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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 28th, 2017

by newsdigest on September 21, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

“Safe Zones”, Hindu-Muslim Harmony and Life as a Kashmiri Pandit (Aug 22, 2017, The Quint)

Daanish Bin Nabi, a Srinagar-based journalist, explores the ground realities of being a Kashmiri Pandit in Kashmir. He interviews Kashmiri Pandits to reveal their refusal to accept “safe zones” for the community, which they believe will not only lead to further ghettoisation, but also encourage communal activities.

Further interaction reveals an enduring friendship between a Kashmiri Pandit and a Muslim. Nabi’s piece therefore further emphasises the harmony Hindu and Muslim communities enjoy in Kashmir. Here’s a breakdown of the article, published in three parts.

Violence in any part of a conflict zone ultimately affects the common people. When armed conflict began in late 80s and early 90s in Kashmir against the Indian state, the Kashmiri Pandits were the first to bear the brunt.

https://www.thequint.com/india/2017/08/22/kashmiri-pandits-safe-zones-hindu-muslim-harmony

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Ram Rahim Singh enjoyed BJP’s patronage (Aug 25, 2017, The Hindu)

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, whose supporters went on the rampage in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to protest the court verdict convicting him of rape, had enjoyed the patronage and support of the BJP government in Haryana as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On October 29, 2014, Mr. Modi lauded the Dera chief for the Swachh Bharat (clean India) mission. “Appreciable effort by Baba Ram Rahim ji & his team. Will motivate people across India to join Swachch Bharat Mission,” he had tweeted.…

The Dera chief supported the BJP in the 2014 Assembly elections and Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar’s association with the self-appointed cult leader is an open secret. On May 6, Mr. Khattar launched a special cleanliness drive with the Dera chief at his constituency in Karnal.…

Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said last week that the Dera followers were peace-loving people. A few months ago he handed a cheque for ₹51 lakh to the Dera chief as a mark of support. A year ago, Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij drew flak from the Congress for donating ₹50 lakh to the Dera chief.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/godman-enjoyed-bjp-patronage/article19562703.ece

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‘He Is PM Of India, Not BJP,’ Says Furious High Court After Haryana Riots (Aug 26, 2017, NDTV)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not spared as a furious court on Saturday reprimanded Haryana and the central governments over the deadly rioting by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers after his conviction for rape. “He is the Prime Minister of not the BJP but of India,” said the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The court was responding to Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain, who is representing the centre, saying that Friday’s violence was a matter of the state. “Is Haryana not a part of India? Why are Punjab and Haryana treated like step children?” the court questioned.… “You let the situation escalate. You surrendered to the situation,” said court, admonishing the state government over a Panchkula police officer being sacked this morning. “You are trying to crucify a small DCP of Panchkula what about those political masters who have been giving wrong directions?” the judges said to the Haryana government.…

Chief Minister ML Khattar… appeared to shield Ram Rahim’s followers as he said criminals had infiltrated the crowd of Dera Sacha Sauda devotees. The comments were not missed by the court, which said: “Your Chief Minister said miscreants got mixed up with Dera people, giving the impression that they didn’t do anything, you’re still supporting them, you are the ones who made this happen.”

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/you-let-panchkula-burn-for-political-motives-court-rips-into-haryana-1742285

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Only ‘RSS hatao’ will help dist. see development: CM’s media adviser (Aug 28, 2017, The Hindu)

Rather than “Mangaluru Chalo” there should be “RSS hatao” programme. Only if Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh moves out from Dakshina Kannada, one can see development here, said Dinesh Amin Mattu, media adviser to Chief Minister, here on Sunday.

Speaking at the 11th Mangaluru city conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Mr. Mattu said that the RSS was actively involved in the politics of Bharatiya Janata Party. “What we are seeing is the rule of those who are not elected by people. What is the stature of B.L. Santosh (RSS activist and BJP National Joint Organising Secretary), Mohan Bhagwat and Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who have an active role in the BJP,” he said.

Mr. Mattu accused the RSS of holding campaigns to polarise voters on caste and religious lines that will help the BJP. Citing reports of Mr. Santosh leading the proposed “Mangaluru Chalo”, from September 5 to Spetmber 7, by the BJP Yuva Morcha, Mr. Mattu said that the people of the region should demand RSS hatao.…

ttp://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/only-rss-hatao-will-help-dist-see-development-cms-media-adviser/article19574418.ece

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Life has become ‘difficult’ for minorities under Modi govt: Azam (Aug 26, 2017, Indian Express)

Muslims are being “harassed” and it has become “difficult” for minorities to lead a normal life since the Narendra Modi dispensation assumed office, senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur MLA Azam Khan has alleged.

Talking to reporters here last evening, the former Uttar Pradesh minister said, “Muslims are being harassed – sometimes in the name of cow (slaughter) and sometimes in the name of religion.” “Life has become difficult for minorities since the Narendra Modi-led BJP came to power,” he added.

