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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2017

by newsdigest on January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival (Jan 6, 2017, Times of India)

Murders, attacks on innocent youths, communal tension and hate speeches might have made Ullal in Mangaluru a sensitive region. However, there are instances that make the region famous for communal harmony too.

On Friday, Muslim brethren in Ullal showed an exemplary gesture that herald the message of communal harmony. While members of the Hindu community were celebrating annual festival at Sri Ullalthi Dharma Arasara Temple, Uliya in Ullal, Muslims in the region welcomed devotees by offering fruit juice. Muslim brethren not only offered soft drinks to Hindu devotees, but also extended festival wishes.…

The initiative was well-praised by people in general and the police department in particular. Usually, police department is at the receiving end whenever incidents of communal clashes and murders report in Ullal. Deputy Commissioner of police (crime) M Sanjeev Patil posted the pictures of Muslim brethren distributing fruit juice to Hindu devotees at the temple premises.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56378488.cms

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‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down (Jan 7, 2017, First Post)

…All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should ‘follow his Rajdharma’. He explained that Rajdharma was a meaningful term, and for somebody in a position of power, it meant not discriminating among the higher and lower classes of society or people of any religion.…

Three days before his foreign tour in April, when Vajpayee visited the Shah Alam camp in Ahmedabad, which housed 9,000 Muslims displaced by the riots, he was deeply touched when a woman told him that he alone could save them from the hell that their lives had become. Now, on the flight to Singapore, Vajpayee was worried he would expose himself to more humiliation while outside the country. His grouse was: why am I being paraded abroad at such a time? Shourie suggested that the PM speak to Advani, who had by now become the deputy prime minister, about the possibilities of salvaging the situation — it could even mean replacing Modi. But even after the ‘pep talk’ with Shourie, Vajpayee appeared cheerless.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-has-to-go-post-2002-gujarat-riots-atal-bihari-vajpayee-wanted-then-cm-to-step-down-3191210.html

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Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers (Jan 9, 2017, Indian Express)

In the first 34 days since demonetisation, micro-small scale industries suffered 35 per cent jobs losses and a 50 per cent dip in revenue, according to a study conducted by India’s largest organisation of manufacturers.

The study, conducted by the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO), has also projected a drop in employment of 60 per cent and loss in revenue of 55 per cent before March 2017. The AIMO represents over 3 lakh micro, small scale, and medium and large scale industries engaged in manufacturing and export activities.

The study stated that almost all industrial activities have come to a standstill, with the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector worst-hit. “While AIMO understands certain immediate repercussions of such a bold step (demonetisation) by the government, it did not anticipate or was prepared for such a jolt to industries even after one month,” said the study.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/demonetisation-35-per-cent-job-losses-50-per-cent-revenue-dip-says-study-by-largest-organisation-of-manufacturers-4465524/

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Watch: BJP Delhi Chief Manoj Tiwari Mocking People Queuing Up Before ATMs (Jan 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

In an undated news video clip, Bhojpuri superstar-turned-politician, Manoj Tiwari, who was recently appointed president of the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Delhi, is seen making fun of people compelled to stand in long queues at ATMS following the Modi government’s decision to scrap the ₹500 and ₹1000 notes.

The video clip, tweeted out by a Bahujan Samaj Party handle on Tuesday evening, shows Tiwari sitting around a table with several people including Sudhanshu Trivedi, a national spokesperson for the BJP. Tiwari, who represents the North East Delhi constituency, tells the others how he had belted out a song to boost the morale of people standing in a queue, and then goes on to mock them.

“I said desh bhakt hain kataar mein. Everyone started smiling…they said we will keep standing till the 30th,” Tiwari said in jeering tone, while the others started laughing.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/03/watch-bjp-delhi-chief-manoj-tewari-mocking-people-queuing-up-be/

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BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj booked for ‘population control’ remark (Jan 7, 2017, Indian Express)

An FIR has been filed against controversial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday for his remark on population control. A case has been registered in Meerut under section 298 of IPC, among others. Earlier on Friday in Meerut, Sakshi, in a veiled attack on the Muslim community, blamed them for the population explosion in the country.

He said, “Those with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population,” he said. He added, “Strict laws are required in this country if we really want to curb population. Parties need to rise above politics and take decision for the sake of the country,” he added.

The controversial remark by the MP in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh drew strong condemnation from opposition parties. The Election Commission sought a report from the Meerut district administration while the BJP distanced itself from the statement.… Congress leader KC Mittal said Sakshi’s speech is “offensive” as it is based on caste and religion and goes against the recent Supreme Court judgement.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-mp-sakshi-maharaj-booked-for-population-control-remark-4463703/

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How Justice JS Verma’s Hindutva judgment is often misinterpreted by BJP (Jan 3, 2017, Inuth.com)

The Supreme Court’s verdict that seeking votes in the name of religion is illegal—is undoubtedly a big blow to all those political parties and politicians, who thrived on this practice. However, the recent judgement of the apex court also brings us the memory of the 1995 ruling, in which a bench headed by Justice JS Verma had defined ‘Hindutva’ ‘as a way of life’.

