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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 18th, 2016

by newsdigest on July 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Kashmiris rush to help injured Amarnath pilgrims in bus accident (Jul 14, 2016, Indian Express)

Kashmir, which has seen violence over the last few days, on July 13 witnessed a display of humanity and religious brotherhood when local people in Bijbehara rushed to the help of a group of Amarnath pilgrims after their bus met with an accident in which two persons were killed.

The bus, en eroute from Baltal to Jammu, collided with a truck at Sangam in Bijbehara, killing a pilgrim Pramod Kumar of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and local driver Bilal Ahmad Mir of Kangan and injuring 23 others. When the news of the accident reached the locals, they defied curfew and reached the spot and began evacuating the injured pilgrims. The yeoman’s service of the local Muslims found praise from the rescued yatris.

Around 50 local people came to evacuate the injured after the accident, said AK Arora from Meerut in a two-minute video, which has gone viral on social networking sites. “If anyone wants to understand humanity, learn it from people of Kashmir. I felt the true value of humanity from the people of Kashmir. They came to our rescue at a time when we were abandoned by even fellow pilgrims and army,” he said. He said he has “witnessed humanity for the first time”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmiris-display-humanity-rush-to-help-injured-amarnath-pilgrims-2911966/

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Cops “tipped” Gujarat’s cow protecting Shiv Sainiks, who tied Una Dalits to SUV, assaulted them with iron rods (Jul 19, 2016, Counterview)

Amidst Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel ordering CBI probe into the assault on four Dalit youths with iron rods after tying them with SUV in order to punish them for seeking to skin a dead cow in a village near Una town of Saurashtra region, it has come to light that it was the local cops who had “tipped” the attackers.

Quoting police sources, one of the most well-informed Gujarat-based scribes, Prashant Dayal, has said in a personal blog that the “police control room of Una had passed on information” to the attackers on July 11, following which the vigilante group of cow protectors reached the village, Mota Samadhiyala, where the Dalits were skinning the dead cow, and beat them.

The four were later taken to Una town, where they were tied to SUV and hit with iron rods. While the Gujarati blog calls it a “small mistake” or a “misunderstanding” which, it says, “triggered” the events that followed, leading to violent Dalit protests all over Gujarat,… Meanwhile, the four cops, responsible for tipping the Shiv Sainiks, have been suspended.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/07/cops-tipped-gujarats-cow-protecting.html

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Family of Slain Man in India May Be Charged With Cow Slaughter (Jul 14, 2016, New York Times)

Nearly a year after a mob bludgeoned to death a Muslim man, Mohammad Ikhlaq, over rumors that he had illegally killed and eaten a cow, a court ruled on Thursday that villagers could open a criminal case against the dead man’s family for cow slaughter.

The killing in Dadri, in northern India, in September came amid a rising mood of conservative Hindu nationalism in India and set off passionate debate about religious tolerance. Nineteen men face murder charges in Mr. Ikhlaq’s killing.…

Sanjay Rana, the father of one of the suspects, said the group would file charges against seven people, including Mr. Ikhlaq’s brother, wife, sons and daughters.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/world/asia/family-of-slain-man-in-india-may-be-charged-with-cow-slaughter.html

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Rana Ayub fears for her Gujarat Files (Jul 18, 2016, The Hindu)

The author of the recently published book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up , Rana Ayub, is apprehensive that the Bharatiya Janata Party will take legal recourse to block the circulation of her book, which, she claims, sold more than 30,000 copies without much of publicity.

The book, which was released last month, contains previously unpublished transcripts of sting operations conducted by Ms. Ayub during the eight-month undercover stay in Gujarat. The transcripts document the violence that took place prior to the consolidation of power of the BJP in Gujarat in the wake of the 2002 communal riots.

At a recent event here, Ms. Ayub said her actions were constantly being monitored by the Centre. “Every word I write will be under the scrutiny of the Modi government. They are not silent but silently observing me. They are waiting for me to make the first mistake,” she said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/rana-ayub-fears-for-her-gujarat-files/article8863509.ece

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Four RSS activists arrested in relation with Kerala CPI(M) worker’s murder (Jul 17, 2016, Indian Express)

Four RSS activists have been arrested here today in connection with the July 11 murder of a 38-year old CPI(M) worker over political rivalry in the politically volatile Payyannur district, police said.

A team led by Payyannur Circle Inspector V Ramesh arrested Vysakh (21), Sukesh (29), Prejithlal (21) and Anoop (21), all hailing from the district, they said.

