New Delhi: More than 1,000 unauthorised mazars, or mausoleums, have been built on forest land in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami has claimed, calling it ‘mazar jihad’.
In an interview with Panchjanya — the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) Hindi mouthpiece — Dhami claimed that “anti-social elements emerge” from these mazars and that his government will take “strict action” against such structures.
Among other subjects covered by Right-wing writers were the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he was “Gandhi, not Savarkar” when asked if he would apologise for the 2019 remarks that led to his conviction in a defamation case and expulsion from Parliament.
ThePrint brings a roundup of all that made news in the Hindu Right press.
In his interview with Panchjanya, Dhami claimed that his government had ordered the state forest department to conduct a survey of mazars on forest land.
“It is indeed true that more than 1,000 such mazars have been built on forest land. These mazars are not of peer babas (holy saints) but are a part of mazar jihad and anti-social elements emerge from them. We’re also trying to find under which officer’s tenure these unauthorised mazars were built,” he said.
Dhami’s statements come as part of the state government’s drive against such mausoleums. Last June, the Uttarakhand government ordered the state’s forest department to identify unauthorised mazars, mosques, temples, and churches that had come up on forest land.
That action, in turn, was seen to be in line with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto for the Uttarakhand assembly election in February that year. The party had pledged to check alleged demographic changes in the state’s hill districts.
Dhami claimed that most of these mazars were built under Congress rule in the state.
He also spoke about religious conversion, saying, “We brought the country’s strictest anti-conversion law in Uttarakhand. We do worry about Uttarakhand’s sanatan swaroop (eternal Hindu form)…We won’t let missionaries who convert people with allurement succeed here. Many issues of love jihad also came up, and it’s the government’s responsibility to stop them.”
‘Credibility’ of rating agencies
In his blog, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch’s national co-convenor, Ashwani Mahajan, questioned the credibility of three foreign rating agencies — Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch — and their failure to predict the fall of US banks.
Mahajan said in his article that there’s a need to control these agencies.
“Prior to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Moody’s gave it an A3 rating — the seventh highest rating on its scale. Even more interestingly, even after the bank collapsed, Moody’s downgraded its rating by only one notch to ‘BAA1’,” he wrote. “Significantly, whether it is ‘A3’ or ‘BAA1’, both the ratings are not even close to ‘junk’ and don’t give even an iota of a warning to investors that there’s any risk in investing in this institution.”
However, the same agencies, which remain in “deep slumber despite the crisis in the countries of America and Europe, become excessively sensitive about countries like India”, he wrote.
“Such harshness on countries like India and kindness to American and European countries raises questions on (the functioning of) these agencies. After the Yes Bank crisis three years ago, Moody’s had reduced the outlook on Indian banks from stable to negative and had also said then that small lenders could face a liquidity crunch because of the crisis,” Mahajan wrote.
He was referring to the 2020 crisis that hit Yes Bank when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a 30-day moratorium on it, superseded its board, and appointed an administrator.
After Moody’s announcement, he wrote, “there was a huge fall in the shares of Indian banks”.
“Despite this, the Indian economy, including Indian banks, is traversing the path of continuous progress, but these agencies are still skimping on India’s credit rating,” he said, adding that since the agencies are headquartered in the US, American companies get a better rating.
“The need today is to curb the monopolistic powers of these rating agencies so that the credibility of the companies can be properly assessed by preventing a conflict of interest,” he wrote. “Today, investors all over the world are facing losses due to false credit ratings. It’s true that in many cases it’s not possible for the rating agencies to have complete information, but concealing the information received can’t be justified either.”
Savarkar’s ‘maafinama’ and Shivaji’s tricks
In an article in Panchjanya, columnist Neeraj Dev compared Hindu ideologue V.D. Savarkar’s apology to the British to the “tricks” that Maratha king Shivaji used to escape Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s custody.
He was writing a column in light of Rahul Gandhi’s “Gandhi, not Savarkar” remark on the back of his conviction in a criminal defamation case and subsequent disqualification from Lok Sabha.
“It should be kept in mind that there’s a need for an immediate apology in political circumstances. Why would there have been an opportunity for Savarkar to apologise? The answer’s clear, Veer Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms,” he wrote. “There was only one reason for giving him such an inhuman punishment — that he had planned a comprehensive, multidimensional, and active way to drive the British out of India.”
He was referring to the mercy petitions that Savarkar submitted to the British government in the 1910s, when he was imprisoned at the Cellular Jail in Andaman for 10 years on charges including waging war against the state.
In his column, Dev wrote that the punishment was “strong proof” of Savarkar’s patriotism and also the “reason for his alleged apology”.
“If you look carefully, leave aside leaders like Gandhi, Tilak, even a great revolutionary like Vasudev Balwant Phadke was not given such inhuman punishment by the British,” he wrote in the column, adding that since Savarkar was “a lawyer and had complete knowledge of the British law”, it would have been wrong to “not take advantage of it”.
He then went on to compare Savarkar’s letter of apology to a modified version of the “tricks” that Shivaji used to escape from Aurangzeb.
“Apart from this, in Savarkar’s belief, there was no place for the thought that even the enemy should be treated with truth, non-violence, and honesty. The enemy should be crushed by any means. That was his belief. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also used all the tricks to escape from Auranzeb’s Agra prison. This was a modified version of the same tricks,” Dev said.
VHP and reservation
In its monthly magazine Hindu Vishwa, the Vishva Hindu Parishad has emphasised its support for caste-based reservation. In the article, VHP said that while reservation must continue to be given to those castes that were considered “untouchables”, this shouldn’t extend to converts to Islam and Christianity.
“The Abrahamic sects — Islam and Christianity — declare that there is no caste system in them. Therefore, there’s no practice of untouchability. Thus a Scheduled Caste person who converts to Islam or Christianity leaves behind social stigma and can’t be given reservation in the Scheduled Caste category,” the editorial said.
Backward classes among Muslims and Christians continue to enjoy the benefits of reservation in the respective quotas of different states, the editorial said.
“Other poor Muslims and Christians are entitled to reservation under the EWS category,” it said.
Reservation is “irrevocable”, but the inclusion of any other caste or creed would “dilute the constitutional spirit”, the article said.
“They (Christians and Muslims) also take advantage of various schemes for the development of minorities. Their institutions are protected under Article 30 of the Constitution of India. Minorities have also benefited from welfare schemes like free ration, housing, toilets, gas, electricity, tap water, etc.,” the VHP said…
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