Tagged: Hindutva

Law 32: Hate-speech-law countries v. free-speech countries

EN-FR

Hate speech laws in so-called “free-speech” countries

How free speech is contrived to allow governments
to discriminate at will in hate-speech-law countries

Two examples: Sweden and India, with discussion of recent incidents

1/ Quran burning and incitement against religion in Sweden
2/ Saffron bikini and defilement of religion in India

1/ Quran burning and incitement against religion in Sweden

Turkish protesters have expressed outrage in Istanbul after a far-right politician burned a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.” (Al Jazeera English, YouTube, Jan 22)

As there is no freedom of speech in Europe, the request to ban and punish this kind of act/speech, Quran burning, is a legitimate demand of nondiscrimination. Swedish law criminalizes hate speech out of consideration for communitarian feelings. Therefore, the failure of Swedish authorities to prosecute such acts is contemptuous: not attending to this particular community’s feelings while they claim to attend to communitarian feelings sends the message that this community is not worth attending to, according to Swedish authorities. They simply do not want this community to be protected by Sweden’s hate speech laws, and this is blatant discrimination.

My message to Swedish authorities: You are contemptible. What are your hate speech laws for? Stop discriminating against Muslims and prosecute Quran burning as hate speech.

Where is the Swedish law that bans freedom of speech out of consideration of a religion’s belief?

It is where everybody can find it. “Hets mot folkgrupp blev olagligt 1949. På den tiden var det enbart härstamning och trosbekännelse som var grunder för hets mot folkgrupp. Detta ändrades 1970 till ras, hudfärg, nationellt eller etniskt ursprung eller trosbekännelse. År 2002 tillkom sexuell läggning och år 2019 könsöverskridande identitet eller uttryck.” (Wikipedia: Hets mot folkgrupp) The important word for the asked question is “trosbekännelse,” which means religious belief. Translation: “Incitement against groups became illegal [in Sweden] in 1949. At that time, descent and creed [trosbekännelse = religious belief] were the only grounds for incitement against groups. This was changed in 1970 to race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, or creed [again]. In 2002 sexual orientation was added and in 2019 gender identity or expression.”

Who are you to dictate how I dispose of my property?

You’ll have to ask this question to the Swedish legislator. – The technical answer, however, is that you can’t criminally dispose of your property. If you dispose of your property by making a hate speech of it, you’ll be prosecuted for hate speech by Swedish authorities.

So what forms of disposal are not hate speech? Presumably, burning is ruled out.

All disposal is not in the form of calling people’s attention. – If you ask me how they dispose of their old Quran copies in Muslim countries, I don’t know. All I know is that, if a person disposes of a Quran copy in Sweden and one finds it in his trash can, or if he burns it in his backyard, this is not hate speech. But what happened in front of the embassy is blatant hate speech (against a group based on its members’ creed or religious belief) and the negligence of authorities to act accordingly proves they discriminate against Muslims. It’s not too late.

(ii)

The answer from the Swedish authorities so far has been, to sum it up: “The act was very insensitive, but we are a free-speech country.” This is not true. Sweden is a hate-speech-law country: “Incitement against groups became illegal in 1949. At that time, descent and creed were the only grounds for incitement against groups. This was changed in 1970 to race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, or creed. In 2002 sexual orientation was added and in 2019 gender identity or expression.” The Swedish authorities are bound by their legislation to prosecute the wrongdoer; by their obdurate negligence to do it, they show that, as a principle, they refuse to comply with their hate speech legislation when the targeted group is Muslims. They thus discriminate against Muslims. On the one hand, they tell their national communities, their “groups” (folkgrupp), that Sweden protects them from hate speech by criminalizing hate speech; on the other hand, they claim they guarantee freedom of speech when one of these groups in particular is wronged by hate speech. You don’t need to be a Muslim to feel contempt for such malfeasance.

2/ Saffron bikini and defilement of religion in India

For a better understanding of the following, read “Saffron bikini v. national flag bikini” in Law 29.

