April 30, 2007

Shiv Sainiks instructed to burn Laine's book

Bookshop owners won't stock Laine's Shivaji

By: Urvashi Seth
(Mid-Day, April 30, 2007) After Bal Thackeray’s announcement that he instructed Sainiks to burn the copies of the James Laine’s book, Shivaji — Hindu King in Islamic India, in public, book sellers have become apprehensive about stocking copies of the book.

On Thursday, the Bombay High Court lifted the ban on the book.

According to sources, the Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Sena (BVS) has warned bookshop owners not to keep copies of the book or face strict action.

“Being a part of the Sena, we have requested all bookshop owners not to stock James Laine’s book,” said Abhijeet Panse, president of BVS.

Mandar Nerulkar, owner of the Ideal Book Depot, Dadar, said they won’t be selling the book after Bal Thackeray’s comments.

“The book has many defaming statements against Shivaji. Even though the court has lifted the ban we won’t be selling it, especially after we heard that Shiv Sena has taken an aggressive stance on the issue.”

“It’s very likely that the book won’t be coming into the market. If it comes, we will decide whether to stock it,” said Rohit Tengle of Book Zone at CST

Christian preacher attacked in Jaipur

Masked intruders go on rampage in house in the vicinity of Chief Minister's official residence
— Photo: PTI

(The Hindu,
April 30, 2007)

Christian preacher attacked in Jaipur

Special Correspondent

BEFORE AND AFTER: Getting ready for the attack on preacher Walter Massey are some men who are covering their faces.

JAIPUR: Masked youth attacked and seriously injured a Christian preacher and went on the rampage in his house in the neighbourhood of the official residence of the Rajasthan Chief Minister here on Sunday afternoon. Walter Massey has been admitted to the emergency ward of the Sawai Man Singh Medical College Hospital here. Authorities there termed his condition stable. No arrest has been made so far.

Mr. Massey runs a small congregation, `Masihi Sanghti,' from his middleclass residence at Nandpuri Bazar. The intruders, numbering 15-20, used sticks and whatever came in handy to attack Mr. Masseyin the presence of his wife and child.

His wife Joyce told this correspondent that initially three persons came seeking to meet her husband. When the door was opened, they engaged the preacher in a conversation and in no time started assaulting him. And more men, covering their faces, joined in the attack.

As the attackers dragged a profusely bleeding Massey out of the house, a neighbour Samuel Roberts, who was passing by, rushed to the Sodala police station, half km away.

Ms. Joyce and the child were not hurt though the intruders broke plastic chairs, utensils and furniture.

— Photo: PTI

The image of the bleeding missionary.

Mr. Roberts said there were around 25 men, who covered their faces and were wielding sticks, outside Mr. Massey's residence.

Assailants on video

Additional Superintendent of Police (South) Subhash Vishnoi said the police were trying to identify the persons spotted on a video on the incident telecast by some TV channels. A case has been registered.

The Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind condemned the attack.

Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot termed it a "very serious matter" and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits.

"Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers have once again taken law into their own hands in the name of stopping religious conversions in the State and this is condemnable." CPI (M) State secretary Vasudev said, "The Chief Minister and the Home Minister should take the responsibility for the attack," which occurred in the Civil Lines locality."Hardly four days ago did workers of the BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad attempt to attack the CPI (M) State headquarters on Hatwara Road, he alleged.

Engineer Mohammed Saleem, new president of the State Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said the attack put a question mark on the very existence of a government in the State.

April 11, 2007

Bajrang Dal activists take to streets over inter-religious marriage

(The Hindu
April 12, 2007)

Madhya Pradesh
Bajrang Dal activists take to streets over inter-community marriage

Staff Correspondent

Photo: A.M. Faruqui

THE CD EFFECT: Bajrang Dal activists protesting against inter-community marriage, in Bhopal on Wednesday.

BHOPAL: Resistance to inter-community marriage was in full display when some splinter groups of Bajrang Dal came out in strength and blocked traffic here on Wednesday in protest against two alleged cases of Hindu girls marrying Muslim boys.

The other day, a girl's father had lodged a `missing person' complaint and the police had started investigating it. On the basis of inputs provided by the father, members of an influential family from another community were interrogated.

