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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 25th, 2015

by newsdigest on May 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Diamond exporter charged for denying Muslim a job (May 22, 2015, The Hindu)

Amid a public outrage, the Mumbai Police booked leading diamond conglomerate Hare Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. on Thursday for discrimination and denying a young man a job because he was a Muslim. The Maharashtra government has said it will order an investigation.

The action comes a day after The Hindu reported that MBA graduate Zeshan Ali Khan was denied a job by the company because of his religion. “Thanks for your application. We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates,” was the reply he received on Tuesday. After Mr. Khan decided to go public with the company’s response, a public outrage erupted on social media, forcing HKE Pvt. Ltd. to apologise.…

Acting on a complaint by social activist Shezhad Poonawalla, the National Commission for Minorities has also sent a notice to the company and directed an enquiry. Mr. Poonawalla, also a lawyer, said the incident was a “blatant violation of the spirit of the Constitution that mandates equality and absence of religious discrimination through Articles 14 and Article 25.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/diamond-exporter-charged-for-denying-muslim-a-job/article7232883.ece

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2002 riots call records: SIT court summons officer Himanshu Shukla to explain misplaced CDs (May 19, 2015, Times of India)

A special SIT court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case on Tuesday summoned the Investigating Officer in the riots cases, Himanshu Shukla, to explain the case on how the CDs containing call records during the 2002 riots were misplaced.

This happened after the SIT submitted before the court that the original CDs were misplaced and were not destroyed as claimed by the accused persons, who are seeking criminal prosecution of retired IPS Rahul Sharma for allegedly destroying important evidence and investigator IPS P L Mall for not taking any action against Sharma under section 201 of the IPC. Mall’s prosecution is also sought on the ground that he has not taken any action in connection with the false affidavits filed before the Supreme Court by witnesses.…

With regard to the CDs, the court had last month sought explanation from the IO over the remark as “original CDs” while handing over the pieces of evidence to the court nearly six years ago. This was because Sharma himself had admitted during his deposition that the CDs he had provided to the SIT officials were made from the data he had copied from original CDs.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47342249.cms

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Teesta Setalvad: Modi’s Silence on Attacks on Minorities Shows Tacit Consent (May 15, 2015, News Click)

Narendra Modi led NDA government is about to complete its one year in power. This period has seen a rise in communal attacks and hate speech against minorities, posing a threat to secular ethos of the nation. These are not isolated incidents or the pronouncements of a lunatic fringe.

Modi’s ministers and parliamentarians have been spreading venom through such comments. Newsclick discussed these issues with Teesta Setalvad. Teesta explains that how this government is controlled by right wing fundamentalist groups like RSS and Modi’s silence on such incidents should be read as his consent.

On question of saffronisation of education and culture, Teesta explains that culture and education have been important as tools for building fascism and this is what we are seeing today, with active government support. She feels that all the progressive and secular forces should come together to resist the Modi government’s agenda to communalise society.

http://newsclick.in/india/teesta-setalvad-modi%E2%80%99s-silence-attacks-minorities-shows-tacit-consent

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Saffron trade union snubs RSS, to join protest against govt (May 20, 2015, Times of India)

Sangh Parivar-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has turned down RSS’ persuasion and decided to join other trade unions to announce a protest against the Modi government’s economic policies on May 26 when it completes its first year in office.

Sources said BMS conveyed to RSS its decision to join other central trade unions to announce the plan to hold a countrywide strike against Modi government’s “anti-labour” policies, FDI and other related decisions.

BMS chief B N Rai told TOI that the union will not step down from its decision for “joint action with CPM-affiliated CITU, CPI-aligned AITUC and INTUC which is linked to Congress among others.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47350063.cms

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PMO Not Disclosing Foreign Travel Expenses: CIC Panel (May 24, 2015, Outlook)

Noting that voluntary disclosures of information have been “below par”, a CIC-constituted panel has said that details of domestic and foreign visits of Union ministers should be proactively disclosed and kept updated. The committee said this against the backdrop of the PMO not disclosing information about expenses incurred on foreign visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been refusing to disclose information related to expenses incurred on Modi’s foreign visits, citing various excuses such as the records that are sought for being “vague”. The committee of former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari and Information Commissioner M M Ansari, constituted by the CIC gave its report on “Transparency Audit: Towards An Open and Accountable Government”.

