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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 20th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre of Muslims (Jun 17, 2016, The Telegraph)

An Indian court jailed 11 Hindu attackers for life on Friday for murdering dozens of Muslims in one of the most notorious massacres of the 2002 Gujarat riots that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. The court sentenced 12 others to seven years in jail over the killing of 69 Muslims, while another was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors told local television channels after the sentencing.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of the Gulbarg housing society in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped. Several victims were children and women who were burned to death. The massacre was one of a series of riots that flared for two months in western Gujarat, killing more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

The riots dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence. Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. An Indian court this month convicted 24 Hindus for their role in the massacre at the Gulbarg housing society while acquitting 36. The trial began in 2009. Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress party legislator, Ehsan, died in the blaze, said Friday’s sentences were insufficient.…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/17/indian-court-jails-11-for-life-over-gujarat-massacre-of-muslims/

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Gulberg verdict: SIT to approach High Court on ‘lenient’ sentencing (Jun 17, 2016, Economic Times)

Special Investigation Team (SIT) counsel in the 2002 Gulberg massacre case, R C Kodekar today expressed dissatisfaction about court’s verdict in the case and announced to approach the High Court, as he felt the sentence was too “lenient”.

Kodekar was upset especially after the court’s refusal to add “till death” clause in the life sentence awarded to 11 convicts in the case. “Today’s verdict is not that satisfactory. We feel the sentence is lenient and inadequate. During arguments, we had appealed to the court that life imprisonment till death should given to all. We are not convinced with the penalty awarded,” said Kodekar. “12 convicts were given only seven years, which is very lenient too. It should be either ten years of life imprisonment,” he said. “We will appeal in the High Court,” said Kodekar.…

The Gulberg Society massacre, which took place here on February 28, 2002 when Narendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, shook the nation when a mob of 400 people set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad and killed the 69 residents including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. It was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52796052.cms

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Ishrat Jahan missing papers: ‘Mere ko ye poochna hai ki aapne ye paper dekha? Aapko kehna hai ki maine ye paper nahi dekha – seedhi si baat hai’ (Jun 17, 2016, Indian Express)

B K Prasad, the Union Home Ministry official who headed the probe into the “missing documents” in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, not only told a witness the questions he would ask but also suggested to him what answers he should give — that he had not seen any of the documents. This coaching of a witness by the man heading the investigation puts a question mark on the integrity of the probe announced in Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 10.…

Prasad then told the officer: “Aapko kehna hai ki ‘Maine ye paper nahi dekha.’ Seedhi si baat hai (You have to say, ‘I have not seen that paper.’ It’s as simple as that).” Prasad told Kumar that the consequences of giving a different reply would be that doubts would be raised about the officer having played a role in the disappearance of the papers.

“Aapko itna toh kehna hoga ki ya toh woh file hi maine kabhi zindagi mein deal nahi kiya, kabhi file ko dekhne ka kabhi mauka hi nahi mila (You will have to, at least, say that either you have never dealt with that file in your life, or have never had a chance to see it)… I don’t think you have seen that file at any point… Bas, that is what I want from you: ‘I have not seen that file at all’,” Prasad told the officer. Prasad also told the officer: “And another question will be, ‘Did anybody give you these documents to be kept separately with you?’ Aap bologe, ‘Nahi, mere ko kisi ne nahi diya.’ (You will say, ‘No, nobody gave them to me’).”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ishrat-jahan-fake-encounter-case-inquiry-ashok-kumar-2855542/

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Amnesty slams govt decision on Teesta-led NGO (Jun 19, 2016, Deccan Herald)

Amnesty International India on Saturday said the government decision to cancel Teesta Setalvad’s NGO’s licence was due to her work in seeking justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. The Centre on Thursday cancelled NGO Sabrang Trust’s licence on violation of various FCRA rules, which means it will not be able to collect foreign funds.

Seeking revocation of the decision against Teesta Setalvad-led NGO, Amnesty said it was “not a coincidence” that the most prominent use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, has been against NGOs “who seek to hold the government accountable” for its actions.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) appears to be persecuting Sabrang for its founders’ work in seeking justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots’ victims,” Amnesty executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement. “This pattern of using the FCRA as a pretext to go after NGOs that don’t toe the government line needs to stop. The government must end its NGO witch-hunt,” Patel said. Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand were among those who had helped a section of victims fight the then Gujarat government then led by Narendra Modi.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/553112/amnesty-slams-govt-decision-teesta.html

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Malegaon blast: Victims object to Pragya’s bail plea (Jun 17, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The court set up to hear the 2008 Malegaon blast case on Friday allowed an application by the victims, objecting to Pragya Singh’s bail application. Advocate Sharif Shaikh, representing the victims also questioned the probe of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On May 13, the NIA had submitted a supplementary chargesheet giving a clean chit to six accused, including Pragya, and also recommended that all the charges against them be dropped.

