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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 23rd, 2015

by newsdigest on March 24, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

27 yrs after Hashimpura massacre, 4 who survived watch 16 cops walk free (Mar 22, 2015, Indian Express)

During the trial that stretched 27 years, Babbudin rarely missed a hearing. On Saturday, the 42-year-old showed up at 10 am at the Tis Hazari courts in Delhi, confident justice would be done. Hours later, he and three of the five who survived the 1987 massacre of over 40 Muslim men in Hashimpura, Meerut, returned home shattered – all 16 surviving personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, accused in the case, were given the “benefit of doubt” and acquitted.

Bringing to an end one of the longest trials, additional sessions judge Sanjay Jindal, while acquitting the PAC personnel, said the court was giving them the “benefit of doubt for want of sufficient evidence regarding their identity”. Three other PAC personnel, who made up the initial 19 accused, died during the course of the trial. They had all been charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and tampering of evidence.

According to the prosecution, the PAC personnel had landed at Hashimpura on May 22, 1987 after a round of communal violence in Meerut district. They were said to have taken away some 50 Muslim men, including Babbudin who was just 15, from a crowd of 500 outside a mosque.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/27-years-after-hashimpura-4-who-survived-watch-16-cops-walk-free/

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Hashimpura massacre: A perfect case of miscarriage of justice, legal expert says (Mar 22, 2015, Times of India)

Twenty eight years after the Hashimpura massacre in which over 40 Muslims were murdered in cold blood allegedly by Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel, the verdict acquitting all the 16 accused for want of evidence was termed a “mockery of justice” by legal experts. …

“This case is a glaring example of how delays result in miscarriage of justice. 28 years after the incident, witnesses either die or their memories fade away. It cannot be disputed that a large number of people lost their lives in this barbaric homicidal incident and yet not a single person has been found guilty. This is mockery of justice,” noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said.

Counsel for the survivors and family members of victims, senior advocate Rebecca John said this case was a classic example of justice delayed being justice denied. “The victims are devastated by the verdict. Even after 28 years of the brutal killings, if we are unable to fix the accountability of this gruesome crime on anyone, we should hang our heads in shame. Many crucial witnesses died or could not be traced, Investigating officers died and important medical evidence got destroyed during the prolonged trial. This is a slap on the face of speedy justice in our country,” John said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46649022.cms

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Dahod clash: Bail plea of six rejected, Muslim body demands probe by senior officer (Mar 19, 2015, Indian Express)

The bail plea of six accused, including five women facing attempt to murder case under section 307 of the IPC among others was rejected by the local court at Devgadh Baria on Wednesday and hearing could not proceed at sessions court in Dahod as CPI J S Nayak, who is the investigating officer in the case, did not present himself before the court.…

Muslim body Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind submitted a memorandum to Vadodara range DIG Anupam Singh Gehlot demanding that investigation in the case be handed over to senior officer from the district as police were looking to validate “false” FIR filed in the case. They stated that local police at Devgadh Baria were biased towards people of Muslim community.

“Police came to ask money illegally from auto-rickshaw drivers at Dhanpur road crossroads and started beating a diver when he said he had not done any business and was therefore not in a position to give him any money. The incident took place at 10 am when police falsely say it took place between 2 and 5 pm. At that time, the police should have been at examination centre during ongoing state board examination. Police entered houses pretending to be on combing operation and looted the house and broke stuff placed inside the house. Give investigation to higher officials at district level to ensure clarity and transparency in the matter,” the memorandum read.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dahod-clash-bail-plea-of-six-rejected-muslim-body-demands-probe-by-senior-officer/

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Ruthless ATS framed me in terror case (Mar 20, 2015, DNA India)

Hours after Khatib Imran Akhil Ahmed walked out of Arthur Road prison on Thursday, nine years after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, the 32-year-old said he had been framed in the case. Struggling to hold back tears, Khatib said he was tortured by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, which he described as a ruthless agency, and branded as a terrorist. A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court presided by judge A L Pansare had on Wednesday granted him bail.

“As per police records, I was shown arrested on June 7, 2006, but the fact is that I was under detention by the ATS since May 30. I have raised this issue in the court and produced evidence in the form of an email that I had sent to the ATS on their demand,” said Khatib at press conference organised by the Jamiat Ulema-E-Maharashtra, an NGO which secured his bail and provides legal help to many terror accused.

