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News Digest

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 18th, 2017

by newsdigest on October 14, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Indian Americans express outrage over Nuh encounter killing; call for prosecution of police officers involved

UP in the grip of an “encounter mania” under Yogi Adityanath

September 21, 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called for the immediate suspension, arrest and criminal prosecution of the four police officers of Haryana’s Central Investigation Agency, involved in the grisly murder and cover up of Munfaid Hussain, a 30-year old young farmer belonging to the Meo community in the Nuh district of Haryana.

According to a report by a fact-finding team constituted by Citizens Against Hate, Munfaid was ordered by officers of the Haryana CIA to perform work for them on September 15, 2017 a day before he was brutally killed. The deceased was told if he complied they would remove false allegations from his records. Munfaid’s father and father-in-law told him to comply with the officers’ requests to have false accusations against him removed. However, the next morning, Munfaid’s family received the news of his killing.

The fact-finding team found that the police took the victim’s body first to Nalhad Medical College Hospital, Nuh and then to CHC, Nuh and then to a private doctor to get the post-mortem performed before the victim’s family could arrive, in an apparent attempt to tamper with the evidence.

Per the autopsy report, a reddish contusion and firearm entry wounds were found on the front side of the body, along with a deformed metallic bullet found over the right side of second thoracic vertebrae.

“We condemn this police atrocity against an innocent man, in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The members of the victim’s family should be given witness protection immediately, in order to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into this murder,” added Mr. Khan.

What makes this encounter especially egregious are the discrepancies between the official police account and the corroborating accounts of the local physicians’ statement of not complying with an illegal post-mortem ordered by the police officers. In addition, the account of three witnesses, the father of the victim and the testimonies of the villagers speaks volumes about the high levels of impunity in the state apparatus, tasked with protecting the lives of citizens.

Munfaid’s murder by the State is the sixteenth extrajudicial killing of young Muslim men by police in Mewat within the last few years.

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

References:

1. Nuh encounter: A night before killing, Munfaid was called by the police to do their work, reports fact-finding team
http://twocircles.net/2017sep19/416789.html

2. Mewat, Haryana on the Boil After Another Muslim Youth Killed in Staged Encounter
http://caravandaily.com/portal/mewat-haryana-on-the-boil-after-another-muslim-youth-killed-in-staged-encounter/ 

3. ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/2/11775/Police-Encounter-Witnessed-By–3–Frie 
4. ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
https://in.news.yahoo.com/killed-30-old-farmer-munfaid-145700432.html 
5. Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh is in the grip of an encounter mania; Ab tak Attharah (18) and counting
http://www.firstpost.com/india/yogi-adityanaths-uttar-pradesh-is-in-the-grip-of-an-encounter-mania-ab-tak-attharah-18-and-counting-4062869.html 

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Rajasthan Government Protecting Perpetrators of Pehlu Khan Lynching, Says Family (Sep 14, 2017, The Wire)

“This is absolutely wrong. We don’t accept the investigation at all. Those men were RSS and Bajrang Dal agents and that’s the reason why the government is protecting them. Everyone is being sold. All the six men were present on the spot, Abbaji had himself named them before his death. How can they say that they were not present on the spot on the basis of mobile phone data records and set them free? We will take the matter to the Supreme Court. The culprits shall be punished,” Irshad (25), the eldest son of Pehlu Khan, told The Wire.

On April 1 this year, Pehlu and his sons Aarif (22) and Irshad, were on their way home to Nuh from Jaipur. They were stopped and assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes for “illegally” transporting cattle, even after they told them they had the required permit. Pehlu, along with five other men who were beaten, was admitted to a district hospital where he died two days later. While in the hospital, he gave a statement to the police naming six men.…

“The government had already given a clean chit to all the accused even before any investigation took place. In a way, the subsequent ‘investigation’ has only produced a result that is in line with the state home minister’s statement right after Pehlu’s death. This shows how the investigation cannot be trusted. The Supreme Court should set up an independent investigation to monitor all the mob lynchings that happened under the name of cow protection,” Kavita Krishnan, politbureau member of the CPI(ML) told The Wire.…

https://thewire.in/177606/rajasthan-government-protecting-perpetrators-pehlu-khan-lynching-says-family/

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Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Stopped from Meeting Pehlu Khan’s Family (Sep 15, 2017, News Click)

The Karwan-e-Mohabbat today morning reached Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan to pay tributes to Pehlu Khan, the dairy farmer who was killed by cow vigilantes in Alwar on April 1. But the Karwan – led by Harsh Mander, former civil servant and activist writer – was prevented from visiting the place by VHP goons.

The VHP workers were a group of 20-30 people only. But the police failed to rein in the goons who didn’t want the Karwan members to pay tributes. Harsh Mander and team sat on the road and protested.…

The Karwan that started from 4th September from Assam, was to travel Jaipur and Ajmer areas today to meet the families of lynch victims. They have travelled to places in Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Mangalore in Karnataka Shamli in UP, Mewat in Haryana and Alwar in Rajasthan. The karwan meets the families of lynch victims to show their solidarity and support with them.…

https://newsclick.in/karwan-e-mohabbat-stopped-meeting-pehlu-khans-family

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Gauri Lankesh murder: Sanathan Sanstha members grilled (Sep 17, 2017, Asian Age)

SIT officials have questioned around 15 people, including members of the Sanatan Sanstha, which is under police radar for years now, in journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder case investigation. Sources privy to the development said that an SIT team is already in Goa, where Sanatan Sanstha’s Ashram is headquartered, while another team is in Mumbai. “The team has already visited the Ashram and SIT officials have spoken to the Sanstha members. They have gathered details required for the probe. Similarly, another team is in Mumbai to question some members of the Sanstha,” an official said.

