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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 24, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Protest held in Ghaziabad against irregularities in electronic voting machines (Mar 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A group of protesters on Tuesday, at the district headquarters of Ghaziabad, demanded an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in votes registered through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the recently concluded assembly elections. The protesters alleged that there were several irregularities in EVMs that led to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gaining the majority of seats in the UP assembly elections.…

“We just read the news and also received messages on social media that EVMs led to the victory of the BJP. Even Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati had raised the issue with the Election Commission,” Pranvir Singh, a protester, said. “We demand that an inquiry be initiated and the formation of the government be put on hold. Also, we want an assurance that only paper ballots will be used in future elections,” Ajay Kumar, another protester from Vijay Nagar, said.

Some of the protesters claimed that a majority of BSP votes in some polling booths went to BJP, while others claimed that votes in Muslim settlements had also gone to BJP.… Immediately after the results on Saturday, BSP chief Mayawati had alleged that the EVMs were “faulty” and that the EVMs did not register the votes cast for parties other than the BJP. Some of the leaders of political parties, who had lost, also supported her claims. A letter was also sent to the chief Election Commissioner.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/protest-held-in-ghaziabad-against-irregularities-in-electronic-voting-machines/story-jqk2dwUunDFDgGeCKnSe6K.html

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Manohar Parrikar is #NotMyCM: Goans protest as BJP ministers take oath (Mar 14, 2017, Scroll.in)

The police tried their best to keep them out of sight, but the 100 or so protesters held their ground. As Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party made his way to Goa’s Raj Bhavan to be sworn in as the state’s new chief minister on Tuesday evening, they waved placards saying “I want my vote back” and “No horse-trading” and broke into jeers. “Shame,” they yelled. “Chor, chor” (thief, thief). The small demonstration had been put together on social media by people using the hashtag #NotMyCM.

“I am a first-time voter,” said a young woman named Rhea Sequeira who was at the protest. “Whom I voted for is immaterial, but I feel like my vote has been usurped. This is unacceptable and I wanted to show my anger.”

The protest was the culmination of a wave of anger that had begun to build up in several pockets of the coastal state since Saturday, as the results of elections to its 40-member assembly became clear.… No party won a majority, but the Congress emerged as the single largest entity, with 17 seats. The other seats went to regional parties and independents. Many expected the Congress to form the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party, which had three seats, and some of the three independent candidates. But on Sunday, the BJP pulled off a surprise when it announced that Parrikar would return to the state to become chief…

https://scroll.in/article/831804/manohar-parrikar-is-notmycm-goa-protests-as-bjp-ministers-take-oath

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Muslim leader Aamir Madni questions Lucknow encounter (Mar 10, 2017, Times of India)

Rashtriya Ulama Council (RUC) president Aamir Rashadi Madni on Friday, while lashing out at the the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the Government and media, alleged that the terror stand-off was fake and was performed to trigger communal polarisation amid UP polls, ANI reported.

“The way police has killed the suspect was wrong, this encounter was same as the Batla House fake encounter,” Madni said.…

He, after a brief interaction with Saifullah’s father Sartaj Mohammed, also questioned Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary’s silence on the matter.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57579864.cms

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‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’ (Mar 9, 2017, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was undecided on appealing against a trial court order, which acquitted self-proclaimed monk and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Swami Aseemanand and six others in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case on Wednesday. Three others were held guilty by the court.

Public Prosecutor Ashwini Kumar Sharma told The Hindu that there was enough evidence against Aseemanand, including his confessional statement to a Delhi court.…

In his confessional statement recorded before a magistrate in a Delhi court, Aseemanand had said that he and other activists were involved in bombings at various places of worship across the country, such as Ajmer Sharif and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and Samjhauta Express for taking revenge against the “terror acts of Muslims”.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/had-enough-proof-against-aseemanand/article17436792.ece

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‘Cops need only a Muslim name to fabricate a case’ (Mar 12, 2017, Time of India)

It is easy for the police to fabricate a terror case in the country than to foist a case against a thief because all they need, to make a person terrorist, is just a Muslim name, said Irshad Ahmed Malik, who was acquitted by the special court in Delhi in December, 2016. Malik, who was an informer for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was arrested and imprisoned after he disregarded certain directives from IB.

Addressing the People’s Tribunal on Saturday – organized by the Innocence India Network – he said the special cell of the Delhi police was on his tail after the arrest of his brother in 1991. “Later, I was in IB’s custody and officers wanted me to work for the agency,” he said, adding that IB offered him Rs 7,000/month as salary.

“They convinced me that I was working for the country. Later, they wanted me to go to Pakistan on a secret mission. They also asked me to work in Muslim-dominated areas and instigate youths to participate in jihad,” Irshad said. When he refused to follow orders, Irshad was arrested. He fought a legal battle for 11 years to prove his innocence.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57601528.cms

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The BJP Has Been Posting Bail For Hindus Arrested For Rioting In Bengal (Mar 14, 2017, Huffington Post)

In the past six months, the BJP in West Bengal has arranged for the bail of approximately 150 Hindus who were arrested in clashes with Muslims in various parts of the state, much to the frustration and astonishment of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Bengal has witnessed several clashes between Hindus and Muslims over the past few months, but almost every such clash has been hushed up by the state and/or under-reported by the media, for fear of leading to further flare-ups. But the atmosphere is still tense in several areas, where the police is on tenterhooks and fears clashes.