Khatib, now 32, said his email to ATS had a photograph of him. “Why would anyone send his photograph to ATS? The mail clearly shows that I was under their detention and had to accede to their demands.”…

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-ruthless-ats-framed-me-in-terror-case-2070380

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Record 94 custody deaths in state in 3 yrs, but not 1 chargesheet (Mar 18, 2015, Times of India)

For the last three years, Maharashtra recorded the maximum custodial deaths in the country, but not a single chargesheet was filed and, consequently, nobody was punished.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, replying to a question raised in the Lok Sabha by NCP member Supriya Sule, said out of 331 custodial deaths in the country in the last three years, 94 were reported from Maharashtra, followed by 40 in Gujarat, 34 in Andhra Pradesh and 27 in Uttar Pradesh.

Shockingly, chargesheet was not filed against even a single official nor there was any conviction in any of the cases in Maharashtra. “Despite the death of 94 persons in custody, no responsibility was fixed. It’s not an acceptable situation,” said a senior IPS official said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46602603.cms

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Dhanpur residents abandon homes fearing police atrocity (Mar 18, 2015, Indian Express)

Locked houses in Dhanpur locality of Devgadh Baria in Dahod district bear testimony to police excesses that the residents here underwent on March 14, when a minor traffic problem snowballed into a full-blown clash between the police and public.

Two dozen houses, belonging to Ghanchi Muslim community, have been abandoned, as residents fear they will be roughed up by the police when they return. As many as 26 persons named in an FIR are absconding along with their family members. Many more have left their homes fearing police atrocity.

Among five arrested are four women who were allegedly beaten up by the police and taken to Godhra Civil Hospital. They are facing, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code, section 307 for attempt to murder.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dhanpur-residents-abandon-homes-fearing-police-atrocity/99/

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Christians say under siege in Modi’s India after rape, attacks (Mar 16, 2015, Reuters)

Christians in India said on Monday that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not done enough to protect their religion, after a spate of attacks including the rape of a 75-year-old nun at the weekend.

Christians prayed and held vigils across the country to protest against the rape during an armed assault on a convent school, the worst in a series of incidents that followers of the faith say are making them feel unwelcome in their own country.…

Father Savari Muthu, spokesman for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and a national Church organiser, said the government had not taken “concrete action to protect Christians. “We have to raise our voice against the atrocities. Christians will not tolerate this humiliation,” he said, joining critics who say Modi has not done enough to ensure religious harmony in a country with a history of inter-faith bloodshed.…

http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/16/religion-rape-christians-attacked-india-idINKBN0MC13520150316

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Attacks on minorities have increased after BJP came to power: Archbishop (Mar 17, 2015, Times of India)

Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza on Monday expressed disappointment over the state government’s failure to arrest the culprits in the Ranaghat nun rape. He was concerned that attacks on minorities had increased after the BJP government came to power in Delhi.

Leading a candle-light rally of thousands to protest the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun, he said: “We were happy when the CM reacted immediately to the incident. We were expecting some swift action. But what is the use of such assurance if its fallout is not the immediate arrest of the culprits? No arrest has been made even after three days. This is not done,” said father D’souza. On the police investigation, he said: “It’s good to see that they are working, but where is the arrest?”

Responding to a question from a journalist, he said: “Yes, the number of attacks on minorities has increased after BJP came to power at the Centre.” In the past seven-eight months, several churches have been attacked and desecrated in Delhi. But the Archbishop was careful not to link the Ranaghat horror to such attacks on minorities. “We want to know the truth behind attack. Before the culprits are nabbed and the motive revealed, it is not right to conclude that the attack was targeted at the community. Arresting those involved is very important so that the truth emerges,” the Archbishop said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46590120.cms

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Indian beef ban will cost jobs and harm economy, warn critics (Mar 23, 2015, The Guardian)

Nitin Tarode wants to sell his old bull to help pay for his sister’s wedding, after his income was hit by patchy rainfall. But he has struggled to find a buyer who will pay a decent price because of a ban on slaughtering cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra, the western state run by Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party.…

A renewed thrust by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party to protect cows, worshipped by Hindus, has closed abbatoirs in Maharashtra, making it hard for farmers to sell their animals, and restrictions are spreading to other states.

Even lions, tigers and leopards in Mumbai’s national park are being fed chicken and mutton rather than their usual beef because the city’s main abattoir has been shut for the past two weeks.…

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/23/india-beef-ban-jobs-economy-maharashtra-cows

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Attack on Dalit youth: NCSC demands report from TN police (Mar 22, 2015, Business Standard)

Taking suo motu cognisance of an alleged attack on a Dalit youth in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has asked the Tamil Nadu Police to submit a report on the incident.

“We have sought a report from the Superintendent Police of Krishnagiri district over the incident. The Commission has written to the officer on Friday,” NCSC Chairman P L Punia told PTI.

