IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 3rd, 2017

by newsdigest on July 15, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

When mob frenzy becomes irrational, we have to pause and reflect: President Mukherjee on lynchings (Jul 1, 2017, Indian Express)

In the wake of growing number of mob lynching cases in India, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday asked whether the society is vigilant enough to save the basic tenets of the country. “When mob lynching becomes so high and uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect, are we vigilant enough?,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by ANI.

Speaking at the release of commemorative publication of National Herald, President Mukherjee said, “I am not talking of vigilantism, I am talking of are we vigilant enough, proactively to save the basic tenets of our country.”…

Recently, the country witnessed widespread protests across various locations under the tagline “Not in My Name” to protest against a streak of mob lynching incidents in the country. The lynching of 15-year-old Junaid Khan in a Mathura-bound train last week was the genesis of the flashpoint.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/are-we-vigilant-enough-to-save-basic-tenets-of-our-country-president-mukherjee-on-mob-lynchings-4730908/

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BJP leader arrested in Muslim trader’s lynching case; prime accused surrenders (Jul 1, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Ramgarh police have arrested a BJP leader, Nityanand Mahto on Saturday in connection with the lynching of a Muslim trader Alimuddin by a mob in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh two days back. The main accused Chottu Rana, who was seen beating Alimuddin with a stick repeatedly in a video, surrendered before the court, Ramgarh superintendent of police, Kaushal Kishore said.

55-year-old Alimuddin alias Asgar Ali was lynched by a frenzied mob of about 100 people for allegedly carrying beef in his car. The incident happened at the Bazartand market of the district on Thursday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he disapproved killing people in the name of protecting cows.…

The police had also detained a member of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of Ramgarh district for interrogation but released him later due to lack of evidence, police sources said.… Thursday’s lynching was the second attack in June by cow vigilantes in Jharkhand as a 200-strong mob thrashed a 55-year-old Muslim dairy owner and set his house ablaze after a cow carcass was found near his home in Giridih district on Tuesday.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-leader-arrested-in-muslim-trader-s-lynching-case-prime-accused-surrenders/story-wLXhTA3eIlrPUEGjwGdDQM.html

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Protesters across India hit the streets, say outraged over attacks on human life (Jun 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Thousands took to the streets of 10-odd cities across the country on Wednesday to protest a string of mob lynchings in recent years, which many say is proof of India’s fraying secular ethos. In several places, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata, protesters gathered under the “Not In My Name” banner to make a strong statement against violence perpetrated by right-wing Hindu groups and cow-protection vigilantes.

The Delhi protest saw people pouring in from neighbouring states, such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Though several Aam Aadmi Party leaders – including deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia – were in attendance, they claimed to have come in their personal capacity.

“We are laying our claim as Indian citizens upon this country… we are outraged at the attacks on human life, human dignity… at the systemic violence unleashed on Dalits and minorities,” said filmmaker Saba Dewan, whose post on Facebook a week ago helped coalesce the coordinated demonstrations. “This is not the India we want.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/notinmyname-protesters-across-india-hit-the-streets-say-outraged-over-attacks-on-human-life/story-uKhaV6tfdXbBkcvl4uP8JN.html

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Centre’s cattle slaughter restrictions violates fundamental rights, says All India Kisan Sabha (Jun 28, 2017, First Post ()

The Centre’s notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter violates fundamental rights of states and individuals, including the right to practice religion, a major Left farmers’ body has said.

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which is backed by the CPI(M), has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against the constitutional validity of the notification.

The AIKS has contended that the notification allegedly violates several fundamental rights of individuals and states, including the right to practice religion and free movement of goods. The notification would also hamper the economic interests and livelihood of farmers, dairy farmers, cattle traders and businessmen, the farmers’ body has argued.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/centres-cattle-slaughter-restrictions-violates-fundamental-rights-says-all-india-kisan-sabha-3754625.html

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India inching towards fascism, says Shabnam Hashmi (Jun 28, 2017, The Hindu)

As a mark of protest against rising intolerance against minority communities in India, human rights campaigner and social activist Shabnam Hashmi returned her National Minority Rights Award to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Tuesday. Stating that marginalisation of minority communities has become the norm under the present regime, Ms. Hashmi handed over the award, which was conferred to her in 2008, NCM director T.M.Skaria.

In a letter addressed to the Commission members, Ms. Hashmi wrote: “I am returning it [the award] in memory of the innumerable innocent victims lynched by marauding mobs”, adding that the current atmosphere in the country is laden with “fear and terror” and “Islamophobia”.