The arrested men were among the eight persons identified as accused in the case. The four allegedly had direct involvement in the crime and the others will also be nabbed soon, police said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/four-rss-activists-arrested-in-relation-with-kerala-cpim-workers-murder-2919825/

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Zakir Naik victim of mediawitch-hunting, says Cong MLA (Jul 19, 2016, Times of India)

Firebrand Congress MLA Imran Masood on Monday came out in support of TV preacher Zakir Naik saying that he had become a victim of media witch-hunting and security agencies though he never advocated terrorism.

“If at all he has to be booked then the government should first arrest Sadhvi Prachi for appealing to make India free of Muslims,” said the newly appointed UPCC vice-president, who was arrested for hate speech during the 2014 elections.

“Have you heard Sadhvi Prachi’s speeches? Don’t they incite people of one community against others? But no action is being taken against her. Even the prime minister is maintaining a studied silence,” Masood said, adding that the country was passing through its most dangerous phase under the Modi government.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53273795.cms

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Kashmir unrest: NHRC issues notice to Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of State (Jul 20, 2016, Indian Express)

Taking cognizance of the numerous casualties and injuries in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the state calling for reports in the matter.

The commission has given two weeks time to the concerned authorities to respond in this regard. Issuing a statement, NHRC said that it is closely watching the incidents of violence in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahiden commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with the security forces on the July 8.…

After Burhan’s death, Kashmir is on boil and more than 40 people have been killed and over 3,000 including 1,600 civilians injured in clashes between youth and security men during protests.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-unrest-nhrc-issues-notice-to-union-home-secretary-and-the-chief-secretary-of-state-2923968/

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ATS wants jail term for filing fake IS complaints (Jul 18, 2016, Times of India)

After investigating hundreds of fake complaints about ‘Daesh men’, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has requested the state government to make filing such complaints a punishable offence. The proposal will first be studied by the state’s law and judiciary department before the government takes a decision.

In the last eight months, the state ATS, crime branch and city police received around 300 such bogus complaints, including one against the 80-year-old imam of a Vikhroli mosque. Till date, no arrests have been made on these complaints but 300 people were investigated and released after verification. The incidents traumatized the victims’ families who had to suffer for weeks before they got a clean chit.

The ATS wrote to the government after hundreds of such false ‘tip-offs’. “At present, we simply reprimand the applicant if we can locate him. The proposal to the government talks about making such applications a cognizable offence,” said a police official.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53272829.cms

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Two more Gurgaon cops held in Gadoli fake encounter case (Jul 13, 2016, Indian Express)

Two policemen were arrested in Gurgaon Tuesday in connection with the killing of Haryana gangster Sandeep Gadoli. The two were identified as Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav.

The Mumbai Police Special Investigation Team (SIT), acting on a tip-off, found them at Gurgaon police lines, same place from where it had earlier arrested Police Sub-Inspector Pradhuman Yadav, who led the Haryana police team that killed Gadoli on February 7, a source said.

A senior IPS officer said, “We arrested Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav, the two constables who were part of the five-member team that killed Gadoli, on Tuesday afternoon. They were brought to Mumbai by evening. In the CCTV footage of the hotel, Jitendra Yadav is seen carrying a weapon. We will produce them before the local court on Wednesday to seek their custody,” he added. “They are not cooperating with the probe at all,” the source said, adding, “We would want to bring the duo face to face with Pradhuman and interrogate them together.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/two-more-gurgaon-cops-held-in-gadoli-fake-encounter-case-2910172/

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After AYUSH Ministry Story, Police Asks Milli Gazette Why Licence Shouldn’t Be Suspended (Jul 13, 2016, The Wire)

A “reader supported newspaper” which claims that it is there to “help Muslims get a stronger voice”, Milli Gazette has in its latest edition reported that ever since it carried a report in early March, titled ‘We don’t recruit Muslims: AYUSH ministry’, it has been “facing an existential threat from the Modi government”. The paper has been served a police notice asking why its declaration should not be cancelled, they said.

In its July edition, editor Zafarul Islam Khan has written an article stating that the threat being faced by the organisation now is the gravest in its 17 years of existence. This is despite it having faced many threats earlier, including death threats to Khan.

The government is being harsh on the newspaper, Khan said. The Delhi police licensing office (directly under the union home ministry) wrote to Milli Gazette on May 30 asking why the newspaper’s declaration or licence should not be cancelled.…

http://thewire.in/51376/mili-gazette-licence-ayush-ministry/

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Republican convention: India should protect all religious communities from violence, discrimination (Jul 19, 2016, Indian Express)

Describing India as a “geopolitical ally” of the United States, the Republican party has asked New Delhi to protect all its religious communities from violence and discrimination as well as permit greater flow of FDI.

