Rahul Gandhi submits nomination in Wayanad

Rahul Gandhi submits nomination in Wayanad

Congress president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. He is also contesting in his traditional seat of Amethi. He was accompanied by his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. “We had conveyed to Rahulji that it would not have been correct to ignore the sentiments of the Congress workers from southern States,” said senior leader A.K. Antony, who had formally announced the decision.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi filing his nomination papers at Wayanad in Kerala on Thursday. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also seen. Photo

Photographer injured as barrier on Rahul roadshow vehicle collapses

The barricade of the vehicle that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was conducting his roadshow on in Wayanad collapsed, injuring a press photographer. A reporter for television channel TV9, Supriya said that the rope of the vehicle severed and three perons fell on her.

Rahul Gandhi files nomination in Wayanad, BJP joins hands with its once estranged MLA in Rajasthan. The day’s election-related developments at a glance

A few congress workers climbed on vehicle and were also holding on to the side rails of the moving vehicle. The injured photographer has been rushed to a nearby hospital. The roadshow lasted 35 minutes.

Smriti Irani slams Rahul Gandhi

BJP leader Smriti Irani attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying his decision to contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala was an “insult” to the people of Amethi.

“He is filing his papers from another Lok Sabha seat. This is an insult to Amethi and a betrayal with its people. The people will not tolerate this,” she told reporters in Lucknow.

Rahul’s decision to contest from Wayanad insult to Amethi, betrayal with people: Irani

BJP leader Smriti Irani Thursday attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying his decision to contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala was an “insult” to the people of Amethi. Rahul is contesting from the seat in Kerala in addition to his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Referring to the Congress chief, Irani said a person who is here in Amethi for the past 15 years has decided to leave his supporters and has chosen to file nominations from another constituency. “He is filing his papers from another Lok Sabha seat. This is an insult to Amethi and a betrayal with its people. The people will not tolerate this,” she told reporters here. The Union minister said this is because Congress workers know he does have support in Amethi.

-APRIL 04, 2019

Sabarimala: BJP MP’s home & RSS office set on fire

Sabarimala violence: BJP MP’s home attacked; RSS office set on fire

Violence continued over the entry of two women of menstruating age into the revered Sabarimala temple, as unidentified people hurled a country-made bomb at the ancestral home of BJP MP and an office of the RSS was set on fire here, police said on Saturday.

The two fresh incidents of violence were reported hours after unidentified men threw country-made bombs at the houses of CPI(M) MLA A N Shamsee and the party’s former Kannur district secretary P Sasi.

RSS office set on fire in Kannur
RSS office set on fire in Kannur

The incident at the ancestral house of BJP Rajya Sabha member V Muraleedharan occurred in the early hours of Saturday. No one was injured, police said. Muraleedharan said his ancestral home at Vadiyil Peedikia near Thalassery came under attack, but no one was injured. “My sister, brother-in-law and their daughter were in the house when the attack took place,” he told PTI from Andhra Pradesh.

In another incident, unidentified people set fire to an office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Pariyaram area in the morning, police sources told PTI.

The two fresh incidents of violence were reported hours after unidentified men threw country-made bombs at the houses of CPI(M) MLA A N Shamsee and the party’s former Kannur district secretary P Sasi. The incident at the ancestral house of BJP Rajya Sabha member V Muraleedharan occurred in the early hours of Saturday. No one was injured, police said. Muraleedharan said his ancestral home at Vadiyil Peedikia near Thalassery came under attack, but no one was injured. “My sister, brother-in-law and their daughter were in the house when the attack took place,” he told PTI from Andhra Pradesh.

The entry of two women into the hill shrine on Wednesday, the first time since the Supreme Court in September last year lifted the age-linked ban on the entry of women devotees, triggered massive protests in Kerala.

Muraleedharan had sought a probe by the NIA into the “conspiracy” of police escorting the two women with Maoist links to Sabarimala.

So far, over 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with violence in various parts of the state. Talking to the media Saturday morning, Sasi said the “powerful” bomb hurled at his house caused damage to the building.

-PTI, KANNUR, JANUARY 05, 2019

Worship at Sabarimala: SC allows entry of women

 Supreme Court allows entry of women of all ages to worship at Sabarimala

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority judgment, on Friday upheld the right of women of all ages to worship at Sabarimala and in places of their choice. This verdict will pave the way for the famed temple of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala, Kerala, to open its doors to women in the menstruation age also.