As the ballistic report suggested that the mechanism of crime and the weapons used in the murders of rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, Dr. M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh had striking similarities, the SIT is investigating whether the right wing Hindu group has any links to Gauri’s murder.

Sanatan Sanstha has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for years now, as those owing allegiance to it were arrested in bomb blast cases in the past. The National Investigation Agency had also issued a Red Corner notice against three of its members, including Rudra Patil, who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the Goa blast in 2009. His role was also suspected in the murder of Govind Pansare.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/170917/gauri-lankesh-murder-case-sanathan-sanstha-members-grilled.html

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Rat poison mixed in water tank of my madrassa, alleges Hamid Ansari’s wife (Sep 18, 2017, Indian Express)

Salma Ansari, wife of former vice-president Hamid Ansari, has accused two unidentified men of mixing rat poison in the water tank of a madrassa run by her in Aligarh. Ansari alleged that when a child of her madrassa went to fill a water bottle at night, he saw two men mixing something in the tank.

She added when the child called them out, they pushed him and ran away. “The child then alerted the warden. Police was called. Several tablets of rat poison were found near the tank,” Ansari told news agency ANI.

It was alleged that the two men also threatened the child with dire consequences and asked him not to report the incident. An FIR under sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC has been lodged against the two unidentified men.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/salma-ansari-rat-poision-found-mixed-in-water-in-madrassa-run-by-former-vp-hamid-ansaris-wife-in-aligarh-4849349/

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Modi’s upcoming Visit to Varanasi: Order telling madrasas to get women to PM talk withdrawn (Sep 18, 2017, Indian Express)

A proposed interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “minority women” during his upcoming Varanasi visit suffered a setback after the local administration on Sunday withdrew its order issuing directives to madrasas in the district for the September 22 event. The order, which assigned each madrasa the responsibility of ensuring the presence of a minimum of 25 “minority women” at the programme, was issued on Friday. The local administration cited protests from madrasas as the reason behind withdrawal of the order.

In the order, Varanasi district’s minority welfare officer R K Yadav had instructed the managers and principals of all aided and non-aided madrasas of Varanasi to ensure the presence of minority women at a DLW auditorium on September 22, when the PM is slated to address them. “….Ukt tithi par alpsankhyak mahilaon ka karyakram stahl par pahunchane ka uttardaitwa apko diya ja raha hai,” it said.…

Diwan Saheb Zaman Khan, general secretary of the Teachers’ Association Madaris-e-Arabia, said, “The order of the state government has been opposed because we are running academic institutions and are not workers of BJP or Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM). It should not be our responsibility to ensure gathering in PM’s programme.” Khan is also principal of the Madarsa Arabic Madinatul Uloom, a government-aided madrasa in Jalalipur area. Zaman also claimed that the Association had asked the administration to withdraw the order.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/modis-upcoming-visit-to-varanasi-order-telling-madrasas-to-get-women-to-pm-talk-withdrawn-4848698/

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Sardesai Says Arnab’s Claim Of Facing Saffron Goons In Gujarat A Lie, He Wasn’t Covering Riots (Sep 19, 2017, Outlook)

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai today called out his former colleague and Republic TV’s co-founder and Managing Director Arnab Goswami over his claim that his car had been attacked in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, during the 2002 riots.

The video of Goswami’s speech that Sardesai, currently a consulting editor at India Today TV (and formerly at NDTV with Goswami), has used to rip him apart on Twitter is an old one. The anecdote being told by Goswami though, is straight out of Sardesai’s book written in the aftermath of the 2014 general elections.

“Fekugiri has its limits, but seeing this, I feel sorry for my profession,” said Sardesai on Twitter.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/sardesai-says-arnabs-claim-of-facing-saffron-goons-in-gujarat-a-lie-he-wasnt-cov/301912

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Jamia, which allowed blast accused Indresh Kumar to speak on campus, cancels public meeting because students called JNU and DU faculty (Sep 14, 2017, Twocircles.net)

The Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) administration is increasingly becoming intolerant to the idea of students and teachers expressing themselves on any issue. A few days after it sent a show-cause notice to a student over a Facebook post, it has now cancelled a public meeting because the students had invited faculty from JNU and DU to speak. This comes a day after the administration had given permission for the meeting.

