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Full Time Federer Fan | Part Time Journalist | Recipient of Ramnath Goenka Award & Lorenzo Natali Media Prize | Bylines: LA Times, Al Jazeera, PARI, Wired
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Mar 29 5 tweets 2 min read
In September 2023, Hindu right assaulted Muslims in a Satara village

Six months later, it is a divided house

Some still living in exile, those who dined together now exchange cold glances, even school kids have been polarised

I report for @PARInetwork… Nurul Hasan was a huge @imVkohli fan. His wife Ayesha admired Babar Azam.

The couple booked their tickets to the Ind-Pak world cup match in October 2023.

But a month before the match, Hindu far right groups assaulted the Muslims in the village, and lynched Nurul to death
Jan 23 5 tweets 1 min read
In a Facebook post, Maharashtra's Additional Chief Secretary recalls celebrating the demolition of Babri Masjid with her batchmates

One must thank Manisha Mhaiskar, even if her post makes your skin crawl

She has exposed the bureaucracy better than any one could have. 1/N She writes: "Life comes a full circle and How!!! 6th December 1992 was a very cold day in Mussoorie.

1992 Batch of IAS were at their Foundation Course. News was slowly trickling in of the seminal developments at the Ram Janmabhoomi at Ayodhya....
Nov 29, 2023 10 tweets 2 min read
In 2012, a Sanatan Sanstha member opened his laptop at a village temple in Aurangabad

He played videos of cow slaughter and love jihad to a crowd of 40

Among them was a 19-year old college dropout.

18 months later, he allegedly shot Narendra Dabholkar… In this deep dive for WIRED, I look at how right wing groups have brainwashed the masses.

India's next election will be partly decided online.

But even before the internet reached the country's rural regions, divisive videos were distributed using hard drives & laptops.
Oct 3, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
Since the Indian government has acted with so much alacrity on a New York Times report..

A short thread of foreign media stories the government decided to do nothing about

#NewsClick Documents Provide Fresh Insight Into Allegations of Stock Manipulation That Rocked India’s Powerful Adani Group…
Sep 20, 2023 8 tweets 2 min read
BJP leader behind communal violence in Satara?

A Muslim severely injured -- and still recovering -- in the Hindutva attack on Pusesavali village in Satara has told police a very important detail.

#Thread Just a few days before the Hindutva mob attacked Muslims in Pusesavali, BJP leader Vikram Pawaskar had held a meeting at the residence of one of the accused, according to the statement.
Sep 19, 2023 4 tweets 1 min read
In Satara, a Hindu man hacked into a minor Muslim's Instagram and uploaded an abusive post about Shivaji.

Reminds me of something Sanatan Sanstha had done back in 2006.

#Thread In June 2006, a Muslim resident of Kolhapur had become a militant in Kashmir, and was killed in an encounter by the security forces.

His name was Irfan Attar.
Sep 13, 2023 10 tweets 2 min read
More details emerging out of Satara

A 30-year old civil engineer, Nurul Hasan, was lynched to death in Pusesavali village.

I spoke to his uncle, who's a retired army officer. He said Nurul is survived by his old parents and his pregnant wife.

But how did the violence start? On 18th or 19th of August, a Muslim man in Pusesavali made an objectionable comment about Sita on social media.

Muslim members of the village condemned it, and asked the police to look into it.

Next day, Hindutva groups carried out a rally in the village...
Jul 17, 2023 8 tweets 2 min read
Hindu nationalists are turning Instagram and WhatsApp into hostile spaces for Muslims.

I met several Muslim youngsters in Maharashtra who have been charged for uploading a picture of Aurangzeb.

They're scarred. They're being watched.

My story for Wired… In June, police charged a 14-year old boy for “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and “intention to incite offense.”
Jul 4, 2023 5 tweets 1 min read
The madness continues:-

Last week, in Maharashtra's Solapur town, police charged a poor 20-year old for selling balloons with "Love Pakistan" written on it.

In the FIR, police say he did it to create tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

But here's the catch.... The 20-year old belongs to the Pardhi community -- one of the most marginalised in Maharashtra.

He hasn't studied enough to read or write English. There's no way he could figure out what was written on the balloons.

Yet, he's charged with section 295a.
Apr 15, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Every time the media and society celebrate a fake encounter, it reminds me of a prophetic scene from Tarentino's Hateful Eight.

It's a masterclass in writing and articulation.

#Thread The scene is a conversation, where a hangman explains the difference between justice and frontier justice.

He is interacting with someone accused of murder.
Apr 6, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Akshay Raskar, son of poor farmers in Marathwada, started blogging in 2012 because he didn't want to be a farmer.

10 years on, he runs eight blogs, employs a team of 30 and has inspired nearly 400 bloggers in his village.

