The Urdu Presshttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/elgaar-parishad-activists-arrests-sc-st-act-section-377-verdict-5355321/

The Urdu Press

Inquilab, in its editorial comment on September 7, writes: “Undoubtedly, homosexuality is a very old disease. Holy texts of India have mentioned it as such."

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“Despite such grave charges, the Pune Police could not succeed in taking them on remand, based on its charges. This raises a serious question on the police and its way of functioning.”

Questionable arrests

The daily Sahafat, in its editorial on September 2, writes: “The observation of the Supreme Court during the hearing connected with the case in which five human rights activists have been detained that ‘dissent is the safety valve of democracy and it would explode if the right to dissent is denied’ is very meaningful… Usually, a court does not take cognisance of a petition by a third party in a criminal case. But the Supreme Court, in this case not only took notice of the public interest petition from eminent historian Romila Thapar and others, it heard it even after the working hours of the court, following which the detained activists were put under house arrest… The allegations against the five arrested activists also include an allegation of a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister. Despite such grave charges, the Pune Police could not succeed in taking them on remand, based on its charges. This raises a serious question on the police and its way of functioning.”

All-India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslemeen’s Etemaad, in its editorial on September 3, writes: “Following violence at a Dalit conclave in Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January last, the Pune Police had framed cases against two Hindutva leaders, Sambhaji Bhede and Milind Ekbote. Only Ekbote was arrested and was released on bail two months later whereas Bhede, alias Guruji, has not been arrested so far… Five alleged pro-Maoist activists were arrested in March last but no chargesheets have been filed so far…Another five activists were arrested on August 28 and put under house arrest on the Supreme Court’s orders. The complainant in the case in which these activists have been arrested is a disciple of Sambhaji Bhede. Surprisingly, the activists arrested on August 28 find no mention in that complaint nor did they attend the Bhima Koregaon event.”

The newspaper adds: “The legal set-up and the administration have to go into this entire issue without any bias or prejudice. The government should not become a puppet in the hands of Hindu communalists.”

SC/ST Atrocities Act

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Commenting on the current controversy over the amendment to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, restoring its earlier stringent provisions, Rashtriya Sahara, in a commentary on September 12, writes: “The SC/ST Atrocities Act has posed a great dilemma before the BJP and the central government (having stuck like the proverbial bone in their throat). If the government amends it now, it would face the ire of the Dalits. And if it does not amend it again in the light of the instructions of the Supreme Court, its traditional vote bank (of upper caste Hindus) can slip out of its hands. The BJP and the government should have countered the plea of the Supreme Court with their own strong stand on the matter in the court itself. By not doing so, they have invited trouble for themselves and brought the battle of social discord, hidden behind a curtain, out into the open.”

Editor of Inquilab, Shakeel Shamsi, in his signed column on September 5, writes: “The most interesting thing is that the BJP, which was accusing the Congress of appeasing Muslims following the Shah Bano judgment, has now played a role identical to that of the Congress and, to avoid the ire of Dalits, reversed the Supreme Court’s decision when important Dalit leaders in the NDA expressed their annoyance. And, now, people from the upper castes are making allegations of ‘Dalit Tushtikaran’ (Dalit appeasement). The nation’s eyes are now on the possible steps the central government will take to get out of this difficult situation before the forthcoming parliamentary elections and prevent the existing social divide from widening further.”

On 377 verdict

Commenting on the judgment of the Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality, Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on September 7, writes: “The father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, had taken tough initiatives to control lust and passion. But the learned judges of the Supreme Court have provided a legal sanction to lustful desires by way of homosexuality to the society whom the Mahatma wanted to raise to the highest level of spirituality… Homosexuality is against the natural order… In 72 countries, homosexuality is a crime. In some countries there is the provision of death sentence for such an act… Medical experts and other investigators are agreed that incurable ailments like AIDS are results of homosexuality.”

Inquilab, in its editorial comment on September 7, writes: “Undoubtedly, homosexuality is a very old disease. Holy texts of India have mentioned it as such. The majority of Hindus are not in favour of removing the law against homosexuality. In Islam, homosexuality is considered a very big crime…The trend for homosexuality is bound to grow now in our country.”

Hamara Samaj, in a commentary by noted Karnataka-based woman columnist, Ehsaas Nayab, on September 10, writes: “All of us should oppose this decision. This is a problem for the entire society and not merely for any particular religion…It is sad to note that there was even a woman judge in the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court that decriminalised homosexuality.”

Compiled by Seema Chishti