IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 31st, 2017

by newsdigest on August 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Stories on Amit Shah’s Assets, Smriti Irani’s ‘Degree’ Vanish From TOI, DNA (Jul 30, 2017, The Wire)

A story carried by the Times of India’s Ahmedabad edition about an apparent increase of “300%” in BJP president Amit Shah’s assets over the past five years was removed from the the paper’s website within hours of being published on Saturday. No explanation has been given and no editor is willing to take responsibility for having pulled the plug on the news item.

The story, which reported how Shah’s assets had grown by 300% between 2012 – when he last filed a declaration as part of his nomination papers for the Gujarat assembly election – and 2017, also noted that textiles and information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani has clarified in her affidavit that she has not yet completed her Bachelor of Commerce course.…

This isn’t the first instance of the Times Group deleting stories without informing its readers of the reasons. Ironically, a report on India’s low ranking on the World Press Freedom index was pulled down from the TOI and ET websites in May. When News Laundry contacted the then TOI.in editor, Prasad Sanyal, to know why they decided to pull down the article, they were informed that it was the media house’s ‘editorial prerogative’.…

https://thewire.in/162841/amit-shah-assets-smriti-irani-degrees-toi-et-outlook/

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Madras HC order on compulsory singing of Vande Mataram sparks row (Jul 28, 2017, Indian Express)

The Madras High Court ruling on singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ has triggered a political slugfest in Maharashtra with a BJP MLA demanding its implementation in schools and colleges of the state, while legislators of some other parties have opposed any such move. Waris Pathan, the MLA of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) from Mumbai, yesterday said he would not sing the national song “even if anyone puts revolver to his head”.

The Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra unit president and MLA, Abu Asim Azmi, also said he would not sing it even if he was “thrown out of the country”. The reaction comes in the wake of a demand raised by senior BJP MLA Raj Purohit, who, citing the Madras High Court order, said that singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ should be made mandatory in all schools and colleges across Maharashtra.

The Madras High Court had on Tuesday made singing of the national song mandatory in schools across Tamil Nadu, at least twice a week. Speaking to reporters outside the Vidhan Bhavan here, Purohit, the BJP chief whip in the Assembly, yesterday said he would meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today and seek the latter’s intervention to make it compulsory for everybody to sing the national song at any event.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/madras-hc-order-on-compulsory-singing-of-vande-mataram-sparks-row-4770907/

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PM Modi’s Silence On Cow Politics Is A Well-Planned Hindutva Strategy (Jul 28, 2017, Youth ki Awaaz)

We now live in a nation where the word ‘cow’ cannot be uttered in films. The Central Board of Film Certification recently censored the word in a documentary on the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. Elsewhere, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma compared Narendra Modi to Gandhi: “Today among us, we are fortunate to have another Gandhiji in the form of our prime minister who is like an inspiration.”

These two seemingly unrelated, and farcical acts are in fact interlinked and serious and have very dangerous implications for the nation. When the nation has been convulsed by lynchings of people (overwhelmingly Muslims) in the name of cow (97 % of cow-related attacks in the last eight years have happened since the Modi government took over), the word cow has acquired a different connotation. What the Censor Board’s act shows is that the violence committed in the name of cow is not just a physical act undertaken by ‘uneducated’, lumpen Hindutva elements, but is also a mental and aesthetic exercise, and enjoying the sanction of the state.

Simultaneously, there is a parallel process going on, which seeks to build a halo around Narendra Modi. That is why the comparison of Mr. Modi with Gandhi, who was acclaimed as the Mahatma. The signs of this were already seen last year when Mr. Modi appeared on a government calendar sitting at a charkha. What this symbolic conflation does is to ignore the role Mr. Modi has played in bringing cow-protection in an aggressive manner to the forefront of the Hindutva agenda.…

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2017/07/modis-silence-on-cow-politics/

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When the BJP national leadership claims probity, its Kerala leaders are accused of collecting crores as bribes (Jul 20, 2017, South Live)

In a big jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party which is trying hard to make inroads into Kerala, an internal investigation conducted by a panel found that its leaders had received crores of rupees from private Medical college managements by assuring them that they will arrange approval for the college from Medical Council of India.

