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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 2nd, 2016

by newsdigest on May 18, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

‘All-faith meet in Varanasi to strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity’ (Apr 29, 2016, Times of India)

The Maulana Arshad Madani led faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, is all set to go to Prime minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi with the message of Hindu-Muslim unity and the need to recognise and reject fundamentalist and divisive forces trying to divide the two communities on religious lines. Interestingly, this congregation planned from Monday will bring together heads of various major temples of Varanasi in a first of its kind all-faith meet for unity.

As he heads for Varanasi to attend the all-religion unity conference being organized by Shri Ramlila Samiti, Nadesar in Varanasi, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind chief says he is clear that his message to those who will assemble there will seek to warn them against falling in the trap of divisive forces.…

Madani said this conference will be a first of its kind as it is will bring together heads of some of the major temples of Varanasi and the Jamiat on one platform to unite against divisive forces and raise their voice against those trying to spread terror in the name of religion.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52042793.cms

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US religious freedom report names BJP chief Amit Shah, endorses rejection of Modi’s visa during 2005-14 (May 3, 2016, Counterview)

The just-released 2016 annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), expressing serious concern over “negative trajectory” on religious freedom in India, has warned that it may, in future, seek to downgrade India’s status from Tier II countries to “country of particular concern”.…

Especially targeting the ruling BJP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar organizations for using “religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions”, it says, the problem has got aggravated following “longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies”, creating a “pervasive climate of impunity, where religious minority communities feel increasingly insecure, with no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur.” Recalling how it recommended and succeeded in barring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enter the US for nine years, from 2005 to 2014, on the basis of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) “for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”, the report says this was done for Modi’s “complicity in riots” in 2002 Gujarat riots that resulted in the deaths of “an estimated 1,100 to 2,000 Muslims.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/us-religious-freedom-report-names-bjp.html

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RTI activist’s murder: NaMo Brigade founder in constant touch with killers, says police (Apr 27, 2016, Indian Express)

The Mangaluru police on Tuesday opposed the anticipatory bail plea of NaMo Brigade founder Naresh Shenoy claiming that his call details revealed he was in constant touch with the men already arrested for the murder of an RTI activist on March 21.

It said the presence of a Toyota Qualis linked to him near the crime scene and the statements of the three arrested accused clearly showed Shenoy’s involvement in the murder. Shenoy (39) is the prime suspect in the murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga. He has been missing for a month, and has sought anticipatory bail.

The 51-year-old RTI activist was hacked to death barely 75 metres from his house while he was out for his customary morning visit to the city’s Venkatramana temple. The alleged hired killers, Nishith Devadiga (23) and Vinith Poojary (26), were arrested by the Mangaluru police on March 28. The probe further revealed that the killers were allegedly hired through two individuals, Shiva P and Shrikant M. While Shrikanth was found to be an employee of Shenoy, the investigations also showed that one Vignesh, another employee of Shenoy, was allegedly present at the crime scene in a Toyota Qualis to facilitate a getaway.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rti-activists-murder-namo-brigade-founder-in-constant-touch-with-killers-says-police-2771987/

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CIC Orders PMO, Universities To Furnish Narendra Modi’s Graduation Details (Apr 29, 2016, Huffington Post)

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Friday asked the Prime Minister’s Office and the Delhi and Gujarat Universities to disclose Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation details ‘as soon as possible’.

In its response to an RTI application filed by Arvind Kejriwal, the commission ordered the Central Public Information Officers (CPIO) of Delhi and Gujarat Universities to provide the Delhi chief minister with Modi’s graduation details. Gujarat University and Delhi University had in the past denied RTI requests seeking information about Modi’s educational qualifications.

“There are allegations that Narendra Modi does not have any degree. The people of the country want to know the truth. Despite that you have refused to make records regarding his degree public. Why did you do this? This is wrong,” Kejriwal said in the letter.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/04/29/cic-prime-narendra-modis-_n_9806514.html

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Retired IPS officer files petition against appointment of cop accused in Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter as Gujarat DGP (Apr 29, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Julio Ribeiro, former Mumbai Police Commissioner has filed a petition in Gujarat High Court against IPS officer, PP Pandey’s appointment as in-charge Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat. Pandey, who was out on bail in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan, has been appointed as the in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat after the incumbent P C Thakur was transferred to Delhi on April 16, 2016.…

“It is ridiculous. How can a person, who is facing trial for four murders, be appointed to the top post, as the person facing trial has to be under suspension, according to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules,” top cop, Ribeiro was quoted as saying by news website Sabrang.

Pandey was re-inducted into service after he secured bail from CBI court in Ishrat Jahan case in February last year. Four days after his release on bail, Gujarat government revoked his suspension and reinstated him in service.…

http://twocircles.net/2016apr29/1461945514.html

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Malegaon blasts case: Petitions allege bias by investigating agencies (Apr 30, 2016, Indian Express)

Following a special court discharging Muslim youth in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, the issue of bias on the part of investigating agencies during investigation of terror cases was raised before the Bombay High Court on Friday. The court said the “matter will have to be heard”, and asked for the orders in the case to be submitted before them.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Prakash Naik has asked state and investigative agencies to produce orders in the case. The court was hearing several petitions which alleged that there was a pattern of investigative agencies picking up Muslim men as accused in terror cases, including the Pune German Bakery blasts, 7/11 blasts and the 2006 Malegaon blasts.