The central agency said the shoddy probe by Maharashtra authorities forced the U-turn. It added that the provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) were not applicable to the case. After getting a clean chit from the NIA, Pragya had applied for bail. Her advocate J P Mishra had on May 30 filed a bail application on the ground that the NIA had not pressed charges against her owing to a lack of evidence, and because of her deteriorating health.

The defense pleaded that she had no knowledge of how her motorbike was used in the blast and said she had never given her consent for this. He said that the bike had been sold long before the incident. Meanwhile, 64-year old businessman Nisar Bilal had on June 8 moved an application before the special court seeking to include the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) as a party to the case and to hear the agency that had booked Pragya in the blast case.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/malegaon-blast-victims-object-to-pragya-s-bail-plea/story-lGOer0pcET88YepKFdCkEM.html

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Sangeet Som’s yatra: SP corners PM Modi, rakes up Gujarat riots (Jun 17, 2016, Times of India)

Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav on Friday attempted to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MLA Sangeet Som’s “Paidal Nirbhay Yatra” across Uttar Pradesh to assure safety to the Hindu families from Kairana village of Shamli district and said that the duo must worry about bringing back the people, who fled during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“Many people migrated after the Gujarat riots. Sangeet Som and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first worry about them. Prime Minister Modi must first bring back the people, who fled during the Gujarat riots,” Yadav told a press conference here. He claimed the Uttar Pradesh Government has intelligence reports which suggest that there was no exodus from Kairana.

“The people have left the place in search for jobs. We will not let the BJP vitiate the atmosphere here. We have intelligence reports to prove that there was no exodus in Kairana,” he added. Yadavb further said the BJP MLA was attempting to vitiate the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh, adding strict action would be initiated against such elements.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52794695.cms

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Seers visit Kairana, slam BJP’s ‘politics of hate’ (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

A team of Hindu seers on Sunday visited Kairana to probe allegations by BJP MP Hukum Singh that 346 Hindu families had fled the small town due to persecution. Swami Chakrapani, one of the five seers who visited Kairana, slammed BJP for playing the “communal card”.

Swami Chakrapani, president of Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha, told TOI that Hindus and Muslims alike had been worried about rising crime there. Samajwadi Party member and UP cabinet minister Shiv pal Yadav on Friday had suggested that a team of “apolitical” Hindu seers ascertain the facts on the ground.

The team of seers also included Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha’s Haryana president Swami Kalyan, president of Sant Samiti Devendranand Saraswati, founder of Shri Kalki Foundation Pramod Krishnam and Swami Chinmayanand of the Sant Mahasabha.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52825810.cms

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Latest gem from BJP leader: Saffronisation and sanghwad are inevitable, says Union Minister Katheria (Jun 19, 2016, First Post)

At a time when the Narendra Modi-led central government has come under immense criticism over Raghuram Rajan’s announcement in his farewell letter that he will not be renewing his term after September, this BJP leader is not making matters any easier for the party.

In a classic foot-in-mouth situation, Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria on Saturday said that ‘bhagwakaran’ (saffronisation) of education will definitely take place in India. Speaking at an event, Katheria, who is Minister of State in the HRD ministry, went on to say that saffronisation and ‘sanghwad’ will be good for the country and is inevitable.

“Reporters told us that some people are saying that our government is saffronising education in the country. I am saying this today: Saffronisation will definitely take place in education and in the country,” said Katheria.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/saffronisation-and-sanghwad-are-inevitable-says-union-minister-rs-katheria-2843654.html

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Smriti Irani Heckled and Boo-ed in Bhagalpur Bihar: Rohith Vemula Haunts the Modi Regime (Jun 18, 2016, Sabrang India)

When Smriti Irani visited Bhagalpur town in Bihar, people protested against her visit and shouted slogans of ‘Amar Rahe, Rohith Vemula’. This happened on June 16, 2016 it is reported.

Protesters in Bhagalpur said Smriti Irani is as responsible as the other five culprits booked for Rohith’s death because she misused her position of responsibility and exerted pressure on University administration to persecute the five Dalit research scholars. Smriti Irani acted upon the letter given to her by the BJP Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya in which he labelled University of Hyderabad as “a den of casteists, extremists and anti-nationals”.