While every such minor clash is hushed up by the state, those involved in the incidents are arrested by the police. And the state BJP unit has used the opportunity to cobble Hindu support. Admitting that BJP had indeed arranged for bail for about 150 Hindus in the past six months, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told HuffPost India, “There is no one to back the Hindus in this state. Muslims get a lot of support and sympathy from several quarters.” It was not difficult to understand what he was hinting at.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/03/14/bjp-bails-out-those-arrested-for-rioting-in-bengal-as-long-as-t/

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Gujarat: Victims of rape, activists gagged at PM Modi’s women’s day event in Gandhinagar (Mar 8, 2017, Indian Express)

A young woman from Uttar Pradesh was gagged and whisked away by police when she raised slogans near the podium where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a gathering of women panchayat members on International Women’s Day in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. Hours earlier, two gangrape victims and an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist were taken into preventive custody by the Gujarat Police before they could make a representation before the Prime Minister.

At the women sarpanches convention at Mahatma Gandhi Mandir in Gandhinagar, Shalini Singh, an elected sarpanch from Uttar Pradesh’s Thora village of Gautam Buddha Nagar district was dragged out of the auditorium by security personnel who covered her mouth to prevent her from talking.

She later told reporters that she was seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention about development in her village which was being ignored. “I just wanted to personally put forth demands before the PM as neither the state government nor the central government has been heeding to our request for the last two years,” said Shalini Singh, who has an MA and B Ed degrees.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-victims-of-rape-activists-gagged-at-pm-modis-womens-day-event-in-gandhinagar-4560805/

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ABVP leader Sunny Dedha booked for assaulting NSUI member at DU (Mar 10, 2017, DNA India)

ABVP leader and ex-DU Students’ Union (DUSU) vice president Sunny Dedha has been booked for assaulting an NSUI member and his friend at the Law faculty of the university.

Pradeep Vijayaran, a third-year law student, who contested 2015 DUSU polls as a candidate of NSUI, Congress’s students’ wing, said the incident happened on Thursday evening when he and his friend Vineet were studying at Law Centre-I of Campus of Law College of the varsity. He alleged that Dedha, along with his 7-8 friends, hit him and Vineet.…

Pradeep has said in his complaint that it all started after he objected to a youth urinating in the union room. He said that the youth he did not stop but “7-8 men later thrashed me”. He also alleged that one of the alleged attackers was Sunny Dedha. Further, he alleged that he was hit on the head with a steel chair causing injury. His friend Vineet who tried to intervene was also beaten up by the group, he said.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-abvp-leader-booked-for-assaulting-nsui-member-at-du-2349134

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Another Rohith Vemula at JNU: Student commits suicide alleging discrimination (Mar 13, 2017, New Indian Express)

Just days after writing a post on inequality, 27-year-old Dalit MPhil student at JNU Muthu Krishnan was found having allegedly committed suicide in south Delhi’s Munirka area Monday evening.

Muthu, who was known to friends on Facebook as Krish Rajini, was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. He was a student at the University of Hyderabad when fellow Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in January 2016 and had blogged about meeting Rohith and his mother, Radhika.

Police said no suicide note had been found and that it hadn’t been found that the alleged suicide was owing to any issues at the university. He is said to have been depressed for some time over some personal issues, police said.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/13/another-rohith-vemula-at-jnu-student–commits-suicide-alleging-discrimination-1580984.html

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Gujarat model? Allocation for Dalits 2.67% in 2017-18 budget against 7% population, lurking gap of Rs 7,001 crore (Mar 14, 2017, Counterview)

A budget analysis by the Gujarat-based Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan has alleged that the Gujarat government has made the lowest percentage of allocation for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) in the state budget for 2017-18, presented in the state assembly last month, ever since 2010-11.

Carried out by Dalit scholar Vasudev Charupa, the analysis says, “Against the need-based requirement, and keeping in view of the resources in sight, the size of Annual Budget 2017-18 has been fixed at Rs 1,72,179.24 Crore. But of concern is the missing focus for the scheduled castes’ socio-economic development.”

Thus, he says, as against the Dalit population of 7%, the state government has allocated just about 2.67% for SCSP – or Rs 4,603.69 crore. The proportional allocation, he adds, should have been due Rs 11,604.88 crore. This means that a massive Rs 7,001.19 less amount was allocated for Gujarat Dalits’ development.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/gujarat-model-allocation-for-dalits-267.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The Consecration of a Hindu Vote Bank – By Harish Khare (Mar 13, 2017, The Wire)

Here’s a simple question: why did the Modi magic work in Uttar Pradesh so gloriously but fail so conspicuously to cast its charm in Punjab, Goa and Manipur? If the Bharatiya Janata Party is the new pan-India party and if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only pan-Indian leader, as was loudly claimed after the civic polls in Maharashtra, then why have the party and the leader failed to click beyond good old UP? The answer is simple: a Hindu vote bank has been cobbled together and sustained there because UP has a sizeable Muslim population, against whom ancient prejudices and new resentments could be stimulated. This is the bottom line of an otherwise complicated electoral contest.…

It has been suggested that the UP verdict is a vote on demonetisation, as well as an endorsement of the ‘surgical strikes’. The suggestion is that voters were happy to put up with all the notebandi-centric dislocations and disruptions because it had put the terrorists out of business and that Pakistan’s dirty designs had come to naught. But then why should this nationalistic messaging be confined to UP? No one can argue that voters in Punjab, Goa and Manipur lack in patriotism; Punjab being a border state has every reason to be receptive to any anti-Pakistan sales-pitch. Yet, the BJP lost even the Pathankot, Dinanagar and Gurdaspur assembly seats, where terror-attacks took place under Modi’s watch. In fact, the BJP contested 23 seats in Punjab and managed to win only three.