Asked about further action by the Commission, he said it has sought a convenient date from the Tamil Nadu government to discuss, in detail, about some attacks on persons belonging to Scheduled Caste in the past.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/attack-on-dalit-youth-ncsc-demands-report-from-tn-police-115032200070_1.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Hashimpura massacre: Denial of justice should prick society’s conscience – By Sameer Arshad (Mar 22, 2015, Times of India)

Police dissuaded two journalists from going to Hashimpura, warning that residents of this deprived Muslim locality were ‘all Pakistanis’ and ready to ‘shoot any outsiders’ after the May 1987 Meerut riots. When the two managed to give their minders the slip a day later, they found mostly harried elderly, women and children there, peering nervously out of their houses riddled with bullets fired indiscriminately. No young men were left in the locality.

Police had bundled and taken them away to some unknown location on the most auspicious day in Muslim calendar, days before Eid, even as no rioting had taken place in Hashimpura. Those left behind were thirsty and hungry, while the locality had run out of food and water with no help in sight. Insult was added to injury when bodies of 42 men, riddled with bullets fired point-blank, taken from the locality were found floating in canals over 30km away.…

The change of guard at the Centre in 2014 offers little hope for the minorities, who harbour no illusions about the BJP. The Hashimpura massacre was a by-product of the BJP’s most successful mass movement for the Babri Masjid demolition under L K Advani’s leadership to turn the party into the force it today is. Like Advani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his political career as a volunteer of the RSS, which has long demonised Muslims as ‘unreliable fifth column’ and a threat to the Hindu nation’.…Hope for minorities, meanwhile, can spring eternal. Denial of justice in Hashimpura massacre reflects a rot that would only deepen in the years to come.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/gray-areas/hashimpura-massacre-denial-of-justice-should-prick-societys-consciousness/

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Documenting Hate And Communal Violence Under The Modi Regime – By John Dayal (Mar 21, 2015, Countercurrents)

The rape of a 70 year old Nun in West Bengal in an attack on a convent and school in February 2015 sent shockwaves throughout India, and the world. “Protect not just Cows, but human beings also,” said Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference. At least 43 deaths in over 600 cases of violence, 149 targeting Christians and the rest Muslims, have taken place in 2014 in India till March this year, marking 300 days of the National Development Alliance government of Mr. Narendra Modi.

The number of dead is other than the 108 killed in Assam in attacks by armed tribal political groups on Muslims. Desecration and destruction of churches, assault on pastors, illegal police detention of church workers, and denial of Constitutional rights of Freedom of Faith aggravate the coercion and terror unleashed in campaigns of Ghar Wapsi and cries of Love Jihad.

Since May 2014, there has been a marked shift in public discourse. There has been a relentless foregrounding of communal identities, a ceaseless attempt to create a divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The BJP leaders guaranteed to abuse, ridicule and threaten minorities. Hate statements by Union and state ministers, threats by Members of Parliament, state politicians, and cadres in saffron caps or Khaki shorts resonate through the landscape. But most cases go unreported, unrecorded by police.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/dayal210315.htm

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Does the Sangh Parivar want to kill public debate in India? – By Suvojit Chattopadhyay (Mar 17, 2015, Live Mint)

It has become fashionable for members and supporters of the Sangh Parivar (of which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a constituent) to repeatedly assert that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections marked the death of intellectuals. This assertion is often made with considerable disdain for intellectuals in general, as though there are no intellectuals on that side of the political divide.

Some discerning critics have found a solution by identifying the villains as Nehruvian, leftist, cultural and social liberals. What is being dubbed and rubbished as intellectualism has essentially been extended to all public debate, whether on culture, religion, history or economy. Simply said, it appears that the Sangh Parivar’s hubris, aided by a series of electoral victories, has steadily been trying to kill serious public debate.

There are a few different ways in which this phenomenon has manifested itself in recent months. The first and most prominent example that comes to mind is the incessant heckling of non-Hindus, as well as of Hindus themselves on matters concerning their religious beliefs and practices. While non-Hindus are being ‘counselled’ to convert, re-convert, or just to ‘behave’, Hindus are also being frequently told how to live their lives. Hindus are also being reminded that their ‘cowardliness’ was responsible for their 1200-year long subjugation.…

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/PERLEpGhRArlhWphwn2VFK/Does-the-Sangh-Parivar-want-to-kill-public-debate-in-India.html

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When The Haze Takes Over – By Pavithra S. Rangan (Mar 30, 2015, Outlook)

February still had a day left when in a curt reply, the Union ministry of home affairs declined to furnish any information on how recipients of the Padma awards were chosen. “The process is not yet complete,” said the Central Public Information Office (CPIO) a month after the awards were announced on the eve of Republic Day. The required information was released in earlier years and even put up on the MHA website.

