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News Digest

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 18th, 2014

by newsdigest on August 19, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

India’s 68th Independence Day – A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism

Friday, August 15, 2014

 

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation’s founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India’s secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India’s population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture,” Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

 

 

“India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences, ” added Mr. Khan.

It is alarming that dozens of Muslim youth have been arrested on trumped-up terror charges and continue to languish in prisons, for crimes they had not committed. In some cases, like the infamous Akshardham case and the Surat 1993 blasts case, justice was served after more than a decade, when their innocence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

IAMC takes this opportunity to commemorate the countless freedom fighters, including countless Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis who were killed in the freedom struggle. They offered the ultimate sacrifice, but died believing that their collective identity as Indians was something they wanted to defend with their own lives.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com/

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES
India’s Shrinking Religious Freedom
http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/rfp/blog/modi-s-victory-and-the-future-of-religious-freedom-in-india/responses/india-s-shrinking-religious-freedom

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat under attack
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/40068439.cms
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Communal Harmony

On 68th independence Day IAMC urges to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism (Aug 15, 2014, Twocircles.net)

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation’s founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India’s secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India’s population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture,” Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

“India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences,” added Mr. Khan. …

http://twocircles.net/2014aug15/68th_independence_day_iamc_urges_renew_communal_harmony_and_safeguard_secularism.html

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Muzaffarnagar organizes marathon to spread communal harmony (Aug 13, 2014, Business Standard)

In a bid to unite people from all faiths in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar city of Uttar Pradesh, a marathon was organised on Tuesday to spread the message of peace and communal harmony. Muzaffarnagar is a flashpoint in Uttar Pradesh in which some 60 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots last year.

The marathon saw participation of around 4,000 children, along with journalists, police officials, and members of various women and civil society organisations. The event concluded with a cultural function featuring Independence Day-themed programmes.

The five-kilometre marathon is an annual event and was organised for the third time in a row. An activist, Satyaprakash Reshu said the marathon would cross all religious institutions with religious heads taking part in it.

http://www.business-standard.com/video-gallery/general/muzaffarnagar-organizes-marathon-to-spread-communal-harmony-10202.htm

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Petition seeks stay on Modi election from Varanasi (Aug 12, 2014, The Hindu)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent crores as a candidate from Varanasi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, thereby violating rules of expenditure, a writ petition filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday has claimed.

The petition filed by a Pune-based social activist against Mr. Modi, the Election Commission of India and the Union of India, has sought a stay on the election result from Varanasi till the plea is heard. It has also sought investigation and legal action against Mr. Modi.

Petitioner Hemant Patil has alleged that Mr. Modi took support of “various capitalists including Ambani, Adani, etc., and expended in large with violation of provisions of law.” He has said the expenditure resulted in giving full majority to the BJP and getting Mr. Modi the position of a Prime Minister.

“The Election Commission has allowed only Rs. 70 Lakh for one candidate in Lok Sabha election but Mr. Modi has never considered the same and (has) expended more than Rs. 5 to 10 crores on each and every candidates including himself,” the petition has claimed. It has accused Mr. Modi of spending crores on the media campaign as well.

Mr. Patil has claimed that he had sent a written complaint to the Government of India and to the Election Commission, elaborating the election malpractices of Mr. Modi. But, he said he hasn’t yet heard from any one of them about the action initiated against the Prime Minister.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/petition-in-bombay-high-court-seeks-stay-on-election-of-narendra-modi-from-varanasi/article6308530.ece

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‘Since Narendra Modi turned PM, 600 riots struck India’; Sangh too under attack over communal riots (Aug 13, 2014, Financial Express)

Congress and other Opposition parties today accused Sangh parivar outfits, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, of “inciting” communal violence in the country to “polarise” the society, a charge stoutly rejected by the ruling BJP with counter allegations. Congress alleged that since the Narendra Modi government took over two months back, 600 riots had taken place in various parts of the country, particularly in the states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where elections are due.

Initiating the discussion in Lok Sabha on ‘Need for more effective mechanisms to deal with communal violence’, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that BJP and its affiliates were trying to “divide the society” to retain power and warned that if it was not controlled, “we will repent”. Amid strong protests by ruling benches, he said BJP should not “incite” riots and added “Only because you got government does not mean that you will suppress others.”

Naming VHP and Bajrang Dal and referring to certain comments made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Kharge said the “communal forces” had got emboldened after BJP came to power as they feel that they have “political power” now and would be protected. He said while BJP was accusing Congress of indulging in “vote bank politics”, the truth was the other way round.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/since-narendra-modi-turned-pm-600-riots-struck-india-sangh-too-under-attack-over-communal-riots/1279121/0

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RSS practicing politics of hatred: SP attacks Bhagwat for controversial remarks (Aug 18, 2014, IBN)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday came under attack from Samajwadi Party for his controversial remarks that India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. It accused the Sangh of practising politics of “hatred and separatism.” “They use such words and language to fan social tension,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.

Mohan Bhagwat had on Sunday said India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. “Hindustan is a Hindu nation… Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself,” he said. He was in Mumbai on Sunday on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami to attend the inauguration programme of the golden jubilee celebrations of the VHP, that was founded in Mumbai on August 29-30, 1964.

He said the goal of VHP in the coming five years would be to ensure equality among the Hindus of the nation. “For the next 5 years we have to work with the aim of bringing equality among all the Hindus in the country. All Hindus should be drinking water at one place, should be praying at one place and after their death, their bodies should be burnt at the same place,” he said.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/rss-practicing-politics-of-hatred-sp-attacks-bhagwat-for-controversial-remarks/492773-3-242.html

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Saharanpur riots report: Committee questions role of BJP (Aug 17, 2014, Indian Express)

A five-member committee headed by UP minister Shivpal Yadav, which probed the communal violence in Saharanpur that left three persons dead, has blamed administrative lapses for the incident and questioned the role of BJP. “The report has been submitted by the committee to chief minister in which a BJP MP has also been named besides laxity of administrative officers”, Samajwadi Party’s National General Secretary Naresh Agarwal said. …

The report of the committee has blamed laxity of some officers and said the government should take stern action against them to give a message to the bureaucracy, Agarwal said. “As role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident”, he said. The committee in its report, sources said, has alleged that a local BJP MP provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops.

It alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out. As the holy month of Ramzan was going on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/saharanpur-riots-report-committee-questions-role-of-bjp/

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Cop surrenders in Muzaffarnagar riot case (Aug 14, 2014, Free Press Journal)

A police constable, allegedly involved in arson and loot during the communal riots here last year, has surrendered in a local court. The constable, who had been absconding in the case, was later released on interim bail till August 26, said SIT Inspector Ramreten Singh.

Constable Anuj Kumar, posted with the Delhi Police, surrendered in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar yesterday, the Inspector said. His bail plea was also rejected by the court. Later, he was released on interim bail by the Sessions Court. His regular bail plea will be heard on August 26, he said.

In the investigation by SIT, the constable was found involved in incidents of arson and loot in Lisadh village in the district during the riots last year and the court had issued an arrest warrant against him, the Inspector said. The constable, who is a native of the village, had gone there at the time of the riots during his holiday.

http://freepressjournal.in/cop-surrenders-in-muzaffarnagar-riot-case/

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Communal tension grips Khandwa again; one shot (Aug 14, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Two armed men first shot at two friends and then stabbed one of them to death on a busy street in Khandwa district on Thursday, rekindling communal tensions that appeared to have died down after a burst of religious violence a fortnight ago. Since both men belong to the minority community, the police have been deployed to prevent a communal flare-up in the town where the authorities had lifted Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than four people, only today.

Khandwa additional superintendent of police Gopal Khandel said two bike-born masked men first shot at Javed, a resident of Gulshan Nagar, and his friend Saleem, who hails from Bikangaon, with a country-made pistol. The assailants then stabbed Javed who died on the spot. Saleem has been taken to a hospital where his condition is stated to be serious.

“Section 144 has been again been imposed in the city. We are investigating the murder and police are maintaining a vigil to prevent any untoward incident,” Khandel told HT. The ASP said that Independence Day programmes in the town have been not been cancelled.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1252210.aspx

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Ex-CAG punctures a temple tale: No King Cobras guard the vault (Aug 13, 2014, Indian Express)

Like all treasure trove stories, Kerala’s Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple also has one striking tale of yore, dipped in curse and realms of imagination. That hooded King Cobras with forked tongues – coiled and ready to strike at lightning speed – protect one of its secret treasure chambers. And this is the vault that spells disaster for those who dare open it.

The mysterious Vault-B kept everyone at bay although five other vaults were opened in 2011 by a team mandated by the Supreme Court. The stocktaking had unveiled a treasure trove worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore – in the form of jewellery, idols, weapons, utensils and coins. The myth of Vault-B, however, has now been shattered. Dismissing all apprehensions and fear of bad omen, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai has informed the Supreme Court that Vault-B had been opened at least seven times to his knowledge since 1990.

Rai, who has been appointed as special auditor in the wake of the “disturbing facts” disclosed in a report by the court-appointed amicus, Gopal Subramanium, cited all the occasions as to when Vault-B was opened. Illustrating the fact from the record kept by the temple authorities, Rai pointed out that Vault-B was opened twice in 1990 and five times in 2002. “Silver ingots were taken out and GOLD vessels were deposited and subsequently taken out, as evidenced from the entries in the Mahassar Books and other registers maintained by the treasurer of the temple and as produced before the audit team,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ex-cag-punctures-a-temple-tale-no-king-cobras-guard-the-vault/99/

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Fake encounter cases: Court warns Amit Shah, says will act against accused absent without valid reason (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A Central Bureau of Investigation court has hit out at the accused remaining absent from the hearings into the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. The court has said that if the accused are absent from the hearing and valid reason is not given, then appropriate action will be taken against them.

The court was hearing an application by Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s brother Rubabuddin about Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s absence from court hearings. Shah was earlier exempted from some hearings, but continues to remain absent from further hearings.

The court had on issued summonses to Shah and other accused in the case, which had been transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai earlier this year. The CBI had chargesheeted Shah and 18 others, including several police officers, in the case last September.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/fake-encounter-cases-court-warns-amit-shah-says-will-act-against-accused-absent-without-valid-reason/492113-37-64.html

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Pracharak Sunil Joshi killed after he made sexual advances on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur: NIA (Aug 17, 2014, Financial Express)

Probing the 2007 murder of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has concluded that one of the reasons for his killing was the alleged “sexual advances” he made towards Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, already named an accused in the case by police in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

The ailing Sadhvi, who is also an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is set to figure in a NIA chargesheet to be filed next week in the Joshi murder case. She and four others are expected to be charged under provisions of the Arms Act and not the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She is the only one to be named in both chargesheets – of the Dewas police and NIA – in the case.

The NIA claimed that one of the motives for the murder was the “sexual advances” made by Joshi. According to the agency, Pragya was wary of Joshi, believing he would spill the beans on the terror plots. The NIA chargesheet is likely to mention that in a bid to prevent Joshi from speaking about the Ajmer blasts, Pragya kept Anandraj Kataria in her house for almost 10 days. Although Dewas police named Kataria as an accused, he does not figure in the final NIA list of accused in the Joshi murder case.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/pracharak-killed-after-he-made-sexual-advances-on-sadhvi-nia/1280005

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UP police officer held guilty of raping Dalit girl (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A local court has held a deputy superintendent of police guilty of raping a Dalit girl in Kanpur two years ago. According to a complaint lodged in 2012 by the victim’s father with the police, Deputy SP Amarjeet Shahi during his posting in Kanpur had lured his daughter and raped her.

