Saturday, August 31, 2013

Women, Bought and Sold in Nepal - NYTimes.com

Women, Bought and Sold in Nepal - NYTimes.com: "I traveled to Nepal last spring to document the growing problem of sex trafficking and unsafe migration, spending the majority of time in Katmandu and along the Nepal-India border."

'via Blog this'

Over 50 Percent of Food Stamp Recipients Live in the Suburbs

The Most Dangerous City in the World Is Not Where You Think It Is

Orlan Chavez was a quiet but efficient civil servant, a prosecutor known for successfully investigating money-laundering schemes run by Honduran politicians. In April, he was killed for doing his job, shot seven times by unknown attackers as he made his way home. In the days leading up to his assassination in the capital, Tegucigalpa, his office had seized several properties of Jose Miguel "Chepe" Handal Perez. Perez was running for the country's congress and was singled out as a "kingpin" by the U.S. Treasury Department for shifting tons of cocaine between Colombia and Mexico.
Though Chavez's assassination was tragic, it was treated like a statistic in Honduras. Since his brutal killing there have been no arrests, no public outcry, and virtually no media coverage. The country's top money laundering prosecutor was murdered in broad daylight, and it is likely that no one will ever know who did it.
Such is the situation in Honduras and among its neighbors. Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala -- known collectively as the Northern Triangle -- feature the world´s highest violent death rates. Honduras is by far the worst.
 
The Most Dangerous City in the World Is Not Where You Think It Is

Syria's Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraqi al-Qaida




"The most feared and effective rebel group battling President Bashar Assad, the Islamist Nusra Front, is being eclipsed by a more radical jihadi force whose aims go far beyond overthrowing the Syrian leader.
Al-Qaida's Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say."
Syria's Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraqi al-Qaida
 
"Libya is now a center of jihadist terror. The Western intervention in Libya in 2011 accelerated the destabilization of the Libyan state and the North African and Sahel regions, and as a result chaos, weapons, and jihadist groups have spread outside of the state's borders, said Prof. Yehudit Ronen of the political science department at Bar-Ilan University.
After the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya became a weak state that fails to exert control over its territory and borders, and various armed militias have now come to power."
'Chaos caused by Libya war delays Syria action' 

U.S.: Al Qaeda-linked Group Behind Benghazi Attack Trains Jihadists for Syrian Rebel Groups

Libya Is Getting Better and Better for Teenage Arms Dealers

Article above
 mentions relatively liberal folks in eastern province. Wrong. They are Jihadists, see below:
Libya Losing Control of Oil Fields
To Jihadist Groups

Libya's Oil Industry Is in Trouble
The Jihadist Plot
The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion
Author: Obama Administration Had to Know Libyan Rebels Had al-Qaida Links

Destination Martyrdom
Apr 19, 2008 10:13 AM EDT
What drove so many Libyans to volunteer as suicide bombers for the war in Iraq? A visit to their hometown—the dead-end city of Darnah. 
Libyan rebel says Osama bin Laden's death won't stop jihadist flow
'Al Qaeda [is] getting more and more organized and bringing people [to Libya] from abroad,' says the rebel, who has been contacted by militants wanting to fight against Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
U.S. Bombs Libya, Helps... Jihadists?!

'Braindead' West wants Jihadists to rule Libya - ex-CIA officer 





The Largest Homeless Camp In Mainland USA Is Right In The Heart Of Silicon Valley

WELCOME TO 'THE JUNGLE': The Largest Homeless Camp In Mainland USA Is Right In The Heart Of Silicon Valley


Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System








The Leveraged Buyout of America
Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?
 
Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale
 
Written Testimony of
Saule T. Omarova, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs,
Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
(July 23, 2013)
LARGE U.S. BANKING ORGANIZATIONS' ACTIVITIES IN PHYSICAL COMMODITY AND ENERGY
MARKETS: LEGAL AND POLICY CONSIDERATIONS
 
 
Fed Criticized on Oversight of Bank-Owned Commodity Units
 

EVERY Market Is Rigged


IT FINALLY COMES OUT: Elite Traders Are Getting Access To Data Before Everyone Else
Rigged Benchmark Probes Proliferating From Singapore to London


Killing the competition:
How the new monopolies are destroying open markets






Fw: Army chiefs praise Parliament for voting against military strikes





'Bombing Syria will make civil war worse': Army chiefs praise Parliament for voting against military strikes

  • General Lord Dannatt described vote as 'victory for common sense'
  • He said the 'drumbeat for war' had dwindled among British public 
  • Rear Admiral Chris Parry said serving colleagues were glad at decision
  • U.N weapons inspectors left Syria earlier than expected today
  • This has fuelled speculation U.S. could attack Syria as early as tomorrow

----- Forwarded Message -----
 
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 10:11 AM
Subject: Syria and the Obscenity of US Empire | Your Week in Review

Trouble viewing this email? Click here to view this and past Newsletters online.
Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
Do you want to share the news with a friend? Click here to tell them about Common Dreams.

  In Syria, Obama's Calculations Reveal Stupidity of US Imperialism
by Jon Queally
"As US and NATO plan aerial attack on Assad government, analyses expose cynical and dangerous mindset of those choosing war over peace."
     
  Moral Obscenities in Syria
by Phyllis Bennis and David Wildman
"The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever."
     
  As Kerry Makes Obama's Flimsy Case for War, Where Is Congress?
by Jon Queally
"Statements from Secretary of State John Kerry reveal White House determined to convince public that war serves national interest, but will public demands for debate take place before the missiles fly?"
     
  Why America Cannot Live without Wars
by Chidanand Rajghatta
"We are not good at anything else anymore... can't build a decent car or a television, can't give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country..."
     
  Hypocrisy and Legacy of Death Linger as US Claims Moral Authority in Syria
by Andrea Germanos
"US slams "chemical weapons" in Syria while being a serial user of weapons widely condemned by the global community."
     
  Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria
by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer
"Humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region."
     
  'Black Budget' Revealed: A Detailed Look at US 'Espionage Empire'
by Jon Queally
"Latest revelations made possible by Edward Snowden give unprecedented view of how taxpayer funds are use to "collect it all""
     
  What the Assault on Whistleblowers Has to Do With War on Syria
by Norman Solomon
"There has been a pernicious method to the madness of the Obama administration's double-barreled assault on whistleblowers and journalism."
     
  Colombia Nationwide Strike Against 'Free Trade,' Privatization, Poverty
by Sarah Lazare
"Ignored by English-language media, rural uprisings spread across industries as hundreds of thousands protest US-backed government."
     
  The Leveraged Buyout of America
by Ellen Brown
"Giant bank holding companies are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy."
     
 

Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.
Independent, non-profit newscenter since 1997.

Our Mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

www.commondreams.org

You are subscribed to the Common Dreams Daily Newsletter as fmayraj@yahoo.com.
Click here to unsubscribe from the Daily Newsletter.
Click here to manage your profile.








Groper causes flight to make emergency landing

'Here we go': Drunk passenger causes cross-country flight to make emergency landing after groping two passengers

  • Gregory Meyer grabbed the waist of one female passenger and the head of another passenger
  • Meyer had taken Ambien, brought his own bottle of vodka onto the plane
  • Meyer is originally from New York

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fresno’s Business ‘Lions’ Forge Civic Muscle

JFK!! RIP Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

Sent by a friend, JFK death a mystery that can tell about TODAY!! Iqbal


Legacy of Secrecy:
The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination
 
 
Lamar Waldron's Latest Watergate Revelations: Just In Time for The Anniversary
Legacy of Secrecy:
The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination
 