He also alleged that the BJP government was trying to “redefine” Shariat laws, in the wake of a Supreme Court verdict invalidating the Muslim practice of instant divorce -‘talaq-e-biddat’. On the Supreme Court’s judgement holding privacy a fundamental right under the Constitution, he said, “It will foil the BJP’s nefarious designs to generate a vicious atmosphere of hatred in the country.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/life-has-become-difficult-for-minorities-under-modi-govt-azam-khan-4814755/

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Cows dying of starvation in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh shows how flawed gau raksha governance is (Aug 19, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The great cow governance conundrum has finally begun to manifest itself. And the moral of the story is that cow-driven state agenda ends up harming the very animals it’s trying to protect. At least 200 cows have died – allegedly of starvation, lack of medicine and general neglect – in a cow shelter in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, in Rajpur village of the state’s Durg district. A BJP leader, who owns the shelterhouse, Harish Verma, has been arrested in this regard.

According to a Hindustan Times report, “The officials have, so far, confirmed 30 starvation-related deaths. Villagers, however, alleged that the number of deaths would be 200 and most of them have been buried near the shelter. Several carcasses, other than those buried, were found in the vicinity, they alleged.”

Moreover, 100 more cows have been reported to have died in Bemetera district of Chhattisgarh, and the villagers have blamed negligence from authorities and lack of food and maintenance at the cow shelter for the deaths. The arrested BJP leader, however, “blamed” the BJP government of chief minister Raman Singh for the deaths. Verma, who has been running the shelter for the past seven years, says that over-capacity by over 300 per cent has resulted in lack of food, medicine, care for sick and hungry cows, resulting ultimately in their painfully prolonged deaths.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gau-rakshak-cow-vigilantism-cow-politics-bjp-chhattisgarh/story/1/19063.html

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Maharashtra Board’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ For History: No Mughals, Shivaji ‘Ideal Ruler’ (Aug 8, 2017, Huffington Post)

Months after the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education decided to teach students of class X that Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th-century Battle of Haldighati, the Maharashtra Board education department has said that there’s no need for students to learn about Mughal history at all.

Sadanand More, chairman of the History subject committee of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, told Mumbai Mirror that the revisions were made to orient the curriculum with a Maharashtra-centric view of history.

Now, students of class VII and IX will be taught history that revolves around the Maratha empire and warrior king Shivaji, besides Indian politics post 1960, reports Indian Express. The three line mention of the Mughal emperors will have a new description too. Akbar, earlier known as a “liberal and tolerant administrator,” will now be the ruler who “tried to bring India under a central authority” but faced opposition from Maharana Pratap and others.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/08/08/maharashtra-boards-swachh-bharat-abhiyan-for-history-no-mugh_a_23069644/

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Lt Col Purohit walks out of jail: Here’s a status check of 7 Hindutva terror cases (Aug 23, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The National Investigation Agency investigated seven terror cases in which Hindu right-wing groups are suspects. These cases – involving attacks where Muslims were targeted – were handed to the federal agency by the previous UPA government. This is also when the NIA made most of the arrests, including that of Swami Aseemanand and Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit.

After remaining in jail for nine years, Purohit – one of the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast – walked out of the Taloja prison on Wednesday.

There have been allegations that over the past three years, the pace of investigations in these cases has slackened and witnesses have turned hostile where the accused belonged to organisations close to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/lt-col-purohit-walks-out-of-jail-here-s-a-status-check-of-7-hindutva-terror-cases/story-jHvmVOS3yLYtFP8R89iRYL.html

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Gujarat Riots: Supreme Court Asks Trial Court To Decide Case In 4 Months (Aug 25, 2017, NDTV)

The Supreme Court has asked the lower court in Gujarat to decide within four months the trial in a 2002 Gujarat riots case related to the Naroda Gam incident in which 11 persons were killed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar was informed that the trial was in progress in the matter and defence evidence was being recorded by a special court in the state.

The top court asked the lower court to complete recording of evidence of the remaining defence witnesses in two months.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/gujarat-riots-supreme-court-asks-trial-court-to-decide-case-in-4-months-1742119

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Explain delay in Asaram Bapu trial, SC tells Gujarat govt (Aug 29, 2017, Asian Age)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to explain the inordinate delay in the trial of self-styled “godman” Asaram Bapu in a rape case for which he was arrested in 2013.

A bench comprising justices N.V. Ramana and Amitava Roy asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, to explain why the victim has not been examined so far. The ASG pleaded that some more time may be required for examination of the victim and other witnesses. The bench asked the ASG to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.

The court had in April directed the trial court in Gujarat to expedite the examination of prosecution witnesses while rejecting the Asaram’s bail plea. The godman was asked to seek bail after the conclusion of the examination of key witnesses as well as the trial in Rajasthan, which is being held on a day-to-day basis.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/290817/explain-delay-in-asaram-bapu-trial-sc-tells-gujarat-government.html

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Man gets 5-year jail for dowry harassment (Aug 23, 2017, Times of India)

A city court on Tuesday convicted a person for dowry harassment and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment.

