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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 12th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Holy month of Ramzan makes the Hindu-Muslim bond stronger in Old Delhi (Jun 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

For members of the Muslim community, the holy month of Ramzan involves fasting, devotion and charity. In Old Delhi, the month holds significance for its Hindu brethren, too. In a show of solidarity, many are choosing to not eat anything for the whole day.

Mohd. Shaan, owner of Kallan Sweet Shop in Old Delhi, tells us, “Kaushal Singh, who has been working with us for the last sixteen years, doesn’t eat anything for the whole day. Like him, we have several Hindu workers who stand in front of the ‘bhatti’ all through the day but to support us, they also skip their meals and water. And, if they want to have food or drink water, they go in the backyard.” For Kaushal, it’s not about religion, but humanity. “How can I eat or drink anything when a colleague abstains from it. I’m not a sadist. I respect all religions and value them,” he says proudly.

The story is the same for many employees at the several shops in the area, with a majority of Hindu staff showing concern for the Muslims. Mohd. Arshad, who runs a dry-fruit shop, shares, “Meva Ram, who works for me, doesn’t even talk about food in front of me. He also skips his lunch every day to eat iftari (the meal that breaks the day-long fast) with my family. Aisa bhaichara kaha dekhne ko milega?”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/holy-month-of-ramzan-makes-the-hindu-muslim-bond-stronger-in-old-delhi/story-3NSqf1i9Alwmpj2j3N7B9K.html

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Jharkhand: Muslim man attacked by irate mob for taking ‘beef’ to Iftar party (Jun 7, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A Muslim man was assaulted by an angry mob for allegedly trying to take beef to an Iftar party at Barbadda village in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district on Tuesday morning. The victim – identified as 35-year-old Ainul Ansari – has been admitted to the Patliputra Medical College Hospital, where he is recovering.

Police said Ansari, a resident of Murahdih, was headed to Barbadda village on a scooter when 20 people waylaid him at Loharbarba. Even as they were assaulting him, somebody informed the police. A team led by Barbadda police station officer-in-charge Dinesh Kumar reached the scene soon afterwards, and rescued Ansari. “The irate mob insisted that we search the victim’s scooter. We did so, and recovered meat – probably beef – from its storage compartment,” said Kumar.

Ansari’s wife, Sahida Begum, denied the allegation. “We planned to hold an Iftar party at our house on Tuesday evening. Ansari was bringing mutton for the event, but the villagers mistook it for beef,” she said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/ranchi/jharkhand-muslim-man-attacked-by-irate-mob-for-taking-beef-to-iftar-party/story-q1ZXWgGoNJ9b3vksZklqEM.html

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Meghalaya Assembly demands withdrawal of cattle slaughter rules (Jun 12, 2017, India Today)

The Meghalaya Assembly today passed a resolution opposing the Centre’s controversial notification regulating the sale of cattle for slaughter and has asked for its withdrawal. At a special day-long session of the Assembly, the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government moved a resolution against the Central government’s new rules on cattle trade for slaughter that infringes on the states’ rights.

Even the opposition parties in Meghalaya – United Democratic Party, Hill State People’s Democratic Party and even the National People’s Party, which is an ally of the BJP – had opposed the new rules and demanded their withdrawal. Three senior Meghalaya BJP leaders – Bernard Marak, Bachu Marak and Wilver Graham Danggo – resigned after senior party leaders opposed their plans to organise a “bitchi-beef party” …

Last week, the former BJP leaders organised a “bitchi-beef” fest to protest against the Central government’s new rules that aims to prevent sale of cattle for slaughter.… Over 5,000 BJP workers from Garo Hills region, which has 24 seats of Meghalaya Assembly’s 60, had resigned from the party over the issue. Many more leaders have threatened to do if the rules are not rolled-back. The BJP’s state chief Shibun Lyngdoh said: “The issue of cow slaughter is a state subject. The matter has been clarified by our leaders. There is nothing more to say.”

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/meghalaya-assembly-withdrawal-cattle-slaughter-rules/1/976842.html

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Two ‘Sangh Supporters’ Held for Disrupting Sitaram Yechury’s Press Conference (Jun 7, 2017, The Wire)

Two persons claiming to be affiliated with the RSS on Wednesday disrupted a press conference being addressed by CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury. According to a statement released by the Left party, the press conference was being held at the end of a two-day polit bureau meeting.

The two men allegedly entered masquerading as journalists before they went on to disrupt the event. According to reports, the men shouted slogans including “CPI(M) murdabad” and “Hindu Sena zindabad”.

“They also tried to manhandle comrade Yechury, but we came in their way and the comrade was safe,” a party worker present at the spot said. “This is typical of the RSS methodology of seeking to browbeat and intimidate the opposition. Such tactics will not be allowed to succeed,” the CPI(M) statement said. Yechury also tweeted his indignation, adding that he and his party “will not be cowed down”.…

https://thewire.in/144917/sitaram-yechury-press-conference-sangh/

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Amit Shah on Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Bahut chatur baniya tha, he could presage Congress’ bleak future’ (Jun 10, 2017, Indian Express)

BJP president Amit Shah claimed here on Friday that the Congress was never a party based on principles, it was merely a “special purpose vehicle” to secure freedom. And Mahatma Gandhi, a “bahut chatur baniya,” could presage the bleak future of the party.