The Republican manifesto released by the party after its formal approval said that Indian ancestry had made notable contributions to the US.

“India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. The dynamism of its people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world,” it said. “For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination,” it said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/republican-convention-india-should-protect-all-religious-communities-from-violence-discrimination-2923263/

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Opinions and Editorials

Vigilante groups beat and kill to protect cows in India – By Parth M.N. (Jul 20, 2016, Los Angeles Times)

…While cow vigilante groups have been active in India for years, commentators believe they have been emboldened after the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with close ties to Hindu radical groups, came to power in May 2014 and Narenda Modi ascended to the office of prime minister.…

Modi has not been prompt in denouncing killings, and his language has been far from forceful. As recently as July 11, four Dalit men were stripped, tied to an SUV and beaten up in broad daylight in Gujarat, the home state of Modi. The victims had brought dead cows from another village and were skinning them when a group of six accused them of cow slaughter and took turns beating them.

As a result, though, massive protests by Dalit groups have erupted and spiraled across Gujarat, triggering violence that left one police officer dead. Mobs have taken to streets, torched state buses, blocked roads and, outside one district official’s office, dumped truckloads of carcasses.… Despite the obsession of some to protect the cow, India ironically remains one of the largest exporters of beef.

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-cow-terror-snap-story.html

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India should be ashamed of charging Akhlaq’s family with ‘cow slaughter’ – By Arpan Acharya (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

I did not think that as a society we could stoop this low. A trial has been ordered against Mohammad Akhlaq’s family for cow slaughter. In any civilised nation the Dadri lynching case would have provoked an outcry and seen the guilty punished. Akhlaq’s family must surely be wondering how they are the ones at the receiving end of the legal process. The answer, perhaps, is we are not a civilised nation.

The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have shamelessly jumped into the fray, decrying the lab report that claims the meat was indeed beef. Nobody, however, has the courage to come out and say what would have been said in a civilised society. The provenance of the meat does not matter when a man was pulled out of his house and lynched for consuming it.

It is shameful that people are rejoicing at the court order directing action against the beleaguered family. In their eyes, it somehow vindicates the lynching. A cow is safer than women in most parts of the country. At a time our education and healthcare infrastructure desperately needs funding, we waste resources by creating cow ministries and researching the benefits of cow urine.…

http://www.dailyo.in/voices/dadri-lynching-mohammad-akhlaq-cow-slaughter-beef-ban-sp-narendra-modi-uttar-pradesh/story/1/11765.html

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In ‘Hindutva or Hind Swaraj,’ a Warning Against Hindu Nationalism – By Vaibhav Sharma (Jul 18, 2016, New York Times)

The last months of U. R. Ananthamurthy’s life were tumultuous. One of India’s foremost novelists and political commentators, Mr. Ananthamurthy, who died in August 2014 at 81, had threatened to leave the country if Narendra Modi, then leading the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, won the vote in the national election. Mr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks drew vitriol, abuse and death threats from Mr. Modi’s supporters, and he remained under round-the-clock police protection for months.

In June, a political tract Mr. Ananthamurthy wrote during the final stage of his life, the parting shot of a writer who devoted substantial time to warning of the dangers of Hindu nationalism, was published to widespread acclaim. More than two years after Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister, even as many continue to fear that India’s founding values of secularism and diversity are under threat, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s voice has served as an urgent reminder of the perils of majoritarianism and hyper-nationalism.…

Unlike more measured critics of Mr. Modi, who saw his rise through a contemporary social and political context, Mr. Ananthamurthy, with his novelist’s temperament, mounted his criticism in ethical, psychological and civilizational terms. “People like Modi,” Mr. Ananthamurthy writes, “live in a gumbaz, a dome that echoes what they say to themselves over and over again.” Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister has been followed by, as many feared, a climate of hostility toward minorities and renewed assaults on civil society and free expression.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/books/in-hindutva-or-hind-swaraj-a-warning-against-hindu-nationalism.html

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Has TV News Given Up The Ghost On Kashmir? – By Vikram Kilpady (Jul 14, 2016, Outlook)

From blanket coverage of the protests in Kashmir on TV immediately after Burhan Wani’s encounter killing to the near pindrop silence now, what has changed that has put Kashmir off the menu of news TV?

Given the lack of coverage one would imagine that all is “normal” in the state which otherwise is in turmoil as evidenced by activity on twitter. That too is being curtailed with the Modi government allowing its trolls to put forth the Parivar’s view on social media while snuffing out Kashmiri voices from accessing the Internet and Twitter or Facebook to report their anguish to the rest of India and the world.

