Religious Controversies of India in 2018

 In Christianity, Hinduism, Islam

Religious Controversies of India in 2018

Every passing year has its historical share in the large page of world. India, the melting pot of religions, cultures and identities also see social, political and economical challenges that impacts its faith and beliefs notions and traditions. As time changes there are many rituals are challenged by the same silent followers. There is a developing courage emerges in common man and woman to ask god for equality. The 2018 was remembered for many religious events, controversies and developments. Here we are presenting the few which shook the Indian society and also demand a new thinking for religious practices.

Kathua Rape (10th January, 2018)

Kathua rape case refers to the abduction, rape, and murder of an 8-year-old girl, Asifa Bano, in Rasana village near Kathua in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018. The victim belonged to the nomad Bakarwal community. Sanji Ram is the main accused in the case. He is the priest of the family temple (‘devasthan’) where the incident took place. The ‘devastan’ is a private worship place not open to all. His son Vishal and his nephew, a juvenile are also accused in the case.

Right-wing Hindu groups staged protests against the arrests of the accused individuals, who are all Hindus. Two ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Forest Minister Lal Singh Chaudhary and Industries Minister Chander Prakash, attended one of the protests. One of the protesters told The New York Times that the arrests were “against our religion”, and stated that the protesters would burn themselves if the accused were not released. While attempting to file charges against the accused on 9 April, the Crime Branch police were met with protests from lawyers in front of the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s office in Kathua. The lawyers were protesting in support of the Hindu Ekta Manch, and tried to prevent the charges from being filed; the chargesheet was submitted eventually, after police reinforcements arrived. This support for individuals accused of rape led to widespread social outrage.

Source : Wikipedia 

Lingayat Religion (March 2018)

In December 2017, a seven-member expert committee was formed to study five separate demands, three of which were for a separate minority religion status for Lingayats.

The community has been demanding status of a separate religion for a long time. The issue came at the centrestage last year when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah promised to consider the demand. One part of the community demands the minority status for both Veerashaiva and Lingayats considering them the same, while another wants it only for the Lingayats as it considers Veershaivas to be Hindus.

Though in December, 2018, the Union Home Ministry submitted a letter to the Karnataka High Court rejecting the state government’s request to declare Lingayats, Veerashaivas and those who follow Basavanna’s philosophy as a separate religion. On March 23 this year, the Karnataka government had granted minority status to Lingayats and Veerashavias who follow Basava Tatva.

Sonu Nigam Tweet on Azaan (April 17th, 2018)

The morning sound of Azaan (Islamic call to worship)  become harsh noise for Singer Sonu Nigam. On April 17 morning in a series of tweets posted how he had “to be woken up by Azaan” and questioned when will the “forced religiousness” end in India. His tweets have ruffled quite a few feathers on social media, and people have called him out for what many have called an ‘irresponsible statement’.

Baba Ramdev BookGodman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev (May, 2018) 

A book on Baba Ramdev’s life become controversial. The book Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev tells the story of Baba Ramdev’s meteoric rise. Authored by Priyanka Pathak-Narain and published by Juggernaut Books in July 2017, originally faced an injunction in August that year, from a Delhi court.  On 29 September 2018 Delhi High Court reaffirmed an earlier injunction on the publication, distribution and sale of an unauthorised biography of Baba Ramdev. This latest ruling by the Delhi High Court once again puts the injunction against Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev back in place, unless Juggernaut deletes certain sections of the book.

Airtel Tweet Controversy (19th June, 2018)

Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest telecom operator, has got into a controversy as one of its customers did not want a Muslim representative to resolve a problem. Rather, the customer wanted a Hindu representative to resolve the issue.

Twitter users, including former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, alleged that Airtel has involved in bigotry.

Abdullah tweeted: “Dear @Airtel_Presence this conversation is genuine (I have seen the timeline myself). I refuse to pay another penny to a company that condones such blatant bigotry. I am beginning the process of porting my number to another service provider & canceling my DTH & Broadband.”

Kerala Nun Rape Case (June, 2018)

In June this year, a senior nun alleged rape by Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the head of the Latin diocese of Jalandhar.  A 48-year-old nun, a Roman Catholic, alleged that the priest Fr Franco Mullickal, the Bishop of Jalandhar, had sexually abused 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

After over two months of protest, police arrested Mulakkal. The Bishop spent three weeks behind bars but was granted bail in October. The case took an ugly turn when, in October, a key witness was found dead. Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who had filed a complaint against Mulakkal and had supported the survivor nun, was found dead in Jalandhar. His family alleged that it was a planned murder.

The Mulakkal case goes to trial next year. In between Apostolic Nunciature (Pope’s Ambassador) to India has accepted the request of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese to relieve him of his religious duties temporarily.

Source : https://www.news18.com

Bhaiyyuji Maharaj Suicide (13th June, 2018) 

Bhaiyyu Maharaj, a popular spiritual leader who counted some of the country’s top politicians and celebrities among his followers, committed suicide on Tuesday by shooting himself in the head at his ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore. Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, born Uday Sinh Deshmukh, allegedly shot himself over “domestic issues”. The police have reportedly found a suicide note that indicated that the 50-year-old was “depressed”. He was declared dead at the Bombay hospital in Indore.

Last year, Bhaiyyu Maharaj married Ayushi Sharma, a doctor. His first wife died two years before.