The panel referred to the circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel dated September 11, 2012 where it asked all departments to proactively disclose expenses incurred on the foreign and domestic visits of their respective ministers.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/pmo-not-disclosing-foreign-travel-expenses-cic-panel/898440

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Tirupati Red Sanders killings: Police said gunned down but bodies tell story of skin peeled off, ‘torture’ (May 20, 2015, Indian Express)

Blistered skin peeled off in several places; extensive burn marks; one body bizarrely clad in two trousers, one partially pulled up over the other; bullet marks without evidence of bleeding – and a head smashed in so hard the face can’t be recognised.

Clearly visible in photographs and video clips shot and recorded by The Indian Express six hours after the “encounter” on April 7, these features of the bodies of the 20 alleged red sanders smugglers raise several doubts about the Andhra police claim that all were shot in “self-defence”.

The photographs, too explicit to be published, were shared with police and forensics experts and the consensus was clear: they raise more questions than they answer.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/tirupati-red-sanders-killings-police-said-gunned-down-but-bodies-tell-story-of-skin-peeled-off-torture/

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2 Gujarat cops suspended for dancing with woman, showering notes (May 23, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Two police personnel who were allegedly found dancing with a woman and showering notes while on duty were suspended on Saturday, a senior official said. Vadodara police commissioner E Radhakrishna told PTI that ASI Suresh More and head constable Amirkhan Pathan, attached with Kishanwadi police station, have been suspended.

“Their suspension follows after the report of a probe by Detective Crime Branch which was ordered two days back after the video went viral,” he said. In the over two minutes long video that went viral on May 21, the two policemen were first seen holding the hand of a woman, attired in a black glittery outfit while an old Hindi film song was heard in the background.

One of the cops was seen dancing to the song with the woman while the other was showing currency notes to the woman. Later they both started showering the notes on her.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/2-gujarat-cops-suspended-for-dancing-with-woman-showering-notes/article1-1350494.aspx

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Maharashtra Police notice to mosque asking to refrain from speaking against beef ban in sermons (May 23, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Muslims in the city here are worried due to the issuance of notice to the Masjid-e-Sumayya in B and C colony asking to refrain from allowing sermons and appealing people to participate in any protest rallies against recently enacted beef ban law.

The notice that was issued few days back by Tirangah police station situated near city airport to the secretary of the Mosque has irked the community people who are viewing this as an attempt to polarize the social environment and to curtail fundamental rights of the people by the BJP led state government.…

Leaders and representatives from different political parties including MIM and Congress on Friday met city SP Premjit Singh Dahiya and demanded strict action against PI Subhash Rathod who has issued the said notice.…

http://twocircles.net/2015may23/1432378341.html

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28 years after massacre, FIR missing from court records (May 23, 2015, Times of India)

Twenty-eight years after the Maliana massacre, the trial in the case has hit a dead-end as the FIR has gone missing from the records and the sessions court has refused to continue with the trial, shrouding the victims in a wave of despair.

Seventy-three Muslims were killed in communal riots in Maliana on May 23, 1987, just a day after 43 men from the minority community were allegedly shot dead by PAC personnel in the heart of Meerut, Hashimpura. Shockingly, the latest development in the Maliana case comes just two months after all the accused PAC personnel in the Hashimpura massacre were acquitted by a trial court.…

“The FIR was lodged 28 years ago. We don’t have any record of it today at the police station,” Prashant Kapil, in charge of the Transport Nagar police station where the case was registered, confirmed on Thursday. He said he had been repeatedly approached by Maliana victims for help.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47391604.cms

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12,000 Urdu books thrown into the Ganga over land dispute (May 20, 2015, The Hindu)

An Urdu library at Munger in Bihar was ransacked and thousands of rare books were thrown into the Ganga last week following a dispute between its management and shopkeepers occupying a part of its land.

Two persons related to the shopkeepers, Yugal Kishore Verma and Naval Kishore Verma, have been arrested, while four named in the first information report are at large, the police said.

“More than 12,000 Urdu books, most of them rare, were thrown into the river last Wednesday,” library secretary Mohammad Farooq told presspersons on Tuesday.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/12000-urdu-books-thrown-into-the-ganga-over-land-dispute/article7225131.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Politics: Where is the governance? – By Sidharth Bhatia (May 23, 2015, The Hindu)

If there is one thing that even the strongest detractors of Narendra Modi acknowledge, it is his mastery over politics. He is a political animal of the old school – he breathes, eats and sleeps politics. He follows it intricately, monitors its nuances and applies it to his decisions. He understands political implications of decisions.