Similarly, Goa has the honour of being the home state of our hon’ble defence minister – who single-handedly instigated the government’s muscular anti-Pakistani narrative. Modi campaigned in all the other three states, though not in every galli as he did in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Yet the electorate remained immune to the Modi charm, as also to the presumed curative power of his leadership. The Modi magic worked in Uttar Pradesh because of a very sizeable Muslim presence. That made it easy to effortlessly inject zero-sum sentimentality into the election-time discourse. This is not the first time a Hindu consolidation has been attempted. It has been working rather well in Gujarat since 2002.…

https://thewire.in/116195/consecration-of-a-hindu-vote-bank-uttar-pradesh-election-2017/

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With two RSS members convicted for bombing Ajmer shrine, should the organisation be banned again? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Mar 10, 2017, Scroll.in)

On October 11, 2007, an explosion ripped through the 800-year-old shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti in the Rajasthani town of Ajmer. The attack was timed well: it was the month of Ramzan, and a crowd had gathered outside the dargah to break their fast.… It took a court verdict on Wednesday to rekindle some interest in the case. Three people were convicted for the terror bombing. Two of them – Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi – have been identified in court records as “RSS pracharaks”. At a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh controls the levers of power in the Union government itself, what does it mean for India that members of this hardline Hindutva organisation conducted a terror strike on a Sufi shrine?…

This, of course, is not the first time an RSS member has been convicted for murder. Gopal Godse, the brother of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, confirmed that the latter was an RSS worker. This led to the organisation being banned by the then Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. Eight months after the assassination, Patel wrote to the RSS head, MS Golwalkar, blaming the organisation’s communalism for leading to Gandhi’s murder. Patel even claimed that RSS men had distributed sweets to celebrate the killing. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was also banned during the Emergency in 1975 and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

In most circumstances, the Ajmer terror attack would have given rise to a conversation about the role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its ideology and whether it deserves to be banned like it was after Gandhi’s assassination. If, in 1948, Patel could discuss the “communal poison” that led to Gandhi’s assassination, India in 2017 should also seriously consider what elements of the RSS’ ideology led two of its pracharaks to bomb an 800-year-old Muslim shrine.

https://scroll.in/article/831454/ajmer-blast-with-two-members-convicted-for-bombing-chisti-shrine-should-the-rss-be-banned-again

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Babri Masjid demolition is an indictment of Indian polity; criminal conspiracy charge serves no purpose – By Ajay Singh (Mar 7, 2017, First Post)

In criminal jurisprudence mens rea connotes an intention of crime which is no less culpable than the crime itself. When LK Advani, as BJP president, took out the Rath Yatra in 1990, his explicit intention was to build the Ram Temple at the site of Ayodhya where Babri Masjid stood. The obvious implication was that the mosque had to be replaced with a temple befitting the status of Lord Ram’s birth place. The unambiguous message then was that the mosque would not remain at its original place.…

When the Supreme Court pointed out that the criminal conspiracy charge against LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi should not have been dropped, it seemed to have ignored the colossal failure of Indian polity to respond to a situation which snowballed into a criminal crisis.…

In the past 25 years of investigation, neither the CBI nor the Liberhans Commission could collect credible evidence to arraign the RSS-BJP-VHP leaders and prove the charges of criminal conspiracy.… As of now, instead of reviving a conspiracy case, the Supreme Court should use it as a framework to set up guidelines on how the powers-that-be could respond to such a situation in the future.

http://www.firstpost.com/world/babri-masjid-demolition-is-an-indictment-of-indian-polity-criminal-conspiracy-charge-serves-no-purpose-3320028.html

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Who’s behind the Kerala killings? – By C. Gouridasan Nair (Mar 10, 2017, The Hindu)

Right from the Ranchi riots in August 1967, the Babri demolition in 1992, the Gujarat riots in 2002, to the recent Muzaffarnagar riots, the Sangh Parivar has always used nefarious designs to foment, organise and spread communal riots for rich electoral dividends. The Sangh Parivar is engaged in an attempt to make inroads into Kerala with the intention of altering society forever by giving it a communal colour. It is desperate because it finds that this is not an easy task given the strong presence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the State, which will stall all attempts at communal polarisation.

This desperation is at the root of the murderous politics being practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghin Kerala. From 1971, when Thalassery in Kannur district witnessed rampant RSS-instigated violence against Muslims, the CPI(M) has taken the path of resistance.

The designs of the RSS did not work in 1971 because of the stand the CPI(M) took. Since then, the RSS has been targeting our cadre and supporters, declaring us as their sworn enemies. They have not succeeded in their grand design of communal polarisation, but they have certainly succeeded in turning Kerala into a simmering pot of political violence.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/whos-behind-the-kerala-killings/article17436566.ece

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The march of fascism from Gujarat 2002 to Ramjas College 2017 – By Humra Quraishi (Mar 7, 2017, Milli Gazette Online)

What is happening on the Delhi University campus is a pointer that fascist forces have intruded into campuses, making life hell for any of those sane voices. This is the very basic crux of what took place last week in the very interiors of Delhi University’s Ramjas College. It’s all out in the open, battle between the sane and the fascists.

It’s about time we sit and read any of the available volumes on how fascists intrude and take on and then destroy. The reality of the day is that we have got to take on these destructive forces.

