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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 24th, 2014

by newsdigest on November 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

20 years of communal harmony in a week (Nov 18, 2014, DNA India)

Children dressed up in different religious garb kept a display of various faiths outside CWC school in Versova, where 20 years of the Mohalla Committee Movement Trustcelebrations were kick-started on Monday. More than 2,000 people witnessed the inauguration, including Mumbai Police commissioner Rakesh Maria, as the police have collaborated with the trust for the event.

Formed by locals in 1994 after the riots in Mumbai, the trust tried to bridge the gap between communities as well as between the police force by setting up committees in sensitive areas of the city. The trust today organises various community events, especially during festivals, to promote peace and religious tolerance. …

This is the third communal harmony week organised by the trust after 2011. “We earlier had peace committees right after the riots to establish better police and public relationship and get all communities together. We keep devising interactions between the youth and women through public meetings,” said Ajay Kaul, the principal of the school, who too has been a facilitator of the trust since its inception.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-20-years-of-communal-harmony-in-a-week-2036164

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No riot can take place without complicity & incompetence of administration, Guj was no exception: Rajdeep Sardesai (Nov 21, 2014, Twocircles.net)

No riot can take place without complicity or incompetence, or both, of the local administration and the 2002 Gujarat riot was no exception, said senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai while responding to a question whether he has absolved (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi – who was then the Gujarat chief minister – in his book.

Sardesai was at the Jamia Millia Islamia to promote his book ‘2014: The Election That Changed India’. Sardesai, in conversation with another senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, said his book is not about 2002, but about 2014 and although he deals with the 2002 riots and how he himself was once caught among the rioters while returning from Gandhinagar after interviewing Modi then.

He has, in his book, suggested that Modi was still not in full control of Gujarat and that the cadres of the VHP led by Pravin Togadia were leading havoc in the state in 2002 in the aftermath of the Godhara train burning and thus he might not have been complicit in the riot, but incompetent as he had taken charge of the state just four months ago. Modi should have accepted this, said Sardesai, adding, but he will never do this as it is not in his nature to accept his shortcomings.…

http://twocircles.net/2014nov21/1416581891.html

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Gujarat IPS officer who took on govt over 2002 riots seeks retirement (Nov 21, 2014, Times of India)

Locked in a running feud with the Gujarat government over 2002 communal riots, IPS officer Rahul Sharma has sought early retirement from service citing personal reasons, but said his decision was not “inspired” by government action initiated against him.

“I have sought retirement from service due to personal reasons and have given three months’ notice to the state government on November 19,” Sharma, who is currently deputy inspector general (DIG) of armed units at Vadodara, told PTI.

According to rules, an IPS officer can seek early retirement after attaining the age of 50 by giving a notice of three months.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45232000.cms

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Chargesheet against Delhi constable for rioting in Muzaffarnagar (Nov 24, 2014, Indian Express)

A Delhi Police constable was chargesheeted by the special investigation cell probing the riots at Muzaffarnagar in cases of rioting, arson and loot. The constable, identified as Anuj Kumar, and 12 others were chargesheeted in the case under sections 395 (dacoity), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of IPC.

According to Manoj Jha, superintendent of the cell, “Kumar was initially absconding. He was found to be guilty after a number of eyewitnesses placed him as one of the rioters in Lisadh village on September 8. He later came and surrendered at the court a few months ago and was eventually given bail.”

Lisadh and it’s adjoining village Lakh were the worst-effected villages during the riots.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/chargesheet-against-delhi-constable-for-rioting-in-muzaffarnagar/

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Mumbai court acquits 9 Muslims accused of illegal ‘SIMI’ activities in a 13-year-old case (Nov 21, 2014, Twocircles.net)

In a strong refutation to the Mumbai police, a metropolitan magistrate court in Kurla here acquitted nine Muslims from charges of being involved in illegal activities and being members of banned organization Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Dr Tanveer, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Irshad Khan, Mohsin Mirza, Rahil Shaikh, Altaf Ahmed, Mouzamil, Faisal and Ahmed were acquitted on Thursday due to lack of evidence and failure of prosecution to prove the case against them.

Two out of these acquitted persons Dr Tanveer and Ehtesham Siddiqui are also accused in Mumbai’s 7/11 serial train blasts case, judgment for which is due to come in near future as the trial court has listened to all the prosecution and defense witnesses in the case.…

http://twocircles.net/2014nov21/1416593211.html

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Burdwan blast part of BJP’s ‘devious gameplan approved by RSS’, TMC says after Jaitley questions Mamata (Nov 23, 2014, Times of India)

The Trinamool Congress on Sunday called national security adviser Ajit Doval a known RSS sympathizer and alleged that the Burdwan blast was a part of a “devious” master gameplan of the BJP that was “conceived, drafted and approved by RSS”.

Trinamool’s reaction came hours after finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley slammed West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee over her reaction to Saradha scam and Burdwan blasts.