Smriti Irani should be sacked from the MHRD minister’s post immediately and all the five culprits must be arrested immediately, the protesters demanded. The students movement across the country has been calling the minister ‘Manusmriti Irani’ since the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula.

https://www.sabrangindia.in/ann/smriti-irani-heckled-and-boo-ed-bhagalpur-bihar-rohith-vemula-haunts-modi-regime

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Police officer suspended for third degree interrogation of girl in Jharkhand (Jun 18, 2016, Businesss Standard)

In a case of alleged police brutality, a Class 10 girl student fell unconscious and had to be hospitalised after she was interrogated for more than 10 hours at a police station in Jharkhand’s Latehar district. The girl remained unconscious for more than 70 hours after the questioning by police on June 14 at Manika Police Station in Latehar.

According to doctors treating the girl, she may take some more days to recover. “She may take two to four days to recover,” said Umesh Kumar, a doctor treating the girl in RIMS.

Latehar Superintendent of Police Anup Birthare has suspended Sub-Inspector Ram Pravesh Sharma posted at Manika Police Station after he was found guilty of questioning the girl for more than 10 hours inside the police station without the presence of a woman police constable or even her parents.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/police-officer-suspended-for-third-degree-interrogation-of-girl-in-jharkhand-116061800348_1.html

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Opinions and Editorials

US-Modi Bonhomie – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Jun 15, 2016, Countercurrents)

There has been a steady increase in Indo-US bonhomie ever since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India. During his two years in chair, he has taken long strides than his predecessors in reducing the distance and increasing convergence in the strategic perspectives of the two supposedly democracies. During his latest visit to US, Modi has received a thunderous applause to his forty five minute speech to the joint session of US congress during which he is reported to have received extraordinary number of clappings & standing ovations.

The rousing reception begs a very important question. Has the US, which positions itself as a champion of human rights around the world, forgotten or forgiven Modi for his complicit role in killing minority Muslims thus committing grave crimes against humanity during Gujarat riots 2002. The question is important because in its answer lies the future survival of democracy as a best model which respects human rights.…

Modi’s Complicity in Gujarat riots is well researched & adequately documented. The latest addition to the existing implicative material on the subject is Rana Ayub’s book ‘Gujrat files- Anatomy of a cover-up’. Prior to that Manoj Mitta’s book ‘The fiction of fact finding’ & Sreekumar’s Book ‘Gujrat behind the Curtain’ have provided ample evidence of Modi’s involvement through his acts of omission & commission. Not to speak of Teesta Setalvad’s material compiled after untiring efforts and Tehlka’s sting operations conducted in 2007.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar150616.htm

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As election season approaches in UP, BJP moves in to communalise everything it can – By Shoaib Daniyal (Jun 20, 2016, Scroll.in)

On Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Shakar Katheria said that it was inevitable that saffronisation will proceed, both in the education sector as well as of India as a whole – and that this is a fine thing. Katheria is no ordinary leader. He is a minister in the Narendra Modi government. His words, like the exculpation of the Dadri beef murder by Union minister Mahesh Sharma, carry some significance. Clearly, this sort of statement is a prelude to the keenly contested 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

And this isn’t the only indication of the party’s strategy for the state. The BJP is continuing to attempt to make the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana a point of contention. The controversy was sparked last fortnight when a party MP produced a list of people who had purportedly been forced out of the town by Muslim criminals. Pro-government media such as Zee News went to town with these claims, comparing the situation to Kashmir in the 1990s. The only problem? There was no exodus.…

Uttar Pradesh is the country’s largest state, home to one out of six Indians. It is also desperately poor. Even Bihar, the poster boy of India’s poverty for much of the recent past, seems to have turned the corner. In such an environment, it seems naked communalisation is the only way to do politics in the state. It was true when the BJP was rising on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid in the late 1980s. Today, three decades later, even with a BJP government in Delhi, it still seems to hold true.

http://scroll.in/article/810261/the-daily-fix-as-election-season-approaches-in-up-bjp-moves-in-to-communalise-everything-it-can

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Gulberg Judgment: It’s doubtful that punishments handed out match up to the magnitude of the crime – Editorial (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

…While the court found 24 out of the 60 accused guilty in the horrific rampage that tortured and murdered 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, it said that the accused deserved “a second chance to reform and rehabilitate”. Indian authorities are often not sufficiently tough on supposedly ‘spontaneous’ communal riots, which is one reason why they recur. It’s difficult to say this judgment has broken with that tradition of leniency.

