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Uttar Pradesh: Muslims plan to leave this village if BJP wins polls

first_imgMuslims in Nayabans, an unremarkable village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, say they remember a time when their children played with Hindu youths, and people from either faith chatted when they frequented each other’s shops and went to festivals together.Such interactions no longer happen, many say, because of how polarized the two communities have become in the past two years, and some are frightened and thinking of moving away – if they can afford it.Muslim residents who spoke to Reuters said they thought tensions would only worsen if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins a second term in the current general election, as exit polls released on Sunday indicate is likely. Votes will be counted Thursday.”Things were very good earlier. Muslims and Hindus were together in good and bad times, weddings to deaths. Now we live our separate ways despite living in the same village,” said Gulfam Ali, who runs a small shop selling bread and tobacco.Modi came to power in 2014 and the BJP took control of Uttar Pradesh state, which includes Nayabans, in 2017. The state’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, is a Hindu priest and senior BJP figure.”Modi and Yogi have messed it up,” said Ali. “Dividing Hindus and Muslims is their main agenda, only agenda. It was never like this earlier. We want to leave this place but can’t really do that.”He says about a dozen Muslim families have left in the past two years, including his uncle.advertisementThe BJP denies its policies have stoked community divisions.COW KILLINGAt the end of last year, Nayabans, a village of wheatfields, narrow cemented streets, bullock carts and loitering cows, became a symbol of India’s deepening divide as some Hindu men from the area complained they had seen a group of Muslims slaughtering cows, which Hindus regard as sacred.Angry Hindus accused police of failing to stop an illegal practice, and a Hindu mob blocked a highway, threw stones and burned vehicles. Two people were shot and killed – including a police officer.Five months later many Muslims, who only number about 400 of the village’s population of more than 4,000, say the wounds haven’t healed.And in a country where 14 per cent of the population are Muslim and 80 per cent Hindu, Nayabans reflects wider tensions in places where Muslim residents are heavily outnumbered by Hindu neighbours.”There have been no riots in the country under this government. It’s wrong to label criminal incidents, which we denounce, as Hindu-Muslim issues,” BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal said.”The opposition has been playing communal politics but we believe in neutrality of governance. Neither appeasement of any, nor denouncement of any. Some people may be finding that they are not being appeased anymore.”CALL TO PRAYERTo be sure, villagers say Nayabans was not free of conflict in the past – attempts to build a mosque in 1977 led to communal riots in which two people were killed. But for the 40 years after that there had been relative harmony, villagers say.Some Muslim residents said Hindu hardliners started asserting themselves more in the village after Yogi took office in March 2017.The atmosphere worsened around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2017 – Hindu activists demanded Muslims stop using a microphone in their madrasa, which also acts as a mosque, to call people to prayer, arguing it disturbed the whole community.The Muslims reluctantly agreed to stop using the mike and speaker – even though they say it had been operating for many years – to keep the peace, but the move created deep resentment.Some Hindus were unsympathetic.”God knows what they are moaning about,” said Hindu elder Om Prakash, a 63-year-old tailor. “There’s peace here but we won’t tolerate any mike there. That’s a madrasa, not a mosque.”Islam requires the faithful to pray five times a day. Without the reminder of hearing the call, some Muslim residents say they risk missing prayer times.”We can’t express our religion in any way here, but they are free to do whatever they want,” said Muslim law student Aisha, 21.She said that Hindu men from the village often shouted anti-Muslim slogans during festival processions. At least a dozen Hindus in the village denied that was the case.Aisha remembers when relations were better.”Earlier they would speak very nicely to us, but now they don’t,” said Aisha. “If there was any problem at all, or someone was sick in the family, all the neighbours would come over and help – whether Hindus or Muslims. Now that doesn’t happen.”advertisement”EMPTY OUT”Sharfuddin Saifi, 38, who runs a cloth shop at a nearby market, was named in a complaint filed with the police by local Hindus over the cow incident last year.After 16 days in jail, he was released as the police found he had nothing to do with the suspected slaughter, but said he found much had changed.Hindus now shun his business. The money he spent on lawyers meant he had to stop going to Delhi to buy stock for the shop, which is largely empty. And he withdrew his 13-year-old son from a private school because he could no longer afford it.”For someone who had never seen the inside of a police station or even dreamt of committing a crime, it’s a big thing,” he said of the trauma of his detention.He often thinks about leaving the village, he says, but tells himself, “I have not done anything wrong, why should I leave?”Carpenter Jabbar Ali, 55, moved to a Muslim-dominated area in Masuri, closer to Delhi, buying a house with money he saved from working in Saudi Arabia.”If Hindus could kill a Hindu police inspector, in front of a police outpost, with armed guards alongside him, then who are we Muslims?” Ali said, recalling the December incident.He still keeps his house in Nayabans and visits occasionally but said he feels much safer in his new home, where all his immediate neighbours are Muslims.”I’m fearful here,” he said. “Muslims may have to empty out this place if Modi gets another term, and Yogi continues here.”Junaid, a round-faced 22-year-old with a goatee, comes from one of the most affluent Muslim families in the village. His father runs a gold shop in a town nearby.Seated outside his home, he recalled playing sport together with Hindus.”When we were young all the Hindus and Muslims used to play together, especially cricket – I played it a lot,” he said. “Now we haven’t played in at least a year.”He said he wanted to move to New Delhi soon to study at a university there. “Things are not good here,” he said.Some Muslims, however, say they are committed to remaining. Aas Mohammed, 42, the owner of a flourishing tiles and bathroom fixtures business in a nearby town, has decided to stay in the village, though he has a house on Delhi’s outskirts.Mohammed helped arrange a lawyer for Saifi after his arrest over the cow incident. He is now lobbying to have the microphone brought back and fighting a legal battle to get a new mosque built.”I will fight on,” he said. “I am not scared, but another term for Modi will make it very difficult for many other people to live here.”Also Read | Axis My India Exit Poll 2019: Frequently asked questions and answersAlso Read | Gurugram: Mob brutally thrashes doctor in Ardee City, says Muslims should leaveAlso Watch | Exit poll predicts Modi tsunami in 2019, NDA likey to win 339-365 seatsadvertisementlast_img read more