Film Pathaan, with a saffron bikini dancing scene, was released this month amid protests. I support the protests. As the authorities disregard the outrage over saffron bikini, they should apologize to and compensate all people who have been convicted for tricolor (national flag) bikinis and other tricolor trappings, and I’m told they are not few. You’ll perhaps say in reply that India is a secular country and authorities have a mandate to ensure respect for the tricolor symbol, not for the saffron symbol, which is religious. There exist stringent laws about incitement and respect for community feelings in India: Why the negligence? Does secularism mean that a secular, atheistic elite will be granted the privilege to offend religious feelings, while the people is gagged?

No matter how Hindutva the government is, outrage over saffron bikinis is disregarded, the problem does not exist for them. They will keep focusing on hunting tricolor bikinis and other tricolor trappings. The numerous tricolor precedents, the stringent provisions of incitement laws, constitutional protection of communities’ feelings, are of no avail to a Hindutva government against the privileged few who bought a never-ending license to outrage religious feelings.

What about sadhus who wear a single saffron loincloth?

The comparison is misguided. Although there exist laws against nudity in India, they do not apply to sadhus, because a sadhu’s nudity is not the same as a paid actress’s nudity, the aim of which is to attract or arouse prurient interest. By the same token, a sadhu wearing saffron is not the same as an actress whose body is used as an object for making money through prurient interest, adding an insult to religion through saffron symbolism.

(ii)

The good news is that Bollywood needs to be saved, that is, it is heading toward irreversible collapse. “Can Pathaan save the Bollywood?” (Mirror Now) You’re asking too much of a saffron bikini.

Pathaan 1 – Saffron Brigade 0.” Why the sarcasm? Is it proper of a news media? In a country where tricolor brigades are terrorizing tricolor bikinis and other tricolor trappings, such disregard for religious feelings by the authorities is as offensive as the offense itself. And don’t tell me this is a victory for free speech: the tricolor brigade is watching you.

(iii)

Their apathy will remain a stain on Indian authorities. If you think a tricolor bikini is an insult, and Indian law seems to think it is (see Gehna Vashisht and other cases), then a saffron bikini is blatant hate speech (Sections 153 and 295 of the Indian penal code). Negligence to act accordingly on the part of authorities is discriminatory remiss.

Section 295: “Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” (Emphases ours.)

Let us examine what a saffron bikini is, according to the wording of the law. We are talking about defilement, as sacredness is purposefully associated with pruriency in the form of scant clothing and lascivious dancing. The object is not a bikini in itself but a bikini purposefully made saffron. We do not have to prove that the wrongdoing is purposeful, as Hindus’ reverential feelings for saffron are well-known. Rather it is the accused who must prove they did not do the wrongdoing on purpose; they must provide convincing evidence that none of them had realized that the saffron bikini could upset Hindus’ feelings. In the words of the law, they must prove that they had no “knowledge that any class of persons [was] likely to consider such defilement as an insult to their religion,” and good luck with that: were these people brought before a court, I don’t think they could provide the least convincing evidence of ingenuity, unless, perhaps, they wriggled on the ground like worms and cried, because where in the world is saffron known for its religious symbolism if not in India? Think about it: these people, instead of being removed behind bars for two years, are going scot free, protected by a Hindutva BJP-led coalition government.

“A battle for freedom of speech”? I didn’t see journalists battle for free speech when a FIR (first information report by police) was filed against half a dozen people dancing with Aurangzeb’s poster in Maharashtra, a few days ago (see Law 31: Aurangzeb’s Ghost). Sections 95, 153, 295 etc. of the ICP are the law. Journalists do not oppose it, they only oppose its application to defilements of religion by Bollywood.

(iv)

At the same time that the Indian union government refuses to listen to its grassroots militants on Pathaan, and asks them to stop the stir, it bans a BBC documentary about the 2002 Gujarat riots in which hundreds of Muslims were murdered by mobs.

The ban is either legal or illegal. If it is illegal, there is no question of opportunity. If it is legal, there is no question of opportunity either, because the executive power is not allowed to pick up laws it will carry out from laws it will not carry out. The government must execute the whole legislation (hence its name: executive). Those who discuss the ban from the opportunity angle are wrong. If they disagree with the ban, they should, assuming the ban is lawful or constitutional, voice criticism against the law that allows such a ban, that is, they should ask to remove legislation that allows the authorities to ban this kind of speech. Let me know if they do. I assume they all discuss the opportunity and not the legality issue, because they are the opposition that wants to be the majority, and as the new majority they will want: 1) discretionary, not just executive power, 2) to ban criticism. They are all of a kind and form the political cartel.