The apex court ruling gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena a considerable legal ground to justify their ‘ultra-nationalistic politics’. The BJP owe its rise to the 1995 Supreme Court ruling as it concluded that Hinduism and Hindutva in election campaigns was actually fine despite Section 123(3) of the Representation of People’s Act prohibiting the use of religion during election campaigning.

After Justice JS Verma defined Hindutva as a way of life, political parties contesting polls on Hindutva plank got a point to defend themselves by saying that they were seeking votes on the basis of (concept of) way of life and not on religion.…

http://www.inuth.com/india/politics/how-js-vermas-hindutva-judgment-is-often-misinterpreted-by-bjp/

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Chhattisgarh HC issues notice to govt, police over ‘fake encounter’ (Jan 7, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Chhattisgarh high court on Friday issued notices to the state government and top police officials in connection with the alleged fake encounter of a person, claimed to be Maoist, in Kondagaon in November last year.

The Bilaspur bench of the court issued notices to state chief secretary, director general of police, inspector general of police (Bastar) and SP Kondagaon on a petition filed by the wife of the deceased, Bal Singh Sori, and local Congress MLA Mohan Markam.

Satish Verma, counsel of the petitioners, told Hindustan Times that the officials have been asked to respond to the notice within four weeks.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-hc-issues-notice-to-govt-police-over-fake-encounter-of-maoist/story-UKqqKq0aEKPWYDKcovN1qO.html

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‘It’s easy to brand any Muslim a terrorist’: Exonerated ‘terrorist’ Irshad Ali (Jan 9, 2017, Siasat)

It does not take much to brand any suspect as a terrorist. But it can take years to ascertain the veracity of the allegations. The media, as well as society, don’t wait for any trial to pass their verdict. However, there is hardly a whimper if the accused if finally proved innocent after years of judicial struggle.

Few can recount the horror of facing false charges of terrorism as well as Irshad Ali. A driver by profession, Irshad is lucky to have survived the ordeal he faced for years.

His story is that of an unjust system, a society with a religious bias that does not think twice before labelling a citizen a criminal and a terrorist. This inept system simply incarcerates people when it fails to justify this discrimination.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/its-easy-brand-any-muslim-terrorist-exonerated-terrorist-irshad-ali-1104916/

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Fazal murder: Internal strife in RSS led to ‘revelations’ (Jan 3, 2017, Times of India)

A key evidence, which pointed to the role of RSS activists in the murder of NDF (now PDF) leader Muhammad Fazal had surfaced, thanks to the internal strife within the Sangh Parivar in Thalassery.

It has been learnt that Parivar activists themselves handed over the audio clip of a conversation between RSS worker Subeesh and another party worker to the police. In the audio clip, Subeesh speaks of the entire operation which culminated in the murder of Fazal in 2006. He repeated it in his confession later to the police when he was arrested in a case related the murder of a CPM worker a few months ago.…

Even before Subeesh’s revelation, the Crime Branch had received an anonymous letter stating the role of the Sangh Parivar in the case. Later it became known that it was written by a Sangh Parivar leader from Kannur.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56320246.cms

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Indian police accused of raping women in restive Chhattisgarh state (Jan 10, 2017, The Guardian)

The Indian government’s human rights watchdog has accused police of raping and beating at least 16 women from tribal communities in Chhattisgarh, a central state racked by a 50-year Maoist insurgency.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said there were 20 alleged attacks still to be investigated, but that in 16 cases the “human rights of the victims have been grossly violated by the security personnel”.

It was investigating a report published in the Indian Express that police had committed abuses against women in several villages in Bijapur district during an operation against rebels in October 2015.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/10/indian-police-accused-of-raping-women-in-restive-chhattisgarh-state

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Mumbai University bars bearded Muslim student from boxing event (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The University of Mumbai (MU) pulled out a Muslim student from a boxing competition because he refused to shave off his beard.

Sayyed Imran Ali is a national-level taekwondo and kick-boxing player and a second-year BCom student at GR Patil College in Mumbra. When he reached University Sports Pavilion in Marine Lines for his match last Monday, the university officials told him that he won’t be allowed to compete unless he shaves off his beard.…

Imran Ali, a Mumbra resident who sports a goatee, said he was unaware of the rule as this was his first competitive boxing. “I have been participating in kick-boxing, karate and taekwondo competitions at the state and the national level for the past seven years. My small beard was never an issue,” said the boxer, who runs a martial arts training centre in Mumbra.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-universi-bars-bearded-muslim-student-from-boxing-event/story-BxY7wI4i4hAALqJ2z0s5NN.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The decline of Modi – By A.G. Noorani (Jan 20, 2017, Frontline)

…Just half-way through his term in office as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi faces disenchantment to a high degree. Demonetisation only served to remind the people of lapses they had overlooked. He hugely personalised demonetisation. The gamble failed. The slide downwards has begun. The Emperor has no clothes on him.