Make sure you do something youth who presented final MMIWG report to

first_imgabernard@aptn.ca@AbernardNews Amber BernardAPTN NewsWhen an Anishinabe woman was on a stage with the prime minister Monday she gave Justin Trudeau some advice.“I said, ‘This is your baby now, this was our baby. Take care of her’,” Shailla Manitowabie-Cooke recalled Tuesday“Make sure you do something.”Manitowabie-Cooke, of the Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario, was part of the closing ceremony of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.She and a young man accepted the report – bundled in a special Indigenous bag and blessed with traditional medicines – from its four commissioners and handed it to Canada via the prime minister.Among the 231 findings in its 1,200 pages is that genocide in the form of continuing colonialism is to blame for the disappearances and deaths of thousands of Indigenous women and girls.(Shailla Manitowabie-Cooke wants the prime minister “do something” about violence against Indigenous women and girls. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)Among its recommendations the final report also calls on Canadians to do something.It says they should “confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.”Manitowabie-Cooke agrees.“If you see it, and you see a woman getting abused, definitely speak up,” she said, “because a lot of the time nobody does anything.“This has to change, it has to stop.”The prime minister pledged to implement a national action plan to address violence against Indigenous women and girls.But Manitowabie-Cooke, who described the commissioners as “her heroes”, hopes he does more before the election campaign in the fall.“We don’t have a lot of hope with the Conservatives, so I’m hoping the Liberals will do something,” she said.“I know we have three more months before the election. I’m hoping he’s able to make some change during that time.”When asked if the prime minister agreed to do something, Manitowabie-Cooke said he replied:  ‘We will, together,’” she told APTN News.last_img read more