The district Superintendent of Police, A. K. Singh, told The Hindu that they were investigating the matter and there was no coercion from any side. The girl had reportedly called up the police over phone saying she had married one Umar with her consent and both of them were adults. She was asked to appear before the Bhopal police or a magistrate to make her statement, the SP said, adding that she chose to appear before the Mumbai High Court and gave her statement.

Bhopal DIG of Police Anuradha Shankar said the police were following the standard procedure in response to the complaint filed by the girl's father. She said the police were not aware of the content of her statement before the High Court. She also refuted allegations against the police and said there had been no illegal detention during the course of the inquiry.

Even as some activist groups belonging to the majority community were agitating over the issue, news spread here that another Hindu girl, a Class XII student from an English medium school, had eloped with a boy from another community. During preliminary investigations, in response to an FIR lodged by the girl's father under Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with kidnapping, the police have found from the girl's house an affidavit dated March 20, signed by one Rehan, stating that he has changed his religion and his name would now be Rohan. Further investigations revealed that the boy and the girl were married at a local Arya Samaj temple on March 21 and the police have secured a wedding photograph.

Meanwhile, some groups, including members of Bharatiya Janshakti, blocked road traffic at several places here protesting against the "increasing trend of Hindu girls marrying Muslim boys". A call for Bhopal bandh on Thursday has been given by a newly formed outfit called "Hindu Kanya Raksha Samiti". A section of Bajrang Dal activists and those belonging to the majority community were meeting here on Wednesday evening to decide their future strategy.

April 05, 2007

Hyperlink to Hinduphobia

Inside Bay Area

Finding Hindu hatred online
Fremont-based group monitors Web sites promoting intolerance
By Chris De Benedetti, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 04/04/2007 02:47:08 AM PDT

FREMONT — Longtime organizations that seek to rid the world of religious and racial intolerance have been monitoring Web sites they consider hateful since the medium became available worldwide more than a decade ago.

Now, the Hindu American Foundation, led and founded by Fremont physician Mihir Meghani, is trying to follow the lead of those groups to win a similar battle.

The result is the group's

52-page report titled "Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus."

Recently authored by the foundation, the report says that exposing online hate speech is a crucial front in the fight against negative stereotypes about the Hindu religion.

Hinduism is most closely associated with India but has followers around the world. Many Hindus believe in concepts such as karma and reincarnation and in practices including yoga, meditation and a vegetarian diet. The religion also encompasses beliefs ranging from monism — the belief there is just one god — to polytheism — the belief in more than one god, according to the report.

These notable differences from Judeo-Christian beliefs sometimes make it an unfair target of ridicule, Meghani said.

"Though it is less well-known in this country, anti-Hindu bigotry is every bit as ugly and dangerous as anti-Semitism or racism, and every bit as present on the Internet," Jeffery Long, chair of the Religious Studies Department at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania,
wrote in the report's foreword.

The report lists 37 Web sites that allegedly are guilty of hate speech toward Hinduism, Meghani said. Words such as "demonic, dirty and filthy" are used on the Web sites to describe the religion, the report states.

"We have to get rid of the idea that 'my path is better than yours,'" Meghani said. "We have to move beyond hate."

Meghani founded the Maryland-based Hindu American Foundation. It has about 5,000 members nationwide.

Its leaders seeks to follow the lead of the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, each of which combat anti-Semitism and racism on the Worldwide Web and beyond. Meghani applauds Jewish groups that have lobbied Internet service providers and search-engine giants such as Google and Yahoo to get rid of online anti-Semitism.

It is a model that Meghani wants to follow.

"This is our attempt to get into that national debate," said Meghani, a Fremont resident since 2000. "If we don't take that responsibility, no one else will."

Hinduism is the most popular religion in India, which has a population of roughly 1 billion people. But American Hindus number only about 2 million in a nation of 300 million, making them less than 1 percent of the population.

"That means we don't have control of how we're represented," Meghani said.

The majority of the Web sites identified in the report as being "anti-Hindu" are Christian. But Hindu American Foundation leaders say their goal is to promote understanding among different religions — not to point fingers.

"I think everyone faces discrimination at some point. This is something everyone should take up," Meghani said. "None of us like to have our religions denigrated, so it makes sense for us to work together to build a better society.

Chris De Benedetti covers Fremont issues. Contact him at (510) 353-7002 or cdebenedetti@angnewspapers.com.