In contrast, because the BJP was a party which was clear in its approach, Shah said, it had no hesitation in saying “jo deshdrohi naare lagayega, woh deshdrohi kahlaya jayega.” Shah was speaking to a collection of “eminent persons” of Chhattisgarh, on the second day of his three-day trip to the state, with a view to strengthening the party before elections in late 2018.

Saying that the Congress was an instrument to get independence, and that people from all ideologies, left and right, socialist and Communist, were part of its pre-independence movement…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/amit-shah-on-mahatma-gandhi-bahut-chatur-baniya-tha-he-knew-congress-weakness-4696862/

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Police crackdown begins in violence-hit epicentre of MP farmers’ protest (Jun 12, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Fear stalks the narrow cemented roads of Bahi Parsavnath and Balaguda, the two Patidar-dominated Madhya Pradesh villages on the Mhow-Neemuch highway, where a police crackdown is on.

The two villages, which are 15km away from Mandsaur, were the epicentre of farmers’ protest where police firing on June 6 left five people dead after which angry farmers set fire to scores of trucks along the highway. The toll rose to six after an injured farmer died on Friday.…

“More than 50 men in blue uniform in four vehicles came to the village with two policemen from the local police station and started beating people mercilessly,” says a villager. Police picked up three men, Kamlesh Patidar, the son of the local patel, Shivlal Patidar and Narendra Sharma on June 8, he says, refusing to be identified. “I fear police will target me if you write my name.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/police-crackdown-begins-fear-stalks-violence-hit-madhya-pradesh-villages/story-znGWRQiC1GJ9dit9Aco99N.html

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Saharanpur violence accused Chandrashekhar arrested (Jun 8, 2017, Times of India)

The main accused in the Saharanpur violence and Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar was arrested from Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. The 30-year-old activist was nabbed from Dalhousie area of Himachal Pradesh, Additional DG (Meerut Zone) Anand Kumar told PTI over phone.…

Earlier, two members of the Bhim Army were arrested in Saharanpur for their alleged involvement in the Ramnagar caste violence on May 9 after one person was killed and several others were injured in a clash between Dalits and Thakurs at Shabbirpur village in the district on May 5.…

Chandrasekhar, who had since been evading arrest, was carrying a reward of Rs 12,000 on his head. The Uttar Pradesh police had recently constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising 10 inspectors to probe 40 cases, registered between May 5 to May 23, in Saharanpur district which has seen bouts of inter-caste clashes last month.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59049807.cms

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Video confession reveals that PFI worker was killed by the RSS in Kannur (Jun 10, 2017, Twocircles.net)

Putting its leadership in trouble, an RSS worker has confessed that he killed Fazal, a member of the Popular Front of India (PFI). A video with the confession of RSS worker Subeesh was submitted to the CBI court in Kochi on Friday. The video was submitted by CPIM leader and accused in Fazal murder case Karayi Rajan.

The video shows Subeesh revealing that Fazal was killed by four RSS activists including him on October 22, 2006 at Thalassery in Kannur district. In the video, he names the other three as Prateesh, Pramesh, and Shinoy. According to the video, the four RSS workers went to local leader Thilakan’s residence. After hearing of the attack on Fazal, Thilakan slapped Subeesh and asked the gang to keep weapons which had Fazal’s blood at his house. He further ordered not to tell anyone about the murder.

The video shows Subeesh saying two of the gang hacked Fazal with swords while he fell down from the bicycle, which he used to distribute newspapers. Subeesh had made the confession in November, 2016, when he was arrested for murdering CPIM worker Paduvilayi Mohanan in Kannur in October 2016.…

http://twocircles.net/2017jun10/411073.html

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India: school book describes Jesus as a demon; Christians demand removal (Jun 9, 2017, Catholicculture)

Christians in India’s Gujarat state are asking officials to remove a book that is currently in use in public schools, in which Jesus is described as a demon.

The book is “simply unacceptable and should be removed immediately,” said a spokesman for the Christian protesters, noting the law that bans deliberate offenses against religious faith.

Gujarat’s education minister said that reference was a typographical error, and “the mistake will soon be resolved.”

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=31805

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Gujarat High Court concludes hearing on Zakia Jafri’s plea against Narendra Modi, others (Jun 10, 2017, Indian Express)

The Gujarat High Court has concluded hearing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister, and others in 2002 riots cases. Justice Sonia Gokani on Saturday concluded the hearing while allowing filing of a written submission by Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai on June 19 and a reply by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team on July 3, before pronouncing the judgement.

Zakia had moved the HC against a closure report filed by SIT on the issue of larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind 2002 riots cases. Her husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire.…

The criminal review petition by Zakia and NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by activist Teesta Setalvad, has demanded making Modi and 59 others as accused on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots. Zakia also’ closure report of the Supreme Court appointed SIT giving clean chit to Modi and others.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-high-court-concludes-hearing-on-zakia-jafri-plea-against-narendra-modi-others-4697801/

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UP BJP MLA attacks police over law & order, Dalit ‘atrocities’ (Jun 12, 2017, DNA India)

Already facing Opposition’s flak over law and order situation in the state, the BJP government came under attack from one of its own MLAs who accused the Gonda Police of corruption, shielding criminals and “not acting” in cases of alleged atrocities on the Dalits.