Shahi was suspended with immediate effect after the incident. He was lodged in jail for 18 months and later released on bail. The accused has been held guilty on charges of abduction and rape under SC and SC Act. The court would pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 16, the prosecution said.

Later outside the court, the victim and her family members raised slogans against the accused and demanded a death penalty for him.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/up-police-officer-held-guilty-of-raping-dalit-girl/492208-3-242.html

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Opinions and Editorials

A Twisted Idea Of India – By Pradyot Lal (Aug 23, 2014, Tehelka)

It cannot be described as his moment of epiphany because Mohanrao Bhagwat has not said anything that had not been said by his ideological progenitors before. … For the likes of Bhagwat, however, the idea of India’s pluralism is a romantic myth. The Modi establishment is making conscious efforts to saffronise the educational system, and the assertions by Bhagwat cannot be taken to mean as some kind of individual ramblings alone. By saying that all Indians have the same DNA irrespective of their specific background, Bhagwat is paraphrasing his mentors without a hint of originality, but he is also being as dangerously ahistorical as Dinanath Batra and YS Rao have been in recent weeks. Barely a few days after the Modi regime took over, the ‘one nation, one language’ schema of which Rajnath Singh is an avowed proponent came up to cause serious disquiet.

All these things suggest that it is not just saffron’s ideological fringe that is threatening to assume ascendancy but the moves have the direct and active participation of leading busybodies. The timing of Bhagwat’s babble could not have been more ominous. One recalls that less than two years ago, his sexist mindset had come strikingly to the fore when he spoke in the wake of the Nirbhaya episode. Among other things, he had said then that rapes were rampant in India and not Bharat, thereby leading critics to snigger that he knew nothing about either India or Bharat.

This time round, Bhagwat has been rapped for not adhering to the basics of the Constitution, which speaks of India that is Bharat and which at no point implies that all Hindustanis are Hindus. Bhagwat is neither a charismatic figure nor a conspicuous ideologue. But he happens to head the brigade of which the BJP is a part. His worldview may smack of narrow nationalism, Brahminism and half-digested modernity, but taken together, it constitutes a lethal combination. There are many in the Modi regime who take his word to be the gospel truth.…

http://www.tehelka.com/a-twisted-idea-of-india/

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Will Modi’s own camp accept his I-Day advice? – By Amulya Ganguli (Aug 15, 2014, Business Standard)

Perhaps the most important part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech from the ramparts of New Delhi’s Red Fort was his call for a 10-year moratorium on caste-based and communal violence. As it follows President Pranab Mukherjee’s condemnation of the “poison-drips” of bigotry in his broadcast on the eve of Independence Day, it is evident that the government is focussing on the rising communal temperature, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, which has been discussed in parliament.

The emphasis is understandable because no development, which is Modi’s primary objective, can take place unless there is social peace. However, the point to ponder is how far the government can go to check this disquieting trend, especially because elements associated with the saffron brotherhood are involved in fomenting tension.

The government may crack down on its opponents who whip up communal feelings, but will the saffronites heed Modi’s counsel of restraint? And, what will be the government’s response if they don’t? Among those who has long been an offender in this respect is the saffron-robed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Yogi Adityanath, who said during the debate on communal violence that Hindus who feel threatened must “fight back”.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/will-modi-s-own-camp-accept-his-i-day-advice-column-political-circus-114081500334_1.html

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Selective Justice – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Aug 12, 2014, Countercurrents)

Maya Kodnani, convicted for killing ninety five Muslims, in 2002 Naroda Patiya & Naroda Gaam case, has been released on bail by Gujrat High Court. In so-called Secular India, The delivery of Justice has been most communal & selective against minorities particularly Muslims. Many such persons convicted of crimes of far less magnitude are languishing in jails without any relief and few of them even awaiting for being sent to gallows.

How was Kodnani nailed in the two wanton massacres of Muslims in the first instance, after having been set free earlier by the trial Court, is an interesting story in itself. After all the vital limbs of democracy, namely the executive, Judiciary & media, colluded with each other to shield the culprits of great carnage, it was left to some divine intervention to bring them to book. And that intervention came through the fall of BJP led Coalition Government in the 2004 Lok Sabha election and a vital piece of evidence in the form of mobile telephone records originally secured by a valiant Police officer, Rahul Sharma, much to the chagrin of his superior officers. …

The story does not end here. Rahul Sharma instead of being applauded & awarded for his heroic work was harassed & hounded by Modi Govt. In 2011, his Govt. initiated disciplinary action against him with four charges of collecting call data record without authorization, storing data in his personal computer without authorization, not informing the original investigating officer about the copies of data in his possession and finally for submitting the data to Nanavati Commission without prior approval of higher authorities.

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar120814.htm

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This is the stage where all Muslim tropes live – By Mushirul Hasan (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

…The NDA’s electoral victory has lent coherence to the Sangh parivar’s ideology, but it has made the Muslim communities spend sleepless nights. This had not happened before. Notwithstanding their litany of complaints against the Congress, they have been wedded to the Indian way of life. They have done nothing whatsoever to undermine the Constitution or repudiate the Nehruvian consensus on secular democracy. However, today’s political and intellectual climate has weakened their confidence in the state system and, what is more, heightened their insecurities. Among other things, the clamour for a uniform civil code has caused consternation. Given its track record, one wonders what is next on the Sangh parivar’s divisive agenda!