In contrast to the strong words expressed in the Naroda Patia verdict, criminal conspiracy has been ruled out in the Gulberg case, as though it was a spontaneous eruption of anger after the Godhra killings. The judgment has also held that Jafri’s firing of a gun was what triggered the mob’s violent frenzy, thus denying him the right to self-defence.…

This paper has reported eyewitness accounts of how Jafri was stripped, his fingers and limbs methodically chopped off, before he was thrown into a fire. Even if Jafri fired in self-defence when faced with an armed mob, it strains credulity that one man’s gun provoked violence on this scale. The Gujarat carnage of 2002 has resulted in 140 convictions, but the process has been tortuous and opaque. The lower judiciary, police and administrators were complicit in tampering with evidence, destroying trails and forcing witnesses to turn hostile. This judgment is unlikely to bring a sense of closure to victims of the Gulberg massacre.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/gulberg-judgment-its-doubtful-that-punishments-handed-out-match-up-to-the-magnitude-of-the-crime/

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Sacking Raghuram Rajan: It is intolerance again – By Anil Sharma (Jun 20, 2016, Free Press Journal)

As the RBI governor Raghuram Rajan conveyed to the central bank’s employees in a letter that was placed on the bank’s website for wider circulation: “… I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term as Governor ends on September 4, 2016”, he was in effect announcing his dismissal by the Modi Sarkar. To interpret this as anything else is to rob the BJP’s battering ram Subramanian Swamy of his rightful claim to brag that he has had the RBI governor, a mere government employee, dismissed. For Swamy it was a command performance executed at the behest of his boss the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Lest anyone has any doubts on this count as well, Swamy provided the clinching evidence by acknowledging on twitter that “…. my admiration for Namo has gone up hugely: media, industrialists, and international bureaucrats piled on him for R3 but he did not bend.” For the uninitiated ones R3 is swamyspeak for Raghuram Rajan. The reference “did not bend” prompts a query as to when the decision to sack Rajan was taken? Before Swamy got into the act or after?…

It was not difficult to visualise the strong disapproval of such a person. This was the intolerance of another variety. It is something that places conformism over merit. It is neither difficult to see the logic. “We can find brilliant men dime a dozen, but they have to be conformists,” is the way it runs. Lest, we may forget one such classmate of the ‘sacked governor’ happens to be Jayant Sinha, the minister of state for finance.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/editorspick/sacking-rajan-it-is-intolerance-again-anil-sharma/874440

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BJP’s Doublespeak on Terror – By Gurpreet Singh (Jun 21, 2016, Sabrang India)

…The Hindu ‘nationalist’ (read supremacist) Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which is currently in power was in the opposition at that time. The so called secular Congress government too tried to play down the involvement of Hindu extremists initially as it wanted to isolate Pakistan internationally for sponsoring terrorism. The truth however cannot and could not be buried. As the complicity of the Hindu extremists became apparent, the BJP reacted sharply and accused the Congress government of defaming the Hindu community.…

Notably, the BJP government is known for its tough anti terror stance, but this is weakened or stands exposed when it comes to dealing with the terrorists from within their lot. It is pertinent to mention that the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen in the company of one of the Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand in Gujarat where he was previously the Chief Minister.

Aseemanand is an ascetic who ran a camp in Gujarat that worked aggressively to covert Christians into Hinduism. It was during Modi’s tenure as chief minister that an anti Muslim massacre took place in 2002. Modi had also publicly opposed the arrests of Hindu extremists in connection with terrorism.…

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/bjp%E2%80%99s-doublespeak-terror

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Ishrat Jahan: After the Fake Encounter, a ‘Phoney’ Probe – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jun 16, 2016, The Wire)

If there is one case that exposes the fragility of Indian democracy in recent times, it is the killing of Ishrat Jahan in 2004.… Human rights activists have decried her killing as a fake encounter; the Congress’s flip-flop – initially calling her a terrorist and then a victim of a fake encounter – has triggered suspicion over its intentions. The BJP, quite naturally, has been the only party to support the Gujarat government’s action, given the fact that party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at the time of Ishrat’s killing, have directly or indirectly been implicated in the case since the probe began.

At no point of time has the probe functioned in a transparent manner. Depending on their political agenda, officials and politicians have leaked selective information about the case to establish their views, leading to highly polarised and uninformed opinions on the matter. This opacity showed of yet again when a senior home ministry official, B.K. Prasad, who headed an official probe into the case documents that have gone missing, was captured on tape by an Indian Express reporter trying to doctor his own investigation. Prasad retired from service after his probe began but has been given an extension.…

Even 12 years after Ishrat’s killing, the case is still in limbo, despite an SIT probe and a magistrate’s report implicating the Gujarat police. As long as they are not found, the ‘missing documents’ will allow the BJP to turn what is a straightforward case of custodial murder into a political football that can be kicked around to discredit the Congress and divert attention away from the original crime. The question the BJP will have to answer is why it had to manipulate the probe into the missing papers if it was certain the Congress’s second affidavit was false and politically motivated.…

http://thewire.in/43322/ishrat-jahan-after-the-fake-encounter-a-phoney-probe/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 13th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

Observing that the two years of Modi government have resulted in deterioration in human rights and religious freedom in India, rights activists have called for making the issue as part of the US’ regular dialogue with India.