I disagree with the idea that the executive should be granted even a minimal discretionary power: all decisions based on opportunity are discriminatory, by preventing expected benefits or sanctions of the law. Even though the idea is as commonplace as the practice, neither the idea nor the practice are constitutional, and they cannot be, as this would mean actual suspension of the separation of powers, and of checks and balances.

Concluding remarks

Despite their commonalities, both cases illustrate two different situations. In the Swedish case, one religious minority is discriminated against by the authorities. In the Indian case, the Hindu majority’s right to be protected by the law is disregarded by the authorities, which shield one sector of the society, namely Bollywood, from the legislation; in other words, against the religious majority, the Indian authorities discriminate in favor of this sector by elevating it above hate speech laws. Both actions are extralegal, namely, given the constitutional characterization of the executive power, illegal and unconstitutional. Through the practice, the will of the legislator is overlooked and the role of the judiciary undermined. The practice is defended on the ground that this overlook is needed and will occur only in situations where the generality of the law presents flaws that put the state at risk. The only possible arbitrator for this is the people and that supposes, therefore, that the people has an effective right to insurrection, which, absent a constitutional right to bear arms, is nonexistent. Otherwise, the practice should be set guidelines in the form of constitutional measures about the state of emergency. In the two cases we have discussed, the authorities are abusing their discretionary power without redeeming circumstances.

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“[Female ex-BJP leader] Gets Gun License Citing ‘Life Threats’ Over Prophet Remarks.” (India Today, YouTube)

How long does it take to get a license? The authorities must verify the claim and that surely takes time. She seems to have had her license in no time, but is it the case for all Indian citizens? One day, you’ll hear that a man applied for a license because he was threatened, the claim was investigated by authorities, with a lot of red tape, and meantime the man was killed. Mark my words, you’ll hear about something like that, or I don’t know bureaucracy. An unconditional right to carry guns is the only correct alternative to a ban.

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About current massive layoffs in big tech companies (Google, Meta, Twitter…). The revenue of a good deal of these so-called big tech companies is from advertising. Massive layoffs in big tech tell you manufacturing companies cut down their advertising spending because they are in poor condition. Badly impacted manufacturing and other companies first respond by cutting down on advertising. Big tech companies then have no other choice than cutting down on their workforce, because advertising is their main revenue. What massive layoffs in big tech tell you is the incoming massive layoffs in all other sectors, as advertising revenue dependent big tech companies are the first to cut down on the workforce.

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10 Palestinians Killed In ‘Deadliest’ Israel Raids in Years.” (NDTV, YouTube, Jan 27)

This headline is foolish. The raid is “deadliest in years” because of 10 casualties and one month ago 8, two months ago 9, three months ago 9 again, four months ago 6, and so on; something like that. About 200 Palestinians were killed in Israeli raids in 2022 alone. (212 according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.)

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Iranian drones program’s success and what are the lessons for India.” (The Print, YouTube, Jan 27)

Given the scathing indictment regarding Indian national production (“promising the moon and failing to deliver,” etc.), one should not disregard the possibility of corruption of national authorities by foreign suppliers. If decision-makers are biased toward foreign supply through corruption money, India will never develop serious programs of her own. At this stage, you may well ask the question.

Ironically, an excuse from the Indian side is that, in Iran, things are under control of the Guardians of the Revolution: “It is easier there because everything comes under the control of the Islamic revolutionary guard corps,” says a “source in Indian defense establishment.” Well, yes, the Guardians probably better enforce the country’s own anti-corruption laws, so the excuse almost sounds like an admission, or veiled whistleblowing.

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FR

La guerre par procuration expliquée par la France

Le texte suivant complète notre essai « Casus belli : Réflexions sur la guerre en Ukraine » de mai 2022 (ici).