 
The underground empire
where crime and governments embrace
 
From James Chadwick's preface:
"…[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. this system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations….
"It must not be felt that these heads of the world's chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called 'international' or 'merchant' bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. this dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world. They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their own countries by their influence over the flow of current funds though bank loans, the discount rate, and the re-discounting of commercial debts; they could dominate governments by their own control over current government loans and the play of the international exchanges. Almost all of this power was exercised by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupes, to keep their word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with their associates."
I could hardly believe what I was reading. I sat in the bookstore and read until closing time. I then bought the book and went home where I read almost all night. For the next twenty-five years I traveled throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East following one lead after another to determine if the incredible words of the professor were really true. While serving as the Editor of a scholarly journal on international affairs, Director of the Center for Global Studies and foreign policy advisor for a key U. S. Senator in Washington, D. C., I conducted over 1000 interviews with influential world leaders, government officials, military generals, intelligence officers, scholars and businessmen, including corporate CEOs and prominent international bankers and investment bankers. I went through over 25,000 books and over 50,000 documents. I learned for myself that the professor was telling the truth.
There really is a "world system of financial control in private hands" that is "able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world." I call this system the World Trade Federation. It is an ultra-secret group of the most powerful men on the earth. They now control every major international institution, every major multinational and transnational corporation both public and private, every major domestic and international banking institution, every central bank, every nation-state on earth, the natural resources on every continent and the people around the world through complicated inter-locking networks that resemble giant spider webs. This group is comprised of the leading family dynasties of the Canada, United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and China. This self-perpetuating group has developed an elaborate system of control that enables them to manipulate government leaders, consumers and people throughout the world. They are in the last stages of developing a World Empire that will rival the ancient Roman Empire. However, this new Empire will rule the entire world, not just a goodly portion of it as Rome did long ago, from its ultra-secret world headquarters in Germany. This group is responsible for the death and suffering of over 180 million men, women and children. They were responsible for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, etc. They have created periods of inflation and deflation in order to confiscate and consolidate the wealth of the world. They were responsible for the enslavement of over two billion people in all communist nations—Russia, China, Eastern Europe, etc., inasmuch as they were directly responsible for the creation of communism in these nations. They built up and sustain these evil totalitarian systems for private gain. They brought Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Roosevelt to power and guided their governments from behind the scenes to achieve a state of plunder unparalleled in world history. They make Attila the Hun look like a kindergarten child compared to their accomplishments. Six million Jews were tortured and killed in order to confiscate billions of dollars in assets, gold, silver, currency, diamonds and art work from the Tribe of Judah–a special group of people. The people in Eastern Europe suffered a similar fate as the armies of Hitler overran these countries, murdered, enslaved, robbed and plundered the unique people who resided there. For the last two and one half centuries wealth and power have been concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer men and women. This wealth is now being used to construct and maintain the World Empire that is in the last stages of development. The World Empire is partly visible and partly invisible today.
The chief architects of this new World Empire are planning another war—World War III—to eliminate any vestiges of political, economic or religious freedom from the face of the earth. They will then completely control the earth and its natural resources. The people will be completely enslaved just as the people were in the ancient Roman Empire. While the above may sound like fiction, I can assure you that it is true. I wish it was fiction, but it is not, it is reality.
Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time New York: The Macmillan Company. 1966
See also

U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons

U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons: "
 1
U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’sUse of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013
The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assessthat the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based onhuman, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open sourcereporting.

Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and keyinternational partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all availableintelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’sanalysis of what took place.
Syrian Government Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21"

'via Blog this'

Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack


Iqbal  Quidwai   
  1. Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain which grows flowers, not thunder.– Jalaluddin Rumi







"However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
"My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry," said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a "tube-like structure" while others were like a "huge gas bottle."
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels."
 
Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.

An iraqi :
Lies, Lies, Lies And More Lies
Mainstream Media Censorship "Disappears" US -Backed War Plan To Gas Syrians And Blame Assad



Paying CEOs Top Dollar for Poor Performance | The Nation

Paying CEOs Top Dollar for Poor Performance | The Nation: "Consider the case of Richard Fuld, who ran Lehman Brothers from 1994 until 2008. Fuld made the list of America’s twenty-five highest-paid executives for eight years in a row, until the bank collapsed under a slew of bad investments. The Lehman bust was the largest bankruptcy in the nation’s history and a defining event in the financial crisis. For his leadership in the eight years prior to the collapse, while the firm was making bad bets and covering them up with accounting tricks, Fuld raked in more than $466 million.

Then there’s Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup. Pandit made the top-twenty-five list in 2008, earning $38 million. That same year, his firm laid off 75,000 employees, and took government bailouts ultimately exceeding $472 billion. Pandit accepted only $1 for his services while his firm was in the red, but by 2011 he was back on the list of top earners."

