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Saharanpur Godman is on a love jihad to save Hindu girls

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Saharanpur Godman is on a love jihad to save Hindu girls
By Vasudha Venugopal

 

Armed with peacock feathers and blessed water, a Saharanpur godman is on a love jihad to ‘save’ Hindu girlsIn riot-hit Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, it’s important to read the writing on the wall. On an old building near the railway station is scrawled, ‘Dharam bechne ka paap na kare.’ (Don’t commit the sin of converting.) Barely a kilometre away, the portly Baba Rijakdas reiterates the warning. “Young Hindu girls get easily carried away by Muslim boys here. They don’t understand they are being exploited,” he claims. Rijakdas’ disciples revere him for his ‘expertise’ in ‘rescuing’ Hindu women.

People flock to Saharanpur’s court area in large numbers to hear him talk about how girls of a certain age need to be controlled and how TV and internet are only doing harm to society. Seated on his gaddi, he tells a college girl who is accused of riding pillion with a Muslim boy twice, “Today you will be happy but tomorrow when he leaves you alone with three children, you will end up with no other option but to commit suicide.” While there are other babas in the vicinity who offer similar ‘cures’, none have been as successful as Rijakdas, who has allegedly ‘cured’ over 200 girls in Saharanpur alone and over 500 in neighbouring Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. His ‘love jihad’ treatment has various levels depending on the ‘patient’. “It is no different from medical treatment,” he claims, adding, “It takes time but it uproots all feelings.” Women caught in a nascent stage of an affair with an ineligible youth are asked to come to the ashram with their parents for a month to listen to religious lectures. Those who refuse to give up their relationship are stroked with peacock feathers; if they still persist they are made to drink a bottle of water prepared by the Baba after a night of tapasya. Those who disobey him are sent to NGOs run allegedly by political leaders and kept there for months.

Disciple Suresh Sharma says Baba Rijakdas uses his expertise in tantra vidya only for a “good cause”. “Baba uses the power of mantras as much as possible, and only when the girl refuses the water does he employ his prowess in tantra,” he claims. Baba does not charge money for this ‘service’, but is gifted fruits, silver heirlooms and gold biscuits. His method takes five to six months to bear fruit, he claims. “But these women return to their families and never again gone astray,” he proudly claims.

How Baba came to become a community ‘saviour’ is another tale. His devotees claim that three years ago, Baba had brain haemorrhage and was in coma for many days. “But he magically sprang to life,” his disciple Ratnakar says. Often in the midst of discourse, the 61-year-old Baba diverts to his own story. “When I was just a month old, my mother gave me to a guru she believed in. I have grown up under his patronage,” he says, revealing little else.

The Hindu women of Saharanpur have little to say about Baba’s charms. At businessman Mohit Tandon’s home, his daughters Preeti and Shyama turn away when their father praises him.

“I am a postgraduate but my father doesn’t let me work. Mobile phones are monitored by parents. They think we can easily be influenced by anybody,” says Preeti.

A 21-year-old who requested anonymity recalls her experience of being ‘treated’. “There is no use of fighting because the entire community gets together and pressurizes you,” she says. “I hated being at the NGO. I promised to forget my boyfriend so that I could be sent home.” Professor Rooprekha Verma, founder secretary of Sajhi Duniya, a UP-based NGO that promotes women’s rights and secularism and has run campaigns to protest similar superstitious activities in the past, says, “Such lumpen elements in society sharpen communal feelings and divide people. It is unfortunate that there is no clear message from the government denouncing such activities.” But Baba remains unfazed. “It is for the families, and the welfare of the Hindu community that I am doing this. The protection of the Hindu kanya is very important,” he adds.

KERALA, WHERE THE LOVE JIHAD BEGAN

It started with a few posters in the northern districts of Kerala warning of the “evil designs” of Muslim terrorists who would feign love for Hindu girls and convert them to Islam and their cause. The word ‘love jihad’ was coined, and became one of the most-discussed topics in Kerala around 2009.

The conspiracy theory actually resulted in a court case. The parents of two Kochi girls, both MBA students, filed habeas corpus in Kerala High Court alleging that their daughters were trapped into relationships by two Muslim young men, Shahansha and Sirajudeen, with the intent to convert them. In 2010, the court quashed the case against Shahansha and Sirajudeen, pointing out that it specifically targeted a community. It was, the judge pointed out, quite normal for boys and girls from different religions to fall in love.

However, the allegations continued to do the rounds. The Hindu Aikya Vedi started a helpline to take calls from “victims” and it even alleged a ‘clinical jihad’ -as per this theory Muslim doctors were prescribing “wrong or expensive” medicines to Hindu patients.

Today, the whole campaign has died down except when it is whipped up by the VHP at various public meetings.

Canadian News

Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory take part in a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of a deadly shooting in Toronto on Wednesday July 25, 2018. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto were killed in Sunday's shooting attack, and 13 other people were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.

While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.

At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.

We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.

Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.

We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.

A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.

Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.

We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.

We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.

We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.

Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.

Our emergency services keep people safe.

Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.

Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.

Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.

We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.

With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”

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Canadian News

Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality

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Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.

Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.

Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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Canadian News

Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?

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The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.

He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture.  That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries.  Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.

Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.

Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response.  However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.

Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth.  Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.

In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide?  Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed?  However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.

The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?

Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.

Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.

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