A 1951 judgment finds mention

In his judgment, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said any customs or rituals that contradict with the fundamental rights of citizens must be quashed. This is in contradiction with the famous Narasu Appa Mali case judgement. What is the 1951 judgment of the Bombay High Court in the State of Bombay v. Narasu Appa Mali case?

Related imageIn this case, Justices Chagla and Gajendragadkar held that uncodified personal laws may not be scrutinised for fundamental rights violations. They did so on the technical reasoning that Article 13 of the Constitution subjected only “laws” and “laws in force” to the scrutiny of fundamental rights, and that “personal laws” are neither “laws” for this purpose, nor “laws in force”.

Ever since the Narasu Appa Mali case, there has been a domain of law — i.e., uncodified personal law — that has simply been deemed to be beyond the realm of the Constitution, and beyond the scrutiny of constitutional norms such as equality, freedom of conscience, and the right to personal liberty.

Justice Indu Malhotra dissents

In her judgment Justice Malhotra says the  issues raised have impact not just with respect to Sabarimala but other places of worship too.

Religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14, she states. Justice Chandrachud, in his judgment mentioned Article 14, went one step further, and held that any customs or usages in personal law that are derogatory to fundamental rights should be quashed.

“What is essential practice in a religion is for the religion to decide. A matter of personal faith. India is a land of diverse faiths. Constitutional morality in a pluralistic society gives freedom to practice even irrational customs,” Justice Malhotra says in her judgment. Observing that the notion of rationality should not be seen in matters of religion, she also says Ayyappa devotees can be considered as a separate religious denomination. She also says the temple gets funds from Devaswom Board and not the Consolidated Fund.

‘Right to worship equally available to men and women’

Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra continues his observations. He terms the selective ban on women as religious patriarchy.

The Rule 3 (B) of Kerala Temple Entry Act which excludes women between 10 and 50 violates freedom of a Hindu religiom to worship, the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar’s judgment states. “Right to worship equally available to men and women,” it says.

Justice R. Nariman concurs with the judgment and adds:  “Ayyappa devotees do not form a denomination but only a part of Hindu worship.”  He strikes down Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also concurs. “To treat women as the children of a lesser God is to blink at the Constitution,” his judgment says.

“The ban says presence of women deviates from celibacy. This is placing the burden of a men’s celibacy on women. Stigmatises them, stereotypes them.” Justice Chandrachud says.  He also says the ban was actually a form of untouchability.

First reaction

The Kerala government has welcomed the verdict even as the reading of judgment is underway. Kerala Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran says he welcomes it.

Shazhikumar Varma, representative of the former Pandalam Royal family, terms the verdict as disappointing. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra begins reading his judgment on behalf of himself and Justice AM Khanwilkar. Ayyappa do not constitute separate religious denomination, the Chief Justice mentions in his judgment.

Exclusion of women of certain age in Sabarimala is not an “essential part” of religion, says the judgment. The judgment upholds women’s right to worship Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala.  With this, the centuries’ old practice of prohibiting menstruating women from the temple becomes unconstitutional.

“Exclusion on grounds of biological, physiological features like menstruation are unconstitutional and discriminatory,” the apex court declares. Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and R. Nariman concur, while the lone woman judge in the Bench Justice Indu Malhotra dissents.

Kerala government’s stand

The Kerala government, over the years, changed its stance on the temple entry issue several times. The current LDF government favours temple entry. But the erstwhile UDF government  had argued that the prohibition was ingrained in the minds of devotees for centuries.

In 2007,  the then LDF government had filed an affidavit saying “it is not fair to deny a section of women from entering Sabarimala temple and making worship”.

Travancore Devaswom Board’s argument

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented Travancore Devaswom Board, which maintains the temple, in the Supreme Court. He argued that Sabarimala does not practice exclusion, nor the restrictions have got anything to do with patriarchy. He submitted that it was “physiologically impossible for women to observe the 41-day penance” before the pilgrimage.

The Nair Service Society, another petitioner against allowing women, argued that prohibition was not based on misogyny but the celibate nature of the deity.

Five questions before the Constitution Bench

A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, during a hearing on the restrictions imposed on women in Sabarimala temple referred the issue to a Constitution Bench with these questions.