Paltu Ram, BJP MLA from Balrampur Sadar Seat, said no one listens to the Dalits when they visit police stations with their grievances. He directly attacked Gonda Superintendent of Police.

“Law and order of the Gonda district has collapsed under the present Superintendent of Police. Instead of taking action against criminal elements, police are taking bribe and shielding them,” he said in a letter, which he released to the media here.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-up-bjp-mla-attacks-police-over-law-order-dalit-atrocities-2470029

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Battered Free Press – Editorial (Jun 7, 2017, New York Times)

Press freedom in India suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the country’s main investigative agency raided homes and offices connected to the founders of NDTV, India’s oldest television news station. The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.…

Since Mr. Modi took office in 2014, journalists have faced increasing pressures. They risk their careers – or lives – to report news that is critical of the government or delves into matters that powerful politicians and business interests do not want exposed. News outlets that run afoul of the government can lose access to officials. The temptation to self-censor has grown, and news reports are increasingly marked by a shrill nationalism that toes the government line.…

Praveen Swami, a reporter for The Indian Express newspaper, warned on Twitter that Monday’s raids were “a defining moment,” adding: “The last time this sort of thing happened was during the Emergency,” a reference to the strict censorship of 1975-77 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency and ruled as an autocrat. Sadly, Mr. Swami’s warning is warranted. The Central Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday that it “fully respects the freedom of press.” Even if that’s true, the question still outstanding is whether Mr. Modi does.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/opinion/india-freedom-of-press-narendra-modi.html

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Bajrang Dal training camps in Hanumangarh: A journey into the Hindutva heartland – By Asad Ashraf (Jun 13, 2017, First Post)

Barely 400 kilometres from Delhi, the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindutva groups have been conducting training camps that put schoolchildren through the paces of using firearms and swords.… We left for Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh – one of the many places running such camps in the name of instilling patriotism into young hearts and minds.…

They confessed on the camera that they ran this camp in which they taught school children the art of handling sophisticated weapons. All this was devised to counter the threat of the Islamic State in India and the internal enemies within the country. They also confessed their role in attacks on people in the name of protecting cows and dealing with ‘love-jihadis’, clearly indicating that these men had taken the law in their own hands and were not letting the police do its duty and fulfil its responsibilities.…

When interrogated about the training camp, he firmly said, “There is nothing new about the camps as we teach people the art of self-defence; we can see terror activities are gaining ground and it is important to keep ourselves prepared for that challenges. The organisation is also running a training camp in Pali – on the border with Pakistan – right now for young girls, in which they are trained in the art of self-defence.”…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/bajrang-dal-training-camps-in-hanumangarh-a-journey-into-the-hindutva-heartland-3543821.html

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Killing The Kisan – Editorial (Jun 8, 2017, DNA India)

The protests in Mandsaur, which saw the lives of six farmers being snuffed out, have now assumed proportions of a full-blown crisis. Latest reports indicate that the protests have spread to six districts, while the violence surrounding the farmers’ demand continues unabated. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has jumped into damage control mode by declaring a price stabilisation fund of Rs 1,000 crore.

Apart from this, he has also announced compensation of Rs 1 crore to the kin of the dead and Rs 5 lakh to those injured. This hasn’t proved to be much of a salve in Mandsaur where over a dozen vehicles were set on fire, while the area Collector and Superintendent of Police faced public ire for their delay in coming to grips with the situation. Meanwhile, the state continues to be on a boil.

Apart from Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, and Indore districts have reported cases of vehicles being torched and police officers being manhandled. State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh has ordered a judicial probe, but the actual chain of events that led to police shooting still remains unclear.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dna-edit-killing-the-kisan-2464791

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Modi’s Push for a Hindu Revival Imperils India’s Meat Industry – By Suhasini Raj and Ellen Barry (Jun 5, 2017, New York Times)

When Uttar Pradesh’s state government began a crackdown on unlicensed slaughterhouses in March, Sanjay Chaturvedi, a local veterinary inspector, celebrated. For years, Mr. Chaturvedi said, the government had protected the lucrative, predominantly Muslim-owned buffalo meat business, making it difficult for him to enforce environmental codes.

But Mr. Chaturvedi has spent the past two months watching the local economy collapse. And now he is beginning to worry. Of the 10 slaughterhouses and meat-processing factories operating in March on the stretch of road he patrols in Meerut, seven have shut down, putting much of the local population – 10,000 people, by his estimate – out of work. Migrant workers have packed up. Factory owners are defaulting on bank loans.

What alarms him most, he said, is the government’s recent announcement of stringent new regulations effectively banning the sale of cattle – a category that includes buffaloes as well as cows – for slaughter. The rules threaten to all but cut off the supply of animal products for the lucrative leather and buffalo meat industries, which together account for about $10 billion in annual exports.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/world/asia/india-uttar-pradesh-meat-slaughterhouses-cows-buffalo.html?_r=0

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Forget Modi’s Gandhi love. Shah’s ‘chatur baniya’ comment exposes RSS’s real view – By Charu Kartikeya (Jun 10, 2017, Catch News)

…While Gandhi might be popularly remembered as the Father of the Nation, Shah feels that the only man whose portrait permanently graces every government office as the guide of the morality of the Indian State was in fact a mere ‘baniya’ (a casteist reference to the trading class). A clever one, to be precise. The BJP chief’s unprecedented reference to Gandhi came at a public event in Chhattisgarh on 9 June.