The deceased, Sharvani, a daily wage labourer, married Ramani Praveen Kumar (29), a construction labourer and resident of Borabanda in 2011.

After one year of marriage, she was harassed by her husband for more dowry. She committed suicide by setting herself on fire in 2014, following which the family filed a case against Praveen. She was admitted at Osmania General Hospital with 84% burn injuries and succumbed to burns in two days.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60185825.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Why should BJP fall head over heels for rape convict Ram Rahim? – By SS Dhawan (Aug 28, 2017, Dailyo.in)

…Sure, the party had benefited from a last-minute surge in 2014 when Dera Sacha Sauda – with its offering of Dalit voters – had jumped onto the BJP bandwagon. But how many rapes will it take the BJP to overcome its deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to someone who is not even fit to be a comic underling of Johnny Lever? And, mind you, this is the same party that has, over the years, put us to sleep with its mindless drone about minority appeasement; that was crying itself hoarse, until the other day, about Muslim women’s empowerment, virtually taking credit for a court decision liberating them from the obnoxious triple talaq practice!

But, curiously, it has no lurid tales to tell about the two sadhvis who were raped by their repository of trust, whom they reverentially addressed as “pita ji!” The BJP spokespersons are not part of any such brouhaha in the TV studios; rather they scampered for cover when provoked by an anchorperson into calling Ram Rahim a rapist!…

Voters, Mr Prime Minister, care more about actual societal progress than the fortunes of a particular political party. Ironically, the state of Haryana is under ML Khattar’s thumb rule and the BJP has a non-Jat social coalition well entrenched until the next election. Where then was the need to fall heads over heels for a rape accused?…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/bjp-ram-rahim-rape-conviction-sirsa-modi-khattar/story/1/19211.html

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From Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to Asaram Bapu, India’s Obsession with Rape Accused Babas – By Bhavdeep Kang (Aug 26, 2017, News18.com)

Murder, rape, castration, abduction – a rap sheet as long as his arm and yet Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan’s followers are ‘ready to die’ for him. Many of those who sought to intimidate the state government and judiciary by converging in large numbers on Haryana’s Panchkula town in support of the ‘Love Charger’ guru, are well-educated, wealthy and socially prominent; certainly not wild-eyed fanatics.

The question of why mentally sound individuals are willing to sacrifice their health, wealth, family and friends at the behest of a godman continues to puzzle social psychologists. It is not that such people are chronically depressed or don’t value their lives; it is just that they value their guru more. In contrast with political or social activists, they are unconcerned with the social outcomes (constructive or destructive) of their actions. The guru is an end in himself.…

Some analysts see the growing clout of spiritual entrepreneurs as a consequence of the increasing religiosity in Indian society. Meera Nanda, in The God Market, observes that “India is not free of the forces of politicised religiosity which expresses itself in a growing sense of Hindu majoritarianism”. Globalisation, she contends, has sharpened religious identities, fuelled by a state-temple-corporate nexus.…

http://www.news18.com/news/india/opinion-dera-sacha-sauda-chief-gurmeet-ram-rahim-singh-asaram-bapu-rape-accused-babas-1500875.html

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Haryana violence is Modi’s fault for hand-picking RSS stooge Khattar as chief minister – By SS Dhawan (Aug 26, 2017, Dailyo.in)

This, Mr Prime Minister, is the folly of picking handpicked attendants of the RSS and parachuting them into the party; and then allowing them to masquerade as chief ministers. How the dream of fraternity with a spurious god man can turn into a nightmare of servility is a lesson one needs to learn from the Haryana government which had earlier fanned the Jat agitation in a similar fashion.

That the simmering fires could reach the national capital region did not even strike the perceptive prime minister for whom the violence must have been like a familiar echo from a distant past when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.…

Kalyan Singh may have got away with it but Khattar will find the Punjab and Haryana High Court a hard nut to crack. The court responded with scathing strictures on Saturday blaming the political establishment for acts of commission and omission that “allowed the city of Panchkula to burn for political gains”.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gurmeet-ram-rahim-rape-verdict-haryana-rss-ml-khattar/story/1/19187.html

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Hindutva Rule & Anarchy are Two Sides of the Same Coin – By Shamsul Islam (Aug 26, 2017, Sabrang India)

In December 1992 despite restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court and the ‘undertakings’ given by the BJP-ruled government to the court and the government of India, that peace would be maintained in Ayodhya during the ‘kar seva’, thousands were allowed to gather at Ayodhya, India still witnessed mob rule and the demolition of a 400 year-old mosque. This criminal act, even as 3,000 paramilitary forces looked mutely on, deeply fractured Indian society, causing a schism even the worst enemies of India could not accomplish.