Watchmen teaser trailer for new HBO series takes fans to eerie universe

first_img Share your voice Tick-tock, tick-tock. The teaser trailer for HBO’s upcoming Watchmen series came out on Wednesday, and you shouldn’t watch it if you’re disturbed by masked faces or ticking clocks. They fill the eerie trailer, which doesn’t reveal any spoilers, but is set in an alternate universe where superheroes are forced to become outlaws.The series adapts Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel of the same name, and stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Louis Gossett Jr., Frances Fisher and Tim Blake Nelson. The first season will have eight episodes, and Damon Lindelof of Lost fame is the show creator. A 2009 movie was also based on the series.With all the clock-ticking, the teaser still manages to not reveal a premiere date, only citing “fall.” HBO may be needing a new hot show by then, as blockbuster Game of Thrones only has two episodes left.Here’s everything we know about HBO’s Watchmen so far. Tags HBO Post a comment 0 187 Photos See all the Game of Thrones season 8 photos TV and Movieslast_img read more

GST impact subdued business activity push Nifty below 9900 Sensex drops around

first_imgA man looks at a screen across the road on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai May 16, 2014.Reuters fileThe Indian equity market is witnessing a mild downturn, with the benchmark index declining for the fifth straight day to a near four-week low.The BSE Sensex on Monday tanked 417 points intraday before closing at 31,626.63, down 296 points. On the other hand, NSE Nifty 50 Index slipped 91 percent or 0.92 percent to 9,872.60.The NSE Nifty Bank index fell for the fifth day in a row and hit a 1-month low on Monday, declining as much as 1.45 percent to touch 24,015 points.The corrections have been triggered by a series of factors such as GST impact on domestic market, subdued consumer spending, weak global cues, continues FPI outflows, muted growth forecast and because of growing global uncertainties.”Clearly both the initiatives (GST and demonetisation) had a more severe impact than what we have imagined. The negative impact is more in wholesale businesses in rural areas along with small and medium-sized industries. And, this is worrying,” Harsh Mariwala chairman of Marico told BloombergQuint.Recently, R Shankar Raman, chief financial officer (CFO) of Larsen and Toubro (L&T), opined that the government’s preparedness for rolling out tax reforms was nowhere close to what was claimed and this found reflection in the slipping GDP growth numbers.In an interview with Mint last week, Raman said, “…this pain is going to continue for another six to nine months, and consequently, working capital is going to get blocked. In fact, I don’t see the private sector coming back for the next couple of years.”On the global front, uncertainties keep putting pressure on emerging stock markets. The US Fed’s hawkish monetary policy stance and decision to begin its balance-sheet reduction programme from October 2017, a sharp depreciation in the rupee over the past two weeks and increasing tensions in the Korean peninsula are pushing investors away from the market.Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have been net sellers form the past two months. As on September 25, they pulled Rs 4,511 crore out of the Indian equity market and in August they pulled out a whopping Rs 12,770 crore, according to NSDL data.last_img read more

Art is all that matters

first_imgIn an initiative to bring the finest works of some renowned artists to an art lover’s disposal, a new group paintings exhibition titled ‘Creative Six’ is being held at the Creativity Art Gallery in the national Capital. The exhibition which began on January 25 will be on till February 15. It features the works of extremely talented artists – Farhad Hussain, Gegorge Martin PJ, Kishore Roy, Krishnendu Poral, Jagmohan Bangani and Tejinder Kanda, will include relief prints, dry pints, collographs and lithographs.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’What happens when you bring six creative minds under the same roof? It is a potpourri of colours, emotions and imagination. Six artists are showcasing their works which are carefully handpicked. The personalities, who are being associated with ‘Creativity Art Gallery’, touch different subjects that will connect with the art lovers. Visual treats are by Tejinder Kanda whose strong strokes come together to form song and dance or depict a scene from around your everyday surroundings. Shekhar Jhamb, director, Creativity Art Gallery expressed his motto very aptly. He said: “The aim of the gallery is not only to bring forward good artists but artists who think differently. We want to imprint these artists in the minds of the masses and help ignite aspiring artists as well. When that happens, I’ll feel I’m on the right track”.WHERE: Creativity Art GalleryWHEN: January 25 to February 15TIME: 11 am to 7 pmlast_img read more