Historiography must not follow the great impulses of public life; yet, the HRD ministry’s project is to view the far distant age through contemporary conceptions. The electronic media, on the other hand, debates the imperative of jehad for contemporary Indian Muslims and the theoretical roots of ‘Islamist political terror’. Based on false principles, this exercise is undertaken without realising that India is neither a centre of jehadi terrorism nor the battlefield for Islam’s future. Islam exists in harmony with other religious traditions and Muslims live in peace with followers of other religions. Why is there so much resistance to this reality? Why is plurality of living not accepted as a fact of life? …

Finally, in a society where religion plays a dominant role in virtually every walk of life, it is the historian’s task to bring secularism into our discussions and to affirm its validity as a principle guiding the nation’s life. To renounce this claim is to surrender the Nehruvian project to the protagonists of right-wing ideologies—recipe for a national disaster.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Project-History/291658

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Misunderstanding secularism – By Christophe Jaffrelot (Aug 11, 2014, Indian Express)

Speaking as the chief guest at a conference at Gujarat University’s convention hall on August 2, Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave said, “Had I been the dictator of India, I would have introduced Gita and Mahabharata in Class I. That is the way you learn how to live life. I am sorry if somebody says I am secular or I am not secular. But we have to get good things from everywhere.”

These words reflect some of the current misunderstandings about Indian secularism. It is in consonance with Indian secularism to borrow “good things from everywhere”, including the Gita and the Mahabharata. This “ism” does not imply the secularisation of society. On the contrary, whereas French laïcité involves a clear separation between public and religious spaces, far from excluding religion from the public sphere, Indian secularism officially recognises all faiths, as evident from the Constitution and its implementation in the first decades of the Indian republic.

Jawaharlal Nehru himself wrote in 1961: “We talk about a secular state in India. It is perhaps not very easy even to find a good word in Hindi for ‘secular’. Some people think it means something opposed to religion. That obviously is not correct. What it means is that it is a state which honours all faiths equally and gives them equal opportunities.”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, president of India when Nehru was prime minister, expressed a similar vision in these eloquent terms: “When India is said to be a secular state, it does not mean that we as a people reject the reality of an unseen spirit or the relevance of religions to life or that we exalt irreligion. It does not mean that secularism itself becomes a positive religion or that the state assumes divine prerogatives. Though faith in the supreme spirit is the basic principle of the Indian tradition, our state will not identify itself with or be controlled by any particular religion.” …

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/misunderstanding-secularism/99/

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It’s Not About The Numbers – By Gyanendra Pandey (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

… Majorities and minorities, like nation-states, are means of organising societies, and channeling and distributing cultural, economic and political power. Associated with electoral politics, the terms minority and majority are also used in conjunction with religion or ethnicity or culture-with troublesome results. Used thus, they produce the claim that members of some cultures truly belong to particular politically defined places, while others-recent migrants, ancient inhabitants, people of a different religion-do not. They also freeze population groups into narrow boxes and undifferentiated histories. …

Democracy has increasingly moved from being the voice(s) of the people to that of political parties, and particularly influential pressure groups with fat wallets. Meticulous calculations of ethnic and caste distribution, great propaganda machines and big MONEY determine the outcome of elections. Ruling groups always claim to be the majority, but they never are. They are characteristically a minority-against the poor, against women, and against the world’s Dalits.

In this context, majoritarianism is perhaps the exact opposite of democracy. For if democracy cannot be a daily plebiscite – an ideal that would make the pursuit of large and complex social, economic and political projects exceedingly difficult, if not impossible-it nevertheless needs to be a continuous struggle to prevent the monopolisation of political, economic or social power by those who find themselves temporarily in charge of the state.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Its-Not-About-The-Numbers/291654

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 11th, 2014

by newsdigest on August 12, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Another Euro leader questions Narendra Modi’s record (Aug 6, 2014, Live Mint)

A member of the European Parliament (MEP) on Tuesday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s past record vis-a-vis minorities in India, the second European Union parliamentarian to do so in two months. … Tuesday’s question was from Romanian MEP Viorica Dancila who cited recent reports in the international media that she said “have expressed great concern over Modi’s past record and nationalist agenda”.

“Modi, a member of a Hindu nationalist (Bharatiya Janata Party) party, has been criticized for his role in the deadly Gujarat Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002, in which more than 1,000 members of the Muslim community lost their lives. Modi was chief minister of the state at the time,” she said. “India’s 1.3 billion population comprises a large number of minority groups, including Christians, Muslims and others. Is the EU monitoring the situation in India regarding minority rights and the policy that the new Indian leadership intends to pursue on this matter?”

She was referring to the sectarian riots in 2002 in which many hundreds of people – mostly Muslims-were killed in apparent retaliation after a Muslim mob torched a train compartment carrying Hindu pilgrims in Gujarat’s Godhra town. Modi was then the chief minister of Gujarat and was accused of turning a blind eye to the riots. Western countries led by the US and the UK boycotted Modi for his alleged human rights record. But earlier this year, an Indian court absolved him of blame and the BJP led by him won national elections. …

Another MEP, Spain’s Izaskun Bilbao Barandica last month noted that Modi “has a highly problematic history of racism, and has been accused of involvement in the deadly Gujarat Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002. “In an interview with The New York Times in 2002, Modi said that his only regret was that he didn’t manage the media better,” Barandica said.

“What steps will the EU take, in cooperation with the Indian government, to address the issue of inequality in India? Is this issue of social, racial and religious discrimination part of the ongoing EU-India Free TRADE Agreement negotiations? Considering the fact that national policies on minorities could potentially pose a threat to peace and security in South Asia, is the EU pursuing a collective agreement with countries in the region to address such concerns?” Barandica asked.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/x3c4APb4vtTZMQfWPeaQEK/Another-Euro-leader-questions-Narendra-Modis-record.html

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As trial begins, all eyes on defence lawyer with RSS links (Aug 8, 2014, Indian Express)

As the trial in the May 18, 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case started here earlier this week, all eyes are on one of the defence lawyers, B Rajavardhan Reddy – a prominent RSS activist also associated with the group Hindu Vahini.

Reddy made news in October 2012 when he accused a research scholar from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Sharib Ali, and his friend Mohammed Ismail Khan, a law student of Osmania University, of posing a threat to his life. Sharib Ali had gone to Reddy’s house in Saidabad to interview him as part of his research on bomb blast cases in several cities, after the lawyer agreed for the interview and invited him to his house.