In 2002, in Gujarat a similar, sinister pattern was repeated. Mobs led by Hindutva criminal organizations were allowed free reign. The result? A genocidal carnageof Muslims. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was editorially commented by leading English daily, Hindustan Times (March 21, 2002) in the following words: “Daughters were gang raped in front of their fathers and then their heads bashed in. their fathers were doused with petrol and set on fire. Their property was looted. Their businesses were destroyed. And the police stood by and did nothing.”

In February 2016, the violence allowed to spill over in Haryana was another example of this trait of BJP governance. Haryana turned into a war zone as caste wars were allowed free reign. The mobs were allowed to burn public property and Haryana simmered –held to ransom by the rule of the mob- for 11-12 days. The Army had to be called which fired on its own people, 30 people were killed in the violence.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/hindutva-rule-anarchy-are-two-sides-same-coin

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BJP’s Hypocrisy Over Its Passion For Hinduism Exposed – By Gurpreet Singh (Aug 27, 2017, Countercurrents)

Shortly after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) extended greetings to the nation on Ganesh Chaturthi, violence started by the followers of a controversial god man convicted for rape left more than 30 people dead.

The arson took place in BJP ruled state of Haryana where a court had convicted the head of a sect Dera Sacha Sauda Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape in 1997. While his devotees began the violence, a number of BJP leaders openly sided with the self styled god man. So much so, one BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj- who is a seer himself stated that a court cannot be above the belief of thousands of devotees.

The BJP which is known for its right wing ideology has a desire to turn India into Hindu theocracy. To harbour an ambition to establish Hindu state is one thing and to be an honest Hindu is something else. If their response to the violence of Singh’s followers is any indication their passion for Hindu religion is full of hypocrisy and contradictions.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/08/27/bjps-hypocrisy-over-its-passion-for-hinduism-exposed/

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Encounters of a Dark & Sinister Kind: Gujarat – By Keki Daruwalla (Aug 24, 2017, Sabrang India)

Encounters are safe bets for those policemen who are averse to risk. Get the right information, know the number and colour of the car or of the bus he or she is travelling in (we are talking terrorists here), drag the fellow (s) out, get the info from him and shoot the blighter. The boss, a DIG no less, will pat your back, the reward will be yours, if not the medal. But in this case the DIG, Mr. Vanzara was himself involved! Who can pat a DIG except the Home Minister. And after a decade old war in the press between nouveau liberals and die hard nationalists, we find the court ‘discharging’ the accused.

Not surprisingly people in Gujarat can’t make out what the hullabaloo is about – this talk of genuine and spurious encounters. As long as you shoot the guy all encounters are genuine, Pal. So you can depend on it that people received with considerable glee the news about the CBI Court ‘discharging’ Mr. Vanzara and another officer of all guilt. Your premier investigating agency, under orders and supervision of the highest court charged the accused.…

Remember Malegaon bomb blast cases and the statement of the fine prosecutor Ms. Rohini Salian that she was pressurised to go slow against the accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Col. Shrikant Purohit, now, ludicrously enough, posing as an ‘army mole’! The bomb was placed on the Sadhvi’s motor cycle, incidentally, killing Muslims.…Lastly what I have mentioned is the tip of the iceberg. Things are worse and need to come out in the open – the court for instance.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/encounters-dark-sinister-kind-gujarat

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 21st, 2017

by newsdigest on September 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

UK Indians March For Communal Harmony (Aug 16, 2017, Countercurrents)

In a massive show of strength hundreds of Indians living in United Kingdom gathered at Tavistock Square to express their disapproval of the politics of hatred and growing incidents of mob lynching against minorities, Dalits and other marginalised sections in India. They expressed their horror how the constitutional values of secularism, pluralism, democracy and dissent are under the assault by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and other Sangh Parivar affiliates.

There were different civil society and human rights organisations who participated in the march. They include South Asian Solidarity, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations, Caste Watch, Voice of Dalit International, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, Dalit Solidarity Network and others.

At the Tavistock square, Ms Amrit Wilson spoke of the growing threat to minorities, Dalits and others in India and why we need to disapprove the culture of mob violence. The marchers then marched silently nearly about two kilometers passing through Central London’s important streets and reached the India House, Indian High Commission. They shouted slogans at the India House against the mob lynching and Narendra Modi’s government’s absolute freedom to these goons in the name of cow protection.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/08/16/uk-indians-march-for-communal-harmony/

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Govt ‘protecting all RSS-connected accused’, says Cong after Purohit’s bail (Aug 21, 2017, Deccan Herald)

The Congress today accused the BJP government of “protecting” all the accused “connected to the RSS” after the Supreme Court granted bail to 2008 Malegaon serial blasts case accused Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit.

The opposition party also raised questions over National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar getting two extensions and hoped that justice would be done in the Malegaon serial blasts case “without fear or favour”.