A week later, the CPIO turned down another RTI application for the correspondence between then PM A.B. Vajpayee and then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, during and after the post-Godhra riots. The information, said the MHA, involved “third parties” and could not be divulged. The appeal against the denials are unlikely to be heard anytime soon, since the office of the Chief Information Commissioner, the only competent authority to hear the appeals, remains vacant.

North Block appears to have finally found a way of stonewalling RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal, whose applications elicited a steady stream of embarrassing information when the UPA was in power. It was after all an RTI application by him which revealed a finance ministry note that named P. Chidambaram for not insisting on the auction of 2G spectrum. “The government might as well repeal the Act,” says Agarwal in apparent disgust.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/When-The-Haze-Takes-Over/293766

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West Bengal Nun Rape Case: Minority report is very disheartening – By Seema Mustafa (Mar 20, 2015, Free Press Journal)

No one has been arrested for the rape of a 72-year-old nun, the loot of a missionary school and the desecration of its chapel. The West Bengal Police, clearly quite inept and out of its depth in almost all major crimes, like its counterparts across India, has detained a few persons, but has been unable to break the case. This inefficiency is amazing by all standards, and thus feeds into the larger perception that the police is deliberately not doing its job in this case.

It was interesting to note that the very first statement from the police, without any verification whatsoever, that the crime had been perpetrated by ‘dacoits’ and it was only after the missionaries made it clear that the school had been receiving threats for a while, that this line was dropped. …

And at the end, even if there are many who have blindfolded themselves against the dangers that hate poses to the social fabric of this country, it is necessary to ensure that this is not frayed further by communal forces using a distorted version of nationalism to justify their ends. Nationalism is not perpetrating violence in the name of religion, nationalism is bringing unity in this diversity and uphold the Constitution of India and the law with all that it takes.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/west-bengal-nun-rape-case-minority-report-is-very-disheartening/

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BJP’s ‘beef’ with Muslims – By Dharmendra Jore (Mar 9, 2015, Mid Day)

A day before the winter session of the state legislature came to an end last December, the BJP-led state government decided in principle to scrap 5 per cent reservation for the Muslims in the state, but passed a bill which gave the Maratha community 16 per cent quota in jobs and education, though the High Court had rejected it. The state government notified last week that the ordinance passed in the Congress-NCP government regime had lapsed, and, hence, it would not facilitate quota for Muslims.

And while the Muslim quota was scrapped in December, the BJP was in the process of getting the Centre to endorse yet another decision that would impact the minority community. It asked the Centre to get the President to endorse the bill banning slaughter of cow progeny. The Narendra Modi government obliged quickly and sent the 19-year-old bill to the President, who, in turn, gave his assent. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his BJP colleagues celebrated it as a dream come true.

The two decisions have made the Muslim community believe that the state government, supported by the Centre, is playing a communal card. Muslim leaders have said it was being done deliberately to alienate the community. They fear similar decisions will follow, citing several instances and utterances of the leaders of the BJP and its parent organisation, the RSS, and other Hindu right-wing groups, who have become more vocal after Narendra Modi’s ascent to power.…

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/bjps-beef-with-muslims/16045156

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 16th, 2015

by newsdigest on March 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Puttur: CM inaugurates Mini Vidhana Soudha, stresses on communal harmony (Mar 15, 2015, Daijiworld)

Chief minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday March 14 inaugurated the newly-constructed Mini Vidhana Soudha in Puttur and Morarji Desai Model Residential School for SC/STs at Balnad. He also laid the foundation stone for an additional building for inspection bungalow.

Later, addressing a programme at Kille ground, Siddaramaiah said, “Dakshina Kannada district is home for educated, cultured and intellectual people. Do not give scope for communal unrest among you. If anybody starts such unrest, everybody should raise their voices against it.

“There should be communal harmony in society and people of all religions should co-exist as children of one god. The government does not tolerate anybody who disrupts harmony and sparks unrest. Such anti-social elements will be dealt with strictly. The police department has been asked to take strict action against those who take law into their hands in the name of moral policing,” he said. …

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=303990

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Gulberg society massacre: In final arguments, SIT seeks conviction of all 61 accused (Mar 11, 2015, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team while seeking conviction of all the 61 accused, concluded its final arguments in 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case. Sixty-nine persons, including former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, whose widow Zakia has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others for the riots, were killed by a mob on February 28 in the aftermath of Sabarmati Express train burning incident in Godhra.

