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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

by newsdigest on May 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Children told to spread communal harmony (Apr 16, 2016, The Tribune)

With the aim to sensitise children about causes and consequences of radicalism and casteism, Guru Nanak Sewa Mission launched a movement to spread awareness about religious tenets of various religions.

Maintaining that founders and preachers of all religions taught to adopt principles of communal harmony and universal fraternity, specialists from various sections of society highlighted various facts about origin and background of different religious functions including Ram Navmi, Diwali, Shivratri, Baisakhi, Guruparabs and Eid.

Elaborating on the subject, Darshan Singh Khalsa argued that the tenth guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh laid foundation of Khalsa by inviting five devoted and committed persons from different castes, who offered to give sacrifice.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/community/children-told-to-spread-communal-harmony/223052.html

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US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate (Apr 16, 2016, Counterview)

Revising the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, the US state department’s new 67-page report on human rights situation in India has expressed “concern” over the Gujarat government’s “failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim.”

Referring to the slow process of justice, the report states, “On September 16, the Gujarat High Court’s acting Chief Justice assembled a new bench to hear the appeals from Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, along with others who authorities had sentenced to imprisonment for their role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. This was the fifth bench to hear these petitions.”

It says, this happened even as Zakia Jafri “appealed the rejection by the Gujarat High Court of a petition challenging a special investigative tribunal’s conclusion finding insufficient evidence to prosecute 63 individuals, including police, security, and other senior state government officials accused of complicity or dereliction of duty in the 2002 Gujarat riots.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/04/us-report-notes-gujarat-govt-failure-to.html

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Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Delhi University has declined to give information under RTI related to PM Narendra Modi’s bachelor of arts degree. The university cited inability to find information without a roll number as reason for the denial. The plea was accepted by the central information commission (CIC), which has dismissed the case.…

This is not the first time details of Modi’s educational qualifications have been sought, and denied, under RTI. Earlier, Gujarat University refused to make information related to the PM’s masters degree public, saying that the marksheet and other details were personal information. An RTI plea was also filed with the PMO on his MA degree. It was turned down because authorities said that they did not have the information.

Delhi resident Hans Raj Jain had sought information on how many persons bearing the name of “Mr. Narendra Modi” had passed BA in 1978 as external students. According to the order given by information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu, the chief public information officer said that admission is given based on a candidate’s roll number and the university would have to manually search for the candidate’s name, which was impossible.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819529.cms

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2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes acquittal of nine Muslims (Apr 13, 2016, Scroll.in)

The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday told a Mumbai court it opposed discharging nine Muslims accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case. The move came two years after the NIA said it had no evidence linking these men to the attacks, The Indian Express reported.

The blasts took place in Malegaon, around 300 km north of Mumbai, in September 2006, killing 37 people and injuring more than 100. There are two different sets of people accused in the case – the nine Muslim men who were arrested by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad soon after the attacks, and four Hindus arrested by the NIA after they took over the investigation in 2011.…

In April 2014, the NIA had said there was no evidence supporting the ATS’ report recommending that the nine men be prosecuted. Before that, in 2011, then prosecutor for the NIA, Rohini Salian, had said the agency would review evidence in the Malegaon blasts after fresh revelations were made by an accused in another case. Salian then acknowledged that based on new information, right-wing extremists were also involved in the 2006 blasts, The Indian Express said.

http://scroll.in/latest/806569/2006-malegaon-blast-nia-does-volte-face-opposes-acquittal-of-nine-muslims

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Ishrat Jahan case: PM, BJP chief hindering judicial process, claims Congress (Apr 19, 2016, First Post)

The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of obstructing the judicial process by blocking the trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan’s alleged staged shootout case pending in a Ahmedabad court.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are shamelessly misleading the country and obstructing judicial process by blocking trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

Surjewala also asserted that Modi and Shah need to tell 125 crore Indians about the real motive behind their desperation to shut down the trial in Ishrat Jahan case. “What is it that they (Modi and Shah) seek to hide or are scared of? They need to place these things before the nation. Modi government is relying upon patent falsehood to hide the facts of the case,” he said.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/ishrat-jahan-case-pm-bjp-chief-hindering-judicial-process-claims-congress-2737626.html

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Riot, arson after Hindu-Muslim clash in Jharkhand town (Apr 18, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Around 30 shops were set ablaze on Sunday when riots broke out in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh that had been on the edge for the past two days after a Ram Navami procession by Hindus passing through a Muslim-dominated area sparked violence.