'via Blog this'

Signs of a Shift Among Egyptian Protesters to Antigovernment, From Pro-Morsi

Signs of a Shift Among Egyptian Protesters to Antigovernment, From Pro-Morsi

Manu Brabo/Associated Press

Some demonstrators in Cairo have begun carrying posters that bear a four-fingered salute logo that memorializes protesters killed by security forces.

By  and 
Published: August 30, 2013
  • FACEBOOK
  • TWITTER
  • GOOGLE+
  • SAVE
  • E-MAIL
  • SHARE
  • PRINT
  • REPRINTS

CAIRO — The continuing protests against the military takeover here showed signs on Friday of shifting into a movement against the authoritarian tactics of the new government rather than one demanding the return of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.

Multimedia

Although the evidence is tentative and anecdotal, any expansion of the protests' base would be a significant setback for the new government. It has so far enjoyed considerable support for its crackdown on Mr. Morsi's Islamist supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood, whom it describes as violence-prone extremists.

As tens of thousands gathered in the streets of Cairo for the ninth Friday of protests against the takeover, few carried the posters of Mr. Morsi's face that were once the banner of the Brotherhood's "anti-coup" coalition. Instead, almost everyone held a sign with a logo memorializing the mass killing by security forces of hundreds of Morsi supporters on Aug. 14: a four-fingered salute, because the Arabic word for fourth is the name of the square where the protesters were staging their sit-in, Rabaa.

In a sharp change from the past, some of the marchers said openly that they did not expect Mr. Morsi to return to office, or they grudgingly acknowledged his government's failures. At least a few said they did not want him back for longer than it took to hand over power to a new government or oversee new elections.

"For me the first goal is to remove Sisi," said Ibrahim Salah, a 27-year-old tour leader, referring to Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, who pushed out Mr. Morsi and installed the new government. "And then to remove the Mubarak regime, which never really left," he added.

In at least one march by thousands of demonstrators in the neighborhood of Mohandiseen, many carried signs opposing both the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement behind Mr. Morsi, and the new government installed by General Sisi. Pro-Morsi demonstrators had rallied around his "legitimacy" as Egypt's first democratically elected president, while General Sisi's supporters claimed for him a "mandate" to crush the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

At the Mohandiseen march, many signs said, "No legitimacy and no mandate; the revolution is back!" A Brotherhood spokesman disavowed the march and directed journalists to other protests called by the Brotherhood.

"The demonstrations are starting to get more representative of the people and not just the Islamists, because people are beginning to see that this was a bloody coup," said Abdullah Salah, 20, who was at the march with four friends. He said he had voted against the Islamists in the first round of the presidential election in May 2012 and started joining protests with them only after the mass shootings. "Somebody has to be accountable," he added.

Even some young Islamists sought to distance their protests from Mr. Morsi's restoration. "I'm not ready to take a bullet for Morsi," said a 37-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member who gave only his first name, Hani. "It's a matter of democracy — not a person."

It was unclear whether the shift represented a change in strategy by the Brotherhood intended to broaden its appeal, a bottom-up response to the crackdown or a combination of both.

So far, the protests remain associated primarily with the Brotherhood; no other major political party or activist group has joined them, noted H. A. Hellyer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies Egyptian politics.

"I don't think they have turned any tide," he said. "They might at some point, but that depends on how unpopular the military gets," he added, noting that polls show a sizable majority of Egyptians still admire their military.

But Friday's marches were larger than those held a week earlier despite a tight lockdown by security forces and a threat from the police to use deadly ammunition. Security forces have killed more than a thousand Morsi supporters at protests in just the past 16 days, and the police have arrested thousands of Brotherhood members, including most of group's leaders.

Large demonstrations also took place in several other cities, but reliable reports of their size were hard to obtain.

The protests were mostly peaceful with a few flashes of violence. State news media reported that seven protesters had been killed around the country in clashes with the security forces or pro-government vigilantes.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood who demonstrated Friday vowed that they would organize more protests even though the crackdown has all but cut off communication with their leaders. "Before it was a pyramid," said Mustafa Shafiq, 23. "Now it's a network. This is better."

Mayy El Sheikh contributed reporting.

