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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 15th, 2018

by newsdigest on January 16, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Abdul Basheer once saved my life from attackers, says friend Prabhakar (Jan 7, 2018, Times of India)

Abdul Basheer, who succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, once saved the life of a Hindu friend while the pair was working in Saudi Arabia in 1993. Prabhakar, revealed a group of Muslims had cornered him with the intention of attacking him, but Basheer stood by his side, dissuaded the group from harming his friend.

Prabhakar said the intended attack was, perhaps, in retaliation for communal violence in the coastal districts. It had spread its ugly wings to the gulf nation as well.

“Prabhakar is our man, nobody dare touch him,” Prabhakar recalled Basheer as saying when the mob came to attack him. “Basheer had warned them, ‘If you do, there will serious repercussions’. The group eventually left and it is because of him my life was saved.”…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/62404575.cms

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Democracy At Stake, Things Not In Order: 4 Supreme Court Judges (Jan 12, 2018, NDTV)

Democracy in India is at stake, said four senior Supreme Court judges on Friday as they went public with complaints against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. The “rebel” judges – the four most-senior at the top court after the Chief Justice – said that “things are not in order” with what they described as “the administration of the Supreme Court”. An independent judiciary is essential for a functioning democracy, they said. Asked if they believed the Chief Justice should be impeached, they said, “Let the nation decide.”

…”The four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country,” Justice J Chelameswar said on the lawns of his residence. He is the second most-senior judge of the Supreme Court. The judges said that their concerns include cases of “far-reaching consequences”being allocated without transparency. They made available a letter written by them to the Chief Justice two months ago, alleging “selective assignment of cases to preferred judges” and that “sensitive cases were being allotted to junior judges”.…

Judge Loya was hearing a case that accused BJP president Amit Shah of murder when he died in Nagpur in December 2014. His family has alleged that his death was unnatural and came after he was offered 100 crores as a bribe to rule in favour of the BJP leader. Medical records show Judge Loya died of a cardiac arrest. Within weeks of his death, Amit Shah was discharged before he faced trial. The Supreme Court has been asked to order an independent inquiry into Judge Loya’s death. On Friday morning, the case was assigned to a bench that does not include the four senior judges who held the press conference.…

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/for-first-time-ever-4-senior-supreme-court-judges-to-address-media-1799152

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Loya case judge is close to BJP: Dave (Jan 14, 2018, Times of India)

A day after the virtual revolt by four judges of the Supreme Court, senior advocate Dushyant Dave has alleged that Justice Arun Mishra – assigned to hear the judge Loya death case – has close relations with BJP and top politicians.

News channel CNN News18 quoted Dave as having said, “Everyone knows Justice Arun Mishra has close relations with BJP and top politicians”. He also said, “Justice Arun Mishra shouldn’t hear the Loya case.”

Meanwhile, in a further twist to the judges’ dissent, a petitioner in the case of the alleged mysterious death of Justice Loya has told Times Now, that Dave attempted to pressurise him to withdraw the case from the bench of Justice Arun Mishra.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/62492769.cms

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Current communal narrative not in India’s interests: Ex-CJI (Jan 11, 2018, Business Standard)

In an apparent indictment of the Hindutva politics, former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Jagdish Singh Khehar on Thursday said such politics will be counterproductive for India’s aspiration to become a global power.

“India is aspiring to be a global power. In a global scenario, if you want to befriend Muslim countries, you can’t afford to be anti-Muslim back in you country. If you want strong ties with Christian nations, you can’t be anti-Christian,” Khehar said while delivering the 24th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture here.

“Whatever is happening today is not in the interest of India, especially if we are projecting a communal bend of mind,” Khehar said as he emphasised that India consciously chose to be secular in 1947….

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/current-communal-narrative-not-in-india-s-interests-ex-cji-118011101370_1.html

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RTI Reveals Modi Called Health Minister to Discuss Removal of AIIMS Whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi (Jan 10, 2018, The Wire)

At the peak of the controversy surrounding whistleblower Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi exposing major corruption in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a telephonic call to the then health minister Harsh Vardhan to discuss the issue, an RTI has revealed. The hospital administration and the Union health ministry had been pushing for Chaturvedi’s removal from the post of chief vigilance officer (CVO) at the premier medical institution at the time.