The public meeting on “Shrinking democratic spaces in universities” was supposed to be held on September 14 at the Safdar Hashmi open air theatre.…

“Initially they had given us all the permission, but suddenly yesterday we received an intimation from Proctor and DSW office that we can’t hold the event. They asked us to drop the speakers who were not from the university and offered us a go ahead if we have three speakers that too from Jamia only,” said Md Aman Qurashi, Jamia student and one of the organisers.…

http://twocircles.net/2017sep14/416566.html

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‘Gory murder’ of RSS woman by Leftist Muslims in Kerala is fake news (Sep 13, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The fake news machinery is at it again. On Wednesday, a video showing a BJP woman supporter being allegedly murdered in Kerala surfaced on social media. The video showed two men on a bike, their faces covered, dragging a woman out of the car. As she struggles to free herself from their clutches, she is ‘shot’ at, collapsing on the ground. A man then addresses the people who have surrounded the body, in Malayalam. The word ‘RSS’ used repeatedly, is the only distinguishable word for those who do not understand the language.

Twitter user @AmiteshK01 posted the video, calling it “another gory murder in Kerala by Commie/Jihadi goons of a lady supportive of BJP”. The text written in Hindi, flashing on the video translates to, “RSS Hindu woman shot dead by Muslims in Kerala”.

But none of it is real – the murder did not happen, the woman did not die. The video was a clipping of a street play performed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) at Kalikavu in Malappuram, a report in Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi noted. The street play was an enactment of the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/gory-murder-of-rss-woman-by-leftist-muslims-in-kerala-is-fake-news/story-qTBw1pPWvsq6mpmy5TnBcK.html

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15 encounter deaths in Yogi’s U.P. (Sep 16, 2017, The Hindu)

As many as 15 persons had been gunned down in police encounters in Uttar Pradesh since the BJP government came to power in the State earlier this year, marking an aggressive stance against criminals.

Nine of the 15 alleged criminals were killed in Western U.P.’s Meerut zone alone. The highest number was in the sensitive district of Shamli with four, followed by three in Azamgarh and two each in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. The remaining were in Chitrakoot, Lucknow, Mathura and Hapur.

The data, released by the police, was collected from March 20 – a day after the Yogi Adityanath government took oath – till September 14. The latest encounter took place in Azamgarh on Thursday when police gunned down one Ramji Pasi, in the busy Ramganj Bazar area. Pasi, wanted in many crimes, had a reward of ₹15,000 on his head.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/15-encounter-deaths-in-yogis-up/article19700184.ece

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BJP Govt waives Rs 2 cr Stamp Duty for Eye Institute run by RSS (Sep 15, 2017, Sabrang India)

Is the decision to waive off stamp duty to Madhav Netralaya is nothing less than taking undue advantage of being in government? ” At a time when the slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan was pushing government to exempt stamp duty to all farmers (stamp duty is currently a 7.50 per cent in Nagpur city) the Madhav Netralaya was liable to pay stamp duty of Rs1,92,29,275.

But the BJP-ruled state government has waived off Rs 1.92 crore stamp duty that was due from Madhav Netralaya – an eye institute and research centre – planned by some prominent RSS activists, on Hingna Road.…

Activists and politicians from opposition parties have criticised the government’s decision. A brochure of Madhav Netralaya available online says Swami Avdeshanand Giriji Maharaj, Suresh ‘Bhaiyaji’ Joshi, union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are on its advisory board. RSS activist Dr Shrikant Andhare is president of Madhav Netralaya, Dr Avinash Agnihotri is general secretary while Nikhil Mundle, who donated the land, is vice president of the institute.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/bjp-govt-waives-rs-2-cr-stamp-duty-eye-institute-run-rss

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Opinions and Editorials

Celebrating Murder – By Dr Walter Fernandes (Sep 17, 2017, Countercurrents)

I was not yet nine but I distinctly remember the day when for the first time I witnessed people celebrating the murder of a person. In Mangalore my home town, on 31st January 1948 members of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha distributed sweets to celebrate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi the previous day.

There have been many more such incidents during the last seven decades. The latest is the celebration of the murder of the journalist and human rights activist Gauri Lankesh by some political commentators, journalists and self-styled nationalists. The main comment was that she got the death she deserved, a dog’s death.

The method is similar in most cases. The so called nationalists begin by demonising the person they hate. Whether they know it or not, most of those they demonise are not just persons. They represent an idea or a vision and that is a threat to them. Such ‘nationalists’ need to demonise that person’s thinking. The Mahatma, for example, represented the idea of secular India in which all religious beliefs would be respected as equal. That was a threat to those who wanted a Hindu Rashtra with no rights conferred on Muslims, Christians and other minorities. A country that belonged to all the religious communities was a threat to such ‘nationalists.’ It meant that the person who propagated that thought had to be got rid of. One of them did it and the rest celebrated his murder.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/09/17/celebrating-murder/

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Targeting rationalists: Voices of reason – By Anupama Katakam (Sep 29, 2017, Frontline)

The murder of Gauri Lankesh is uncannily similar to the killings of Narendra Dabholkar (2013) and Govind Pansare (2015). Both men were shot at close range and no one claimed responsibility. Sadly, investigations seem reduced to mere formality. While activists and the victims’ families try hard to keep the issue alive, there seems little inclination on the administration’s part to nab the culprits or even get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

Whether there is a link between the killers of Gauri Lankesh and those of Dabholkar and Pansare will be revealed when investigations into the case begin. If it is the same group (the modus operandi is identical, according to a police officer), there may be some hope of finding answers to the killing of the two highly respected rationalists who fought relentlessly against blind faith, superstition and other beliefs that they saw as irrational and exploitative.