“Col Purohit gets Bail. It was expected as the present BJP Govt is protecting all the accused connected with RSS in all Bomb Blast cases (sic),” Congress leader Digivijaya Singh wrote on Twitter.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/629172/govt-protecting-all-rss-connected.html

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‘Democracy under threat from pseudo-nationalism, right-wing fanaticism’ (Aug 19, 2017, Business Standard)

Indian democracy is under threat from “pseudo-nationalism” and “right-wing fanaticism masquerading as nationalism”, a column published in Renovacao, a Goa Church periodical, has said.c”Quo Vadis India?” by Father Savio Fernandes in the latest edition of the pastoral bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, also bemoans efforts to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2020 and rues the “political rhetoric” which is triggering hate crimes against dalits and members of the minority community.

“Competition for political and economic power has encouraged pseudo-nationalism, which uses religion as a tool to gain acceptance,” Fernandes said in the column.… The constitution, the Catholic priest says, is under threat from “right-wing” ideology, which coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ascent to power.… “With the political climate change after the year 2014, the very guiding purpose and principles spelt in the preamble of the Indian constitution – Democratic, Secular, Socialist and Republic – appear to be under the worse threat for the first time after independence.”…

“Christians and Muslims are especially targets of demonisation through false propaganda. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists and loyal to Pakistan while Christians are portrayed as being agents of Portugal and anti-nationals and seeking to convert members of other religious communities through fraud/ inducement,” a statement issued by Fernandes’ Council for Social Justice and Peace had said in July.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/democracy-under-threat-from-pseudo-nationalism-right-wing-fanaticism-117081900364_1.html

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US religious freedom report highlights cow protection violence in India (Aug 15, 2017, Yahoo)

The US State Department has highlighted attacks in India by cow protection groups against people accused of bovine trafficking or having beef in its annual report on religious freedom, while attempting a measure of balance by also including critical mention of practices by minority religions.

The International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 (IRFR) released on Tuesday by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: “There was an increase (during 2016) in violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation.”…

“There were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize,” the report said. “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reported 751 conflicts between religious communities, which resulted in 97 deaths and 2,264 injuries in 2015.”…

https://in.news.yahoo.com/us-religious-freedom-report-highlights-cow-protection-violence-164603073.html

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A Gujarat BJP MLA Wants To Ban Muslims From Buying Houses In Predominantly Hindu Neighbourhoods (Aug 21, 2017, India Times)

Sangita Patil, a BJP MLA in Gujarat, has demanded imposition of ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ in her constituency of Limbayat to prevent Muslims from acquiring residential properties of Hindus.

Patil has sent her written request for the imposition of the Act to the district collector after Hindu residents of Limbayat area of Surat city have made several representations about the issue.

‘The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991’, known as the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’, bans sale of property by a member of one religious community to a member of another community, without the prior approval of the district collector.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/a-gujarat-bjp-mla-wants-to-ban-muslims-from-buying-houses-in-predominantly-hindu-neighbourhoods-328272.html

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NIA probe into Kerala ‘love jihad’ is another blow to individual autonomy (Aug 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India at 70 is indeed doing well in terms of everything and one takes pride in seeing her coming of age as a major global power. But if the success of a liberal democracy is assessed on the basis of individualism and rights of the individual, then it seems we are going in the opposite direction. Freedom of speech is being curtailed in the name of sedition even in violation of the Supreme Court’s order that mere words do not amount to sedition. Books are banned and films are censored because we do not trust individuals anymore. The right to privacy is being curtailed in the name of the Aadhaar card and now even freedom to marry a person of one’s choice is under threat and may be termed as terrorist activity to be probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Authoritarian governments the world over do not believe in the rights discourse. They always talk in terms of larger ‘public interest’ and their jurisprudence is generally duty-centric. Indira Gandhi thus inserted Article 51A on fundamental duties.

Strangely even the apex court does not attach much significance to individual autonomy – in overruling the progressive Naz Foundation judgment of the Delhi High Court striking down the archaic Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, in not taking up the aadhaar challenge for over two years, in the kinds of questions that came from the nine-judge privacy bench and, now, in ordering an NIA probe into the marriage of a 24-year-old BHMS graduate.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/nia-probe-into-kerala-love-jihad-is-another-blow-to-individual-autonomy/story-fGCLp7YHXNUqrqttz8ukhM.html

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Kerala collector who barred Mohan Bhagwat from hoisting tricolour transferred (Aug 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Palakkad collector, whose orders were defied by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat by hoisting the national flag at an aided school, was transferred, though the chief minister on Thursday maintained it was a routine exercise.