It is this mastery that has helped him not just win elections – for elections are only one part of the political game – but also move to the very top, jettisoning odds that would have overwhelmed anyone else. A stain such as the 2002 riots in a state that he had just taken over would spell the end of a political career and, for some time, it looked like he too would not survive it. But not only has he left it far behind, he has done so without ever giving any detailed explanation, much less apologising for it. People now know him as decisive and action-oriented, not wishy-washy and defensive.

It is thus all the more surprising then that the very same Modi now looks all hemmed in and unable to push his way politically on some of his most marquee legislations. There is a sense that he has not been able to deliver on his promises and the much-vaunted Acche Din are nowhere on the horizon. Moreover, many of his promises remain unkept.…

http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/politics-where-is-the-governance/article7239284.ece

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The Law Of Lopsided Growth – By NK Bhoopesh (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)

Last December, in his address to a group of business leaders Prime MinisterNarendra Modi made a candid declaration of what he believes sets his regime apart from all the previous governments. “Government is generally trapped in an ABCD culture. A means Avoid, B is for Bypass, C for confuse and D for Delay,” he said. “Our effort is to move from this culture to ROAD, where R stands for Responsibility, O for Ownership, A for Accountability and D for Discipline.”

When Modi said this, his government was already well on its way to make the “system” more investment friendly. And there is a certain crystal-clear consistency to how it has gone about the task. There was never an iota of doubt over the BJP’s intent to make India an attractive destination for foreign investment and iron out the rough spots for Indian big business as well. A key component of Modi ‘s strategy to fulfil the ruling party’s intent involves changing the overarching legal framework that governs industry, including laws that impinge on the relationship between the management and workers.

Even as the regime tries to move double- quick on its chosen ROAD, there has been no dearth of critics who question the very assumptions behind the NaMo ‘model of development’. Most of them point out that the fundamental flaw of what the financial press calls Modinomics lies in considering Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole – or even the primary – indicator of development. The critics also argue that tinkering with the legal framework with the single- minded goal of facilitating investment would do away with the existing, though inadequate, social security measures, which might ramp up the growth figures but it would be growth of a lopsided kind that would deny most of the population the right to a share in the benefits of development.…

http://www.tehelka.com/the-law-of-lopsided-growth/?singlepage=1

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Electoral wins or religious peace? – By Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah (May 19, 2015, The Hindu)

As religion increasingly occupies the space of political discourse in India, there is a growing sense of insecurity among the country’s religious minorities. In the wake of a series of attacks on churches in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated for greater religious tolerance and vowed to punish religious violence. Yet, there are few takers within minority communities that things will change for the better.

Mr. Modi’s statement should not come as a surprise. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rarely speaks out against religious intolerance toward minorities but neither does it publicly defend it. This is very much a political tactic, part of the larger strategy – what we describe as ‘soft Hindutva’ – that was at play in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. At its heart is the idea that the BJP will do just enough to mobilise the majority Hindu vote in its favour without necessarily attacking other communities. It also enables the party to reach across the caste divide.…

Soft Hindutva is deeply damaging for India. Whatever its supporters may say, the strategy marginalises other communities. While most Hindus may believe that the religion is completely tolerant and open-minded, people from minority communities do not see it the same way. They are unable to make the distinction between hard and soft Hindutva. If there is no political party that can articulate minority interests forcefully at the national level, religious minorities will feel even more marginalised.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/electoral-wins-or-religious-peace/article7220396.ece

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Cracks begin to show in Modi government – By Vivek Dehejia (May 10, 2015, Live Mint)

…As the government approaches its first anniversary in office, a number of worrying missteps and miscalculations by finance minister Arun Jaitley, or at any rate officials within his ministry, are conspiring to undercut Modi’s own efforts to jumpstart the Indian growth story.

