Friday, August 8, 2014

No beards (burqas) on the (Xinjiang) bus

.....prohibit those who wear veils, head scarves, jilbab, clothing with the crescent moon and star, long beards from boarding buses in the northwestern city of Karamay......Urumqi ban....cigarette lighters, yogurt and water, in a bid to prevent violent attacks.....

We are admittedly in favor of banning religion-inspired parties. After receiving feedback from liberty-conscious people we have reformed a bit (all lefty-s are secret Stalinists) and propose a more incremental (and hopefully, practical) approach.

We have in mind a directive principle (constitutionally desirable but not enforceable, just like the uniform civil code) that India being a federation of states, all political parties (as represented by their state units) must strive for cross-community representation both in primary membership as well as candidates for positions at all levels (gram-panchayat, municipality, state assembly).

A nationally recognized party (there are specific qualification rules in place) must (in addition to the above) work towards having a designated number of cross-community candidates for Lok/Rajya Sabha. Currently, the BJP does not have a single muslim MP in the Lok Sabha (there were a few muslim BJP candidates), and only a couple of MPs in the Rajya Sabha.

Thus in Bengal, where muslims are 40% of the population, the BJP has to ensure a certain minimum of party members and candidates which are muslims. Same goes for hindu representation in Muslim League (Kerala), AUDF (Asom), AMIM (Telengana), National Conference (Jammu and Kashmir) and Akali Dal (Punjab). If the minority numbers fall below some threshold in a state this principle may not apply.

The idea is to encourage broad based agenda for political parties and discourage polarization as a vote-winning approach. If we do not take this seriously then the social fabric will continue to be damaged over time. Food for thought.

There is another way ahead and the Chicoms have just indicated how they would like to tackle the "diversity problem." We feel that such a heavy-handed approach is counter-productive, but it is certainly better than shooting/starving tens of thousands of people (like what is going on in Iraq right now). Not that the Chicoms are shy about killing, 59 people were gunned down in reaction to the recent uprising last week.

A city in China's restive western region of Xinjiang has banned people with head scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses, as the government battles unrest with a policy that critics said discriminates against Muslims.

Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language, has been beset for years by violence that the government blames on Islamist militants or separatists.

Authorities will prohibit five types of passengers — those who wear veils, head scarves, a loose-fitting garment called a jilbab, clothing with the crescent moon and star, and those with long beards - from boarding buses in the northwestern city of Karamay, state media said.

The crescent moon and star symbol of Islam features on many national flags, besides being used by groups China says want to set up an independent state called East Turkestan.

The rules were intended to help strengthen security through August 20 during an athletics event and would be enforced by security teams, the ruling Communist Party-run Karamay Daily said on Monday. “Those who do not comply, especially those five types of passengers, will be reported to the police,” the paper said.

In July, authorities in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi banned bus passengers from carrying items ranging from cigarette lighters to yogurt and water, in a bid to prevent violent attacks.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government's repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, have provoked unrest, a claim Beijing denies.

“Officials in Karamay city are endorsing an openly racist and discriminatory policy aimed at ordinary Uighur people,” Alim Seytoff, the president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association, said in an emailed statement.

While many Uighur women dress in much the same casual style as those elsewhere in China, some have begun to wear the full veil, a garment more common in Pakistan or Afghanistan than in Xinjiang.

Police have offered money for tips on everything from “violent terrorism training” to individuals who grow long beards.

Hundreds have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the past 18 months, but tight security makes it almost impossible for journalists to make independent assessments of the violence.

About 100 people were killed when knife-wielding attackers staged assaults in two towns in the region's south in late July, state media said, including 59 “terrorists” shot dead by police.

Chinese police gunned down 59 people and arrested 215 during a violent uprising last week in the Xinjiang region, the government said Sunday, in a statement that shed fresh light on what dissident groups had earlier described as a major clash in the area.

In coordinated predawn actions on July 28, unnamed assailants attacked civilians, state buildings and vehicles in two Xinjiang towns, including Elixhu, according to police descriptions reported by the government-run Xinhua news agency.

The agency said 37 civilians were among the 96 people who were killed during the attack. Sunday's statement called the assailants terrorists and said the attack had foreign support.

The new figures, which emerged from a high-level meeting of the Communist Party over the weekend in Xinjiang, according to Xinhua, illustrate the seriousness of continued violence in China's largely Muslim province of Xinjiang. The area abuts Central Asia and has seen minor clashes reported weekly.

The Xinhua report said assailants displayed banners declaring a "holy war" and were coordinated by a banned group called East Turkestan Islamic Movement that China's government says aims to make Xinjiang independent. Sunday's report said civilians were stopped at roadblocks and slashed with knives if they refused to join the rally.

The mastermind of the attack was Nuramat Sawut, the report said. Xinhua described him as the local leader of the movement and responsible in the past year for spreading audio and video calls for separatism and religious extremism. Mr. Sawut wasn't reachable and Xinhua's report didn't say whether he specifically participated in the attacks.

The report didn't say where overseas the group had obtained assistance, though in the past China's government has cited training of separatists by religious extremists in Pakistan.

Ethnic tensions between Han Chinese migrants and Xinjiang's Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group have remained high for years, with religious, political and economic overtones.

But as violence has at times spilled outside Xinjiang and appeared to target civilians, China's government in May launched a one-year crackdown on terrorism and has since reported numerous raids, arrests and clashes, often involving Uighurs.

Uighurs complain that Han Chinese control the government and economy, crimp religious activity and are too aggressive with policing. China's government cites its financial investments in the region.and says only a small majority of Xinjiang's people are responsible for the troubles.

During last week's clash, near the city of Yarkand, took place a day before the mostly Muslim area was set to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Assailants with knives rampaged through town slashing people and smashing symbols of government power, state media said. In its initial reporting on the attack, Xinhua had said dozens of civilians were killed while at least 36 cars were smashed or set on fire. The initial report also called it "an organized, premeditated and carefully planned terrorist attack of vile nature and tremendous violence."

Later in the week, assailants, identified by Chinese authorities as Uighurs, knifed to death the government-appointed imam of Id Kah Mosque in the nearby city of Kashgar. On Friday, police in Xinjiang had shot dead nine suspected terrorists and captured another in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture.

Link(1): http://china-bans-beards-veils-from-xinjiang-citys-buses

Link(2): http://china-says-violent-xinjiang-uprising-leaves-almost-100-dead



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