  • Can the fundamental right of a person to pray at the place of their choice can be discriminated based on gender or biolological factor?
  • Whether the practice of excluding mestruating women constitutes an “essential religious practice”?
  • Whether Travancore Devaswom Board, a statutory board financed out of the Consolidated Fund of Kerala and Tamil Nadu “can indulge in practices violating constitutional principles/ morality”?
  • Does the ban qualify as an “essential religious practice” of the Hindu faith, over which the court has no jurisdiction?
  • Do Ayyappa devotees form a separate religious denomination by themselves?

1991 Kerala High Court judgment

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had, on April 5, 1991, upheld the restriction on women of a particular age group offering worship at the shrine.

The HC Bench of Justices K. Paripoornan and K.B. Marar held that the prohibition imposed by the Travancore Devaswom Board was not violative of Articles 15, 25 and 26 of the Constitution. Neither was it violative of the provisions of the Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 as the prohibition was only in respect of women of a particular age group and not women as a class.

The backstory
SC allows entry of women of all ages to worship at Sabarimala, other places of their choice| Live updates

It all started with The Indian Young Lawyers Association and five women lawyers approaching the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa temple without age restrictions.

The temple restricts women aged between 10 and 50 from taking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala – which means women are banned from even making the arduous trek to the shrine.

The restriction finds its source in the legend that the Sabarimala temple deity – Swami Ayyappa – is a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ – and should not be disturbed. A 1991 Kerala High Court judgment supports the restriction imposed on women devotees. It had found that the restriction was in place since time immemorial and not discriminatory to the Constitution.

The Sabarimala temple, located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District of Kerala, has lakhs of pilgrims thronging it every year for darshan. Pilgrims trek the Neelimala to reach the shrine, which has 18 sacred steps, to worship Lord Ayyapa after observing strict abstinence vows for 48 days.

The temple is also prominent for another reason — the selective ban on women entering it.

Women aged between 10 and 50, that is those who are in menstruating age, are barred from entering the temple. While there is no restriction on women to worship Lord Ayyappa in any other temple, their entry is prohibited in this temple.

The Indian Young Lawyers Association and five women lawyers approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow entry of women into the temple without age restrictions. Another group of women, part of the “Happy to Bleed” campaign, has also sought the court’s direction on whether society should continue to bear with “menstrual discrimination.”

Their petition contended that discrimination in matters of entry into temples was neither a ritual nor a ceremony associated with Hindu religion and that such discrimination was anti-Hindu. The religious denomination could only restrict entry into the sanctum sanctorum and could not ban entry into the temple, making a discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Travancore Devasom Board, which maintains the temple, had replied that the ban was in accordance to the centuries-old tradition. Lord Ayyappa, being a Naishtika Brahmmachari (one who has vowed to remain celibate). Another argument put forth by the temple authorities is that it is not possible for women to put up with the physical hardship, austerity and days of celibacy like men.

The 1991 judgment

The ongoing trial in the Supreme Court has also put the spotlight on a 1991 Kerala High Court judgment, which held that the restriction was in accordance with a usage from time immemorial and not discriminatory under the Constitution.

Upholding the restrictions, the High Court, in its judgment, said: “According to him [The Sabarimala Thanthri], these customs and usages had to be followed for the welfare of the temple. He said only persons who had observed penance and followed the customs are eligible to enter the temple and it is not proper for young women to do so.”

Twenty-five years after this judgment, the Supreme Court has questioned the “logic” behind the restriction, even wondering whether there was any proof that women did not enter the sanctum sanctorum 1,500 years ago.

Earlier instances

The Sabarimala Temple tantri would perform a “purification ceremony” at the 18-sacred steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum, whenever the rules are violated. The last ceremony took place in December 2011, after a 35-year-old woman managed to climb the “pathinettam padi”.

In 2006, astrologer P. Unnikrishna Panicker conducted a “devaprasnam” at the temple and ‘found’ that there were signs of a woman having entered the sanctum sanctorum. Soon after this, yesteryear Kannada actor Jayamala said she had entered the temple and even touched the idol in 1987, when she was shooting for a movie.

Amidst outrage, the Kerala police filed a report, stating the entire episode was “orchestrated to gain publicity.” The case is pending in the Kerala High Court.

Though, courts have generally not interfered in the traditions and practices followed in religious place, it has never failed to uphold equality whenever discrimination was reported. In this conflict of worshipping rights versus customs, all eyes are now on the Supreme Court.