Shah was essentially holding forth on why the Congress was not a party, and only an SPV or a “special purpose vehicle” for obtaining independence from British rule. Gandhi knew this, Shah said, which is why he called for disbanding the Congress after Independence. This made him a “bahut chatur baniya”, according to Shah.

The stable that Shah comes from has long carried particularly vicious hatred for Gandhi. Even though no recognised RSS leader was ever convicted for conspiring to kill the Mahatma, Nathuram Godse’s link with the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha is undeniable. There is direct evidence of even MS Golwalkar, the RSS’s second chief, threatening to kill Gandhi in 1947.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/forget-modi-s-gandhi-love-shah-s-chatur-baniya-comment-exposes-rss-s-real-view-64760.html

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Saharanpur violence result of RSS cultivating weaker castes among Dalits, OBCs, weakening solidarity – By Battini Rao (Jun 12, 2017, Counterview)

Fifty five Dalit houses were burnt down during the afternoon of May 5 in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur in northern UP. Attackers belonged to the dominant Rajput community of the area. They were armed with swords, spears, and lathis, and numbered about three thousand. Several other houses were looted, and fifteen motorcycles were burnt. Twelve Dalits received serious injuries.…

The politics in UP is passing through a critical phase, in which the BJP has successfully shaken earlier political alignments. This situation requires utmost political wisdom by all progressive, secular, and anti-BJP forces. The RSS has cultivated economically and socially weaker castes among Dalits for many decades by organising religious functions for their specific caste deities, and popularising their separate caste histories. This has weakened solidarity among dalit castes. The same strategy has been successfully applied among OBCs too. The corruption, opportunism and misdemeanours of Dalit and OBC politicians have further helped the BJP.

All this has opened the way for the reassertion of the hegemony of the so called upper castes under Hindutva ideology. The RSS and BJP have manged to get a degree of consent for their virulent programmes from wide sections of the Hindu caste society. This is leading UP towards authoritarian use of state power, a permanent state of anti-minority violence and open attacks on citizenship rights. The BJP government in UP is also trying to browbeat administration to toe its line. The official residence of the then SSP in Saharanpur was attacked by BJP MP and his followers in April, after he had stopped their procession in a Muslim locality.…

http://www.counterview.in/2017/06/saharanpur-violence-result-of-rss.html

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Book Review

Tilting the Balance of Power: Adjudicating the RTI Act

Author: Research, Assessment and Analysis Group
Reviewed by: Alok Prasanna Kumar
Available at: Satark Nagrik Sangathan, B-76 (Garage), S.F.S. Flats, Sheikh Sarai-1, New Delhi-110017 and Rajpal and Sons, New Delhi, 2017; pp xvii + 291, ?400.. www.amazon.in/
Review:
One Decade of the RTI Act (Jun 3, 2017, EPW)

The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 (hereafter, “the act”) is an excellent example of a grass-roots movement culminating in the promulgation of groundbreaking laws and policies to achieve its ends. … A decade after the law was enacted and the relevant institutions set up, it is now the right time to look back and take stock. Tilting the Balance of Power: Adjudicating the RTI Act has therefore come out at just the right time. Attempting a full-scale study of the act, it examines the way the provisions of the law have been applied by the information officers of the central and state governments. The book also analyses how the law has been interpreted by the judiciary, and addresses the working of the institutions set up under the act.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wishes to use the act or study its working in the first few years. Its six parts run the gamut from judicial interpretation of the law by the Supreme Court and the high courts, to the functioning of the information commissions, and the level of compliance with the law by various government departments among other things. This is not just a work of reference; it is also one of careful analysis and critique, accompanied by action points to improve the laws and institutions. In that sense, it is the first of its kind – a book that incorporates rigorous research about the state of the right to information law and the concerned institutions in India with commentary about case-law to outline an agenda for change.

The empirical study of the information commissions presented in this book provides some sobering insights into the way in which the act has been implemented. It is somewhat ironic, but also emblematic of some of the act’s failings, that information about the information commissions themselves is not always easily accessible. Although there is an obligation to publish annual reports, there is no consistency in the way these reports are maintained. This makes the researchers’ task much harder, but working with what is available, the authors of Tilting the Balance of Power have unearthed much that needs to be engaged with and discussed by civil society and policymakers.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/22/book-reviews/one-decade-rti-act.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 5th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Uttar Pradesh: 270 people booked for violence in Muzaffarnagar (Jun 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As many as 270 people have been booked here in connection with the violence at Sherpur village on Friday in which eight people, including five policemen, were injured, police said on Sunday.