Iqbal  Quidwai   
  1. Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain which grows flowers, not thunder.– Jalaluddin Rumi

Who wins in Syria? Why, the world's arms makers, of course - latimes.com

Who wins in Syria? Why, the world's arms makers, of course - latimes.com: "Here’s a quick rundown:

Two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers: $4.5 billion each. They each carry about 48 F-18s among the roughly 80+ aircraft aboard; the F-18s go for about $55 million apiece.
Two guided-missile cruisers: About $1 billion each. Carry 50 or so Tomahawk cruise missiles at about $1.5 million per.
Five guided-missile destroyers: About $1.8 billion each. Carry 50 or so Tomahawk cruise missiles at about $1.5 million per.
One amphibious assault ship: About $1 billion."

'via Blog this'

DG Rangers reveals facts behind Karachi weapons smuggling - DAWN.COM

DG Rangers reveals facts behind Karachi weapons smuggling - DAWN.COM:

'via Blog this'

Asia Times Online :: Operation Tomahawk with cheese

Asia Times Online :: Operation Tomahawk with cheese: "So why not drop planeloads of sexy, Pininfarina-designed Ferrari Californias? They retail for around $200.000. Imagine the frenzy among Assad elite forces struggling to seize the Big Prize, one among 2,000 Californias. With their eyes off the ball, the ''rebels'' could easily sneak in everywhere and take over Damascus. And perhaps even stage the victory parade on a fleet of photogenic Ferraris. Call that an improvement over Libya.

Operation Tomahawk With Cheese may still happen; even with the calendar pressing; even bypassing the UN; even with a mini-coalition of the willing; even making a total mockery of international law. The White House has made it clear that ''diplomatic paralysis'' cannot infringe on its ''credibility''. "

'via Blog this'

The war on Iran begins…in Syria — RT Op-Edge

The war on Iran begins…in Syria — RT Op-Edge:

'via Blog this'

Washington’s threats to attack Syria unacceptable – Russia — RT News

Washington’s threats to attack Syria unacceptable – Russia — RT News:

'via Blog this'

Knifing Rampur


 







Tribhuvan Tiwari
Break-up Pappu Kumar's ruined house
politics: uttar pradesh
Knifing Rampur
Eye on 2014, the SP government is playing up a Dalit-Muslim divide


Rampur, the western Uttar Pradesh town famed inter alia for its knives, is under threat from an equally vicious and cynical politics that is sundering the easy relationship between its Muslims and Dalits. This is worrying because, over the past few months, Dalit-Muslim clashes have broken out in other western-belt towns like Dasna, Sambhal, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Muzaff­ar­na­gar, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaz­iabad. Towns in other regions, such as Pratapgarh, Bhadohi and Gorakhpur, have also seen Dalit-Muslim confrontations over local issues. Observers say the ruling Samajwadi Party is encouraging the antipathy: a united Dalit-Muslim vote-bloc could favour the rival BSP in the 2014 general elections, especially in the western belt, with a strong Muslim presence, where it has traditionally had a good showing. Regional, caste-based parties like the Samajwadi Party and the BSP are in keen competition for the leverage that will serve them during government formation at the centre.
This ruthless manoeuvring of ident­ity-based alignments has been on in the state for some time, catalysed by the BJP choosing a polarising Narendra Modi as its campaign leader and putting his deputy Amit Shah in charge of Uttar Pradesh. But Rampur came into the picture a few weeks ago, with the arrest of Kanwal Bharti, a Dalit writer. Bharti posted a comment on Facebook criticising the government for a reservation policy (scrapped since) and the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had taken on the sand-mining mafia, for felling a newly­-built wall at what was to become a mosque on unauthorised land. The post named chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP strongman Azam Khan, the Rampur MLA who occupies eight ministerial posts and is locally called the "deputy CM". The writer found himself charged with pro­vo­king riots and insulting religious bel­i­efs. A court has since granted him bail.

Azhar Khan lost his madrassa. (Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari)
"Azam Khan has blatantly set out to terrorise Dalits for political reasons," says Bharti, a writer of some repute, whose work is included in university syllabuses. It's a charge Khan denies outright. "I don't know who you are talking about. No one knows him, even the people in his lane," Khan says. "The controversy is media-cre­ated, and it's after that I took note of this man from Rampur." But there are many, even from his own community in this Muslim-majority district, who accuse Khan of setting communities against each other.
 