“The NSA is a known RSS sympathizer, these plans are hatched at RSS headquarters,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said on Sunday reacting to Arun Jaitley’s comment on Mamata Banerjee. Calling it a part of a larger BJP gameplan, the TMC leader said they will come out with more facts in the next 48 hours.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45249693.cms

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Fears of Hindutva shadow on education in India (Nov 21, 2014, Deccan Herald)

Indians were flying aeroplanes, carrying out stem cell research and may even have been using cosmic weapons 5,000 years ago, according to the chairman of India’s leading historical organisation. Professor Y. Sudershan Rao, the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research, has been criticized by fellow historians for comments that Hindu epics are adequate to understand the ancient world, rather than relying on evidence or research.

The Hindu nationalist government appointed Rao to the prestigious academic post soon after winning the biggest landslide in three decades, fuelling concerns of a push to teach the superiority of Hindu values and mythology at the cost of academic rigour, and cutting against the grain of secularism that runs through multi-faith modern India. …

Many academics are horrified by such views, and describe his appointment as a blow for the history organisation set up four decades ago to guide research and hand out grants. They point to signs of a broader plan to bring more Hinduism to the classroom through changes to the curriculum.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/442920/fears-hindutva-shadow-education-india.html

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FIR against BJP leader for hurting religious sentiments (Nov 23, 2014, The Hindu)

A First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national convenor of the sport’s cell, Ashok Aggarwal, on Friday in Aligarh allegedly for trying to hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community by posting a photo of ‘Kaaba Sharif’ (Saudi Arabia) on his Facebook page on Thursday wherein he has added a Shivling and an idol of Lord Shiva.

While Mr. Aggarwal claims he has “never posted anything to the effect,” Jasim Mohammad, secretary of the Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC), Aligarh, has lodged an FIR at the Civil Lines Police Station, demanding legal action against him. The FIR has been registered and the police are investigating the case.

“Mr. Aggarwal, a resident of Rajpura Road, Civil Lines, Delhi, through this post, which has been shared and commented upon, has hurt the Muslims’ sentiments. Kaaba Sharif is a holy place for Muslims where each year, lakhs go there for performing Haj and Umrah. The photo may damage the communal harmony and peace not only in the country but worldwide,” said Mr. Mohammad.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/fir-against-bjp-leader-for-hurting-religious-sentiments/article6626303.ece

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Six years later, Christians in India await justice for Kandhamal massacre (Nov 18, 2014, Catholic News Agency)

Last August marked the six year anniversary of the brutal 2008 Kandhamal, Odisha massacre in India, but for Fr. Thomas Chellan, the memories have not faded.

Even after all that time Christians in the region are still waiting for justice. Although most of the instigators have been caught, they have still not gone to trial, the priest said.

“The local community utterly failed to protect the lives and property of their Christian neighbors,” he told international charity Aid to the Church in Need. He hopes the government will seriously investigate the massacre, and others like it.…

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/six-years-later-christians-in-india-await-justice-for-the-kandhamal-massacre-67937/

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Police arrest ‘Godman’ Rampal, find five women and a child dead in his ashram (Nov 20, 2014, Indian Express)

Ending the nearly two-week standoff between his supporters and security personnel, which escalated into violence and high drama on Tuesday, Sant Rampal was arrested from his Barwala ashram on Wednesday night. Rampal was taken in an ambulance to Chandigarh and is likely to be produced before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday morning.

Rampal’s arrest came hours after thousands of his supporters staged an exodus from the ashram. Police confirmed that six bodies – five women and an 18-month-old child – had been found. Earlier in the evening, Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the situation with Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar. Mounting pressure on Rampal, the police also booked him on charges of sedition and waging war against the government.

“No injury marks were found on any of the bodies. The cause of death will be clear only after the post-mortem. So far, two persons are confirmed to have died a natural death. The cause of death of four other women, whose bodies were handed over by the ashram to the district administration this morning, has not been determined yet,” said Haryana DGP S N Vashisht.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/finally-police-get-baba-find-5-women-and-a-child-dead-in-his-hisar-ashram/

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2G scam: Special public prosecutor’s report indicts Ranjit Sinha on three counts (Nov 21, 2014, Times of India)

Supreme Court-appointed special public prosecutor Anand Grover indicted CBI chief Ranjit Sinha on three counts – having ‘undesired visitors’ linked to 2G scam at his residence, seeking to get the CBI to echo the defence of those accused in the case and delaying chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Sinha’s counsel, senior advocate Vikas Singh, contested the SPP’s findings, arguing that the director had acted in a bona fide manner without any intention to scuttle the probe and prosecution. “His decisions may not be the best but there is no substance that he had taken a motivated stand to derail or interfere with the prosecution,” he said.

Singh proceeded to trash the SPP’s findings, terming it as selective reading of the file notings. However, a bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Madan B Lokur and AK Sikri took a different view. “It appears to us that all is not well,” the bench said after the SPP took the court through the notings to justify his inference.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45223942.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Sangham: How the RSS is charting out changes in education – By Shyamlal Yadav (Nov 23, 2014, Indian Express)

On the 30th of October, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani had a meeting with a group of 22 at Delhi’s Madhya Pradesh Bhawan. Though this was the sixth meeting between her and RSS leaders in six months, that group was the largest to meet her. The guests represented 11 outfits of the RSS involved in education, who offered their suggestions to Irani over a six-hour meeting, with the understanding that there would be many such meetings in the days to come. Nine days later, a former RSS pracharak, Ram Shankar Katheria of Agra, joined Irani as Minister of State, HRD.