Hazaribagh, roughly a two-hour drive from state capital Ranchi, was put under curfew as shop owners from both communities were targeted in the arson. Around 200 people arrived at the district hospital with injuries from the stone-pelting at the procession that led to a stampede.

Deputy commissioner Mukesh Kumar said trouble started when objectionable recorded slogans were played at a Ram Navami procession triggering clash between two groups of people at the nearby Kud Rewali village near Hazaribagh railway station, according to news agency PTI.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/riot-arson-after-hindu-muslim-clash-in-jharkhand-town/story-4Mh3WXyQ99moQW5lTIpNlO.html

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Family shocked over arrest of relative for NIA officer’s murder (Apr 13, 2016, The Hindu)

The Uttar Pradesh police claims to have solved the murder of National Investigating Agency (NIA) officer Tanzil Ahmed with the arrest of his relative Mohammad Rehan.… The development comes as a shock to Ahmed’s Shaheen Bagh-based family, as none of them suspected Rehan’s role in the incident.

Talking to The Hindu , Ahmed’s elder brother Raghib said the possibility of a relative being involved in the shooting was always a remote one since the deceased had never expressed any apprehensions or threat from Rehan. “No, he never said anything about a threat from Rehan or anyone else in the extended family,” said Mr. Raghib Ahmed.…

Another relative Safdar Ali said Rehan wouldn’t have dared to approach the victim for help in criminal cases. “Had Tanzil bhai known about it, he would have ensured that Rehan was sent to jail immediately,” he said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/family-shocked-over-arrest-of-relative-for-nia-officers-murder/article8468758.ece

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Amreli BJP MP gets 3-year jail in assault case (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Amreli BJP MP Naran Kachhadiya and four others, including a woman, were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for assaulting a government doctor in civil hospital three years ago.

Additional sessions judge B R Bhatt found Kachhadiya, his driver Ramesh, office in-charge Kirit Vamja, local BJP members Madhu Joshi and Ravi Joshi, guilty of the crime. The five were convicted under sections 186 (obstructing public servant from discharging his public functions), section 332 (deterring public servant from his duty) and section 143 (unlawful assembly).…

Dr B L Dabhi, medical officer at Amreli civil hospital, had lodged a complaint against Kachadiya and others on January 1, 2013. Dabhi had told police that a person with a mobile handset had approached him when he was attending an emergency case at the trauma centre and asked him to talk to Kachhadiya. However, Dabhi refused saying that he was attending an emergency case. After some time, Kachadiya and his accomplices reached the hospital and one of the persons slapped Dabhi. The medical officer had also alleged that Kachadiya had threatened him of dire consequences.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819931.cms

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Meeting with Modi: some Muslim delegates deny Centre’s claim (Apr 16, 2016, The Hindu)

A government press release, dated April 13, announcing that “eminent Muslim citizens” had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him on “his recent successful visit to Saudi Arabia”, has provoked strong reactions from some members of the delegation, who have disputed the public relations spin given to the interaction.

Expressing unhappiness at the manner in which the note put out by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) was worded, journalist Qurban Ali told The Hindu, “We were invited to discuss the trust deficit between the Muslim community and the government, and what could be done to end this.”

Editor of Nai Duniya and former MP Shahid Siddiqui, who was also present on the occasion, also confirmed this: “I was told that we would discuss the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims … I made concrete suggestions for the community’s uplift and pointed out that the benefits of many government schemes for minorities are not reaching them.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/muslim-delegates-deny-centres-claim/article8481362.ece

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ABVP activist throws slipper at Kanhaiya in Nagpur, roughed up (Apr 14, 2016, Hindustan Times)

An activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a right-wing student organisation, was beaten up by a mob after he hurled a slipper at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, here on Thursday.

The incident occurred when Kanhaiya had started his speech after paying a tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi on the occasion of his 125th birthday. Although the activist missed the target, the organisers and Kanhaiya’s supporters took on the attacker, identified as Haridas Shinde, who is a Dalit.

Earlier, when Kanhaiya shared the dais with other dignitaries, several Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans against him and tried to disrupted the meeting. They were also roughed up by organisers and handed over to the police.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/abvp-activist-throws-slipper-at-kanhaiya-in-nagpur-roughed-up/story-bot3nGHQzGuarpG0Z8l0BJ.html

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Dalit set to embrace Islam alleges threat from ‘Bajrang Dal’ (Apr 15, 2016, Indian Express)

The Dalit in-charge sarpanch of a Porbandar village on Thursday alleged that he was threatened by “Bajrang Dal members” hours before his planned conversion to Islam in public, which could not take place after police denied permission for the ceremony.

