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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 8th, 2017

by newsdigest on May 19, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

In riot affected Dhulagarh, Hindus & Muslims celebrate Tagore’s birth anniversary together (May 9, 2017, Twocircles.net)

On Tuesday, members from Hindu and Muslim communities of Dhulagarh, West Bengal together celebrated the birth anniversary of poet Rabindranath Tagore by tying threads of unity and harmony on each other’s wrists.

The unique birthday celebration of the Nobel Laureate, who had championed the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity, was organised under the banner of ‘Bangla Sanskriti Manch’ to celebrate the spirit of unity, fraternity and communal harmony in the state in which several civil society members from Kolkata also went to participate.

A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion in a hall in Dhulagarh around 11.00 AM, where social activists from the city as well as some villagers sent out a message of peace and harmony. They later tied Rakhi to each other. This ritual was followed on streets as well and local villagers responded spontaneously and positively.…

http://twocircles.net/2017may09/409168.html

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Bilkis Bano verdict is a reminder of state complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots (May 5, 2017, Scroll.in)

One of the many horrors that came into public view after the Gujarat riots of 2002 was the Bilkis Bano case. On March 3, 2002, 19-year-old Bano and her family had been trying to flee the riots in a truck. They were set upon by a mob of men who gangraped Bano, pregnant at the time, killed her three-year-old daughter and 14 others in her family. Fifteen years later, those responsible for the brutalities have been dealt with by the Bombay High Court, which upheld 12 life sentences in the case. “Somewhere, somehow, justice can prevail,” Bano said in a statement on Thursday, even in times “when the secular values of our country” are in peril.

Attention has been centred on the life sentences, and the fact that the court dismissed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to convert three of these into death penalties. But the court also made another significant decision. It overturned the acquittals, handed down by a Mumbai sessions court, to five members of the Gujarat police. The court found them guilty of carrying out a “dishonest investigation”, of various “acts of omission and commission”, by which they tried to “screen the perpetrators of the crime” and “gagged the mouth of the prosecutrix”.…

The Bombay High Court’s verdict now is yet another reminder of chilling state complicity in the violence of 2002. Survivor accounts depict a state police that was indifferent at best or guilty of deliberate inaction, standing by and allowing the violence to take its course. The complicity carried on into the afterlife of the horrors, as evidence was destroyed or suppressed, cases were closed, voices of dissent within the force were silenced. How high up did the lines of accountability reach? Were the police were acting under political pressure? These questions have now passed into the realm of speculation. The Supreme Court’s decision to move the trials out of the state was acknowledgment that the system was tainted.…

https://scroll.in/article/836647/the-daily-fix-bilkis-bano-verdict-is-a-reminder-of-state-complicity-in-the-2002-gujarat-riots

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Muslims protest against India TV for ‘fabricated’ Halala Operation (May 6, 2017, The Indian Awaaz)

Hundreds of Muslims today staged a protest Dharana against India TV at Jantar Mantar. They were protesting against the telecast of what they called a ‘complete fabricated’ story run by the TV channel in the name of ‘Operation Halala’.

They alleged that programme showed Muslim men and women in bad light and degrading their dignity using impersonate persons. The alleged anti Muslim programme was telecast on April 15. The protesters with banners against TV channels in their hands, said the programme was nothing but a huge conspiracy to malign Islam and Muslim community of India.

The Dharna/protest was organized by Management Committee Madarsa Taleemul Quran Society Seelampur Delhi. The TV Programme was allegedly shoot near the madarsa run by this society. The society has also lodged complaint against the India TV at local court, CBI and Delhi police demanding stern action against the channel.…

http://theindianawaaz.com/muslims-protest-against-tv-for-fabricated-halala-operation/

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Police ask man to remove communally sensitive poster (May 8, 2017, Times of India)

Accusing members of a community in the neighbourhood of harassment, a resident of Kachcha Haata in Aminabad has put up a poster outside his house that reads, “Hindu pariwar palayan ko majboor”. When TOI spoke to other Hindu Families in the vicinity, however, they said they had never experienced any communal discord.

The area is mostly commercial and families of different communities have been living together from more than 80 years. Speaking to TOI, Rahul Garg, who has alleged he is being harassed by his neighbours from the minority community for the past six months, said he was being pressurised to sell his house where his family has been living for 70 years.

Officer in charge of Aminabad police station Ashwini Pandey said Garg created unnecessary sensation in the locality on Saturday evening. “Eight different families stay in the said property out of which seven want to sell it to a local builder. Garg is the only one against the deal. When the builder came to talk to him, Garg decided to put up the board. We convinced him to take it down as it was leading to nuisance and could lead to unnecessary controversy,” said Pandey.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58570623.cms

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UP BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal scolds IPS officer Charu Nigam to tears (May 8, 2017, IB Times)

…Gorakhpur MLA Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal – a UP BJP veteran – has been caught on camera scolding high-ranking IPS officer Charu Nigam till she is moved to tears. He is heard shouting repeatedly at her: “Don’t cross your limits.” What’s worse, all this happened in Gorakhpur, the home turf of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

It all started on the afternoon of Sunday, May 7, when a group of women blocked a road in Gorakhpur demanding the closure of certain liquor shops. Gorakhpur Assistant Superintendent of Police Charu Nigam – an IPS officer who has been given the moniker of “Lady Singham” for her tough-as-nails ways when it comes to matters of law and order – reached the spot and tried to forcefully evict them.