With regard to the 7/11 case and confirmation of death sentence in the German Bakery case, which have concluded recently, the court said, “all aspects cannot be gone into at this stage when proceedings of the trial is not concluded. Order of this court will affect proceedings arising out of trial court,” said the HC.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/malegaon-blasts-case-petitions-allege-bias-by-investigating-agencies-2777157/

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Sangh Parivar’s propaganda writ large over JNU ‘wild sex-drugs’ dossier (Apr 27, 2016, Dailyo.in)

From 1925 onwards, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was formed, it preached a militant Hinduism. In the pre-independence period, however, from 1925-47, the only stalwart it could cite was VD “Veer Savarkar” who was not with the RSS but the Hindu Mahasabha. He did not accept the RSS dietary restrictions, and was a big supporter of beef-eating as he believed this was a cheap source of protein for the poor.…

The assault on JNU “started” from February 9, 2016, in which the Hindu Right spread atrocious rumours including those of being “anti-national” about secular students, teachers and karamcharis. Almost every one of us was shocked, not least of us those who had heard first-hand reports of the freedom struggle from our elders. Clearly, there was a struggle for secular India. The slogan, “Bharat Mata ki jai,” was sought to be made mandatory. The Maharashtra Assembly, in fact, suspended an AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan for only voicing the famous secular slogan “Jai Hind”.

But JNU was in for special treatment. Some 11 faculty members and students of the Right, including the ABVP and BJP, brought out a “dossier” consisting of published pamphlets, short articles, several of which were spurious, accusing students of wild sex, consumption of alcohol and drugs. The faculty was accused of being anti-national, supporting separatist movements in the Northeast and Kashmir. No evidence was adduced, since no theoretical or rigorously-worded document was included in the so-called dossier.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/jnu-kanhaiya-kumar-umar-khalid-anirban-bhattacharya-rusticated-sangh-parivar-emergency-doctored-videos/story/1/10295.html

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Attack orchestrated on self: Police withdraw security to Shiv Sena leader (May 1, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A day after police claimed that Shiv Sena (Uttar Bharat) district in-charge Deepak Kamboj (35) had orchestrated the February 16 attack on self with two friends to gain publicity and maximum security cover, the city police on Saturday withdrew the six gunmen attached with Kamboj.

Four cops of constable rank, along with an escort vehicle from city police, were guarding the leader, who has also been booked under the conspiracy charges. The police had arrested his two friends on Friday night. Gaurav Sondhi, owner of a printing press at Dhan Mohalla; and Supinder Singh, a property dealer at Maqdoompura; recorded their statements before the court of the chief judicial magistrate. They have been sent to police custody till May 3.

The police claimed that they had to recover the clothes worn by the accused at the time of the incident as captured by the CCTV cameras. The police said the clothes would be sent to the forensic laboratory at SAS Nagar for examination.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/attack-orchestrated-on-self-police-withdraw-security-to-shiv-sena-leader/story-UxdGp9m80hgfz9Z2ethFJM.html

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Two years of Narendra Modi govt: Survey says nearly half feel ‘no change’ (May 1, 2016, Financial Express)

With the Modi government close to completing its two years in office, a new survey today said nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) feel “no change” in their living standards while another 15 per cent feel the situation has actually worsened.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), further claimed that “a significant percentage (43 per cent) feels that poor people are not benefitting from programmes and schemes under the Modi government.”…

The survey, of around 4,000 respondents across rural and urban areas of 15 states, still observed that less than one third feel the Prime Minister has fulfilled promises while around 48 per cent felt the promises have been met partially.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/two-years-of-narendra-modi-govt-survey-says-nearly-half-feel-no-change/246218/

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Caught on Camera: BJP leader Babulal Gaur touches woman inappropriately (Apr 21, 2016, Deccan Chronicle)

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur, who had earlier stirred a hornet’s nest after describing rape as a social crime, courted controversy yet again on Thursday as he was caught on camera inappropriately touching a woman as she was climbing on to a bus during an event in Bhopal.…

This is not the first time Gaur has courted controversy, as in 2013, the senior minister was seen enjoying a dance performance by skimpily clad women on a ferry in Goa. Besides such incidents, Gaur has also made headlines through several sexist and controversial comments.…

Recently, while commenting on the Shani Shingnapur row, Gaur landed in a soup for saying that women can worship from home instead of entering the temple.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/210416/caught-on-camera-bjp-leader-babulal-gaur-touches-woman-inappropriately.html

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30 pc Waqf property encroached by DDA, others: Board (Apr 29, 2016, Indian Express)

Delhi Waqf Board chief Amanatullah Khan Thursday claimed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was the biggest “encroacher” of its properties in the national capital.

The Board has also released a list of its properties on its new website along with a list of tenants and will soon put out gazette notifications that provide the Waqf ownership of such properties.

“We have nearly 2,000 properties in Delhi. Of that, 70 per cent are in our possession and as much as 30 percent have been encroached by government agencies, primarily the DDA,” Khan told The Indian Express.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/30-pc-waqf-property-encroached-by-dda-others-board-2775504/

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Opinions and Editorials

Fascism In Many Hues: Attack On Judiciary – By Rakesh Sharma (May 2, 2016, Countercurrents)

…Within the last week or two, there have been reports about sacking of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhakar Gwal at Sukma in Chhatisgarh – apparently, the BJP government wasn’t happy that instead of rubber stamping, he was applying his mind and the law ( among other cases, refusing to brand scores of tribals as ‘extremists’).…

Last year, there were a set of rather disturbing reports about threats and harassment of Retd Judge Jyotsna Yagnik, who delivered the landmark judgement in the Gujarat 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, wherein she convicted Modi’s ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani and the butcher of Patiya, Babu Bajrangi, who’d openly boasted about ‘help’ from his political masters in evading arrest and then getting bail. Despite the stinging judgment and harsh terms therein (in lieu of the death penalty that the Judge didn’t wish to impose), Kodnani has been out on a long parole and Bajrangi has been out of jail 6-8 times in the last 3-4 years.