Today, this government is following an agenda – the RSS agenda! Using all possible ploys trying to crush all those who are against communal politics. All those who are against the fascist forces.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15438-the-march-of-fascism-from-gujarat-2002-to-ramjas-college-2017

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Indocrination as Education: One more govt directive towards saffronisation of Rajasthan schools – By Subhash Gatade (Mar 13, 2017, Sabrang India)

Rajaram (name changed) principal of a school near Jaipur, Rajasthan is a worried man. An honest teacher all his life, is not able to comprehend the rationale behind the recent order by the state education ministry asking every secondary and senior secondary school to purchase collected works of Deendayal Upadhyay.

Not only that he has never heard this name before but does not know how funds can be managed for the same. The school does not have a proper library till date. The budgetary situation of the school is such that despite repeated demands by the girl students the sole toilet in the school still remains unrepaired.

The circular sent by the state government on February 27 has asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy the compendium of essays and speeches titled ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Sampoorna Vangmay’ – which has been published by a Delhi publisher in 15 volumes at a concessional rate of Rs 4,000. Schools are asked to draw from the school development fund – meant to be utilised for local needs – to make the purchase.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/indocrination-education-one-more-govt-directive-towards-saffronisation-rajasthan-schools

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Book Review

Foot Solider of the Constitution – A Memoir

Author: Teesta Setalvad
Reviewed by: Anupama Katakam
Available at: Publisher: LeftWord Books, 2254/2A, Shadi Khampur, New Ranjit Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110008, Pages: 211, Price: Rs.295. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Never say die (Mar 17, 2017, Frontline)

An aggressive vilification campaign by the right wing has landed Teesta Setalvad in a situation where she is forced to divert her energy to protecting herself. The crusader who has relentlessly fought for justice for the marginalised and for minorities has been in recent times the target of attacks on her reputation and, in a few instances, on her life. She is one of the country’s most inexhaustible human rights activists and has tried hard to speak above the jingoistic nationalist din that appears to have taken over democratic India.

Her attempts at justifying her work, mainly that of fighting the injustices that have rendered thousands violated, homeless and helpless, have often been dismissed or ignored by the mainstream media. Consequently, the debate has sadly gone silent—definitely a blow to the movement against communalism.

But Teesta Setalvad is not one to be put down. She makes herself heard in her book Foot Solder of the Constitution: A Memoir. The book is a testimony to the many controversies she combats and reflects her indomitable spirit in the face of the many curveballs thrown her way. The book makes it clear that Teesta Setalvad’s fight is not just about Gujarat. It is a battle for justice and for upholding the principles of the Constitution.…

http://www.frontline.in/books/never-say-die/article9563407.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 6th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Announcements

Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment

Multiple attacks on Indian Americans including shooting of Sikh man in Washington

March 06, 2017

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to promoting the shared values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights, today condemned increasing hate crimes in the US, including those targeting Indian Americans.

On 22 February, Indian engineers Mr. Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot by suspected gunman Adam Purinton in Kansas, who yelled “get out of my country,” when opening fire at them. Mr. Kuchibhotla died while Mr. Madasani was injured. Mr. Ian Grillot, who was shot while trying to intervene, has been rightly called a “hero” by Indians, including India’s foreign minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj.

On March 03, a Sikh man was shot and injured in Kent, WA, near Seattle, with the gunman yelling a similar hateful sentiment asking the victim to “go back to your own country.” Police have confirmed the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Kuchibhotla, and wish a speedy recovery for Mr. Madasani, Mr. Grillot and the Sikh victim who has chosen to not be identified publicly,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, President of IAMC. “We continue to work with our coalition partners in increasing interfaith and inter-community understanding in the US, with a particular focus on the Indian diaspora,” added Mr. Khan.

In a separate incident, a businessman of Indian origin, Mr. Harnish Patel was shot dead in South Carolina, although its not clear at this point whether this was a hate crime.

“IAMC expresses its utmost gratitude to countless fellow Americans who have openly expressed their rejection of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments emerging from the highest echelons of power. In this context, the outpouring of support for Indian Americans and Muslims is deeply heartening as they underscore diversity and religious freedom as core American values,” said Ms. Seema Sufia Salim, Vice-President of IAMC. “Thanks are especially due to a number of public-spirited non-governmental organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the International Refugee Assistance Project, besides others, for their active and enthusiastic support for refugees, immigrants and Muslims,” added Ms. Salim.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Communal Harmony

Mangalore Defeats RSS Disruption of the Communal Harmony March (Mar 2, 2017, News Click)

The RSS and its affiliates had opposed the recent Karavali Souharda Rally (Communal Harmony Rally) in Mangaluru, threatening violence. CPI(M)’s Mangaluru office was burned by RSS activists on 23rd February, 2017. The miscreants torched the CPI(M) office in an attempt to stop the rally. The RSS was opposed to Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan’s participation in rally.…

While the RSS attempted to stop the Communal-Harmony Rally, there were people who extended their support to the rally. Ganesh Devy, a former Professor of English at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, renowned literary critic and an activist, and the famous Kannada writer Devanuru Mahadeva wrote in solidarity among others.…

This is not the first time that the RSS had tried to stop the Kerala CM. They had also opposed Vijayan’s address in Bhopal. Since the Madhya Pradesh government connived with the RSS and refused to provide security for him, the visit had to be cancelled.

http://newsclick.in/mangalore-defeats-rss-disruption-communal-harmony-march

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‘Gujarat riots did not happen all of a sudden’ (Mar 7, 2017, The Hindu)

Days after Oxford Bookstore in central Delhi’s Connaught Place cancelled human rights activist Teesta Setalvad’s discussion on her memoir, ‘The Foot Soldier of the Constitution’, the programme was conducted at the Press Club of India on Monday. “I don’t want to talk much about the cancellation of the venue. Maybe there was some pressure,” said Ms. Setalvad.