The two cases have come to the fore again with Gauri Lankesh’s killing. The failure of both State and Central agencies in tracing the assailants so far is apparent. Whether or not the lack of effort is deliberate, the latest murder will hopefully snap investigators out of their inertia. One police officer that Frontline spoke to felt that investigations into those two cases might provide leads in the Gauri Lankesh case.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/voices-of-reason/article9855282.ece

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Karwan-e-Mohabbat: Tragic how Adivasis, Dalits and Muslims are worth less than a cow today – By Harsh Mander (Sep 18, 2017, Dailyo.in)

…On May 2, 2017, the police claimed that someone had reported that a cow was killed in the village. The report filed by the police states that they rushed to the spot and found five men gathered around a recently slaughtered bull.… Four of the men are said to have run away after a chase.

The police managed to catch one of the men, a Dalit, Lebabhai Bhambhibhai and arrested him for the alleged crime of cow (progeny) slaughter. Lebabhai pleaded that he had not killed the bull; he did not slaughter cows or trade their meat. His caste determined vocation was only to skin dead cows. That day he was skinning a bull that was already dead. But the police insisted that he was lying, and beat him up brutally. He complained later to the courts that the police demanded two lakh rupees from him to spare his life and give him freedom. His family was able to raise one lakh rupees but that was not enough.…

This was like a perverse parody of a morality play. One Adivasi, one Dalit, and two Muslims, all charged by the police to have killed a cow, who was not a cow, but a bull. All thrashed brutally by the police, who extorted blood money as the price to stay alive. One of them beaten and humiliated ruthlessly and publicly, in the style of public lynching, so severely that he dies. Truly ours has become a country in which the lives of Adivasis, Dalits, and Muslims are worth less than that of a cow.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gau-rakshak-dalit-adivasi-muslims-karwan-e-mohabbat-law-gujarat-bhilwada-ambedkar-cow-politics/story/1/19566.html

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Godmen’s own country – By Meera Nanda (Sep 29, 2017, Frontline)

…We don’t have an American-style First Amendment that disallows the state from entangling itself with matters of faith, and vice versa. But still, there are some things we can do. If we cannot regulate speech that crosses boundaries between politics and religion, can we not at least regulate the flow of money changing hands between the two spheres? We cannot stop politicos from courting the godmen, but why must we allow them to raid the public treasury to enrich the babas of their choice?

Recall that earlier this year, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao happily took out five and a half crore rupees from the public exchequer to make a gift of gold to the Tirumala temple. The Rs.1 crore or so that the Haryana government has gifted to Dera Sacha Sauda since it came to power is small potatoes in comparison. This is only the cash payment: there are hardly any public records of the grant of lands and other legal/administrative privileges (like setting aside environmental laws to let mega events sponsored by religious bodies, accreditation of religious universities and colleges).

What law in the Constitution prevents us from regulating the money nexus? There has been much talk of anti-corruption laws. Are politically motivated gifts to religious bodies not a form of corruption? Why should they not be regulated and brought under control? We must learn some lessons from the Dera Sacha Sauda fiasco. Otherwise, let us all get ready for many more Panchkulas.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/godmens-own-country/article9855129.ece

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In Rajasthan, BJP faces the first serious challenge to its cow politics – from angry farmers – By Shoaib Daniyal (Sep 17, 2017, Scroll.in)

…Politics around the cow has taken centre stage in India of late, being one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s main planks. The communal polarisation around the issue has helped the party do well electorally. The BJP is now in the government of 16 states and, most recently, won Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. Yet, the cow is not only a religious animal in India – it is also an economic one. The BJP’s focus on cow protection has hit the bovine economy hard. Farmers are finding it difficult to sell cattle. This means falling incomes and increasingly large herds of abandoned cattle that pose a threat to crops.

This squeeze has resulted in a reaction from farmers in the Sikar district of Rajasthan. In response to a call from the All India Kisan Sabha, the farmer’s body of the Communist Pary of India (Marxist), since September 1, farmers gathered in large numbers at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Mandi in Sikar town. They also implemented a chakka jam, roadblock of the major highways crossing the district resulting in a near paralysis.

The farmers were angry at their falling incomes. They demanded loans waivers, better prices and a let up in the draconian rules that now govern the sale of cattle slaughter in Rajasthan. On Thursday, 13 days after the agitation started, the Rajasthan government gave in to the movement and agreed to meet their demands.…

https://scroll.in/article/850889/in-rajasthan-bjp-faces-the-first-serious-challenge-to-its-cow-politics-from-angry-farmers

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Did Allahabad University cancel an event for fear that it was like ‘anti-national’ programme in JNU? – By Shreya Roy Chowdhury (Sep 19, 2017, Scroll.in)

On Saturday, Allahabad University withdrew permission for an event on the Indian Constitution scheduled for Monday, September 18. Called Jashn-e-Samvidhaan, or celebration of the Constitution, it was to be the first in a series of events, together called the “Liberty Festival”. On September 13, the university had granted the festival’s organisers permission to use the Senate Hall for the events, but permission was withdrawn three days later.