The spectre of retrospective taxation, and of the minimum alternate tax (MAT), has earned the ire of foreign portfolio investors, who have been making their unhappiness with the tax regime known by heading, en masse, for the exits. While the overall macroeconomic scenario still remains largely sound at the moment and while some of the recent sell-off is no doubt due to global market developments – such as a resurgent oil price and the possibility, however unlikely, of an increase in US interest rates – for which blame obviously cannot be laid on the doorstep of Jaitley or his officials, it would be folly to deny the minatory impact of MAT in particular on foreign investors’ sentiment.…

What’s more, for a government which, until recently, has apparently been immune from the sort of palace intrigue which hobbled the previous Congress-led government, no doubt due to the towering presence of Modi himself at the top, cracks have begun to appear. Thus, a Reuters report of 7 May cited an unnamed “source” within the BJP who asserted that Modi personally backed Rajan in his feud with Jaitley and that this is what led to the latter’s climbdown. Whether credible or not, such reports, amid a slew of hatchet jobs targeting Jaitley very directly, only serve to reinforce the impression of a finance minister who is besieged from within and facing a credibility crisis from without.…

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/5FLBMyYuf2ARhLXfZQcN0M/Cracks-begin-to-show.html

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Land Wars 2.0 – By Nidheesh J Villatt (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)

…the BJP manifesto included several ‘radical’ promises vis-à-vis rural development and agriculture that farmers had been demanding for a long time. It appeared that the right-wing BJP had plagiarised the demands of the Left-leaning farmers’ organisations. For instance, it promised to “increase public investment in agriculture and rural development, take steps to enhance the profitability in agriculture by ensuring a minimum of 50 percent profits over the cost of the production, cheaper agricultural inputs and credit, introduce latest technologies for farming and high-yielding seeds and link MGNREGA to agriculture, implement a farm insurance scheme to take care of crop loss due to unforeseen natural calamities, strengthen and expand rural credit facilities, institute a price stabilisation fund to protect farmers from volatile world market prices” and more.…

With the BJP riding to power on the crest of these promises, which brought the party a windfall of votes across many parts of rural India, it was no surprise that a large number of farmers, especially in the ‘green revolution’ belts of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, joined the victory celebrations exactly a year ago. Already, many of those who owed allegiance to regional parties had shifted their loyalties to the saffron party. There were reports of farmers hoisting the saffron flag on their rooftops.

Ten months later, when Tehelka visited farmers in Bulandshahr district of western UP, the mood has seen a ‘radical’ shift. “We voted for ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ because the party of the Nehru- Gandhis had neglected rural India,” said a farmer. “But the Modi regime has gone a step further. They are now keen to loot and kill us. That is why we want a ‘Modi Mukt Bharat’ now.”…

http://www.tehelka.com/land-wars-2-0/?singlepage=1

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Aruna Shanbaug’s Death An Indictment Of Justice, Not An Argument For Euthanasia – By Samar (May 22, 2015, Countercurrents)

Aruna Shanbaug’s death does not either present a case for legalizing euthanasia or offer a case against it. Her death has nothing to do with that discourse, legitimate as it may be. Aruna Shanbaug’s case is about the rule of law in India. Her death, following 42 years of life in a vegetative state, confined to a hospital bed, is about the rot that the Republic carries in the form of its criminal justice system.

Aruna did not end up in her vegetative state because of her being afflicted by some illness. She was not an unfortunate victim of an accident. She had gone comatose because a criminal had raped and battered her so brutally that oxygen supply to her brain got cut off and damaged it forever.

The rapist, Sohanlal Bhartha Valmiki, a ward boy at the King Edward Memorial Hospital where Aruna worked as a nurse, did not get punished for his crime; he did not even get charged with rape. One reason for this was because the police did not bother to investigate the crime scene independent of the hospital’s version and find out if there was something more to the crime than robbery and assault.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/samar220515.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 18th, 2015

by newsdigest on May 19, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

“Failure” to prosecute Modi for 2002 riots: Gujarat workers’, activists’ meet blames Indian judicial system (May 12, 2015, Counterview)

As the day draws closer for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to celebrate his one year in office (May 26), a well-attended meeting in Ahmedabad’s town hall sought to sharply focus his “culpability” during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The occasion was the first death anniversary of well-known Gujarat High Court advocate Mukul Sinha, who shot into prominence for cross examination of government officials at the Nanavati Commission, appointed by Modi as Gujarat chief minister to “investigate” the anti-Muslim riots.

The commission’s final report, which is said to have given Modi a clean chit, has still not been made public. Speaking on the occasion, Justice Hosteb Suresh – one of the three members the Indian People’s Tribunal fact-finding team headed by ex-Supreme Court judge VR Krishna Iyer to inquire into the Gujarat riots between March and April 2002 – blamed the justice system of India for failing to persecute Modi. Calling the riots genocide, Suresh, was former Mumbai High Court judge, regretted that the Supreme Court handed over the proceedings against Modi to a judicial magistrate.