The discussion started with the three major communal riots that she has elaborated in her book – 1984 Bhiwadi riots, 1992 Ayodhya riots, and 2002 Gujarat riots – her continuing fight for the victims, and the consequences of going head-to-head with the RSS ideology.

“Through the book I have gone back to explain the history of Gujarat because the 2002 riots did not happen all of a sudden. Circumstances were building up towards such violence for a long time,” she said in conversation with Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of The Caravan – the organisers of the discussion.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/gujarat-riots-did-not-happen-all-of-a-sudden/article17419695.ece

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RSS Leader Boasts of Killing 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, Wants Kerala CM Beheaded (Mar 2, 2017, The Wire)

An inflammatory speech by a leader of the RSS in which he boasts of how ‘Hindu society’ killed 2000 Muslims in Gujarat to avenge the death of 56 Hindus in Godhra has reignited public memories of the 2002 massacres in which Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of the state at the time, is accused of complicity. Speaking at an event backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on March 1, RSS mahanagar pramukh Kundan Chandrawat also said he was ready to give one crore rupees to anyone who killed Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.…

“That guilty person, that traitor, does he think Hindus don’t have the pride of Shivaji in their blood, that Hindus don’t have that kind of passion in their blood? I, Dr Kundan Chandrawat, am declaring from this platform, I have enough wealth so I am being bold in saying this – I have a house worth one crore, cut off the head of [Kerala chief minister] Vijayan and bring it to me and I will hand over my house and my wealth. Such traitors have no right to live in this country, such traitors have no right to murder democracy.

Have you forgotten Godhra? You killed 56, we sent 2000 to the graveyard. [He makes a slicing motion with his hand and the audience applauds loudly]. We – this same Hindu community – shoved [their corpses] underground [he gestures downwards, more applause]. You have killed 300 pracharaks and activists, we will present Bharat Mata with a garland of 300,000 skulls in return. … Till the time of publication, the RSS has not condemned Chandrawat’s comments boasting about the killing of 2000 Muslims.

https://thewire.in/113357/rss-behead-kerala-cm-gujarat-killed-2000-ranawat/

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Maharashtra Bureaucrat Transfered Weeks After Questioning Allocation Of Cheap Land To Ramdev’s Food Park (Mar 8, 2017, India Times)

Last year, the Maharashtra government made a decision to give a 75% discount on land for a food park in Nagpur, which eventually was awarded to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd.

Documents accessed through RTI show that the decision was not uncontested. A senior bureaucrat, then principal secretary of financial reforms, Bijay Kumar, had raised concerns in writing about the basis of the price waiver.

Three weeks after Kumar questioned the financial calculations behind the price reduction, he was transferred on April 29, 2016. The transfer came less than a year and a half into his posting while the usual tenure is at least three years.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/maharashtra-bureaucrat-transffered-weeks-after-questioning-cheap-land-to-ramdev-s-food-park-272972.html

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Babri case: SC may examine reviving conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti (Mar 6, 2017, The Hindu)

In a huge blow to BJP leaders, the Supreme Court on Monday indicated it may consider reviving the conspiracy charge against them in the December 6, 1992, Babri Masjid demolition case.

The sudden development came on an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the CBI in 2011, during the UPA era, against the dropping of the conspiracy charge against L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

Noting that “there is something very peculiar going on in this case,” a Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman said it would examine in detail why the conspiracy charge was dropped on mere technical grounds and never revived all these years.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-to-take-up-babri-masjid-demolition-case-on-march-22/article17416752.ece

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Sikh man shot at in US; attacker yelled ‘go back to your own country’ (Mar 6, 2017, Times of India)

A 39-year-old Sikh man in the US has been shot and wounded outside his home by a partially – masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime incident that comes just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas.

The Sikh man, identified as US national Deep Rai by Indian officials in New Delhi, was working on his vehicle outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to his driveway.

Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with Rai saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country”. The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57473102.cms

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Let’s Crush Human Rights Activists Using Motor Vehicles, Says Chhattisgarh Cop (Mar 3, 2017, The Wire)

Amidst continuing reports of rampant human rights violations in Bastar, the Sukma superintendent of police, Indira Kalyan Elesela, has stirred up a fresh controversy by saying that human rights activists should be crushed on the highway using advanced motor vehicles. The SP made the controversial statement in Jagdalpur during a program organised by an automobile company to discuss the ‘elimination of the Naxal threat’.

According to a report published in the Chhattisgarh daily Navbharat, “on Thursday, Sukma SP Elesela was invited to a program to discuss the elimination of Naxals from the area. While making his speech, he went on to say that human rights activists like Isha Khandelwal and Shalini Gera should be crushed on the road.”

Lawyers Khandelwal and Gera are part of the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group and have been instrumental, along with academic and academic-activist Bela Bhatia in the filing of FIRs in cases of gang-rape of adivasi women allegedly by security forces personnel in Chhattisgarh. The two lawyers were forced to leave Bastar last year after their landlord refused to rent his house to them citing police pressure.…

https://thewire.in/113810/113810/

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Child trafficking case: BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury sent to 12-day CID remand (Mar 1, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s women wing leader Juhi Chowdhury, who was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) from the India-Nepal border as a suspect in connection with the child trafficking case, has sent to 12 days CID remand by Jalpaiguri District Court.…

She was on the run for the last few days after her name was linked to the case involving trafficking of children. The CID had earlier in January this year received a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) about irregularities prevailing in three children homes run by Chakraborty.