During that time, some students had expressed their opposition to the event, with social media posts alleging that the planned programme had the “same content and outline” as the one held at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University in February 2016 to mark the fourth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Activist Manish Sharma, a member of the festival’s organising committee, wrote an open letter to Allahabad University Vice Chancellor Rattan Lal Hangloo after permission was withdrawn. Sharma wrote that Hangloo had mentioned to him on the phone that “…there was…pressure from the Ministry of Human Resource Development” regarding the event.…

https://scroll.in/article/851066/did-allahabad-university-cancel-an-event-for-fear-that-it-was-like-anti-national-programme-in-jnu

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 11th, 2017

by newsdigest on October 8, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

BJP MLA Jeevaraj says Gauri Lankesh would’ve been alive if she had not written against RSS (Sep 8, 2017, Free Press Journal)

D.N. Jeevaraj, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Karnataka, has suggested that senior journalist Gauri Lankesh would have been alive if she had not spoken against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In a video going viral, Sringeri BJP MLA D.N. Jeevaraj made a statement saying, “If she had not written ‘chaddis’ maaranahoma’ (Death of RSS) in her paper that day, would she still be alive today?” Jeevaraj made the statement in reference to an article written by Lankesh titled, ‘Chaddigala Maaranahoma’ meaning ‘Death of the RSS’.

The BJP MLA added, “Gauri Lankesh used harsh words against the RSS workers, and I respect that. But that might have been the reason for her death.” The statement from the BJP MLA has stirred a new wave of controversy, while reports of a complaint being filed against the MLA have also surfaced.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/india/bjp-mla-d-n-jeevaraj-says-gauri-lankesh-wouldve-been-alive-if-she-had-not-written-against-rss/1133832

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Probe finds clues that point to link between Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi killing (Sep 12, 2017, Indian Express)

Investigations have revealed that the “mechanics of the crime” in the September 5 killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, by an unidentified gunman is identical to that of the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada literary scholar M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in north Karnataka.

More than one official familiar with the probe into Lankesh’s killing said that although the investigation remained open in terms of tracking down the killers – and formal forensics and ballistics reports are awaited – there has been a “significant finding” that suggests a link between the killings of Kalburgi and Lankesh.

While an official declined to give details, he said that this finding goes beyond just the speculation so far that both the deaths involved a similar type of weapon. In fact, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said on Saturday that the SIT set up to probe the murder had obtained important clues. Senior police sources have, over the last couple of days, said that they are “very sure” that the killings in Karnataka are linked to each other along with two murders in Maharashtra.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/probe-finds-clues-that-point-to-link-between-gauri-lankesh-m-m-kalburgi-killing-4839283/

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Prime Minister Modi’s ‘New India’ About Silencing Dissent, Says Congress (Sep 6, 2017, NDTV)

Condemning the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, the Congress on Wednesday said “muzzling the voice of ordinary citizens and silencing dissent” is the slogan of ‘New India’ under the Narendra Modi government.

The party said “India is in the throes of a violent clash” between advocates of freedom of speech and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to “silence dissent and throttle democracy”.

It also said gagging media and often subjecting them through torture is often a sign of dictatorial regimes. “The shocking murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is a grim reminder of the times we live in. This mindless and cowardly assassination has not only shaken our conscience but is also an extremely sad moment for our democracy,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modis-new-india-about-silencing-dissent-says-congress-1746856

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Pray to stay alive, Hindu outfit leader tells secular writers in Kerala (Sep 11, 2017, Indian Express)

Kerala Hindu Aikya Vedi state president K P Sasikala Teacher has advised “secular writers in the state to do mrityunjaya homam (held to avoid untimely death)” otherwise they could also become victims like Gauri Lankesh. The Vedi is a platform of various pro-Sangh Parivar outfits.…

On Sunday, Congress state vice-president and legislator V D Satheesan complained to the Kerala police chief, demanding that a case be registered against Sasikala. “Her challenge is not only to secular writers in Kerala, but to the very secular values of the country,” Satheesan said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “This kind of tendency would upset our society.” BJP state spokesman M S Kumar said he did not know “under which circumstances” she has spoken, and hence, it would be “immature to react at this stage”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pray-to-stay-alive-hindu-outfit-leader-tells-secular-writers-in-kerala-4837691/

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M’nagar riots: Court charges BJP MLA, 27 others with attempt to murder (Sep 8, 2017, Times of India)

As many as 28 people, including ruling BJP’s MLA Vikram Saini, were charged with attempt to murder by a court in Muzaffarnagar for their role in Kawal violence of 2013, which had triggered widespread communal clashes in the district and led to the death of 50 people and displacement of over 50,000.

Additional district and sessions judge Himanshu Bhatnagar framed the charges under various sections of IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder) against the Khatauli legislator and 27 others on Thursday.