With this the court is now likely to hear a petition by the riot survivors and victims who have sought arraignment of four police officers in this case before hearing the argument of defence lawyers. The officers include former Gujarat DGP PC Pande, then commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, PB Gondia, then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-IV, S S Chudasama, then A CP (Detection of Crime Branch) and former Joint Commissioner of Police M K Tandon (retired). The petitioners have accused these police officers of dereliction of duty. The SIT in its report has given clean chit to these officers citing lack of evidence.

On the other hand, concluding the arguments the SIT lawyer RC Kodekar told the court that a day after train burning incident, a mob of around 20,000 to 22,000 had gathered at the Gulberg Society, a posh Muslim locality in Meghaninagar, and gutted the society in a killing spree in which 69 people died.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gulberg-society-massacre-in-final-arguments-sit-seeks-conviction-of-all-61-accused/

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‘Ishrat’s family living in fear’ (Mar 15, 2015, Deccan Herald)

The family of Ishrat Jahan is carefully avoiding the media in the wake of accused like former encounter specialist D G Vanzara and P P Pandey getting bail in the case of reported fake encounter of the 19-year-old Mumbra girl in 2004. But Jitendra Awhad, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA, who had been championing the cause of the family, says the legal battle would continue.

Ishrat was a resident of Mumbra suburbs in Thane district and studied in a college in Mumbai. Ishrat’s mother, Shamima Kauser, could not be reached despite repeated attempts. However, one of the aides of the family, Rauf Lala, said the family does not want to say anything. “It is wait and watch for them. They have not reacted to the recent developments. Their advocate too has advised them not to speak on the developments of the courts,” Lala said, adding that “at this stage”, they would not want to speak anything.

Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter by the Gujarat Police on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004. According to the CBI, it was a fake encounter while the Gujarat Police claimed they were part of Lashkar-e-Taiba involved in a plot to assassinate Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat Chief Minister then. Having lost her father Shamim two years before her own death, Ishrat gave tuition and did embroidery work to support her family. Since her killing, the family has been constantly under the hawk-eyed vigil of intelligence sleuths.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/465595/ishrats-family-living-fear.html

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Bombs hurled at Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai’s office by bike-borne assailants (Mar 12, 2015, Financial Express)

Unidentified persons today hurled crude bombs at the office of a popular Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai here, police said. No one was injured in the attack. The incident happened in the early hours today when four motorcycle-borne youths hurled two crude bombs packed in tiffin boxes, police said.

No one has been detained in this connection and police were examining various clues. Journalists in the Puthiya Thalaimurai channel said nobody was injured in the incident and that no major damage to property was reported. They said the incident had been caught on CCTV camera.

The incident comes close on the heels of the channel removing a controversial show about ‘Thaali’ (Mangalsutra) on Sunday when a fringe outfit, Hindu Munnani, opposed it and staged a protest during which some equipment was damaged and a video journalist allegedly attacked.

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/miscellaneous/bombs-hurled-at-tamil-tv-channel-puthiya-thalaimurais-office-by-bike-borne-assailants/52763/

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‘Love jihad’ gets a Bengal reply: Bahu lao, Beti bachao, ‘purify’ Muslim brides (Mar 13, 2015, Indian Express)

The din over the ‘ghar wapsi’ reconversion campaign in the north and west may have dropped many decibels after Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined “the undeniable right” of an individual’s choice of religion. But in the east, the RSS and its affiliates are experimenting with another conversion programme – where, instead of hounding a Hindu-Muslim couple, they are actively facilitating their union. The only condition: the bride, in this case, is a Muslim who becomes a Hindu after a “suddhikaran” (purification) programme.

In West Bengal, especially in districts where the BJP has made significant electoral gains – at the expense of a crumbling Left and Congress – the Hindutva brotherhood, from Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Hindu Samhati, Hindu Jagran Manch to Bharat Sevashram Sangha, have stepped up a campaign they call “Bahu lao, Beti bachao” (bring a daughter-in-law, save a daughter), saying this is their answer to “love jihad.” In sharp contrast to their hounding of Hindu woman-Muslim man couples, these groups actively “shelter, arrange” the marriage of Hindu man-Muslim woman couples.