But while Chaturvedi was later divested of the charges, no action was taken against those who were indicted by him in his investigation as CVO. Queries filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act have revealed that Prime Minister Modi made a call to Harsh Vardhan on August 23, 2014, to discuss the issue of removing Chaturvedi from the post of the CVO at AIIMS.…

While it is not known what transpired in the conversation between Modi and Harsh Vardhan, the RTI replies reveal a level of inertia in governance. Ideally, Modi should have either taken an action against Chaturvedi in case his documents were false or Nadda should have been sacked in keeping with the much-proclaimed policy of zero tolerance against corruption. But neither of the two options were exercised. Nadda, in fact, was given a free hand and went on to close all the major corruption cases exposed by Chaturvedi, overruling the Central Bureau of Investigation’s recommendations for action against the accused.…

https://thewire.in/212518/rti-reveals-modi-called-health-minister-discuss-removal-aiims-whistleblower-sanjiv-chaturvedi/

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Uttar Pradesh in last 10 months: 921 encounters, 33 deaths and an NHRC notice to Yogi Adityanath govt (Jan 11, 2018, Indian Express)

On Tuesday, history-sheeter Channu Sonkar became, in Azamgarh, the 30th person killed by UP police in encounters in the less than 10 months since March 20, 2017, when the current government took over. The 30 were killed in 29 encounters while three policemen were killed in separate encounters – out of 921 during that period.

On November 22, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the state government over 19 encounters in six months. Records accessed by The Indian Express show at least 29 encounters so far in which wanted men were killed. In the month-and-a-half since the notice, eight encounters – three in the new year – have led to the death of eight wanted men and a constable.

The government says it has yet to receive the notice from the NHRC, which had given it six weeks to reply. “We have so far not received any notice from NHRC in connection with the deaths in police encounters,” principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said Wednesday.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh-in-last-10-months-921-encounters-33-deaths-and-an-nhrc-notice-to-yogi-govt-5019691/

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Girl Driven to Suicide Over ‘I Love Muslims’ Message on WhatsApp, BJP Youth Wing Leader Arrested (Jan 9, 2018, News18.com)

A 20-year-old Hindu woman allegedly committed suicide after being hounded for sending a WhatsApp message that said “I love Muslims”. A local BJP youth wing leader has been arrested and police is on the lookout for four others.

Dhanyashree, a 20-year-old B.Com student, was found hanging in her room on Saturday, the police said. The incident took place at Mudigere town near Chikkamagaluru, also known as India’s coffee bowl. The woman was chatting with her friend, Santhosh, on Friday when the conversation veered towards the futility of fighting over caste and religion. In a reply to a question posed by him, she had replied “I love Muslims”.

Anilraj, who is BJP Yuva Morcha’s Mudigere town president, went to the woman’s house to warn her against befriending Muslims, police said. Infuriated by her message, Santhosh warned her against having any kind of relationship with Muslims. He had also shared the screenshot of their conversation with local Bajrang Dal and VHP members. The screenshot of the message went viral, causing mental agony to Dhanyashree and her mother. Chikkamagaluru SP M Annamalai said that some youths, including the BJP youth wing leader Anilraj, then visited her house on Friday evening and threatened her and her mother against being friendly with Muslims.…

http://www.news18.com/news/india/girl-driven-to-suicide-over-i-love-muslims-message-on-whatsapp-bjp-youth-wing-leader-arrested-1626097.html

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Just 1% of targeted Indian women “receive” maternal benefit under Modi’s aadhaar-linked Matru Vandana project (Jan 11, 2018, Counterview)

A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the government would provide maternity benefit of Rs 6,000, under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which succeeded the previous UPA government’s Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), just about 1% of the targeted beneficiaries have so far been covered under the much-trumpeted scheme.

Revealing this, well-known Belgian-born Indian developmental economist Jean Deze, known to be a close associate of Nobel laureate Amarya Sen, has said in a blog that while RGMSY has been “discontinued”, the PMMVY has been “held up by a series of delays”, and, “according to a recent statement of the ministry of women and child development, only 10,000 women have received maternity benefits under PMMVY so far.”

Modi’s announcement, made on December 31, “possibly aimed at sweetening the demonetisation pill”, however, failed to mention is that the maternity entitlements of Rs 6,000 per child, which he referred to, was only “a legal right of all Indian women since 2013 under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), and that his government had done nothing about it”, Dreze writes.…

https://www.counterview.net/2018/01/just-1-of-targeted-indian-women-receive.html

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PMO asked state to not arrest Hindutva leaders accused in Bhima Koregaon violence: Prakash Ambedkar (Jan 8, 2018, Scroll.in)

Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar on Sunday alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office had asked the Maharashtra government to not arrest the two Hindutva leaders accused of inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1.

A day after the violence on New Year’s Day, the police had filed cases against 85-year-old Sambhaji Bhide, who leads the organisation Shiv Pratishthan, and Milind Ekbote, who heads the radical Hindu outfit Samasta Hindu Aghadi. The two have not been arrested yet.…

“One of the ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government told me that directives have come from the Prime Minister’s Office to not arrest the two Hindutva leaders,” Ambedkar told The Indian Express. Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar, is the leader of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh. “I don’t understand the silence of the government in the case, even days after the FIR was filed,” Ambedkar said. “The government has not even condemned those behind the violence…why is the government trying to protect people who tried to divide two communities?”…

https://scroll.in/latest/864200/pmo-asked-state-to-not-arrest-hindutva-leaders-accused-in-bhima-koregaon-violence-prakash-ambedkar

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Dalit prof at Hyderabad univ complains against ABVP leader over ‘abusive’ FB post (Jan 9, 2018, Hindustan Times)

A Dalit professor at the University of Hyderabad has accused authorities of ignoring his complaint against a leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, who allegedly made an abusive comment against him on social media.