The collector’s orders were apparently based on the guidelines which, among other things, stipulates that only the school principal or elected representatives could hoist the national flag in the school. Bhagwat had, however, gone ahead with hoisting the flag at the government-aided school in Palakkad district on Independence day, triggering a controversy.…

The district collector and education additional director conducted an inquiry into the matter and submitted a report. “As per the report, Vande Mataram was recited during the Independence day function at the Karnagi Amman School, in which Bhagwat participated. The national anthem was sung later when somebody pointed it out,” he said. It was also found in the inquiry that the school principal had also hoisted the national flag after Bhagwat’s function there, he said. The flag was hoisted in two locations at the school premises, Vijayan said adding that it was done violating the government directive.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-collector-who-barred-mohan-bhagwat-from-hoisting-tricolour-transferred/story-ct5187XMPjtZmfRWSuBkjP.html

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Principal heckled for hoisting tricolour with shoes on (Aug 17, 2017, India Today)

The Nizamabad police arrested 16 persons for allegedly obstructing the principal of a government college from hoisting the national flag on the Independence Day on August 15. They demanded that the principal remove his shoes before unfurling the tricolour.…

According to Armoor (Rural) police inspector Narashimha Swamy, the group of men allegedly gheraoed and heckled Mohammed Yaqeenuddin, the principal of the government Junior College in Ailapur village near Nizamabad, for hoisting the national flag with shoes on.…

Reacting to the incident, MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “Every BJP chief Minister was wearing shoes, will they protest and assault them only because the principal is a Muslim…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/principal-heckled-for-hoisting-tricolour-with-shoes-on/1/1027955.html

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Gorakhpur tragedy: Allegations against Kafeel Ahmed are false, reveal Hindutva brigade’s bigotry (Aug 16, 2017, First Post)

His name is Kafeel Ahmed Khan. So, how could he have been a hero? The sustained attack on Khan, hailed as a hero by the media for trying to save lives of children at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, once again underlines the bigotry burning the soul of India. It tells us how the battle for imagined grievances, settling communal scores has numbed our senses. We have come to a point where, for some, the sound of applause for an Indian Muslim is so unbearable that it immediately needs to be buried under louder chants of “traitor, thief, and criminal”.

We will look at some of the baseless and fictitious charges hurled at Khan later; dissect them on the basis of evidence on record. But, first, the demands for Khan’s evisceration and public shaming need to be understood for what they are: a diseased section’s refusal – verging on hysteria – to let anything counter the propaganda that India’s religious minorities are incapable of being conscientious citizens of India (or anywhere in the world).…

It is, of course, a classic red-herring, a diversionary tactic. The Gorakhpur tragedy is a blot on India. More than 70 (and counting) infants died within a week because the Uttar Pradesh government and BRD Medical College administration allowed it to turn into a death trap by not paying in time for maintaining the supply of oxygen. In any other country with a conscience, morals and a rule of law, this would have been unequivocally called murder by dereliction of duty.… The reaction of the government has been both appalling and mind-boggling. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for timely tweets on tragedies even in Europe, has been unusually silent.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/gorakhpur-tragedy-allegations-against-kafeel-ahmed-false-reveals-hindutva-brigades-bigotry-3933405.html

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2,700 booked for Vadodara clash in Gujarat (Aug 12, 2017, Indian Express)

A day after communal clash in the old city area of Vadodara, police on Friday booked 2,700 people for rioting and also planned a public rally in the presence of MoS Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja to instil “a sense of law and order” among the public. Commissioner of Police (CP) Manoj Sashidhar said the rally would be organised on Saturday ahead of the upcoming festivities in the city.

According to police inspector M D Puwar, unidentified person pelted stones from Masum Chember Lane on a Ganesh procession on Mandvi-Panigate road, which triggered the clash. Police said the dispute was over playing loudspeaker in the procession.…

Assistant Commissioner of Police V P Gamit said several vehicles were damaged, including torching of seven two-wheelers. “A shop was also torched. Police had to lob 39 tear gas cells. Nine people, including four policemen, sustained minor injuries,” said Gamit. Puwar said a probe had been initiated. “We are checking CCTV footage of the area. We are also trying to find out how the electricity supply got disconnected,” said Puwar.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/2700-booked-for-vadodara-clash-in-gujarat-4792867/

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SC forces 2 Gujarat cops in Ishrat and Sohrabuddin cases to quit (Aug 18, 2017, Times of India)

In a repeat of the process that displaced Gujarat DGP P P Pandey four months ago, the Supreme Court on Thursday forced police officers N K Amin and Tarun Barot, who like Pandey were accused in fake encounter cases, to resign from post-retirement posts.

Amin was an accused in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. Given a clean chit by the trial court last year after being accused of disposing of the body of Sohrabuddin’s wife, Kausarbi, in 2005, Amin retired as superintendent of police in August 2016 but was re-appointed SP of Mahisagar district by the Gujarat government for a period of one year.