In 2014, just a couple of months after BJP came into power, Special CBI judge presiding over the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter (a multiple murder case, in which a totally innocent woman Kausarbi was apparently raped, killed and burnt) found himself suddenly transferred – he’d been rather tough on the lawyer for the main accused ( the current BJP President Amit Shah). Now comes this report about the transfer of eminent Justice of the Bombay High Court Abhay Thipsay. Justice Rajiv Shakdher of the Delhi High Court was also transferred, despite protests from senior lawyers in February. Is it sheer coincidence that both passed judicial orders that the ruling party has been less than happy with? Once again, Gujarat carnage cases figure here – Justice Thipsay handled the landmark Best Bakery case!…

http://www.countercurrents.org/sharma020516.htm

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A slogan is no reference point for patriotism – By Nilofar Suhrawardy (Apr 28, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A lot of noise has been made over the nationalism of Indian Muslims who have chosen not to chant a controversial slogan on grounds of their religious sentiments. How can they be forced to chant any slogan to prove their nationalism? The Constitution does not demand this. A few extremist leaders have reacted aggressively to Muslims’ refusal to chant the slogans; one has even stated that if he could, he would have beheaded them for refusing to do so.

As an Indian Muslim, this writer is tempted to ask by what right have these extremists raised questions about my nationalism and that of others. Are they legally, ethically, socially and politically permitted to indulge in a practice which seems hardly appropriate in the national interest?…

The extremists have abused freedom of speech and expression by making aggressive noise against Muslims’ refusal to chant the controversial slogan. By not following constitutional principles, the extremists have certainly raised questions about their own patriotism and nationalism!

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/a-slogan-is-no-reference-point-for-patriotism/story-cBm70sF7Ze5xtW8JJeok5K.html

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‘Revolutionary’, not ‘terrorist’ Bhagat Singh scares the right-wing – By Abhinav Kumar (May 2, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Dinanath Batra is seeking a ban on the famous book India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan, and KN Panikkar. According to a recently published report in The Hindu, Batra has written a letter to the Union HRD ministry complaining about Bhagat Singh being labelled a “revolutionary terrorist” in the book.…

Batra’s belief that it is a description of a terrorist was further strengthened where the book emphasises that Bhagat Singh, along with Sukhdev, organised students for political actions. In the current political scenario of India Marxism, mass movements, and student politics are enough to shape Batra’s views about people who associate themselves with these ideas.

The book also discusses Bhagat Singh’s view on communalism and how he considered it as one of the biggest problems India was facing. This might jeopardise the plan of appropriating Bhagat Singh by the BJP for its political benefits. It quotes the freedom fighter and other revolutionaries at length about the meaning of revolution. It tells us that revolution for them was not militancy and violence but the change of an unjust order and abolition of capitalism and class domination. This description of Bhagat Singh must have made some of Batra’s patrons uncomfortable.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/bhagat-singh-rss-dinanath-batra-bjp-wendy-doniger-nationalism-indian-freedom-struggle/story/1/10399.html

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How the State makes Muslims pay for Hindutva terror – By Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves (Apr 29, 2016, Dailyo.in)

…The ATS case rested on the confessions extracted from eight of the accused, one of whom was targeted to be made approver against the rest. When the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the confessions were all shown to be obtained under duress, making them worthless as evidence under section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act.

It was found by the NIA that the confessions in most cases could not be true as there was conclusive proof that the accused were actually at places other than they were shown to be in the confessions. Accused number two, Shabbir Ahmad, was actually in judicial custody at the time he was shown in the chargesheet to be participating in actions relating to the blasts. The obtaining of such false confessions, under duress, is an offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years under section 195A and section 330 of the IPC.…

Such a discovery which has been upheld by the court is an extremely serious finding amounting to an offence committed by Raghuvanshi and his investigating team of fabricating evidence with intent to procure conviction for a crime, which is punishable under section 194 of the IPC with life imprisonment. It also raises questions regarding the source of the RDX shown, pointing to possible offences under explosives and terror laws. This would require a separate investigation.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/hindutva-malegaon-blasts-narendra-modi-mcoca-ats-kp-raghuvanshi-ipc-hemant-karkare-muslims-simi/story/1/10339.html

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A case of aggravated impunity – By John Dayal (May 3, 2016, Indian Express)

…Several Christian groups, including the United Christian Forum and its national helpline, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, maintain records of the daily reports of persecution. They meticulously record the unabated hate campaign, including the voices of several honourable members of Modi’s council of ministers. Wada Na Todo, Anhad and other civil society groups publish annual reports in this regard. Newspapers, Indian and foreign, are the primary source of data, other than field reports and helpline complaints.