Some local reports say some of the women then attacked Nigam, while some other reports say she ordered lathi-charge on them, leading to some protesters being injured. Soon, Gorakhpur BJP MLA Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal reached the spot and confronted Nigam. A video of that interaction has now surfaced online, showing the BJP MLA shouting at the IPS officer in the presence of her colleagues as well as a large crowd. He is heard telling her to “keep quite,” and “don’t cross your limits.”…

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/watch-bjp-mla-radha-mohan-das-agarwal-scolds-ips-officer-charu-nigam-tears-725845

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UP Launches Exclusive Ambulance Service For Cows, As Man Carries Son’s Body On His Shoulder (May 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya flagged off an exclusive ambulance service for cows, the latest among a slew of measures taken to protect the bovine species in the state. Just hours later, a video footage of a man in Etawah, in another part of UP, surfaced, which showed him carrying his 15-year-old son’s lifeless body on his shoulders for lack of an ambulance. The contrast between the two reports could not have been starker.

According to The Hindu, Gauvansh Chikitsa mobile vans were rolled out to ferry ailing or injured cows to gau shalas (cow shelters) and veterinary homes for treatment. To begin with, this service would operate in Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Mathura and Varanasi, in collaboration with the MNREGA Mazdoor Kalyan Sanghathan, an organisation that works with farmers and labourers in the informal sector.

The organisation also threatened to take stringent actions against those who abandon cows after they stop giving milk and against municipal workers, in case the animals are forced to eat plastic off the streets.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/05/02/up-launches-exclusive-ambulance-service-for-cows-as-man-carries_a_22064637/

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Hindu Yuva Vahini members accused of killing Muslim (May 3, 2017, The Tribune)

Police have detained four members of Hindu Yuva Vahini, founded by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on suspicion of killing a Muslim man who had helped an interfaith couple elope, an investigating official said on Wednesday.

A 60-year-old farmer was killed on Tuesday by a mob that included members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini.… Since his appointment, units of the Hindu Yuva Vahini have ramped up their anti-Muslim rhetoric and launched a campaign against so-called “Love Jihad” – what they regard as an Islamist strategy to convert Hindu women through seduction and marriage.…

“The Muslim farmer was beaten to death in a mango orchard after he refused to share the whereabouts of the couple,” said Sharma.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/hindu-yuva-vahini-members-accused-of-killing-muslim/401479.html

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Women being kept with criminals in detention camps in Assam: Ajmal (May 3, 2017, India Tomorrow)

Lok Sabha MP and president of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Maulana Badruddin Ajmal on Tuesday accused the Assam BJP government of harassing a large number of local people raising doubts over their citizenship.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Ajmal, who represents the Muslim-dominated Dhubri constituency of Assam in the Lok Sabha, alleged that government officials come to houses in plain clothes in the night without any female officer and ask women to produce Identity Card. If they fail to do so, then they drag them to vehicles and put in detention camps set up in unknown locations, said Ajmal. He also alleged that in detention camps, women are kept with men who are facing serious criminal charges.

“And no one from outside are allowed to meet these women in the detention camps,” alleged perfume baron AIUDF chief adding that “Thousands of such cases are happening in the state.” “In the current situation, it seems, a certain community speaking a particular language is being targeted,” Ajmal said.…

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/women-being-kept-with-criminals-in-detention-camps-in-assam-ajmal

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‘Dalits should unite, rise against rightist forces’ (May 3, 2017, The Hindu)

The Constitution of India is in danger from rightist forces. It is everyone’s responsibility to save it [the Constitution], Prakash Ambedkar, founder of Dalit Swabhimani Sangarsh Samiti, said in Belagavi on Tuesday. He was speaking at a regional level rally of the samiti. He said that the RSS-backed BJP leaders were trying to destroy the spirit of the Constitution by amending it in such a way that are contrary to its basic principles.

The Constitution drafted by a committee headed by B.R. Ambedkar guarantees right to life and liberty to all. It strives for the equality and opposes discrimination based on caste, creed, gender, religion, region or language. But the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre is trying to divide the country on these lines.…

“It is a wake-up call. Dalits should remember such injustice during the next election and work against the rise of the rightist forces,” he said. He accused the BJP of trying to create a “counter revolution” that was opposed to the social, economic and political revolution promised by the Constitution. He said that the samiti would organise a rally in Bengaluru after Vijayadasami, where a million people would participate.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dalits-should-unite-rise-against-rightist-forces/article18362493.ece

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Gujarat polls: Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on suspicious EVMs (May 7, 2017, Business Standard)

The Supreme Court has sought response of the Centre and the chief election commissioner on a plea filed [by] a Gujarat Patidar leader seeking the use of either ballot paper or electronic voting machines with paper trail for the upcoming Assembly election in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul issued notice to the Centre, the CEC, the Gujarat government and the state election commission, and sought their response in four weeks. The apex court posted the matter for hearing to the first week of July.