However, when Sharib and his friend reached there, Reddy asked for their ID proofs and alerted the police. Soon, police officials and activists from Hindu Vahini barged into the house. The duo were detained for over two hours and interrogated by Malakpet police. After police verified their identity and several people from TISS vouched for Ali’s credentials, they were let off.

The trial in the Mecca Masjid blast case, in which nine persons were killed, started Monday in the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Special Court for National Investigation Agency cases at Nampally. Five others were killed when police opened fire on protesters immediately after the blast. …

Earlier, the NIA produced another former head constable, Abdul Baig Mirza, who was also on duty at the spot. One of the key witnesses, Mohammed Mannan, the manager of Mecca Masjid, was cross-examined on the first day. Mannan said after the blast, the prayer area was awash with blood and that blood-stained carpets had been given to the NIA as evidence. The mosque’s attendant Masood Ali Baig’s statement was also recorded. Both Mannan and Baig were cross-examined by Reddy.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/as-trial-begins-all-eyes-on-defence-lawyer-with-rss-links/

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RSS ideology damaging India’s peace, says Digvijaya Singh (Aug 11, 2014, India Today)

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday compared the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to Taliban’s and said that the right-wing outfit was damaging the peace of the country. He also urged the government to ban books allegedly spreading communal ideology.

Speaking in Parliament during a debate on the working of the Home Ministry, Singh said, “The biggest threat the country is facing is terrorism. What breeds terrorism is communal ideology.” The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP government at the Centre. “In the international arena, Taliban ideology is creating problem. Sangh ideology is equally damaging peace,” Singh said.

Referring to books that were spreading communal ideology, the Congress leader said, “There are books like ‘Harvest of Hate’ and ‘Kandhamal in Crossfire’ authored by Michael Parker, and another book, ‘Orissa in Crossfire’, by Brannon Parker. These books are published by India Foundation. But there is no information about the publisher on the book or on the internet. Moreover, the foreword of these books is written by Cabinet minister Nirmala Sitaraman.

Singh demanded a ban on these books and an inquiry into the issue. The Congress leader said that if the government allows circulation of such books, it will lead to further communal violence in the country.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/digivijaya-singh-rss-taliban-home-ministry-india-foundation-kandhamal/1/376584.html

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AIDWA fact finding team reiterates lose ends in Meerut rape case, says case is being exploited to incite communal violence (Aug 9, 2014, Twocircles.net)

All India Democratic Womens’ Association (AIDWA) has released a fact finding report on the alleged Meerut gang rape of a madrassa teacher. While demanding speedy enquiry and justice for the girl, AIDWA has also condemned “the blatant lies and half-truths being spread by the BJP and Sangh Parivar about the case.”

An AIDWA delegation comprising of Subhashini Ali (Vice-President) Reeja Jayaprasad and Akhila Singh (CEC members) visited the young woman on August 8 and also met the family members who were with her at the hospital.

While demanding support and rehabilitation for the girl, the delegation also expressed its “solidarity with the young woman who has been victimized at various levels.” AIDWA delegation reiterated that while the word of the victim must get precedence and form the basis for the inquiry, but pointed that “there are many issues which remain unexplained.”

Demanding speedy investigations, AIDWA pointed that there is possibility that the victim is being used to incite communal tension. “Given the circumstances of the case being used for highly motivated communal propaganda, it is incumbent on the Government and the police to complete the investigations speedily so that the truth is revealed,” the fact finding report of AIDWA noted, adding, “There is every possibility that the young woman is being used as a pawn by the communal forces who are utterly insensitive and uncaring about her condition.”…

http://twocircles.net/2014aug09/aidwa_fact_finding_team_reiterates_lose_ends_meerut_rape_case_says_case_being_exploited

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Were communal riots in UP West orchestrated for gains in bypolls? (Aug 8, 2014, India TV)

Out of 24 riots in Uttar Pradesh since May 16, most of the communal frenzy incidents took place in the UP West region, which is home to half of the total assembly constituencies where bypolls are to be held in November, reports TOI.

Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh has seen nearly 24 riots in the past two months and the riots claimed over 8 lives, the report added. Noteworthy, more than 50 per cent of the riots were triggered over petty issues like use of loudspeakers at religious spots or fire crackers in festival related processions.

In Moradabad, more than 50 people including the DM, were injured on July 6 when BJP workers clashed with the police for trying to hold a panchayat in protest against the removal of loudspeakers by police from a temple. …

In UP, bypolls are to be held in 12 assembly constituencies and out of these 12, six have seen communal violence in the past two months. UP West includes Meerut, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Bareilly, Agra and Aligarh division.

http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/were-communal-riots-up-west-orchestrated-for-gains-in-bypolls-40251.html

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Madhya Pradesh Congress fears more communal tension after Mohan Bhagwat speech on Hindustan (Aug 11, 2014, Times of India)

The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Monday said it is “not surprised” with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s claim that “all those who live in Hindustan are known as Hindus.” The Congress’ leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare said that Mohan Bhagwat is not the first in the RSS to speak of a Hindu Rashtra. “This is the primary agenda of the RSS and has always been so. Who has been the RSS chief, spoke in the same lines,” Katare said. On Sunday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat while giving a speech in Cuttack said, “The entire world recognises Indians as Hindus, therefore, India is a Hindu state.”

Congress leader of Opposition Katare explained that priority issues of the RSS will be spoken about more frequently now with a BJP-led government at the Centre. “We know that the Constitution of India makes the country a secular nation where citizens following every religion will reside. But the situation now is such that the BJP has a majority on its own at the Centre. And taking that advantage, the RSS will want to implement its agenda,” Katare said.