Source : NDTV

Triple Talaq

In a landmark judgement, the apex court, on August 22, held the age-old practice of triple talaq by men, whereby they divorce their wives at will under Islamic practice, as “unconstitutional”. The Supreme Court also directed the Union Government to bring a legislation in place to end this practice.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the practice of triple talaq violated Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees right to equality before law. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2018.

Sabrimala Temple Issue (28th September, 2018)

Sabarimala Temple row is all about the conflict between tradition and women rights. As per traditions and customs, women between 10 and 50 years of age were not allowed to enter into Sabarimala Temple.

But the situation changed when the Supreme Court on September 28, 2018, ruled that restricting entry of women of menstruating age (between 10 and 50 years old) was unconstitutional.

However, the Kerala state government has been facing difficulties to execute the Supreme Courts order due to massive protests.

Javed Habib Advertisement  (6th September, 2018)

Celebrity hair stylist Jawed Habib faced a huge social media backlash for a print ad in Kolkata that showed Durga and other Hindu gods and goddesses at leisure at one his salons. Responding to the trolling, Habib took to Twitter to apologise, saying he had no intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments.

Durga Puja Pandal Controversy (September, 2018)

On September 10, Mamata Banerjee, while addressing the coordination meeting with puja committees and police, had announced a package of Rs 28 crore across the state – 3,000 in the city and 25,000 in the districts. On September 19, the chief minister’s decision to disburse money was challenged in the Calcutta high court. The division bench of the court asked the Mamata Banerjee government the grounds on which it was using the exchequer money for Durga puja celebrations and if there were any guidelines for the same.

Source : http://www.asianage.com

Cracker Ban (October, 2018)

In its October 23 order, the supreme court had ordered that bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and other festivals would be only from 8 PM to 10 PM.

The Supreme Court clarified that firecrackers other than green crackers will not be sold in the Delhi-NCR region this Diwali and other festivals. In Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and other southern states, firecrackers can be burst from 4 AM to 5 AM and from 9 PM to 10 PM during festivals, the apex court said.

India’s Supreme Court threatens hereditary priesthood at Jagannath temple (December, 2018)

For centuries, the priests at the Jagannath Temple in this city on India’s east coast have enjoyed unfettered control over the temple’s rituals. But in July, India’s Supreme Court proposed ending the hereditary rights of the community of more than 2,000 priests, threatening a livelihood that depends almost entirely on donations.

The 12th-century shrine to Jagannath, a deity revered in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, draws thousands of pilgrims each year. Its priests are charged with sometimes dangerous duties such as tying flags to the mast of the temple and applying paint to statues of deities high on its walls, as well as playing instruments in religious parades and other tasks. Knowledge of the temple’s rituals has been nurtured within families and remained largely undiluted for generations.

Bulandshahar Violence  (3rd December, 2018)

Bulandshahr, a town in the western Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane belt, witnessed clashes between Hindutva activists and the state police on December 3.

The activists allegedly found carcasses of cows strewn across farms in Mahav village near Bulandshahr. The clash began as a mere skirmish at around 11 am when the activists carried the remains of the dead cow to the nearby police sub-station in Chingravathi village. They wanted the police to file an FIR against the alleged cow slaughter. However, the situation soon escalated into mob violence when miscreants in the crowd started attacking the police personnel with stones and firearms. By this time, some other policemen had already come from the bigger police station in Shyana village to control the mob. In the violence that followed after noon, an inspector-rank police officer, Subodh Kumar Singh succumbed to his bullet injury, the post-mortem report confirmed. Singh was also part of the team that probed the 2015 Mohammad Akhlaq’s lynching in Dadri, UP. The mob set the chowki on fire. And many other police vehicles were also torched. Meanwhile, a few Hindu-right groups also blocked the highway passing through the Chingravati village. While at least four other policemen were reportedly hurt, 21-year-old Sumit also died in the violence. Many in the area said Sumit was a BJP activist, but some reports claimed that the police believed he was only a bystander who got caught in the violence. Incidentally, the uproar over cow slaughter has occurred at a time when lakhs of Muslims across India have gathered in Bulandshahr for Tablighi Jamaat’s Ijtema(religious gathering). The attack on police happened around 30 kilometres away from the site of the ijtema that ended on December 3 peacefully. By evening, the UP government deployed security forces in and around the town. Top police officials are camping in Bulandshahr to prevent any further aggravation of the incident. The police claimed that the situation is under control but appealed to the public to desist from spreading inflammatory rumours floating around on social media. Two FIRs have been filed. One related to the alleged cow slaughter, and the other, against more than 100 people who attacked the police at the Chingravathi chowki. A Special Investigation Team has been constituted to probe the matter. The police, meanwhile, arrested two people and detained four others in connection with the violence.

Source : https://thewire.in

Hanuman Caste (November, 2018)

The row over Lord Hanuman’s caste was sparked after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while campaigning ahead of assembly polls in Rajasthan’s Alwar district last month said Hanuman was a “Dalit”. A number of spiritual as well as political leaders have put forth varying versions of Lord Hanuman’s identity.

Nasarudeen Shah Statement (21st December, 2018)

Nasarudeen Shah Statement

Actor Naseeruddin Shah is being targeted online by the right-wing trolls for his remarks on Bulandshahr violence, wherein a police inspector was killed in a mob fury triggered by a cow vigilante group in Uttar Pradesh recently. “At many places the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman,” Naseer can be heard saying in a video, which was put online by the Karwan-e-Mohabbat India.

Source : https://www.nationalheraldindia.com

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