."

    Mohamed Irshad, 27, was with his brother and his father, Pehlu Khan, when they were attacked by a Hindu mob in 2017. "My brother and I barely survived — and all of India saw what happened to our father," he says. The attackers posted a video of their assault on social media in which Khan, his white tunic splattered with blood, pleads for his life, calling his attackers "brother."

    Continued...
     
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    Article 15 of India's constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion. Human rights groups are lobbying for the creation of a specific hate crimes law, but none exists in India yet.

    "It's like they are trying to erase us"

    One of India's most infamous recent lynching cases was that of Pehlu Khan, 55, a Muslim dairy farmer from Haryana state.

    In April 2017, Khan and his two sons were driving home from a cattle fair in neighboring Rajasthan, with two cows and two calves in the back of their truck, when strangers on motorcycles surrounded them.

    "I showed them receipts for the cows we'd bought, but they tore them up — and started beating us with hockey sticks," says Khan's son Mohamed Irshad, 27. "I suffered internal bleeding. My brother and I barely survived — and all of India saw what happened to our father."

    That's because the attackers themselves recorded a video of their assault and posted it on social media. In a two-minute clip, the men praise Hindu gods as they punch and kick Khan. His white tunic splattered with blood, the father of eight pleads for his life, calling his attackers "brother."

    That graphic video is how Khan's widow Jaibuna, who goes by one name, learned of her husband's death. She was waiting for him to return home from the cattle fair when a neighbor ran up and showed her the clip on his cell phone.

    "People were saying, 'Don't show her, this is her family!'" recalls Jaibuna, who is in her mid-40s but doesn't know her exact age. "Everyone was panicking, and I couldn't take it. I fainted."

    Before he died, Khan was able to describe his attackers to police. Six men were arrested. Charges against them were dropped, then reinstated, and the case remained in limbo for two years — until last week, when a court acquitted all of them, citing lack of evidence.

    Instead, Khan was charged posthumously with cow smuggling. Police say he didn't have a permit to transport cows across state lines. Khan's two sons, who were with him that day, await trial — and if convicted, face the possibility of up to five years in prison.

    "It's like they are trying to erase us — erase all of my people," Jaibuna says in the muddy courtyard of their family farm.

    The family has sold off their cattle, to avoid further attacks. They're frightened. A sole buffalo remains on their farm, along with some chickens.

    Former BJP lawmaker Gyan Dev Ahuja, who represented the Rajasthan district where Khan was murdered, has said he has "no regret over his death." He called Khan a "sinner."

    A lack of public outcry

    Videos of religiously motivated attacks in India like the one that killed Khan continue to go viral. There's a new clip on social media practically every week.

    But prosecutions — of the attackers, at least — are rare. So is public outrage.

    "How does a majority stay silent and witness something, unless you believe that what's happening is the right thing?" asks author Rana Ayyub, who went undercover to write a book about the BJP's role in anti-Muslim riots in Modi's home state of Gujarat, where Modi served as chief minister before becoming prime minister.

    The lack of public outcry over the surge in lynchings shows that India's Hindu majority tacitly supports not murder, Ayyub says, but some discrimination against Muslims.

    Some Indian analysts say the situation in India is comparable to the post-Civil War period in the United States, when many white people looked on as black people were lynched.

    "The similarities with the American lynchings of the late 19th century are striking," says Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, a business professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay who has studied corporate India's lack of response to hate crimes.

    "Most of the upper-middle class that populate the corporate classes, they're also upper-caste Hindus," Poruthiyil explains. "Even if they don't agree with the lynching itself, they might be OK with the idea of stopping cow slaughter. It's a slippery slope."

    As a child in Mumbai, Ayyub survived Hindu-Muslim riots in 1992 and 1993, which killed several hundred people. But she says what's happening now feels worse, because it's not a "spur of the moment" outpouring of anger. There are very specific targets.

    "Now lynchings are organized on social media," Ayyub says. "People send messages to each other, saying, 'Hey, this household has beef in their fridge, let's go attack them."