Over two months, The Indian Express travelled through South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Howrah and Birbhum – the rise of the BJP in these areas has coincided with the spread of this campaign – and met several couples who openly credit the Hindu groups for their marriage. VHP leader Badal Das, who is in charge of his organisation’s role in the campaign, estimates that at least 500 Muslim and Christian women have “become Hindus through marriage” in the last one year. All women have adopted Hindu names and their families have been “advised” to join the BJP for their “own safety”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/love-jihad-gets-a-bengal-reply-bahu-lao-beti-bachao-purify-muslim-brides/

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Lawyer killed, another injured in court premises in Allahabad (Mar 11, 2015, Times of India)

A police sub-inspector allegedly shot dead a lawyer and injured another inside the district court campus in Allahabad on Wednesday. Hundreds of angry lawyers later engaged in pitched battles with the police in and around the court premises. A constable received a bullet injury and about a dozen vehicles were damaged in the violence.

Sub-inspector Shailendra Singh, in-charge of Naribari police outpost, had gone to the district court in connection with a case. Witnesses said he had a heated argument with a group of lawyers near the stairs of the court building. When the lawyers allegedly threatened to thrash him, the sub-inspector took out his service weapon and opened fire.

“Nabi Ahmad (30) succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital,” a policeman said. The other lawyer, who also sustained bullet injuries, was admitted to hospital. His condition was said to be stable.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46529184.cms

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Why is a retired, Christian tough cop feeling threatened in India today? (Mar 16, 2015, Washington Post)

Why is a retired and much-decorated Christian police officer who valiantly fought terrorist groups in the 1980s feeling threatened in India today?

In a column in the Indian Express newspaper on Monday, police officer Julio Ribeiro said recent attacks on Christian institutions in India make him feel as if he is on the “hit list” of conservative Hindu groups.

“Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country,” Ribeiro wrote. “I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra,” or the Hindu nation.…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/03/16/why-is-a-retired-christian-tough-cop-feeling-threatened-in-india-today/

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71-year-old nun gang-raped in West Bengal, minister blames ghar wapsi (Mar 15, 2015, Times of India)

Bringing more shame for Bengal, a 71-year-old nun of a convent school was gang-raped in Ranaghat town, some 80km from Kolkata, early on Saturday. She was injured so badly that she had to undergo a surgery.

Police blamed a gang of robbers and ruled out any motive behind the rape, which triggered protests and angry reactions from Christian leaders in the state that worships Mother Teresa as a saint. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned it and ordered a CID probe and her minister Firhad Hakim called it an “attack on humanity”.

“I am shocked. Such an attack on an elderly sister is a rare incident, first time in Bengal and possibly the first time in India. It is deeply distressing,” said archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza, who rushed to Ranaghat and visited the school.” The chief minister was genuinely concerned. She promised speedy action and assured security.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46570004.cms

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Maharashtra beef ban flouts right to life: PIL (Mar 11, 2015, Times of India)

The ban on beef infringes on a citizen’s fundamental rights, says a PIL filed on Tuesday in the Bombay high court, asserting that the right to eat the meat of one’s choice is integral to it.

In his public interest litigation, activist Ketan Tirodkar called the recent changes in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, which provides for punishment for possessing or selling beef, “atrocious”. Consumption and sale of beef should not be criminalized. “Right to eat should not be affected,” he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee last month gave his assent to the amendments in the Act. The slaughter of cows was already banned in the state; now bulls and bullocks have been added to the list. Anyone selling beef or found in possession of it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs 10,000.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46520599.cms

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Justice Markandey Katju’s latest claim: Mahatma Gandhi was a British agent (Mar 10, 2015, Indian Express)

He had first made national headlines when he famously remarked that 90% Indians are idiots. He followed that up with his ‘gay marriages are unnatural’ remark and then his wish to see Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif as the next president of India. Justice Markandey Katju, known for his contentious take on issues, however has always anticipated uproar and public acrimony over his comments.

But his latest comments might generate a little too much heat as he has now claimed in a personal blog post that Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, was a British agent.

“I submit that Gandhi was objectively a British agent who did great harm to India,” Justice Katju, former chairman of Press Council of India, writes after admitting that he is likely to be ‘vilified and denounced by many’ after the post.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/justice-markandey-katjus-latest-claim-mahatma-gandhi-was-a-british-agent/

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Dimapur jail lynching incident helped two Nagaland’s NSCN-IM militants escape (Mar 14, 2015, IBN)

A week after Dimapur lynching incident, a detailed report submitted by the Senior Superintendent of the Dimapur Jail reveals a different story. Under the grab of ‘mob justice’ on March 5, two dreaded militants of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) were also freed from the Dimapur jail.

According to the report, the jail’s first boundary was broken by a group of Naga women protestors. The report further claims that the police commander told the constables to lower their guns when the protesters tore open the first fencing.