This is not the first time the Kerala BJP leaders are accused of indulging in corruption. During Vajpayee regime, many leaders have allegedly collected crores of rupees in lieu for obtaining petrol pumps.

Medical college scam echoed in Parliament when CPI(M) member M B Ragesh raised the issue as an adjournment motion. Rajesh alleged that BJP leaders collecting money from management and arranging them license for their college do not confine just to Kerala. The speaker denied permission to the motion and opposition members protested in the well of Assembly.…

http://en.southlive.in/southly/2017/07/20/internal-probe-names-bjp-state-leaders-in-multi-crore-medical-college-scam-took-bribe-promising-medical-council-tag

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Lalu hits back, terms Nitish ‘political turncoat’ (Aug 1, 2017, The Tribune)

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday launched a verbal attack on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar terming him ‘palturam of politics’ (a political turncoat) as he kept on changing his team over zero tolerance. Claiming himself senior to the Bihar CM, Lalu said Nitish was nowhere on the scene when he became general secretary of steering committee and Shivanand Rosario was its member.…

Lalu said he did not believe in Nitish, but it was Mulayam Singh Yadav who had asked him to consider Nitish as leader of grand alliance. “How would you go to public,” Lalu asked the Bihar CM.

Recalling old days, Lalu said Jay Prakash Nayayan had given him ticket to contest Lok Sabha poll from Chhapra in 1977 and he won, while Nitish Kumar got defeated twice in assembly elections in 1977 and 1980 from Harnaut constituency.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/lalu-hits-back-terms-nitish-political-turncoat/445443.html

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HC allows plea to challenge UP govt’s refusal to sanction Yogi Adityanath’s prosecution (Jul 31, 2017, Indian Express)

The Allahabad High Court today allowed an application seeking permission to challenge the Uttar Pradesh government’s refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a decade-old communal riots case.

A division bench comprising justices Krishna Murari and Akhilesh Chandra Sharma allowed the amendment application of Parvez Parwaz and Asad Hayat, who had moved the court seeking a CBI inquiry into the Gorakhpur communal riots of 2007. The court fixed August 9 as the next date of hearing, while directing the state government to file its counter-affidavit on the plea.…

Parwaz is also the complainant in the FIR lodged in connection with the Gorakhpur riots, while Hayat is one of the witnesses in the case. Besides Yogi, the then Gorakhpur Mayor Anju Chaudhary and local MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal have also been named as accused in the case.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/hc-allows-plea-to-challenge-up-govts-refusal-to-sanction-yogi-adityanath-prosecution-4776269/

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Citizen complaints spur review of deadline to link Aadhaar, PAN (Jul 28, 2017, Times of India)

The government is looking at the possibility of providing some relief to taxpayers who have been put in a difficult spot due to the mandatory linking of one’s Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN).

Sources in the government told TOI that the tax department had received several complaints and letters from taxpayers who have expressed their inability to link the two identification numbers, with many representations coming from senior citizens.

There have been several complaints over the fact names in the two registries do not match. For instance, there are several instances of individuals using their initials while getting PAN, while the Aadhaar database carries their full name.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59799648.cms

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Indian Law Enforcement Ineffective in curbing terror funding: US State Dept Report (Jul 25, 2017, Sabrang India)

A recently released US State Department report has suggested that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to de-monetize Rs 500 and 1,000 notes in November last year, the Indian authorities have failed to achieve one of its state objectives, to curb suspicious sources of funding terrorist activities.

In fact, the report, titled “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016”, complains, of late, US investigators have had “limited success in coordinating the seizure of illicit proceeds with Indian counterparts”, which was not the case in the past.

It emphasises ,”While, in the past, intelligence and investigative information supplied by US law enforcement authorities led to numerous seizures of terrorism-related funds, a lack of follow-through on investigative leads has prevented a more comprehensive approach.”…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/indian-law-enforcement-ineffective-curbing-terror-funding-us-state-dept-report

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Partner in crime: Akali Dal leader molest Dalit women, BJP MLA defends the accused (Jul 28, 2017, Southlive.in)

Seven persons, including a Shiromani Akali Dal leader, have been booked for allegedly beating up and molesting five Dalit women in Abohar in Punjab. A pregnant Dalit woman from Thakur Abadi area, Kajal, alleged that when she and three other Dalit women were picking rags from a street earlier this week, the Akali leader’s brother Vijay Ahuja accused them of committing theft in his house and started attacking.