K Laxminarayana of the School of Economics complained in his letter to vice-chancellor P Appa Rao on November 30 last year that Karan Palsaniya, a research scholar, used filthy words on his Facebook page against him for asking a question about privatisation and saffronisation of education.

“There had been no communication from the vice-chancellor’s office until December 30. I sent a reminder as to what action the authorities are taking with regard to my complaint. I got a mail from them stating that the complaint was referred to a proctorial board which would look into it,” Laxminarayana told the Hindustan Times.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dalit-professor-at-hyderabad-university-complains-against-abvp-leader-for-offensive-social-media-post/story-mIGfyzTSMwwrp1lWQBhLRL.html

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Noida cop lures 7-year-old with Rs 10, ‘rapes’ her in front of brother (Jan 12, 2018, Times of India)

A 45-year-old police constable on deputation with Sales Tax department Gautam Budh Nagar allegedly raped a 7-year old girl in presence of her younger brother after luring her with a ten rupee note on Wednesday evening.

The accused Subhash Singh assaulted the girl for half an hour and fled from the spot as people started gathering due to rescue cry. The accused believed the matter would have resolved and returned to his one-room set rented accommodation on Thursday morning.

The victims’ family members and local residents disturbed over the brutal assault, lost cool, and roughed up the constable with shoes and sandals and handed over to police.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/62463911.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s democratic institutions are crumbling. And Modi government is to blame for it – By Ashok K Singh (Jan 15, 2018, Dailyo.in)

First to be on the chopping block was Parliament. Then came the media. With two pillars of democracy having fallen, the judiciary, presumably the most independent of all, was naturally in line to come under pressure.… The unprecedented press conference held by the four senior judges of the Supreme Court was symptomatic of not only the existing tension within the court but also between the judiciary and the government.… this government uses more subtle and pernicious ways in trying to achieve its objectives. It has perfected the art of undermining democratic institutions quietly. …

The government tried to influence the appointment and transfer of judges through the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) but failed. A five-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court struck down the NJAC by a majority of 4:1 in 2015. Incidentally, justice Jasti Chelameswar happened to be the dissenting judge on the bench. That all is not well between the judiciary and the government has come out in the open on many occasions.…

It’s obvious the matter of appointment of judges has been a major cause of concern between the government and the judiciary. The government has been trying to chip away the powers of the judiciary in the appointment of judges. The judiciary is the last bastion tasked with keeping democracy alive and in good health. Democracy will fail, as the four judges emphasised, if judiciary fails to stand up to the political executive. That’s where a totalitarian state begins.

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/judicial-crisis-judges-press-conference-supreme-court-judges-narendra-modi-gst/story/1/21753.html

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Aadhaar Of Injustice – By Anjali Bhardwaj, Amrita Johri (Jan 11, 2018, Indian Express)

In September 2017, 11-year-old Santoshi, resident of Simdega district of Jharkhand, succumbed to starvation. According to her mother, she died “asking for rice, but there was not a single grain at home”. She was deprived of her subsidised ration as her family’s ration card was cancelled because it was not linked to Aadhaar.

Marandi in Jharkhand met the same fate – he could not avail of his share of ration supplies since his Aadhaar Based Biometric Authentication (ABBA) failed. Similar cases of starvation deaths have been reported from other states too, including Shakina Ashfaq from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, who could not present herself at the ration shop for ABBA due to ill health.

When the Narendra Modi government came to power riding on the promise of fighting corruption and ensuring effective service delivery, it was assumed that it will put in place a strong anti-corruption and grievance redress framework to ensure that no one is denied their rightful entitlements. However, instead of operationalising anti-corruption legislation like the Lokpal or implementing the grievance redress and social audit provisions in various laws, the government has been pushing Aadhaar as the ultimate solution to corruption.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhaar-of-injustice-linking-to-ration-cards-5019590/

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Bhima-Koregaon has made the RSS’s social engineering boomerang – By Kumar Ketar (Jan 8, 2018, The Print)

…Hindutva ideologues hated Ambedkar viscerally, and even condemned a ‘shudra’ being appointed chairperson of the Constitution drafting committee. The Brahminical RSS, more prominent until the 1960s and ’70s, was hostile to Dr Ambedkar and all Dalits. The deeply researched book on the journey of Hindutva, Gita Press by Akshaya Mukul (Harper Collins), traces the Hindutva hatred of Ambedkar.…

The internal rivalries and ambitions within the Dalit movement added yet another contradiction. Ramdas Athavle, seen by most Dalit activists as an opportunist who surrendered his Mahar identity to the Brahmins of the RSS-BJP by aligning with them, was frontally challenged by Prakash Ambedkar. The invitation to Jignesh Mevani, elected last month as an MLA in Gujarat, was like adding fuel to the fire. Mevani had challenged the entire Sangh Parivar in Gujarat, and particularly Narendra Modi. His speeches in Bhima-Koregaon were bound to exacerbate the situation.