Suman Chavda (40), in-charge sarpanch of Vinzarana village who had moved to Porbandar town two years ago alleging threats from the then sarpanch, was allowed to convert to Islam by the district collector on April 12 under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act. Following the permission, Chavda announced to embrace Islam Thursday during a ceremony slated to be held at Ambedkar Park near Nava Fuvara in Porbandar.

Police, however, denied permission for the ceremony, citing security reasons and events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, but booked three people for allegedly threatening Chavda.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dalit-set-to-embrace-islam-alleges-threat-from-bajrang-dal-2754093/

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Opinions and Editorials

The Beast Before Us – By Peggy Mohan (Apr 12, 2016, The Wire)

…The events of the past few months on Indian university campuses – FTII, JNU, Hyderabad, and now NIT in Srinagar – have thrown up a basket of terms that similarly obscure the bigger picture of what is happening here. Majority. Uniformity. Development. Hindutva. Dissent. Intolerance. Nationalism. These have become issues to be addressed separately, dissipating the struggle and forcing us all onto the back foot to justify our bona fides in terms set by our opponent.…

Are we headed for the big blowout, after which we restart our journey on scorched earth? Does the beast before us cannily back off and buy itself time? Is there a chance of compromise that spares us all the trauma and dislocation of thinking afresh and charting a new course? We don’t know.

If we believe at all in reversal, and a climb down to a less controlled world closer to ground state, we need not so much to confront and assert as to look out for the new currents slightly beyond the range of our vision and give them strength. We need to keep depriving the beast of its oxygen, and work to win away its human shields. And we need to become better at reading its behaviour to be alert to signs that things are about to turn, so that we are ready with new ideas to pick ourselves up and start again.

http://thewire.in/2016/04/12/the-beast-before-us-27098/

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Why Baba Ramdev would do well to go into vanvaas – By Swami Agnivesh (Apr 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Ramdev shocks me. Truly. Utterly. Un-bearably. His saffron shocks me. It makes his words all the more shocking. Saffron is the colour either of self-sacrifice or of inspired bravery. He seems light years away from both. It is blatant cowardice to say one would love to cut off the heads of millions of people but for the small inconvenience that stands in the way. There is, he laments, that irksome thing called the rule of law.…

Ramdev’s version of patriotism, please note, is choked by the law. That is to say, it is unlawful. Refraining from scandalously unlawful lusts and longings only due to fear of unpleasant consequences is cowardice.… What Ramdev has done is criminal. He is sowing seeds of horrendous violence in the minds of unsuspecting people within an ambience of faith.

This is incitement of the most dangerous kind. Knowing the outlook and agenda of the current dispensation, I have no hope that the government either at the Centre or in Haryana will take cognisance of this challenge to the rule of law and insult to the Constitution. I pray, therefore, to the chief justice of India to take suo moto cognisance of this and initiate appropriate action.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/baba-ramdev-patanjali-patriotism-india/

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Signboard of Hindutva: Why Gurgaon was renamed Gurugram – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Apr 14, 2016, Dailyo.in)

It is common knowledge that the more the number of syllables in a word, the more difficultly it sits on the tongue. Take this test and decide which is easier for you to mouth: Gur-gaon, Gur-gram or Gu-ru-gram. Say it slowly and then swiftly as in the course of a normal conversation. Even amateur experts in phonetics would conclude that the first of these three names is easiest to pronounce.…

Mythology has been treated as history by votaries of Hindutva for decades. Among the first tasks that the BJP government in Haryana directed after being elected was in March 2015 when it began excavations to bring the myth of Saraswati River to life. The initiative of the state government added to years of research to uncover the palaeochannels of the extinct mythological river.…

There is a certain design behind this. Aurangzeb Road in Delhi has been renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road because of uni-dimensional interpretation of history which frames the Mughal king solely as a villain.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gurugram-gurgaon-bjp-narendra-modi-hindutva-eklavya-guru-dronacharya-babri-masjid-rss-aurangzeb-road/story/1/10081.html

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Mohammed Aamir Khan, living in dread after acquittal – By Sidharth Bhatia (Apr 15, 2016, Free Press Journal)

Despite Indians being proud of their democracy and rule of law, it is a sad fact of life that there are several miscarriages of justice and there is no way to correct or compensate for them. Instances of innocent people being picked up, held for a long time in jail and then finally released because they are found innocent, with neither monetary help nor rehabilitation, is one such example.