“For the first time, an entire Cabinet has boycotted the Iftar dinner hosted by the President. This reflects how they have defied the Constitution, in a way, and don’t care about it. These are all signals that India is inching towards fascism,” said Ms. Hashmi. The activist added that it is about time that people raise their voice against the atrocities being committed by the State.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/india-inching-towards-fascism-says-shabnam-hashmi/article19157477.ece

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Cops held for Rs 2 lakh bribe; 1 of them escapes from custody (Jun 28, 2017, Indian Express)

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it has arrested two police officials for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh for not taking action in a case. However, one of them escaped from police custody while undergoing medical examination on Tuesday, the ACB said in a release. The arrested officers were identified as Inspector Subhash Govind Kale (55) and Sub-Inspector Sanjay Sitaram Chavhan (46), attached to Kuhi police station in rural Nagpur.

According to the release, a hotelier had been locked in a land dispute with his brother and the latter recently filed a complaint against the former in Kuhi police station. The complaint related to alleged land encroachment by the hotelier. When the complaint came before Kale and Chavhan, they approached the hotelier and sought a Rs 4.5 lakh bribe for not proceeding against him in the case filed by his brother, the anti-corruption agency said.

The hotelier agreed to pay the bribe and at the same time filed a complaint with the ACB (Nagpur) against the two police officials. Based on the complaint, a trap was laid yesterday and the two police officials were caught accepting the first instalment of Rs 2 lakh from the hotelier, the ACB said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cops-held-for-rs-2-lakh-bribe-1-of-them-escapes-from-custody-4726446/

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Uttar Pradesh authorities foil protest plan of Dalit group from Gujarat (Jul 3, 2017, Indian Express)

A group of Dalits from Gujarat, upset over an incident in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh some time back, tried to lodge their protest in a unique way but failed to do so. Over 40 Dalits wanted to visit Lucknow to present a 125-kg soap to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath because the Kushinagar district administration had purportedly distributed soaps and shampoo in a Dalit locality ahead of the chief minister’s visit to the area in May.

The activists of Dr Ambedkar Vichar Samiti and Nav Srijan Samiti from Ahmedabad were taken into custody at Jhansi on Sunday night and sent back home, officials said.

They were stopped from proceeding towards the state capital in apprehension of a breach of peace at the railway station at Jhansi and were sent back to Ahmedabad by Sabarmati Express this morning, said City Magistrate C P Misra.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/yogi-adityanath-chief-minister-uttar-pradesh-authorities-foil-protest-plan-of-dalit-group-from-gujarat-4733881/

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Indian women wear cow masks to ask: are sacred cattle safer than us? (Jul 4, 2017, The Guardian)

Indian women are posing in cow masks as part of a provocative photographic series that asks: is it safer to be a sacred animal in India than a woman?

The gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student in 2012 sparked a national conversation about violence against women but, more than four years later, police statistics show reported rapes and molestations have not significantly fallen in the capital. At least six rapes and 12 molestations were reported daily in 2016.

The conviction rate for sexual offences has declined, from about 50% in the year of the infamous Delhi attack, to less than one-third last year.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/04/women-india-cow-masks-sexual-violence-sacred-cattle

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Textbook sparks row over mosque depicted as noise pollutant (Jul 2, 2017, Indian Express)

An image in a class VI textbook taught in ICSE schools showing a “mosque” as a source of noise pollution has sparked outrage on social media, prompting an apology from the publisher and the promise that the picture would be removed in subsequent editions.

The science textbook, published by Selina Publishers, has a chapter on the causes of noise pollution. The picture, shared widely on social media, shows a train, car, plane and a mosque, all with symbols depicting loud sound, next to a man grimacing and shutting his ears.

Netizens have now launched an online petition demanding the book be withdrawn.… Excerpts from a class XII Physical Education textbook taught in some CBSE schools had kicked up a furore for defining a figure measurement of 36-24-36 as the “best body shape for females”. A class IV environmental science textbook that suggested killing a kitten as part of an experiment went viral on social media, forcing the publisher to withdraw it from the market earlier this year.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/textbook-sparks-row-over-mosque-depicted-as-noise-pollutant-4731666/

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Traders complain about GSTN registration hassles (Jun 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

…Under GST, commercial tax payers are required to shift their sales and service tax registrations to GST Network (GSTN), a web-based system for payment, information and documentation.

Jharkhand commercial tax department officials said out of 90,000 registered traders, 66,000 have migrated to GST so far. But hundreds of those who tried to migrate to GSTN, when registration was reopened on June 25, faced a host of issues.