    She says India's Muslims increasingly perceive such attacks as being against them, rather than in defense of cows and Hindu customs. The repercussions could be dangerous, Ayyub warns. She's worried that Muslims are being alienated as Hindu nationalists revise mainstream Indian norms along Hindu lines.


    Relatives of Mohammad Hashim, a lynching survivor, gather at the family's home in Haryana, India.


    Lauren Frayer/NPR

    "When you try to stifle a community, when you try to put them down, when you try to make them secondary citizens, their anger will burst on the streets," Ayyub says. "That's how you radicalize people."

    Offering help

    There is a small, fledgling movement of Indians — Muslims and Hindus — working to fight hate crimes and help victims.

    In donated office space in New Delhi, four cellphones are lined up on a desk. When one line is busy, the next one rings. This is the headquarters of a new hate crimes helpline, created by United Against Hate, a network of volunteers. Organizers say they've received 15,000 phone calls since launching in July.

    Callers "are very upset. They are very worried and say, 'We are in a difficult position,'" says dispatcher Jagisha Arora. "One person called me and said, 'I'm at police station right now. Police are refusing to lodge a complaint. They are threatening us.'"

    Arora, 26, logs details from each call in an Excel spreadsheet and connects callers to free legal aid in 100 different Indian cities.

    But from time to time, she also gets a different type of call — from people who are angry that this helpline even exists.

    "Some people call to complain, like, 'Why are you spreading this?' They accuse me and say Muslims are bad," she says, shaking her head.

    Fears persist

    Hashim, the truck driver, survived his lynching on the highway outside New Delhi. After the attack, he was bedridden for six months with a broken leg and fractured vertebrae.

    He can't read or write, so his supervisor at the trucking company — a Hindu — helped him file a police report. Nothing has come of it.

    Now it's time for Hashim to get back on the road. He needs to provide for his five children.

    "My children say, 'Don't worry about us, Daddy. We can stay poor. We'll eat less. We want you to be safe,'" Hashim says.

    They're scared that next time, their father might not come home.
     
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    ‘Our children are in jail’: How India is keeping Kashmir isolated and in fear
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...-keeping-kashmir-isolated-fear/?noredirect=on

    Rana Ayyub is an Indian journalist and author of “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up."

    On Aug. 6, days after the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status, Mohammed Ashiq, 13, had gone to sleep on the carpet of his family’s modest home after playing with the lamb his father had brought home to sacrifice on Eid al-Adha, which was a week away. Late that night, he heard a loud scream followed by some noises on the roof of his house.

    His mother rushed to his side before a group of men in uniform barged in. His father, Yunus Mohammed, told me in an interview during my recent visit to Kashmir that a man with a red mask on his face entered, followed by close to 30 officers from the Jammu and Kashmir police. Six or seven police vans stood outside the house. “They snatched my young boy from my wife’s arms and started beating him,” Mohammed said. “They asked him to give the whereabouts of stone pelters.”

    Ashiq was dragged out of the house and thrown into a police van, which disappeared into the darkness. The next morning, when his father went to the police station, Ashiq had red eyes from crying through the night. He told his father that the officers had tied his hands to a pole and beat him with a stick all night.

    When I reached Ashiq’s house, his parents were reluctant to talk. After much persuasion, they called Ashiq, who had been playing cricket with his friends outside. He removed his T-shirt, drenched in sweat, to show the cuts and bruises covering his back. He screams in pain when his father tries to touch one of the wound marks. “The SP saheb (superintendent of police) beat me the night I was dragged to the police station," he told me. "There were other boys in the van. When I told them I studied in class eight in school and knew nothing about the protests, they would start beating me again.”

    Ashiq’s father, who runs a fruit shop, said he wanted to file a complaint against the police — but he knows there cannot be justice from this government that claims to be liberating the valley but is attempting to crush the spirit of every Kashmiri. After 18 days of detention, Ashiq was released with physical and psychological scars that he will carry the rest of his life. The lamb that was brought to be sacrificed is still tied in the veranda.