A report published by Anhad at the end of the first 300 days of the Modi government noted that hate in the election campaign had mutated to a more coercive and threatening phenomenon that had percolated to universities and colleges, and villages and small towns over much of the country. The hate, inevitably, leads to violence. “Ghar Wapsi” and “Love Jihad” cries turned to stones and lathis. In Chhattisgarh, villages have passed orders banning the entry of priests of faiths other than Hinduism.…

Modi refers to it tangentially in controlled appearances at specially organised meetings of the friendlier elements of groups of religious minorities. Communal violence does not form the core theme of his Mann ki Baat. He has not sacked the hate mongers among his ministers. He never names the goons responsible for violence. Neither do the columnists speaking in his defence.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/narendra-modi-hate-campaign-against-christians-a-case-of-aggravated-impunity-2781286/

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The Kanhaiya Phenomenon – By Vijaya Kumar Marla (Apr 28, 2016, Countercurrents)

As one commentator said a few days back, “it is not easy to escape the limelight, if you happen to be Kanhaiya Kumar.” Well said, but why? Why at all, a student leader has been catapulted into the center stage of Indian politics, whether he likes it or not?

There is a surfeit of opinions, accusations, abuses, open threats, praises, adoration, and good and bad advise heaped in the last 2 months on this young man from an obscure Bihat village in Begusarai, Bihar, whom only his fellow students, faculty and a few of the AISF and CPI cadres knew before the tumultuous February 9th event at JNU, Delhi.

The question keeps on haunting the press, politicians as well as general public, as to why it is so that Kanhaiya is still in the limelight even after more than 75 days of the fateful February 9th episode. Mr. Chandan Mitra, the BJP MP had commented a week after Kanhaiya’s release on bail on 3rd March that he will fade away in a few days. Many who are vociferously against him as well as those that had developed a soft corner for the boyish looking young man thought that all this attention and publicity is just a flash in the pan and rightly so!…

http://www.countercurrents.org/marla280416.htm

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Book Review

Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj

Author: U.R. Ananthamurthy
Reviewed by: Aakar Patel
Available at: Publisher: Harper Collins India, 75, Block A, Near Petrol Pump, Sector 57, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201307. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
U.R. Ananthamurthy’s response to nationalism (Apr 30, 2016, Live Mint) This slim work is the best book I have read since May 2014. Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj by U.R. Ananthamurthy is a response to Hindutva, and to our increasing nationalism, which this remarkable author anticipated.… It is the distilled effort of a lifetime spent in absorbing, reading, writing and observing. Ananthamurthy died in August 2014 and says in the book that “this writing, born in the current Modi era, should be viewed as an attempt to swim against the tide”.…

And though he died before our current inane Jawaharlal Nehru University debate began, Ananthamurthy, as has been mentioned before, anticipated it. He writes: “The patriot Gandhi, during his final fast, saw the growing hubris of nationalism in his beloved (Jawaharlal) Nehru and (Vallabhbhai) Patel. More on this later. An examination of how Napoleonism gives rise to the desire for nation building, evident in the histories of every country, allows us to understand why Gandhi and Tagore were opposed to the idea of nationhood. Our belief in nationalism leads to a loss of our everyday morality.”…

Steeped in our traditions, Ananthamurthy captures the reality as nobody else can. Take this with you as you go: “How did Gujarat produce a pan-Indian hero? The Gujarat massacre took place when he was chief minister. To say that he tried to prevent it but failed would mean he was weak. Nobody can say that. One is reminded of an image used by the poet Adiga. When yajnas are conducted, everyone present is involved in some task or the other. But a mantrajnya, an expert in the mantras, does not participate. He is known as the ‘brahma’, and is crucial to the ritual. The brahma does nothing. “Modi was the brahma. Whatever happened has happened.”…

<ahref=”http: www.livemint.com=”” leisure=”” 9xet2etznbucgehs63c1gn=”” ur-ananthamurthys-response-to-nationalism.html”=””>http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/9XEt2EtZnBUCgehS63c1GN/UR-Ananthamurthys-response-to-nationalism.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 25th, 2016

by newsdigest on May 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims

Suspected Hindutva activists from Bajrang Dal doused pastor and his pregnant wife with petrol in an attempt to burn them alive

April 23, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience around the world, in strongly condemning the barbaric attack on a Christian pastor and his wife, in the state of Chhattisgarh in India. The incident took place last Sunday, April 17th, and reported in the media a few days thereafter.

Two attackers stormed into the church in Bastar district, set ablaze a Bible and other articles, before viciously assaulting the pastor and his pregnant wife. The couple managed to escape alive, after the men doused them in petrol in an attempt to burn them alive. News reports indicate the assailants were armed with a gun, rods and knives. Their brutal assault on Pastor Dinbandhu Sameli, his 7-month pregnant wife and daughter Roushni Vidya, represents an escalation of attacks on minorities in India since the government of Mr. Narendra Modi came to power.

Instead of filing charges of attempted murder, causing grievous injury, etc, the police havefiled lesser charges such as house trespass, dacoity, committing mischief by fire and injuring or defiling a place of worship.

Mr. Arun Pannalal, the President of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum stated in a quote appearing in the media, “Around 15-20 men with saffron bands on their forehead entered the church while Sunday prayer was under way at around 12 pm, and started vandalising the premises and started breaking everything,” Pannalal said and claimed that the “Bajrang Dal youth indulged in sloganeering and were raising Jai Shree Ram slogans. They started damaging chairs and fans. They did not spare women and even tore up their clothes. They also thrashed an infant,” he said.