Petitioner Reshma Vithabhai Patel, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was in the forefront of the Patel quota agitation, claimed that EVMs were not “fully reliable, foolproof, tamper-proof or hacker-proof”.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/gujarat-polls-supreme-court-seeks-centre-s-response-on-suspicious-evms-117050700222_1.html

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Khwaja Yunus custodial death: Policemen beat me like an animal, says eyewitness Mateen (May 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Fourteen years after the alleged custodial death of 2002 Ghatkopar blast accused Khwaja Yunus, the eyewitness in the case — Dr Abdul Mateen — deposed before the sessions court on Wednesday. He said the police beat him up “like an animal” in lock-up.

It has taken five years for the trial to begin after the court framed charges in 2012. Mateen, who was picked up by the crime branch with Yunus in December 2002, finally deposed on Wednesday, but the hearing was again adjourned for a month on the defence’s request. Wednesday’s hearing began with the defence raising an objection to Mateen’s deposition.

The defence lawyer said the prosecution had not submitted a case diary (maintained by the investigating officer), which they were asked to, and asked that the court not let the trial begin until it is submitted. The court, however, overruled the objection and proceeded with the trial while asking the prosecution to submit the diary.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/khwaja-yunus-custodial-death-policemen-beat-me-like-an-animal-says-eyewitness-mateen/story-WjgXpb74hIlIG5FAqsgIpI.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi Wants to Give Muslim Women Their Rights. So Why Did He Abandon Bilkis in Her Hour of Need? – By Siddharth Varadarajan (May 5, 2017, The Wire)

In a speech last month, Narendra Modi said he wants Muslim women to get the rights promised to them by the constitution. Bilkis Bano is a reminder that he didn’t always want that. Just when the prime minister thought the stain of 2002 was well and truly behind him, the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of 11 persons for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and mass murder of 14 Muslims in Limkheda and also convicted the policemen and doctors who attempted to cover up the crime – one of the most heinous to take place during the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat that year.

For the record, Bilkis’s charges were investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, not the Gujarat police, and the trial of the accused was held in Mumbai because the Supreme Court decided a fair trial was not possible in Gujarat.

So what does this have to do with Modi, the BJP is likely to ask, apart from the fact that he happened to be chief minister at the time. After all, the allegation that Modi orchestrated the anti-Muslim violence was probed by a Special Investigation Team set up by the Supreme Court but no evidence of his complicity emerged. The SIT’s controversial findings are being appealed by Zakia Jafri but as matters stand, Modi still has the “clean chit” the SIT gave him in 2013. Only the Gujarat high court, or the Supreme Court, can take that away from him.…

https://thewire.in/132084/bilkis-bano-rape-case-narendra-modi/

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Attacks on India’s minority Muslims by Hindu vigilantes mount – By Sujoy Dhar (May 5, 2017, USA Today)

One April afternoon, a group of men clad in saffron scarves barged into a house in Meerut, 40 miles northeast of here, and dragged out a young Muslim man and a Hindu woman.… Several similar attacks have occurred since March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose an anti-Muslim firebrand, Yogi Adityanath, to be chief minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the nation’s Hindu population.…

Also in April, two dairy farmers returning from a cattle fair in a northern state were attacked by vigilantes, leaving one dead and the other seriously wounded.… India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, said Muslims feel a deep sense of dread since Modi, a fierce Hindu nationalist, took office in 2014.…

“Recent incidents are worrisome,” said Faizul Hasan, the student leader of Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. “We have written letters to the prime minister to honor his commitment to the Muslims that they would be protected and be part of India’s nation building.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/05/05/attacks-indias-minority-muslims-hindu-vigilantes-mount/100951514/

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Modernity or murder, Mr Modi? – By Tavleen Singh (May 7, 2017, Indian Express)

… It is hard to understand why a Prime Minister so passionate about making India a modern, digital, prosperous country has seemingly not noticed that hunting and killing Muslims on the pretext of cows and love jihad does not sit well with modernity. The Prime Minister talks about a ‘new India’ built with the energy of the largest population of young people on the planet. Has he noticed that hunting Muslims is serving mostly to distract these same young Indians from far more important tasks?…

It is cowardice of the worst kind for young men to gang up and kill an old man, so I tweeted against this latest lynching and was immediately subjected to an onslaught of abusive tweets.… What frightens me most is the pride Hindutva tweeters plainly take in every new lynching. They make it clear that the squads of Hindu vigilantes that roam about these days in search of Muslims to kill are in their view heroes avenging centuries of repression by Muslim rulers. Like the cowardly cow vigilantes, these tweeters remain nameless, but from their language it is obvious that many of them are linked directly to the RSS or one of its sister organisations.…

My reason for repeatedly drawing attention to Hindutva violence is because I believe it is motivated not by some twisted nationalism but by uncontainable hatred of Muslims. This hatred is what persuades young Hindus to go out in gangs and hunt for the poorest, most vulnerable Muslims to beat to death. It is true that there have been almost no communal riots in the past three years, but it is also true that there is an insidious new kind of violence that takes the form of hate crimes.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fifth-column-modernity-or-murder-mr-modi-4644120/

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The RSS idea of India is not just being spread in colleges but among the defence forces too – By Apoorvanand (May 3, 2017, Scroll.in)

It would have been any other government function. The launch of the Vidya Veerta Abhiyan by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar in the presence of Minister of State for Defence Subhas Bhamre would not have made news in the normal course of events.

Even the presence of Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Sarath Chand along with Rear Admiral Krishen K Pandey and Air marshal HN Bhagwat at a function to launch a programme to honour Indian soldiers would not have caused any flutter. The presence of Bharatiya Janata Party politician and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak Tarun Vijay at the function would also have been routine.