    Outside the Rajbagh Police station in Srinagar, hundreds of anxious parents waited to get a glimpse of their children, who have been rounded up and detained. Officers surrounded mothers as they wept, carrying food for their children.

    “At least tell me if he is alive,” asked Rukhsana. His 18-year-old son was also picked up from Mehju Nagar. Close to 3,000 people have been detained in Kashmir — many of them children — since Aug. 4, when a curfew and communication blackout were imposed in the valley. It has now been a month, and many locals have no reliable information about their future. Fear and uncertainty permeate the atmosphere.

    As we drove to Parigaam on the way to Pulwama, we were stopped at various checkpoints by the Central Paramilitary forces who have covered every inch of Jammu and Kashmir with their guns and concertina wire. Civilian movement is restricted to emergency services, and long stretches of silence followed as we drove on deserted roads. In Parigaam, we asked a local about Muzaffar Ahmed, a young man we were told was recently released from detention. The man in front of his closed cellphone store asked: “Are you from the media?”

    We answered yes, and he began screaming at our driver, asking us to leave. “Do you guys have any shame?” he yelled. “You journalists dance on television that everything is normal here while we are being killed and silenced. Our children are in jail and have been disappeared and you tell the world that all is good, that we are rejoicing!”

    The Indian media is viewed with suspicion and anger in Kashmir. There is growing resentment over the skewed coverage — most journalists have resorted to simply reproducing official government lies. Gulfam Wani, a local baker, asked me, “How does the Indian media sleep at night with this propaganda against us Kashmiris every day?”

    A few miles ahead, I met Muzaffar Ahmed. He is 20 and works with his father and brother in a local bakery in Parigaam. His father, Shabbir, told us that on Aug. 6 members of the Rashtriya Rifles, a security unit deployed in the valley, knocked on the door. They came in a mine-resistant vehicle used by the Indian army. They started breaking the windows of his house. Muzaffar told me the officers were drunk. Close to 30 officers ransacked the house. They showered expletives on the family. One of them held Muzaffar by the neck and asked, "Where are your accomplices?” He dragged Muzaffar to the local mosque and asked him to throw stones at it. When Muzaffar refused, they beat him again. “Throw stones at the mosque, like you throw stones at us,” he said they told him.

    The Ahmed brothers were beaten for two hours before they were taken to the central jail. Muzaffar told me that once there, they were beaten for hours with a bamboo stick. When they went unconscious, they were woken up with electric shocks. He shows me his burnt skin. The two brothers were held for 20 days. After they were released, Shabbir put them in a tempo and hurried them to a hospital in Srinagar. The doctor told him that his son barely survived with his spine. Muzaffar, who prayed five times a day in the local mosque, broke down: “They have broken my bones; I cannot prostrate myself before Allah.”

    He is still looking for answers. Why was he arrested? He said he has never taken part in a single protest. His father wanted to know how the family will survive with his two working sons severely disabled.

    Muzaffar’s mother invited me inside the house. She asked whether I can protect her daughter-in-law. “They were drunk, and they kept asking for my daughter-in-law,” she said of the officers. “I fear they will come again.”

    I spent four days in Kashmir before I had to leave for Delhi to file this. I have been visiting the valley for the past 15 years, but I had never seen these levels of resentment and anger toward the Indian state. I asked Kashmiris whether they would like to send their children away from the valley to protect them. They laughed.

    “Look at the hatred on display for Indian Muslims in the rest of the country. You think they will let Kashmiris live?” Ashiq’s father told me. “Our children are being thrown out of colleges, from their homes in your India.” (This month, a 24-year-old Kashmiri doctor was denied accommodation by a hotel in New Delhi, which cited an alleged WhatsApp message from the government that asked to refuse space to Kashmiris.)

    Right after my return, I sent out a tweet about the current injustices in Kashmir. It sparked outrage. Imtiyaz Hussain of the Jammu and Kashmir police called my tweet baseless and alarming. In the past three weeks, Hussain has been discrediting reports by international news organizations — including the the Wall Street Journal and the BBC — as propaganda.