The jail chief’s report also records that the request for additional forces was sent at 11:30 AM but the forces took four hours and reached the jail at 4:30 PM. It took the lynching mob about five hours to find the alleged rapist who was later killed.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dimapur-jail-lynching-incident-helped-two-nagalands-nscnim-militants-escape/533950-3-251.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Rewriting the nation state – By Suchitra Vijayan (Mar 17, 2015, The Hindu)

Days after Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, a “patriot,” the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, an ideological affiliate of the Sangh Parivar petitioned the government to provide space for installing busts of Godse at public places across India.…

The raising of Godse’s statue is not an isolated act by fringe elements.… To retell the story of the Mahatma’s murderer, as a patriot, goes to the heart of politics seeking to manipulate, manufacture and mobilise public support to consolidate the power of the majority.…

Violence manufactured through riots, destruction of religious sites such as churches, organising religious conversion camps, beef bans, rewriting textbooks, censoring works of history, literature and fiction that challenge the ‘Hindu’ version of history, appropriating political icons, and raising monuments are all carefully enacted acts of mobilisation aimed at constructing the Hindu nation.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/rewriting-the-nation-state/article7000179.ece

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Rising, decreasing, no rising: Curious case of communal incidents – By Nivedita Bhardwaj (Mar 14, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in December 2013 opposing the now withdrawn Communal Violence Bill. Among other issues, Modi – who was by then already declared as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls – had raised objections to the lack of clarity on definition of ‘communal violence’ and also for ‘hostile environment’. …

But of course, opposing the wordings of the proposed bill and working on the ground to change the situation are two different things. Circa 2015, when Modi is firmly in saddle as the Prime Minister, things do not seem to have changed much.…

The increasing incidents of hate speech by leaders of the Hindutva organisations, the rising number of small-yet-effective-to-scare communal incidents with no casualties and last but never the least, the ill-famous ghar vapsi programmes across the country are some of the incidents which, if no case is registered, will not be counted as ‘communal incidence’ in government records. Even when all such incidents are happening, the government is claiming that the number of incidents have come down.…

http://twocircles.net/2015mar14/1426310909.html

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Creeping danger of intolerance – Editorial (Mar 13, 2015, The Hindu)

First it was the writers, now it is the turn of television channels to be assaulted in Tamil Nadu. Freedom of speech and expression has seldom been under so much threat. The bomb attack on the office of Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai in the early hours of Thursday takes the growing intolerance in our society to new heights.

The channel showed trailers last week of a programme it intended to telecast on the relevance of the thali or mangalsutra in contemporary India. It began to receive threatening calls, with callers turning abusive when women answered the phone. The channel decided to call off the show. Even after this, parties such as the Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Hindu Munnani held protests outside its office. A cameraperson recording the protest was assaulted. The State BJP too issued unedifying statements justifying the protests.

All this culminated in the bomb attack, which might not have injured anyone but has done great harm to the country’s liberal fabric. The fringe groups behind this have thrown a challenge to the secular and tolerant ethos, and sought to use violence to intimidate liberal sections of society from debating or questioning cultural mores. While the ideological challenge will have to be met politically, the full force of the law should be used to rein in elements out to intimidate media and society.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/creeping-danger-of-intolerance/article6987126.ece

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Holy Cow-Beef And Indian Political Games – By Ram Puniyani (Mar 12, 2015, Countercurrents)

Can the dietary practices, the animal which is worshipped as a mother by section of population, be brought in on the political arena? While all this sounds surreal, its true as far as the role of cow is there in Indian political firmament. Recently Maharashtra Government got the Presidents assent to the bill Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995 which will now ban the slaughter of bulls and bullocks as well. The defaulters will face a prison term of five years and a fine of Rs. 10000.…

A decade ago I was shocked to read that one of the outstanding scholars of ancient Indian History Professor Dwijendra Nath Jha received regular threats on phone telling him not to publish his book, ‘Holy Cow Beef in Indian Dietary tradition’. This scholarly work traces the place of beef in Indian diet from centuries.

The idea is to target the minorities for beef eating, and cow slaughter. One recalls that one of the slogans which rent the air in the run up the 2014 General elections was “Modi ko matdan, gai ko jeevadan [Vote for Modi, give life to the cow], BJP ka sandesh, bachegi gai, bachega desh [BJP’s message, the cow will be saved, the country will be saved]”. This slogan was propped up ‘Cow Development Cell’ of BJP.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani120315.htm

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Corporate spies in the corridors of power – By Sagnik Dutta and V. Venkatesan (Mar 20, 2015, Frontline)

It had all the makings of a crime thriller – spies with duplicate keys, traps laid by the police, and the car chase. On the night of February 18, officers of the Delhi Police, who had prior information about an espionage network, kept a watch on three persons coming in an Indigo car to Shastri Bhavan, the iconic “corridor of power” which houses some of the key economic Ministries in New Delhi. Two persons got down and the third remained inside the car. After about two hours, when the duo returned to the car, all three of them were caught for stealing photocopies of classified documents of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG).