The Sangh’s “role” in the Narendra Modi government may now be no more than a matter of academic debate, but a sphere where it is more or less settled is education. It is also one area where Modi’s “development agenda”, both when he was chief minister of Gujarat and now in the Prime Minister’s chair, is quite at peace with the Sangh’s.

To interact with the government and the BJP, the RSS has divided its frontal organisations into six groups, namely Arthik Samooh, Sewa Samooh, Shiksha Samooh, Suraksha Samooh, Jan Samooh and Vichar Samooh.… The choice of Katheria as MoS is being seen as dictated by the RSS, to advise Irani on “Sangh interests” and to keep her “in tune” with them. However, Katheria’s start too has been wobbly, shadowed by the charge that he forged his graduation marksheet.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sunday-story-sangham/99/

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‘Sant Rampal': Farmer’s Son Challenges Hegemony of Arya Samaj, An RSS Ally In Haryana – By Jaspal Singh Sidhu (Nov 20, 2014, Countercurrent)

The arrest of former public servant-turned-godman 63-year-old Rampal from his Barwala (Hissar) ashram seems to have ended the two-week long much publicized drama enacted by the Haryana police, but it has, rather, widened social and religious gulf among the people of the area.… The Barwala event signals much more than what one gathers from the media. Rampal’s abortive defiance appears to be (consciously or unconsciously) challenging the hegemony of the Sangh Privar ideology based on Aryans and non- Aryans divide which uses the Vedic literature as manifestation of the Aryan race.

Reverently his disciples call him ‘Sant Rampal’ who, too, seemed to have raked up that old historical religious-cultural conflict by challenging the hegemony of Arya Samaj, now a close ally of RSS that commands over the state power, directly in Haryana through BJP chief minister Mohan Lal Khattar. Mr Khattar, is a Hindu Punjabi whose family had migrated in 1947 to Haryana from the core area of Arya Samaj now in Pakistan’s Punjab. Of late, Arya Samaj, particularly after 1947 Parition, virtually merged into the Sangh Privar expressing itself through the RSS ideology.

As per the prevailing religious ethos in the area, Rampal was an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman and Lord Krishna for 25 years. However, his meditating for hours and following religious practices, Rampal could not attain spiritual peace he was hankering for. This former junior engineer with Haryana’s irrigation department came in contact with Swami Ramdev Anand, a follower of Saint Kabir, a 13th century Saint, hailing from the low caste and who had preached strict monotheism. … In 1994, he was ordered by Ramdev Anand to initiate other people into taking ‘naam’, and he quit his government job in 1995. …

Rampal’s direct clash with Arya Samaj came up as he had begun criticizing their set-beliefs. He questioned and challenged the origin and ancestry of gods (devi-devtas) and the popular interpretations of Hindu scriptures. At his congregations, Rampal has been using aggressive language claiming that “real truth” has been hidden from the people by gurus and intellectuals who have interpreted scriptures in the past. He has been drawing people from the lower middle-class as well as those who have been persecuted within popular religions including dalits and anti-Jaat castes backward castes. …

http://www.countercurrents.org/sidhu201114.htm

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Burns Units – By Pavithra s. Rangan (Nov 10, 2014, Outlook)

“Is baar agar vote maangne yahaan koi bhi aaya toh chappal uthake marenge (If anyone comes here asking for a vote this time, we will hit them with slippers),” she screamed, angry tears well¬ing up in her eyes. The men and women surrounding her shake their heads in agreement. She looks up with her bloodshot eyes and says, “All of you want to come here and see our wounds, where we got beaten, how badly we are bruised. You’ll take pictures and leave, but we’ll continue to starve.”

Before she can finish her rant, another women takes over and says, “When our neighbours open the grocery shop shutters a little to give us something to eat, the police mercilessly lathicharge us. If we tell them that we are starving, they say, “Jao roze rakho (Fast like it’s for roza)”. “They aren’t even allowing us to use the common toilet across the road. ‘Ghar me peshaab karlo’ (Pee in your houses), they tell us when we go there,” says 57-year-old Sultana, pointing to the Sulabh Shauchalay across the road.

Nearly 10 of them belonging to block No. 27 in riot-afflicted Trilokpuri drag me to their homes and point to the broken locks, windows and exhaust fans and eventually to the black-and-blue welts from the police beatings. The block is less than a three-minute walk away from block No. 20, where an insignificant brawl between two young¬sters on the night of Diwali, October 23, spiralled subsequently into violent riots between two communities.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Burns-Units/292447

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Fixing Responsibility For The Dying Women In India’s Sterilization Camps – By Kandathil Sebastian (Nov 18, 2014, Countercurrents)

Death of women in the sterilization camps in India is not new phenomenon. As per the official data, between 2003 and 2012, there are at least 12 post sterilization deaths on average, per month. Unofficial estimates of such deaths put the mortality figure even higher. We routinely see umpteen debates and ‘blame games’ after such sterilization induced deaths. Some people blame the poor quality of services, while some others blame the carelessness of the service providers, some the contaminated drugs, and some others the dilapidated buildings where the surgery was conducted.