But when they refuted the allegation, his accomplices dragged the women inside a house where they were allegedly thrashed and molested by miscreants who claimed they had instructions and support of SAD leader Ashok, the FIR says.

Abohar circle SAD president Ashok Ahuja, his brother Vijay Ahuja, Janak Raj Ahuja, Rajiv Bhatia, Sunny Bhatia and Ved Parkash are among those booked. Ashok had taken over as SAD “halqa incharge” following the arrest of liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda in the Bhim Tank murder case in January 2016. He also served as senior Vice-President in the Municipal Council.…

http://en.southlive.in/india/2017/07/28/akali-dal-leader-others-beat-up-molest-dalit-women-bjp-mla-defends-the-accused

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NHRC asks Odisha to compensate SC/ST students for unhygienic meals (Jul 30, 2017, Times of India)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the state government to compensate 176 scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) students of Gatangi Sevashram school in Kandhamal district for its lapses in ensuring hygienic environment for these students to have mid-day meals.

The rights body passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy. It issued a showcase notice to the state chief secretary on Sunday asking him as to why the commission should not recommend compensation of Rs 1,000 each to be paid to all the students of the school.

The commission further directed the state government to raise the height of boundary wall of the school within three months to check entry of pigs and dogs and submit the report within eight weeks.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59836425.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

In Indian politics, candidates who stoke communal hatred thrive – By Harry Stevens (Jul 27, 2017, Hindustan Times)

More than fifty politicians who hold elected office in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies face charges in criminal cases related to inciting religious violence or stoking communal hatred, according to HT’s analysis of more than 50,000 candidates who contested elections in the past five years.

Though they comprise only a tiny fraction of all political nominees, candidates who have been accused or convicted of communal crimes win the elections they compete in far more often than those who have not been charged with any crimes, the analysis found, suggesting that voters see communalism as a reason to vote for a candidate rather than a political liability.

“Appealing to social divisions is a hallmark of so-called criminal candidacy in India,” said Milan Vaishnav, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace and author of a recent book on criminality in Indian politics. Criminal candidates “typically use their criminality as a way to signal their credibility to protect their own community.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/let-s-talk-about-hate-does-stoking-communal-hatred-guarantee-electoral-victory-for-politicians-yes-says-data/story-VVmK9r6hG2xeoWQxlySUbP.html

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Nitish Kumar’s betrayal another step in the disenfranchisement of Muslims – By Aditya Menon (Jul 27, 2017, Catch News)

In 2015, Bihar’s Muslims voted overwhelmingly in favour of Nitish Kumar for the principled stand he had taken against Narendra Modi. Less than two years later, Kumar has joined hands with the BJP, dumping not just his alliance partners, but an important aspect of the mandate he had been given.

Kumar’s “betrayal” is symptomatic of a broader, more disturbing trend – the steady disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims. This isn’t a legal disenfranchisement, as Shiv Sena ideologue Sanjay Raut had demanded in 2015. It is a political disenfranchisement – that the government doesn’t reflect the will of the community in the least.

After all, democracy isn’t just about having the right to vote, it is also about the government representing the will of the people. The 2014 Lok Sabha election and several state elections that took place since then, led to the formation of governments that did not represent the Muslim community’s will at all. In fact, in many of these states, the BJP’s victory emboldened forces that are actively targeting the community. The short, cruel message in the BJP’s success is: Muslim votes don’t matter.… The gap between Indian democracy and Muslim citizens has never been this wide.

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/nitish-kumar-s-betrayal-another-step-in-the-disenfranchisement-of-muslims-74406.html

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Undoing The Soul Of Democratic Secular India: The RSS Pracharak Batra Way – By Shamsul Islam (Jul 31, 2017, Countercurrents)

The RSS brigade is fond of surgical strikes. Though there rages a dispute whether surgical strikes against Pakistan secured any favourable results but so far as its surgical strikes against minorities, specially Muslims and Christians and Dalits are concerned, are paying rich dividends to it. The lynching, maiming and robbing in the name of ‘ghar wapsi’ (forcible conversion to Hinduism), ‘Holy Cow’ and ‘Vande Matram’ as part of this strategy aimed at attacking the human wealth of India. But it is also working overtime to destroy the soul of democratic-secular India by attacking all that has been positive in the Indian education.