Will Sabarimala temple open its doors to women?

The Sabarimala temple, located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District of Kerala, has lakhs of pilgrims thronging it every year for darshan. Pilgrims trek the Neelimala to reach the shrine, which has 18 sacred steps, to worship Lord Ayyapa after observing strict abstinence vows for 48 days.

The temple is also prominent for another reason — the selective ban on women entering it.

Women aged between 10 and 50, that is those who are in menstruating age, are barred from entering the temple. While there is no restriction on women to worship Lord Ayyappa in any other temple, their entry is prohibited in this temple.

The Indian Young Lawyers Association and five women lawyers approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to allow entry of women into the temple without age restrictions. Another group of women, part of the “Happy to Bleed” campaign, has also sought the court’s direction on whether society should continue to bear with “menstrual discrimination.”

Their petition contended that discrimination in matters of entry into temples was neither a ritual nor a ceremony associated with Hindu religion and that such discrimination was anti-Hindu. The religious denomination could only restrict entry into the sanctum sanctorum and could not ban entry into the temple, making a discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Travancore Devasom Board, which maintains the temple, had replied that the ban was in accordance to the centuries-old tradition. Lord Ayyappa, being a Naishtika Brahmmachari (one who has vowed to remain celibate). Another argument put forth by the temple authorities is that it is not possible for women to put up with the physical hardship, austerity and days of celibacy like men.

The 1991 judgment

The ongoing trial in the Supreme Court has also put the spotlight on a 1991 Kerala High Court judgment, which held that the restriction was in accordance with a usage from time immemorial and not discriminatory under the Constitution.

Upholding the restrictions, the High Court, in its judgment, said: “According to him [The Sabarimala Thanthri], these customs and usages had to be followed for the welfare of the temple. He said only persons who had observed penance and followed the customs are eligible to enter the temple and it is not proper for young women to do so.”

Twenty-five years after this judgment, the Supreme Court has questioned the “logic” behind the restriction, even wondering whether there was any proof that women did not enter the sanctum sanctorum 1,500 years ago.

Earlier instances

The Sabarimala Temple tantri would perform a “purification ceremony” at the 18-sacred steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum, whenever the rules are violated. The last ceremony took place in December 2011, after a 35-year-old woman managed to climb the “pathinettam padi”.

In 2006, astrologer P. Unnikrishna Panicker conducted a “devaprasnam” at the temple and ‘found’ that there were signs of a woman having entered the sanctum sanctorum. Soon after this, yesteryear Kannada actor Jayamala said she had entered the temple and even touched the idol in 1987, when she was shooting for a movie.

Amidst outrage, the Kerala police filed a report, stating the entire episode was “orchestrated to gain publicity.” The case is pending in the Kerala High Court.

Though, courts have generally not interfered in the traditions and practices followed in religious place, it has never failed to uphold equality whenever discrimination was reported. In this conflict of worshipping rights versus customs, all eyes are now on the Supreme Court.

-SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

RSS worker hacked to death in Marxists’ killing field

Another RSS worker hacked to death in Marxists’ killing field

An RSS leader was hacked to death allegedly by CPI(M) activists at Payyanur town on Friday, prompting the BJP to demand the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Kannur district. The killing is the first incident of political violence since January’s “peace talks” between the leaders of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala and the BJP-RSS in Kannur.

Police said the deceased, Choorakad Biju, was travelling on a motorcycle when some people waylaid his vehicle at a bridge near Payyanur and launched a fatal attack on him. Biju, a local RSS leader, was an accused in the murder case of CPI(M) activist CV Dhanraj and he was out on bail.

Biju’s killing drew a strong reaction from Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, who said Kannur should be declared a “disturbed area” and AFSPA should be imposed in the district in view of the “frequent” attacks on the workers of the saffron party.

Police said additional personnel were posted in the area as a precautionary measure. The politically sensitive Kannur district has witnessed a series of violent clashes between the activists of the CPI(M) and BJP-RSS over the last one year.

Biju’s killing drew a strong reaction from Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, who said Kannur should be declared a “disturbed area” and AFSPA should be imposed in the district in view of the “frequent” attacks on the workers of the saffron party.

“Since the Government has failed to curb the violence, AFSPA should be imposed in Kannur to maintain law-and-order,” he said, adding that a memorandum would be submitted to the Governor in this regard.