In the recent incident in Chattisgarh state where 14 women died has also resulted in such serial blame games. The final responsibility of the latest event is likely to be placed on some impersonal entity like the inanimate ‘building’ where the sterilization camps held or the rat poison which was found near the stock of drugs used by the women victims. …

Any strategy to avoid the continuing deaths of women in the sterilization camps should consider the fundamental realities of the existing power structures today. It would perhaps need several years of grass roots level mobilization of woman and resistance against patriarchy to finally end the phenomenon of dying woman in Indian sterilization camps.

http://www.countercurrents.org/sebastian181114.htm

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Billion Dollar Question – By Lola Nayar (Dec 1, 2014, Outlook)

The buzz in Australia is that the long-awaited environment clearance for Adani Mining’s Carmichael coal mining project came through with clear signals emanating from India about group chairman Gautam Adani’s closeness to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The promise of multi-million dollar investments and creation of hundreds of jobs at a time when mining giants like bhp Billiton and Glencore are recasting and even shelving their new coal mining projects in Queensland was by no means a small inducement. Especially with the state going to polls next year.

The desperation is apparent when one considers how Queensland’s action is contrary to the G20 resolve to cut down on subsidies. Given the “low coal prices and the dubious economics of the project”, Michael West of the Sydney Morning Herald tells Outlook, “I hear the local banks here are not jumping at the opportunity to provide funding to Adani, etc. The project may become viable if coal prices rise significantly.” The trend in the last five years indicates no such northward trend. …

Even as the Adani Group is targeting starting the first coal exports from Australia to India in 2017, much can change in the interim as the greens have not given up their fight, the political scenario in Queensland may change and even the commodity market may spring surprises. Here’s hoping India will at least get assured coal supplies and consumers affordable power for all the political patronage to the Adanis.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Billion-Dollar-Question/292635

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Fading Away At The Edges – By Yashwant Dhote (Dec 1, 2014, Outlook)

Chief minister Raman Singh projects smug efficiency and good governance in state publicity ads. But a deep and widespread malaise is gnawing at Chhattisgarh from within. Negligence, corruption, large-scale defalcation from funds meant for disbursement-these ills affect not just the health department, blamed for the recent death of 14 women who underwent tubectomies at a sterilisation camp in Bilaspur. Across departments it’s the same story. There’s another ominous fallout, even more shocking perhaps than the camp deaths: the tribal population in the state has declined.

BJP MP Nandkumar Sai raised the question in Parliament: when every section of the population is registering growth, what could be the reason for the decline in the tribal population of Chhattisgarh? Only one of the women who died at the sterilisation camp was a tribal, belonging to the protected Baiga tribe. But more than a hundred tribals turned up to protest the sterilisation camp deaths outside health minister Amar Agarwal’s house. Many tribespeople are angry and nurse an underlying fear that the BJP government will let them dwindle away.

Fear may be running wild among some tribal groups but the reasons are easy to spot. For one, how is it that sterilisation drives cover protected tribes at all, even unwittingly? Then, the deaths raise disturbing questions about the BJP’s claims of good governance. The health department, accused in the past for negligence leading to loss of eyesight at eye camps, has been receiving awards, some conferred by the Centre, for meeting targets. The state had awarded Dr R.K. Gupta – who led the medical team at the sterilisation camp – a medal on Republic Day this year for conducting 50,000 sterilisations. Ten months on, he has been held responsible for the deaths and sacked. At the time of writing, he is absconding.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Fading-Away-At-The-Edges/292638

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 17th, 2014

by newsdigest on November 18, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

2002 Gujarat riots: Supreme Court for winding up proceedings within three months (Nov 13, 2014, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked a trial court in Ahmedabad to wind up within three months the proceedings in Gulberg Society massacre case of 2002 Gujarat riots in which former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed.

Expressing concern over the accused languishing in jail due to delay in trial, a special bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked the Special Investigating Team (SIT), which probed the nine riot cases, to expeditiously proceed in the case.

The bench, however, said that judgement should not be pronounced by the trial court without its permission. Former CBI Director R K Raghvan, who is heading the SIT, said that it would be difficult to wind up the proceedings within three months. The bench, thereafter, asked him to proceed expeditiously and allowed him to approach the court in case it is not completed within three months.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat/2002-gujarat-riots-supreme-court-for-winding-up-proceedings-within-three-months/

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BJP-RSS Trying to Force Communal Ideologies on Country: Left (Nov 13, 2014, New Indian Express)

Lashing out at BJP and RSS, 16 Left parties on Thursday adopted a resolution against communalism and accused the Centre of trying to force “Hindutva ideologies” on the entire country. The 16 Left parties including ten constituents of the Left Front in West Bengal led by CPI-M and other Left parties like SUCI(C), CPI(ML-Liberation), CPI(ML-Santosh Rana) and PDS today organised a convention and adopted a resolution against spread of communalism in the country and the state.