Un article en ligne du 5 mars 2022 du Club des juristes, « La fourniture d’armes à l’Ukraine : quel cadre en droit international ? » (ici, auteur : E. Castellarin), présente le dispositif juridique utilisé par les nations de l’OTAN pour légitimer leur action de fourniture d’armes à l’Ukraine contre la Russie. Cet article appelle plusieurs remarques.

La première est que ce cadre est purement multilatéral et que le raisonnement bilatéral que j’emploie dans mon essai semble désormais exclu du champ de la pensée ; à savoir, les accords préventifs bilatéraux de défense, dont l’idée brille par son absence dans cet article, n’entrent apparemment plus dans le raisonnement des États européens, de sorte que mon argument selon lequel les États d’Europe de l’Ouest auraient pu offrir à l’Ukraine la garantie d’une intervention armée en cas d’agression russe, doit passer pour une bizarrerie désuète aux yeux des juristes avertis. Cela les regarde. Mais quid des États-Unis ? Ces derniers n’offrent-ils pas leur bouclier militaire à plusieurs pays, dont l’Arabie Saoudite ? Qu’est-ce qui les empêchait alors d’offrir le même bouclier à l’Ukraine, par exemple après l’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie ? Il semblerait que ce puisse être en partie les dispositions du droit international elles-mêmes, dans la mesure où celles-ci peuvent désormais permettre à des États de conduire une « guerre par procuration » (proxy war) sans se voir pour autant qualifiés ipso facto de parties au conflit. Examinons les différents dispositifs juridiques présentés par l’article.

« Dans l’affaire relative aux activités militaires et paramilitaires au Nicaragua, la Cour internationale de justice a été confrontée à la fourniture d’armes par les États-Unis aux contras, un groupe rebelle actif au Nicaragua. Elle a exclu que la fourniture d’armes puisse être qualifiée d’agression armée, mais elle a affirmé qu’on peut y voir une menace ou un emploi de la force (§ 195). » Ça ne commence pas très bien pour l’OTAN, du côté de la CIJ. Le § 195 de la décision de la Cour, de 1986, pourrait en effet servir à la Russie de fondement juridique à l’invocation d’un casus belli : « menace ou emploi de la force ». (Le terme même de casus belli est sans doute devenu tout aussi désuet que les contrats bilatéraux de défense territoriale évoqués dans notre précédent paragraphe, vu que cette notion simple est à présent décomposée en agression armée, d’une part, et menace ou emploi de la force, d’autre part.)

Notre juriste considère cependant que la décision de la CIJ est inapplicable au cas de l’Ukraine : « En réalité, l’analyse de la CIJ n’est pas applicable au conflit armé international en cours en Ukraine. L’armée ukrainienne a le plein contrôle, ponctuel et global, de ses actions, si bien qu’on ne peut pas analyser la fourniture d’armes un emploi indirect de la force par les États occidentaux contre la Russie. » Voire ! Il faudrait tout d’abord s’assurer que la CIJ a bel et bien prétendu que « le plein contrôle, ponctuel et global, de ses actions » par une armée excluait a priori un emploi indirect de la force par ceux qui lui fournissent des armes. Certes, l’armée ukrainienne est différente d’une organisation comme celle des contras au Nicaragua, et le conflit lui-même est différent. Mais nous ne voyons pas ce que veut dire cette réserve émise par l’auteur : en quoi les contras n’avaient-ils pas eux aussi « le plein contrôle, ponctuel et global, de [leurs] actions » ? Que signifie cette formule alambiquée ? Un tel embrouillamini peut-il se trouver dans une décision de justice internationale ? Nous en doutons. Nous mènerons cette recherche et y reviendrons. Pour le moment, nous considérons que c’est là une simple pirouette, une argutie sans queue ni tête. L’armée ukrainienne ne se distingue pas des contras sous l’angle obscur ici présenté, et, à défaut de plus ample explication, nous considérons donc que la décision de la CIJ s’applique au présent conflit. Poursuivons.