“CPI(M) workers are unleashing violence against their political rivals and even the chief minister has failed to control them,” alleged Rajasekharan.

He also claimed that the ruling party in Kerala had “unilaterally broken” the peace accord. Kannur BJP chief Sathyaprakash said the party had called a hartal in the district tomorrow.

-13 May 2017 | PTI | Kanpur

GAIL to lay gas pipeline from Mangaluru in Karnataka to Kochi in Kerala

GAIL to lay gas pipeline from Mangaluru in Karnataka to Kochi in Kerala

GAIL, microstatGas Authority of India Ltd., GAIL recently awarded contract for pipeline-laying work for the 105-km Perole-Kodalamuguru-Mangaluru section to transport natural gas from Kochi in Kerala. Consequently, work on the 440-km Kochi-Koottanad-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline would be carried out simultaneously from both the ends – Kochi and Mangaluru. The simultaneous execution of work is expected to hasten pipeline-laying work.

GAIL is targeting to complete the 440-km pipeline by December 2018 thereby bringing succor to industries and other users of natural gas in the region.

The pipeline would serve as a “Green Energy Corridor” for decades to come and enable city gas distribution companies and gas-based industries to come up in the State. As a result, environment-friendly piped natural gas and compressed natural gas would be supplied to households and vehicles.

Microstat.in 

Arrested Kerala IS operative had fought in Iraq: NIA

Arrested Kerala IS operative had fought in Iraq: NIA

A Kerala man who was arrested on Wednesday for joining and supporting the activities of the IS, had undergone arms training and fought for the terrorist organisation in Iraq, said the National Investigation Agency on Thursday.

The investigation agency revealed about the activities of Subahani Haja Moideen, 31, in the remand report filed at the NIA court here.

In a statement, the NIA said Subahani, who was residing in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, originally hails from Thodupuzha in Kerala’s Idukki district.

“He revealed that he had gone to Iraq on April 6, 2015, to join IS and fight for the organisation. He told his parents and wife that he was going to perform ‘Umrah’. He left India for Istanbul from Chennai on a visit visa. After reaching Istanbul, he crossed over along with others, including people from Pakistan and Afghanistan, to IS-held territory in Iraq,” the NIA said in the statement.

“He was taken to Mosul in Iraq, where he underwent detailed course in Sharia followed by combat training. On completion of combat training, including training in the automated weapons, he was sent to the war zone in Mosul for security duties in IS-held territory, which he performed for almost two weeks. He was being paid $100 per month as subsistence allowance by the IS,” the statement added.

Subahani also revealed to the NIA that he could not withstand the violence and war misery in Mosul and decided to leave the organisation, especially after two of his friends were charred before him in a shell attack.

“On conveying his decision to quit the organisation, he was imprisoned by the IS at Mosul and was subjected to extreme torture. He, along with other foreign fighters, was produced before an IS judge, following which he was again incarcerated at Raqqa in Syria. Later, for reasons yet to be ascertained, he was allowed to leave IS-controlled territory and return to Turkey along with five other foreign nationals,” said the statement.

Following this, he stayed illegally in Istanbul for about two weeks, before he approached the Indian Consulate for returning to India.

“He contacted his family and conveyed his decision to return to India, following which they sent him money for flight tickets. After Turkish police issued a clearance certificate, he was issued an emergency certificate by Indian Consulate, by which he returned to India through Mumbai on September 22 in 2015. He returned to Tirunelveli and got a job as a salesman in a gold jewellery shop,” added the statement.

After he settled down, he again got in touch with IS handlers over internet and was planning to collect explosives and precursor chemicals from Sivakasi.

Incidentally, his arrest came after the NIA arrested six men on Sunday while they were holding a meeting in Kannur in Kerala.

-October 6, 2016, IANS, Kochi

 

“Kashmir is ours, no one should dream of taking it”

“Kashmir is ours, no one should dream of taking it”

'Kashmir is ours, no one should dream of taking it, BJP won't let that happen' - Amit Shah blasts Pakistan

Slamming Pakistan, BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday in Kozhikode said that Kashmir is ours and no one should dream of taking it from India.

“BJP won’t let that happen,” Amit Shah added.

Shah was speaking on the last day BJP National Council Meet in Kozhikode, Kerala.

Also, Shah appealed to everyone including other political parties to come together and help the government and Army in their fight against terrorism.