“Due to communal polarisation throughout the country, a threat is looming large over secularism and democracy. BJP, after achieving majority, has sped up this communal polarisation,” the adopted resolution stated. …

“Bengal, which has been known as a stronghold of secularism, is too under threat of majority and minority polarisation and communalism. The misrule of Trinamool Congress due to its narrow-minded politics has provided space for communal polarisation in the state,” it stated.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/BJP-RSS-Trying-to-Force-Communal-Ideologies-on-Country-Left/2014/11/13/article2521639.ece

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‘BJP using Hindutva to divide people, push reforms’ (Nov 16, 2014, The Hindu)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Saturday alleged that the BJP government was dividing the working class using Hindutva so that it could push its ‘reforms’, which would help corporate entities and foreign investors.

Inaugurating the 4th conference of the Bank Employees’ Federation of India – Karnataka here, Mr. Yechury said bankers should see through the “cocktail of economic reforms and Hindutva” and stay united.

His party would raise the issue in Parliament, while workers should create awareness about it as reforms and Hindutva was “the weapon that India has created under (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi”.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/bjp-using-hindutva-to-divide-people-push-reforms/article6603376.ece

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Akshardham attack: Supreme Court junks Gujarat review plea (Nov 16, 2014, Indian Express)

Months after six persons were acquitted of all charges in the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack case, the Supreme Court has now dismissed the review petition filed by the Gujarat government against the acquittal.

In an order issued on November 5, the Bench of Justices Anil R Dave and V Gopala Gowda said the court was “convinced that the order, of which review has been sought, does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration”. …

The court had also said, “Instead of booking the real culprits responsible for taking so many precious lives, the police caught innocent people and got imposed the grievous charges against them.”

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/akshardham-attack-supreme-court-junks-gujarat-review-plea/

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Fact finding reports blame ‘communal forces’ for Trilokpuri riots; police for one-sided action (Nov 12, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Two weeks after the riots during Diwali days in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri, two separate Fact Finding teams on Tuesday came out with scathing findings: one has blamed the “communal outfits” for instigating the riots while the other has blamed Delhi police for “one sided action” against Muslims.

“Communal outfits were involved in engineering riots at Trilokpuri and these communal organizations attacked with a preconceived conspiracy against minorities,” the Fact Finding report by NCHRO claimed.

The second report, by a joint team of APCR, PUCL and JIH, said: “Initially, police was very casual which lead the violence to go on and later, when the police did become active, it took one sided action against the Muslim community.”…

http://twocircles.net/2014nov12/1415774967.html

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No record, no compensation: Remembering the 1980 riot (Nov 17, 2014, Times of India)

Justice MP Saxena Commission report on the Moradabad riots of August 13, 1980 has not been tabled in the Uttar Pradesh assembly 34 years after the incident. Victims of the violence, which occurred on the eve of Eid that year, at the Eidgah, left 284 people dead. The violence occurred as Muslims in the area clashed with personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary. Not a single prosecution has occurred so far.

ADM City DP Singh was killed in the violence, while superintendent of police Vijay Nath Singh was injured. Relatives of the dead – whether securitymen or Muslims – have demanded compensation for their loss from the government, to no avail. Many victims blame the Congress government in the state at the time, which had VP Singh at the helm, as chief minister.

The carnage occurred two days before the celebration of Independence Day in 1980. A large crowd had gathered at Eidgah in the morning of August 13. During the prayers, some minority community leaders say, pigs were led into the Eidgah by some miscreants. Many Muslims in the area with a memory of that violence still hold that the presence of pigs set off the spiral of violence. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45180709.cms

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2010 Machil fake encounter case: Army convicts 7 personnel, including commanding officer (Nov 13, 2014, Times of India)

Army has handed life sentence to seven of its personnel, including two officers, in connection with the Machil fake encounter killing of three youths in Jammu & Kashmir in 2010, chief minister Omar Abdullah has said.

“The Army has handed out life sentences to seven inc(luding) the Commanding officer in the Machil fake encounter case of 2010. This is indeed a very welcome step,” Omar said in a tweet on Thursday.

Hailing the verdict of the general court martial, Omar tweeted, “This is a watershed moment. No one in Kashmir ever believed that justice would be done in such cases. Faith in institutions disappeared.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45131618.cms

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200 hurt as hell breaks loose; ‘godman’ Rampal supporters attack cops (Nov 18, 2014, Hindustan Times)

After days of tense standoff, bloody clashes involving gunfire erupted between self-styled godman Rampal’s supporters and the police when they tried to arrest him in Haryana on Tuesday, leaving over 200 people including security and media personnel injured. Rampal’s supporters reportedly opened fire on police personnel who arrived to arrest him from his ashram at Barwala in Hisar, about 164 km northwest of New Delhi. Shots were heard near Rampal’s Satlok Ashram.