« Du point de vue du droit coutumier des conflits armés, la fourniture d’armes est incompatible avec le statut de neutralité » Cela ne continue guère mieux pour l’OTAN, du point de vue du droit international coutumier. Les États fournissant des armes à l’Ukraine ne sont pas neutres. Mais sont-ils pour autant, comme un raisonnement fondé sur le principe logique du tiers exclu pourrait le laisser penser, des parties au conflit ? La réponse du droit international est, selon notre juriste, négative : « Cependant, cela signifie simplement que les États qui fournissent des armes ne peuvent pas se prévaloir des droits des États neutres, par exemple celui d’obtenir la réparation d’éventuels dommages collatéraux subis en raison d’un bombardement sur le territoire d’un État partie au conflit. En revanche, la perte du statut d’États neutres au conflit en Ukraine ne signifie pas que ces États sont devenus parties au conflit. »

Notre juriste croit donc qu’il existe, relativement « au conflit en Ukraine », des États ni neutres ni parties au conflit. « Cette situation, » de partie au conflit, « qui impliquerait notamment le droit de la Russie de cibler les forces armées de ces États, ne se produirait que si celles-ci prenaient directement part aux hostilités ». Les États de l’OTAN sont donc sortis de leur neutralité mais, comme ils ne prennent pas directement part aux hostilités, ils ne sont pas non plus des parties au conflit. Cela confirme l’analyse russe de la « guerre par procuration » menée par ces États. En effet, si ces États ne faisaient pas la guerre, ils seraient neutres, or ils ne sont pas neutres, et s’ils prenaient directement part aux opérations, ils seraient parties au conflit, or ils ne le sont pas non plus : ils font donc la guerre par procuration (proxy war). L’analyse russe est entièrement conforme à ces éléments juridiques.

La suite de l’article tend à montrer que ce comportement est « internationalement licite ». Tout d’abord, le Traité sur le commerce des armes n’est prétendument pas violé, car les États n’ont pas connaissance, au moment de fournir ses armes, qu’elles « pourraient servir à commettre » un génocide, des crimes contre l’humanité ou des crimes de guerre. Cette clause du traité est cependant suffisamment générale pour que des livraisons d’armes lors d’un conflit en cours soient susceptibles de servir à commettre de tels actes. L’article ne dit pas en effet que les fournisseurs n’ont pas connaissance que leurs armes « serviront à commettre » des crimes, une formule qui serait moins contraignante pour les fournitures d’armes. On rétorquera peut-être que, de la façon dont je l’entends, peu de fournitures d’armes resteraient licites, mais n’est-ce pas précisément l’intention des concepteurs et signataires du traité que de lutter contre la prolifération ? En l’occurrence, exclure que des crimes de guerre puissent être commis par l’une des parties lors d’un conflit en cours est ou bien de l’angélisme ou bien un parti pris belliqueux qui ne peut être conforme à l’esprit du traité.

Cependant, l’UE a souhaité se garantir à ce sujet, en introduisant une clause suspensive en cas de violation du droit international par l’Ukraine, ce qui est interprété par notre juriste comme une preuve de respect formel du traité par l’UE. Voire ! Cette clause montre au contraire, selon nous, que l’UE se doute que ces armes « pourraient » servir à commettre des crimes de guerre etc., et qu’elle n’a donc formellement pas le droit de fournir ces armes. En prétendant prévenir les crimes de guerre etc., elle avoue être consciente que de tels crimes pourraient être commis, et c’est précisément cette prise de conscience qui devrait l’empêcher de livrer des armes.

Enfin, la résolution ES-11/1 de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies ayant qualifié l’opération russe d’agression, l’Ukraine est « indéniablement » en légitime défense. L’auteur précise certes que la résolution onusienne est « dépourvue d’effet obligatoire et silencieuse sur la fourniture d’armes » (ce qui est un peu regrettable en termes de droit positif) mais affirme que c’est une « interprétation authentique de la Charte, objectivement valable pour tous les membres ». Ce qui est objectivement valable et en même temps dépourvu d’effet obligatoire, est surtout dépourvu d’effet obligatoire, en droit. Autrement dit, la question de l’agression et de la légitime défense reste ouverte. Le traitement des minorités nationales en Ukraine invoqué par la Russie est en débat. Or c’est la légitime défense qui est le principal élément de justification des nations de l’OTAN. En légitime défense, « [l]’emploi de la force de sa part [l’Ukraine] est licite (art. 51 de la Charte des Nations Unies) et ne peut pas engager sa responsabilité (art. 21 des articles de la Commission du droit international sur la responsabilité de l’État pour fait internationalement illicite), ni celle des États qui l’aident et l’assistent. » La légitime défense est plus qu’une légitimation, selon cette présentation, c’est un véritable blanc-seing (et la présentation est donc douteuse : certaines violations du droit naturel ne peuvent recevoir aucune justification et engagent toujours la responsabilité). Mais c’est aussi un point contestable, l’Ukraine ayant peut-être conduit sur son territoire une politique contraire au droit humanitaire envers la minorité russophone, et contraire également aux intérêts fondamentaux de son voisin, comme le prétend la Russie s’agissant des régions frontalières du Donbass et autre, dont la situation extrêmement troublée avant l’intervention russe n’a échappé à personne.