Sambhaji Bhide, an 85-year-old “guru”, is a militant leader of the Hindutva brigades. He has dedicated followers, mostly Maratha youth, although he is a Brahmin. He dons the name Sambhaji, taken from the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji, to spread Hindutva ideology among the masses. His campaign converted the confrontation into a Maratha-Dalit conflict. Finally, mayhem was let loose.…

https://theprint.in/2018/01/08/bhima-koregaon-rss-boomerang/

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Lead and Mislead: Ten Claims Made by PM Modi in 2017 That Don’t Add Up – By Arjun Sidharth (Jan 12, 2018, The Wire)

Modi made a series of claims throughout 2017, many of which turned out to be either untrue or partially true. Here is a list of ten such claims.

1. Former PM Vajpayee was a passenger on India’s first ever metro At a speech to mark the inauguration of the Magenta line of Delhi metro, PM Modi on December 25 said that former PM Vajpayee became a passenger on India’s first ever metro service when the Delhi metro was flagged off in 2002. The contention proved to be incorrect.

The first metro service to be launched in India was the Kolkata metro, the foundation stone for which was laid by former PM Indira Gandhi in 1972. The service was finally launched in 1984. Delhi metro was India’s 2nd metro service after Kolkata.…

https://thewire.in/212972/lead-mislead-ten-claims-made-prime-minister-modi-2017-dont-add/

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The Day Gandhi Began His Last Fast – By Apoorvanand (Jan 13, 2018, The Wire)

Last month, winter came knocking on the doors of Delhi’s residents and it was pleasant to sit in the sun. I spent one such afternoon in the company of three young men. To say they were Indian would not suffice; they were Muslims. And, although it was an awkward question for a first meeting, I nevertheless asked them, “What is the biggest worry for the Muslim youth of India?”

There was a short pause before the reply came. “Security,” they said. It was not as though their reply came as a surprise to me, but even so it gave me a jolt. I was aware that if they had been Hindu youths, this question would not have fetched the response it did. Then they would have said educational opportunities, jobs. Had they been Dalit youths, the reply would have been equality, dignity. For Muslim youths, however, these concerns are secondary. Protection and security are their prime concerns.…

September 18, 1947. Gandhiji has come to Delhi’s Daryaganj area, where houses and shops are shrouded in desolation. Many have been looted. Walking through deserted lanes, Gandhi reaches Asaf Ali’s residence. About 100 Muslims are gathered there. They all speak in one refrain: “We want to stay on in India as loyal citizens. But we want a guarantee that we shall be safe.”…

https://thewire.in/213407/the-day-gandhi-began-his-last-fast/

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The 6.5% warning – By Ila Patnaik (Jan 11, 2018, Indian Express)

The GDP forecast for FY 2018 of 6.5 per cent does not come as a surprise. The introduction of a Goods and Services Tax, even in its cleanest and simplest form, would have inevitably led to disruption in any economy. In India’s case, multiple rates and a complex structure have made compliance cumbersome and created gaps in the supply chains.…

The central puzzle is the decline in investment. Investment did not start declining immediately after the global financial crisis in 2008, but with a lag. For a couple of years, the economy was held up by expansionary fiscal and monetary policy, and the momentum of the previous years. But since 2012, the demand shock seems to have caught up with us.

Investment in the Indian economy has declined from 34.3 per cent of the GDP in 2011-12 to 27 per cent of the GDP in 2016-17. The first advance estimates on national income show that investment as a per cent to GDP has further fallen to 26.4 per cent in 2017-18.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-6-5-warning-gdp-forecast-investment-in-indian-economy-5019556/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 8th, 2018

by newsdigest on January 9, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

A Jain And A Muslim Family Break Bread And Barriers Together In Meerut (Jan 5, 2018, Huffington Post)

Uttar Pradesh – How does a “pure” vegetarian woman from the Jain community end up cooking in the kitchen belonging to a Muslim family where meat is prepared frequently?… Over several cups of tea, Jain recollected how at a time when Hindus and Muslims in Meerut engaged in rioting, he found the most precious friendship of his life – in a Muslim man.

Jain had always fancied himself as a ‘tough’ guy, a man of action. But in the summer of 1987, 31-year-old Jain, found himself helpless when he came face-to-face with a rioting mob. In the incident, which remains seared in his memory, Jain’s life was saved by his Muslim colleague.