“The server is not accepting earlier emails and passwords,” said Ranji Garodia, general secretary of federation of Jharkhand chamber of commerce and industries (FJCCI).…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/traders-complain-about-gstn-registration-hassles/story-rbRfRv4wUISkRp5CwqYxpI.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Romeos to rakshaks: How violence became normal – By Butalia (Jul 2, 2017, Times of India)

…This kind of casual dismissal of targeted brutality over the past three years flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s claim to have finally taken a stand against such crimes. Now what neither the Prime Minister nor Mehrishi will acknowledge is that hatred in human beings needs only a small trigger to turn violent – and the most effective violence is often self-righteous. So all the provocateur needs to do is provide a platform – it could be the train in 2002 or the cow in 2014. Once set in motion the instigator can easily disown his role in the affair.

A casual look at the emergence of new leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party over the past three decades reveals that violence has been the most effective stepping stone for many of them. There seems to be a pattern here whereby violence against disadvantaged groups, normally minorities, helps bring the individual to the notice of the party. Once the goal is achieved, overt violence is renounced by the individual and we start to see the individual as a ‘normal politician’. The violence doesn’t end, however. It just gets outsourced to those lower in the hierarchy.…

In 2002 this mantle of leadership through violence was taken up by the broad-shouldered Narendra Modi. By then he was a state chief minister and answerable to no one. He didn’t seem to have national ambitions and didn’t really care what the world thought of him as long as his core, aggressively Hindu-centric community didn’t desert him. This changed once large corporate houses decided to back him as a ‘development man’ in 2011-12. Today, Modi is a statesman, above violence, and a man with a vision for the country. His image has a makeover. All violence is normalised. However, those who stood by him this entire period are still around and violence initiated for electoral purposes still pays dividends. This makes Modi a willing prisoner of his past, in which he cannot even bring himself to say that the rapes and killings that took place in Gujarat 2002 were criminal acts and all those involved in such crimes should get the harshest punishment.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59403268.cms

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Junaid, my son – By Harsh Mander (Jul 1, 2017, Indian Express)

Junaid Khan was my son. I did not know him when he lived. But in his death, in the way he died, I mourn him like a son.… I travelled with a band of my friends to his village, Khandawali, in Faridabad district of Haryana. We felt compelled to say to his bereaved family that we grieved with them after Junaid’s brutal lynching. We knew that these words may mean little to a family that has been so brutally dispossessed, but for whatever they may be worth, we felt that these words still must be spoken.

Just two months earlier, we had made a similar journey to share in the same way in the pain of Pehlu Khan’s family in Nuh. I wondered how many such journeys – of solidarity, of atonement – will we have to make before we resolve to say as a country, no more. Until then, we need at least to say to those devastated by hate violence: We share your anger. We share your sorrow. It does not make your pain less. But know at least that you are not alone.

Junaid’s father, Jalaluddin, less than 50 years old, looked both numb and stunned, as though he still could not comprehend or accept what had happened. He was unused to the large crowds that had gathered outside his small home. In one corner, a plainclothes local police inspector was grilling his sons about the details of the incident, but curiously writing nothing in his notebook.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/junaid-my-son-4729828/

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Towards unfreedom – By Amartya Sen (Jul 4, 2017, Indian Express)

…Does India’s tolerance of heterodoxy still hold? As we look around today’s India, the signs of tolerance seem to have faded fast. The country that welcomed people fleeing persecution abroad, and allowed the immigrating minorities to have their own beliefs and practices (and food habits), now harbours gangs of wild men hunting down beef-eaters, and killing people – very poor people – whose employment in the leather industry arouses the suspicion of faithful believers in the holiness of the cow.

A leading news agency that dares to include news that the ruling government does not like can have its founders raided on extraordinarily flimsy charges (NDTV can tell you about this, if you have not kept up with news about news). Which side you back in a cricket test match could possibly place you in custodial arrest on the unbelievable ground of “sedition” as determined by the local bosses of the ruling party in control of the police force…

In the suppression of India’s tolerant tradition, the ruling party, the BJP, has clearly played a gigantic role. What is astonishing is how much tolerance of intolerance the political climate in India has been made to bear. It is as if stunned people are waiting in a daze for something to happen. Further, many people with evidently liberal instincts have been able to continue supporting the government for one reason or another, such as expected benefits from Narendra Modi’s economic reforms (what The Economist, the global magazine, calls “the illusion of reform”), while the country is made to descend down the ladder of intolerance and unfreedom.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/intolerance-in-india-mob-violence- towards-unfreedom-4733908/

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Cow-related violence: ‘Not In My Name’ protests need to go beyond caste, religion to be effective – By TS Sudhir (Jul 1, 2017, First Post)

Just hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked cow vigilantes not to kill people, 1,600 kilometres away, Asgar Ali was lynched in Ramgarh, 60 kilometres from Ranchi in Jharkhand, by a mob of 30 men. His Maruti van, carrying raw meat which was suspected to be beef, was waylaid at a crowded marketplace.