Girish Patel, veteran Gujarat high court lawyer, also spoke in a similar tone. Citing the report by Raju Ramachandran, amicus curiae (friend of the court) for the Supreme Court of India in the 2002 Gujarat violence case, Suresh underlined, “Enough material was available made by Ramachandran to prosecute Modi. The Supreme Court should have proceeded with a chargesheet against Modi. Yet, it decided to hand over the proceedings to magistrate. Tell me, which magistrate will dare prosecute him?”…

http://www.counterview.net/2015/05/failure-to-prosecute-modi-for-2002.html

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45 witnesses, all backtracked: How a Hubli case collapsed (May 17, 2015, Indian Express)

He was 23, had just qualified to become a doctor, and was the pride of his doting parents. Then, at around 4 pm on February 6, 2008, a knock on the door changed everything. “I spent seven years in hell. They stole the best years of life. I want to live now, I want my life back,” Allah Baksh Yadwad told The Sunday Express.

On April 30, Yadwad was acquitted by a Hubli court of all charges levelled by the Karnataka Police which claimed he was a member of a “SIMI module” and had participated “in conspiracy meetings aimed at… establishing (an) Islamic government in India”. But a copy of the judgment said it all: the prosecution, relying on Investigating Officer S S Khote, lined up 45 witnesses – including 24 medical students – to prove Yadwad’s guilt, but none of them supported the police version. In the end, the judgment devoted 39 paragraphs to illustrate Yadwad’s innocence.…

Police went on to link Yadwad to Asif, who they alleged had conducted mass prayers, violating rules, at the KIMS hostel. Yadwad alleges that after he was picked up from his home in Hubli, he was threatened, slapped and made to sign on eight blank sheets of paper by police.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/simi-witness-45-witnesses-all-backtracked-how-a-hubli-case-collapsed/

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Cellphone records of 4 of 20 killed blow holes in Andhra police version of massacre (May 19, 2015, Indian Express)

The two FIRs filed by forest officials on the “encounter” near Tirupati on April 7 claim that the 20 alleged “smugglers” killed by Andhra Police and forest guards were chopping and carrying logs of red sanders in the Seshachalam forest the previous night. However, phone records of at least four of the victims, examined by The Indian Express, blow holes in the official version.

A close scrutiny of the Call Detail Record (CDR) reveals that two of them were travelling for most of that night, and arrived at the encounter spot – Chandragiri Mandal near Rangampet village – only at around 2.30 am on April 7, barely three hours before the “encounter”.

The records also show that a third victim had reached the Tamil Nadu-Andhra border, over 100 km from the encounter site, at around 5.30 pm on April 6, while the cellphone of the fourth remained active till at least 7.55 pm on April 10. All four were shot dead on April 7, between 5.30 am and 6 am, by a group of forest guards and members of a police task force formed to prevent smuggling of red sanders, according to the FIRs.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/tirupati-red-sanders-killings-cellphone-records-of-four-of-20-killed-blow-holes-in-andhra-police-version-of-massacre/99/

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Right-wing outfit defaced Delhi signages in bid to draw attention (May 15, 2015, Hindustan Times)

A day after signages named after Muslim personalities were found defaced, allegedly by a right wing political outfit Shiv Sena Hindustan, the police found that they were not just blackened and pasted with pictures, anti-religious slogans were also painted behind them.

Sources from Delhi Police confirmed that it was a hate crime. Signages on both sides of Ferozshah Road, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Tughlak Road, Akbar Road, Humayun Road, Shahjahan Road and Aurangzeb Road were found smeared in black ink around Wednesday midnight.…

The Aam Aadmi Party also issued a statement against the act of sabotage on Friday.… “The Modi-led government is helping right wing groups in talibanising the country… It seems that the dream of ‘achhe din’ marketed by our PM and his campaign managers also include days when intolerance would be at its height,” the statement added.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/newdelhi/right-wing-outfit-defaced-delhi-signages-in-bid-to-draw-attention/article1-1347678.aspx

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Death after clash sparks communal tension in Muzaffarnagar (May 15, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Tension gripped Muzaffarnagar district following a clash between two people of different communities, resulting in the death of one on Thursday in Dahakheri village under Sikhera police station area. Police force from nearby police stations was rushed to the village to prevent any further untoward incident.

The incident took place following a minor argument between one Sanjeev and Rashid of the same village over payment of a mobile phone. The argument soon turned into a fight and Sanjeev allegedly hit Rashid with a spade resulting in his death.