The violent episode unfolded after a group of people resorted to stone-pelting when a police team raided some houses in Sherpur on information of “cow slaughter”.…

When the police did not find any suspicious item during the search, they started searching nearby houses which angered the people, who opposed the police action and started pelting them with stones.… Meanwhile, the sub-inspector of the police outpost concerned has been transfered while other personnel have also been moved out, the SP said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/uttar-pradesh-270-people-booked-for-violence-in-muzaffarnagar/story-lRx6Plm6g3mClta0j4gV7N.html

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Journalists Detained in Rajasthan While Reporting on Bajrang Dal’s Weapons Training Camps (Jun 7, 2017, The Wire)

Asad Ashraf, a Delhi-based reporter at The Statesman, and two other journalists, Anupam Pandey and Vijay Pandey, were detained in Rajasthan on Saturday where they had gone to report on arms training camps that were being conducted by the Bajrang Dal in Hanumangarh. The youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been conducting camps in many parts of the country in which young children are trained to use arms and ammunition.… Ashraf said that the camps in Hanumangarh, like most others, did not see the police intervening.…

These training camps are usually conducted in RSS-affiliated schools. A public appeal is made and sent to these schools, after which they start recruiting.… Ashraf could sense something was wrong. He tried to leave and went to sit in his car, but the party members made the other two journalists stay back and demanded to see their IDs. Within minutes, the police arrived and took the journalists to the police station. The police told Ashraf that one of the party members had made a complaint against him. They made sure that the three journalists sat in different cars on the way to the station. Ashraf immediately revealed his identity to the police.

He was then threatened, he told The Wire: “Main batata hun tujhe patrakar kya hota hai (I will show you who a journalist is),” the police allegedly said to him. “The police was more aggressive towards us than the Bajrang Dal members,” according to Ashraf, adding that they denied him access to his phone and interrogated him at length. One of the police officers apparently told Ashraf, “Aaj main suspend ho jaoonga, par tujhe joota zarur marunga (Even if I get suspended today, I’ll make sure I beat you up).” “The Bajrang Dal members and the police were clearly very friendly with each other,” Ashraf said.… Even after Ashraf revealed his true identity, the police tried to instigate the Bajrang Dal members to file an FIR against him. “Tum nahin karoge to main karunga (If you don’t do it, I will),” one of the officers allegedly said.…

https://thewire.in/144545/journalists-detained-in-rajasthan-when-doing-a-story-on-bajrang-dal/

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Activists demand law to stop lynching by mobs (Jun 6, 2017, Times of India)

Social activists and student leaders on Monday launched a national campaign against mob lynching, aimed at demanding a stringent law to prevent such incidents. If the government does not enact a law within a month, they said they would start a countrywide mass campaign from July 11which marks the anniversary of the Una Dalit movement.

Student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid, social activist and lawyer Jignesh Mevani and entrepreneur Tehseen Poonawala, besides others, have formed a committee which will work on a draft legislation which they intend to convince the government for introducing in Parliament.

“People are being killed in the name of gau mata. The mob always has a face -we need to identify the face of the mob. The practice of mob lynching is growing and we too will be attacked if we do not take action now. We need to unite the voices rising against mob lynching,” said Kanhaiya.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59010441.cms

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Kerala BJP Leader Uses Old Pic of Cow Slaughter to Decry Beef Fest (May 31, 2017, The Quint)

Senior BJP leader from Kerala, K Surendran, has come under fire for using a dated photo for a Facebook postslamming the beef festival in the state. The BJP leader posted a photo of slaughtered cows lying on a pavement along with his appeal to the state government to take strict action against the beef festival, organised in protest of the new cattle slaughter rules.

However, the photo in the post is not from the beef fest, but from 2009, Alt News found. The photo is suspected to be from Bangladesh, as the signboards in the background bear Bangla text. Facebook has hidden Surendran’s post, under the “mature content, such as graphic violence” tag.…

Surendran’s post came under fire from a number of parties, including the CPI(M). However, the BJP leader responded with another Facebook tweet, this time aimed at CPI(M) leader Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.…

https://www.thequint.com/india/2017/05/30/kerala-bjp-leader-uses-old-pic-of-cow-slaughter-to-decry-beef-fest

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NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan throws BJP’s Sambit Patra out of show (Jun 2, 2017, Business Standard)

Nidhi Razdan, executive editor, and primary anchor of news channel NDTV on Thursday threw BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra out of her debate show ‘Left Right and Centre’ after Patra made a derogatory statement about her channel. Razdan was hosting a debate on the politics of cattle ban and its consequences that saw a prominent BJP leader in Meghalaya, Bernard Marak, quitting the party in protest.…

Making his point, Patra said that NDTV had some ‘agenda’, perhaps trying to indicate that the channel had some inclination towards Congress. This was something Razdan couldn’t endure. Agitated by the choice of his words, Razdan asked Patra to either apologise or leave the debate. However, Patra refused to do so and the anchor gently asked Patra to quit the show.…

Razdan stated that just because Patra was being questioned he had no right to accuse NDTV of having an agenda. She further told him that he was more than welcome to go to the channels which were ‘glorified versions of Doordarshan’.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ndtv-s-nidhi-razdan-throws-bjp-sambit-patra-out-of-show-hailed-on-twitter-117060200446_1.html

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Babri case: LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati charged for doing criminal conspiracy (May 31, 2017, Economic Times)

In a blow to senior BJP leaders, special CBI Court in Lucknow today framed criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharati for their alleged role in the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

The court also framed charges against other accused in the case – Sadhwi Ritambhara, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia. Court said there are enough evidence on record against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others for framing of criminal conspiracy charges.

