The Washington Post - 03.03.2020

(Barré) #1


The World


Putin proposes ban

on same-sex marriage

P resident Vladimir Putin on
Monday submitted a slew of
proposed amendments to the
Russian constitution that include
a mention of God and describe
marriage as a heterosexual union.
Putin first proposed amending
the constitution in a state-of-the-
nation speech in January, s aying it
is necessary to broaden the
powers of parliament and bolster
democracy. His foes view the
proposed changes as part of his
efforts to remain in charge after
his six-year term ends in 2024.
The Kremlin-controlled
parliament last month endorsed
Putin’s d raft i n the first of three
required readings, and it is poised
to give it the final approval next
week, setting the stage for a
nationwide vote on April 22.
Following up on proposals from
a Kremlin working group that
worked in parallel with
lawmakers, Putin on Monday
presented 24 p ages of additional
amendments for the second
reading, set for March 10.
One amendment follows a
proposal by the Russian Orthodox

Church to add a reference to God
to the constitution.
Another describes marriage as
a “union of a man and a woman,” a
wording in sync with Putin’s l ong-
stated opposition to same-sex
The president also responded
to a working group member’s
suggestion to add wording that
would prevent any future Russian
ruler from giving away C rimea —
annexed from Ukraine in 2014 —
or any other territory.
— Associated Press


Ex-guard holds dozens
hostage in Manila mall

A recently dismissed s ecurity
guard freed dozens of hostages
and was subdued by police after
walking out of a mall in the
Philippine capital on Monday,
ending a day-long hostage crisis in
an upscale commercial district
near the police and military
headquarters, officials said.
The former guard at t he
Greenhills shopping center left
the mall in San Juan City in
metropolitan Manila with the
remaining hostages, who were
then secured by police. Several

others had managed to escape
earlier, police said.
San Juan Mayor Francis
Zamora has ordered an
investigation, including into how
the gunman was able to enter the
mall with a pistol and grenades.
Instead of being immediately

arrested, the suspect was allowed
to speak for several minutes to
journalists and authorities to
describe his grievances against his
former bosses, whom he accused
of corruption and abuse.
Some 60 to 70 hostages and
others were trapped in the mall

during the standoff, Z amora said.
The gunman shot and w ounded
a security officer before rushing t o
the second floor and taking the
hostages, Zamora said. The officer
was said to be in stable condition.
— Associated Press

U.N. Libya envoy resigns, cites
stress: T he United Nations special
envoy for Libya said he has
resigned because of stress, days
after his latest effort at
peacemaking failed to yield a
breakthrough in the conflict.
Ghassan Salame, appointed in
July 2017, said on Twitter that he
had “sought for two and a half
years to unite Libyans, prevent
foreign intervention and preserve
the unity of the country,” b ut “my
health no longer allows me to take
this much stress.” He resigned
amid an escalation in fighting in
Libya and just days after
announcing the near-breakdown
of a shaky truce between the
country’s two rival governments.

7 suspected Rohingya gangsters
killed in Bangladesh: Security
officials in Bangladesh fatally shot
seven suspected members of a
Rohingya gang allegedly involved
in drug dealing and human
trafficking, officials said. The

killings occurred near a refugee
camp in Cox’s Bazar near the
border with Myanmar, police said.
More than 700,000 Rohingya
Muslims fled Myanmar after the
Buddhist-majority country’s
military launched a crackdown
against them in August 2017 a nd
are staying in refugee camps in
Bangladesh. Separately, police
said another Rohingya man was
killed during a gunfight with
border guards in Cox’s Bazar.

Egypt sentences 37 to death on
terrorism charges: A court in
Egypt sentenced to death 37
defendants, including a high-
profile militant, on terrorism-
related charges. The Cairo
Criminal Court said the
defendants were convicted of
belonging to a local affiliate of the
Islamic State spearheading an
insurgency in Egypt’s S inai
Peninsula. Among those
sentenced to death was Hisham
e l-Ashmawi, a former army officer
turned militant leader. The men
are among more than 200
defendants accused of carrying
out dozens of attacks. The court
also sentenced 61 defendants to
life in prison; 85 were sentenced to
five to 15 years in prison.
— From news services