One had heard of such instances, but it is only when one meets someone who has actually been through this situation that the sheer horror of it all becomes apparent. Earlier this week I got an opportunity to meet and interview, on stage, Mohammed Aamir Khan, who was held in jail for nearly 14 years on charges of terrorism. One by one, all charges against him proved false – not a single witness identified him – and he is now out of jail, (two cases are still pending) but his story holds a mirror to our society.…

The story is tragic enough, but more important is that there are few checks and balances to ensure that such things are not repeated. There is no way to make good anyone who has lost 14 years of his life, but surely there could be some monetary help to put them back on their feet? And what kind of systems can be put in place so that innocent people are not just picked up and charged with false allegations, which they could take years to disprove?…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mohammed-aamir-khan-living-in-dread-after-acquittal-sidharth-bhatia/826139

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Malda is tense, but is it communal? Ground reality suggests otherwise – By Parth MN (Apr 17, 2016, DNA India)

The market is bustling with activity. Shopkeepers are busy interacting and bargaining with customers as cars keep honking in the background. Security forces patrol the streets ahead of the polling. Merely, three and a half months ago, this locality had been engulfed in violence and turbulence. Today, however, the spectacle in Malda has “business as usual” written all over it.

A closer look, though, indicates that normalcy had returned the very evening after the unrest erupted on the morning of January 3. “I opened my shop at around five in the evening,” says Dipal Sinha, who runs a medical store right across the Kaliachak Police Station, which was burnt by the hostile mob. “The attack was confined to the police station.”

Immediately after the incident, reports on social media suggested a communal riot in West Bengal’s Malda district, which goes to polls on Sunday. The episode had pitted the Muslims against Hindus. However, shopkeepers in close proximity to the police station say no human being was targeted or no shop was vandalised. “We have never experienced communal tension and neither have I been at the receiving end of minority persecution,” says 67-year-old Sinha, who has lived right behind his shop all his life. “My relations with my Muslim neighbours are extremely pleasant. In fact, when I was wondering whether I should open my shop in the evening, my Muslim friends asked me to go ahead without any hesitation.”…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-malda-is-tense-but-is-it-communal-ground-reality-suggests-otherwise-2202920

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On Baba Saheb’s 125th Birth Anniversary Let’s Remember What He Said About The Hindutva Gang – By Shamsul Islam (Apr 14, 2016, Countercurrents)

The RSS is terribly busy re-writing history these days. It will be more appropriate to call it guillotining of history, as these are facts and realties of history which are being sacrificed in this process at the altar political ambitions of the Hindutva gang.

So far this creativity was restricted to the works and words of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Sardar Patel but of late Baba Saheb Ambedkar appears to have become the latest victim of malafide manufacturing of history by the flag-bearers of Hindutva. Dr Ambedkar becomes a newest victim of RSS game plan being presented as a leader in league with K.B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwalkar defending the cause of Hindu Rashtra in India.

In 2003 it was Vinay Katiyar, the former head of Bajrang Dal and a diehard RSS cadre who declared that Ambedkar was great supporter of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra like KB Hedgewar, the founder of RSS. In the recent past this attempt for hijacking of Dr. Ambedkar got accelerated with the coming of power of RSS/BJP in India in 2014. In the true Hindutva tradition, the RSS ‘thinkers’ started manufacturing history and shamelessly went to the extent of penning words which Baba Saheb never spoke wrote or believed.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam130416.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 11th, 2016

by newsdigest on April 19, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Court takes cognisance of complaint against PM for ‘insulting’ Tricolour (Apr 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A Delhi court on Wednesday took cognisance of a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly “insulting” the national flag last year on the international yoga day and during his visit to the United States.…

The complainant Ashish Sharma, who has sought direction to the police to file an FIR against Modi, has claimed that he had committed an offence under the provisions of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and has also violated the Flag Code of India.

He claimed that Modi had insulted the national flag not once but several times. He alleged that the PM had “disrespected” national flag by using it as a handkerchief at an event at the India Gate on the international yoga day.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/court-takes-cognisance-of-complaint-against-pm-for-insulting-tricolour/story-yCPBUO4t0ZF7Ep9FaurSPL.html

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Violence in Bhind after custodial death, 3 cops suspended (Apr 10, 2016, Times of India)

Police had to fire in the air and burst tear gas shells on Sunday morning to disperse a violent mob protesting after death of a youth in police custody at Umri police station of Bhind on late Saturday night.

Three cops including the SHO of the police station, Rambabu Yadav, have been suspended. Sunil Yadav, 20, allegedly committed suicide in the police station. His father Avilav Yadav said that his son was arrested after allegations of theft. He was beaten by the police inside thana and he died on Saturday.