He also asserted that when the RSS chief speaks in such terms, it could have far reaching consequences with a Prime Minister who has been part of that organisation too. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been an RSS pracharak for a considerable period of his life. With him leading the government and Mohan Bhagwat making such statements, it is but a way of the RSS to fix the agenda of the Union government. These statements are determining the governance agenda of the Narendra Modi government and in the months to come, we will perceive more radicalism but by the RSS and the BJP. Look what has happened to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, there are communal violence incidents every second day,” Katare added.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/40069710.cms

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RPSC chairman being targeted as he is a Muslim: Azad (Aug 6, 2014, Times of India)

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday accused the state BJP government of targeting and “scaring” the Rajasthan Public Services Commission (RPSC) chairman Habib Khan Gauran since the latter belonged to the minority community.

Azad asked why the BJP was not demanding the removal of Gauran’s counterpart in Madhya Pradesh where too instances of question-paper leaks have happened of late. He suggested that Rajasthan under BJP could be going the Gujarat and MP way in targeting the minority community.

The Rajya Sabha’s leader of opposition was in the city to participate in an annual social function organized by Congress state vice-president Rajiv Arora. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Azad also hit out at former Congressman Natwar Singh for making the Gandhi family’s matters public through his just released autobiography. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39714536.cms

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India’s Christians face continued terror under BJP rule (Aug 5, 2014, Christian Today)

As feared by many religious minorities in India, intimidations and attacks from the Sangh Parivar (Hindu nationalist movement) have escalated under the Bharathiya Janatha Party’s (BJP) rule. Hindu radicals are now outright targeting Christians all across the country as a direct consequence of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) assuming power. It won’t be too long until this dangerous situation, made evident by the violent and widespread strategy of the Sangh Parivar, moves closer to the ultimate goal of the Sangh Parivar, India becoming a Hindu nation.

The right wing political party BJP, backed by the Sangh Parivar, achieved a landslide victory in India’s recent general elections that concluded two months ago. Since their rise to power, attacks on religious minorities across India has increased.

Included in this wave of religious violence, a church in Uttar Pradesh (UP) was rampaged when a mob of Hindu radicals belonging to the Bajrangdal, a Hindu nationalist group, spitefully attacked the Christians. The attack took place while the Christians were having the Bible study on July 16 at around 2:30 p.m. in Sahakarinagar village in UP. A group of 25 Hindu radicals led by Hemanth Singh stormed into the church and beat Rev. R. C. Paul and other Christians gathered for the Bible study. The radicals gave no reason for their assault on the Christians during the attack. …

http://christiantoday.com.au/article/indias-christians-face-continued-terror-under-bjp-rule/17736.htm

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‘Permit’ move to Taslima hurts Muslims (Aug 5, 2014, The Hindu)

The Muslim community in West Bengal has come down severely on the BJP-led Centre for ‘promising’ author Taslima Nasreen to grant resident permit. Ms Nasreen had told the media that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday ‘promised’ to extend usual ‘resident permit’ to her.

Claiming that the Centre had hurt the Muslim population’s sentiments with this decision, Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali told the media that Ms. Nasreen has gained popularity only by criticising Prophet Mohammed and writing offensive things about the Islamic religion. Granting her visa would mean encouraging divisive politics in the country, he said.

Lauding West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for respecting the Muslims’ sentiments, TMC MP Sultan Mohammed said in a statement: “Ms. Banerjee has not permitted Ms. Nasreen to enter Bengal for the past three years. Bengal is the land of Kazi Nazrul and Rabindranath Tagore, there is no place for people like Ms. Nasreen. While Ms. Banerjee upheld her Constitutional rights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to do so.”

Ms. Nasreen’s books have been banned in the State and her participation at the annual Kolkata Book Fair earlier this year was not allowed. Many eminent faces of the city’s Muslim community pointed fingers at the BJP and said the Centre had failed to protect the interests of the minorities.…

Allowing Ms. Nasreen to stay in the country means the BJP does not respect Muslims living in the country, said the religious head of the city’s Tipu Sultan mosque Nurul Rahman Barkati. Mirroring his thoughts, head cleric of Nakhoda mosque Moulana Muhammad Shafiq Qasemi said he would appeal to Mr. Modi to cancel her visa. With a sizeable population of Muslims in the city, who forced the exiled author to leave the State in 2007, it is expected that the Centre’s warming up to Ms. Nasreen would not go down well with them.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/permit-move-to-taslima-hurts-muslims/article6282007.ece

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Complaint against cops (Aug 4, 2014, Times of India)

Madhya Pradesh not only tops crime charts in the country, but also records maximum complaints against men in khaki – another dubious distinction after earning the rape capital tag.

The state retained the top slot for the second time in a row, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data of 2013. Only national capital Delhi, which is not a full-fledged state, is ahead of Madhya Pradesh in complaints against cops.

More shocking is the way complaints are dealt with. A complaint against a cop is usually probed by his senior who absolves errant cops in an inhouse exercise. Around 90% complaints have been termed false at the preliminary level.

As many as 9,297 complaints were filed against cops in the state in 2013, which is more than any other state. And 8,335 pleas were declared unsubstantiated and junked. In only one complaint, a judicial inquiry was initiated. In comparison, while 12,427 complaints were filed in Delhi, only 95 were termed false.

The one cause for cheer for Madhya Pradesh police is that number of complaints against them has dipped in comparison to 2012, during which 12,412 complaints were lodged. Of these, 11,078 cases were termed false. Last year too, MP led the hall of infamy.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39596106.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Endangered Freedom – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat (Aug 11, 2014, Countercurrents)

The first casualty that was hardly noticed after the new government took over in Delhi was the deletion of important documents of the home ministry. It was taken rather casually and the voices who expressed their concern and anguish over it were targeted. Initially, the incident might have looked a slight mistake on part of the government as home minister informed parliament that files related to assassination of Mahatma Gandhi were actually safe with government department.