Not all is well. Omerta has been necessitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s admonishment of the media for “making Wani a hero” and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu killing any anti-mainland view by asking how can any “Indian have sympathy for Burhan Wani?”. Or, even worse, the newshounds have given up the ghost on Kashmir.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/blog/story/has-tv-news-given-up-the-ghost-on-kashmir/3774

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‘Mockery’ of Democratic Process – Editorial (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

In 2013, in the course of hearing a petition filed by the Extrajudicial Execution Victims’ Families Association and Human Rights Alert, the Supreme Court had asked the Manipur government whether there was “a war going on” in the state. At the heart of this petition which demands an inquiry into the 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters over the last 20 years by security forces and the state police is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958.

The AFSPA, which was enacted ostensibly to tackle insurgency in the North East (with a modified version for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enacted in 1990), has been a bitterly contentious law. While the government and the Army argue that its draconian provisions are needed to deal with extremist and secessionist violence, the people of the areas and states where it is imposed are clear that it results in military personnel enjoying total impunity and non-accountability for their acts.

In an interim ruling in the same case the Court has made significant statements about the deployment of the act and what it means to the “democratic process” while also questioning the arbitrary definition of an “insurgent.” More importantly, while the Court’s interim ruling has been welcomed by those opposed to AFSPA, what it will mean at the ground level is a matter of speculation. … The Supreme Court’s statements are unambiguous. What remains to be seen is the response of the state and the Army to the interim ruling.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/29/editorials/mockery-democratic-process.html

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Why must Muslims be synonymous with terrorism? – By Rajdeep Sardesai (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

“So, why is it that every terror attack involves a Muslim?” It’s a question that’s asked with rising anger after every terror attack. It’s not an invalid question in the present times (LTTE is now a distant memory and “Hindu” terror was, after all, purely “retaliatory”).… No point listening to a religious preacher telling you that Islam is a religion of peace, that the Quran would never endorse the killing of innocents. The fact is, there are beastly people out there who are killing in the name of the Quran.…

Terror has an address in the eyes of millions and it reads C/O Islam. So, let’s press stop on the denial button and accept that the suicide bomber has won this round: he has ensured that the world is now sharply divided on religious grounds, that any Gandhian belief in peace and brotherhood is a romantic illusion. Now, having got that out of the way, let’s look at where next this narrative of Islamic terror is taking us, especially in a country like India with the third largest Muslim population in the world.…

But if an Asauddin Owaisi chooses to lambast the IS publicly, we don’t really want to listen to him: after all, he belongs to a “Muslim” party, so why should we see him as a credible voice against terror.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/islamic-terror-indian-muslims-isis-islamophobia-akhlaq/story/1/11782.html

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Book Review

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: Harsh Mander
Available at: self-published by Rana Ayyub, 2016; pp 204, Rs. 295..https://www.amazon.com/
Review:
Compelling Anatomy of Communalism and Power (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up is an explosive book. But more than that it is a work of rare and raw courage. It brings to us, at enormous personal peril, harrowing conversations with and stories about men and women under whose watch the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and a string of extrajudicial killings that followed, unfolded. Above all Rana Ayyub’s self-published book throws intensely troubling light on the character and motivations of the political, administrative and police leadership of the Government of Gujarat during the fateful decade beginning with the carnage of 2002.… The result is her book Gujarat Files, one that deserves the closest public attention, debate and introspection. However the book has been largely bypassed by the powerful mainstream media, which is obviously unable to match the singular courage and candour of this young and daring reporter. Her reports were not initially intended for publication as a book. She submitted these first to her editors in Tehelka where she was employed at that time. Her version is that they refused to publish it. As editor, Tarun Tejpal is said to have told her, “Modi is set to be the most powerful man, the PM. If we touch him we will be finished” (p 203).