Modi’s hysterical performances reveal his panic at the wide public disenchantment in the wake of his quixotic decision on demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes on November 8. This was the first major test of his mettle and he has been found wanting. Slogans, his favourite ploy, do not help (vikas, vishwas, et al). People want answers; they demand accountability for the havoc he created. But the concept is foreign to him.

He has deployed every trick in the book to build himself up as a mass leader, above the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and even its parent (the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), and above institutions, Parliament and the judiciary. His technique was continuous electioneering, doling out slogans, impugning the integrity of critics and opponents without a thought for accountability to Parliament. He began by going over the heads of Cabinet colleagues to civil servants (vide the writer’s article “Modifying Democracy”, Frontline, July 11, 2014). He is now reduced to embarking on a course of cheap demagogy. It will not work.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/the-decline-of-modi/article9456807.ece

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The Cost of India’s Man-Made Currency Crisis – Editorial (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

Two months after the Indian government abruptly decided to swap the most widely used currency notes for new bills, the economy is suffering. The manufacturing sector is contracting; real estate and car sales are down; and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians report that a shortage of cash has made life increasingly difficult.…

But the swap was atrociously planned and executed. Indians had to line up for hours outside banks to deposit and withdraw cash. New notes have been in short supply because the government did not print enough of them in advance. The cash crunch has been worst in small towns and rural areas. The amount of cash in circulation fell by nearly half, from 17.7 trillion rupees ($260 billion) on Nov. 4 to 9.2 trillion ($135 billion) on Dec. 23, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

No economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship – certainly not one like that of India, where cash is used for about 98 percent of consumer transactions by volume. And while a growing number of people have debit cards and cellphones that can be used to transfer money, most merchants are not set up to accept such electronic payments.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/the-cost-of-indias-man-made-currency-crisis.html

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How BJP used the Gujarat co-operative bank sector to ‘re-monetise’ its funds – By Charu Kartikeya (Jan 6, 2017, Catch News)

It is becoming increasingly clear that while ordinary citizens were forced to endure endless agony over their hard-earned money following demonetisation, BJP used its position in power to manage its own money quite conveniently. Between early days after demonetisation and now, several reports have surfaced that point out how the party may have converted old notes worth hundreds of crores into new ones without attracting any scrutiny.

First, reports of BJP leaders knowing about demonetisation in advance came out. Then it was reported that the party indulged in a massive land-buying spree in many states, using cash. Now, much evidence is coming to light that indicates that BJP may have used co-operative banks run by its own leaders to keep its money safe.

An investigation done by The Hindustan Times has pointed out that cash deposits in 285 district cooperative banks (DCBs) across the country saw a six-fold surge in less than a week after the demonetisation announcement of 8 November. Leading these banks in this unbelievable surge was Amreli Jilla Madhyastha Sahakari Bank Ltd (AJMSBL) in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, whose Chairman is not just a senior BJP leader in the state but also a cabinet minister. The bank’s cash deposits on 7 November were to the tune of Rs 1.3 crore but over the next four working days, the deposits surged to Rs 209.15 crore, a 200-fold jump. How unusually high is this figure for the bank can be gauged from the bank that the highest deposit in the last quarter was a meagre Rs.6.2 crore.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/how-bjp-used-the-gujarat-co-operative-bank-sector-to-re-monetise-its-funds-1483710659.html

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India: Modi, Money, Minorities And The Year That Was – By John Dayal (Dec 31, 2016, Sabrang India)

The last flicker of 2016 sees an India devalued, its reputation in tatters, its people in pain. It also marks the mid-term of the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has already reserved his place in the country’s political history as the man whose headlong rush to imagined personal glory has plunged India’s famed foreign policy into a friendless abyss, its development process on a reverse path, its security left fraught.

With a tongue-tied and invisible council of ministers and the Planning Commission shrunk to nothingness, he should be a Dictator. He remains but a caricature of one, seen in advertisements of PayTM, the half-Chinese payment portal, and on TV, both arms semaphoring bile and spite. It is to the sangh parivar headquarters in Nagpur that Ratan Tata and fellow tycoons go when in trouble, and where generals, spymasters, administrators pay court.…

Crops failed as farmers could not get the cash to buy the seeds and the fertilisers. The small vegetable farmers found their harvest rotting on the road for want of purchasers. Patients requiring surgery died in transit as their parents or children pleaded with hospitals. The sight of a former soldier, now old and frail, weeping after he was edged out of a snaking queue at a bank, went viral, as the new phrase goes. He was trying to get his own money, not borrowing from the bank. Statistics cannot assist in visualising those tears. Though figures show that Modi’s claim of eradicating black money is not merely misleading, it is criminally false. His threat to do worse in the new year may be very real.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/india-modi-money-minorities-and-year-was

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Narendra Modi’s Crackdown on Civil Society in India – By Rohini Mohan (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

…The Lawyers Collective, an advocacy group in New Delhi run by the prominent lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, has for three decades provided legal assistance to women, nonunion workers, activists and other marginalized groups, often without charge. In December, the Modi government barred it from receiving foreign grants. The political reasons were obvious: The Collective had represented critics of Mr. Modi’s sectarian record and environmental vision.