Initially many thought that this is a government friendly for the business as the people have given it mandate for ‘good governance’ but we all know such image creation as part of media which has shamelessly taken the role of a propagandist for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Media not just played a dutiful Public Relation Organization of the Sangh Parivar and left no stone unturned in discrediting the opponents particularly the ruling Congress which definitely had not done anything worth sympathetic yet in the greater interest of impartiality, media forgot its own role as a watch dog of the society.

Government began with greater symbolism like Ganga cleaning operation or Prime Minister deliberately choosing the Ganga Maha-arati to start the tenure. None ever thought that the government and the party heading it would ultimately return to their original agenda of Hindutva and polarization. The scars of Muzaffarnagar have not yet healed and we have witnessed now series of reports of communal polarization in Uttar Pradesh. A peaceful district like Saharanpur has been assaulted by the communal violence that engulfed the Qutubsher police station of the city resulting in loss of properties and human lives. …

Muslims in India are direct victims of this brahmanical assault but the real targets are the Dalits, tribal and backward communities who are asserting their rights and identities as well as seeking their participation in power structure. The corporate brahmanical elite is essentially trying to stop this march of assertion of dignity of this segments hence these various plans, games and conspiracies. It is a wake up call for all enlightened people of the country and it is only those who understand the age old conspiracies of India’s caste elite, can really defuse the brahmanical bomb which has been planted over us.

http://www.countercurrents.org/rawat110814.htm

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Resist BJP’s Efforts to Disintegrate our Social Fabric – Editorial (Aug 10, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

During the course of the 2014 general elections, we had pointed out, more than once, various features of the Narendra Modi-led BJP campaign that led to the unmistakable conclusion that ‘development’ and ‘Gujarat model’ employed as election mascots were only the veil concealing the actual ground reality of the campaign that focused on the sharpening of communal polarisation. Thus, much of the BJP’s electoral gains, apart from various other factors, including a widespread disgust with the Congress-led UPA-2 rule during the last few years, has been due to such brazen ‘vote bank’ politics, i.e., the communal consolidation of the ‘Hindu vote bank’. It is, therefore, quite natural that this BJP victory, albeit with just a 31 percent share of those who voted, would lead to the aggressive pursuit of the RSS ideological project and vision of converting the secular democratic Indian Republic into their version of a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

After all, the BJP is merely the political arm of the RSS tentacles. Even during the so-called ‘honeymoon’ period, even before the completion of the first hundred days of this government, this agenda is already unfolding rapidly. Far from the hopes of many a naïve and gullible, the people’s component of the ‘development electoral agenda’ is simply vanishing into thin air. Soon after assuming office, this government has hiked the administrative prices of petroleum products like diesel, cooking gas etc and steeply raised the railway fares. Its budget and the parliamentary legislative business priorities reflect the unabashed pursuit of neo-liberal economic reforms. Given the massive support rendered by international finance capital backed India Inc., to the Modi election campaign, it is probably only natural that such a course should appear inevitable. Facilitating greater inflow of foreign investments to permit profit maximisation at the cost of our people and country’s sovereignty and greater concessions to India Inc. have been the result.

Within a few weeks of the new government, those who were arguing during the election campaign that the BJP is downplaying its communal agenda are feeling already betrayed and, thus, silenced. Core Hindutva agenda – abrogation of Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, building of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya – have all been articulated by cabinet ministers. A Goa minister has stated that with the BJP victory, the establishment of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ has begun! …

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2014/0810_pd/resist-bjp%E2%80%99s-efforts-disintegrate-our-social-fabric

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Where Hindu and Muslim men unite, unfree women – By Prashant Jha (Aug 10, 2014, Hindustan Times)

It came as a surprise, not because of what was being said, but who was saying it. “It is so common. They call themselves Sonu Bhai, Pappu bhai, and they wear red hand bands to appear like Hindus. And then they trap our girls,” said a prominent journalist in west UP. He then opened two files of a Hindi newspaper of the past few months. Pages 2 and 3, dedicated to local news, were littered with stories about Muslim boys and Hindu girls getting together, or strong statements by parents opposing such unions. Don’t Hindu boys get together with Muslim girls or did the media not report it? “No, our boys are too sanskari (cultured),” he replied.

A few hours ago, the head of Bajrang Dal in west UP, Balraj Doongar, had put forward the Sangh’s favourite theory of ‘love jihad’ – of Muslim men getting Hindu women. The fact that a mainstream journalist was repeating the theory showed how this narrative was spreading.

But the other side appeared as bitter and extreme, for in Budhana, we met Haji Dilshad, a tyre shop owner, who was sitting with a group of men. When asked why women were at the centre of so many disputes, Dilshad said, “This boy and girl business has always happened. But it does not mean we can accept it. Hindus should stay with Hindus and Muslims with Muslims.”

But was it true that it was usually Muslim boys and Hindu girls and not vice versa who got together? Dilshad responded angrily, “Their women came and were lying on this very cot right after the evening namaaz sometime back. Who is trapping whom?” His son, an 18-year-old Mohammed Umeed, added, “Go to rural areas. And you will find it is the Hindu boys who take our women.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1250379.aspx

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Why there would be communal incidents, but no large-scale bloodshed in UP – By Prashant Jha (Aug 9, 2014, Hindustan Times)

A little over ten days ago, a man went to a clothes shop in Charthawal in Muzaffarnagar. The shop owner reportedly asked his customer to pay back his debts. They argued, mobilised people, and got into a clash. And before one knew it, the market shut down. The owner was a Hindu, the customer a Muslim, and instead of being seen as a spat over a financial transaction, it became a communal incident.

“Tensions occurred earlier too. Didn’t people fight?” asks AP Gautam, head of the Shahpur police post in the district, when asked if communal incidents had increased. “But now the role of rumours have become stronger, and there is added religiosity.”