But there was a problem. The Bharat Mata to which charan vandana – salutations at the feet – was offered by the leaders of our armed forces at this function was no ordinary Bharat Mata. For this Bharat Mata, resting on a lion and holding a saffron flag against the backdrop of a map of India, is the RSS version of Bharat Mata. The map she spreads over is also not the usual, ordinary map of India. One can sense that this is the map of Vrihhtattar Bharat, greater India which extends far beyond the internationally recognised boundaries of what is known as India.…

https://scroll.in/article/836472/the-rss-idea-of-india-is-not-just-being-spread-in-colleges-but-in-defence-forces-too

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Time for trial – By Purnima S. Tripathi (May 12, 2017, Frontline)

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” but sometimes it is better late than never, as in the case of the December 6, 1992, demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by thousands of frenzied kar sevaks gone berserk, which unleashed one of the most horrendous bouts of communal riots in the country. More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that in all these years not one individual who had been at the forefront of the Ram Mandir movement had been held guilty.

The masterminds of the entire episode had got off scot-free, seemingly cocking a snook at the rule of law. In the eyes of the people at large, it was the most despicable mockery of the rule of law because the perpetrators of the crime escaped prosecution, with their influence in the corridors of power seemingly providing them immunity. They went on to become Union Ministers, and in the case of the BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, even Deputy Prime Minister.

But even if it is 25 years late, the political life of Advani more than anybody else has come full circle with the Supreme Court ordering that he and other BJP leaders such as Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and Uma Bharati, besides some Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena leaders, be tried for criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.… It was a crime that shook the very foundation of Indian jurisprudence because the BJP had given solemn affidavits in various forums affirming its commitment to protect the disputed shrine even as a shrill political movement was being woven around it.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/time-for-trial/article9663122.ece

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Aadhaar is an electronic leash on citizens – By Kanishk Tharoor (May 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked of roses. The 21st century version of this thorny question is: “What’s in an ID?” With great leaps in digital and biometric technology, the possibility that all individuals can be “known” by states and other institutions has becoming tantalisingly real. Until the coalescence of nation-states in the early 20th century, most people didn’t have ID cards of any kind. Now with over one billion people registered for Aadhaar numbers, India boasts the largest biometric database in the world.

Though wrapped in often opaque and cumbersome legalese, the debate over Aadhaar at the Supreme Court in the past week asks one of the most important questions of our time. In the age of big data, how much should the state know about individuals? It is a classic duel of two rival imperatives: The desire to expand the capacities of the State against the fear of the State developing illiberal powers over individuals.…

Without serious privacy protections, we should be wary of these efforts to make all people known and knowable. They remain ripe for abuse and error (already, lakhs of Aadhaar numbers have been accidentally leaked). Aadhaar will not only grant the State an “electronic leash” on citizens, but also allow corporations to build invasive financial profiles of people’s habits and histories. Why should we either repose faith in private sector whose ultimate interest is its own well-being, or surrender so much trust to state institutions with long traditions of incompetence?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/aadhaar-is-an-electronic-leash-on-citizens/story-b9Q13XUK7aAwRfcUZFmehL.html

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Book Review

Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat

Author: Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha
Reviewed by: Kalpana Sharma
Available at: Three Essays Collective, New Delhi: 2016, pp 221, ?500 (paperback). www.amazon.in/
Review:
A Book of Memory and Forgetting (Apr 29, 2017, EPW)

Does anyone even remember the communal violence that tore apart Bhagalpur in Bihar in 1989? According to official estimates, around 250 villages and 50,000 people were affected. The official death toll was estimated to be over 900 although the unofficial toll was higher. It was a familiar story because it had happened before. And since then it has happened again. And will do so in the future.…

Why is it important to record these divisions, these conflicts that recur with such worrying frequency? Would it not be better to erase these memories and look ahead? The writers of this book demonstrate convincingly why incidents of mass violence must be recorded and followed up. If they are not, then history will only remember the version of the victors while the victims will continue to remain voiceless, unheard, without justice.

In this regard, the book under review serves an important purpose. It is a record of the communal killings in Bhagalpur in 1989, and in Gujarat 2002. But instead of going over familiar ground, the authors help us understand the legacy of such mass violence. These recorded memories show us the costs of a broken criminal justice system and the price that victims of mass violence continue to pay for decades.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/17/book-reviews/book-memory-and-forgetting.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 1st, 2017

by newsdigest on May 12, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

When Muslims helped with the funeral ceremony of a Hindu man (Apr 26, 2017, Times of India)

In a heart rending incident, Muslim men conducted the final rites of a man according to Hindu rituals at Maldah’s Sheikhpura village on Tuesday. The man, Biswajit Rajak who died on Monday night was in a very poor shape and his parents had neither money nor manpower to perform the last rights. “We had no money for funeral of our son…whole night we sat and cried beside our dead son thinking what to do,” Biswajit mother said.

“In morning, our Muslim neighbours came forward and carried the body on a bamboo cot to the Manikchak cremation ground which is around 8km from the village,” she said… Interestingly, Sheikhpura is a Muslim majority village with just two or three Hindu families.