My story for Livemint.… Raskar watched dozens of YouTube videos and taught himself blogging.

“I was too shy to be in front of the camera," he said, explaining why he explored a text-based medium as a source of livelihood.

He looked around to decide the focus of his blog and only saw farmers.
Apr 5, 2023 7 tweets 3 min read

Struggling with depression, two best friends died by suicide in Kolhapur on 3 April.

They hanged themselves by a tree at the same time with the same rope.

They were stressed out over a loan they had taken for a business. January 2023 saw 75 suicides in just one district of Kolhapur in Maharashtra.

The trend has continued from 2022, when 710 people died by suicide in the district, at the rate of 60 per month.
Mar 23, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Two teachers in Nashik noticed that girls were dropping out of school after the lockdown.

They decided to bring them back.

In two years, they have helped 80 girls get back into the education system.

My story for Al Jazeera… According to the Economic Survey of Maharashtra for 2022-23, girls’ enrolment in secondary & higher secondary studies dropped from 46.5 percent in 2019-20 to 31 percent in 2021-22.

Kunda Bachhav and Vaishali Bhamre decided to mitigate the damage at local level. Image
Jan 17, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
Reproducing some startling facts from Oxfam latest report:-

#Thread A one-off tax on unrealized gains from 2017–2021 on just one billionaire, Gautam Adani, could
have raised Rs. 1.79 lakh crore, enough to employ more than five million Indian primary school
teachers for a year.
Dec 5, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
Appasaheb Pawar died yesterday. You are not likely to know him.

But you should.

He had been fighting for his land rights in Maharashtra's Beed district for about 10 years.

He knocked on all concerned doors. Wrote multiple letters to multiple authorities.

This is his story:- He belonged to the Pardhi community -- notified as a "criminal tribe" during the colonial rule.

They were ‘de-notified’ when India got independence.

But the legislation that replaced the CTA – Habitual Offenders Act of 1952 – didn’t help them shed the ‘criminal’ tag.
Nov 3, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
About two years ago, I worked on a 4000-word investigative profile of Sambhaji Bhide, for which I had spent weeks in his den of Sangli in western Maharashtra.

Internal police diaries once described him as a "Dharmaveda Mathefiru", which translates to "crazy religious fanatic". Here are a couple of nuggets from that profile:-

In 2008, Bhide’s followers had forcibly shut down a screening of the movie Jodhaa Akbar, because it "distorted history".

The police arrested his followers, but his bodyguards barged into the police station and manhandled the cops
Aug 14, 2022 12 tweets 4 min read
India gears up for its 75th independence day.

But the fact is the country has never been as depressing as it is today.

Two weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC.

And for nearly three hours, all I did was draw parallels with India.

#IndiaAt75 In April 1933, Nazis under Hitler had staged a nationwide boycott against Jewish businesses. Signs like "Don't buy from the Jews" were plastered on multiple shops.

In India, BJP leaders and supporters have repeatedly endorsed the economic boycott of Muslims.
Jun 22, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
Uddhav Thackeray has his faults. He may say he hasn't abandoned Hindutva.

But here are a few things that didn't happen in Maharashtra because of a non-BJP government. I don't recall Sanghis landing up in front of a mosque during Ram Navami and calling for a genocide of Muslims and mass rape of Muslim women.

During the CAA-NRC protests, you didn't see the kind of human rights violations against Muslims that you saw in some other states.
Apr 1, 2022 11 tweets 3 min read
Mahapaapi or not, Nitish Kumar's liquor ban has been a colossal failure.

Stay till the end of the thread.

In 2020, I had done a deep dive into it to find out how counterproductive this move has been.

It has pushed people towards hooch and drug abuse.… “We take a 200-litre drum and we mix carbide, urea, yeast, jaggery and a bit of mahua," a man in a remote village of Muzaffarpur had told me.

“We are currently not making it because of the elections. But we can do a video call sometime next month so you can see it live.”
Mar 31, 2022 11 tweets 3 min read
In June 2021, Sarita, 5 months pregnant, died on her way to hospital

Her husband, Pappu, ensured her body remained upright in the auto while they returned home through checkpoints

"I was afraid of what the police might say."

My story for @PARInetwork… This happened in the outskirts of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, a state where Yogi Adityanath has returned to power.

Pappu, who belongs to the Musahar community, prioritised his fear of the cops over his grief of losing his wife.

Says a lot about the police of the state.
Jan 31, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
3 years ago, Lakshima Devi, a dalit woman, was refused inside a PHC when she went into labour.

She delivered the baby under a tree outside that PHC. The baby didn't survive.

My story from UP on the discrimination people face at healthcare facilities… Oxfam recently conducted a survey on patients’ rights, which found that 52.44 % felt discriminated on grounds of economic status.

14.34% felt discriminated because of their religion and 18.68% on grounds of caste.