He recounts another similar incident where a Hindu motorcyclist hit a Muslim girl; she wasn’t hurt but Muslim boys of the area beat him up. “It was a small thing, but it shows that people are always willing to confront each other. Then the media reported it and fuelled things further.” He may be partly right about the media’s often simplistic and sensationalist reportage. But few can deny that there remains a wide gulf in Hindu and Muslim narratives, especially about the administration, in much of western UP. …

As a police official in Muzaffarnagar put it, “We will continue to see tension because society is divided and parties want it. But people don’t want to live through violence and curfew and disrupt lives; parties will suffer if that happens.” And this is why, the official reasoned, there would be communal incidents, but no large-scale bloodshed. “It will not stabilise, it will not burn.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1250128.aspx

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Major outbreak of riots in UP will mean disastrous consequences for India – By By Ajoy Bose (Aug 8, 2014, Economic Times)

Uttar Pradesh is slowly but surely moving towards an unprecedented communal conflagration. Significantly, all four major political parties in the state – the BJP, the Samajwadi Party, the BSP and the Congress – are active or passive players in this unfolding tragedy.

With over 200 million people, a major outbreak of Hindu-Muslim riots in the country’s most populous state can only have disastrous consequences for India as a whole. A recent survey revealed as many as 600 communal incidents in UP since the Narendra Modi government came to power, a further aggravation of the spate of riots, including the Muzaffarnagar carnage in the two-year-long SP rule in Lucknow.

What is more dangerous is the state’s political milieu that could ignite the simmering tensions across towns and villages. It is the combined impact of the BJP’s rejuvenated Hindutva agenda to recapture the state matched by the SP’s dogged promotion of Muslim ghetto mentality, along with the helplessness of the BSP and virtual irrelevance of the Congress, that has pushed UP to the brink.

Perhaps never before has political compulsions in the state been so inimical to communal harmony. In the short term, the local unit of the BJP gains most from the rapidly deteriorating situation. Not surprisingly, party strategists are single-mindedly pursuing ways and means to polarise the Hindu vote.

Modi’s close aide and now BJP president Amit Shah had successfully used the Hindu card in small dollops during the Lok Sabha elections mixed along with the “Achchhe Din” message and caste politics. …

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39847926.cms

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Road To Ruin – By Colin Todhunter (Aug 16, 2014, Tehelka)

Planting paddy is not an unusual sight in Chhattisgarh, described as the ‘rice bowl of central India’. But the sight of youth doing the same on the busy streets of state capital Raipur surely caught the attention of locals last week.

The act was, in fact, a protest organised by Congress workers against corruption in projects undertaken by the Public Works Department (PWD), which was uncovered in a recent CAG report submitted to the state Assembly. According to the report, the Raman Singh government has suffered huge losses owing to negligence, mismanagement and corruption in the department.

Several irregularities have surfaced in the PWD, including gross negligence in road projects. It is nothing less than a tragedy for a state where big promises are made of laying a network of roads to develop areas under the so-called the red corridor and tackle the Naxal issue. In the Naxal-hit district of Kondagaon, private contractors were paid Rs 49.02 lakh in addition to the initial cost despite an outstanding payment of Rs 2.94 crore as fine levied on them for delaying construction work by six years.…

http://www.tehelka.com/chhattisgarh-cag-report-blows-the-lid-off-corruption-in-pwd-projects/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 4th, 2014

August 5, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundu Communal Harmony A unique communal harmony in Kochi News Headlines SC judge draws sharp criticism for saying Gita should be taught since class 1, BJP backs him Saffronisation of textbooks is a cause for concern: panel RSS criticizes minority status to Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists Sohrabuddin kin asks for [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 28th, 2014

July 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hadapsar sees Hindu-Muslim unity News Headlines United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill Sena MP ‘force-feeds’ fasting Muslim staffer at Maharashtra Sadan Sangh sets up panel to push ‘saffronisation’ of education Rape the activist: RSS man posts on facebook UP: 3 [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 21st, 2014

July 22, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Supreme Court’s Acquittal of innocents in Surat 1993 bomb blasts case hailed by Indian Americans News Headlines SC acquits all 11 convicted for 1993 Surat bomb blasts Delhi Police planted chip in my body, terror accused says Muslims think we are communal, corrupt: Police HC Adjourns Hearing on [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 14th, 2014

July 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines UK fights for Britons killed in Gujarat riots Cop accused by CBI of firing at Ishrat is back at work Why give a top post to murder accused: Congress Home Ministry has destroyed over 1.5 lakh files: CPM Babri demolition case: Non-bailable warrants against 2 BJP MPs [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 7th, 2014

July 8, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Over 150 Hindu inmates keep Roza with 2,300 Muslims at Tihar News Headlines 12 years on, Gujarat riots probe panel gets 22nd extension Ishrat case: CBI gives more proof to MHA Karnataka Congress Govt drags 23 terror acquits rotting in jail since 14 years to Supreme Court [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 30th, 2014

July 1, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bhatt accuses Nanavati panel of misleading HC Trend of intolerance towards dissent under Modi: Amnesty calls for decriminalization of free speech Days after he pulled up Amit Shah, CBI judge shifted Gopal Subramanium opts out, attacks Narendra Modi government, cites Amit Shah case Why a former minister [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 23rd, 2014

June 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘Don’t wait for govt to establish Hindu nation’ No relief to Nanavati Commission on Sanjeev Bhatt’s demand for records Pune Violence Was Well Planned And Part Of A “Conspiracy”, Says Report Orissa: 50 Hindu nationalists attack Christians. Fear of new pogroms Around 90 MPs of Lok Sabha [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 16th, 2014

June 17, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony BARTI to take communal harmony lessons to schools, may train teachers News Headlines Rise of communal tensions after BJP Government formed at center Online posts against Narendra Modi spell trouble Gujarat HC directs Nanavati panel to allow Sanjiv Bhatt examine intel reports during 2002 riots IB’s NGO-scare [...]

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