TOBy MelVIlle/reUTers
Additional f lood barriers line the s wollen Severn River to protect
properties in Bewdley, near Birmingham, England. Communities
continue to deal with rising water after Storm Jorge swept across
Britain over the weekend. The storm, the third in a month, came at
the tail end of the wettest February since records began, with about
eight inches of rain falling, according to the British weather service.


new delhi — Lying under a
striped blanket, her face blank
with exhaustion, Shabana Par -
veen described how she and her
family had run for their lives.
Rioters armed with rods and
sticks surged into her lane in
northeast Delhi last week looking
for Muslim homes. Parveen, 26
years old and nine months preg-
nant, said they broke down the
door, punched and beat her,
yelled abuse and told her family
to get out. Then they destroyed
everything inside.
A Hindu neighbor sheltered
the family for the night but urged
them to flee to a Muslim area as
soon as they could. The next day,
Parveen’s son was born in a
rudimentary clinic filled with
people injured or displaced by
the riots. “There is nothing left,”
she said as her tiny son slept
beside her. “If we go back, they
will kill us.”
India’s capital is grappling
with the aftermath of the worst
communal violence in Delhi in
decades. More than 45 people,
the majority of them Muslims,
were killed in the clashes. Hindu
mobs swept through lanes target-
ing Muslim homes and set up
roadblocks looking for Muslims
to attack. Crowds of Hindus and
Muslims threw stones and molo-
tov cocktails.
The violence — which unfold-
ed as President Trump visited the
city — marks a major turning
point for the nation and for the
government of Prime Minister
Narendra Modi. Since winning a
landslide reelection in May, Modi
has pursued his party’s agenda of
Hindu primacy in India amid a
dramatically slowing economy. I n
the last six months, he revoked
Kashmir’s autonomy, jettisoning
decades of policy toward India’s
only Muslim-majority state. His
government said it would move
ahead with the construction of a
grand Hindu temple at the site of
an illegally razed mosque. And he
enacted a controversial law that
excludes Muslim migrants from a
fast track to citizenship.
Now that agenda has sparked
violence along the oldest fault
line in India, a Hindu-majority
nation created as a secular repub-
lic that’s also home to 200 million
Muslims. It’s a defining moment
for Modi, whose government di-
rectly oversees law enforcement
in the national capital. The police
are accused of doing too little to
stop the riots — and, in some
cases, joining in.
The violence erupted late Sun-
day after a local leader of Modi’s
party threatened to clear a pro-
test against the citizenship law.
Modi called for calm on Wednes-
day, but has not mentioned the
violence since.
The riots were “not a tactical
aberration, some absent-minded
lapse of attention,” wrote Pratap
Bhanu Mehta, a prominent politi-
cal scientist. “There is no doubt
that the state could have stopped
the violence more quickly if it had
The consequences for this na-
tion of more than 1.3 billion
people are likely to be far-reach-
ing. Saba Naqvi, the author of a

‘There is nothing left. If we go back, they will kill us.’

Indian Muslims are fearful after Prime Minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda sparks deadly violence along the country’s oldest fault line

book on the recent history of the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party,
said Modi and his party are now
pursuing a path of “complete
polarization” between Hindus
and Muslims “because they have
no other path to offer.”
A BJP spokesman denied that
the party’s policies were polariz-
ing. Muslims are afraid, party
spokesman Sudhanshu Trive-
di said, because “they have been
intimidated by propaganda”
spread by opposition parties. He
said the BJP’s opponents are
fostering a “situation where some
unrest can be created in the
country so the government gets a
bad name at the international

‘We are helpless’
Inside a narrow lane in Musta-
fabad, a densely packed, predom-
inantly Muslim neighborhood in
northeast Delhi, refugees from
the violence picked through a
mound of donated clothes. Many
had fled Shiv Vihar, another riot-
hit area about two miles away.
Z aitoon, 40, who goes by one
name, half-cried as she rum-
maged through the items. She
said mobs entered her lane shout-
ing “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to
Lord Ram,” a slogan favored by
Modi’s party, and demanded to
know which houses were occu-