The next hearing in the case has been fixed for October 5. The case was registered against 28 people of both the communities at Jansath police station of Muzaffarnagar in 2013.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60430282.cms

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Bombs Recovered from RSS-controlled Temple Premises in Kannur, Kerala (Sep 8, 2017, News Click)

Seven high-explosive steel bombs have been recovered from a Rashtriya Swayamvsevak Sangh (RSS) local centre at Keezhur in Kannur district of Kerala. The bombs were found in buckets covered with sacks, near the Vaireeghaathakan Bhagavathi temple at Kottathe Kunnu locality, Punnad in Keezhur-Chavassery panchayat. Local sources who talked to Newsclick said that the temple is managed by the RSS.…

On examination, it was discovered that the bombs were made recently. Last year in August in the run-up to Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrations, Deekshith, an RSS worker, had been killed while manufacturing crude bombs at Thalassery in Kannur district. The police had recovered a big cache of weapons from his house.… Several incidents of RSS workers being killed or being caught while making bombs in the run-up to religious festivals have occurred in the recent years.

Temples with managing committees led by the RSS are often used by the Hindutva outfit as centres for arms training and ideological propaganda. Political observers say that the attempt of the RSS has been to foment communal tension by indulging in acts of violence and then blaming it on people belonging to minority communities.…

https://www.newsclick.in/bombs-recovered-rss-controlled-temple-premises-kannur-kerala

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Illegal explosive factory discovered inside Dera headquarters on day 2 of search operation, gets sealed (Sep 9, 2017, Indian Express)

The search team comprising of Haryana police officials, paramilitary forces and the army, discovered an illegal explosives factory inside the 700-acre Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa district on the second day of the operation.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Director of Haryana PR Department, Satish Mehra said the illegal factory was shut down on discovery. “Illegal explosives factory inside Dera Sacha Sauda premises sealed. Explosives and fire crackers were seized,” Mehra said. Later on in the day, Mehra said that a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas was found inside the complex. “We found a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas. Team is investigating the same,” he said.

The search operation continued on Saturday amid heavy security stationed at Satnam Chowk and other nearby areas. On Friday, the search teams had discovered plastic cash tokens which were used as a “parallel currency”, along with unlabeled Ayurvedic medicines, an OB van and a luxury vehicle estimated to be around Rs 1 crore inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. According to sources, around Rs 12000 in cash, along with computers and hard drives were also confiscated by the police. The teams also found Rs 7000 demonetised currency.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/dera-sacha-sauda-headquarters-search-operation-sirsa-explosive-factory-sealed-ram-rahim-singh-4835405/

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Asaram, Gurmeet Ram Rahim on fake baba list: Meet the 14 faces Hindu sadhus want boycotted (Sep 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Prompted by recent controversies surrounding self-styled godmen, the apex body of Hindu sadhus – the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad – has released a list of 14 ‘fake babas’ and demanded a crackdown on “rootless cult leaders” by bringing in a legislation.

Giving out the list, the parishad’s president Swami Narendra Giri said: “We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis.”

The 76-year-old white-bearded man was arrested in 2013 after a teenage devotee accused him of raping her at a religious event. Another female follower later also accused him of rape. He has been in jail since 2013 on charges of rape and criminal intimidation. Yet Asaram continues to have thousands of supporters flock to court when he appears for hearings. Several local newspapers have reported on the mysterious killings of three witnesses in the criminal cases he faces.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/asaram-gurmeet-ram-rahim-on-fake-baba-list-meet-the-14-faces-hindu-sadhus-want-boycotted/story-JYEQQkSYOOBFFQzKfbD7UP.html

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Government Bans Internet in Sikar as Massive Farmers’ Protests Rock Rajasthan (Sep 11, 2017, News Click)

Internet services were blocked in Sikar district of Rajasthan on Monday, September 11, as thousands of farmers took to the streets in protest for remunerative crop prices, complete loan waiver and other demands.

The farmers’ agitation reached its eleventh day, after the All India Kisan Sabha gave a call on September 1 for a massive indefinite mahapadav (gherao) of District Collectorates in Rajasthan. The All India Kisan Sabha had called for a state-wide bandh (shutdown) to be observed on September 11.

The bandh was strictly observed in Sikar district. A Newsclick correspondent currently in Sikar reports that more than 300 points across the district were blocked and fiercely guarded by women farmers holding an agricultural tool called ‘jeli’ as weapons.…

https://www.newsclick.in/government-bans-internet-sikar-massive-farmers-protests-rock-rajasthan

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Karnataka’s well of shame: Upper caste man mixes endosulfan in water to kill Dalits (Sep 5, 2017, IB Times)

In a remote village in Karnataka, where untouchability is a reality for Dalits, the scare of death looming over their heads has become a new matter of concern. An upper caste person reportedly tried to kill Dalits of Channur village, located about 640 km from Bengaluru in Kalaburgi district, by mixing endosulfan into the water in an open well, according to the Times of India.

The well, which is 200 metres from the village, is the only source of drinking water for Dalit families. The seven other wells in the village are allegedly used by the upper caste families.