After the postmortem, family of the deceased placed the body near thana and demanded registration of cases of murder against the cops. They started pelting stones on the police when the police dispersed the mob by firing in the air.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51764860.cms

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Malegaon blast witnesses’ confessional statements go ‘missing’ (Apr 8, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Confessional statements of some witnesses in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case are reported to be “missing” from the special MCOCA court in Mumbai, prompting the authorities to mount a search for those.

The issue came to light earlier this week when staff of the special court approached former special public prosecutor (SPP) Rohini Salian to inquire about whether she had with her some of the confessional statements of witnesses. “I was surprised when such a query was made to me. The court staff asked whether I had confessional statements of six or seven crucial witnesses recorded before a magistrate. I conveyed that all documents had been handed over to the new SPP Avinash Rasal in presence of NIA officers and, in any case, the originals were in the court records only,” Salian said.

The witnesses whose statements have gone missing include those of a close aide of Ramji Kalsangra who had “confessed” before a magistrate about the criminal conspiracy hatched to plant explosives in Malegaon. Two low-intensity explosions in Malegaon on September 29, 2008, had left seven people dead. The Maharashtra police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), which investigated the case before it was handed over to CBI and later to NIA in 2011, arrested several, including self-styled Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Srikant Purohit.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/malegaon-blast-witnesses-confessional-statements-go-missing/story-u7eqhqetw81lDfjmBdDWRI.html

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Seminar disrupted over calls to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (Apr 9, 2016, Indian Express)

A seminar at Deshbandhu College on ‘Ambedkar on Caste and Social Justice’ was disrupted Friday when Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members insisted the organisers chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ if they wanted the event to go on.

The students, all part of the Deshbandhu Discussion Forum, said they usually organise discussions once a fortnight and invite speakers from different universities to speak. “This was the fifth discussion in the series. But even before the discussion began, ABVP members including Rajat Chaudhary started tearing pamphlets and posters of the seminar, and hurled abuses at the organisers. They told the organisers, say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai ‘or we will not let the event continue,” said Chirayu Goyal, one of the organisers.

Ananya Pandey, another organiser of the event, said, “One student even said Bharat Mata Ki Jai, but then questioned who they were to dictate anything. They sat throughout the lecture sessions and called all of us ‘atankwadis’ and ‘deshdrohis.'”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/seminar-disrupted-over-calls-to-chant-bharat-mata-ki-jai/

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Latehar hangings: Chilling confessions of gau rakshaks (Apr 4, 2016, Catch News)

It has been 17 days since cattle trader Majloom Ansari and a 12-year-old school boy Imtiyaz Khan were killed and hanged at the Jhabar village in Jharkhand’s Latehar district. The local police were prompt in taking action and arrested 5 persons within 24 hours of the murders. Three other accused surrendered later.…

Locals say that one of the accused, Arun Sau, is associated with the Bajrang Dal.… All five accused who were arrested by the police have confessed to their crime. Their confessions also indicate that Arun Sau, the alleged Bajrang Dal activist, was the mastermind behind the murders. Two of the accused recollect that it was Arun who strangled Majloom and 12-year-old Imtiyaz with a rope and killed them.

Establishing the cow-protection links to the murders, one of the accused – by Mithilesh Sau alias Bunty – states that whatever he did was because of the responsibility given to him by the Gau Raksha Samiti. This makes the motive behind the murders evidently clear.

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/exclusive-latehar-confessions-gau-rakshaks-give-chilling-details-of-18-march-hangings-1459794465.html

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Rajasthan sends police to get details on madrasas, DGP says ‘routine’ (Apr 11, 2016, Indian Express)

Against the backdrop of a demand for probe into “suspicious activities” of madrasas in the state, raised in the Assembly recently by BJP MLA Gyandev Ahuja, Rajasthan government has sought information on madrasas on 14 points, including “ideology”, “visits by Tablighi Jamaat”, and “activities”.

A letter from SPs to respective SHOs seeks information on “what is the ideology of madrasa (whether Shia/Sunni/Deobandi/Barelvi etc)”, “whether Tablighi Jamaat visits madrasa or not”, “activities”, as well as details of owner of the madrasa and the number of students, among others. DGP Manoj Bhatt told The Indian Express, “It is a routine exercise and such information is regularly collected by intelligence.”…

A madrasa teacher confirmed that police officials had arrived at the madrasa where he teaches two days ago and sought detailed information on the owner, the number of students, ideology,etc. Said Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s state president Khursheed Husain, “This move will only create suspicion and hatred towards madrasas, which is in no way in favour of the nation.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rajasthan-sends-police-to-get-details-on-madrasas-dgp-says-routine/

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Muslims’ share in enrolment dips at secondary level (Apr 11, 2016, Times of India)

…In total enrolment, SC students accounted for 16.6 per cent at primary level and 17.1 per cent at upper primary level, STs for 12.7 and 11 per cent, BCs for 46.7 percent and 48.1per cent and Muslim students for total enrolment of 14.4 percent at primary level and 12.4 per cent at upper primary level.