The investigation into the three orphanage homes indicated Chakraborty and her associate Sonali Mondal reportedly sold babies to the foreign countries.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/india/child-trafficking-case-bjp-leader-juhi-chowdhury-sent-to-12-day-cid-remand/1027239

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Plea to Supreme Court CJ to inquire into Gujarat’s Naliya sex racket, obtain CD from deputy chief minister (Mar 3, 2017, Counterview)

A fact-finding committee on the Naliya sex scam of Kutch district, which is experiencing tremors in Gujarat for the last several weeks, has sought a thorough inquiry into the incident of gangrape of a 19-year-old girl hailing from Kutch under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court chief justice.

The independent fact-finding committee, which met the victim’s parents in Kothara village near Naliya, says that she is one of the 35 women who are being sexually exploited in an educational institute being run directly under the BJP supervision. “Main accused in this episode is the convener of BJP’s OBC cell of Abdasa taluka of Kutch district”, the report claims.

Pointing out that some 65 persons, all belonging to the BJP, are involved in the sex racket, the report insists, the inquiry into the episode should begin with the recovery a CD in possession of the deputy chief minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel, as also Leader of Opposition, Shakarsinh Vaghela. The CD is said to be key to bringing the culprits to book.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/plea-to-supreme-court-cj-to-inquire.html

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Why impose Sanskrit in Assam classrooms when Hindi is still an optional subject? (Mar 3, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The BJP government in Assam has made Sanskrit compulsory in all state board schools till Class 8. In state board schools across Assam, students are taught either Assamese, Bodo or Bengali, depending on the areas where they reside. While English is compulsory, schools also teach Hindi, but it is optional.

For the uninitiated, there are many languages spoken in Assam. While majority of people in Assam speak Assamese,… Bodo was formally declared as an associate official language last year in districts having substantial Bodo population. In some of the districts in the Barak Valley, Bengali enjoys the official status. Both Assamese and Bodo are among the 22 official languages according to the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. However, linguistic diversity in Assam runs far wider with a number of other native languages and dialects spoken – Dimasa, Mishing, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa, etc.…

In some parts, there are also people who speak Manipuri, Khasi, Garo, Hmar, Kuki, etc. But almost no one in the state speaks Sanskrit. And that’s true not just for Assam, but the entire Northeast. Making Sanskrit compulsory also raises serious concerns in view of the conflicting history of language in the state.… student organisations like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) are perplexed. They see it as a well-orchestrated “conspiracy micro-managed and monitored from Nagpur” which could be made possible after the BJP came to power with an unexpected win last year in the Northeastern state.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/sanskrit-assam-saffronisation/story/1/15962.html

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Intra-BJP rivalry? Gujarat Dalit sarpanch hacked to death for “winning” village polls he was told not to contest (Mar 1, 2017, Counterview)

In a gruesome incident, young Dalit sarpanch Jaysukh Madhad, aged 30, belonging to village Varasda of Gujarat’s Amreli district of Saurashtra region, was hacked to death on February 28 at around 7.30 pm by three persons, said to be belonging to a so-called upper caste.

According to reports, top representatives of the dominant caste of the village were against his election to the village post, which became the main reason for the attack. The incident has led to a major uproar across Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, particularly Amreli town, where thousands of anxious and angry Dalits gathered expressing their concern over “increasing” atrocities against the community.

Local media reports suggest the murder is part of an intra-BJP rivalry over the post of sarpanch. Madhad was “associated” with the BJP, says a report, adding, one of the accused too is son of a BJP village leader.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/intra-bjp-rivalry-gujarat-dalit.html

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Opinions and Editorials

2002 Godhra Riots: 15 years pass, but the stain will never leave Narendra Modi – Harsh Mander with Ranjan Crasta (Mar 1, 2017, Catch News)

27 February, 2002, was a day that would change the landscape of Gujarat forever. While some may argue that the incidents at Godhra that fateful February were merely the culmination of a long, simmering build up, it was the events of this day that set in motion months of violence that would rewrite the state’s DNA.

As communal riots erupted across the length and breadth of Gujarat, state machinery was paralysed and the nation watched on as scores were murdered in waves of brutal violence that raged on for what seemed like eternity. Scarcely 10 months on, Narendra Modi, the then-CM of Gujarat, his Hindutva credentials strengthened by the State’s apparent complicity in the violence, was re-elected in a landslide despite months of lawlessness. It has now been 15 years since those fateful events, Narendra Modi has leveraged that re-election to launch his political career to even greater heights.…

In this interview with Catch, social activist Harsh Mander, who has worked since 2002 to obtain justice for the victims of the Gujarat violence, talks about why the violence cannot and should not be forgotten, and why Modi will never be absolved of the violence that rocked Gujarat under his watch.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/15-years-pass-but-the-stain-of-2002-riots-will-never-leave-narendra-modi-52954.html

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Modi’s Muslim Bashing In U.P Elections: Carrying Forward The RSS Legacy – By Shamsul Islam (Feb 21, 2017, Countercurrents)

As the multi-phased UP assembly elections progress, PM Modi as the only mascot of BJP’s campaign is becoming more belligerent in his communal polarizing rhetoric. Speaking in an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, PM while raising the issue of appeasement of Muslim minority in the State by the current Samajwadi Party government he went to the extent of declaring that “Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimination)…Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (graveyard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too”. PM Modi was clearly targeting Akhilesh government for favouring Muslims over Hindus of UP. Though he did not share any data to prove this serious allegation, PM wanted to convey to his Hindu audience that Samajwadi Party did not care for Hindu votes and was in power due to Muslim votes, so naturally cared for the latter only.