Ayyub has only one face-to-face encounter with Narendra Modi, before she claims that her story was killed by the editors of Tehelka. This is a somewhat amusing meeting. She describes her 30-minute conversation with him in which he says that his inspirations are Barack Obama and Swami Vivekananda (presumably in that order!). But somewhat surprisingly, the assessment of most senior officers who could be presumed to be favourably inclined towards him is largely uncharitable (except P C Pande), suggesting that he was behind both the carnage and the encounter killings but in ways that he could never get caught. Rajan Priyadarshi indicts him directly for “the killings of Muslims across (the state).” He adds, “He fools everybody and everybody gets fooled” (p 57). K Chakravarthy says that since Modi “has grown up as an RSS cadre, he has to bow to their demands.” Singhal says that “all decisions are taken by the CM,” yet he remains unscathed “because he does not come in the picture directly” (p 47). Ashok Narayan agrees. He says that Modi would not openly ask officers to go slow (p 48). “He would also never write anything on paper. He had his people and through them the VHP and then through them (it would) trickle down to the lower rung inspectors.” He feels though that Modi did “play a role in instigating, like bringing the bodies from Godhra and dilly-dallying on decisions” (p 86).…

From most of Ayyub’s conversations, the most powerful and unsettling portrait that emerges is of the then Home Minister Amit Shah. Rajan Priyadarshi says that Shah boasted to him about how he instigated riots in 1985, and claimed that he confided in him that Ishrat Jahan was detained before she was killed in a fake encounter, and that she was not a terrorist. Both he and G C Raigar speak of pressure from Shah to take illegal action, including even elimination of unwanted persons. All describe Shah as extremely powerful, deriving his vice-like control over the police administration by his proximity to Chief Minister Modi. He appears over and over again in these secretly recorded conversations with men and women who worked closely with him, as being closely involved in, and even directing, most of the communal crimes and human rights violations for which the state administration became notorious.…

<ahref=”http: www.epw.in=”” journal=”” 2016=”” 29=”” book-reviews=”” compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html”=””>http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/29/book-reviews/compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 11th, 2016

by newsdigest on July 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Thapar slams Hindutva interpretation of nationalism (Jul 10, 2016, Deccan Herald)

That nationalism has been reduced to waving flags, shouting slogans and penalising people for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ shows “lack of confidence among those making the demand for slogans”, writes Romila Thapar in her new book.

The book, titled ‘On Nationalism’, which she co-authored with legal expert A. G. Noorani and cultural critic Sadanand Menon, addresses one of the hotly debated topic of our times. The veteran scholar says in her article that nationalism has more to do with understanding one’s society and finding one’s identity as a member of that society.

While expressing displeasure with the way right-wing Hindutva forces have interpreted ‘nationalism’ in the light of recent events in Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad, she says that while someone who deliberately abstains from paying taxes is not declared anti-national, someone who doesn’t chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/557000/thapar-slams-hindutva-interpretation-nationalism.html

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MP towns shut on Eid, Hindu groups blamed for forced bandh (Jul 8, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Several towns in the communally sensitive Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh shut down on Thursday, raising allegations of Hindu right-wing organisations orchestrating the unofficial bandh during Eid celebrations.

Reports said the majority of business establishments in Neemuch, Javad and Manasa in Neemuch district and Mandsaur, Shyamgarh and Sitamau in Mandsaur district remained closed and people had a tough time even buying essential commodities on Thursday.…

Congress leader Umrao Gurjar said that people belonging to RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal were behind this and BJP was pressuring the administration to look the other way. “This is an attempt to create animosity between communities,” he said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mp-towns-shut-on-eid-hindu-groups-blamed-for-forced-bandh/story-e2j56tShHUfszUIlRtlkNJ.html

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State Intelligence Dept. gives clean chit to Naik; no arrest on his return to India (Jul 12, 2016, The Hindu)

The Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID) has given a clean chit to controversial preacher Zakir Naik, conceding there is simply no case to be made out against the televangelist for now. Sources in the special team of the SID handling the investigation ordered by the Maharashtra government said Naik will not and cannot be arrested on his return to India.

As part of his preliminary probe, the SID has studied hundreds of YouTube videos and speeches given by the controversial preacher in and out of India. A dossier of evidence has also been received and collected from the other intelligence teams in various states, including Hyderabad, where an ISIS module was reportedly inspired by Naik’s speeches, said a senior official.

“There is no case to be made out against the English-speaking preacher, except maybe the possible charge of hurting religious sentiments, but even that cannot be established from his speeches. We are tracking his movements and only if he speaks out of turn, can we ‘pin’ him down on a charge. For now, we are closely monitoring him,” said a senior police official, who on Monday conveyed the preliminary assessment of the SID findings to the ‘higher-ups’.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/state-intelligence-dept-gives-clean-chit-to-naik-no-arrest-on-his-return-to-india/article8837594.ece

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BJP creating divisions in Kashmir with eye on UP elections: NC (Jul 11, 2016, Indian Express)

Opposition National Conference (NC) on July 11 accused the BJP of “creating division” in the society “with an eye on the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh”.