Soon, members of the deceased’s community reached the police station and gheraoed it demanding arrest of the culprit. The situation was reportedly tense till last reports came in.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/death-after-clash-sparks-communal-tension-in-muzaffarnagar/article1-1347356.aspx

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ICHR dissolves advisory panel comprising Romila Thapar & Irfan Habib (May 16, 2015, Times of India)

The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has disbanded the advisory committee of its journal comprising 21 eminent historians from around the world, including Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib.

The council’s member-secretary Gopinath Ravindran opposed the decision taken during a meeting of the journal’s editorial board held this week, people familiar with the matter told ET. The decision to disband the committee is among the first taken by the country’s top historical research body after it was reconstituted by the NDA government in January.

The Indian Historical Review is the refereed journal of the ICHR that has been publishing research work in history since 1974. It is one of the few Indian journals found on the prestigious Thomson Reuters list. The panel was disbanded in a meeting of the journal’s editorial board, headed by ICHR Chairman Y Sudershan Rao, on Tuesday.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47308063.cms

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HC upholds acquittal of three ‘terrorists’ (May 15, 2015, Indian Express)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld a trial court verdict acquitting two Kashmiri men and a Pakistan national accused of being “terrorists”. It also pointed out serious lacunae in the prosecution story. Three years ago, the trial court while acquitting these men had pulled up the Special Cell of the Delhi Police for the probe into the case.

The Special Cell had arrested the three from Dilli Haat in April 2007 claiming that it had received secret information that arms and explosives were to be delivered by the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba to a Pakistani fidayeen in Delhi in order to carry out an attack to disrupt the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the 1857 Revolt.

The court noted that the arms, ammunition, RDX and money, which police had claimed had been brought to Delhi by Shafqat and handed over to Hassan – was not recovered from the accused in front of public witnesses.… Further, the court held that the hand grenades that were allegedly recovered from the accused had never been produced before the court as evidence and no explanation had been given to explain their absence.&hellip

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/hc-upholds-acquittal-of-three-terrorists/

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Keep Taj free of controversy: guides (May 14, 2015, The Hindu)

The legal case on the plea to declare the Taj Mahal a Shiva temple took an interesting turn on Wednesday with several tourist bodies in Agra asking the district court not to allow the monument to become a “Babri Masjid.”

Lawyer Harishankar Jain, and five others, had moved the court with the plea that Hindus should be allowed to offer worship at the Taj Mahal which they said was a Shiva temple once. Their petition wanted the court to direct the authorities to restrain any religious activity by Muslims and remove all graves from the premises.…

At the hearing, the Approved Guide Association sought to intervene. “The Taj Mahal is a major tourist attraction and a symbol of national pride not only for Agra but also for the entire country. The Mughal monument should not be made controversial. The court should ensure that it is not turned into another Babri Masjid,” Vireshwar Nath Tripathi, an office-bearer of the association, said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/taj-mahalshiva-temple-controversy-guides-dont-want-controversy/article7202408.ece

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Another witness in rape case against Asaram’s son attacked in Haryana (May 13, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Unidentified assailants on Wednesday shot at a key witness in the alleged sexual abuse cases against arrested self-styled godman Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, in Haryana’s Panipat district, police said.

Mahender Chawla, who was attacked by two unidentified persons at a village on the outskirts of Panipat, received bullet injuries on his shoulder but is said to be out of danger. Chawla is the sixth witness in the case to be attacked – two of them killed – ever since the father-son due was arrested in 2013 in separate cases of alleged sexual abuse.

In February, a prosecution witness was stabbed at a court premises in Jodhpur, while another was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district in January, both crime suspected to have been committed by followers of the controversial godman. Both Asaram and Sai are lodged in a prison in Rajasthan.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/another-key-witness-in-narayan-sai-case-attacked-in-haryana/article1-1346726.aspx

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Punjab police summoned by caste commission after ‘violent’ crackdown on dalit protesters (May 14, 2015, Daily Mail)

The Punjab Police are in the dock for cracking down on the dalit students who were protesting against private bus owners on May 6 in Faridkot.

The police action has now come under the scanner of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), which has taken notice of the circumstances under which the students were arrested.