Similarly, DISE data shows that there were 13,183 secondary schools with total enrolment of 17.02 lakh and 69,000 teachers in 2014-15. In total enrolment, SC students accounted or 17.52 per cent at secondary level and 18.54 percent at higher secondary level, STs proportion was 9.68 per cent and 10.27 per cent, BCs share was 50.14 percent and 47.11 percent and Muslim students’ proportion worked out to 10.8 per cent at secondary level and 6.76 per cent at higher secondary level.

DISE data thus indicates that the proportion of SC, ST and BC students at primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels is almost approximate to their proportion to total population. But in the case of Muslims, their proportion in enrolment goes down from one level to another, that is, from 14.4 per cent at primary level to 12.4 percent at upper primary level, and further to 10.8 per cent at secondary level and 6.76 per cent at higher secondary level.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51771732.cms

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Pluralism and tolerance hallmark of Indian civilisation: President Pranab Mukherjee (Apr 10, 2016, Indian Express)

President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday that “pluralism and tolerance” are the “hallmark of our civilisation”, and India’s diversity is a “fact” which cannot be turned into “fiction” because of the “whims and caprices of few individuals”. He also warned that communal harmony, at times, will be put to test by “vested interests”, and Indians must “remain alert to communal tension rearing its ugly head anywhere”.…

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said, “Religion is a force for unity; we cannot make it a cause of conflict”. “At times, communal harmony will be put to test by vested interests. We must, therefore, remain alert to communal tension rearing its ugly head anywhere. Rule of Law must form the sole basis for dealing with any challenging situation. It is our democratic underpinning that must prevail at all times,” he said.

Emphasising that democracy is “not all about numbers but also calls for consensus building”, Mukherjee said a phenomenon seen in recent times is the way the common man is engaged with affairs of the nation. “While we must wield no space to anarchy, efficient democratic machinery must have the means and wherewithal to absorb public opinion for formulation of sound policies,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/president-pranab-mukherjee-pluralism-tolerance-indian-civilisation-manmohan-singh/

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Another ex-CBI official arrested in RTI activist murder (Apr 11, 2016, First Post)

The questioning of a former Pune police officer B R Andhalkar has given CBI “vital clues” about conspiracy relating to the murder of RTI activist Satish Shetty six years ago, resulting in the arrest of another former Crime branch official Namdev Sukhdev Kauthale.

Kauthale, then Assistant Police Inspector with Crime Branch, was arrested late last night by CBI, agency sources said. It is suspected both ex-crime branch officers knew the conspiracy and had actively taken part in attempts to shield the main accused, they said.

“It was alleged that then API was involved in the initial investigation of the case. He had allegedly conspired with the perpetrators of crime and in furtherance of that he created false evidence and fake eye-witnesses implicating five other accused persons to shield the real conspirators and killers,” CBI Spokesperson said here.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/another-ex-cbi-official-arrested-in-rti-activist-murder-2723490.html

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Now, Hindu leader Swaroopanand says rapes will rise if women go into Shani temple (Apr 11, 2016, Times of India)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51779045.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Wolves of the Virtual World – Editorial (Apr 9, 2016, EPW)

This week a journalist with the private news channel, CNN-IBN, landed into trouble after posting what was clearly a morphed image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Maheish Girri saw the image, which showed the Prime Minister touching the feet of the Saudi king, as an attempt to denigrate the country and very soon an online mob was baying for the blood of the journalist concerned. The argument that photoshopped image was in circulation several months before this incident and was used by the journalist for satire – however poor – was lost on the online militia. He has since taken off the image from his Facebook page and apologised. Chances are that he will face punitive action.