“Progress on human rights in India will continue to falter unless the Modi administration takes better steps to ensure justice and accountability for all citizens, protect vulnerable communities, and protect the free exchange of ideas and dissent,” said John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch.

Lack of effective implementation of laws and policies remain a persistent challenge, Sifton said, during a hearing on “Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India” organised by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Tuesday. Government officials are not held accountable and impunity persists for police and other security personnel who are shielded by laws from being prosecuted for serious human rights abuses, he claimed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/human-rights-freedom-of-religion-deteriorating-in-india-2843106/

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All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest (Jun 12, 2016, Times of India)

The arrest of Dr Virendrasinh Tawade, an ENT specialist, by CBI on Friday in the murder of rationalist and anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, has thrown the spotlight once again on Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu right-wing organization headquartered in Ramnathi, Ponda in Goa, about 30km from Panaji.

Tawade joined the sanstha at Kolhapur, Maharashtra and visited Sanstha headquarters in Goa only before 2004, a member of the sanstha claimed adding, he did not visit later.

The sanstha has enjoyed political patronage and support in Goa. Responding to demands for a ban on the organisation in September 2015, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had ruled out banning the organisation. Also, wives of two ministers in the coalition BJP government in the state – PWD minister Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar and craftsmen training minister Pandurang (Deepak) Dhavalikar, both of the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) are sadhaks of the sanstha, and are said to be actively supporting its activities.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52708332.cms

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Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit (Jun 7, 2016, Daily Mail)

Vikas Narain Rai, head of the SIT that probed the Samjhauta Express blasts, has accused the government of trying to give Colonel Purohit and the other accused in the case a clean chit.…

The former SIT chief claimed that a concerted attempt was being made to give the accused a clean chit by destroying evidence, cooking up alibis and coercing witnesses.

“Evidence is being erased, witnesses are being forced to turn hostile, documents are being fabricated to help people due to their Right wing linkages,” Rai alleged.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-3630225/Head-Samjhauta-Express-blasts-probe-says-Centre-erasing-evidence-bid-clear-prime-suspect-Purohit.html

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Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out includes those who died, migrated for better job (Jun 16, 2016, Indian Express)

A list of 346 ‘Hindus’ that BJP MP Hukum Singh claimed had left Kairana in western UP over “threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community (read Muslims)” has quite a few discrepancies, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.

While it does have names of some who have left alleging harassment by “gangs”, the list includes names of people who have died, of those who left Kairana more than 10 years ago and still others who say that they migrated for a better school for their children or a better job.

The Indian Express tracked down 22 people who figure in Singh’s list and found five had died, four had moved out of Kairana looking for better opportunities, 10 left more than 10 years ago, three had moved fearing “local criminals”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kairana-mass-exodus-shamli-hindu-exodus-akhilesh-yadav-up-elections-bjp-hukum-singh-2851411/

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FIR against Sadhvi Prachi ‘for inciting communal passions’ (Jun 14, 2016, DNA India)

An FIR has been registered against controversial VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi for inciting communal passions, police said on Tuesday.

The FIR was registered against Prachi based on a complaint lodged by Sandeep Kumar of Bahujan Mukti Morcha who alleged that her statement in which she had pitched for a “Muslim free country” in Uttrakhand recently, hurt communal feelings, they said.…

Known for courting controversies, the Sadhvi had claimed the mission of a Congress-free country has already been “accomplished” and it is now time to make India free of Muslims.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-fir-against-sadhvi-prachi-for-inciting-communal-passions-2223754

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Right-wing arms training aims at Ram Temple in Ayodhya (Jun 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Volunteers of right-wing Hindu groups are getting arms training primarily to prevent and counter terrorist attacks, but the exercise has an additional motive. This is apparently preparation for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya in election-bound Uttar Pradesh.

The Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its women’s wing, Durga Vahini, are conducting self-defence training camps in which members brandish lathis, swords and firearms as part of the routine.

The participants at the camps on the outskirts of Bhopal have been told to be “ready for any situation” that might impede the construction of the temple in Ayodhya.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/mp-right-wing-arms-training-aims-at-ram-temple-in-ayodhya/story-nSKaNb9dzRNtVx0cqHMbNL.html

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SC refuses urgent hearing on plea for restrain on statements by AIMPLB (Jun 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to give an urgent hearing to a plea seeking direction to restrain the All India Muslim Personal Law Board from giving alleged “misleading messages” to the public till the hearing of a plea on Muslim women’s rights on issues concerning marriage and divorce.