It is true that apparently it is busy in waging war against universities like Hyderabad Central University, JNU and Jadavpur University as these Universities heroically resisted the Hindutva take-over by the ABVP and pracharak vice-chancellors.… Apart from physical attacks and threats of elimination to these centres of learning, a more insidious game-plan of RSS is unfolding through RSS pracharak, Dina Nath Batra. He, as a father-figure of the RSS demolition squad against the largely liberal-democratic-secular system of school education which aimed at producing inquisitive young scholars who would question the status quo. Batra has come out with a new HIT LIST to be cleansed from educational content.…

It is to be noted that before targetting NCERT text books via Batra, RSS/BJP governments in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and MP have removed/curtailed references even to Gandhi and Nehru and added glorification of personalities like Savarkar. Emboldened by such successes school text books at the national level are the target now.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/07/31/undoing-the-soul-of-democratic-secular-india-the-rss-pracharak-batra-way/

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War of words – By Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay (Aug 4, 2017, Frontline)

Making public a telephone call to her by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, a visibly angry West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told a press conference on July 4: “Today the Governor said a lot of things to me and I have been highly insulted. The office of Governor is a constitutional post and he has to work as per the Constitution. I have not come to power thanks to the Governor. I have been elected by the people; the Governor has been nominated by the Centre. The language he used while speaking to me on behalf of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] was humiliating. I have never been so insulted in my life.”

Relations between the Trinamool Congress government and the Centre hit an all-time low with a bitter public spat between the Chief Minister and the Governor over a communal flare-up in Baduria town in the Basirhat subdivision of North 24 Paraganas district. Such a direct and strident confrontation between the nominated head of the State and the elected head of the government is unprecedented in West Bengal.

Mamata Banerjee said the Governor had “threatened” her. “I told the Governor that you cannot talk to me like this. The Governor was speaking like a block president of the BJP. Why should this happen? We are not servants. After today’s insult, I even thought of quitting…. The Governor cannot threaten me,” she said.…

http://www.frontline.in/politics/war-of-words/article9774557.ece

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BJP Corruption Scandals in Kerala – Editorial (Jul 30, 2017, Peoples Democracy)

Under Narendra Modi’s regime, the BJP has been boasting about the clean record of the government and the ruling party. It has projected a “swach” image in contrast to the corruption-ridden record of the UPA government.

These claims have been made despite the gigantic Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh under BJP rule. This widespread corruption network must rank as one of the biggest scandals ever in a state. Similarly, there have been many corruption cases occurring in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh under BJP rule.

Now the lid has been blown open regarding the widespread and systematic corruption indulged in by some BJP leaders in Kerala. Unlike the other BJP-ruled states, the party is in the opposition and a small force in the state. But it’s leaders have, however, utilised the opportunities presented by the BJP being the ruling party at the centre, to collect bribes to get work done which is under the purview of central institutions.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2017/0730_pd/bjp-corruption-scandals-kerala

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Violent turn – By Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay (Aug 4, 2017, Frontline)

The situation in the strife-torn Darjeeling hills further deteriorated when four more protesters were killed, taking the death toll to seven in the past one month. Since June 8, the region has been on the boil, with the renewal of the violent agitation for a separate State of Gorkhaland.

On the night of July 7, three weeks after the declaration of an indefinite shutdown in the hills, Tashi Bhutia, a resident of Sonada and a member of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), was shot dead, allegedly by security forces, when he ventured out to buy medicines for his brother. The incident triggered a violent reaction, further intensifying the protest movement.

On July 8, angry mobs went on the rampage, torching public property, including the toy train station at Sonada and a local police station, and attacking the offices of the ruling Trinamool Congress, the office of the superintendent of police, and the building that housed the Department of Food and Civil Supplies. This was one of the most violent outbursts since a total bandh was declared in the Darjeeling hills on June 15 by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the single most powerful political force in the hills.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/violent-turn/article9774539.ece

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