Mr. Pannalal further referred to the perpetrators of the murderous assault as members of the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu supremacist organization affiliated to the RSS.The RSS is the fountainhead of Hindutva and the ideological reference point for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi. The increasing attacks on minorities and lower castes in recent years are consistent with the extremism and intolerance Mr. Modi and his party have espoused. Mr. Modi himself has been a lifelong worker of the RSS.

“The hate and venom spewed by the RSS and its affiliates and echoed by prominent members of Mr. Modi’s administration are directly responsible for this barbaric attack on Pastor Sameli and his family, ” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “Those who felicitate Mr. Modi during his foreign jaunts, should seriously consider the implications of what they are tacitly endorsing,” added Mr. Malick.

The attack in Chhattisgarh is part of a pattern of violence and hateful rhetoric against minorities in India. There have been scores of attacks on Christians and Muslims since India gained independence. However, the violence has gained in intensity, and the discourse become more vitriolic since the political ascendancy of the Hindu nationalist movement in the late-1980s. The situation has become even more dire with Mr. Modi’s victory in the 2014 general elections on promises of economic development that have been largely unfulfilled.

Leading global human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have expressed grave concern over the worsening situation of religious minorities in India. Prime Minister Modi’s government, “failed to address increasing attacks on free expression and against religious minorities,” Human Rights Watch stated in its recent 659-page World Report.

“We demand not only that the perpetrators be held accountable, but also those who are engaging in a cover-up of the gruesome episode, and those that are enabling the sectarian hate that leads to such crimes,” Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Chhattisgarh: Church attacked in Bastar, pastor and pregnant wife barely escape
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-church-attacked-in-bastar-pastor-and-pregnant-wife-barely-escape-2203684

2. Youths vandalize Church, thrash worshippers in Chhattisgarh
http://www.news18.com/news/india/youths-vandalise-church-thrash-worshippers-in-chhattisgarh-1212813.html

3. Why it is no longer safe to be Christian in Chhattisgarh
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/indias-refusal-admit-us-religious-freedom-watchdog-seen-attempt-hide

4. Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

5. Revoke NSA charges against right-wing leader: Home Ministry reportedly issues diktat to UP govt
http://www.firstpost.com/india/mha-reportedly-asked-up-to-revoke-nsa-charges-against-right-wing-leader-accused-of-assaulting-muslim-man-2571114.html

6. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora
http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html

7. 110 Journalists Killed In 2015, India Deadliest Asian Nation For Reporters: Study
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/110-journalists-killed-in-2015-most-in-peaceful-countries-reporters-without-borders-1260240

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Hostile witnesses derailing trials in ‘saffron terror’ cases (Apr 21, 2016, Times of India)

What started with a bang as an extensive probe into alleged “Hindu terrorism” some years back is now fizzling out with crucial witnesses turning hostile. About 40 witnesses have turned hostile in the trials in the Ajmer Dargah blast of October 2007 and the Samjhauta Express blast of February 2007 alone. Many more plan to follow suit as part of a trend which began after the regime change at the Centre in 2014.…

Most of the 40 witnesses who have turned hostile in the Samjhauta and Ajmer cases have either claimed that “they were pressured to give their earlier statements” or “denied knowing the accused -Swami Aseemanand or others -whom they previously claimed to have met”. For example, Randhir Singh, now agriculture minister in Jharkhand, went back on his statement in which he had accepted being an acquaintance of Sunil Joshi, an alleged Hindutva hardliner who allegedly plotted acts of terrorism before he was killed under mysterious circumstances.

RSS worker Rohit Kumar Jha, who had “confessed” to having procured SIM cards for Sunil Joshi and another terror accused Devendra Gupta, has disowned his testimony which the NIA considered to be crucial. In 2015, Jha said in court that he could not have recorded a statement in English as he was not conversant with the language. The retractions don’t augur well for the prosecution as the material evidence in the cases against Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit and other accused was very ‘weak’, sources said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51920735.cms

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Modi, Shah ordered staged shootout in Ishrat Jahan case: Congress (Apr 24, 2016, Business Standard)

The Congress on Sunday said the Gujarat Police killed Ishrat Jahan in a staged shootout in 2004 on the orders of the then chief minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader Amit Shah.

The opposition party also said that accusations against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the case were “preposterous and diversionary tactics”, adding that the central government was obstructing trial in the case to protect those accused in the staged gun battle.…

Senior party leaders Kapil Sibal told reporters: “The plain and simple intrigue of the central government is to ensure that the most important persons of the BJP/government are not brought to trial.”…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/modi-shah-ordered-staged-shootout-in-ishrat-jahan-case-congress-116042400606_1.html

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Curfew imposed in Jamod, Maharashtra due to communal tension (Apr 18, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Curfew is imposed at Jamod village in Buldhana district of Maharashtra after members of two communities indulged into stone pelting and nine persons were injured, two of them seriously.

The incident occurred on Saturday night when members of one community were collecting eatables from households for their distribution as prasad marking the culmination of Ram Navmi.