Strongly condemning Uri attack in which 18 Indian soldiers lost their lives, Shah said, “Nawaz Sharif’s speech at UN shows that Pakistan is supporting terrorism since beginning.

“Pak PM Nawaz Sharif glorified terrorist Burhan wani as a leader,” the BJP chief added.

-September 25, 2016, Kozhikode

Bihar woman Yasmeen arrested from Delhi airport; was going to Kabul

Bihar woman Yasmeen arrested from Delhi airport; was going to Kabul to join ISIS?

BIG CATCH! Bihar woman Yasmeen arrested from Delhi airport; was going to Kabul to join ISIS?

It seems, this is a big catch for police in connection with terrorism cases!

A 28-year-old woman from Bihar was detained on Sunday morning at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi, along with her 5-year-old son.

Reportedly, she was on her way to Afghanistan to lead a true Islamic life.

The two were going to board a flight to Kabul, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The woman has been identified as Yasmeen Muhammed of Patna.

Was she going to join ISIS?

Reportedly, she was planning to join one of the 21 youths from Kerala who had gone missing last month.

It was believed that some of the missing youths believed to have tried to join the Islamic State.

Yasmeen is a divorcee. She has been handed over to Delhi Police’s special cell and later taken into custody by a team from Kerala Police.

She has been sent to judicial custody by a Kerala court.

-August 2, 2016, New Delhi

 

At 99% Telangana has maximum non-vegetarians in country

At 99%, Telangana has maximum non-vegetarians in the country

Telangana has the highest proportion of meat-eaters in the country with almost 99% of its residents being non-vegetarians, a Registrar General of India survey of people aged 15 years and above has revealed. An almost equal percentage of men (98.8) and women (98.6) are non-vegetarians in the state.

West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Kerala follow Telangana among the states with the highest nonvegetarian population. Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana top the list of states with the highest vegetarian population. Overall, the percentage of non-vegetarians across the country has dropped from 75% in 2004 to 71% in 2014.
non-veg
Experts say meat consumption in Telangana reflects traditional eating habits of the state’s people. “People in Telangana consume a lot of lamb and chicken even for breakfast,” said food blogger Sabyasachi Raychaudhuri. “…different body parts of animals such as gurda (kidney), bheja (brain), paya (trotters) among others are consumed.Many people also consume rabbits, emu and quail.” Experts say changing lifestyles could have contributed to the increase in meat consumption in the stavegte besides religion. They add most of those surveyed could be from Hyderabad which has a high percentage of meat-eaters. Vegetarians could probably be in equal numbers in other Telangana districts.
Abundance of livestock in Telangana too contributes to higher consumption of meat in the state. The state has the second highest number of sheep, and the fourth highest poultry count in the country. Telangana produced 505 lakh metric tonnes of meat and 1,061crore eggs in 2014-15. Till November 2015, the state had produced 560 crore eggs and 264 lakh metric tonnes of meat -lamb, goat, chicken, beef and pork.
Chicken and fish are healthier with higher protein levels, but red meat is blamed for several health problems.”Red and lean meat are high on saturated fats resulting in increase in cholesterol level among people. People should have more of tandoor and grilled forms of meat,” said Hyderabad’s Continental Hospital dietician Zeenath Fathima.

-TNN | Jun 11, 2016

BJP’s Assam win is proof Hindutva has reached areas where it was marginal-Christophe Jaffrelot

BJP’s Assam win is proof Hindutva has reached areas where it was marginal

By Christophe Jaffrelot 

An important facet of the BJP’s strategy pertains to its Hindu nationalist discourse

The historic achievement that the formation of a BJP-led government in Assam represented last month has been attributed to a wide range of factors. For some observers, it was more the defeat of the Congress than victory of the BJP: Tarun Gogoi, after three terms, was affected by the anti-incumbency syndrome and charges of nepotism; the party had also alienated the other strongman of the state government, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who crossed over to the BJP in 2015.

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Commentators have highlighted the effectiveness of the BJP’s strategy. While the party had tended to rely more on Narendra Modi’s image in the Delhi and Bihar elections in 2015, this year, the PM has not canvassed that much and the state units of the BJP have been largely left on their own. In Assam, the party formed a coalition with the AGP and the BPF. The seat adjustment has been well thought out since the BJP contested only 84 seats out of 126, the AGP, 24 and the BPF, 16. The three parties have won respectively 60, 14 and 12 seats, allowing the BJP to form a coalition government with its two allies.