As the area turned into a battlefield, the police halted the operation in the evening, but said they were determined to arrest the self-styled godman and there was “time limit for the operation”. The police have so far failed to produce the controversial godman in court in connection with a contempt of court case. Rampal is on bail in another case in connection with the killing of a man in firing from his ashram in Rohtak in 2006.

“Rampal supporters attacked us with lathis, acid pouches and petrol bombs,” Haryana director general of police (DGP) SN Vashisht said. “We initially practiced restraint as we didn’t want innocent people to get injured.” Tension mounted earlier in the day as supporters of Rampal refused to heed to repeated announcements by the police over loud speakers to allow them to enter the premises in order to arrest him. … “Some people from inside the ashram said that they were being forced to stay inside,” Vashisht said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1287358.aspx

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Sexual assault: Kambaleshwar Math chief remanded (Nov 18, 2014, The Hindu)

Someshekar Shivacharya Swami, who is alleged to have sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl at his Kambaleshwar Math in Chitapur town in Kalaburagi district, was arrested on Monday by the police on the outskirts of Jewargi town from a car in which he was proceeding towards Vijayapura.

A special police team, which arrested the swami, brought him to Kalaburagi and subjected him to medical test before producing in a special court dealing with crime against women and children. The swami was remanded in judicial custody till November 29.

The police have filed cases under different sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Meanwhile, the girl, who was in the government general hospital here for medical check-up, was brought to the special court where a magistrate recorded her statement in camera . The girl, who was working as a help in the Kambaleshwar Math, was sexually assaulted allegedly by the swami on October 30.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/sexual-assault-kambaleshwar-math-chief-remanded/article6610135.ece

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Caste prejudice in Gujarat? Report finds over 30 per cent of state’s prisoners are Dalits (Nov 14, 2014, Daily Mail)

Around 32.9 per cent of all convicts and 23.4 per cent of under-trials in Gujarat’s prisons are Dalits, a community that forms just about 6.7 per cent of the state’s overall population.

The statistics are part of a recently released National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report titled ‘Prison Statistics India 2013′, which relates to different aspects of prisons and prison inmates in Indian jails.

The data suggests that the proportion of Dalits among Gujarat’s convicts is nearly 4.9 times higher than their share in the state’s population, with its under-trial numbers up to 3.5 times higher. …

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2833761/Caste-prejudice-Gujarat-Report-finds-30-cent-state-s-prisoners-Dalits.html

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Opinions and Editorials

How the Sangh Parivar systematically attacks the very idea of India – By Anand Patwardhan (Nov 13, 2014, Scroll.in)

Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was also in the Hindu Mahasabha like his mentor VD Savarkar. Nathuram’s brother, Gopal Godse, was a co-conspirator in the case. After serving his prison term, Gopal conceded in interviews that neither he nor Nathuram had ever left the RSS but told lies in court to protect the RSS as well as Savarkar. …

The population of Muslims has marginally increased since Independence to the present 13.4 % but the cause is not conversion or “love jihad” or because Muslim men are allowed four wives, as Hindutva forces would like us to believe. The fact is that the Muslim by every conceivable yardstick is impoverished. The Sachar Committee report makes it clear that Muslims in India are less educated, poorer and fewer of them can be found in the national and state legislatures and in the bureaucracy, leave alone in the military and paramilitary. With the BJP occupying the centre and many states, Muslims in government have become even more scarce.

The routine demonisation of the Muslim remains the very raison d’etre of Hindutva. Historic myths of their cruelty, of temple destruction and rape are part of a steady diet fed since childhood. The Muslim’s allegiance to a foreign god and foreign holy shrine and the barbaric practice of eating beef is a source of unmitigated rage in the hearts of those indoctrinated by Hindutva. Onto this tinderbox, if you throw a match by starting a rumour that a Muslim male has abducted or raped a Hindu female, no one will wait to ascertain if the rumour is true. Deadly pogroms are that easy to ignite.…

http://scroll.in/article/689584/how-the-sangh-parivar-systematically-attacks-the-very-idea-of-india

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In The Darkness, Speak Up For Light – By Kiran Nagarkar (Nov 24, 2014, Outlook)

It’s unsettling, if not astounding, the speed with which new scientific discoveries, or rather ancient scientific discoveries, are coming to light. Some months ago, thanks to one Dina Nath Batra, we learnt that Rama was the first to fly in an aeroplane. And our BC (as in Before Christ) ancestors were familiar with stem cell research. But that was nothing compared to what our august prime minister revealed while inaugurating perhaps the subcontinent’s most advanced medical facility in Mumbai. Imagine, all these years, along with billions of people, I too believed that the first and last virgin birth was the monopoly of the Catholic faith.