pied by Muslims. She said she saw
a neighbor set on fire in front of
her, an account repeated by other
Police arrived Wednesday
morning to escort Muslims to
safety, she said. They had 10 min-
utes to gather whatever they
could carry.
Down a nearby alleyway, plas-
tic chairs were set out to accom-
modate mourners at the home of
two brothers killed in the riots.
Aamir Khan, 30, and his brother
Hashim, 19, were on their way to
Mustafabad on Wednesday night
but never arrived. The next day,
their brother Sheruddin said, po-
lice showed the family photos of
the motorcycle they had been
riding, now burned, and of their
bodies, both with stab wounds.
Their mother sat on the floor in
a cramped room, surrounded by
women, her face contorted by
grief. Aamir’s wife lay next to her,
immobile under a brown blanket.
“We are being killed, we are
being slaughtered, and they are
blaming us,” cried their sister
Naghma Alvi, as a neighbor held
and rocked her. The brothers
were buried on Saturday.
Research on religious violence
in India suggests that Modi’s
party has little political incentive
to prevent such clashes. Re-
searchers at Yale University who

examined Hindu-Muslim riots in
India from 1962 to 2000 found
that when such violence took
place, the BJP increased its share
of votes in the next state-level
election. When state legislators
from the opposition Congress
party were elected, the probabili-
ty of riots in their districts in the
following years fell by a third.
When Modi was elected prime
minister in 2014, Muslim voters
were wary. As chief minister of
the state of Gujarat, he presided
over the worst outbreak of com-
munal violence in recent Indian
history, when more than 1,
people were killed, mostly Mus-
lims, in three days of riots in

  1. A court-appointed investi-
    gation cleared him of any involve-
    ment. For years afterward, the
    United States declined to issue
    Modi a visa.
    Modi’s first term as prime min-
    ister saw increasing reports of
    Muslims being lynched on the
    suspicion of transporting beef or
    slaughtering cows, considered sa-
    cred by many Hindus.
    The passage of the citizenship
    law in December has stoked fears
    that the Modi government in-
    tends to make Muslims prove
    their legal status in the country.
    Trump praised Modi last week for
    his “incredible” efforts to pro-
    mote religious freedom.

Political scientist Sudha Pai
co-authored a recent study on
communal violence in Uttar
Pradesh, India’s largest state. She
said Indian Muslims have now
“reached a point where they real-
ize either they fight back, or
something terrible is going to
In the riots that swept north-
eastern Delhi, Muslims mobilized
to counter perceived threats and
clashed with Hindus. A two-lane
road separates Muslim-dominat-
ed Mustafabad from Hindu-dom-
inated Bhagirathi Vihar. Hindus
say a large mob approached from
the Muslim side last Tuesday,
throwing stones and molotov
cocktails and firing guns. “It be-
came difficult to save our lives,”
said Yogesh Kumar, 24, an ac-
“When the fire spreads, every-
thing gets torched,” Sanjay Ku-
mar, 40, said bitterly as he looked
around at the destroyed store-
fronts and burned facades along
a lane leading from the main
road. He blamed Kapil Mishra,
the BJP leader who issued the
original threat to protesters who
mounted a sit-in.
Mishra “thought he could do
the work of the police,” Kumar
said. “Why did he step in?”
Area residents said that noth-
ing like the violence had ever

occurred there before and that
relations between the two com-
munities were generally peaceful.
Paramilitary troops patrolled the
streets and people began to ven-
ture out on Friday afternoon, but
shops remained shuttered.
The Farukhiya mosque, next to
a canal choked with garbage,
stood deserted and burned. Last
Tuesday, Hindus and Muslims
threw stones at each other from
behind makeshift barriers near
the mosque, witnesses said. The
pitched battle subsided before
the evening prayer. Then the
police arrived.
Officers barged into the
mosque, sending the women wor-
shipers fleeing. Police beat the
imam, the muezzin and an
e lderly caretaker so badly they
were sent to the hospital, accord-
ing to family members and one of
the victims. When Waheeda
Khatoon, 30, the muezzin’s wife,
finally found him, he was “unrec-
ognizable,” she said.
Khatoon said Muslims had no
hope of getting justice. “We are
helpless,” she said. “The govern-
ment and the police belong to
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Tania Dutta contributed to this

Paramilitary troops patrol in northeast Delhi last week. More than 4 5 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in riots in the city, and some families had to flee their homes.
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