An important facet of the BJP’s strategy pertains to its Hindu nationalist discourse. Like in so many other states, the party has adjusted to the local variant of Hindu culture. This vernacularisation process resulted in the promotion of an Assamese icon, the 15th-16th century Hindu saint and scholar, Sankardev, who had settled down in the Ahom kingdom in 1516-1517. In February, Modi attended the 85th conference of the Srimanta Sankaradeva Sangha at Sibsagar, the erstwhile capital of the Ahom kingdom.

Besides associating itself with the main Assamese Hindu figure, the BJP claimed that his legacy was under attack. It launched a campaign against the alleged occupation of Sankardev’s monastries by “illegal immigrants”. In fact, the Bangladeshi migrants issue has been one of the cementing factors of the BJP-led coalition, as evident from the “sons of the soil” agenda of the AGP and BPF. After all, the man the BJP projected as its candidate for chief ministership, Sarbananda Sonowal, was an AGP leader till he joined the BJP in 2011 — and he had became popular after his PIL had forced the quashing of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act of 1983 that Indira Gandhi had promoted to protect her Bangladeshi vote bank. The xenophobic leanings of sections of the Bodos have found expression in recurring anti-migrant violence. While the anti-immigrant discourse is not new, it took an increasingly anti-Muslim turn during the state election campaign — which Sonowal compared to “a second battle of Saraighat”, where Ahom general Lachit Borphukan defeated Mughal general Mir Jumla in 1671. This polarisation along religious lines was made easier by the recent rise of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) that the perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal founded in 2004 and which had become the main opposition party in 2011 with 18 seats and 13 per cent of the votes (one percentage more than the BJP). During the election campaign, the AIUDF has been presented not only as a Muslim party, but also a party of Bangladeshi immigrants which could join hands with the Congress if Gogoi needed to form a coalition to get a majority in the assembly.

As a result, the Hindu-Muslim divide has become the main cleavage, overpowering every other social and cultural factor, including language. In 2011, according to the CSDS survey, the BJP had attracted only 10 per cent of the Assamese-speaking Hindu voters whereas 42 per cent of the Bengali-speaking Hindu voters were supporting the party. In 2016, these two groups have jumped to respectively 43 and 54 per cent. In contrast, the Congress registered a decline from 38 to 21 per cent in the first category and from 31 to 28 per cent in the second one.

For the first time, the strategy of polarisation has brought electoral fruit to the BJP in Assam. But this trend is also a result of decades of ground work by the Sangh Parivar. Not only has the RSS — active in Assam since 1946 — established more than 830 shakhas in the state, but other offshoots of the Parivar, including the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, are implementing the same welfarist strategy as in other tribal belts (free education, access to healthcare etc.).

In 2016, the other state where the BJP has made progress, Kerala, presented the same characteristics: like in Assam, the RSS has developed a dense network of shakhas across the state and the BJP has fostered religious, vernacularised resurgence through the instrumentalisation of dozens of kavu (ancient shrines) where theyyam (living gods) performances have been held for centuries in the form of a rather unorthodox Hinduism. Like in Assam, the BJP has also exploited the fear of Muslims, made easier by the revivalist attitude of some of those who had migrated to the Gulf countries.

In Kerala, the BJP could not win more than one seat and 15 per cent of the votes (in association with the Ezhavas-dominated BDJS), partly because of the state’s demographics — Hindus are only 55 per cent, against 61.5 per cent in Assam. But the communalisation of the state is evident from the cultural policing. Last year, writer M.M. Basheer had to stop his columns in Mathrubhumi because of a campaign denouncing the fact that a Muslim was writing on a Hindu god.

While the recent state elections have been interpreted mostly as a turning point for the Congress, they have been a milestone for another reason and for the whole of India: Hindutva has now reached in a significant manner areas where, till then, it was politically marginal. The rise of BJP majoritarianism may only be resisted by state parties or the articulation of an alternative form of polarisation — not along religious, but social, lines. This repertoire may gain momentum while inequalities are increasing. The state elections next year — especially UP, Gujarat and Punjab — will provide the Opposition parties with one last big opportunity to explore it before the 2019 rendezvous.

(This article first appeared in the print edition under the headline ‘The enigma of arrival’)

The writer is senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/ CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian politics and sociology at King’s India Institute, London
Courtesy-Indian Express| June 11, 2016