“BJP has let down the people. Instead of solving their problems, the party is indulging in petty politics of dividing various segments of the society, not only to conceal its own failures, but with an eye on the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh elections,” said NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana.

He cautioned the saffron party against “converting the state into a hate theatre” saying the “misadventure” could have serious political and strategic ramifications.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bjp-creating-divisions-in-kashmir-with-eye-on-up-elections-nc-2907712/

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Home Ministry declines to reveal details of officer who probed Ishrat files (Jul 10, 2016, Indian Express)

The Home Ministry has declined to share details of file notings related to extension of service granted to senior IAS officer B K Prasad, who went into the missing files related to the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan, saying being an adjunct to proposal of a Cabinet panel it cannot be disclosed.…

As the file notings in this regard are an adjunct to an Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) proposal, the same is exempted under Section 8 (1) (I) of the transparency law, it said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.…

Prasad, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, was due to retire in May end. He was granted extension for a period of two months with effect from June 1, 2016 to July 31, an official order had said without mentioning the reason behind it.… The officer was recently in news for allegedly “tutoring” witnesses in the missing files case, a charge denied by him. The Home Ministry had recently asked an RTI applicant to prove he is Indian before disclosing details on the extension given to Prasad.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/home-ministry-declines-to-reveal-details-of-officer-who-probed-ishrat-files-2904901/

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Akalis burnt Quran in attempt to defame AAP: Kejriwal in Malerkotla (Jul 4, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal said here on Monday that “some forces are working to divide the country on communal lines”. Speaking at an Iftar party hosted by AAP supporters in Punjab’s only Muslim-majority town, Kejriwal also rejected allegations that his party’s MLA Naresh Yadav was involved in the sacrilege of the Quran that had led to violence here on June 24. Instead, he blamed Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is the BJP’s partner in the central government too, for it.

“Akalis have stooped so low… If they had to defame AAP, they could have done it any other way. But what was the need to burn the Quran?” he said at the gathering that saw scores of people and was held even after the police imposed section 144 of the CrPC (criminal procedure code) restricting assembly of more than 10 persons at a place.…

Kerjiwal concluded his speech telling the people to “pray that God save the country from divisive forces that are triggering communal tensions”.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/kejriwal-at-iftar-in-malerkotla-akalis-burnt-quran-trying-to-defame-aap-forces-trying-to-divide-country/story-grHOYKU7ShUVDeZ5zAHIPI.html

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Pansare murder: Bombay HC refuses bail to Gaikwad, says the crime shocked society’s conscience (Jul 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Pointing out that the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare had “shocked the conscience of society”, the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant bail to main accused in the case Sameer Gaikwad. “Looking at the enormity of charges, this is not a fit case for granting of bail to the accused,” the court said.

Gaikwad, a member of controversial right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in Sangli on September 16, 2015 by the special investigation team of Maharashtra Police. Appearing for Gaikwad, Sanjeev Punalekar had argued that he should be granted bail as he cannot be kept in “continued pre-trial detention if the trial is not going to be completed in reasonable time”.…

The court also pointed to the evidence which had come to light while Gaikwad’s phone was under surveillance and he had conversed with his colleagues and the woman he loved. Pointing to one conversation with his lover, which the prosecution argued showed extra-judicial confession by him, Gaikwad had said, “Pansare is done, now should I take action against Nikhil Wagle (journalist.)?”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pansare-murder-hc-refuses-bail-to-gaikwad-says-the-crime-shocked-societys-conscience-2907992/

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Indian government is targeting NGOs yet again, claim non-profit workers (Jul 9, 2016, Scroll.in)

Should board members and trustees of non-profit organisations be treated as “public servants” if they are partially funded by the government? If NGOs receive foreign funding, should their office bearers be made to declare their assets to the public?

India’s non-profit sector has been grappling with these questions for more than two weeks, ever since the Union government issued a notification to bring large numbers of NGOs under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013. The notification, issued on June 20, specifies that the Lokpal law will now apply to any registered society, trust or non-profit organisation receiving annual government grants of Rs 1 crore or more, or receiving foreign funds worth Rs 10 lakh or more.…

Excluding private companies from the same rules only compounds the belief that the state is attempting to clamp down on dissenting civil society organisations. “The state is encouraging the high participation by foreign entities in for-profit enterprises, but we see no attempt to institute similar measures with regard to non-profit organisations,” said Mander.

http://scroll.in/article/811436/indian-government-is-targetting-ngos-yet-again-claim-non-profit-workers

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Modi govt buried under carpet massive telecom scam of Rs 45,000 crore: Congress (Jul 7, 2016, Indian Express)

The Congress on Thursday accused the Modi government of burying “under the carpet a massive telecom scam of Rs 45,000 crore.”