It was an encounter that would leave him deeply introspective, questioning why so many in his community were hell-bent on typecasting Muslims as the “other,” perpetually maligning them for eating meat and sacrificing animals on Bakrid, demonizing them as a threat to their way of life.… Jain said, “I don’t know who is right or wrong but the fighting is pointless. Being friends is natural. It is making enemies that is unnatural.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/01/05/defying-xenophobia-in-meerut-a-jain-and-a-muslim-family-break-bread-and-barriers-together_a_23323723/

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Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details (Jan 3, 2018, The Tribune)

It was only last November that the UIDAI asserted that “Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI.” Today, The Tribune “purchased” a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details for any of the more than 1 billion Aadhaar numbers created in India thus far.

It took just Rs 500, paid through Paytm, and 10 minutes in which an “agent” of the group running the racket created a “gateway” for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. Lo and behold, you could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

What is more, The Tribune team paid another Rs 300, for which the agent provided “software” that could facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering the Aadhaar number of any individual. When contacted, UIDAI officials in Chandigarh expressed shock over the full data being accessed, and admitted it seemed to be a major national security breach. They immediately took up the matter with the UIDAI technical consultants in Bangaluru.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/rs-500-10-minutes-and-you-have-access-to-billion-aadhaar-details/523361.html

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Aadhaar data open for misuse and abuse, says whistleblower Edward Snowden (Jan 5, 2018, Hindustan Times)

A day after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) denied that there was any breach of the Aadhaar database, American whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Friday that the Aadhaar database conceived and introduced by the Indian government can also be misused and abused.

Retweeting CBS journalist Zack Whittaker’s response on a BuzzFeed report on the breach of Aadhaar database in India, Snowden said, “It is the natural tendency of government to desire perfect records of private lives. History shows that no matter the laws, the result is abuse.”

Whittaker had earlier said, “ICYMI. India has a national ID database with the private information of nearly 1.2 billion nationals. It’s reportedly been breached. Admin accounts can be made and access can be sold to the database, reports BuzzFeed.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/american-whistleblower-edward-snowden-hints-india-s-aadhaar-open-for-misuse-and-abuse/story-f1uu5Th8To4x1MhHfIm9jP.html

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Dalit protests shake BJP’s fort as rise in casteism challenges party’s politics of Hindutva-laced nationalism (Jan 4, 2018, First Post)

…To understand how the political class keeps the tension simmering, consider the case of the Gurjars of Rajasthan and Patidars of Gujarat. When Gurjars, who are currently among the OBCs, took to the streets for their inclusion in STs in 2007-08, the BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje promised them five percent reservation as special backward classes. This solution was unviable from the very beginning because the promised quota exceeded the 50 percent ceiling that can’t be breached without the Supreme Court’s intervention.…

The BJP was hoping its Hindutva appeal will keep the agadas and pichhadas united. Emboldened by the outcome in the 90s when it had countered Mandal effectively with Kamandal, it had hoped the bogey of political and socio-cultural domination of Muslims would keep the Hindutva forces under one tent. But, the developments in Gujarat and the clashes in Maharashtra show the communal glue is coming off. The caste fault lines are reappearing.

Since the BJP is in power, it is wary of the evolving situation. Its concerns were reflected in the ongoing RSS conclave at Ujjain on Tuesday when Mohan Bhagwat talked at length about bringing the Dalits under the Hindutva fold by having a quota for them within the Sangh. (Imagine the worry lines when an outfit that always opposed quota argues for reservation within the organisation!) The BJP knows mobilisation of Dalits, minorities and liberals could pose an electoral threat in 2019.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/dalit-protests-shake-bjps-fort-as-rise-in-casteism-challenges-partys-politics-of-hindutva-laced-nationalism-4286999.html

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Yogi Adityanath government’s gift to Yogi Adityanath: Governor okays bill to withdraw case – 5 things to know (Jan 8, 2018, Financial Express)

A bill allowing the withdrawal of cases, including against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, got the assent of state’s governor Ram Naik on Monday. The law allows the withdrawal of around 20,000 “politically-motivated” cases that were filed across the state over protest demonstrations. One such case was also filed against Adityanath and others. Here are five things you need to know about the bill and the cases:

The case against CM Adityanath and a dozen others was filed for holding a meeting in alleged violation of prohibitory orders over 22 years ago. While Yogi Adityanath, who also holds the home portfolio in UP, was named in the case, Union Minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, BJP MLA Sheetal Pandey, and 10 others were respondents in the case that was filed at Gorakhpur’s Pipiganj police station on May 27, 1995.

Gorakhpur has been Adityanath’s home turf. He represented the constituency in Lok Sabha for five terms before being appointed as the chief minister earlier this year. The case was filed because Adityanath, who was then the Gorakhpur MP, had allegedly made a hate speech following the killing of a Hindu youth in a clash between two groups during a Moharram procession. Adityanath was arrested and he had to spend 10 days in jail before being allowed to go out on bail.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/yogi-adityanath-governments-gift-to-yogi-adityanath-governor-okays-bill-to-withdraw-case-5-things-to-know/1006781/

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Women protest against triple talaq Bill (Jan 7, 2018, The Hindu)

Opposing the triple talaq Bill, Muslim women protested against the Union government in Kalaburagi on Saturday.