Online vigilantism such as this calls for a re-examination of the so-called democratic potential of the internet – the social media in particular. In recent times as traditional democratic lifelines have fallen prey to authoritarianism, the internet has emerged as a wellspring of hope. Just as it galvanised young people during the Arab Spring four years ago, social media, it is argued, will help movements of democracy in India and help feminists, Ambedkarites, the traditional leftists, environmentalists, students, teachers find collaborative spaces. There is indeed much about the social media that has inspired such optimism.…

Hatred between communities and social groups have lives far beyond election results and immediate political matters. That is why we must be worried. The manner in which the authoritarianism of the BJP-led government on Raisina Hill is working in tandem with the wolves on the web, the damage to India’s demo-cracy and pluralism may be long term and, in some ways, irreversible.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/15/editorials/wolves-virtual-world.html

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Nationalism vs Hindutva – By A.G. Noorani (Apr 29, 2016, Frontline)

…BJP is an admittedly “Hindu party”; rejects “secular policies”; and has as its main objective the establishment of a Hindu Raj so that “Hindu interests” would prevail (“rule India”). This, of course, is not Indian nationalism but Hindu nationalism, which the BJP calls Hindutva or “cultural nationalism”.

All this rests on a basis that is obvious though unstated by the BJP. But its ideologue V.D. Savarkar spelt it out boldly. It is that Hindus constitute a separate “nation”. Hindutva is another name for the two-nation theory – a “Hindu nation”, as distinct from other Indians, over whom it rules to promote “Hindu interests”. Savarkar was also the author of both Hindutva and the two-nation theory.

This is the very basis that underlies Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insidious ventures. A secular Constitution is being silently chipped away by executive acts to establish a Hindu Raj. The shell will remain. The kernel will be gone. Its architect, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, would have fought against it. So must we all – Indians who reject the two-nation theory and value our secular credo.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/nationalism-vs-hindutva/article8466061.ece

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Is the National Investigation Agency Sabotaging the Malegaon Blast Case? – By Sarim Naved (Apr 11, 2016, The Wire)

The prosecution of the accused in the Malegaon blasts case of 2008 seems to raise one question after the other about the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The premier investigation agency, set up to probe a select category of cases, is supposed to have the time and manpower to ensure quick investigation and prosecution. In the Malegaon case, it has neither carried out a quick investigation nor has it proceeded with the prosecution.

The news of some witness statements, recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) going missing from the court record, has raised further concerns about the prosecutorial intent of the NIA. Former Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian had previously claimed the NIA was seeking to favour the accused, who are members of a fringe right-wing organisation called ‘Abhinav Bharat’.… The statements that have gone missing will make it much easier to influence witnesses.… The disappearance of these documents also have to be seen with reference to the NIA’s changed stance regarding the application of MCOCA in this trial.…

The Central Bureau of Investigation has let off BJP President Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin case, not having challenged his discharge in that case before the high court. The Ishrat Jahan case has been put in cold storage with no movement regarding it. Witnesses are turning hostile in the Ajmer Dargah blast case and the Malegaon 2008 blasts prosecution is being systematically weakened. The common thread amongst all these cases is that the accused are persons who are perceived to be close to the ruling dispensation. Of course, the RSS and the BJP have publicly disowned the accused in the Ajmer and Malegaon blast cases. But the public condemnation would be much more believable if the country’s premier investigative agencies are not seen betraying their own investigations and their own findings.

http://thewire.in/2016/04/11/why-is-the-national-investigation-agency-dragging-its-feet-on-the-malegaon-blast-case-28746/

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AMU’s Minority Character, the Judiciary and the Executive – By Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood (Apr 10, 2016, Milli Gazette)

The citizens of India would be grateful to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for very kindly taking note of the contents of this article vis-a-vis the ongoing matter regarding the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University. The nation and the world are quite aware from duly recorded history that in 1875 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had established the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh. It was originally affiliated with Calcutta University and in 1885 its affiliation was shifted to the Allahabad University.…

The citizens also urge the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development to rise to the occasion and accept the above constitutional scheme as well as the fact that the MAO College was established by Muslims of India and that through the Act of 1920 the Parliament only procedurally upgraded the College to a University and these facts were duly clarified through the 1981 amendment. The central government would do well not to withdraw its appeal before the Supreme Court.

The citizens of India earnestly urge the nation to see reason and not to challenge the sentiments of millions of Indian Muslims and their sympathizers. Let us not test the nerve of the nation, let us not push any section of the population to the wall and let us remain confined within the sacred constitutional precincts.

http://www.milligazette.com/news/14078-amu-s-minority-character-the-judiciary-and-the-executive

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War on Bastar – By Divya Trivedi & Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Apr 29, 2016, Frontline)

The massive state-sponsored repression in Chhattisgarh, especially the Bastar region, over the past few months under the informally named “Mission 2016” campaign marks new history on two important counts. First, the manoeuvres employed by the government in general and the security agencies in particular in the name of protecting the national interest and tackling Maoist Left Wing Extremism (LWE) have acquired unprecedented dimensions in terms of vicious and brutal interference in the everyday lives of common people.…

in political and ideological terms, Mission 2016 signifies yet another calibrated nuance in the Hindutva project of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-led Sangh Parivar to capture and perpetuate power. The self-professed “Hindutva laboratories” of the Sangh Parivar have taken different political and ideological shapes and hues in the exercises relating to power politics and statecraft.