At a press conference in the national capital, Congress leader RS Surjewala said the scam aims to help Modi Govt’s industrialists friends.

“Latest is a staggering ‘Telecom Scam’ of approximately Rs.45,000 crore plus that is being buried under the carpet by ‘Modi Sarkar’,” party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala alleged at a joint press conference with party spokespersons Shaktisinh Gohil and R P N Singh.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/modi-govt-buried-massive-telecom-scam-of-rs-45000-crore-under-carpet-congress/

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Four Dalits in Gujarat town beaten up with iron rods, dragged for a km with SUV for “possessing” cow beef (Jul 12, 2016, Counterview)

In a second incident of gruesome atrocity against Dalits in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region in a week’s time, four Dalit youths were beaten up and dragged for almost a kilometre, allegedly because they “possessed” cow beef. The incident took place in Una town of Gir Somnath district.

Belonging to Mota Samadiyara village, the Dalits, reportedly, were called to collect a dead cow. Belonging to a community of leather traders, before they could actually reach the place, where they were called, the youths were cornered by a group at the Una bus stand.

According to local sources, the Dalits were stripped half naked, tied to an SUV by chains, and beat up with iron rods in full public gaze. Though a large crowd had gathered at the place, no one seemed to forward to rescue the Dalits. A video is said to have gone viral on the social media.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/07/four-dalits-in-gujarat-town-beaten-up.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Democracy and Political Hindutva – By MR Narayan Swamy (Jul 10, 2016, Thehansindia.com)

The challenge to Indian democracy has always come from those who hate democracy as an idea, those who preach intolerance towards the country’s religious, philosophical and cultural plurality. But the biggest challenge to Indian democracy now, says noted Malayalam writer K Satchidanandan, comes from political Hindutva.

It is a theme that runs through the book, a collection of essays by scholars, artists, activists, journalists, writers, intellectuals, a former judge and a former diplomat. The idea of the book followed the protests of 2015 when several writers, artists, scholars and scientists returned their awards or quit their posts in government institutions to oppose what they said was rising intolerance in India backed by administrative inaction.

It is this intolerance of the “other” that led to three murders that shook the literary fraternity. All three killings were blamed on the Hindu rightwing. The first victim was Narendra Dabholkar, a renowned rationalist who was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle in Pune in August 2013.…

http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Sunday-Hans/2016-07-10/Democracy-and-Political-Hindutva-/240989

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Lesson from Perumal Murugan verdict: Modi could learn much from Savarkar on sex in ancient India – By Manoj Mitta (Jul 10, 2016, Scroll.in)

A Hindu tradition called Niyoga allowed a childless woman to procreate through a man other than her husband. The Madras High Court took judicial cognisance of this tradition in its verdict earlier this week, upholding the freedom of expression of writer Perumal Murugan, much to the umbrage of the Hindu groups opposed to a book depicting it.

Unwittingly, however, the verdict also put in perspective Narendra Modi’s tacit denial of this tradition in the context of its best known symbol, Kunti, the mother of the legendary Pandavas in the Mahabharata. Modi famously claimed, at a corporate hospital in Mumbai in October 2014, that Karna, whom Kunti begot before her marriage, was testimony to the advances made by ancient India in genetic science.…

Savarkar and Ambedkar could not have got away with such irreverence to tradition in today’s India, as evident from the harassment suffered by Perumal Murugan at the hands of state and non-state actors. Hence the value of the Madras High Court judgment goes beyond upholding the freedom to deal with taboo subjects. It has served to expose the corrosive link, however unintended, between Modi’s attempt to glorify Niyoga as genetic science and Murugan’s declaration of his demise as a writer three months later.

http://scroll.in/article/811464/lesson-from-perumal-murugan-verdict-modi-could-learn-much-from-savarkar-on-sex-in-ancient-india

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Taint and thwart – By Anupama Katakam (Jul 22, 2016, Frontline)

On June 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order cancelling the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, (FCRA) registration of the Sabrang Trust, of which the chief trustees are the activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand. The order means that the Sabrang Trust will not be able to receive foreign funding anymore.…

In April 2014, just before the general election that returned Modi as the Prime Minister, the well-known columnist and Gujarat commentator Aakar Patel warned: “Like all tyrants, Modi has a fundamentally primitive view of criticism. Those who oppose him, write against what he says and does, are enemies and he must fix them before they harm him. They should watch out.”