They took out a march from Muslim Chowk and demonstrated at the Deputy Commissioners’ office. They said that the recently introduced Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was defective and politically motivated and it would not protect the interests of Muslim women.

They also warned that any interference in All India Muslim Personal Law Board would not be tolerated. “The government cannot force Muslims to follow other communities in issues related to personal laws as it would amount to an infringement of their fundamental rights,” they added.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/women-protest-against-triple-talaq-bill/article22389892.ece

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BJP Candidate Greeted With Garland Of Shoes In Madhya Pradesh (Jan 8, 2018, NDTV)

A BJP candidate campaigning for the upcoming civic body elections in Madhya Pradesh was left embarrassed after he was greeted with garland of shoes while campaigning in Dhamnod, a town in Dhar district situated around 272 km from state capital Bhopal.

The incident took place on Sunday when Dinesh Sharma, the BJP candidate for Dhamnod Civic election, was campaigning door-to-door to seek votes for his party.…

Video shows Mr Sharma trying to move away when he is approached by a man with the garland of shoes, but he later lets him put it around his neck. The man who made him wear the garland says he wanted to highlight the acute water problem in the region.…

https://www.ndtv.com/bhopal-news/bjp-candidate-greeted-with-garland-of-shoes-in-madhya-pradesh-1797055

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India Muslim man beaten to death ‘over New Year music’ (Jan 2, 2018, BBC)

A Muslim has been beaten to death in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand after reportedly asking a group to stop playing loud music on New Year’s Day. The incident happened in Mandar, a town close to the state capital, Ranchi.

People blocked the national motorway on Tuesday to demand the arrest of suspects but the blockade was eventually cleared by police.… Waseem Ansari, 19, worked as a daily wage labourer in Pune and had returned to his village a couple of days ago.

Correspondents say there are fears that communal and religious divisions are widening in India, with minorities feeling they are not sufficiently protected.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-42539447

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Two minor Muslim girls arrested in UP for cow slaughter (Jan 4, 2018, The Week)

In a shocking incident a few days before, police jailed two minor Muslim girls on charges of cow slaughter in Khatauli town of western Uttar Pradesh. The incident took place on December 29, when two girls, reportedly aged 12 and 16, were arrested by the police. Later, the police produced them in the court, claiming they were adults. The girls Sheeba and Shahiba are still in jail. The main accused Naseemuddin fled while his entire family was jailed.

Meanwhile the local corporator Haji Ajaj Ahamed claimed that the girls were minor as their parents got married in 2001. By that standard, the girls are minor and should have been sent to a juvenile home. He said that documents pertaining to their ages are being procured so that it could be proved in the court that they are minors. The locals are also trying to get the marriage certificates of these girls’ parents so that could have some more concrete proof.

Meanwhile, according to unconfirmed reports, the Aadhaar cards of the two girls show their dates of birth as 2005 and 2001 respectively. Another local Shadab Ahmed said the police were falsely trying to implicate the girls in this case by showing that they were not under-age.…

http://www.theweek.in/news/india/two-minor-muslim-girls-arrested-in-up-for-cow-slaughter.html

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India girls ‘attacked for meeting Muslim boys’ (Jan 3, 2018, BBC)

Two female students have been attacked by a group of men in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, reportedly for meeting up with two Muslim boys. The group of teenaged friends were in a theme park when they were assaulted.

Police told the BBC that they had arrested three men, who allegedly belonged to a right-wing group, and were looking for other suspects. The incident was caught on video and widely shared online, triggering outrage at so-called “moral policing”. One of the men is seen heckling the girls, even as they were being escorted out of the park by police.…

Police told the BBC that visitors at the park spotted the group of friends and then reported them to a right-wing fringe group, leading to members of the group showing up at the park and attacking them. The video shows the students being hit multiple times by the men, who also shouted at them, asking them to call their parents.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-42550850

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After escaping rape attempt, Faridabad Police make victim wait 7 hours in the freezing cold (Jan 7, 2018, India Today)

In a suspected case of human trafficking, the insensitivity of Faridabad Police left a 15-year-old girl shivering in the cold wave for more than seven hours on Friday night. Having escaped a rape attempt, she reached out to police, but the SHO did not reportedly pay any heed to her complaint and denied assistance. The police helpline number, 100, too was non-functional the entire day.…

The girl, who hails from Dinajpur district in West Bengal told Mail Today that she had eloped with a 17-year-old boy, who befriended her one year back.… Later, in Rahul’s absence, his uncle tried to rape her, she said. Horrified, the girl ran away from that place and managed to enter a gated colony.