This brash allegation needs serious investigation. Modi has been addressing election meetings in UP for almost last 3 weeks but never raised this issue. The Fatehpur address showed that he was trying to heighten the pitch for polarization between Hindus and Muslim electorate. It also meant that UP electorate, overwhelmingly consisting of Hindus, had not come out in support of the BJP. So, the bogey of Muslim appeasement and ‘enemy’ Muslim were being raised. Responding to this development a leading English daily of the country editorially wrote that halfway into the UP campaign, “both the PM’s choice of examples, and his message, are unfortunate…It neither behoves the PM nor his office.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/02/21/modis-muslim-bashing-in-u-p-elections-carrying-forward-the-rss-legacy/

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Ujjain RSS leader must be arrested for hate speech and BJP must condemn his remarks – Editorial (Mar 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The RSS is not known for being circumspect in its remarks on the minorities, but even by its standards the speech made by Kundan Chandrawat, prachar pramukh from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, is appalling. In a rabid address, he not only spoke glowingly of the courage of Hindus in whom Shivaji’s “blood runs” in killing over 2,000 Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but also promised more reprisals. The most shocking part of his speech, however, was the offer of a Rs 1 crore bounty to anyone who would bring him the head of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

After this statement, the RSS scrambled for cover saying that the organisation does not advocate violence. The BJP MP from Ujjain Chintamani Malviya sought to cover up the whole thing saying that Chandrawat was distraught at the killing of RSS workers in Kerala and was expressing his pent up feelings. While it is true that clashes between the CPI(M) and RSS are common in north Kerala with casualties on both sides, nothing justifies advocating murder.

Chandrawat… should be arrested and charged with making a hate speech and inciting people to murder. His open praise of the Hindu mobs that killed Muslims during the fateful riots does no credit to the BJP, which was in power in the state at that time under the stewardship of then chief minister Narendra Modi. This is positively embarrassing for the party, which has distanced itself from those events. The RSS has all too often made intemperate remarks and then retreated in the face of public outrage. The fact that offenders are let off lightly is what has encouraged the likes of Chandrawat to come up with such incendiary remarks.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/ujjain-rss-leader-must-be-arrested-for-hate-speech-and-bjp-must-condemn-this/story-v5h4WXgsXoinX8kqoaOsfO.html

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Narendra Modi’s Silence on Kansas Shooting Speaks Volumes – By Ruchira Sen (Mar 1, 2017, The Wire)

…According to bystanders, 51-year-old Adam Purinton opened fire on the two men – who he mistook to be Middle Eastern – after yelling “Get out of my country”. Kuchibhotla was killed in the incident, while Madasani and Ian Grillot, an American who had attempted to intervene, sustained injuries. The reactions to the incident, which is being viewed as a hate crime, have been perplexing.…

Considering Trump ascended to the presidency with promises of white supremacy, it was not surprising that he did not immediately condemn the murder of a person of colour by a white person. On the other hand, what is surprising is that the Narendra Modi-led Indian government, which has been pushing a particular brand of nationalism on everyone has had nothing to say about the attack. One can only guess the reasons for the prime minister’s silence on the incident.…

Like Trump, Modi too has been pushing ‘alternate facts’ of his own. For example, during the ‘California textbook controversy,’ Hindutva activists insisted that it was the Muslim rulers who had introduced the caste system into India. Had it not been for the intervention of independent scholars and the Indian American Muslim Council, it is possible that a generation of school children in California would have grown up studying ‘alternate facts’ instead of South Asian history.…

https://thewire.in/112746/modi-silence-kansas-shooting/

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Intolerance thy name is ABVP – By Charanjit Ahuja (Mar 3, 2017, Tehelka)

When the 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur tweeted, “I am not afraid of ABVP”, it was clear that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has begun wearing its peculiar brand of nationalism upon its sleeves. She went on “to anyone questioning my courage and bravery. I’ve shown more than enough”. Her tweets following violence at Delhi University’s Ramjas College went viral and received massive support from students across various universities. Though subsequently, she withdrew from the campaign but she had made a point that intolerance and jingoism had crept in our system.…

The DU incident is line with the ABVP’s provocative attitude that was earlier witnessed in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Hyderabad University, IIT-Chennai, and other institutions of academic repute. There is a question mark whether it was a spontaneous reaction of ABVP or there was a method in the madness. The pattern shows that it was not the act of a group of youngsters with a brazen sense of nationalism better said as jingoism. The journey from JNU to DU showed a pattern with law enforcing agencies remaining a mute spectator, falling short of abetting.