While the tactic was all-out aggression against Muslims in Gujarat, which manifested itself in the form of the bestial genocide of the minority community in 2002, in Odisha it took the form of rampant attacks against Christians. After 2010, the main product of the “laboratory” was neoliberal Hindutva, which combined Hindutva communalism with a corporate-driven development agenda.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/war-on-bastar/article8465544.ece

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Panama Papers: Modi Regime’s Toothless Action – Editorial (Apr 10, 2016, Peoples Democracy)

The Panama papers have given a glimpse of the extensive network of shell companies and secret entities in tax havens around the globe which service the needs of the wealthy and powerful of the world. The Indian Express has published details of Indians who have utilised the services of a law firm, Mossack Fonseca, headquartered in Panama for acquiring shell companies off the shelf. These shell companies are registered in various tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands.…

If the Modi government is serious about cracking down on black money, tax evasion and money laundering, then it should impose a blanket prohibition on Indians acquiring shell companies and operating secret accounts in tax havens. This is apart from confiscating the illegal money and assets of those in the Panama list. But the BJP government will not dare to do so as the whole system of international finance capital is intertwined with the elaborate structure of tax havens and shell companies. After all, it was the earlier NDA government which opened up the Mauritius route for financial investments from abroad which has become a big source for money laundering and round tripping.

The action proposed to be taken on the Panama papers further confirm that the Modi government will only scratch the surface and is unwilling to touch the structure of tax havens, money laundering and the generation of black money.

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2016/0410_pd/panama-papers-modi-regime%E2%80%99s-toothless-action

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Book Review

Violent Conjunctures In Democratic India

Author: Amrita Basu
Reviewed by: Suraj Kumar Thube
Available at: Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA, ISBN – 978-1-316-60391-8, Price – 550 rupees, Pages – 334.http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Violent Conjunctures In Democratic India (Apr 7, 2016, Countercurrents)

Hindu nationalism has been a pervasive phenomenon in India, especially since the ‘second democratic upsurge in 1990.’ Academicians over the years have focussed broadly on the multiple contours of this form of militant nationalism and how it shapes Indian politics in general. These studies have more or less highlighted the role of political parties in fomenting violence along with the active connivance of the State.… The primary focus is on the Bhartiya Janta Party and its constantly changing relationship with cultural organisations of the Hindu right. Terming the BJP as a ‘movement-party’, the author draws our attention to the multiple fault lines when it comes to the working mechanism of the party at the ground level.…

In the concluding pages, the author manages to give a synoptic overview of how primordial identities is not a sufficient reason to explain the violent activities perpetrated by the Hindu right. The constantly shifting and evolving relationships of the parties and social movements are crucial to understand where and why violence occurs along with other reasons of globalization and state intervention that need to be factored in. At the same time, a few questions beg answers. How globalization in itself is shaping India to become more Hindu? Does Hindutva inherently proves to be electorally unpopular in some states or is it the primacy of the party power in that state that makes the final decision? How do normal, ordinary people exactly react to the constantly changing fault lines within these violent conjunctures?…

At the same time, it is an insightful study that brings forward the unexpected variations seen between various states ruled by the same party. To emulate one political setup in some other state becomes virtually impossible as there is a calculated hierarchy of ideological and institutional issues wherein one takes precedence over others depending on sundry factors. As the author rightly points out, there is a need for recognising violence in democracies by retheorizing our understanding of political institutions, organisations and movements.

http://www.countercurrents.org/thube070416.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 4th, 2016

April 12, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

April 3, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 21st, 2016

March 25, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 14th, 2016

March 20, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 7th, 2016

March 10, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 29th, 2016

March 6, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 22nd, 2016

March 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Forensic experts say Kanhaiya video was doctored How lawyer Vikram Singh Chauhan who led both assaults at Patiala court sought support on Facebook to ‘teach traitors a lesson’ JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar seeks bail citing threat to his life in Tihar Jail Flag for central varsities: Does […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 15th, 2016

February 26, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Bishop House in Kerala opens doors for Muslims to perform prayers Hindus take care of a mosque in UP’s communal cauldron News Headlines Sedition case against JNUSU president: Lawyers, BJP MLA take law in their fists ABVP members raised anti-India slogans: AAP submits video clip proof to […]

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