Barot, who was an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encountercase, was re-appointed as deputy SP with Western Railways in Vadodara for a year after his retirement. Both the cases were probed as “fake encounters”. On March 29, the Gujarat HC had dismissed a PIL filed by former IPS offi cer Rahul Sharma, who had challenged the one-year service extension to Amin and Barot -specialists in encounters -after their retirement.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60111484.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Three years of Modi government goes in vain – By Bharat Jhunjhunwala (Aug 19, 2017, Free Press Journal)

While assuming the command of the country as Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had promised MPs of his party that he will return with his report card in five years, that is, before the 2019 general elections. Now, three years later, he has said from the ramparts of the Red Fort that he will double the incomes of the farmers in the next 5 years, that is, by 2022.

two statements read together indicate that Mr. Modi expected to give results in 5 years in 2014; he continues to expect to give results after the same 5 years in 2017. The time frame has shifted forward by three years in three years; or that nothing substantial has happened in the last 3 years. One reason is that the economic policies implemented by Mr. Modi are pushing Indian economy into a long-term stagnation.…

The fact that the growth rate is declining under the stewardship of Mr. Modi means that the national income is being used more for consumption and less for investment. This decline is wholly due to increased consumption by the Government because there is a shift in income from the people to the Government. The investment by private businesses is declining due to higher tax collection; and the Government is consuming more. Thus there is stagnation in growth rates.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/bharat-jhunjhunwala-three-years-of-modi-government-goes-in-vain/1123994

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India at 70: bigotry rules – By N. Jayaram (Aug 16, 2017, Sabrang India)

As India marks 70 years of independence today (August 15), two events of the past week illustrate the predicament a country that often preens itself as the world’s largest democracy finds itself in. One was a vitriolic and graceless speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a farewell ceremony for Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who was stepping down after two terms as Vice-President.

The other a prominent television anchor declaring that a panellist’s mention of the deaths of dozens of children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state was an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which in her opinion was the rectitude of the state government’s order to Muslim schools to celebrate Independence Day with the recitation of a nationalist song entitled Vande Mataram (salute the motherland).…

It encapsulated in a few moments, along with Modi’s venom-filled speech, all that has gone wrong with India over the past 70 years. Instead of emerging as a vibrant, modern democracy, it is being led down an antediluvian path towards medieval bigotry.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/india-70-bigotry-rules

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Patriotism does not need ‘song’ test – By SS Dhawan (Aug 18, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Patriotism is too sublime and spontaneous an emotion to inhabit the narrow confines of a song; or to be tethered to catchwords; to be held captive by a political discourse that is tribal and toxic; and to be anchored to an idiom of hate. Provoking a community – which took a conscious decision not to migrate to Pakistan at the time of partition – and subjecting it to a patriotic ‘song test’ is absurd; you are almost questioning the implicit relationship of trust that citizens have with their country.

A citizen’s patriotism is a ‘given’ in this template for which he does not have to furnish a certificate; and we are all bound not by religion or any other identity but by our allegiance to the Constitution. Muslims like to wear religion up their sleeve but that is not a good enough reason to question their patriotism. Because such chest thumping demands by jingoists – that, for instance, pit the ‘national song’ against the national anthem by suggesting that one is more patriotic than the other – is a manifestation of their own scorn for the Constitution.

So, it will be equally ludicrous of me to beseech, in a ‘patriotic moment,’ any organisation and ask it to replace their morning prayer with ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’ – my daily morning chant. Because I cannot question their lyrical idiosyncrasies, just as they cannot question mine! Nor can I make the outlandish demand: why don’t they sing the national anthem or the ‘national song’ rather than recite a prayer in an archaic language that I cannot understand?…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/ss-dhawan-patriotism-does-not-need-song-test/1123350

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Reclaiming the Freedom Fighters’ Past Won’t Take the BJP Very Far – By Manjari Katju (Aug 11, 2017, The Wire)

BJP’s 70 Saal Azadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani campaign on the 75th year of the Quit India Movement is ironic and interesting for two reasons, if not more: the historic events of the freedom struggle invoked by the BJP and the spirit of sacrifice of freedom fighters recalled by it. It is well known that the BJP does not have freedom fighters in its pantheon.

Also, the relationship of its founder president with the freedom struggle as also of some of the leaders it revers was fraught with problems, to say the least. While the BJP now is calling upon Indians to remember the freedom struggle, a look at the history of this struggle reveals that the BJP’s ideological roots were never in this soil of struggle and sacrifice.

To begin with, the leadership of the freedom struggle strove for a secular nation at independence rather than the establishment of some Hindu Raj. Even Gandhi’s spiritualised quest for Ramrajya did not signify a move towards theocracy. In fact, as the struggle for freedom intensified, the goal of secular nationalism, based on the unity of all communities, became increasingly etched on the banner of the national movement.…

https://www.thequint.com/opinion/2016/08/14/reclaiming-the-freedom-fighters-past-wont-take-bjp-a-long-way-70-saal-azadi-zara-yaad-karo-kurbani-bhagat-singh

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There Should Be No Place in India for Modi’s Uncivil Words Against Hamid Ansari – By Jawhar Sircar (Aug 17, 2017, The Wire)

…Mohammed Hamid Ansari is a seasoned diplomat, he also knows the value of each word. So when he decided to state in his last interview as vice president that there is a sense of insecurity among India’s Muslims with “the breakdown of the ability of the authorities” to enforce the law, he was very serious. He bemoaned the fact that traditional Indian values of tolerance are not visible today, when mobs are lynching Muslims on the beef ban issue.