According to news reports, the accused have been charged under Section 120(B) of IPC, under which if convicted Advani and other may face minimum jail term of two years. In its last-attempt effort, Advani and other leaders had moved discharge application in the court for dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them. But the court rejected their discharge application.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58909347.cms

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Five killed in firing during farmers’ protest in MP’s Mandsaur, CM Chouhan blames Congress (Jun 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

At least five farmers were killed and several injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on Tuesday when police fired on protesters demanding better prices in the drought-ravaged region that recorded a farm suicide every five hours in 2016-17.

Angry farmers ransacked and set ablaze a police outpost after the firing as the administration clamped curfew on Pipalia town, the epicentre of violence, rushed extra forces and withdrew internet services to tamp down on social media rumours fanning violence.

Throughout the day, the BJP government denied any police firing and confirmed the five deaths only in the evening.… The discontent in the foodbowl states of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Maharashtra, where too farmers have launched an agitation over similar demands, has come as a fresh challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/1-dead-2-injured-as-farmers-agitations-turns-violent-in-mp-s-mandsaur/story-SfoJMNG4R1o25O0ftd1qMI.html

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Convert’s marriage: Minority outfits protest Kerala HC verdict (May 30, 2017, Indian Express)

Hundreds of Muslim people, under the banner of a coordination committee of various community organisations, on Monday marched to the high court protesting against its verdict that nullified the marriage of a Muslim woman convert.

As police lathicharged to disperse the crowd, a few protesters were injured. Subsequently, few Muslim groups called for a hartal in Ernakulam on Tuesday.

At the crux of the protest is last week’s HC order that nullified the marriage of the convert, Akhila alias Hadiya, and Shefin Jahan on the reason that the marriage would not stand legal scrutiny as it was held when a habeas corpus petition filed by the woman’s father was pending in the court. It had observed the marriage could have been considered only with parents’ involvement.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/converts-marriage-minority-outfits-protest-kerala-hc-verdict-4680223/

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Zanzarka rally: Gujarat BJP MP “admits” he is under tremendous pressure not to speak out against atrocities on Dalits (Jun 3, 2017, Counterview)

A Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) from Rajya Sabha is learnt to have admitted that he has been under “tremendous pressure” from his political bosses in Delhi not to speak out the way he did against the gruesome Una incident, in which four Dalit youths were tied with a chain attached to an SUV, and thrashed by cow vigilantes in a procession in the town.

Shambhunath Tundiya, a Dalit MP, considered dharmaguru in the community, had told a local TV channel that the BJP had failed to act against atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat, and the Una incident was the “last straw.” In a video which went viral, he said, Dalits would not tolerate “oppression any more”, and that the authorities should realize, the Dalits have been “forced to eat dead cow’s beef for centuries because they were forced by circumstances…”

“I was made to retract. You don’t know the type of problems I faced in the party after I made that statement. I will not speak out any more”, Tundiya is learnt to have told a Dalit delegation which went to meet him to persuade him to speak out against “attacks” on Dalits across India in the recent past, especially in Saharanpur, where 56 Dalit houses were blazed by an upper caste crowd.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/06/zanzarka-rally-gujarat-bjp-mp-admits-he.html

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Jewar robbery, ‘rape’: Family members hold protest, demand arrest of accused (May 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The family members and relatives of the four women, who were allegedly robbed and gang-raped off Yamuna Expressway while on their way to Bulandshahr last Thursday, protested against the delay in arresting the accused men.

A group of around 100 people took out a silent march through the internal roads of Jewar town on Monday and staged a protest at the office of the subdivisional magistrate. Protesters said four days have passed since the incident and the police are yet to make headway in the case and nab the culprits.

“A bread earner of a family was shot dead, the women were raped and men were robbed of money. This was a brutal incident and the police have not taken it seriously. We have been given assurances, but nothing has happened,” a relative said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/jewar-robbery-rape-family-members-hold-protest-demand-arrest-of-accused/story-LkHZjUVokFEwPvlkbf059N.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The Modi govt’s new cattle trade ban may not pass legal test – By Faizan Mustafa (May 31, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The recent ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets has strangely been notified by the Union ministry of environment and forests though the subject of animal husbandry is under the ministry of agriculture. It is also wrong to say that these rules were framed on the directions of the Supreme Court (SC). In 2014, the SC had only directed that a panel be set up to frame rules to stop smuggling of cattle on the Indo-Nepal border. It is not surprising then that the Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the new rules on the ground that “several communities such as Sikhs, Muslims, backward classes and Dalits, who as a matter of worship and offering, sacrifice animals, which are covered within the expansive definition of cattle under the rules”.