Under Indian law, nongovernmental groups that seek foreign donations have to register under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, which prohibits the use of overseas funds for “activities detrimental to the national interest.” Although accountability in the nongovernmental sector is necessary to control malpractice, the foreign funding law is better known as a tool of political retribution than transparent auditing.

It’s not just the Collective that has been punished. The Home Affairs Ministry recently revoked the licenses of around 10,000 other nongovernmental organizations. Even groups whose funding licenses were renewed are worried about the future. “It is activism on thinning ice from now on,” an education activist told me.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/narendra-modis-crackdown-on-civil-society-in-india.html

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RSS, BJP and Communal Polarisation in Uttar Pradesh Polls – By Radhika Ramaseshan (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

In July 2016, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hosted a week-long annual meet of its kshetriya pracharaks (literally translates as regional propagandists, but the RSS calls them regional minders) at Bithoor, the choice of a small town, 55 km away from Kanpur, as the venue was deliberate. Uttar Pradesh (UP) would be going to polls in early 2017. It was critical for the RSS to message early on that its role would be central and not supplementary and “constructive” towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The element of positivity was required to be emphasised to dispel the doubts and misgivings that persisted about the part the RSS had played in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, arising from certain remarks that the sarsanghachalak (head), Mohan Bhagwat, had made on the reservations policy.…

With the Dalits, the script went awry long before the BJP could regroup their votes. Sensing early on that Mayawati was working hard at recovering those sections of the Dalits, including the Jatavs, who had left the BSP for the BJP in 2014 and adding their votes with those of the Muslims to add up a formidable social combine, the RSS and the BJP worked assiduously on the Dalits. The mobilisation strategies faltered soon enough, because as with the MBCs, for the Dalits too communal polarisation, pitting them against Muslims, had a limited shelf life.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/uttar-pradesh%E2%80%94vortex-change/rss-bjp-and-communal-polarisation-uttar-pradesh-polls

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Book Review

Fascism: Essays on Europe and India

Author: Ed. Jairus Banaji
Reviewed by: Radhika Desai
Available at: Three Essays Collective, B-957 Palam Vihar, GURGAON (Haryana), 122 017 India. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Hindutva and Fascism (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

Comparisons between the Sangh Parivar and interwar European fascisms are inescapable. The founders of the Sangh were inspired by, and emulated and adapted, those fascisms (Casolari 2000). The Parivar’s proliferating role in Indian politics also periodically suggested the comparison, whether to politicians such as Indira Gandhi in the 1970s or to intellectuals after the demolition of the Babri Mosque (Sarkar in the volume being reviewed; Ahmad 1993; Basu et al 1993).

Other scholars have questioned the relevance of the comparison (Vanaik 1994; Jaffrelot 1993), though not very successfully (Desai 2016). While political parties have often engaged in similar political tactics – let us confine ourselves to Sanjay Gandhi’s Youth Congress and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs or the Shiv Sena’s long record of union and basti-busting – no party’s activities have so systematically elicited comparisons with fascism as those of the party of Hindutva.…

This mass base did not mean that most Germans actively supported the Third Reich just as Modi government does not mean all Indians support it (Desai 2014). However, Banaji does emphasise that there was a certain “moral indifference” or “passive complicity” (p 218). Today in India, this would include the refusal to use the concept of fascism as a critical part of an understanding of the Modi government for the purposes of opposing it. As Banaji emphasises, the Sangh Parivar’s pogroms in India have already exceeded anything that the Nazis did barring the holocaust. …

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/review-article/hindutva-and-fascism.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 2nd, 2017

by newsdigest on January 16, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Religious harmony: Muslims give land for Hindu fair in Kota town (Dec 27, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Two Muslim villagers in Rajasthan’s Kota did not till their land this Rabi season to facilitate Hindu community to hold a 228-year-old fair on their farmland, setting an example of communal harmony against the backdrop of growing religious intolerance in the country.

Abdul Hameed (60) set aside 18 bighas of his farmland while 55-year-old Sabir Khan kept free 2.5 bighas for the fair which commenced on January 28 at the district’s Kherabad town.… Mohanlal Chaudharya said the organising committee took land from many residents on rent ranging between Rs 3,000 and 6,000 per bigha. But Hameed and Khan gave their land for free, he added.

Hameed said he incurred a loss by not cultivating his land this season but he has no regrets. “I’ve also promised to provide a 5,000-litre water tanker free of cost,” he said. This village is upholding the spirit of unity in diversity at a time when religious unrest is rising in the country, said a grateful pilgrim.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/muslims-give-land-for-hindu-fair-in-kota-town/story-gd5qaNEa6XKCQckbw0Pw9O.html

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RBI’s refusal to reveal info on demonetisation is ‘blatant subversion of the law’ (Jan 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Responding to a right to information query, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has refused to give information about whether the finance minister and chief economic advisor were consulted before the demonetisation decision was taken. They have claimed that this amounts to seeking an opinion. As per the Right to Information (RTI) law, information certainly covers any record that exists. In this case if there was a record of such consultation, it should have been provided. If there was no such record, this should have been stated. This query certainly did not require the Public Information Officer (PIO) to give his opinion.