Local TMC leader and vice president of Maldah zilla Parishad Gaurchandra Mondal also joined the Biswajit’s last journey. “I am just speechless. This village is a live example of unity instead of massive poverty,” he said. “Hindus and Muslims are like two sons. We always looking after one another in this village. After all we are human first,” a Muslim youth Ashraf said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58378118.cms

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BJP MP asked Police to ‘Fire on these Pigs’ referrring to Muslims: Samajwadi Party report on Saharanpur violence (Apr 28, 2017, Twocircles.net)

A five-member Samajwadi Party delegation that visited Saharanpur to investigate the violence happened in the city on April 20 has alleged that Saharanpur MP Ram Lakhanpal Sharma asked the police to fire on the Muslims.

According to the delegation, Sharma said, “Fire on these pigs (Muslims). I am the captain here and I am ordering you. I have the government in the state now.” This allegation was confirmed by some of our police sources, while other sources were unable to recall the exact words of MP as it was chaotic all around.

SP delegation also alleged that when the police force did not follow the orders of Ram Lakhanpal Sharma, his younger brother Rahul Lakhanpal Sharma grabbed the collar of some officers on the spot and threatened them. That was the moment when MP, his brother, and their supporters started violence against Police officials.…

http://twocircles.net/2017apr28/408607.html

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In Adityanath’s Raj, Police Officers Pay the Price for Enforcing the Law on Hindutva Mobs (Apr 30, 2017, The Wire)

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in Saharanpur and Agra are relieved that the senior superintendents of police of the two districts were transferred early this week. Though the SSP of Saharanpur, Love Kumar, and Agra SSP Pritinder Singh were removed from their current postings as part of a large-scale shuffle in the state police, their transfer by the Adityanath government is seen as a direct fallout of their decision to enforce the law on BJP leaders and workers of RSS affiliates like the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad after they engaged in major incidents of hooliganism in the two districts last week.

Kumar and Singh were removed hours after a delegation of party MPs and MLAs from western UP led by Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Baliyan – a minister in the Centre – met Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday and complained against the two top cops and reportedly pushed for their removal. Their transfer orders, as part of the large-scale shake up of the police in the state, came on Wednesday.

Kumar had booked members of the ruling BJP including local Member of Parliament Raghav Lakhanpal, for allegedly taking out an illegal procession through a communally sensitive area which led to clashes last week. Lakhanpal allegedly instigated a mob of BJP workers to attack the SSP’s house and to engage in rioting and arson of public and private properties in Saharanpur.…

https://thewire.in/130439/agra-saharanpur-police-transfer-hindutva/

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Kerala CM Vijayan charges RSS of imparting kids, students the training to ‘kill’ (Apr 25, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday alleged the RSS of imparted to students and children the training “to kill” during its drill exercise in the state, a charge dismissed by the saffron outfit.

“Even students and children are given training to kill” Vijayan alleged while replying in the assembly during question hour. “The government would take necessary steps to end the drill exercise of RSS”, he said.…

Vijayan alleged that the drill exercises were being carried out in government schools and in temple premises and this would not be allowed. Referring to the recent killing of a Madrasa teacher in Kasargod, Vijayan alleged it was a part of a preplanned attack by RSS and their aim was to trigger communal riot. RSS attacked several CPI(M) and Congress workers in the state, he said in the assembly.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-cm-vijayan-charges-rss-of-imparting-kids-students-the-training-to-kill/story-Qlc9543RqMq0EVyBofWB0L.html

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SC pulls up UP govt, calls Kashmiri man’s incarceration a ‘shame’ (Apr 26, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that alleged Hizbul Mujahideen operative and former AMU research scholar Gulzar Ahmad Wani will be released on bail on November 1 if the trial court fails to complete witnesses’ examination by that time.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar expressed strong displeasure at custody of Gulzar Ahmad Wani for the last 16 years despite his acquittal in 10 out of 11 criminal cases. “Out of 11 cases, he has been acquitted in 10 cases. What a shame! The problem is that you want to keep him inside the jail but not complete the trial. He was acquitted in all other cases,” the bench told the counsel for Uttar Pradesh as he opposed Wani’s release.

The court further noted that the trial moved at a snail’s pace although the apex court had last year directed the conclusion of recording of evidence within six months. “You seem to be very casual,” the bench told the state government as it set the deadline.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/sc-pulls-up-up-govt-calls-kashmiri-mans-incarceration-a-shame-4628571/

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PM himself indulging in politicisation of ‘Triple Talaq’ issue: Cong (Apr 29, 2017, Webindia123.com)

Reacting to the statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there should not be a politicisation of the ‘triple talaq’ issue, the Congress today said that the PM himself had been indulging in the politicisation of the issue.

Talking to reporters here, AICC senior spokesperson and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the PM himself is the champion of the politicisation of the triple talaq issue. His statement today itself is an example of a politicisation of the issue.”

Asserting that none of the Opposition parties, be it the JD-U, the RJD, the SP or the DMK had ever said anything on the issue, Mr Azad said, “it is the BJP leaders and the RSS pracharaks who have been raising the issue in their electoral campaign.… The Prime Minister should put a control on his partymen.”…

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20170429/3100940.html

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Zakia Jafri plea against clean chit to PM Modi: No scope for further probe, SIT tells Gujarat HC (Apr 29, 2017, Indian Express)

Defending its closure report giving clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 60 others in the 2002 riots, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday told the Gujarat High Court that there was no scope for any further investigation into the allegations of Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre.