A vacation bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy while declining to give an urgent hearing asked petitioner advocate Farha Faiz, who is also party to the suo motu petition being heard by the apex court, to first respond to the writ petition and then mention the fresh plea for hearing.

Faiz said that direction should be passed to restrain media trial, which is being done on the contentious issue of Muslim women’s rights and members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) from issuing misleading statements. “How can we stop media trial? Is their any mechanism in any part of the world to stop media trial,” the bench observed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/all-india-muslim-personal-law-board-triple-talaq-media-trial-urgent-hearing-plea-2839875/

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Lack of documents forcing Muzaffarnagar riot victims to migrate as manual labourers (Jun 9, 2016, Times of India)

Displaced from their homes after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, over a thousand men who had first settled in neighbouring Shamli district have slowly migrated to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for employment. Some have even gone as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Afkar India Foundation, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of riot victims, said that most displaced families lost all their documents after the riots, which made them ineligible for government schemes. As a result, they have had to migrate to other states and work as labourers.

“After the riots, over 50,000 people were displaced. Around 6,000 families were uprooted from their homes and were forced to shift base. Of these, close to 2,800 families came and settled in the neighbouring Shamli district. Some of these families were from Shamli district itself. It’s been almost three years since the riots and most of these families don’t even have ration cards yet. Many don’t even have water or power connections. They live in deplorable conditions and they resort to manual labour to make ends meet,” said Akram Akhtar, project manager at Afkar India Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of riot victims.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52676830.cms

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Sohrabuddin case returns to haunt Amit Shah (Jun 11, 2016, Mid Day)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is again being linked with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, from which he was discharged in December 2014. A writ petition was filed in the Bombay High Court yesterday claiming that Shah influenced court proceedings to get a clean chit in the case.

The petitioner, Rajesh Kamble, owner of Yash Foundation, in his petition, also claimed that Shah threatened Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin to withdraw the appeal he had filed in HC against Shah’s discharge by a lower court in November 2015. Kamble’s petition will come for hearing next week.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Shah as the prime accused in their chargesheet in 2012 in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. CBI had alleged that Shah, the then Gujarat home minister, had hired Sheikh to extort money for him and after they had a fallout, he got him killed in November 2005 and made it look like an encounter.…

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/sohrabuddin-case-returns-to-haunt-amit-shah/17324193

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Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police (Jun 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Soap factory owners have requested the Punjab Police to save them from the “ire of cow vigilante groups” who, they claim, are hampering their business in the name of cow protection.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that a number of tankers were impounded by the state police following complaints that they were carrying buffalo tallow mixed with cow tallow. The complaints were filed by cow vigilante groups like Gau Raksha Dal (GRD).

On June 6, representatives from soap units had met with Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and demanded that the police stopped harassing them.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/protect-us-from-cow-vigilante-groups-trade-hit-punjab-soap-industry-to-police/

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Opinions and Editorials

Finding judicial closure in Gulbarg – Editorial (Jun 3, 2016, The Hindu)

…After the SIT gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi and repudiated allegations by Ehsan Jafri’s widow that, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had instructed the police to let the mob run riot, the Gulbarg Society case became a rallying point for those pleading that the Modi administration be implicated in the riots. The SIT included a police inspector and a BJP councillor in the charge sheet, but both are among the 36 now acquitted.

The prosecution was unable to prove any conspiracy behind the communal violence with the court finding insufficient evidence of pre-planning, never easy to establish in a case such as this. The collapse of the conspiracy angle does not imply an acceptance of the narrative that the Gujarat riots were an angry, reflexive response to the Godhra train carnage. The lines between spontaneity and subtle orchestration are hard to delineate.

Likewise, there is a difficulty in assessing the varying degree of moral culpability between commission and wilful omission. It would be well to remember this as the Gujarat riot cases reach their judicial closure.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/finding-judicial-closure-in-gulbarg/article8682578.ece

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The ghost of Malegaon – By Harsh Mander (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

…I spoke to Noor-ul-Huda, a power-loom worker who was the first to be arrested. He said these 10 years had destroyed his health, his dignity, his reputation, and his family. “Who can return these years to me?”… The initial breakthrough was achieved by tracing the owner of the motorcycle to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a former ABVP activist. Even more sensational was the alleged role of a serving Army officer Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay in the conspiracy. Others indicted were sadhus and mahants, as well as persons associated with the Sangh affiliates like the Bajrang Dal, belonging to a shadowy organisation Abhinav Bharat, named after the terror-based formation established by V. D. Savarkar in 1904.