They were raising slogans to which members of another community who were observing funeral procession of Mukaddar Khan’s mother objected resulting into stone pelting between the groups. The incident forced police to fire shots in the air and impose curfew in some areas to bring situation under control.…

http://twocircles.net/2016apr18/1460994079.html

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Armed men attack Chhattisgarh church, set afire Bible, thrash pastor (Apr 19, 2016, Indian Express)

Two unidentified men armed with sharp-edged weapons barged into a church in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district and allegedly set ablaze a Bible and other articles besides thrashing the pastor and his pregnant wife, police said on Tuesday. The incident took place on Sunday evening at village Karanji Matagudi Para under Parpa police station limits.…

As per the complaint, two men identified themselves as belonging to some other denomination of the Christian community and expressed their desire to pray in the church. After entering inside the premises, they launched an attack on the pastor and poured inflammable liquid on the Holy Bible, furniture and other religious material kept inside and set them ablaze.…

The attackers were armed with a knife, hammer, sword and petrol. After breaking locks of church premises, they barged inside and poured petrol on the Bible, other holy books, furniture and mike set and torched them, he said. They also poured petrol on pastor Deenanath and his pregnant wife, Meena and tried to set them afire but somehow they managed to escape, Pannalal added.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/chhattisgarh-church-attack-armed-men-set-afire-bible-2760376/

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Under PM Narendra Modi, India has become ‘lab of communalism’: Kanhaiya Kumar (Apr 24, 2016, Economic Times)

Describing the RSS as force behind the Narendra Modi Government, JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar today alleged the present dispensation had converted the country into a “laboratory of communalism and anti-Dalit” policies.

“Modi is the Prime Minister and the RSS is his strength. They have converted the country into a laboratory of communalism and anti-Dalit policies. Why do you fear when we talk about our ideology seeking social equality and fight to end casteism?” he asked, addressing a packed gathering of students assembled under the banner of Progressive Students’ Association.…

The 29-year-old JNU student alleged that the nature of “Bharat Mata” was being altered. “Earlier, Bharat Mata held farm grains in one hand and tiranga on another. Now tricolour is being replaced by bhagwa (saffron). These people will change the national flag. They have nothing to do with nationalism. What they want to promote is one religion and one culture”.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51969336.cms

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Minorities panel’s move to curb police harassment (Apr 21, 2016, The Hindu)

The State Minorities Commission has started a drive to make policing sensitive when it comes to arrests of youth from marginalised sections, including Muslims.

As two cases of alleged police harassment had led to the deaths of two youth in Guntur and Vikarabad, and since more complaints are piling up with the Commission regarding police harassment, officials of the Commission will now engage in dialogue with Superintendents of Polices and Commissioners in districts and cities in the twin States.

In two separate incidents in Gatkesar and LB Nagar, two youth who were arrested for petty offences had earlier harmed themselves in the past one month, the Commission observed.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/minorities-commission-move-to-curb-police-harassment/article8501776.ece

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Bajrang Dal activists strip, tie with electric pole and thrash a Muslim youth in Mangalore (Apr 19, 2016, Janta ka Reporter)

In yet another incident of right-wing fanaticism and utter disregard for the rule of law, dozens of youths belonging to right-wing Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal attacked a Muslim youth in Mangalore because he was travelling with a Hindu girl. The incident happened on Monday evening when the 28 year old Shakir was driving in a car with allegedly a Hindu girl in Attavar in Mangalore.

Speaking to jantakareporter.com, the police inspector of Pandeshwar police station, Dinakara Shetty said that the police had launched an investigation and will release a statement on Tuesday afternoon. He said, “There were members of many hindu sanghatana (outfits). We are investigating the matter and will soon arrest the culprits. It’s a clear case of immoral policing.”

The armed goons stripped Shakir, tied him with an electric pole and thrashed him mercilessly. “Shakir was going by car along with a girl of another faith. Hindu activists waylaid the car at Babbugudde, pulled him out and stripped off his clothes. Later, they tied him to the electric pole and thrashed him,” local police was quoted by several Mangalore-based newswebsites.…

http://www.jantakareporter.com/india/exclusive-bajrang-dal-activists-strip-tie-with-electric-pole-and-thrash-a-muslim-youth-in-mangalore/11350

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Cow slaughter increased under BJP, says Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati (Apr 24, 2016, India Today)

The Shankaracharya of the Dwarka-Shardapeeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati today claimed that cow slaughter and export of beef have increased since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre.

“Slaughtering of cows is on the increase since BJP came to power. The export of beef has also increased under the BJP government,” Swaroopanand said.

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati said a total ban should be enforced on cow slaughter and a law be soon enacted in this regard. He also appealed to political parties not to politicise the Ram Mandir issue.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/cow-slaughter-increased-under-bjp-says-shankaracharya-swaroopanand-saraswati/1/650563.html

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Court to consider complaint against channels over doctored video (Apr 25, 2016, Business Standard)

A court here on Monday fixed May 26 for considering a complaint against three news channels which allegedly ran doctored videos of the JNU controversy. The complaint was filed by the Delhi government seeking action against Zee News, NewsX and India News for broadcasting alleged doctored videos of the February 9 incident at the JNU where “anti-India” slogans were said to have been raised.