India has included prohibition of cow slaughter in the directive principles of the Constitution because one community treats it sacred. But is cow reverence an ‘essential practice’ of Hinduism? If cow reverence is not an essential Hindu practice — i.e. it was not there in original Hinduism or one can be a Hindu even without revering the cow — then constitutional protection for the animal and the ban that more than 22 states have imposed on cow slaughter will not be justified. Even the Supreme Court’s 2006 upholding of total ban on slaughter of cow or cow progeny will become questionable. In fact, there is evidence that beef eating was common in the Vedic and subsequent times even among Brahmins.…

The new rules are a blot to the promise of cooperative federalism. Moreover the rules will have an effect on the freedom of trade and occupation as restrictions imposed by them will fail the test of ‘reasonableness.’ The new rules also attempt to rewrite the ownership law as it prohibits a buyer from selling the animal for slaughter within six months of its purchase. Ownership is a bundle of rights, which includes the right to alienation and even right to destruction. These arbitrary rules, which are not based on any intelligible differentia and have no rational objective to achieve, are likely to be struck down as unconstitutional.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/the-modi-govt-s-new-cattle-trade-ban-may-not-pass-legal-test/story-W2TWCVUuFCGFihHZDhcb8L.html

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Where humans are butchered and cows worshipped – By Yashica Jalhotra (Jun 2, 2017, Tehelka)

…While there is an official list of animals that cannot be bought or sold for slaughter through cattle markets, do we also need to have an official order that guarantees human beings won’t be beaten to death?

In the last few weeks, we have seen a lot more hue and cry over cow slaughtering than human lynching. Do we need more protection to animals than humans?…

Do we need an official listing for animals which are not allowed to be slaughtered or do we need a listing of severe punishments for those who take the law into their hands and dare to kill fellow humans?…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/06/where-humans-are-butchered-and-cows-worshipped/

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Politics and propriety: on Uma Bharti’s continuance as Minister – Editorial (Jun 1, 2017, The Hindu)

With the Supreme Court invoking its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution – to pass decrees and orders to ensure complete justice – in the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and reviving the criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, the CBI Special Court in Lucknow could not but have framed charges against them.… With the Supreme Court ordering this case to be clubbed with the one involving the actual demolition by unnamed kar sevaks, and directing day-to-day trials, there is hope that the years of delay are over.…

Ms. Bharti is, however, a Union Minister, and the Narendra Modi government cannot pretend that the development has no bearing on her continuance in the Council of Ministers. The BJP has tended to underplay the significance of the case on the ground that it is ‘political’ in nature. But this simply does not wash as the revival of criminal conspiracy charges against them was done at the instance of the Supreme Court.… Rather than defend Ms. Uma Bharti, the Modi government would do well to consider the example set by none other than Mr. Advani himself, who resigned as a Member of Parliament in 1996 after he was implicated in the Jain hawala case, in which the court later held that there was no material to frame charges against him.

For a government that makes much of standing for probity in public life, the application of different standards to one of its own is bound to damage its image. Ms. Bharti’s guilt or innocence is for the courts to establish. Political propriety demands that she be shown the door.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/politics-and-propriety-on-uma-bhartis-continuance-as-minister/article18683935.ece

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Three years down the lane, has the Modi Government taken the citizens for a ride? – By Ram Puniyani (Jun 5, 2017, Indian Economist)

On May 26, 2017, the Modi Government completed three years in office. Various programmes such as the Modi fest were organised at various places and there are plans to celebrate them in different cities across the country. The underlying message of these programmes is that Modi government has done remarkable work and the country is moving towards prosperity for all. Modi has been labelled as ‘Garibon ka Masiha’ (Prophet for poor) by his acolytes. Many channels and commentators gave him excellent grade citing various achievements.

As such, what has happened during last three years? Precisely, there has been centralisation of power in the hands of the Prime Minister. It seems the cabinet system has been given a go by. To begin with, one does concede that this regime scores extremely high in image creation. It has been able to sell damaging moves like demonetisation as something good for the country. While a majority of the people are living under the illusion propagated by the government and its promotion by the subservient media, the situation on ground is degrading in the cases of production, prices of daily commodities, number of jobs created and the average standard of living.

The healthcare system has taken a further beating. Farmer suicides have gone up. Protest against anti-farmer policies by peasants from Tamil Nadu has been underplayed like most of the protests in the country. The fate of electoral promises is well reflected in non-fulfillment of the promise of deposition of 15 lakh INR in accounts of all and in absolute failure of job creation. After using Ram Temple issue for polarisation, now the Holy Cow has been brought into the arena of politics. This cow worship has led to the violent lynching of Muslims and Dalits. The cow-protection policies of the government have emboldened vigilantism and killings in the name of ‘gauraksha’. While those guilty of crime are let off, the victims have been penalised on several grounds.…

https://theindianeconomist.com/three-years-down-the-lane-has-the-modi-government-taken-the-citizens-for-a-ride/

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Assam’s two-child policy is BJP targeting Muslims again in the state – By Jagriti Gangopadhyay (May 29, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Assam has drafted a policy according to which individuals with more than two children cannot have a job with the Assam government. State minister of education, health and finance Himanta Biswa Sarma of the BJP-led government specifically mentioned that “when the policy comes into effect, those who are in government jobs and already have two children should not go for a third child. If an employee will have more than two children while on job, that particular employee will lose his or her job”.

Due to the recent rise in Muslim population in nine districts of Assam, the two-child policy will be implemented to prevent people from the community from accessing government jobs. While the Government of India is yet to launch a national policy for population control, some states have implemented restrictive measures to curb population growth.