These arrests and investigations further uncovered the role of the Abhinav Bharat and other Hindutva organisations in several other terror attacks, including the Malegaon blasts of 2006 and 2008, the explosions in the Samjhauta Express, the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Bajrang Dal activists were found manufacturing bombs in makeshift factories in Nanded, Kanpur, Bhopal and Goa.

What lay exposed was a deeply worrying communal mindset in India’s police and security establishment. Clear leads pointing to Hindutva terror groups were ignored; instead, trans-border Islamist groups were blamed, and Indian Muslim men arrested under terror laws, tortured and forced to sign “confessions”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/malegaon-blast-case-mumbai-hemnat-karkare-islamist-terror-hindutva-terror-2841902/

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The BJP’s Defensiveness on ‘Kairana Exodus’ Exposes its Hindutva Agenda – By Sharat Pradhan (Jun 15, 2016, The Wire)

When its veteran leader and member of parliament Hukum Singh spoke about an ‘exodus’ of Hindus from Kairana, his pocket of western Uttar Pradesh, it was evident that the Bharatiya Janata Party was up to its old games. The suspicion that his words were yet another attempt to arouse Hindu passions turned out to be true.… The problem was clearly criminal in nature, and demonstrative of what happens in large parts of the state, which is known to some as the “wild west”. …

The BJP’s urge to engage in the politics of polarisation must be understood in the context of the Muzaffarnagar riots, which worked to its benefit in 2014. Over the past two years, while the party has been in power in the Centre, the flame of polarisation has been kept burning through issues like ‘love jihad’, ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘beef politics’, which were played up repeatedly in Dadri.

With the realisation that Ayodhya had outlived its vote potential, these ideas brewed in the saffron ranks. That the BJP has repeatedly taken these issues to the extreme reflects its failure to move beyond Hindutva – which Shah perhaps considers indispensable to the party’s poll agenda, even as Modi discreetly shuns it. The double-speak apparently aims to appeal to the multitudes who believe in Modi’s aspirational politics, while also keeping the party’s traditional vote bank in good humour.

http://thewire.in/2016/06/15/hukum-singhs-defensiveness-on-the-kairana-exodus-exposes-the-bjps-hindutva-agenda-42897/

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The ban on cow slaughter – By A.G. Noorani (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, received the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee on March 4, 2015. For 20 years, none of his predecessors in office thought it fit to accord the assent.…

If the history of the Constituent Assembly’s adoption of the pertinent provisions of the Constitution on the subject is recalled, it will be seen that a monumental fraud has been perpetrated on the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution by the champions of a ban on cow slaughter.…

Article 48 was conceived in deceit and executed through fraud. Bhargava’s two assurances – “without using any sort of coercion” and he did not want that “non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against their will” – were flouted by the man himself in his pleas to the Supreme Court. And as for the record of the Supreme Court of India on cow slaughter bans, the less said the better.

http://www.frontline.in/social-issues/the-ban-on-cow-slaughter/article8700526.ece

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RSS is not just antithetical to Muslims, but to a democratic-secular India as well – By Shamsul Islam (Jun 10, 2016, Indian Express)

JS Bandukwala, a renowned academician, thinker and fighter for communal harmony in India has rightly expressed his anguish on the deteriorating relationship between RSS and Indian Muslims which must be a cause of serious concern for all those who wish a happy and prosperous India (‘I forgive, I hope’, IE May 27, 2016).

This aspect becomes enormously critical in a situation where RSS cadres are ruling India. I am afraid his take that RSS has problems with Muslims or vice versa is over-simplification of a far more serious issue. The future of Muslims or common Indians, 80.5% of whom are Hindus, depends on the survival of democratic-secular polity. It is more a critical issue for 135 million….

A country where 5-6% population controls 65% of the national wealth, an egalitarian constitution only can provide hope to the poor whether Muslims or Hindus. Unfortunately, RSS is committed ideologically to undo it.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/rss-is-not-just-antithetical-to-muslims-but-to-a-democratic-secular-india-as-well-2845298/

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Two years and waiting – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

…Sangh Parivar activists admit that central to the political dip and the consequent sense of incertitude about its prospects is the gap between the promises and performance of the Modi government. It is 80 per cent rhetoric and 20 per cent implementation, they say. An analysis by independent experts and members of the Frontline team of different sectors of the economy and governance in the past two years underscores this perception.…

Panwar’s observation has many takers across the political spectrum, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and S.P. leader Akhilesh Yadav. “Modi and the BJP use glitzy propaganda laden with empty rhetoric to cover up governance failures and parallelly unleash communal aggression and intolerance to polarise people.…