NCSC vice-chairman Dr. Rajkumar Verka, who was approached by the families of 14 arrested students, asked the officers to appear before the panel on May 15.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3082400/Punjab-police-summoned-caste-commission-violent-crackdown-dalit-protesters.html

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Opinions and Editorials

One Year Of Modi Rule: India Gangrened! – By Jagadish G Chandra (May 16, 2015, Countercurrents)

India’s capitalist democracy has surely turned a page in the 21st century. A thousand headed Cobra has come-off its age and has started vexing its fangs, spewing out the deadly venom of communalism in all directions.… Modi, took the reins of power with a slogan of ruling India for 60 months, at least. But within the first 12 months itself the Modi led BJP’s regime has created an extreme fear psychosis in the minds and hearts of India’s multitudes. One is reminded of the mythological fable in which hundreds of snakes coming out, one after another from the huge anthills, spitting out poison.…

If one draws a balance sheet of Modi’s first 12 months in power it is nothing but a regime which has directly and indirectly polarised the Indian society on the lines sectarianism, casteisim and communalism. The increasing clamor for a countrywide Beef ban by the Hindu fundamentalist forces is only a tip of the iceberg, which is waiting to explode to a wider anti-Dalith, anti-Muslim and of other persecuted sections. This attempt of imposing a mono-food culture in a multi cultural and multi faceted society is bound to have serious repercussions on the entire Indian population.

The poisonous slogan of “We are all Hindu – We are all one” is certain to turn into a communal gangrene. This false and pseudo uniformity is professedly anti-progressive, anti-egalitarian and anti-women. This has to be challenged unreservedly and unequivocally by mass working peoples’ mobilisations cutting across all sectarianism and all divisions that divide us.

http://www.countercurrents.org/chandra160515.htm

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Resist Degradation Of Indian Criminal Justice System! – By Concerned Citizens (May 14, 2015, Countercurrents)

The undersigned civil society organizations and concerned citizens have taken serious note of a news report (IE May 11, 2015) about the intimidation of a retired judge, Ms Jyotsana Yagnik, who, in her capacity as special judge had, in August 2012, convicted former Gujarat BJP minister Maya Kodnani, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 30 others in the 2002 massacre of 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya.…

The Indian criminal justice system is being politically degraded with every passing day. With regard to the violence in Gujarat in 2002, there have been instances of several encounter-accused policemen being re-instated and cases against them being quietly dropped. Meanwhile in Maharashtra, there is no sign that the murderers of Narendra Dabholkar and Gobind Pansare will ever be caught. In Bihar, the acquittals of those accused of massacring Dalits in Shankarbigha and Bathani-tola show that the justice system is incapable or unwilling to punish those who commit mass crimes. Now we have an upright judge being threatened, whilst murder convicts guilty of heinous crimes are out on bail, and suspended policemen obtain re-instatement.

An onslaught on justice is taking place in broad daylight. It is now clear that the Modi-led government finds India’s criminal justice system and independent judiciary to be an obstacle blocking its long-term plans. The incidence of prejudice in the courts is nothing new – the 1984 pogrom inaugurated a new era in the erosion of Indian justice. The NDA government has given impetus to this process. The ideological hooligans of the so-called ‘Sangh parivar’ are convinced they are above the law. Corruption does not merely have monetary implications. The erosion of judicial independence taking place before our eyes is also corruption. Building trustworthy public institutions is a prolonged process that takes decades. But they can be destroyed very rapidly, especially when state power is used (covertly or openly), to intimidate judges like Ms Jyotsna Yagnik.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/cc140515.htm

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State of religious freedom in India – By Kashif-ul-Huda (May 12, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

It doesn’t take a US Commission to know that religious freedom is shrinking in India but it does help in throwing a light on this subject. There has been a new wave of anti-conversion laws passed since 2000 that takes away individual’s right to choose a religion – a clear violation of fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Article 25 of the Constitution gives citizens of India the right to “profess, practice and propagate religion,” all these rights have come into increased attack in the last few years.

A total of eight states have passed anti-conversion laws. Orissa (1967), Madhya Pradesh (1968), and Arunachal Pradesh (1978) were the early ones. Tamil Nadu (2002), Gujarat (2003), Chhattisgarh (inherited from MP in 2000, amended in 2006), Himachal Pradesh (2006) and Rajasthan (2008) were the new states to pass laws that restricted religious freedom.