Law 30: Police State and the Impairment of Reporting to Authorities

January 2023

Delhi: 200 African nationals attack after police detain Nigerians for overstaying.” (Hindustan Times, YouTube)

Unusual passivity of Indian police faced with a mob. Unusual because a few days ago, for instance, as a crowd had gathered in front of actor Salman Khan’s house for his birthday, at some point police started to bludgeon the crowd, showering it with a rain of blows. Police passivity, however, is to be expected with foreign migrants: if police bludgeon them, their state will complain to Indian authorities and it is embarrassing, whereas when Indian police bludgeon Indians, no foreign state complains, only, perhaps, NGOs. In India, bludgeon blows are for India’s children only. – Note that this police passivity was the cause two people escaped.

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The U.S. is waging a “microchip war” against China, which is strange since China is the uncontested export leader of raw materials for chips. When you depend on someone for going on with you production, you avoid boycotting them, in general.

If China depends on foreign know-how for chips, as the current U.S. block on chip exports assumes, how can this obstruction not accelerate China’s plans to invade Taiwan, given Taiwan’s acknowledged know-how?

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Police State and the Impairment of Reporting to Authorities

When police are feared by wrongdoers and law-abiding citizens alike, reporting of crimes is impaired. This is what happens in police states, where police misconduct is uncontrolled and people fear police arbitrariness as much as crime.

(ii)

A complement to the Delhi Car Drag Case (see Law 29).

Why do you, NDTV, insist so much on Nidhi’s behavior? (Nidhi is the victim’s friend, whose behavior, namely her failure to report the accident, has been questioned.) Nidhi’s reporting would probably not have saved Anjali, who probably died after a few moments of dragging. On the other hand, a male witness said he alerted the police but they remained apathetic. What’s the point of focusing on the side issue? Not reporting a crime is not as culpable as committing the crime. Instead of focusing on a report that allegedly remained largely unheeded, why this insistence on a poor girl’s escape, who may have feared for her life as a witness to a criminal hit-and-run? Are you afraid of the police? If you, a media, fear the police by not investigating in depth an unheeded report after you made news about it, why would Nidhi be braver than you and want anything to do with the police?

Six days ago, on YouTube, you made news with: “‘Woman’s body dragged, cop car didn’t even try…’: Eyewitness to NDTV.”  The witness is quoted saying: “I told the PCR (Police Control Room) vans and pointed at the car, but they didn’t even try to catch it.” You’ve got a case of unheeded report, but now you prefer to insist on a poor girl’s not reporting to authorities, even though your very information shows that reporting may have been to no avail, for why would the police take heed of her report while they didn’t heed the report of the man you interviewed?

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The Fondling Conspiracy and the Commission for Women

AAP, BJP [two Indian political parties: the former Woke and the latter Hindutva. AAP holds Delhi governorship, BJP is head of the coalition in power at the central government] Protest On Delhi Streets As Face-Off Over Mayor Poll Continues.” (NDTV, YouTube) There is a woman in the demonstrations. Most probably, in such unruly crowds her buttocks and nipples were fondled by greedy hands. We need a statement from the Commission for Women.

Delhi air pollution is also a big problem. The smog reduces CCTV cameras’ efficiency. Women will be fondled by perverts but camera images will be too blurry, too unclear to serve as evidence. We need a statement from the Commission for Women.