    India, like Hussain, has decided to overlook the suffering of a besieged population of 8 million. While Kashmiris remain trapped and isolated, facing persecution and torture, Indians relax in their living rooms to watch the news and congratulate themselves for another “victory” in the name of “stability and prosperity.”

    Read more:

    Hafsa Kanjwal: India’s settler-colonial project in Kashmir takes a disturbing turn

    Asad Majeed Khan: India is precipitating a crisis in Kashmir. It’s time for the U.S. to step in.

    Mili Mitra: This is the Modi government’s darkest moment
     
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    India reporter fears for life after exposing corruption

    Concerns raised over media freedom as Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, who exposed corruption in school meal scheme, faces arrest.

    by Mohammad Ali
    04 Sep 2019 09:00 GMT

    [​IMG]
    The CPJ has called on authorities to 'immediately cease pursuing charges' against Jaiswal [Screengrab/Social media]
    New Delhi, India - An Indian journalist says he and his family are living in fear after police filed criminal cases against him for exposing corruption in a school midday meal scheme in Uttar Pradesh state.

    Police have filed four criminal cases against Pawan Kumar Jaiswal for filing a video report that showed a school in Mirzapur district serve children only "roti" (or Indian bread) with salt.

    As part of the state-run midday meal scheme run across government schools in India, children are supposed to be served cooked food to fight malnutrition - a major problem in the country.


    "The reality is that me and my family are living in fear. The district administration is behaving vindictively to save themselves and their role in the mismanagement of the midday meal scheme," Jaiswal, who is a reporter with Jansandesh Times, a local newspaper, told Al Jazeera.

    The video report, showing children eating roti with salt without any vegetables and "daal" (or split pulse) at the Mirzapur school went viral last month, causing public outrage.

    'Defaming the government'
    In the cases filed by the authorities, they accuse Jaiswal of defaming the state government headed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    A protest by journalists in #Mirzapur , where their colleage #PawanJaiswal has been booked by the police for exposing rotis+ salt in mid day meals in the district ! pic.twitter.com/cACGxjyp49

    — Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) September 3, 2019
    The local officials accused Jaiswal and his source Rajkumar Pal under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 186 (voluntarily obstructing public servants in discharge of his functions), 193 (false evidence) and 420 (cheating) on August 31.

    "When Jaiswal and his source Rajkumar Pal who tipped him off, got to know that vegetable was not available in the school, instead of ensuring that the kids were served with vegetables, they criminally conspired to falsely defame the state government and recorded a video of students eating only roti and salt," says the police complaint, a copy of which is with Al Jazeera.


    Jaiswal says he wanted to do his job by exposing the corruption in the midday meal scheme in the district. He said that the school had been serving kids rice, roti and salt for several weeks.

    Despite finding Jaiswal's report true, the state government is yet to withdraw the complaint against him which means that he could be arrested at any time.

    "I went to the school on August 22 when I found [out] that the school was serving rotis and rice with salt on different days. Seeing the kids eat just roti with salt melted my heart. I just wanted to ensure the kids are served nutritious food in midday meal as mandated by the law. So I reported it," Jaiswal told Al Jazeera telephonically from Mirzapur.

    'Local journalists scared'
    "All local journalists are extremely scared. We will certainly think 10 times before reporting," said Jaiswal, concerned about his safety as police have already arrested his source in the village.

    The district magistrate of Mirzapur, Anurag Patel, justified the police action against Jaiswal, saying that he should not have recorded a video because he is a print journalist.

    Despite repeated attempts, Al Jazeera could not reach BJP leaders for a response.


    Journalists in Uttar Pradesh - India's most populous state - and in the capital New Delhi, however, have come to Jaiswal's support.

    Dozens of local reporters in Mirzapur organised a "pen-down" protest on Tuesday over the police action which has come barely two months after a Delhi-based freelance journalist was picked up from his home by the Uttar Pradesh police.

    Prashant Kanojia was arrested in June for criticising Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath - a hard line Hindu monk known for his anti-Muslim stance. Kanojia was released after the intervention of the Supreme Court.