Can we see what it was in these sentiments that could provoke the prime minister to get so personal and dismiss the brilliant career of one of India’s most dignified public figures as “just” a West Asia specialist? As a prime minister who decides to look into each and every senior posting much more than anyone else before him, and thereby delays these orders for months and years, he knows perfectly well that diplomats and civil servants do not decide their own postings.…

The message was an extension of the one the BJP put out before the Uttar Pradesh polls, when it did not put forth even a single Muslim candidate. This message is that ‘Muslims just do not matter and we do not care about them’. We have to see how long this ruthless, immoral electoral calculus will continue to work for them. What such repeated messages will instigate in the less patient section of the 18 crore Muslims of India is yet to be seen. While extremists on both sides may soon be ready for more violence, the great civilisation called India will not be.

https://thewire.in/168765/narendra-modi-hamid-ansari/

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Gorakhpur is What Happens When a Communal Agenda is Passed Off as ‘Good Governance’ – By Swati Chaturvedi (Aug 17, 2017, The Wire)

…Adityanath – a five term MP from Gorakhpur, where he is still the incumbent parliamentarian – has led a shambolic government for the past four months. The still unfolding tragedy at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, where more than 60 children suffering from encephalitis and other ailments died over the past five days, is a pointer to his disastrous governance.

The BJP went to the polls in UP with Modi’s face and did not declare a chief ministerial candidate. Party president Amit Shah also signalled the party’s indifference towards Muslims – who form 19% of the state’s population – by not giving a single ticket to a Muslim candidate. In its election campaign, the BJP blatantly sought to consolidate Hindu votes by using ‘dog whistle’ issues to polarise views against the community.…

Consider Adityanath’s track record and his four months in office, and it’s clear that we need to hold him and the BJP accountable. Dog whistles being passed off as “good governance” are a recipe for tragedy. As Arun Shourie once observed, “Modi thinks by managing headlines he’s managing events. Events have a terrible way of overtaking us”.

https://thewire.in/167971/adityanath-modi-gorakhpur-deaths/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 14th, 2017

August 30, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Home for everyone: Breaking bread and communal walls News Headlines Independence Day for cows as hospitals massacre children says AHRC Hamid Ansari criticises rising intolerance, hypernationalism 12 years on, court acquits all accused in Hyderabad blast case UP witnesses 60 communal incidents in 2017, highest so far […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 7th, 2017

August 16, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Post Basirhat communal violence: In show of unity, Hindus, Muslims tie rakhis News Headlines Aadhaar will be required for death certificates from October 1, plan to prevent identity fraud Academics Denounce Attacks by RSS and Corporate Media Tolerance has to become an essential national virtue: M Hamid […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 31st, 2017

August 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Stories on Amit Shah’s Assets, Smriti Irani’s ‘Degree’ Vanish From TOI, DNA Madras HC order on compulsory singing of Vande Mataram sparks row PM Modi’s Silence On Cow Politics Is A Well-Planned Hindutva Strategy When the BJP national leadership claims probity, its Kerala leaders are accused of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 24th, 2017

August 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Soul of India resides in pluralism, need to eschew violence: President Chhattisgarh minister’s wife buys state forest land to build a resort, his dept says we can do nothing ‘Modi’s election, like Trump’s, has unleashed violence against minorities’ Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 17th, 2017

July 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans express outrage over mob lynchings in India through protests across US News Headlines ‘Kill Them. They Are Muslims’: Family of 10 Beaten With Iron Rods Inside Train This BJP MLA is threatening to stop Haj pilgrims from UP if Ayodhya temple isn’t built 14 years in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 10th, 2017

July 25, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim doctor, Hindu compounder spread message of peace in violence-hit Basirhat News Headlines ‘Hindu’ LeT militant arrested from UP planned attacks on army, Kashmir police West Bengal communal clashes: BJP MLA Raja Singh asks Hindus to respond like they did in Gujarat Communal tension grips Uttarakhand town […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 3rd, 2017

July 15, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines When mob frenzy becomes irrational, we have to pause and reflect: President Mukherjee on lynchings BJP leader arrested in Muslim trader’s lynching case; prime accused surrenders Protesters across India hit the streets, say outraged over attacks on human life Centre’s cattle slaughter restrictions violates fundamental rights, says […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 26th, 2017

July 5, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘How could they hate us so much’: Family in shock after 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death on train Man lynched in Rajasthan: Eyewitnesses say govt officials yelled ‘kill him’ Talk to Modi on Human Rights Violations: Dutch Parliamentarians, India Committee of the Netherlands ‘They want to […]

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