The act was at a sniffing distance from gagging the free speech by the on the campus. It is apparent that the way police allowed an event to be disrupted at Ramjas College and the subsequent violence amounted to complete failure of the law enforcing force. As Delhi Police comes directly under the Union Home Ministry, the government cannot disown its responsibility.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/03/intolerance-thy-name-is-abvp/?singlepage=1

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The Many Criminal Injustices of India’s Police and Investigating Agencies – By Basant Rath (Mar 7, 2017, The Wire)

For the first time in its history, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigation agency, is probing two of its former directors, Ranjit Sinha and A.P. Singh. India’s police leaders – the members of the Indian Police Service (IPS) who head, superintend and supervise the country’s criminal investigation architecture at the federal and state levels – need to ask themselves whether the cases of two former CBI directors constitute the tip of the proverbial iceberg or are exceptions in an otherwise professionally-run, stain-free establishment.…

If this is what has been happening in the CBI, a central agency answerable to the Union government at the national capital, then what is the state of affairs in the investigating agencies operating in the state and district capitals where officers are definitely more vulnerable to the bureaucrat-politician-corporate-money nexus and organised crime syndicates?…

What is the contribution of the erring police officers and their investigating agencies to the perversion of India’s criminal justice system? Between 1953 and 2013, the quality of investigation and prosecution has gone down. Convictions in murder cases fell from 51% to 36.5%. Convictions in kidnapping cases fell from 48% to 21.3%. Robbery convictions fell during this period from 47% to 29%. In 2013, only 26.5% of alleged rapists were brought to book. What is the relative contribution of the police led by the IPS to this mess? This is a question that should trouble the members of the elite service.…

https://thewire.in/114440/police-investigating-agencies-accountability/

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Book Review

Hashimpura 22 May

Author: Vibhuti Narain Rai
Reviewed by: Shaikh Mujibur Rehman
Available at: Penguin Books India Limited, 11 Community Centre, 110017, Panchseel, Panchshila Park South, Panchshila Park, New Delhi, Delhi. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
A modern day Jallianwala Bagh (Mar 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

By all accounts, custodial killings of more than 40 innocent young Muslims in Hashimpura on May 22, 1987 by Uttar Pradesh’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) of the 41st battalion can only be regarded as a modern day Jallianwalabagh or worse. In Jallianwalabagh, the crowd had gathered to take part in a political protest; here, these innocent youths were chosen from neighbouring villages.

PAC’s 41st battalion led by Platoon Commander Surender Pal Singh, selected youngsters in full public view from a crowd of roughly 500 people, loaded them onto an official truck, number URU 1352, drove them to the canal, shot each to death one by one, threw them into the water, and then returned to the camp for a regular life as though they had executed a routine job. Twenty eight years later, on March 21, 2015, the verdict on the crime was pronounced and all the accused were released.

Its key figure, Surender Pal Singh, is no more. The author interviewed him several times and heard him say that Muslims needed to be taught a lesson, but accepts his failure to figure out what made Singh lead this massacre. The murder of Prabhat Kumar; and his influential relatives, and their ideologies could have been the reason. That is how far we travel in this account to make sense of this tragedy.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/books/a-modern-day-jallianwala-bagh-review-of-vibhuti-narain-rai-s-hashimpura-22-may/story-O5cLXywrNLqrQGxhNmB07H.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 27th, 2017

March 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘Unite India’ mobile App for Diploma in Communal Harmony will help defeat hate-mongers News Headlines Ramjas Student Speaks Up: Police Refused to Protect Us From ABVP Ramjas College row:Protest and clashes in Mumbai and Pune keep campuses on boil Kerala CM lambasts RSS at communal harmony rally […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 20th, 2017

March 3, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Political storm erupts over Madhya Pradesh CM’s pic with ‘ISI man’ Why India’s higher courts have ignored suo motu cognisance of mass crimes, including 2002 riots?: Teesta Setalvad Narendra Modi, Amit Shah are terrorists spreading fear: Uttar Pradesh minister Meerut: BJP leader Kuldeep Tomar shoots his wife […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 13th, 2017

February 23, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ISI agents arrested in Madhya Pradesh linked to BJP How a Murder Victim’s Family Prevented Communal Clashes in Poll-bound Bijnor Sunil Joshi murder case: Prosecution questions Sadhvi Pragya Singh’s acquittal, says ‘no ground for appeal’ Trump told: US-based Hindutva groups funding hatred against India’s Christians, Muslims under […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 6th, 2017

February 16, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 50,000 Gujarat riot victims still displaced, lack housing rights, 20% women face triple talaq: Janvikas book After 13 years in jail, SC acquits two accused Sadiq Jamal Encounter: CBI court reserves order on discharge plea of accused cop Husband jailed for rioting, wife gets BJP ticket for […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 30th, 2017

February 9, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines UP election: Politics over Muzaffarnagar riot victims leaves Kairana polarised UP Polls: Shocking admission! Independent candidate admits entering politics only for money BJP MLA, five others booked for extortion in Mira Road The Indian Church remembers the missionary Graham Staines, burned alive by Hindu radicals Missing JNU […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 23rd, 2017

February 2, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Assam: Hajo’s post-Babri Masjid communal harmony march enters 25th year News Headlines BJP MLA Sangeet Som booked for showing ‘riot’ documentary ahead of UP polls BJP’s Vinay Katiyar makes sexist comment about Priyanka Gandhi Malegaon blasts case: ex-cop Mujawar claims ATS actually killed 3 accused Dabholkar, Pansare […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2016

January 27, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines How AB Vajpayee was foiled in his bid to have Narendra Modi removed as Gujarat chief minister Months Before Sahara Was Granted Immunity, Tax Panel Member Was Abruptly Transferred Bombay High Court cites Muslim man’s religion as provocation, subsequent murder RBI note exposes govt. bluff on note […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2017

January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival News Headlines ‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers Watch: BJP […]

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