    Press freedom in India has deteriorated since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

    Attack on press freedom
    Journalists in Indian-administered Kashmir, which has been placed under a crippling lockdown for a month, have complained of harassment by authorities.

    Due to its crackdown on freedom of the press, India dropped down two places in the global press freedom index of Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF), a Paris-based independent media watchdog. India is ranked 140th out of 180 countries, placed below Myanmar and Afghanistan.

    The Editors Guild of India, a prominent Indian body of editors, termed the move "a clear and classic case of shooting the messenger".

    "It is precisely exposes like these that show how valuable free and fearless journalists are to a democratic society. It is shocking that instead of taking action to fix what is wrong on the ground, the government has filed criminal cases against the journalists," said a statement issued by the guild on September 2.

    The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and RSF have condemned the state action against Jaiswal.

    The CPJ called on authorities to "immediately cease pursuing charges" against Jaiswal.

    "Exposing wrongdoing is not defamatory, but rather part of a reporter's job, and filing a case against him is a form of harassment and intimidation," said Aliya Iftikhar, a senior Asia researcher with the CPJ.

    Scared of further persecution by the government, Jaiswal has released several videos on social media pleading that he is innocent.

    "I have done no wrong. I did what a reporter is supposed to do," Jaiswal told Al Jazeera.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    © 2019 Al Jazeera Media Network[​IMG]
     
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    India tightens Kashmir crackdown with curfew

    Indian police have clashed with Shiite mourners at banned religious processions in Kashmir. Indian authorities have warned residents "not to venture out of their home" amid a tightening crackdown in the region.

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    Indian authorities on Sunday imposed curfews in several parts of Kashmir amid a growing crackdown across the contested territory.

    "People are advised to stay indoors and not venture out of their home," police announced over loudspeakers in the Lal Chowk square in Srinagar, the biggest city in the state. "Strict action under law will be taken against violators."

    Authorities tightened restrictions in the area after police clashed with Shiite mourners during a banned religious procession.

    "Reasonable restrictions are necessary for peace and protection of life," said Ajit Doval, India's national security adviser, late Saturday. He said restrictions would not be lifted until Pakistan stopped deploying "terrorists" to the area and accused Islamabad of fomenting unrest.

    Meanwhile, some Sunni Muslims have said they would join a procession with Shiite mourners on Tuesday, the Ashura — a religious day marking the 10th day of Moharram, the first month of the Islamic year.

    Read more: Kashmir lockdown hinders journalists from flying abroad

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    Some Kashmiri Shiite Muslims have vowed to resist Indian authorities as they attempt to observe religious traditions

    Crackdown

    Last month, India withdrew Kashmir's special autonomous status by revoking Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The controversial move triggered further unrest in Kashmir.

    At the time, Srinagar residents told DW that the area had become a "garrison," with some saying: "We're not allowed to move out and all streets are filled with security personnel."

    Critics have accused the Indian government of overstepping its powers by attempting to split Kashmir into two separate territories and changing inheritance rights for native Kashmiris.

    India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule, two of which have centered on the disputed Kashmir region.

    Since 1898, roughly 70,000 people have been killed in the course of Kashmiri uprisings against Indian rule.

    Read more: Narendra Modi is undermining the 'idea of India'

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    ls/tj (Reuters, dpa)
     
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    Bloomberg
    ‘We Are Shocked’: India Citizenship Rule Splits Muslim Families


    Millions fear they’ll be forced to live in detention camps or deported to Bangladesh.

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    Afsana Begum.

    Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
    By
    September 4, 2019, 5:00 PM EDT
    Just seven years old, Afsana is now one of the 1.9 million people to have been rendered stateless in a citizenship drive in India’s northeastern state of Assam. Inexplicably, she’s the only member of her family who didn’t make the list.

    “We are shocked,” said Afsana’s father Nijamul Haque, 29, who was visibly upset as he sat with his wife and daughter outside his small house surrounded by flood waters from the monsoon rains. “Whatever may happen, I will fight for my child.”