Zakia has challenged the SIT clean chit to Modi and the others, including several police officials and politicians. She had alleged that Modi along with the others were responsible for the widespread riots, which were part of a “larger conspiracy”. A day after lawyers representing Zakia concluded their submissions before the High Court, SIT counsel C S Vaidyanathan argued that Zakia’s complaint was “investigated, reinvestigated and further investigated” under the supervision of the apex court… And therefore, there was nothing left in the allegations which require further probe…

However, Justice Sonia Gokani was not convinced with the arguments advanced by Vaidyanathan and told him to give further submission that why the magistrate couldn’t have ordered further probe. Justice Gokani also found that the Supreme Court had treated Zakia’s petition differently. She asked the SIT counsel to elaborate how the Zakia’s petition was part of the Gulberg Society massacre. She also asked the counsel to explain various other technical issues concerning the case in the next hearing on June 9.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/zakia-jafri-plea-against-clean-chit-to-pm-modi-no-scope-for-further-probe-sit-tells-gujarat-hc-4632531/

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Indian mob beats two Muslims to death over suspected cow theft (May 1, 2017, The Guardian)

Two Muslim men were beaten to death by Indian villagers who suspected them of stealing cows, police said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of attacks over the animals, which are considered sacred by Hindus.

Police in Nagaon district, in Assam state in the country’s north-east, said they had registered a murder case over the deaths of Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali on Sunday. Two people have been detained for questioning. …

Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened by the victory of Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, who became prime minister in 2014.… At least 10 Muslim men have been killed in similar incidents across the country by Hindu mobs on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows in the last two years.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/01/indian-mob-beats-two-muslims-to-death-over-suspected-cow-theft

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Dalits demand arrest of Bajrang Dal activists (Apr 29, 2017, Times of India)

Dalit organizations organized a protest in front of the SP’s office on Friday demanding the externment of Bajrang Dal activists who had attacked three youths from their community earlier in the week.

A group of activists from Bajrang Dal had barged into the house of gram panchayat member Shakuntala in Koraga Colony alleging that they were cooking beef. They attacked three youths allegedly threatening them with abusive words.

Karnataka Dalit Sangarsha Samithi leader demanded that police arrest the accused. Sunder Master, DSS district convener said, “This act shows that a section of the community is forcing people what they should eat. The choice of food is ours and we will continue to do that. No one has the right to say what we should eat. After the attack, police arrested innocent victims. Now the family lives in fear.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58423352.cms

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130 Million Aadhaar Numbers Were Made Public, Says New Report (May 1, 2017, The Wire)

Irresponsible information security practices by a major central government ministry and a state government may have exposed up to 135 million Aadhaar numbers, according to a new research report released on Monday.

The last two months have seen a wave of data leaks, mostly due to improper information security practices, from various central government and state government departments.…

“While the UIDAI has been involved in proactively pushing for other databases to get seeded with Aadhaar numbers, they take little responsibility in ensuring the security and privacy of such data.With countless databases seeded with Aadhaar numbers, we would argue that it is extremely irresponsible on the part of the UIDAI, the sole governing body for this massive project, to turn a blind eye to the lack of standards prescribed for how other bodies shall deal with such data, such cases of massive public disclosures of this data, and the myriad ways in which it may used for mischief,” the report states.…

https://thewire.in/130948/aadhaar-card-details-leaked/

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Chhattisgarh Official’s Facebook Post Reveals Horrific Police Torture Of Minor Tribal Girls (May 2, 2017, Huffington Post)

A woman official of the government of Chhattisgarh has irked the authorities with a Facebook post raising questions about a model of governance that allows for alleged harassment of tribal people in the state.

“I am a witness to the torture of minor tribal girls … In the police stations, women personnel have stripped and tortured girls as old as 14 and 16 … They were given electric shock on their hands and breasts. I have seen the marks … I was horrified … Why third-degree torture on minors? I have given directions for their treatment”, Varsha Dongre, deputy jailer of Raipur Central Jail, recently wrote in a post in Hindi.

“We need to introspect, because those who are getting killed in either side of this war in Bastar are our own people. The capitalist system is being forced on Bastar, tribals are being pushed out of their lands, their villages are being burnt, women raped – all this to grab land and forests. All this isn’t being done to end Naxalism”, she added.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/05/02/chhattisgarh-officials-facebook-post-reveals-horrific-police-to_a_22064696/

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s New Face – By Hartosh Singh Bal (Apr 24, 2017, New York Times)

…Until he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Adityanath, 45, was primarily known as a firebrand Hindu leader who had created a volunteer force, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, or Vehicle for Hindu Youth, a group repeatedly accused of stoking and participating in religious violence. The best chronicled of such incidents took place in 2007 in Gorakhpur, Mr. Adityanath’s hometown, in eastern Uttar Pradesh. After the death of a Hindu youth in clashes between Hindus and Muslims on the day of the Shia festival of Moharram, Mr. Adityanath publicly addressed his men: “In times to come, if one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police. Instead we will make sure we will kill 10 Muslims.” He was arrested and kept in custody for 15 days after his men destroyed a roadside Sufi shrine and violated prohibitory orders.…

The Gorakhnath sect’s overt involvement with the politics of the Hindu right began in 1935 when Digvijai Nath, an orphan who had been brought to the sect at age 8, came to lead it.… After the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, Digvijai Nath, along with Mr. Savarkar, was arrested for a speech he had given three days before calling for Mr. Gandhi’s murder. They were let off on grounds of insufficient evidence to connect them to the assassination. A year after his release from jail, Mr. Nath told a newspaper that if his party attained power, “it would deprive the Muslims of the right to vote for five to 10 years.