The smog is a conspiracy. Women will be fondled by strangers whose faces can’t be seen on CCTV cameras because of too thick a smog.

“Poor visibility.” A huge fog is expanding over Northern India and will make all CCTV cameras ineffectual because camera lenses function just like the human eye. The Commission for Women expects a big wave of fondling in the streets.

Women of all confessions are fondled daily in urban centers. Do you call that fondle jihad?

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Defence v. Smear

A Complement to “Breakup as Abetment to Suicide” (in Law 28). Actor Sheezan Khan was arrested after co-actress and ex-lover Tunisha Sharma committed suicide.

In court, what India Daily is calling a “smear campaign” by Sheezan’s team is legit defense. A smear campaign is something prosecutable under libel law. But as Sheezan Khan is tried, it is “No holds barred,” he and his lawyers have the right to “smear” as much as they wish in court, if they think it can clear him. Technically, this is no smear, no slander, no libel at all, but a legit means of defense, a most legitimate means, so the headline “smear campaign in court” is wrong. (A trial opposing parties is basically nothing else but parties “smearing” each other.)

Pay attention that a man placed under police custody and tried for abetment to suicide after a breakup is something unheard of. I believe this was made possible by love-jihad fantasies and prejudice and is plain wrong. Be that as it may, the unheard-of nature of the case needs an explanation. A rational explanation. Absent such an explanation, it looks like a case of prejudice: Because he is a Muslim and she was a Hindu, he was kept in custody and is tried on a frivolous claim. In a normal, functional political order, safe from love-jihad fantasies, a man would never have been kept in custody, but simply interrogated.

A mistake was made, a man’s rights have been disregarded, and my assumption is that the reason for this mistake is prejudice, not the principles or the laws in force. A first information report (FIR) cannot always have police custody as consequence. The present FIR is for abetment for suicide and the facts invoked are a breakup. This is no serious ground, with due respect to the grieving family. Abetment to suicide is a crime requiring mens rea (intention), but to suppose that the intent of a breakup is to make one’s lover commit suicide rather than the usual reasons why lovers break up, is unwarranted absent further elements hinting at the same, clues which the police themselves declared were nowhere to be seen (“no love-jihad or blackmail angle”). Therefore, this FIR from a grieving family should never have led to a man’s custody, even less to a 4+14 day custody, and denial of bail.

Police had two flimsy reasons to arrest Sheezan Khan: 1) the vague assumption that he had committed a crime (murder?) and 2) a vague FIR that should not have led to harsh measures, because there was no element of mens rea to support it. One flimsy reason plus one flimsy reason doesn’t add up to a good reason. Sheezan, therefore, should have been interrogated as a normal person, without custody. Some politicians publicly voiced their opinion on the case, suggesting a love-jihad angle. Lack of firm ground for arrest plus those kinds of hardly veiled political pressures plus a certain climate in the country where such concepts as “love jihad” can bubble up to begin with, lead one to question the reasons for the custody and trial. In this context, custody can be thought to be a way to obtain false confessions. If this sort of arrest is the normal practice of the country, then let me know; in that case, there would be nothing special about Sheezan’s arrest but my critic would become institutional, as I would oppose on principle a practice that allows this as a routine.

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RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of Hindutva ideology] chief tells Muslims to shun ‘idea of supremacy’.” (Hindustan Times, YouTube)

If one praises the Sepoys of 1857, is it supremacism?

There is nothing wrong with holding one’s credence superior, and no one should be asked to think he doesn’t have better opinions than others. Indeed, if I thought your opinion were as good as mine, I wouldn’t even call my opinion an opinion at all, it would be like having no opinion. I guess you can call this supremacism. The very word “tolerate” implies disagreement. You disagree with what you “tolerate” but you tolerate it; if you didn’t disagree, you wouldn’t “tolerate,” you would “endorse.” This is the meaning of toleration: we are not endorsing each other’s opinions. This, not liberalism (which is mush), is the correct view.

(ii)

I think Brahmins don’t support RSS (prove me wrong). RSS lacking Brahmin support for their New Age ideology is like royalists in European republics who want to restore the throne and altar while being scolded by royal heirs and the Church alike.