    A kilometer away along a narrow lane in Nalbari, one of the districts where many of the state’s Muslims live, Morisful Begum couldn’t eat or sleep after she discovered on Saturday she had been declared a foreigner while her husband and three children had been recognized as Indian citizens. She’s eight months pregnant, and can’t afford the cost of appealing the decision on top of expenses for food and school.

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    Morisful Begum and her husband Salam Ali.
    Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
    “Committing suicide is on my mind,” said Begum, 26, her eyes full of tears. “I can’t live in a detention camp away from my children and husband.”

    A sense of betrayal and anger is growing in Muslim communities, which are most affected by the National Register of Citizens that aims to separate genuine citizens from illegal migrants. Instead, the country’s biggest and most complex registry is dividing families and causing ripples across the political spectrum, fueled by concerns Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is using the measure to advance a hardline Hindu agenda.

    Interviews with more than a dozen residents and officials in Assam this week show many believe the exercise to detect undocumented migrants has been plagued by basic clerical errors and mistaken identities. Even prominent citizens such as lawmakers and retired soldiers have been excluded, plunging Assam into chaos and confusion.

    QuicktakeWhy Millions in India Risk Losing Their Citizenship: QuickTake

    Millions who’ve resided in the state for decades now fear they’ll be unable to vote in elections, access welfare programs or own property. Instead they could be forced to live in detention camps or be deported to neighboring Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country.

    “The exercise itself has been done in a way that it has been not only inhuman but also suffers from procedural and legal arbitrariness,” said Ashok Swain, professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden. “The real challenge is what is India going to do with the people those who don’t make it” on the registry, he said, adding that feelings of helplessness and resentment may fuel violent secessionist movements.

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    Nijamul Haque walks with his daughter Afsana.
    Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
    Even Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has said it’s not happy with the implementation. High-profile state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a tweet he was disappointed at the exclusion of many genuine residents and the inclusion of others through fraud. He also told a local television channel that “genuine Indians” left out should not worry and “foreigners” included in should not celebrate, as “nothing is final.” Calls to the offices of the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah seeking comment were unanswered.

    As criticisms have built up, the home ministry has defended the process involving some 52,000 state government officials as meticulous, objective and transparent. “It is a non-discriminatory process, which leaves no room for bias and injustice,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s foreign ministry.

    The Supreme Court-monitored exercise is aimed at determining who was born in the state of Assam and who might be a migrant from Bangladesh or other neighboring regions. It counts as Indian citizens those who can prove they were residents of Assam up to midnight on March 24, 1971—a day before Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan, leading to a war that killed hundreds of thousands.

    Illegal migration has been a source of ethnic conflict and political unrest for decades in the tea-producing state where more than one in three people is Muslim. Modi’s party wants to replicate the citizenship register nationwide, featuring it as a key plank in its election manifesto. His government separately tried to push controversial legislation to grant Indian nationality to non-Muslim illegal migrants from nearby countries.

    On Tuesday in Assam, half a dozen people lined up at a faded building in Guwahati, the state’s largest city that sits beside the Brahmaputra River, to access one of 100 so-called Foreigners Tribunals—quasi-judiciary bodies that are empowered to pass judgment on whether a person is a foreigner. But they were turned away, as the process to appeal decisions isn’t up and running yet.

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    Officials check for a man's name on the National Register of Citizens at a government office in Guwahati, in Assam, on Aug. 31, 2019.
    Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
    Government officials in the building who wouldn’t give their names said they expected a huge rush once the appeals begin. Those excluded can file an appeal within 120 days of receiving a notification, and the government has said it will provide free legal assistance to those who can’t afford it. Another 200 tribunals are in the process of being established.

    It is not just Muslims who’ve been caught up in the chaos—Hindus have also been affected. Tea garden laborer Sonu Ramdey said because he is illiterate, he was unable to file the proper documents that would have allowed him to be included in the citizenship list, while Bisu Rajak, 55, a shopkeeper in Kamrup district, said his wife has been left out in the list, while other family members were recognized as citizens. “Ultimately the mistake will be corrected,” Rajak said. “But before that we have to to go through an ordeal.”