Mr. Adityanth, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and the new poster boy of Hindu nationalism, has inherited this worldview. These exclusionary ideas sit well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the B.J.P. campaign in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The campaign combined a pitch that promised economic development with a divisive message that targeted the Muslim minority. Muslims constitute 20 percent of the state’s population. Mr. Modi’s party did not field a single Muslim candidate;…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/opinion/indias-new-face.html

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Hindutva mobs flex muscles against Muslims. Sikhs, Christians should speak up before it’s too late – By Sunny Hundal (Apr 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As right wing forces flex their Hindutva muscles and use them against Muslims across the country, Sikhs and Christians will be watching in worry. But the time for them to speak out is now, not when the mob comes for them. By then it will be too late.

Sikhs know this better than any other religious minority in India. The state-directed genocide in 1984 showed that Indian politicians rarely face charges for stirring up hatred against non-Hindus. But what is at stake here for Sikhs isn’t just their own safety but the protection of an important principle.…

After the Second World War a German priest spoke of his regret in not opposing Hitler earlier. He wrote: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.” Then they came for the Trade Unionists and the same happened. Then the Jews. “Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” India’s religious minorities have always been suspicious of Hindutva, aware that one day they could be on the receiving end of its intolerance. That day is arriving faster than they realise.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/hindutva-mobs-flex-muscles-against-muslims-sikhs-christians-should-speak-up-before-it-s-too-late/story-G0GFlaPerjyYzR8L5YftpK.html

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The ‘Muslim Problem’ is a Symptom of Insecure Nationalism – By Asim Ali (Apr 28, 2017, The Wire)

…Sadly, the nationalism prevailing today would be unrecognisable to our founding fathers. Far from the high-minded ideals of our constitution, the nationalism of today is increasingly petty, paranoid and insecure.… Once the existence of the ‘Muslim problem’ is accepted by large parts of society, it would then of course also need to be ‘resolved’. It was resolved through a pogrom in Gujarat, but a national solution is likely to be more subtle, whose shape we can already grasp. It involves the further marginalisation and effective disenfranchisement of the community, long advocated by Hindutva ideologues such as M.S. Golwalkar.

The representation of Muslims in elected assemblies is falling across the board. The Muslim representation in the current Lok Sabha is the lowest ever, the representation in the recently elected Uttar Pradesh assembly has receded to the post-Babri riots level, in Gujarat it had plummeted under then chief minister Modi’s watch, settling at two MLAs in a total house of 182. This political marginalisation is coupled with localised violence by vigilantes, enjoying varied degrees of state support.

This concerted campaign of anti-Muslim prejudice may be conceived by the Sangh, but is perpetuated by useful followers in a supine media, driven by the iron logic of ratings, and accepted wholeheartedly by a middle class in thrall to an insecure nationalism. It now threatens to completely marginalise the Muslims in the public sphere. It is this fact that should insult a mature democracy, not an image of its flag on a doormat.

https://thewire.in/128150/insecure-nationalism-muslim-problem/

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Sadhvi Pragya Singh may not like saffron terror, but that doesn’t mean it was a ‘bogey’ – By Charu Kartikeya (Apr 28, 2017, Catch News)

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur… reportedly told reporters on 27 April that she was “100% innocent” and her arrest was “a conspiracy hatched by the Congress-led UPA government…to endorse the bogey of saffron terrorism”. But is “saffron terrorism” really a bogey? Forget that branding, does this one case appear to be a bogey? How is it then that 10 other accused in the case are still languishing behind the bars?

How is it that the same National Investigation Agency (NIA) that did not find “sufficient evidence” against Thakur, has recommended prosecution against the other 10 under stringent sections of law? Investigating agencies appear to have made a mess of the case, but even then they maintain that the case stands. And this is just one of about half a dozen major cases of “saffron terror” in which trials are still going on and courts are passing some really serious observations against the accused.…

That saffron-terror is anything but a “bogey” was conclusively proved last month with the conviction and award of life imprisonment to two terrorists in the Ajmer Dargah blasts case. A special NIA court awarded life imprisonment to Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel for their role behind the blasts that on 11 October 2007 had killed three pilgrims and injured 15 others. At least one of them was a known former worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), long considered the fountainhead of all Hindutva-oriented organisations in the country.… Saffron or anything else, Thakur can call it whatever she wants to but she cannot deny its existence.

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/sadhvi-pragya-singh-may-not-like-saffron-terror-but-that-doesn-t-mean-it-was-a-bogey-59246.html

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Why Yogi Adityanath wants to keep issue of Ram Mandir burning till 2019 – By Kaveree Bamzai (Apr 26, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Yogi Adityanath is likely to keep the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi hot ahead of the 2019 general election given his mutt’s long association with it, says Dhirendra K Jha, author of Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldliers of Hindutva.

Jha, whose book chronicles the rise of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Yogi Adityanath’s organisation, says he never considered that Adityanath would be made chief minister of Uttar Pradesh while he was researching his book in 2015-16.