Information regarding the names and designations of officers who were consulted in the decision has also been refused claiming that giving this information would ‘would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State’. It was also claimed that this ‘would endanger the life or physical safety’ of such persons.

The RTI Act has ten exemptions for information which can be refused. However, the law requires that reasons must be given when denying a citizen her fundamental right. The Reserve Bank’s PIO has not given any reasoning behind how the interests of India would be affected if the names of officers who were consulted were revealed. It is also very fanciful to claim that revealing the names of officers would endanger their physical safety.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/rbi-s-refusal-to-reveal-info-on-demonetisation-is-blatant-subversion-of-the-law/story-ShsrXlSUm3IraL2lyIGvaO.html

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Three CPM activists hacked allegedly by RSS workers in Kerala (Jan 1, 2017, New Indian Express)

Three CPM activists were hacked allegedly by RSS workers at Varapara near Panoor in Thalassery on Sunday morning, in a clear indication that the rivalry between the saffron brigade and the communists are spilling over to the new year in Kannur, the hotbed of political rivalry between BJP and the CPM.

According to police, the victims Rajilesh (29), son of Babu, Ashwanth (26) son of Balan and Athul (26), son of Chathuti – all hailing from Varapara – were hacked by a gang of five RSS activists in Varapara at about 3.30 AM. The three have suffered severe injuries.

The incident began after altercations over political graffiti on the road while celebrating the new year. All were in an inebriated condition when a scuffle ensued between the two groups, police said. The arguments ended up in a fight and the gang attacked the victims with sharp weapons.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/jan/01/three-cpm-activists-hacked-allegedly-by-rss-workers-in-kerala-1555034.html

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Supreme Court verdict on misuse of religion jolts poll-bound Punjab (Jan 3, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court verdict on the misuse of religion and caste by political parties has sent ripples among the political parties in poll-bound Punjab, where sacrilege is an issue, and radical Panthic outfits have also decided to field candidates. While the Congress called the judgment a blow to the ruling party, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the latter sought to downplay it by saying they had never used religion to seek votes.

Referring to the SC verdict that politicians can’t use religion, caste, creed or language for seeking votes, state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said the order has far reaching implications for Punjab where the Akalis have always misused religion to seek votes. He said even today, Akali leaders were taking people to gurdwaras and making them swear their support to the SAD.

Amarinder alleged that many Akali leaders were holding ‘ardaas’ outside gurdwaras to influence people to cast their vote on basis of their religion. He also accused the Akalis of misusing the Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for electoral purposes.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/supreme-court-verdict-on-misuse-of-religion-jolts-poll-bound-punjab/story-y9YWpsAt4BmijON4bn0jUL.html

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Chhattisgarh arrest of fact-finding team: Top activists Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, others seek NHRC intervention (Jan 1, 2017, Counterview)

Prominent activists from across India have asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to urgently intervene and take steps against those responsible for the manner of arrest of the seven member Fact Finding Team seeking to visit Bastar region of Chhattisgarh in Telangana on December 25, 2016, calling the act a “serious constitutional, legal and human rights violation.” In a signed letter to the NHRC chairman, 45 activists have said this was done in the garb of “combating ‘Maoism’,” and is part of the state unleashing an “unprecedented spree of threats, violence, false cases, arbitrary arrests, detentions, dubious encounters, rapes, sexual assault etc.” in Bastar area of Chhattisgarh.

Those who have signed the statement include Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey of the the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, Prafulla Samantara of the Lok Shakti Abhiyan (Odisha), and Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/01/chhattisgarh-arrest-of-fact-finding.html

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Malegaon blast: Ex-cop claims ‘missing’ accused were killed by ATS 8 yrs ago (Dec 30, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A former officer of Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad has claimed that two key accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case were not missing but had, in fact, been killed by the ATS on November 26, 2008. Talking to HT, suspended Police Inspector Mehboob Mujawar claimed Ramchandra Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange, who are currently shown as wanted, were killed by ATS officials and said he had filed an application and submitted evidence before the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Solapur on August 19, 2016. The matter came to light on Thursday after Mujawar gave an interview to the TV channel Times Now.

An improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in a motorcycle had gone off on September 29, 2008, in Malegaon town killing six people and injuring 101. The ATS had arrested several people including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and Lt Col Prasad Srikant Purohit in this connection and filed a charge sheet against 14 people, including Kalsangre and Dange, who are listed as wanted.