The Telegraph reports that the police had reason to believe they had prior information and that the murder has the hallmarks of premeditation. HMV television channels celebrated Modi’s warning as an indication that the whip had been cracked. They forgot Modi had said the same and in fact, in a more strong language in Delhi and Hyderabad in August 2016, after the flogging of Dalits for skinning dead cattle in Una, Gujarat. Nothing has changed. No state government has prepared a dossier on the cow vigilante groups, hardly any police force cracked the whip which is why in broad daylight, a group could dare to kill Ali and burnt his van.

If anyone is a holy cow in India today, it is the gau rakshak. The law indeed bans cow slaughter in most states in India but the militant version of the cattle class has taken it upon itself to dispense instant justice in its kangaroo courts. With branches of support available in good measure online, Indians have begun to wear their ‘Hinduism’ on their sleeve resorting to “whataboutery” to defend the bloody acts. It is as if India at 70 has opted to run with the cows and hunt with the gau rakshaks.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/narendra-modi-warns-gau-rakshaks-protests-can-be- effective-only-when-not-confined-to-caste-religion-3762521.html

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Decoding new India – Narendra Modi is giving shape to M.S. Golwalkar’s dream – By Manini Chatterjee (Jul 3, 2017, The Telegraph)

…The speech at Sabarmati on June 29 was not the first time that Modi spoke out against the lynch mobs. He had expressed similar sentiments after the lynching of Dalits in Una last year. That had had little effect on the ground.…

The “enough is enough” sentiment that animated the protests may have touched Narendra Modi too and impelled him to speak, some believe. …This hope, sadly, is likely to be belied because it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding. Narendra Modi may be a consummate politician with an enviable ability to mould his words and persona to suit the audience and the occasion. But he is also a deeply committed ideologue, more ideologically oriented than any Indian prime minister barring, possibly, Jawaharlal Nehru.…

Modi may have focused on ” vikas” and “parivartan” all through his election campaign but after assuming power he has given glimpses of his deep adherence to RSS ideology. And though he has seldom mentioned M.S. Golwalkar by name, it is Golwalkar’s thoughts and writings that seem to have most influenced him. Since Golwalkar took over the reins of the RSS in 1940 and remained at the helm till 1973, he exercised an enormous influence over generations of young men who joined the RSS in the post-Independence era, the most dedicated of whom became pracharaks (full timers) – Modi a star among them.…

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170703/jsp/opinion/story_159775.jsp

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On GST; Concerns Over India’s Federal Structure – By Yadul Krishna (Jul 1, 2017, Countercurrents)

India is all set to sail in its new taxation policy set out after three months of the new financial year. The move is definitely going to make a niche of its own down in history. But having said that, there are umpteen number of issues connected with its implementation in such a country as diverse as India. Still several questions remain unanswered as of yet about the consequences to be followed after its implementation. The confusions of the taxpayers on issues such as tax burden on essential goods, double taxation (cascading effect), bearing of the tax burden, etc. goes on and on. Moreover, are the implementation effects of the GST, in general, clarified enough? Won’t it lead to double taxation? Will it affect our federal system? Questions remains interminable!

The prime political confusion, as far as the left is concerned, is on the question of how our federal system is going to get affected. The main subject of disputation is over the States’ right to collect tax revenues from firms that have a turnover of up to 1.5 crores or less. The Centre urges to take over this also. GST, thus, will be a move to take away the rights of States to decide taxes according to their socio-economic situations. Whatever little vestigial powers are left for the State governments to acquire funds, as a result, all will be lost. In situations when national disasters occur or to fund welfare schemes to improve people’s livelihood, State governments will now have to remain at the foot of the Central government to avail funds.

In effect of the new reform, the States will have no rights or powers in deciding their tax structure on what rates to impose on what all commodities including on luxury goods and necessity goods. The GST, thus, will lead the State governments no way out in forming any other backup ways to collect funds to make up with accordingly to their deficits and overdrafts, something that the States have been till now relying upon hugely to cope up in accordance to their fiscal policies. With such stupendous amount of power given to the Centre to collect funds, the State governments, which is ruled by different political ideologies across, will now have to be deliberately liable to obey the interests of the Centre, which basically will be the biggest wound that could ever happen to our democratic and federal set-up.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/07/01/on-gst-concerns-over-indias-federal-structure/

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