India lawmaker dresses as Hitler to criticize prime minister

Indian film actor turned politician Naramalli Sivaprasad, arrives at parliament, in New Delhi, dressed as Adolf Hitler to press for government funding for his home state of Andhra Pradesh. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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India lawmaker dresses as Hitler to criticize prime minister

  • Naramalli Sivaprasad said he wanted to send a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to follow Hitler
  • Sivaprasad, a 67-year-old former film actor, has previously dressed as a farmer, a cattle herder, a Muslim cleric and a woman to press different issues

NEW DELHI: An Indian lawmaker has appeared in Parliament dressed like Adolf Hitler with a toothbrush moustache and wearing a khaki coat with swastika symbols on his pocket and arm. His demand: More funds for the development of his state in southern India.
Naramalli Sivaprasad also raised his hand in a Nazi salute for the media on Thursday. His appearance did not trigger any protests from legislators.
He said he wanted to send a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to follow Hitler. He complained that Modi had gone back on a promise to provide extra funds for his Andhra Pradesh state.
“He does not get the pulse of what people want and I want to urge him to not be like him (Hitler),” he said.
Modi’s government denies the charge.
In protest, Sivaprasad’s powerful regional group, the Telugu Desam Party, broke its alliance with the Modi government in March. It also unsuccessfully tried to bring down the government through a no-confidence motion last month in Parliament.
Sivaprasad, a 67-year-old former film actor, has previously dressed as a farmer, a cattle herder, a Muslim cleric and a woman to press different issues.
Hitler remains a figure of fascination in India, where the Holocaust is not well known, and is widely seen more as a strong leader than a genocidal dictator. His book, “Mein Kampf,” can be found in many bookstores, and bootleg copies are regularly sold in the streets of New Delhi and other large cities.


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.