Mujawar alleged that three senior officials of the Maharashtra police – two retired DGs and one high ranking serving IPS official – tried to suppress information about the killings. (HT is not naming them as there is no evidence to corroborate Mujawar’s claims in this regard.)…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/malegaon-blast-ex-cop-claims-missing-accused-were-killed-by-ats-8-yrs-ago/story-lBDERVRJYrKi4VUt4KJCFM.html

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Aligarh Muslim University students protest against police brutality (Jan 3, 2016, Times of India)

Students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) took out a protest march on Monday against what they termed as a “brutal attack” on them by police during their rail blockade programme on December 31. Raising slogans against UP police and carrying placards “AMU stands against injustice” and “UP police murdabad”, the students submitted a memorandum to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, through the local administration demanding action against the police personnel.

Talking to TOI, Nabeel Usmani, secretary of AMU, said we were proceeding towards the railway platform peacefully to protest against the failure of the police in tracing missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, when police resorted to unprovoked lathicharge, leaving several students injured.

Dubbing the police action as “unjustified and undemocratic”, Usmani said such treatment is not acceptable. He said the AMU students’ union expects the chief minister to initiate action against the guilty police personnel. The students’ union also demanded that the CM direct the police and the administration to behave.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56299469.cms

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Six cops try to hush up death of vendor in custody at Adarsh Nagar police station, suspended (Jan 1, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A 24-year-old fruit seller was killed after falling down from the terrace of the Adarsh Nagar police station in an apparent case of custodial death last week. Shockingly, the station house officer (SHO) and five other policemen later allegedly tried to hush-up the crime by dumping the man’s body elsewhere and destroying evidence, which included cleaning the blood from the crime scene. They also allegedly manipulated other records at the police station related to the fruit seller’s detention under preventive measures, police sources said.

Even as the police personnel in question tried their best to keep the incident under wraps, it was a whistleblower from the police station that alerted the assistant commission of police (ACP) of Model Town police sub-division. The ACP communicated the matter to DCP (northwest) Milind Dumbre and other senior officers in the Delhi Police headquarters.

An internal enquiry confirmed the involvement of the six police personnel, who were then placed under suspension and sent to district police lines till further orders. “The six have been booked under sections of culpable homicide (304 IPC), wrongful confinement (342 IPC), destruction of evidences (201 IPC) and common intention (34 IPC). The FIR was registered at the Adarsh Nagar police station,” said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police spokesperson.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/six-cops-try-to-hush-up-death-of-vendor-in-custody-at-adarsh-nagar-police-station-suspended/story-RbtARLC6MGv64yeFDsDu4J.html

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Petition floated to halt construction of Rs 3600 crore Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea (Dec 26, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Amid the tussle between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena (SS) in claiming the credit for erecting the 690 feet high statue of Maratha warrior Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, a petition has been floated by the citizens in an attempt to halt the project.

The petition is directed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “This is taxpayers’ money and I am sure we would all like this money to be spend on something better – education, infrastructure, food…anything but a statue that is of no use to anyone”, the petition reads.

The petition, which has so far been signed by over 35,000 people, also states, “This is not what Shivaji would have wanted and I am sure we can find other ways to honour him. Apart from a waste of money, this statue is going to be terrible for the environment; for the traffic situation in South Bombay and a security nightmare.”…

http://twocircles.net/2016dec26/1482751088.html

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Beltangady: Rape attempt on minor girl – Bajrang Dal activist arrested (Dec 28, 2017, Daijiworld)

A person who reportedly tried to rape a fourth standard girl student, was arrested by the police personnel of Dharmasthala station on Tuesday December 27. The accused has been identified as Umesh (25), an auto rickshaw driver. Reportedly, the girl was alone with her younger sister at home, when the accused tried to rape her. The incident is said to have occurred on December 24.…

The Dharmasthala police have booked the accused under different provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Reportedly, efforts are on to save Umesh, a close associate of Bajrang Dal leader from Dharmasthala, Bhaskar, from getting punished for this offence. Bajrang Dal activists are stated to be making efforts to dissuade the complainants from pursuing the case.

As per information, the complaint was made on December 24 itself, but under pressure from interested quarters, Dharmasthala police were trying to bail out the accused. However, deputy superintendent of police (DySP), Ravish C R, who came to know about this development, visited Dharmasthala police station, took to task the police for their lapse and instructed them to file the case, it is said.…

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=429576

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Gujarat: Dalit man, pregnant wife thrashed for resisting cattle grazing at farm (Dec 28, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A Dalit man and his pregnant wife were allegedly beaten up by members of another community at Ugala village in Gir Somnath district for preventing them from grazing their cattle in a farm where the couple had been working as labourers, police said on Tuesday. Babubhai Sankhat (35) and his six-month pregnant wife Rekhaben (30) were allegedly attacked on December 25.

“Babubhai and Rekhaben were hired by the farm owner to work in the cotton field at Ugala village. On December 25, they had an altercation with some members of a community who wanted to take their cattle in the field for grazing,” investigating officer and deputy superintendent of police, SC/ST Cell, PS Valvi said.