Corporate conglomerates influencing key economic policy decisions and having a stranglehold on the corridors of power are widely acknowledged facts about the aftermath of economic liberalisation. But, the dirty secrets of the corporate hold over key institutions of the state came literally tumbling out following the busting of an elaborate espionage network by the Delhi Police. It only got murkier later in the week with five corporate executives being arrested.

As news spread of a Reliance executive among those arrested, there were murmurs about the government finally taking on the all-powerful corporate entity which has often been in the news for allegedly cornering undue favours. The arrests of the accused have only brought to the fore the intricate ways in which corporate interests get access to the corridors of power.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/corporate-spies-in-the-corridors-of-power/article6951096.ece

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Censoring a Film on Rape – Editorial (Mar 11, 2015, New York Times)

“India’s Daughter,” a documentary by the British filmmaker Leslee Udwin about a gang rape and murder in New Delhi in 2012, has unleashed a storm of controversy in India. It has also prompted protests against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has taken action to ban the film.

At issue are chilling remarks made by one of the convicted attackers, Mukesh Singh, who blames the victim, who had gone to see the movie “Life of Pi” with a friend, saying in the documentary that “a decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night.” Incredibly, two defense lawyers for the attackers express similar views in the film, one saying he wouldn’t hesitate to burn his daughter alive if he found out she had engaged in premarital sex.…

Ms. Udwin’s film has increased worldwide awareness of attitudes that beget sexual violence against women. India’s government protects those attitudes by preventing its citizens from seeing this reality.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/opinion/censoring-a-film-on-rape.html?_r=0

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 9th, 2015

March 10, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Ex-bureaucrat speaks out on Gujarat riots Lawyers allege life threat to blast accused Qasmi in jail Police hand in Dimapur jailbreak suspected Indian State Bans Possession and Sale of Beef ‘Modi Govt. encouraging Hindutva forces, corporates’ Case filed against Bajrang Dal leader for ‘defaming’ minister Muslim body […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 2nd, 2015

March 3, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Shocking reversals in the struggle for justice mark Gujarat pogroms anniversary Communal Harmony Call to maintain unity and communal harmony News Headlines Indian-American Muslims demand justice for Gujarat victims on 13th anniversary of mass massacre British victims’ family slams Gujarat riots acquittal verdict Indian Hindu leader’s criticism of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 23rd, 2015

February 24, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines UK probes RSS-inspired charity for anti-Muslim comments Comment on religious tolerance by Indian leader sparks national debate Stop Harassment of Activists: Police Target Group Seeking Justice for 2002 Gujarat Riots Pansare’s death a reflection of divisive communal forces, say Left parties Himayat Baig was attacked in prison, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 16th, 2015

February 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US media sees Modi ‘brought down to earth’ An open letter to Ms Kiran Bedi from Shabnam Hashmi Justice denied, she recalls: they cut off my hands Withdraw ‘concocted’ case against Teesta Setalvad: CPM to Gujarat govt Convent school vandalised in Delhi, sixth such attack in 4 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 9th, 2015

February 10, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony A 100-yr-pact for communal amity in Konkan village News Headlines OMG! Hindu Mahasabha’s Swami Omji threatens to kill Arvind Kejriwal like Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi Barack Obama: ‘Acts of intolerance’ in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi Documentary film blames BJP and SP for Muzaffarnagar riots […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 2nd, 2015

February 3, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony A ride for communal harmony Groups stage dharna, seek communal peace News Headlines Obama Warns India on Religious Divisions India investigates reports of mass ‘reconversion’ of Christians Police bust Hindutva outfit’s plan to honour Nathuram Godse in Meerut The row that wasn’t: VP ‘not saluting’ the tri-colour […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 26th, 2015

January 27, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu widow saved 10 Muslims in Bihar riots Tripura CM Manik Sarkar asks people to uphold communal harmony on 66th Republic Day News Headlines ‘My sin was I could not do anything during 2002 riots’ IAMC writes to President Obama to bring attention to attempts of communalisation […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 19th, 2015

January 20, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines “The Economist” recalls Modi role in 2002 Gujarat riots, questions his silence on RSS-backed ghar vapsi Three burnt to death as mob torches houses in Bihar village, CM Manjhi orders probe Communal clashes spark after kite fight in Bharuch; claim two lives West Delhi church vandalised Court […]

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