Delhi government’s counsel N. Hariharan told the court that the accused knowingly and with malicious intent caused damage to the JNU students and the university and disrupted communal harmony and security in Delhi by transmitting a forged, fabricated, doctored and altered video. He added that the doctored video was shown as genuine.…

In the plea, the government sought action against the editors-in-chief, managing directors and directors of the news channel and two companies Zee News Media Corp Ltd and Information TV Pvt Ltd.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/court-to-consider-complaint-against-channels-over-doctored-video-116042500989_1.html

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CPDR Condemns The Sacking Of An Upright Dalit Judge By Chattisgarh Government (Apr 25, 2016, Countercurrents)

…Prabhakar Gwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate during his posting at Sukma has been dismissed by the Chattisgarh government for being a pro-poor and pro-adivasi. A young dalit 2006 batch judge, he became known for taking on corrupt officers and for being a thorn in the flesh of the government and the police. He has now been summarily terminated “in the public interest” by the Chattisgarh government on the recommendation of the High Court.…

What is Prabhakar Gwal’s crime or offence according to the High Court of the state and the government? A complaint forwarded by Sukma’s Superintendent of Police to the District Judge after getting several letters written by number of police station officers that the CJM’s method of working is to obstruct the police which was lowering the morale of the police. His dismissal is the latest in a series of attacks on journalists, lawyers, academicians by the Chattisgarh administration.…

This judge was so fearless that he would term the arrests of thousands of people being produced before him as Maoists as fake arrests; he wrote to the District Judge and even Director General of Police Kalluri that the police is implicating innocent people. He went to the extent of issuing warnings to Thanedars that he would send them to jail if they framed innocent people.… In short, the BJP-led governments both at the Centre and in Chattisgarh are preparing for an all-out war on the tribals of Bastar and upright judges like Judge Gwal do not fit in their scheme of actions.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/cpdr250416.htm

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Opinions and Editorials

The Persuasions of Intolerance – By Janaki Srinivasan (Apr 23, 2016, EPW)

…While the list of violations of freedom of expression in India over the past two decades runs long, the breakneck speed with which instances are now piling up makes it imperative to look beyond the violations and ask what is distinctive about the current debate over freedom and dissent. Why do these attacks on individuals and institutions have such popular traction as can be ascertained from the public response at offline and online forums?…

On the one hand, leading commentators as well as editorials have reiterated the classic liberal argument for tolerance, that is, no idea, however offensive, marginal or unconventional in the face of public morality and discourse ought to be restricted unless there is a clear risk of tangible harm to others in society. On the other hand, free exchange of ideas enriches public discourse, hence, protection of freedom of expression and tolerance of dissent is required of any democracy. However, this argument seems to lack persuasive appeal at the present juncture, met as it is with impatient dismissal; rather it has the paradoxical effect of both creating and widening the gap between the mainstream and the marginal.…

While there is indeed greater awareness of events taking place across the world, an individual’s sense of self and social standing is tied to the constant urge to espouse rather than form opinions and listen to others. If you are not liking, sharing, commenting constantly and not part of what just went viral; you are deemed without any identity.… Apropos Marcuse it can be argued that tolerance has lost its persuasive power as it is not able to compete with the thrill of trolling, high decibel television debates and physical violence in public life. These offer a shortcut to public engagement with the righteousness of being on the side of truth.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/17/commentary/persuasions-intolerance.html

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Modi Government is Playing a Dangerous Game by Politicising NIA – By MK Venu (Apr 25, 2016, The Wire)

Something is just not right about the way an orchestrated campaign is being run to discredit the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) painstaking effort since 2011 to unravel the role of Hindu extremists in a series of bomb blasts in Malegaon and Samjhauta Express between 2006 and 2008. Some news TV channels suddenly discovered “new evidence” last week to claim there were holes in the Hindu terror angle to these cases.…

This was bizarre because the same NIA had painstakingly collected evidence in the past to establish the role of the Hindu terror networks in these blasts, which had then resulted in the move to discharge the Muslim men accused in the case. So why is the NIA suddenly going against its own past findings? The reason is not far to seek. The NIA under the BJP-led regime seems reluctant to proceed with the cases where the role of Hindu terror networks has come to the fore.…

All these legal-definitional wrangles actually reflect a highly polarised polity in which important terror cases are being viewed through a communal prism. The government continues to claim it is not influencing these cases. But facts on the ground, such as Rohini Salian’s affidavit, tell a different story.

http://thewire.in/2016/04/25/modi-government-is-playing-a-dangerous-game-by-politicising-nia-31341/

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New Tryst with Freedom – Editorial (Apr 30, 2016, EPW)

In a deplorable, if not entirely unexpected, move the administration of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has taken strong disciplinary actions against students it had identified for alleged indiscipline and for breaking university rules.…

Despite having had the process of an enquiry before handing out these punishments it does appear that the punishments are unfair and, more importantly, driven by the saffron political waves trying to drown out the island that has been JNU. The students and teachers of JNU had raised serious questions about numerous procedural lapses in the entire process – the very constitution of the “High Level Enquiry Committee,” the random, yet deliberate, manner in which some students were targeted, the sending of “show-cause” notices, the charges of “indiscipline,” spreading “casteist” and “communal” feelings, etc.…

It is no accident that aazadi has become the rallying cry of this rebellion. The NDA government backed by the RSS have set the full force of their authority and state power, Canute like, against this rising tide.… We are confident that even if we are in a dark hour, this country will awake, surely, into a dawn of ever-widening freedom of thought and action.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/18/editorials/new-tryst-freedom.html

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Struggle for equality – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (May 13, 2016, Frontline)

The demand that women be allowed to enter and worship at religious spaces that they have been barred from signifies, to a large extent, women’s growing assertiveness in seeking equal rights in all spaces. This is viewed as an outcome of the increasing awareness and consciousness of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Although the resolution of the demand for democratisation of all spaces will involve a protracted legal process, … what is clear is that these movements do raise certain fundamental questions of discrimination and exclusion justified under the garb of traditional religious practices connected with a narrow biological determinism of purity and pollution as far as women are concerned.…