 

"Azam Khan, the SP leader, has set out blatantly to intimidate and terrorise Dalits for purely political reasons."Kanwal Bharti, Dalit writer from Rampur

 

 
Shafi Ahmed, who lives in Purana Ganj, where the Dalit Jatavs have Mus­lims for neighbours, laments the erosion of the Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb, a heritage of tolerance. "Azam Khan or Narendra Modi­—it's all the same," he says. "No politician is interested in anything beyond the votebank." He tries to ease the mood of his Dalit neighbours, their homes identifiable by tiles bearing the figures of Dalit saints Valmiki and Ravidas. Most of them are shoemakers, at work on a hot, humid afternoon that sends panting herds of swine scurrying through the lanes. Shafi's neighbour Sushil Sagar, whose house shares a wall with a mazaar, says, "We've been living together for decades. No communal tension ever. But now, something is going wrong. It's not clearly visible, but one can sense it. What happened to Kanwal Bharti is not the story of one Dalit: many are suffering, but we don't have enough courage to speak out." The fear hangs heavy on the Jatavs here. "Please do something," says one. "This government is trying to make us fight." Another explains why people have not raised the issue to shame the government: "You are here now and will leave the town soon. One (Kanwal Bharti) has already been imprisoned. Should others also invite arrest?"
Indeed, there are blatant examples of Dalits being targeted. The previous BSP government had settled 27 Dalit families, including some Dalit Muslims or Kanjars, under the Indira Awas Yojna in Rampur Sadar. The houses have been demolished, and the evictees say they received neither notice nor explanation. Clutching his allotment slip, his house a pile of debris, Pappu Kumar, says, "This government is victimising Dalits bec­ause it thinks we are all BSP voters."
Also, many say that, across the state, the administration is being pressured to act in a way that increases tension by giving a communal and casteist tinge to crimes or law-and-order issues like clas­hes, abductions, murders. Nazar Abbas, an advocate, alleges that in Rampur, Azam Khan is doing more than his bit towards that end. "A Dalit youth has been charged with raping a Muslim woman although the medical report does not bear out rape," he says. "Azam Khan visited the victim and ensured that the Dalit faces the rape charge."
Leaders of other parties condemn these machinations. "The state machi­nery is strong enough to control the rising tension, but it seems it's being left lax to foster a religious divide. This is pure votebank politics," says Moham­med Salim, a CPI(M) leader. And Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, the Congress MLA from the Suar Tanda assembly seat of Rampur, says, "I don't know what will happen if such tension and polarisation continues." He predicts a poor show for the Samajwadi Party in 2014, and a loss for its Rampur MP, actress S. Jayaprada.
Increasingly, Muslims from the town are not only unhappy with Azam Khan, they also see through the Samajwadi Party's strategy. "The attempt is to divide Dalit votes, rely on the OBC (Yadav) base, get upper-caste votes by fielding their candidates and bag some votes by polarising Muslims too ," says Mohammed Ziya Ali, a teacher. People hold up a contrast to the 'demolition' that saw Durga Shakti's suspension: two madrassas—one outside Raza College and another established in 1984 inside the complex housing the 200-year-old Madrassa Kona—were demolished during Ramzan. Azhar Khan, who managed the second, was arrested and obtained bail only the day before Id. "If the felling of a mosque wall during Ramzan is reason enough for the suspension of an IAS officer, why is no action taken against those who ordered the total demolitions here?" locals ask.
But Azam Khan is unmoved and blames the media. "From Durga Shakti to the Kanwal Bharti issue, the media says whatever it wants to. It's always a media trial of politicians nowadays. If I'm not a good person, why am I winning with a record margin?" Locals have also expressed res­entment at the demolition of gateways built by Rampur's erstwhile rulers, but Azam Khan thinks they are just the symbols of the rule of "brutal nawabs over us poor people" and should have been broken down much earlier. When the leadership is without a sense of history and has its eye on the political chance, it is no wonder that the cultured, unforced syncretism of the past is being reduced to rubble.

By Panini Anand in Rampur
__._,_.___
__,_._,___