    Rural women—many of whom can’t read or write—are some of the biggest losers in the process. With no proof of education or birth certificates to show, many find it tough to prove their identity, said Amzad Hussain, a social activist from Assam who is providing assistance to villagers. They also don’t have money to bear legal costs to defend themselves if they are left off the list.

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    Devotees walk past a Hindu temple in Guwahati.
    Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
    Tales of family separation are mounting. Twelve of Makbul Hussain’s 16 family members did not make it onto the list, while one of his brothers found a place with his family. Makbul Hussain, a school teacher, said he used the legacy data of his father, who has been voting in Indian elections since 1966. His brother submitted their grandfather’s credentials.

    Makbul Hussain, who earlier supported the citizenship screening move because he believed it would help root out illegal Bangladeshi migrants, has now changed his mind.

    “In spite of all the documents, this happened because some officials have a communal mindset and they just want to remove Muslims from the list,” he said. “But I will fight it to protect my family.”



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    1.9 million excluded from Indian citizenship list in Assam state
    By Helen Regan and Manveena Suri, CNN

    Updated 2:13 AM ET, Sat August 31, 2019

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    New Delhi (CNN)What would you do if you suddenly discovered you were not considered a citizen of the country where your family had lived for generations?

    Nearly 2 million people in India's northeast Assam have been left off a massive list of Indian citizens in the state this weekend. Published Saturday, the controversial new National Register of Citizens (NRC) excludes 1.9 million of the state's population of 33 million.
    The register's supporters say it will help root out undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants, but critics fear it will lead to the deportation of Assam's hundreds of thousands of Bengali-speaking Muslims, with claims to legal residency.
    There are also concerns that the register will be used to justify religious discrimination against Muslims in the state.
    Since 2015, all residents of Assam have had to prove with documentary evidence that they or their relatives were living in the state before March 24, 1971 -- the day preceding the Bangladesh Liberation War -- to be considered eligible for Indian citizenship.
    Assam is the only state in India to have a citizenship register. It was created in 1951 to distinguish Indian citizens from undocumented migrants from what used to be East Pakistan, a territory that became Bangladesh in 1971. An updated NRC was ordered by the Supreme Court in 2013 and the process began in 2015.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in January: "I am here to assure everyone that no Indian citizen will be left out of the NRC. This is my assurance."
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    In this photo taken on August 28, 2019, security personnel stand guard at a National Register of Citizens (NRC) office ahead of the release of the register's final draft in Guwahati, the capital city of India's northeastern state of Assam.
    A state of uncertainty
    It is unclear what will happen to those who are left off the citizenship list, which was compiled by approving residents' ancestry documents.
    But officials' comments have done little to allay residents' fears.
    "We are in a state of uncertainty. The country that we love so much, when we hear that those whose names aren't there will be sent to detention camps, how is this our fault? We were born here," said 30-year-old Gobinda Nandi, a primary school teacher from Tamulpur in western Assam.
    Ashutosh Agnihotri, a senior official in Assam's Home and Political Department, told CNN that no one would be sent to a detention center during the legal process.
    A draft list released last year left the names of an estimated 4 million people off the register.
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    Anger at plan that puts 4 million at risk of losing Indian citizenship

    Many of Assam's minority Bengali community have lived in India for decades, after crossing the border into the state during the bloody Bangladesh independence struggle in 1971. Many others can trace their history back even further, arriving before the independence of India in 1947.
    "Nobody really knows what's going to happen after the list is published," said Shreya Munoth, a New Delhi-based lawyer who works on human and women's rights issues. Munoth said applicants can go to the Supreme Court with their appeals, but if that fails "the consequences of that have not been discussed at all."
    "Does that mean deportation? Indefinite incarceration? What does it entail? That has never been discussed because it would attract too much international scrutiny which the state does not want," she said.
    The Indian government has repeatedly said no one will be declared a foreigner if they are not on the list. Yet those who don't make the register have 120 days to appeal at what have ironically been called Foreigner Tribunals, set up to assess their citizenship status.
    The government has said legal aid would be provided for those who need it.

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