He said the couple was beaten up with sticks after they objected to cattle grazing, saying it would damage standing crop in the farm.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/gujarat-dalit-man-pregnant-wife-thrashed-for-resisting-cattle-grazing-at-farm/story-k4DFQBJeUoFwOmX1HBNQyO.html

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Opinions and Editorials

This speech after note ban? PM must be made to pay for a cruel joke on people – By Prasenjit Bose (Jan 1, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Prime Minister’s speech was high on homilies and bluster, low on substance. It has failed to provide any relevant fact or data on the demonetisation exercise.

How much of the proscribed currency notes returned to the banking system by December 30? How much ‘black money’ and fake currency were unearthed since November 8? How many illicit cash hoarders and terrorists were caught? What gain has accrued to the exchequer and what have been the fiscal costs of the note ban? By when would the supply of new currency notes normalise and the limits on cash withdrawal removed? These questions remain unanswered.

The PM is silent on these because the answers will expose the entire demonetisation exercise as a policy fiasco, which has yielded peanuts in terms of recovered black money while inflicting heavy economic pain on the people through a policy-induced recession. The continuance of cash withdrawal limits implies that the government and RBI are nowhere close to restoring normalcy in cash availability.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/note-ban-and-then-this-speech-a-cruel-joke-on-people-pm-modi-must-be-made-to-pay/story-QcWXiZV8YTMJfeHFHsBc4M.html

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Time to hold the RBI to account – By Lekha Rattanani (Jan 2, 2017, New Indian Express)

The November 8 decision to withdraw currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 has turned into a full-fledged political battle which will run on and attract headlines well into the new year. But while the blame for the mismanagement that has followed the withdrawal of 86 per cent of currency has been placed largely at New Delhi’s doors, it is important not to overlook the role of the one institution that is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of managing the currency of the nation – the Reserve Bank of India.

There are those who argue that the RBI had little to do once the political decision was taken. But that would be undermining, underestimating and even dismissing the huge role that the RBI has to play and indeed should have played in managing this situation.…

In sum, there is no dispute that this is the one institution that could have raised an early red flag and advised the Centre better. Though we cannot be sure, there are no indications so far that this was done. While the political institutions will feel the heat of public reaction (or reap the benefits, depending on how you read the situation), the public anger directed at the banks in general and the RBI in particular is no less.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2017/jan/02/time-to-hold-the-rbi-to-account-1555118–1.html

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SC Verdict On Separating Religion And Caste From Politics Is Sadly Unrealistic – By Sandip Roy (Jan 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

“No politician can seek votes in the name of caste, creed or religion,” says the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court surely means well but good luck getting religion out of politics. The 4-3 decision is meant to drive home the message that religion, race, caste, community have no place in the electoral process. A candidate cannot seek votes on the basis of that, whether it’s his or her own religion/community or the voters’. That will amount to a “corrupt practice”.…

Therein lies the problem. Are elections truly secular? Our secularism is not about the absence of religion but the equal and non-preferential treatment of all religions. It’s not irreligion but a multitude of religions.…

“The term “sarva dharma sambhava (respect for all religions)” is a far more meaningful formulation for us.” Religion, caste, community, creed, language are so intertwined in our daily lives that it’s unrealistic to expect politics to be free of them.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/03/can-the-supreme-court-ruling-realistically-free-politics-of-reli/

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People must force Narendra Modi to provide a jumla-free sarkar in 2017 – By Ujjal Dosanjh (Dec 30, 2016, Indian Express)

For Indians 2017 must be the year of rebellion – of the peaceful variety. There is nothing wrong with revolting against bad government. It is not sedition against the country. Indians must rise up in peaceful revolt and protest to ensure that their country’s government works for their collective dream of a better and fairer India of more jobs, good public healthcare, better education and less corruption. They must stand up in peaceful protests and tell the increasingly deaf government in Delhi they can’t eat statues, no matter how tall they are.

Domestically and internationally, the Modi government is stumbling from one blunder to another. The devastating demonetisation was rung in on November 8th, completely out of the blue. Even the Reserve Bank of India, the guarantor and regulator of the Indian currency learnt only three hours before Modi threw the demonetisation grenade on the bumbling RBI and the unsuspecting public. Ever since that shock, millions of people have been queuing up at the banks and the ATMs everyday; despite the government’s promises to the contrary the end of queues seems not in sight.…

Under these terrible circumstances, the Indians revolting in 2017, rising up in vigorous and peaceful protests in the country, to chart a new course for India is the greatest gift they could give to themselves and the country. In that spirit of legitimate, rebellious and peaceful protest, my wish for India in 2017 is that they rise in humungous protests to force Modi to provide a gimmick and Jumla-free government for India; a government that unites not divides along regional, religious or caste lines; a government that builds schools, colleges, hospitals, sewage facilities, universities and research facilities –not lifeless statues to hoodwink Indians into believing something useful is being done when in fact nothing is.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/people-must-force-narendra-modi-to-provide-a-jumla-free-sarkar-in-2017-4451708/

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Dying in Police Custody in India – Editorial (Dec 27, 2016, New York Times)

Nearly 600 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, yet not one police official was convicted during this period. A report released by Human Rights Watch last week examines 17 cases in which families have sought accountability. Their stories reveal, in searing detail, why there have been so many deaths, starting with police contempt for proper procedures, a cavalier attitude toward the torture of detainees and near total impunity for wrongful deaths.