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Austrian court drops accusation of terrorism against Professor Farid Hafez.” (Al-Jazeera English, YouTube)

Prosecuting authorities should be held accountable for their misconducts, but European laws grant them immunity. These authorities could place each and every one of us, Europeans, in the same legal limbo for years, and nothing could be done as far as law is concerned. This is despicable. Professor Farid Hafez has suffered duress for which he will never be compensated.

If there were no fairer authorities than these in the world, does it make my words less true? Would it be less true that, in these countries, which claim to be beacons of freedom, citizens can be subjected to such treatments without recourse and without compensation, and are asked to say “thank you” when after years of legal limbo, police harassment, all sorts of damages to their peace and reputation, a judge says they can be free? If this is a beacon of freedom, then any other place is just as fine. The hypocrisy of these regimes is as appalling as their disregard for citizens’ rights.

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Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards after the 1984 military assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest site of the Sikh community. The two bodyguards were her most trusted and favorite servants, they had never failed in their service. But she had ignored the bodyguards’ true personality, their devotion to their faith. Did she not have the slightest clue that she might have wronged the Sikh faith with Operation Blue Star? The turning against and killing her by two most reliable men suggests that the operation was more than a little harsh and inconsiderate. There was obviously some blindness, an almost unbelievable naiveté on Indira’s part, that she failed to perceive the two bodyguards as wounded men of faith.

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The Mukherjee Commission

The Indian government was asked by a court to have an investigation and report made on Subhas Chandra Bose, a.k.a. Netaji’s death, but as the report concluded that the known version (plane crash) was not true, the government buried the report.

The Mukherjee Commission was set up by the government following a court order. The commission worked from 1999 to 2005. In its report, it rejected the plane crash theory. The government rejected the report of the Commission, “just like that,” as they say in the film Gumnaami about these historical facts. I find no word to express my moral indignation at this, but in legal wording it is contempt of court and breach of constitutional duty by the Indian government. The government was constitutionally bound by the commission’s conclusions. Its rejection of the report is blatant arbitrariness, it is arbitrariness on the face of it and, to be quite precise, in your face, that is, a slap in the face of all Indians.

(ii)

The above facts are the subject of Gumnaami, a 2019 film by Srijit Mukherji, of which the opening and end song’s lyrics read, in the film’s translation, as follows:

Subhash, Subhash the heart of India is here
The hero of India who we’re all proud of is here

Subhash is the heart of India
Subhash is the pride of India
Subhash is the respect of India
Subhash is the dignity of India

He’ll lead a storm called India
He’ll bring glory to India
To the foreign masters he’ll be a terror
Subhash, Subhash…

Netaji Statue at India Gate, Delhi. Inaugurated on Sep 2022.

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Nudity v. Nakedness

Mumbai Police sent a notice to Bigg Boss fame U. J. [no need to publicize the actress’s name here] on BJP leader and Maharashtra Mahila Morcha [BJP women’s wing] president Chitra Wagh’s complaints for ‘indulging in nudity publicly on the streets of Mumbai.’” (India Today, YouTube)

“I am independent, will wear what I want,” reacted the actress. The truth is she wears what she is told by photographers. Obviously, the nudity took place during an outdoors shooting, so there should be several people summoned, as it is a conspiracy.

Someone then claimed to me there was no nudity. The actress was summoned for nudity not because, I assume, she was naked on the street, which would have led to her arrest on the spot, had she escaped assault by an angry crowd in the first place, but because of improper attire. Risqué attire is nudity plain and simple. If you cover your body with transparent plastic bags, you are nude as per the law, make no mistake about it. And the same reasoning applies to all risqué provocation to the law and to the peace of decent people.

Indian law makes a difference between scant clothing and obscenity, for the section does not apply, expressly, to sadhus who go around naked. Using Gandhi or sadhus in the argument misses the difference. (The difference is unmistakable but you know how people are.) Obscene nudity is not nakedness per se but rather clothing that appeals to prurient interests. I unreservedly agree with Indian authorities that public space must be kept free from such prurient attires.

Indian authorities apply the law. If you are not happy with the Indian Obscenity Law, then have it changed. We will see if people follow your reasons about “Taliban rule” and what not.