These are indeed brave and confident words, and political observers like Panwar say that this could well be the reality. However, they wonder what price the people will have to pay before they deliver a lasting rebuttal to the authoritarian and fascist tendencies of the current regime.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/two-years-and-waiting/article8700511.ece

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Book Review

Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 2002

Author: Sanjeevini Badigar Lokhande
Reviewed by: Rudolf C Heredia
Available at: Cambridge University Press India Private Limited, 4843/24, 2nd Floor, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002, 2015; pp xii + 215, price not indicated. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Rehabilitating Riot Victims (Jun 11, 2016, EPW)

…Gujarat has a history of such communal riots, chauvinistically used to consolidate vote banks. The post-Godhra violence in 2002 escalated out of control into a planned state-sponsored pogrom. This book examines the social, cultural and economic costs of the forced migration, and the disrupting displacement in its aftermath, which turns rights-bearing citizens into homeless refugees.

The author begins by setting the context of the study with a description of “Demography and Population Movements in Gujarat” (p 21). The state’s development model has for decades accentuated relative inequalities. Continuing communal conflicts have segregated communities, ghettoised Muslims in cities like Ahmedabad. Once it was in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party took advantage of this to make the state a laboratory for its Hindu nationalist agenda.…

This study is a competent description and an incisive analysis of the aftermath of the pogrom of 2002 in the state. It implies sharp questions to the parties and politicians responsible. Is this the “good governance” so repeatedly proclaimed by them? Acche din aane wale hain! (Good times are here!) Can we expect more of the same now that the same people are in power at the centre? Will the Gujarat model be re-enacted on a national level and bring bure din (hard times) on a national scale, especially for the minorities and the marginalised? Will Gandhi’s “least and last Indian” find respect and security there? The Bihar elections of October–November 2015 has given a decisive answer to this kind of saffron neo-liberalism. Its people have spoken, they must now be heard by all concerned about a collective future as a decent and fair society, and not as aggressive and partisan.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/24/book-reviews/rehabilitating-riot-victims.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 6th, 2016

June 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Narendra Modi’s US visa secure despite Gujarat riots guilty verdicts U.S. senators attack India’s human rights record before Modi’s Capitol Hill address Delhi’s Special Cell court discharges ‘Lashkar operative’ accused of facilitating infiltration, says no admissible evidence Inside a far-right Hindu ‘self defence’ training camp Who is […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 30th, 2016

June 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Sting claims political pressure in Gujarat riots Modi “decided” to bring dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad, triggering 2002 riots: Gujarat bureaucrat Scribe’s Book ‘Validates Cbi’s Evidence’ In Guj Fake Encounters AAP minister alleges RSS members threatened street artists in Delhi Tripura textbook omits Indian history of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 23rd, 2016

June 4, 2016

 this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘Promote communal harmony’ News Headlines ‘Irrefutable’ evidence against RSS leader in Malegaon blast, says AAP In two years, over 16 booked by Maharashtra ATS let off by courts U.P. challenges acquittal of Muslim men Aurangzeb erased, VK Singh wants Akbar Road renamed after Maharana Pratap “Strong evidence” of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 16th, 2016

June 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Temple and mosque promote communal harmony in Odisha town News Headlines Extremist Hindu groups’ “role” in terror attacks? Karkare showed me evidence before death: Supercop Ribeiro Two absconders in Malegaon blast mentioned as RSS workers: NIA Lt Col Shrikant Purohit booked for planning 2008 Malegaon blasts in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 9th, 2016

May 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines USCIRF till 2013 held ‘considerable cloud on Modi’ of Gujarat riots Mr. Modi, your hands are stained with blood: M A Baby Jawaharlal Nehru Removed From Class VIII Textbook In Rajasthan: Report Gujarat has over a third of India’s Muslim detainees Ishrat Jahan encounter: Gujarat HC wants […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 2nd, 2016

May 18, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘All-faith meet in Varanasi to strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity’ News Headlines US religious freedom report names BJP chief Amit Shah, endorses rejection of Modi’s visa during 2005-14 RTI activist’s murder: NaMo Brigade founder in constant touch with killers, says police CIC Orders PMO, Universities To Furnish Narendra Modi’s […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 25th, 2016

May 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims News Headlines Hostile witnesses derailing trials in ‘saffron terror’ cases Modi, Shah ordered staged shootout in Ishrat Jahan case: Congress Curfew imposed in Jamod, Maharashtra due to communal tension Armed men attack Chhattisgarh […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

May 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Children told to spread communal harmony News Headlines US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree 2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes […]

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