Four years ago, Gollalappa Kallappagouda Kukanur had leased his farmland to a Dalit. A pump was fixed in the well to draw water and supply it to the Dalits colonies. For four years, Gollalappa did not allow Dalits to draw water from the well.…

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/karnatakas-well-shame-upper-caste-man-mixes-endosulfan-water-kill-dalits-740918

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Opinions and Editorials

The Murder of an Indian Journalist – Editorial (Sep 7, 2017, New York Times)

The murder on Tuesday of the Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, a fearless critic of rising Hindu-nationalist militancy, has all the hallmarks of a hit job.…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has let a climate of mob rule flourish in India, with his right-wing Hindu supporters vilifying “secularists.” The venom that reactionary social media trolls direct at journalists, or “presstitutes” as they call them, is especially vicious… Ms. Lankesh’s murder shocked India’s news media and set off protest marches in several Indian cities.…

Ms. Lankesh had voiced concern about the climate of menace against journalists who didn’t toe the Hindu-nationalist line. If Mr. Modi doesn’t condemn her murder forcefully and denounce the harassment and threats that critics of Hindu militancy face daily, more critics will live in fear of deadly reprisal and Indian democracy will see dark days.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/opinion/murder-indian-journalist.html

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‘Hindutva’ has a long tradition of celebrating the ‘vadh’ of opponents – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 8, 2017, National Herald)

The Information and Technology minister in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a seasoned RSS follower, slammed online trolls for expressing their happiness over the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. On Twitter, Prasad expressed his anger against those who were celebrating Lankesh’s killing.…

That was very kind of this minister! But Ravi Shankar Prasad must be specific as to who he is advising. Those trolls celebrating the ‘vadh’ of Gauri Lankesh on social media and elsewhere are hardened Hindutva practitioners who are for turning the democratic-secular India into a ‘Hindu’ Pakistan. In fact, it has been an old practice of Hindutva practitioners to celebrate the killing of opponents as ‘vadh’. They did it after the killings of Narender Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare and Professor MM Kalburgi too.

Not only this, they exhibited the same sadistic tendencies in the wake of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by ‘Hindu nationalists’. This twisted practice was first brought to notice by the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Patel. Patel, in a letter dated September 11, 1948, to RSS head MS Golwalkar wrote: “The RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”…

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/celebrating-the-vadh-of-opponents-has-a-long-tradition-in-hindutva

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Cow vigilantism: SC rap must shame states into tackling the menace – Editorial (Sep 8, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India has been on the boil over cow vigilantism for some time now. Taking note of the disturbing climate in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked state governments to appoint in every district a senior police officer whose job will be to stop violence in the name of cow protection.

Proposing measures to stem what it called growing violence by so-called cow protection groups, the SC said the nodal officers would have to ensure that vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves. States have a week to comply with the court’s order.

The focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power in 2014, and several states ruled by the party made laws to punish cow slaughter. Emboldened by the State’s lack of will to tackle them, these vigilantes have targeted cattle and meat traders, transporters and even farmers walking with their cattle. Along with deaths and injuries, such attacks have played havoc with the rural economy.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/cow-vigilantism-sc-rap-must-shame-states-into-tackling-the-menace/story-gGoIxpOfZL4BSOtd9Pk46M.html

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Those Who Breed Hate Are Now Doing So With Impunity – By Ashish Khetan (Sep 6, 2017, The Wire)

In July 2016, I received an anonymous mail that told me that I had “crossed all limits when I abused Sanatan Sanstha and well respected Hindus. You conspired to defame Sanatan and asked for banning it. It’s time to give a hisaab of all your filthy activities.” After a long rant about my “sins” which included my testimony as a prosecution witness in the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society cases, the letter concluded with these words: “As you can see, we know where you live and what you are upto. Get ready to meet the same fate as Dabholkar and Pansare.”

On receiving this threat, I complained to the Delhi police but they didn’t respond and I subsequently forgot all about it. In May 2017, a year later, I received another threatening letter, written in Hindi, claiming that my death was imminent.…

The CBI raid on Sanatan Sanstha’s offices in Maharashtra led to the discovery of a hit list with names of many journalists and activists. But there was no follow up by the agencies. Several members of Sanatan Sanstha, who are suspected to be involved in bomb blasts in Goa and Maharashtra and murder cases like that of Dabholkar and Pansare, have been on the run for a decade. The bomb makers of the Malegaon and Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts have not been caught for ten years.… The UPA may have been incompetent but was not ideologically aligned with these groups. The present regime draws support from these groups.…

https://thewire.in/174728/gauri-lankesh-hindutva-right/

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Whither India: Good terrorism of December 1992 vs. Bad terrorism of January 1993 at Bombay – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 9, 2017, Milli Gazette)

With the announcement of the quantum of punishment to the perpetrators of January 1993 serial blasts in Bombay by Judge GA Sanap of the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] court on September 7, 2017, probably, the longest terror case trial in India came to a close. In the first phase of this trial, Judge PD Kode of Special TADA Court had sentenced 12 convicts to death and 20 to life terms on September 12, 2006. With the latest judgment, 100 of the 123 accused have been punished.

WELL-DONE! The Muslim terrorists who killed 257 and maimed hundreds of innocent residents of Bombay in January 1993 have been punished. Many of them have been sent to the gallows, awarded life or long jail sentences. But what about those terrorists who butchered 575 and maimed hundreds of people of the minority in December 1992 in the same city? In fact, some of the instigators later occupied high constitutional offices in democratic-secular India. This is true of “Khalistani terrorists” also. They were hanged or killed on roads but for the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, the Indian State is yet to conclude its process of finding the real culprits.