In the same piece, he commented on Teesta Setalvad: “She is a genuine heroine who is being slowly martyred and tortured by Modi, as a disinterested nation looks elsewhere. This is the sort of third-rate pettiness Modi likes descending to because as a nation we allow him to. This constant mischief from Modi keeps Setalvad away from the work Modi is afraid of.”

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/taint-and-thwart/article8815548.ece

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Malegaon Blast Case: Modi Government Has Much to Explain After Pragya Thakur’s Bail Order – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jul 12, 2016, The Wire)

Soon after a special court in Mumbai rejected the bail petition of Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case on June 28, the BJP’s spokespersons raised a storm against the order, calling it an example of ‘judicial oligarchy’. Party leaders even went so far as to criticise the court for not taking into account an earlier report by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In May this year, the NIA had called the original Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) investigation led by the slain officer Hemant Karkare ‘dubious’, rejected all the confessions in the case and dropped all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the ten accused, including Thakur.…

While reviewing the case, the judge concluded that Thakur’prima facie connection with the motorcycle used in the blast could not be ruled out. He also concluded that the NIA and ATS reports both said that Thakur was present at the controversial meeting in Bhopal, in which the plan to bomb the Muslim-majority locality of Malegaon was allegedly hatched. These two factors became the primary basis for denying bail to Thakur.…

http://thewire.in/50838/pragya-thakur-bail-order/

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Now is not the moment – By K. Kannan (Jul 13, 2016, The Hindu)

…There are several provisions in the Constitution which are transitory, such as the number of years of provision for reservation of seats for representation in the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies (Article 334), the time frame when Hindi will substitute English as the lingua franca for official purposes (Article 343), and the special status to Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370).…

The Uniform Civil Code, if brought in now, will be perceived as an apology for hegemony of the Hindu laws over the personal laws applicable to Muslims and Christians, and justifiably so. To B.R. Ambedkar at the time of initiating the dialogue and finalising the draft of the Constitution, it was the obvious choice, for he saw no merit in the role of religion in its application to personal laws.

The truth is that personal laws are what we confront in our personal lives from birth to death, viz. laws of marriage, maintenance, adoption, custody, guardianship of children and succession. Religion is the first affinity at birth and it is carried through at one’s will through the laws that we recognise as personal to him/her. If we withdraw the personal laws by force, we trench upon the most intimate emotion of an individual.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/k-kannan-on-uniform-civil-code-now-is-not-the-moment/article8840401.ece

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For Muslims, primarily – By Faizan Mustafa (Jul 13, 2016, Indian Express)

… The AMU is a 96-year old institution, but it was only in 2005 that the university provided for 50 per cent reservation for Muslims of India. Since 1958, when it delivered its verdict in the Kerala Education Bill case, the Supreme Court has consistently held that minority institutions are primarily for minorities and there shall be “only sprinkling of outsiders” in such institutions.

The observation was reiterated by a 11 judge bench of the apex court in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka case: The court lifted the upper limit of 50 per cent minority reservation, which it had fixed in St. Stephens College v University of Delhi. Since minority institutions can be established by religious as well as linguistic minorities, there is no communal angle to such reservation. Moreover, religion-based reservation is prohibited only in state institutions under Article 15(1) and is permissible under Article 30(1).

Article 30 gives minorities the right to “establish and administer educational institutions of their choice” and the Supreme Court has held in the infamous S. Azeez Basha and the Union of India case that the expression “educational institutions” includes university. This repudiates the argument that minorities cannot establish universities. Similarly “governmental aid”, under Article 30(2), does not change the character of a minority institution. Thus the chorus of criticism against AMU’s 2005 reservation policy is flawed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aligarh-muslim-university-amu-muslim-education-reservation-column-2907925/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 4th, 2016

July 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Slamming NIA for not probing her role, court rejects Sadhvi Pragya’s bail plea Samjhauta train blasts: NIA opposes bail of bomb planter Post Godhra riots: Seven convicted for murder by Gujarat High Court Academics, activists see Hindutva stamp in uniform civil code move ‘Muslim-hater’ among 3 held […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 27th, 2016

July 6, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Top activists fighting 2002 Gujarat riots cases fear “extra-legal” move by Modi govt ahead of Supreme Court hearing Special Court questions NIA clean-chit to Sadhvi Pragya, rejects her bail application SP-backed team says even 160 Muslim families left Kairana Prof who criticised Modi, Irani jailed over Lord […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 20th, 2016

June 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre of Muslims Gulberg verdict: SIT to approach High Court on ‘lenient’ sentencing 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 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 13th, 2016

June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out […]

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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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