India’s National Human Rights Commission and courts have laid down detailed procedures for how police officers should handle arrests, including identifying themselves at the time of arrest, recording the date and time of arrest and informing next of kin. Police rules require a medical examination upon arrest to establish existing injuries so that any injuries from torture can be documented, and for every person taken into custody to appear before a magistrate within 24 hours. When custodial deaths occur, the police need to file a First Information Report and initiate an investigation, and an autopsy is to be performed and filmed.

These procedures are too often ignored: In nearly 70 percent of deaths in police custody in India in 2015, the victim had not seen a magistrate within the mandatory 24-hour period or had died within 24 hours. Enforcing existing laws and procedures would help. But independent investigations into custodial deaths are also needed. The police effectively investigate themselves now. Families seeking justice for wrongful deaths need protection, and police officers must know they will face prosecution and punishment for torture and wrongful deaths.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/opinion/dying-in-police-custody-in-india.html

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Criminal injustice – Editorial (Dec 28, 2016, Indian Express)

Eleven years after Irshad Ali was accused of terrorism by the Delhi Police, and jailed, he has returned home, finally acquitted of all charges. Those years cannot be returned to him, but justice still can – and for India’s criminal justice system, this case ought to bring a moment of reckoning. For eight years, at least, the criminal justice system itself has had reasons for serious doubt about the charges brought by Delhi Police, against Ali and his co-accused, Mourif Qamar.

In 2008, the Central Bureau of Investigation concluded that Ali and Qamar were in fact informers for the Special Cell and Intelligence Bureau, who had been framed by its officials. Litigation led by Delhi Police saw the CBI report contested all the way up to the Supreme Court. In the end, the CBI report, which also recommended the prosecution of officials allegedly responsible for framing Ali and Qamar, was filed in a Delhi Court along with the Delhi Police charges.…

From Malegaon to the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the evidence shows that the rule of law has been swept aside by a state of chronic and criminal injustice. Inaction insults the republic, and each citizen.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/irshad-ali-case-terrorist-free-delhi-police-cbi-4447735/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 26th, 2016

January 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Another mosque returned to Muslims in Punjab News Headlines Demonetisation: “What India has done is commit a massive theft of people’s property – a shocking move for a democratically elected government”, says Steve Forbes MP: Ailing old man forced by bank to be personally present for money […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 19th, 2016

December 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines I-T department raids BJP leader Sushil Vaswani for allegedly laundering huge sums of black money NIA court verdict awarding death sentence to five Muslim youth is a travesty of justice: CLMC ‘Hundreds die’ in India police custody, says rights group report Communal clash in MP town: Police […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2016

December 22, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Maratha Seva Sangh organises communal harmony rally as part of Eid ul Milad celebrations News Headlines Bengal BJP man held with Rs 10 lakh in new notes Bhaiya reference to minister Kiren Rijiju: ‘Bhaiya ka help chahiye toh humko boliye Sir’ UP polls: BJP, RSS want to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 5th, 2016

December 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition: 25 years on, trial against accused pending Exposed: How spiritual leaders are laundering hawala, secretive money during demonetisation Cash front finger at politicians – Dramatic claim by record declarant 27 senior bank officials suspended on charges of illegal conversion of notes Eight BJP-RSS workers […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 28th, 2016

December 6, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines CBI not investigating PM Narendra Modi will be a travesty of justice: AAP Over Rs. 20 lakh seized from BJP functionary India’s cash crisis could kill its economic boom Demonetisation is a draconian move: Greek Minister Zakir Naik links ban on IRF to demonetisation drive, asks […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 21st, 2016

December 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu-Muslim unity in Uttar Pradesh gets note exchange shot News Headlines BJP Left Red-faced After Rs 92 Lakh Cash Seized From Vehicle Owned By Maharashtra Minister BJP leaders’ presence at Reddy’s family wedding exposes party’s double standards on black money British archives document “links” Godse with RSS, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 14th, 2016

November 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Digest News Headlines Rs 3 crore deposit ahead of Rs 500 & Rs 1000 note ban puts West Bengal BJP in a spot Day 9: Demonetisation Death Toll Rises To 55 ‘Staged encounter’ probe panel chief has RSS links AiNNI writes to President against BJP man getting into NHRC […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 7th, 2016

November 17, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘Sabko nipta do’: Senior police official heard giving orders to kill 8 SIMI operatives on audio recording Bhopal encounter: Bullets hit SIMI suspects in chest, abdomen, reveals post-mortem report 1,654 shot dead in encounters between 2004-2014 2 RSS Men Arrested For Murder Of Left Worker In Kerala’s […]

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