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Tuktuki Mandal and the BJP’s polarisation campaign in Bengal

tuktuki

Image courtesy: Saddahaq.com

Tuktuki Mandal, a teenage girl from Magrahat in West Bengal has become the latest symbol of the right wing hypocrisy and the extent of shamelessness to which the BJP can go to for polarisation on religious lines before 2016 Assembly elections.

Anyone who is active on Twitter must have woken up surprised to see #JusticeForTuktuki in the trending topics, wondering who Tuktuki is and what justice are these people seeking? A closer look at the tweets would reveal that copy-pasted statements being circulated by several egg-head DPs or accounts with miniscule followers (one of the means of ascertaining how genuine the accounts are). Obviously, there were known bleeding-heart Sanghis like Saswati Sarkar (who is an expert on Bengal, sitting thousands of miles away in the US), Gaurav Swant, Mrs Gandhi (sic), Aditya Raj Kaul and many others.

Hindu Samhati, an ultra-right wing organisation, which even views household disputes through the prism of religion, led by Tapan Ghosh was accusing that Tuktuki Mondal, a teenage girl was kidnapped by ‘Islamists’ and sold into flesh trade. Not only they did not have any evidence to support their claims, but there were several inconsistencies in the allegations.

As Newslaundry reports:

“But as reporters studied the story, they began to discover obvious loopholes in the father’s version. The most glaring being the girl’s statement to the district Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), where she stated she had left home as a result of a tiff with her parents over her studies and was living in one of her maternal uncles’ place.  In fact, a reporter claims the mother, on cross-questioning, even admitted that their daughter was involved with Gazi and had eloped with him. The mother also stated that both Gazi and the girl studied in the same school. Gazi at the time of the girl’s disappearance was also a minor and turned 18 in June.

The story just wasn’t adding up. And most reporters chasing the story for major mainstream news channels stated that the story was not what Majhi and the girl’s father were trying to sell them.”

 

Right-wing news channels like NewsX did not want to be left behind. They started their own campaign to bring justice to Tuktuki and save West Bengal from the clutches of Jihadist misrule of Mamata Banerjee. Anyone who has ever watched NewsX knows they hardly ever report facts; hyperbole is the mainstay of their brand of “journalism”. Also, enter Kanchan Gupta with his “scathing” Op-Ed in The Pioneer calling upon people to save Hindu girls from “Muslim goons in the State.”

All this was happening as BJP state and central leadership sat on a dharna at Magrahat on the eve of Rath Yatra and Eid-Ul-Fitr. Whether there intentions were to seek justice for Tuktuki or to incite communal tension on the eve of religious festivals, I leave the reader to judge.

Meanwhile, Tuktumi Mandal was back in news on 20 July. She gave a statement to the Magistrate saying she ran away from home after tiffs with her parents regarding her studies. She said she was staying at her maternal uncle’s place. Tuktuki even refused to go back to her father’s house and the court has asked her to be sent to a juvenile home.

 

Video courtesy: NewsLaundry

 

The orchestrated campaign of the BJP to incite communal tension during festive season only shows their ideological bankruptcy. The Hindu right wing thrives on rumour-mongering. With the advent of technology like WhatsApp and Photoshop, their attempts at spreading communal poison have become even easier.

Last month when I had visited the Taj Mahal, our guide (who happened to be a Muslim) had remarked during a conversation that with elections approaching, many communal clashes were being staged by political parties with vested interests and they were helpless. With Bengal elections just around the corner, I ominously brood over what my guide at Taj Mahal told me in a casual remark.

And even as I write this post, I have information that the right wing is planning to stage another hoax campaign to shame Bengal next week.

It is incumbent on every self-righteous Bengali to save our motherland from the poison of communalism. We cannot let that happen to the land of Rabindranath and Nazrul.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Proud to be gay, proud to be a criminal

On the morning of 11 December 2013, I woke up with a hope that history will take a new course that morning. Excited and charged up for a celebration, I stared animatedly at my Twitter feed, waiting for the news to break. Two tweets appeared on my TL back to back. The fact did not sink in. By 10:45, i was unable to read my Twitter feed, eyes moist with tears. From a respected citizen of India, who in his smallest capacity had been contributing to the cause of nation-building, was now a criminal! Supreme Court had recriminalised Section 377, finding no “constitutional infirmity” in the draconian law.

What I was not anticipating was the huge outpouring of support for equal rights movement for gays and outrage against the irrational and incompetent (with shades of homophobia) verdict of the Supreme Court. Unlike 2009, when the landmark judgment of Retd Justice AP Shah was jeered, the queer taunted, and supporters of gay rights mocked on and off social media, for the last three days, the extent of support has been overwhelming, to say the least.

Gay and Proud

Justice Singhvi, who delivered the regressive judgment annulling July 2 2009 verdict by the Delhi High Court, hid behind a slew of procedural walls, which he himself chose to demolish in the past, when he bypassed the legislature and executive to frame public policy for telecom in the aftermath of the 2G scam. The judge who takes the liberty of unsettling the balance between the three wings of government in fiscal matters, giving the excuse that it is the legislature’s job to make amends to laws, is downright hypocritical.

The judiciary is the custodian of human rights, and has the mandate to make decisions in the interest of the public. But Justice Singhvi thinks annulling Section 377 of the IPC for a “miniscule minority” in improper. Well, Justice Singhvi needs to be reminded that any minority, no matter how miniscule needs to be protected and their rights secured – the Constitution of India warrants that.

Scrap 377

Interpretation of statutes is another mandate of the judiciary in case of conflicts. By declaring that the Section 377 suffers from no Constitutional infirmity, the Supreme Court has put its stamp of approval on treatment of about 100 million (figures stated by top media houses) citizens of the country as criminals. A law drafted in 1860, to preserve the Anglo-Christian morality, got a thumbs up from the supreme judiciary in India in 2013!

Away from the legal debate, a social debate was raging on social media platforms. The army of homophobes were out in full force, led by the Commanders Subramanian Swamy and Ramdev, who deserve Nobel prizes in Medicine for the absurd claims they made regarding homosexuality, without bothering to provide even a shred of credible evidence. Three years back I would have engaged in Twitter battles with these dolts, arguing my case from Biological, social and psychological points of view.

However, my patience has thinned in the last 5 years of handling Internet Hindus, and I didn’t want to waste my energy on them. Fighting the Supreme Court is more important at this juncture. All those who are interested to read about the Scientific evidence that homosexuality is NOT an aberration, fully natural, genetic and hereditary, please do read my blogs on the subject (published in Gaylaxy).

Abolish 377

A battle lies ahead. India is in need of a Stonewall moment. The LGBT community has never felt more galvanised. The entire media has thrown its weight behind us. There’s no stopping or looking back. 2009 empowered us. The SC setback has strengthened our resolve. Ladke LenGAY Hindustan.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Own Copyrights

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