She spent major part of Friday night in the market of Ashoka Enclave Part-III. In the early hours of Saturday, she reached Kanishka Residency where the security guard offered her a blanket. He informed the police after the girl narrated her ordeal. The SHO of Sarai Khawaja, instead of helping her, advised the security guard to throw her out of the colony.&hellip

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/after-escaping-rape-attempt-faridabad-police-make-victim-wait-7-hours-in-the-freezing-cold/1/1125160.html

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Opinions and Editorials

FIR against Tribune journalist is a serious loss of face for Modi government – By Rajeev Sharma (Jan 8, 2018, Dailyo.in)

The filing of a First Information Report (FIR) by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) against The Tribune reporter Rachna Khaira is sure to antagonise a lot of people. This is not something the Narendra Modi government can afford at a time when the entire political narrative is moving towards the 2019 general elections.

Apart from the known solid arguments that the move is like shooting the messenger and that the whistle-blower is getting penalised, the Modi government must keep in mind the public perception. On that count alone, PM Modi must intervene and ensure that this FIR is withdrawn.

What The Tribune has done is nothing but public service in the highest journalistic traditions. The newspaper’s report has merely warned the public – and the government, particularly the UIDAI – that their ambitious scheme has inherent flaws, technically as well as administratively. The newspaper only reignited privacy concerns around the world’s largest database of biometric details of a 1.19 billion residents in India and showed the mirror to the authorities.…

https://www.dailyo.in/variety/aadhaar-data-breach-aadhar-card-supreme-court-biometric-data-narendra-modi/story/1/21598.html

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The triple talaq bill is a distortion of the essence of the Supreme Court judgments – By Abhishek Singhvi (Jan 3, 2018, Hindustan Times)

… In criminalising triple talaq, is the present government misusing a judgment delivered to promote gender equality, for ulterior motives? Or is it guilty of gross overreach in legislating supposedly on the basis of the court’s judgement?…

What is crucial to note is that neither the majorities nor the dissent remotely contemplate, much less direct, the criminalisation of triple talaq. To use the judicial pronouncement as a carte blanche to enact an arbitrary punitive legislation would be a clear distortion of the essence of the Supreme Court judgements.… The Bill makes the classic mistake of treating every error, mistake or illegality as a crime, which it most assuredly is not, though the reverse is axiomatically true. We have very recently seen the disastrous consequences of the same conceptual confusion in the context of the 2G case.…

Good governance requires sobriety, restraint, balance and farsightedness. As regards criminalisation of triple talaq, the government of the day has to hearken back to those virtues instead of relying on brute majorities.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-triple-talaq-bill-is-a-distortion-of-the-essence-of-the-supreme-court-judgments/story-PQ74QAbj63CH1GfoDGpfCP.html

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What Hindutva leaders were trying to achieve with Bhima Koregaon violence – By Yashee (Jan 4, 2018, Dailyo.in)

https://www.dailyo.in/variety/bhima-koregaon-violence-maharashtra-bandh-dalits-rss-sambhaji-bhide-milind-ekbote/story/1/21533.html

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Handle with care – Editorial (Jan 3, 2018, India Express)

That 1.29 crore out of a total of 3.29 crore applicants did not find their names in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam points to the enormity of the challenge the state is facing in identifying illegal migrants.

A massive bureaucratic exercise has been on in Assam since the Supreme Court ordered that the NRC, which the state government had prepared along with the national census in 1951, be updated and set December 31, 2017 as the deadline. The NRC is meant to decide who is a bona fide Indian citizen and those who fail to enlist in the register will be deemed illegal migrants.

The political consensus in the state is that the NRC is the best mechanism to separate the citizen from the illegal migrant. However, the large number of omissions in the register indicate that producing necessary papers and proving one’s citizenship in a country with an indifferent record of maintaining documents is not an easy task. The NRC draft, of course, will be revised through 2018, but it is anybody’s guess if the final document will satisfy everyone.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/assam-nrc-first-draft-national-register-of-citizens-5009184/

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Introspection 2017: Speak Up Against Intimidating Language Of The Goons Masquerading As Political Activists – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat (Jan 1, 2018, Countercurrents)

As another year is coming to an end, we witnessed huge turmoil everywhere. The intimidation to dissenters continued while political opponents were targeted as usual by the Hindutva groups. Mob lynching and cow terrorism aggravated all over the country and as the state remained subdued and muted, the goons with political patronage had a field day during the year. Institutions continued to crumble as orthodox brahmanical political devotees were appointed as Directors and vice chancellors.