But thanks to our new intrepid Hindutva archaeologists, we now learn that Karna was the result of artificial insemination, and thus a case of a virgin birth long before the Angel whispered the Annunciation in Mary’s ear. I need hardly add that the prime minister’s teacher in this matter seems to be Batra, whose works have been made standard supplementary reading in all schools in Gujarat. It is a wonderful irony that Batra’s organisation is called Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti. Indeed, if this is what we mean by saving learning and education, then the country, and especially the younger generation, is in dire trouble.&hellip

There’s something intriguing, if not bizarre, happening in our country. What terrible malaise has put our intelligentsia into a comatose state? Has the impact of the coming of Modiji and his song of development made even the most sensible people insensible to the damage being done to the fabric of our education system? Aren’t their horizons too shrinking with the mythification of science? Aren’t their children going to suffer enormously because their parents refused to stand up for their rights and for the truth?…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/In-The-Darkness-Speak-Up-For-Light/292578

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Abandoning the idea of India – By R. Sudarshan (Nov 12, 2014, The Hindu)

On May 28, 1964, I was a 10-year-old carried across by waves of mourners in Delhi, from the ramparts of Red Fort towards the Yamuna, to see flames rising from the funeral pyre of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Twenty years later, I was again a part of several processions for peace near my home in Jangpura Extension, this time fearfully watching flames leap out of shops and homes belonging to Sikhs, which had been singled out and become the target of arson in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In those 20 years, the idea of India, embodying diversity and democracy, tolerance and self-confidence, had given way to a closing of the Indian mind and an upsurge of xenophobia. The “foreign hand” phobia was particularly strong during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s many years in office, especially during the internal state of Emergency.

In June this year, an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report accused some “foreign-funded” non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, of “serving as tools for foreign policy interests of western governments,” by sponsoring agitations against nuclear and coal-fired power plants across the country. Their actions, according to the IB, had a negative impact on India’s GDP growth!

The death of Nehru signalled an end to an era of open-mindedness. The Planning Commission’s collaborative project with the MIT Center for International Studies ended in 1964. Sukhamoy Chakravarty, Kirit Parikh, Henri Lefebvre, Richard Eckhaus, Alan Mann, all scholars of impeachable integrity, came under the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cloud. This was the moment when the Planning Commission became fearful of foreigners. It remains to be seen if India will ever recover a Nehruvian self-confidence and recreate an institution which in its heyday brimmed with brilliant ideas. …

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/opinion-on-nehruvian-ideas-and-idea-of-india/article6587610.ece

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Flames of hatred – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Nov 28, 2014, Frontline)

In the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the liberal intelligentsia of the city had made fairly successful attempts to prevent communal tensions. Over the past two years, however, Delhi, like other parts of north India, witnessed small incidents of communal tension. These went largely unreported, and the tension petered out after the initial provocations because of interventions by secular-minded individuals from all communities.

When Trilokpuri erupted on Deepavali, many were not surprised. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pitched Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate two years ago, there has been a regular stream of reports of the Sangh Parivar inciting religious sentiments among Hindus and directing these against Muslims. However, that such frequent incidents of communal violence would occur in Delhi immediately after the BJP captured power came as a surprise for many who had thought of Modi as a non-dogmatic Hindutva leader.…

The tried and tested formula of polarising votes in the name of religion or caste overcomes organisational and leadership failures. Polarisation of the Valmikis in favour of the BJP could yield good results for the party not just in Trilokpuri but in all of Delhi. However, the divisions such electoral tactics create will mark a permanent dent in India’s multicultural social fabric.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/flames-of-hatred/article6586175.ece

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Minorities at the Crossroads: Comments on Judicial Pronouncements – By F S Nariman (Nov 15, 2014, EPW)

The elections in April-May 2014 have put a strong majoritarian government in power at the centre. While I welcome a single-party majority government, I also fear it. I fear it because of past experience with majoritarian governments in the 1960s and 1970s. The Congress government unjustifiably imposed an internal Emergency in June 1975 and rode roughshod over the liberties of citizens.

Traditionally, Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths. But recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate speech have shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. Frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top) that it is their faith and belief that has put “Hindus” in the driving seat of governance.…

And after the BJP included its resolve to amend Article 30 in its election manifesto for the general elections of May-June 1991, “minority rights” have been less protected by courts (including the Supreme Court) than they were before. A large number of judges of the Supreme Court today no longer pay much attention to what Chief Justice Das said at the end of his judgment in the Kerala Education Bill case.…

http://www.epw.in/perspectives/minorities-crossroads.html

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Is India’s sterilisation programme barbaric and anti-women? – By Deborah Doane (Nov 12, 2014, The Guardian)

The terrible tragedy of the deaths of women undergoing sterilisation in India’s Chhattisgarh state should inspire anger about the much larger issue of the anti-women and barbaric nature of controlling population in the country.

Local and international media reported it as a result of poor hygiene and the use of out of date medicines. Few referred to the fact that sterilisation is the blunt instrument used on women, either by coercion or by alleged choice (encouraged through ‘incentives’ – in this case, a meagre 1,400 rupees – about £14) or that it has been used as a form of bio-political control for many years in India. Indira Gandhi’s government famously imposed sterilisation on about 10 million people in the 70s – mainly men – for which there was eventually severe backlash. After that, the focus switched to sterilising women.