In an interview, he explains why he sees some similarities between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, and how “Adityanath is much ahead of Modi in securing his base independent of the RSS”:…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/adityanath-modi-uttar-pradesh-hindu-yuva-vahini/story/1/16863.html

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Vigilantes terrorize India’s beef-eating minorities – By Kadayam Subramanian (Apr 25, 2017, Asia Times)

On April 21, five members of a family, including a 9-year-old girl, were seriously injured in an attack by a large, illegal gau rakshak (“cow protection”) vigilante group in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir. The nomadic tribal people were herding their livestock, including 16 cows and calves, when they were intercepted near the Talwara area and assaulted with iron rods.

The group belonged to two important front organisations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volutereeer Association) and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The tribesmen reported that the attackers absconded with their goats, sheep and cows. The nine-year-old girl suffered multiple fractures and one of the children went missing. Even the elders were beaten up. Their attackers also threatened to throw them into a nearby river.

Jammu & Kashmir is home to a large number of nomadic tribal herder groups that travel between Jammu’s Himalayan mountains every year for grazing. This particular group had the necessary permit from the forest department, but the police demanded a district magistrate’s permit. The local magistrate, however, told the media that the permit from the forest department was sufficient. The police said they had identified five of the attackers, but no arrests were made.…

http://www.atimes.com/cow-protection-violence-hits-legitimacy-modi-government/

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Book Review

Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva

Author: Dhirendra K. Jha
Reviewed by: Saket Suman
Available at: Juggernaut Books, e-publishers, India; support@juggernaut.in; Pages: 228; Price: Rs 499 . www.amazon.in/
Review:
Connecting the dots: The BJP, Hindutva and fringe organisations (Apr 26, 2017, Daijiworld.com)

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from two seats in 1984 to a staggering 282 in 2014 may be seen as the growing appeal of its ideology – Hindutva – among the masses, but this compelling work of extraordinary research provides enough evidence to suggest that the ruling party’s advance over the last three decades is not its journey alone and has been accompanied by the steady progress of fringe organisations which, in turn, have been the “foot soldiers” of its ideology.

From Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini in eastern Uttar Pradesh and the “love jihad” obsessed Sri Ram Sene in Mangalore to the Sanatan Sanstha, whose members have been arrested for the murder of rational thinkers Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi, the direct outcome of the activities of almost all of these eight organisations – polarisation – has not only served to foster a pro-Hindutva environment but has, indeed, brought about long-term electoral gains for the BJP.

It is perhaps the first book of its kind that has carefully studied the functioning and evolution of fringe organisations in the country and linked, with evidence, their connection to a mainstream political party. Author Dhirendra K. Jha, a journalist, combines substantial research of eight Hindu rightwing organisations across India and their BJP connections with flawless prose to prove his point in “Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva”.…

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=449142

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 24th, 2017

May 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Saharanpur violence over Ambedkar rally: 2 FIRs lodged against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Kerala: 14 BJP-RSS men booked for attack over cow slaughter Alwar lynching: call for united fight against fascism Bajrang Dal men attack Agra police station to rescue 5, S-I injured Cop In Madhya Pradesh […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 17th, 2017

April 29, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony A worthy example of communal harmony News Headlines Alwar cops ‘botched’ Pehlu lynching probe Bail for All Assailant ‘Gau Rakshaks’ in Ayub Murder Case: Gujarat Tension in Muzaffarpur village after lynching of man for hitting goat Opposition meets President, says ‘environment of fear, insecurity prevailing in the […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 10th, 2017

April 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Hindu Cow Vigilantes in Rajasthan, India, Beat Muslim to Death Supreme Court asks Centre, states why cow vigilantes shouldn’t be banned Sheopur tense after RSS shakha row, 10 Muslims held Babri demolition: CBI tells Supreme Court Advani, 12 others part of larger conspiracy After armed rallies on […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 3rd, 2017

April 14, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu, Muslim couples tie knots under one roof News Headlines BJP behind organized communal flareup in North Gujarat village: Civil society report. “Target assembly polls” EVMs Poll in “Favour” of BJP in MP Bypoll, Election Officer Warns Journos Not to Report Scam ‘You may as well kill […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 27th, 2017

April 8, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat: Communal clash in Patan district kills two people, injures ten others Delhi Police registers FIR against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad on complaint by Air India Ajmer blasts: Two terrorists affiliated to RSS sentenced for life imprisonment Cops refuse to share SIMI jailbreak ‘key’ pics Law […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 20th, 2017

April 2, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Teesta Setalvad delivers an indictment at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in India News Headlines Letters for 2 years, SOS to PM, Election Commission still awaits EVM papertrail funds Uttar Pradesh: New Chief Minister must retract previous statements against Muslims India: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

March 24, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Protest held in Ghaziabad against irregularities in electronic voting machines Manohar Parrikar is #NotMyCM: Goans protest as BJP ministers take oath Muslim leader Aamir Madni questions Lucknow encounter ‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’ ‘Cops need only a Muslim name to fabricate a case’ The BJP Has Been […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 6th, 2017

March 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment Communal Harmony Mangalore Defeats RSS Disruption of the Communal Harmony March News Headlines ‘Gujarat riots did not happen all of a sudden’ RSS Leader Boasts of Killing 2000 Muslims in […]

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