The worst part was that the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, surrendered absolutely and reached its nadir, much worse than what we could have witnessed during the infamous emergency. Now media has become a party to propaganda by the Hindutva hate groups where character assassination and intimidation is the way of life. The year began with the murder of Gauri Lankesh and continued with threat to the life of Prof Kancha Ilaiah…. Now, Dr Sujatha Surepally, who is a teacher in Satwahana University, Karimnagar has come under the target of the Sangh Parivar supported goons who have been abusing her on their Facebook page and threatening with dire consequences.…

In this year 2018, I would only request people not to make messiahs of persons whose rights are violated or those who face threat but stand with them as their right to speak and the least you could do is to express outrage against the vulgar language which the paid political goons are using against people like Sujatha. Today it is she, tomorrow it may be you or me if we are working for people’s right. Speak up before it is too late.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2018/01/01/introspection-2017-speak-intimidating-language-goons-masquerading-political-activists/

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On Caste and Identity Politics in Gujarat Elections – By Archana Prasad (Jan 7, 2018, Peoples Democracy)

The dust has settled on the Gujarat elections. The BJP has claimed that it has fought twenty two years anti-incumbency and won the elections because of its ‘politics of vikas’ versus the opposition’s ‘casteist politics’. In a post-election interview, the BJP president Amit Shah claimed that his 150+ mission had failed because of the “dirty and low level casteist politics of the Congress and its allies”. In doing so, Shah dismissed all the agitations that Gujarat has been facing for the last few years as “dirty low level politics”. But the advocates of this line should be aware of its skewed logic.

As analysis after analysis of the Gujarat elections showed, the BJP suffered some major setbacks in rural Gujarat; it also assumed that because of the work of the RSS amongst adivasis, the party swept the seats reserved for scheduled tribes. In fact one pre-election assessment even argued that the ‘dalits and adivasis’ would rescue and bolster the chances of the ruling dispensation. To this end, the BJP had shift its election discourse from questions of discrimination and rights to the questions of ‘patriotism’ and ‘Gujarati nationalism’, even alleging that the opposition was insulting the lower castes and the development that they had experienced.

However, these pronouncements and stances have only a hegemonic value as they ignore the complex ways in which the dalits and adivasis exercise their choices. This is largely because dalits and adivasis are not a homogeneous ‘votebank’ as they have been treated in election analysis.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2018/0107_pd/caste-and-identity-politics-gujarat-elections

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 1st, 2018

January 2, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Heinous killing of cleric and desecration of Andhra Pradesh mosque trigger outrage, revulsion among Indian Americans News Headlines This brother was CM Gujarat when Muslim women were raped, burnt alive Muezzin found dead in mosque, Andhra govt orders probe Jamia students say asked to leave NCC camp over […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 25th, 2017

December 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 2G case: Narendra Modi may have just lost his most-used political weapon Opposition Unites Against Yogi Adityanath Government’s ‘Draconian’ UPCOCA Ashrams run by Virender Dev Dikshit raided in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh; 47 women, six girls rescued 4 Ram Rahim followers held for torching rail coaches Over 100 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 18th, 2017

December 26, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Essay competition for students on communal harmony takes a back seat News Headlines BJP Wins Gujarat With Smallest Margin In 22 Years Hindu man raised £3,500 after video of him ‘murdering a Muslim man’ went viral Rajasthan HC sets guidelines to check ‘forced conversion of religion’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 11th, 2017

December 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Murder of Muslim laborer in Rajasthan sparks outrage among Indian Americans News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition: Who were the main villains? Heinous murder of Afrajul Khan sparks outrage among Indian Americans ‘Do we really value human rights,’ asks former CJI RM Lodha, citing cow vigilantism, ‘love jihad’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 4th, 2017

December 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims organise funds for Hindu woman’s wedding in Bengal village News Headlines Ayodhya dispute: Muslims feel an out of court settlement will be surrender Initiate High Level Judicial Inquiry Into Judge Loya’s Death: Former Civil Servants Write to CJI Hindu activists hoist saffron flag, cops resort to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 27th, 2017

December 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Poet wrote on Hindu-Muslim unity, says Jaisi’s native village News Roundup CBI court judge in Gujarat’s Sohrabuddin encounter case murdered? Scared family finally speaks up about shocking facts No Media Reporting On Sohrabuddin Encounter Trial, Orders CBI Court ‘Burn UK cinemas’ Hindu leader tells followers to attack theatres […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 20th, 2017

December 13, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Rajasthan: Police orders inquiry into ‘love jihad’ pamphlets at Jaipur fair Padmavati row: BJP leader offers Rs 10 cr for Deepika, Bhansali head Ram Naam ki loot: Nirmohi Akhara accuses BJP, VHP of swindling Rs 1400 crore 330 gang rapes during 2002 Gujarat riots; while triple talaq […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 13th, 2017

December 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Oh shed! In Kannur, RSS worker blows up roof while making bomb Mystery ‘X’ marks Gujarat homes India ‘cow vigilantes’: Arrest after Muslim man lynched Alwar again: Two Muslims gunned down by so-called cow vigilantes Sebi Imposes Rs 15 Lakh Fine on Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani’s Family […]

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