Now, sterilisation of women and even full hysterectomies are the birth control tactic most practiced in India. I visited a rural clinic recently and asked about birth control offerings and the doctors proudly stated that many women come there for sterilisation.…

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/nov/12/indias-sterilisation-drive-is-barbaric-and-disproportionately-targeted-at-women

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Book Review

2014: The Election that Changed India

Author: Rajdeep Sardesai
Reviewed by: Pradyot Lal
Available at: Penguin Books India, 7th Floor, Infinity Tower – C, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana, India, 356 pp; Rs 599. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Modi Above All Else (Nov 22, 2014, Tehelka)

From paternalistic governance to an undisguised personality cult, Indian politics has had a huge paradigm shift. The anointment of the ‘Supreme Leader’ has been swift and dramatic, and not everybody has been comfortable with the sheer ease with which the transition has taken place. This has to be internalised in depth rather than accepted uncritically, and to Rajdeep Sardesai’s credit, he has tried to do so in 2014: The Election That Changed India. What follows is a racy narrative that goes beyond recording immediate political history to also reflect on what ails India’s woefully shallow electronic and print media. The story traces the rise of Narendra Modi and the decline of the Congress in graphic terms. …

“Like a true Gujarati, he calculates the cost and benefit of each move,” writes Sardesai, who paints an unflattering portrait of Modi’s governance during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The author believes that the Gujarat government under Modi was “utterly incompetent because it was aware that the Godhra violence could set off a cycle of vengeance and yet did not do enough to stop it”. Modi is shown as having been governed by the communal-fascist street logic of the Praveen Togadias, whom he could not rein in.

Sardesai mentions a chilling incident soon after the riots when things appeared to be back to normal. One night, he was returning after recording an interview with Modi, when, not far from the CM’s house, his car was stopped by a mob that wanted all occupants to drop their trousers to check if there were Muslims among them. Sardesai’s parents had got him circumcised in childhood for hygiene’s sake and the driver, too, was Muslim. This was trouble. When entreaties didn’t work, Sardesai flashed his press card and showed the mob the interview he had just recorded. Only then did they let them pass. …

http://www.tehelka.com/book-review-2014-the-election-that-changed-india-rajdeep-sardesai-narendra-modi-bjp-politics-media/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 10th, 2014

November 11, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Inside an Indian camp for radical Hindu women Varanasi Muslims don’t feel they are part of Modi plan Trilokpuri riots: Police were violent with Muslim women Property attachment proceedings against 12 more accused If riot relief story not true, why no denial: EC to govt Custodial death: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 3rd, 2014

November 4, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony He repaid debt of 1984 to Muslims News Headlines Godhra riots: Nanavati Commission’s final report likely by November 15 Ex-BJP MLA under scanner for a meeting before violence stepped up ‘India failed to prosecute anti-Sikh riot perpetrators’ Outer Delhi tense as mahapanchayat ‘bans’ Muharram march Communal clash: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 27th, 2014

October 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim man arranges cremation of Hindu ‘sister’ Sangam Vihar residents prevent clash, show communal harmony Patna stampede: Muslim woman saves Hindu child News Headlines US court lets US group challenge Modi immunity VHP hand seen in post-Modi Gujarat’s communal incidents AAP, Congress, accuse ‘Hindutva elements’ of stoking […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 20th, 2014

October 21, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines BJP behind Meerut ‘love jihad’ case? Woman says party worker paid family Rs 25,000 SI guns down youth in police station in Ramanathapuram No law permits police to fabricate false evidence: Court Three Manipuri youths attacked in Bangalore for not speaking in Kannada Villagers prevent police […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 13th, 2014

October 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Carrying on a tradition: An ode to communal harmony News Headlines BJP behind clashes at Ahmedabad, Vadodara: Gujarat Congress Communalism, biggest threat facing state: AGP Now, ‘love jihad victim’ says she had eloped; family cooked up story Boy, allegedly set ablaze by Army men, dies in Hyderabad […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 6th, 2014

October 8, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Christian leaders urge Odisha govt to ensure communal harmony in Kandhamal Budhist, Muslim and Sikh communities took-out peace march in Nagpur News Headlines Protests in US over Modi’s bloodthirsty past Indian civil society groups call for “zero tolerance” towards radical Hindu groups Brutal Police Behaviour against Vadodara […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 29th, 2014

September 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘Walk for harmony and love’ organized in Delhi on International peace day News Headlines Congressmen urge Obama to discuss religious tolerance with Modi Narendra Modi fans beat up TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai at Madison Square Garden event Jail official asked me to cut beard, terror accused tells […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 22nd, 2014

September 23, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony J-K floods: When waters rose, Muslims in Srinagar rescued Pandits News Headlines PM’s statement to please US, shed his communal image: UP Minister Achhe Din? cops who helped in fake encounters probe are shunted and charge-sheeted cops reinstated Ujjain: 13 VHP, Bajrang Dal activists arrested for attacking […]

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