Sadly, with regards to communal and caste violence, India has two kinds of laws, one for minority/Dalits and the other for majority/high castes. Whenever the former suffer, the Indian State plays a game of forming COMISSIONS after COMMISSIONS to ensure that the heinous crimes against minorities and Dalits disappear from the public memory. In this regard the 1992-93 Bombay violence can be an interesting case for study. But if violence is believed to be perpetrated by minorities/Dalits, the punishment is instant. This latest judgment ensures punishment for January 1993 perpetrators but despite Justice BN Srikrishna Commission Report holding almost all Hindutva organizations responsible for the killings of minority people in December 1992, the indicted perpetrators were not even questioned, what to talk of arresting and punishing them.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15858-whither-india-good-terrorism-of-december-1992-vs-bad-terrorism-of-january-1993-at-bombay

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Amid Growing Communalism, ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’ Aims to Spread Message of Peace – By Mari Marcel Thekaekara (Sep 8, 2017, The Wire)

…As Keralites celebrated Onam, Karwan-e-Mohabbat – a peace yatra – began in faraway Assam with the goal of urging fellow Indians to proactively fight the cancerous communalism enveloping our country. The brain child of former IAS officer, writer and activist Harsh Mander, this peace-building movement has attracted and caught the attention of ordinary women and men who worry about what lies ahead for future generations. Most people want to make the country safe for their children and grandchildren. Karwan-e-Mohabbat invites the people of India to participate in the movement and to forge links of love and not hate.

While riots have been a terrible part of our history, the new spate of hate crimes and increasing incidents of lynching with impunity imply that lawlessness and vigilante action is the new normal. Karwan-e-Mohabbat began on September 4 with a group of people meeting, condoling with and offering support to two young mothers, Halima Khatoon and Rumeena, in Assam’s Nagaon. Mander, along with activists John Dayal and Ram Puniyani, lead the yatra.…

We cannot afford to ignore what’s happening in our country. We cannot any longer feign ignorance. It is imperative, that all Indians lend their active support to these initiatives to prevent the nation from descending into Kosovo or Rwanda-like chaos. Minorities cannot be killed or wiped out in any ‘Final Solution’ without the entire population being affected and engulfed by violence and terror. It’s not merely a moral imperative. It’s a logical, pragmatic necessity. The time to act is now.… It’s probably the biggest challenge ahead of us, 70 years after independence.

https://thewire.in/174138/amid-growing-communalism-karwan-e-mohabbat-aims-spread-message-peace/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 4th, 2017

September 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Gurudwara opens doors to Muslims to offer namaz on Eid-ul-Adha News Headlines Probe said Purohit held ‘illegal’ meetings with radical Hindu groups ‘Qurbani’ Of Cow, Buffalo, Camel, Ox On Eid Ul-Adha To Invite Gangsters Act ‘Cow sheds in BJP states silent slaughterhouses’ ‘Who is next?’: Killing of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 28th, 2017

September 21, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony “Safe Zones”, Hindu-Muslim Harmony and Life as a Kashmiri Pandit News Headlines Ram Rahim Singh enjoyed BJP’s patronage ‘He Is PM Of India, Not BJP,’ Says Furious High Court After Haryana Riots Only ‘RSS hatao’ will help dist. see development: CM’s media adviser Life has become ‘difficult’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 21st, 2017

September 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony UK Indians March For Communal Harmony News Headlines Govt ‘protecting all RSS-connected accused’, says Cong after Purohit’s bail ‘Democracy under threat from pseudo-nationalism, right-wing fanaticism’ US religious freedom report highlights cow protection violence in India A Gujarat BJP MLA Wants To Ban Muslims From Buying Houses In […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 14th, 2017

August 30, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Home for everyone: Breaking bread and communal walls News Headlines Independence Day for cows as hospitals massacre children says AHRC Hamid Ansari criticises rising intolerance, hypernationalism 12 years on, court acquits all accused in Hyderabad blast case UP witnesses 60 communal incidents in 2017, highest so far […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 7th, 2017

August 16, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Post Basirhat communal violence: In show of unity, Hindus, Muslims tie rakhis News Headlines Aadhaar will be required for death certificates from October 1, plan to prevent identity fraud Academics Denounce Attacks by RSS and Corporate Media Tolerance has to become an essential national virtue: M Hamid […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 31st, 2017

August 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Stories on Amit Shah’s Assets, Smriti Irani’s ‘Degree’ Vanish From TOI, DNA Madras HC order on compulsory singing of Vande Mataram sparks row PM Modi’s Silence On Cow Politics Is A Well-Planned Hindutva Strategy When the BJP national leadership claims probity, its Kerala leaders are accused of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 24th, 2017

August 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Soul of India resides in pluralism, need to eschew violence: President Chhattisgarh minister’s wife buys state forest land to build a resort, his dept says we can do nothing ‘Modi’s election, like Trump’s, has unleashed violence against minorities’ Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 17th, 2017

July 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans express outrage over mob lynchings in India through protests across US News Headlines ‘Kill Them. They Are Muslims’: Family of 10 Beaten With Iron Rods Inside Train This BJP MLA is threatening to stop Haj pilgrims from UP if Ayodhya temple isn’t built 14 years in […]

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