A look at the news reports, especially since the new NDA government took office last May, shows the vitriol and hate that Hindu right wing leaders are subjecting Muslims and Christians on a regular basis. That some of these hate mongers are part of the government makes it so much more worst.…

http://twocircles.net/2015may12/1431449921.html

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Framing innocents – By Iftikhar Gilani (May 13, 2015, DNA India)

…Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri tells his own frightening story of the security agencies manipulating such laws in his book, 11 Years Behind the Bars. Mufti was arrested in connection with the Akshardam terror attack on September 24, 2002 in which 32 people died. The Supreme Court had acquitted all the six accused, three of whom were sentenced to death, on May 16, 2014, after the trial court found them guilty. The Gujarat High Court upheld the lower court’s verdict. Seeing through the plot in the carefully crafted story of the Gujarat Crime Branch, the apex court saved Mufti from the hangman’s noose. The two-judge bench of the court remarked that “Fiction must make sense,” a tell-tale comment on the sinister and fake narrative put together by the investigators.

It is true that “national security concerns” have attained the status of a holy cow. Nobody dares to question a narrative which hinges upon “national security”. The Mufti case, too, bears stark testimony to this dreadful phenomenon. No politician – barring a few honourable exceptions – raised the issue or even questioned Gujarat Crime Branch how it cracked the case, within days, of the case being transferred to it from the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). The ATS, which was originally entrusted the investigations, was groping in the dark for a year. The gullible media lapped up the stories. For them, the story could be based only on the official version.

Democracy requires a culture of accountability. Unfortunately, we, being a young democracy, have not been able to internalise the fundamental values of a democratic culture. The lack of accountability has led to the emergence of parallel power centres within the government.… I believe, the plot, the melodrama, and the tricks involved in the Akshardham case have not ended. The tactics used by the Gujarat Police, I do believe, are still at work against someone vulnerable by the same or another group of investigating officers.

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-framing-innocents-2085321

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A bad seven days for Indian justice – By Soutik Biswas (May 13, 2015, BBC)

In three separate cases, high profile and influential individuals – a Bollywood star, a powerful politician, and a former business baron – were allowed to walk free by appeals court despite being found guilty by lower courts.

The actor was found guilty of running a vehicle over people sleeping on the street, the politician of amassing unaccounted wealth and the former business baron of corporate fraud.

The wheels of justice grind slowly in India – more than 30 million cases are pending in its courts and more than a quarter of them have been unresolved for at least five years. Snail justice ends up benefitting the rich as witnesses can be intimidated and bought and political pressure and money power can be used to influence and subdue prosecutors and sometimes judges.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32716847

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Backlash against Dalits who dare shows the stranglehold of the caste system in India – Editorial (May 13, 2015, DNA India)

The stoning of a Dalit marriage party in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district by upper caste villagers because the groom dared to ride a horse and his family dared to take out a baraat procession is a testimony to the social realities of rural India. The televised visuals of the groom, Pawan Malviya, wearing a helmet, a mandatory safety equipment for motorcyclists, while riding a horse, vividly explains the contradictions of India’s tryst with modernity.

Riding a horse is viewed by the upper-castes as their tradition, and Dalits, denied such privileges for long, would also like to partake in such traditions. Though the Constitution banned untouchability, gave the Dalits the same right to vote as the upper-castes, and legislations enacted since have penalised untouchability in all its forms, oppressive practices continue to be reported with alarming regularity.

Nevertheless, many Dalits have been freed of the economic shackles related to occupational mobility and property ownership that the caste system had imposed on them. It is evident that the act of riding a horse, carrying a sword, and taking out a procession was a manifestation of Dalit aspirations of being seen as social equals. The backlash against Dalits who use public space with confidence and pursue customs that were once the preserve of upper castes indicates that reactionary mindsets are still a dominant strand in Indian society.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-india-s-shame-2085315

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 11th, 2015

May 12, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat judge Jyotsana who convicted Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi gets 22 threat letters Media became Modi’s cheerleaders instead of analysing his politics: Rajdeep Sardesai BJP, RSS trying to replace India’s secular traditions with “neo-fascist” system: Left A Muslim ‘terror accused’ tells his account of frame-up and torture Stop […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 6th, 2015

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In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bihar CM Nitish Kumar demands BJP’s explanation for 2002 Gujarat riots 1992 Jalandhar fake encounters: 8 ex-cops get life sentence Main accused in Patna blast case arrested Babri Masjid demolition case: Courts are ‘the only way ahead when accused are in govt’, says Haji Mehboob Muslims have […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 23rd, 2015

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In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 27 yrs after Hashimpura massacre, 4 who survived watch 16 cops walk free Hashimpura massacre: A perfect case of miscarriage of justice, legal expert says Dahod clash: Bail plea of six rejected, Muslim body demands probe by senior officer Ruthless ATS framed me in terror case Record […]

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