The contradictions and the conflict between the customary and the constitutional are not new but what is settled is that in the eventuality of a conflict, it is the latter that will prevail. The limitations of democratising the religious domain, based as it is on a set of entrenched beliefs, is a challenge in itself, as the stakes involved in preserving the character of that domain are rather high.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/struggle-for-equality/article8523453.ece

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You’re a Maoist in Bastar if you dare to oppose the State – By Parakram Rautela (Apr 7, 2016, Dailyo.in)

…The inspector general of police, the top cop in the Bastar range, had called a press conference at his residence to announce the surrender of three alleged Naxalites.… Police officers sat on chairs on a dais assembled on the lawn of the IG’s residence, the Naxals – one man and two women – stood, and local print and TV journalists sat on chairs on the lawn and listened to the IG as he listed out the reasons, he thought, there had been a sudden and massive spike in the number of Naxal surrenders since the Narendra Modi government had come to power in Delhi and he himself had shuffled into town, and how the security forces had declared an all out war on the Maoists.

After the IG had his say, the floor was opened up to questions and the local journalists dutifully lobbed a few easy questions at the cops. Nobody seemed to be very interested in talking to the alleged Naxals, or asking them why they had surrendered. I was. So, turning to the man, I introduced myself as a freelance reporter from Delhi and asked him: “Will you please tell us in your own words how long you were with the Maoist movement, what you did for them, and finally, why you left?”

Before he could answer, the IG pounced on me: “How dare you talk to him like that!” he said at the top of his voice. “You come here with your fancy education and think you can talk to a simple tribal man like that. Look at him, he’s trembling.” He then proceeded to tear into me for a good few minutes, the gist of his outburst being that people like me came from “outside” and made things difficult for people like him.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/maoism-chhattisgarh-bastar-naxalism-jaglag-narendra-modi-soni-sori-crpf/story/1/9950.html

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Ambedkar vs Dronacharya: Why Gurugram is just the RSS telling us who’s boss – By Kancha Ilaiah (Apr 20, 2016, Scroll.in)

Changing the name of Gurgaon to Gurugram is clearly a decision taken after due deliberation. It is no coincidence that its announcement was timed with the celebrations of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary.…

the RSS roadmap is clear. Its pracharak chief ministers can be called upon to moderate and balance all the praise showered on Ambedkar in search of newer vote banks. The timing of the re-naming of Gurgaon as Gurugram tells the story more effectively than anything else as it was changed in the midst of the Ambedkar Jayanthi celebrations.

The RSS’s inner soul belongs to Dronacharya – not to Eklavya and Karna. It is delusional therefore to expect any real progress towards an egalitarian nation from a government that is controlled by them. Their idea of sab kaa saath, sab kaa Vikas has to be true to its soul – and pay obeisance to their casteist idols.

http://scroll.in/article/806918/ambedkar-vs-dronacharya-why-gurugram-is-just-the-rss-showing-whos-the-boss

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

May 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Children told to spread communal harmony News Headlines US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree 2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 11th, 2016

April 19, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Court takes cognisance of complaint against PM for ‘insulting’ Tricolour Violence in Bhind after custodial death, 3 cops suspended Malegaon blast witnesses’ confessional statements go ‘missing’ Seminar disrupted over calls to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ Latehar hangings: Chilling confessions of gau rakshaks Rajasthan sends police to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 4th, 2016

April 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi News Headlines Human Rights Watch asks European Union to tell Modi to “stop harassing” civil society, minorities, Dalits Pathankot attack ‘stage-managed’ by India, claim Pak media reports; Opposition slams Modi SIO: Cops tried to slap false charges Murder case: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

April 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Gurbani Samagam depicts communal harmony News Headlines Modi under fire as middle-class India still awaits ‘Achhe din’ Kanhaiya compares ‘onslaught on universities’ to Gujarat riots Was Delhi dentist Dr Narang lynched to death by Muslims? Or is RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal giving it a communal spin? Madrassa […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 21st, 2016

March 25, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Human chain to create sense of unity among citizens News Headlines Jharkhand: Two cattle traders hanged from tree, gau raksha activist among 5 held BJP leader offers Rs 1 crore to anyone who brings him ‘traitor’ Owaisi’s tongue Reference to circumcision in terror notice sparks ‘profiling’ charge […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 14th, 2016

March 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Teen Muslim girl gets bravery award for saving Hindu classmate from kidnappers News Headlines RTI Response By Ayush Ministry Says It Is Against Government Policy To Hire Muslims: Report 5 crore becomes 5 per cent the day after Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says he won’t pay NGT […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 7th, 2016

March 10, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Sikh villagers build mosque for lone Muslim family News Headlines After Katheria, Another BJP MP Spews ‘Anti-Muslim’ Venom Former Judges, Jurists urge Supreme Court to Act Against Hate Speech India Denies Visa Request From Religious Freedom Monitoring Group Mob vandalises Church in Chhattisgarh President snubs HRD ministry […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 29th, 2016

March 6, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines AUDIO: Muslims warned of ‘final battle’ at Sangh Parivar meeting, MoS Katheria says ‘we’ve to show our strength’ 34 US lawmakers express concerns over violence against minorities, write to Modi GK Pillai claims intel mole lured Ishrat group to Gujarat, UPA faces heat ‘Were Your Men Sleeping?’ […]

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