States such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand have introduced a norm which restricts individuals with more than three children from contesting the local elections. Drawing from the examples of the above mentioned states, Sarma further mentioned that in special cases, government employees with more than two children will have to take special permission from the government. Apart from restricting government jobs, the policy will also prevent individuals with more than two children from contesting the Panchayat elections.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/assam-two-child-policy-bjp-polarising-hindus-muslims/story/1/17485.html

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Shame in Saharanpur – By Mukesh Ranjan (Jun 4, 2017, The Tribune))

Rina Bhaskar is a pregnant Dalit woman, sitting outside her torched house in Shabbirpur village of the district. If you have the courage, listen to her. “On May 5 rioters snatched my two-year-old son from my lap and tossed him into the flames of my burning house. Luckily, the small child fell on the safer side. I jumped into the flames, picked him and ran away.”

Rina’s husband, Agni Bhaskar, is in the district hospital with multiple injuries. “I am here with my son, struggling for food. I have no work, and no place to live,” she says. She shows her palm, hands, legs and neck. It appears she not only suffered burns, but also wounds inflicted by a sharp weapon, maybe a sword. Other Dalit households, too, had similar stories: the males are either in hospital or have left the village for fear of being attacked again.…

Many say the fresh violence against Dalits is a tactical move by the ruling BJP ahead of the civic polls due in next couple months. Despite a massive mandate in the assembly polls, the BJP had lost both Saharanpur and Saharanpur Nagar to the SP-Congress alliance.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/sunday-special/people/shame-in-saharanpur/417179.html

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Book Review

In Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life

Author: K. Lalitha and Deepa Dhanraj
Reviewed by: Sabah Hamid
Available at: Orient Blackswan Private Limited, 3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India; info@orientblackswan.com . www.amazon.in/
Review:
Women’s Narratives of Communal Conflict (May 31, 2017, The Wire)

On May 4, 2017, the Bilkis Bano gangrape case was in the news again, when the Bombay high court upheld the lower court’s order of life imprisonment for the 11 convicted persons in the gangrape. It also rejected the acquittals of five policemen and two government doctors accused of covering up evidence and testimonies. The order has been hailed as ‘historic’, the first time that state complicity, that of the police and the doctors, has been clearly acknowledged by the judiciary, even if the sentence is a mere three years. And to get this delayed justice, it took 15 years.

Justice continues to be both delayed and denied for scores of other women subjected to communal violence of one kind or another in India. Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life is a collection of narratives about such women. The book is a collection of essays, transcribed from three decades of interviews with women in Mumbai, Hyderabad and various places in the state of Gujarat. In 1992-93 in Mumbai; during 1983, several times over the 1990s and in 2003 in Hyderabad; and in 2002 across Gujarat, Muslims were the target of Hindutva violence in which thousands died; many more were rendered homeless and most, in addition, lost their livelihoods overnight.

Since communalism and sexual violence go together, scores of women became targets of vicious attacks. The number is uncertain because of unreported or unregistered cases, but in Gujarat alone it is estimated that at least 250 women were gangraped during the 2002 violence. In Rupture, Loss and Living the women speak of loss of all kinds. The book is divided into four sections – ‘I Began to See the World for What it is’, ‘Loss and Trauma’, ‘Negotiating Survival and Livelihood’ and ‘Claiming Accountability, Seeking Justice’ – exploring overlapping themes and the complex nature of negotiating both the immediate distress and the long-term damage of violence. The voices featured in the work, across 19 narratives, come from different classes of women and both rural and urban locations.…

https://thewire.in/141691/review-women-communal-conflict/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 29th, 2017

June 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition case: CBI court frames ‘criminal conspiracy’ charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and others Cow vigilantism: RSS man arrested for torching truck, cops say vehicle had bulls Madras High Court stays Centre’s notification on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets Human rights abuses […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 22nd, 2017

June 3, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines This Powerful Film Shows How 2002 Gujarat Riots Helped BJP Win The Elections Jharkhand lynching: Two officers, 30 policemen watched the four murders BJP leader among nine arrested for running online sex racket in Bhopal Idea of fair, tall, customized baby “rooted” in Nazi Germany, RSS’ Golwalkar […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 15th, 2017

May 26, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines It’s About Postings: Ex-CBI Officer On Why Gujarat Cops Botched Bilkis Bano Case Slaughterhouse case: Issue fresh licence, HC tells Yogi govt VHP leader Acharya Dharmendra gets 1 yr jail for hate speech Saharanpur: Fear is most visible in locked Dalit homes Hindutva’s ‘Love Jihad’ Obsession Leads […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 8th, 2017

May 19, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony In riot affected Dhulagarh, Hindus & Muslims celebrate Tagore’s birth anniversary together News Headlines Bilkis Bano verdict is a reminder of state complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots Muslims protest against India TV for ‘fabricated’ Halala Operation Police ask man to remove communally sensitive poster UP BJP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 1st, 2017

May 12, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony When Muslims helped with the funeral ceremony of a Hindu man News Headlines BJP MP asked Police to ‘Fire on these Pigs’ referrring to Muslims: Samajwadi Party report on Saharanpur violence In Adityanath’s Raj, Police Officers Pay the Price for Enforcing the Law on Hindutva Mobs Kerala […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 24th, 2017

May 4, 2017

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 17th, 2017

April 29, 2017

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 10th, 2017

April 22, 2017

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

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