IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 11th, 2017

by newsdigest on December 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Murder of Muslim laborer in Rajasthan sparks outrage among Indian Americans

Diaspora sees direct connection between cultural of impunity and the reckless, incendiary rhetoric of the Hindutva complex

December 8 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today noted the sense of outrage among millions of Indians, both within India and across the diaspora over the heinous murder of Mohammed Afrazul, a Muslim migrant worker from West Bengal, who was hacked with a cleaver and his body set on fire in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. The accused in the case, Shambulal Regar, is captured on video committing the crime and claiming that he committed the murder to “stop Muslims from love-jihad” – a term publicized by Hindu supremacist groups to refer to Muslim men supposedly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam as part of some grand conspiracy.

“We are appalled at the horrifying level of hate and violence that not only exists but is worsening by the day, particularly in the state of Rajasthan,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “We call upon the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje to uphold her constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens, regardless of caste and creed. This would include reining in organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad who have been on the frontlines of spreading hate and discord against the state’s Muslim minorities,” Mr. Khan further added.

Mohammed Afrazul’s killing is the fourth hate crime against Muslims in Rajasthan in the last nine months. Earlier in April, Pehlu Khan was brutally assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes that led to his death two days later. Later in June, Zafar Hussein was killed after he objected to city officials photographing women defecating in the open. In November, cow vigilantes attacked Mohammed Umar and his colleagues who were transporting cattle, and Umar was later found dead. The perpetrators of these hate crimes are emboldened by the failure of state administration to effectively prosecute these cases of hate crimes. In September, the Rajasthan police closed its investigation into murder of Pehlu Khan and exonerated all six individuals named by Mr. Khan in his dying declaration.

Commenting on this issue, Ms. Seema Salim, National Vice President of IAMC, expressed grave concern at the rising tide of hate crimes in Rajasthan. “The Chief Minister, Ms. Raje must demonstrate the political will to ensure security of the state’s Muslim minorities and dismantle the culture of absolute impunity and protection accorded to the perpetrators of these hate crimes,” said Ms. Seema.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

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CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
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References:

1. Rajasthan: Labourer burnt alive, video of the incident goes
https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/rajasthan-labourer-burnt-alive-video-of-the-incident-goes/1204300

2. As Filmed Murder of Muslim Man in Rajasthan Goes Viral, Official Culture of Impunity Towards Hate Crimes Blamed
https://thewire.in/202831/rajasthan-muslim-man-hacked-to-death-video/

3. Man hacked to death, set ablaze in Rajasthan: Nephew says Afrazul didn’t wrong anyone
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/smoking-was-afrazul-s-only-vice-says-nephew/story-Jt7LTzCcITMDIl21DmvlsI.html

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Babri Masjid demolition: Who were the main villains? (Dec 6, 2017, Dailyo.in)

What should have been a day of reflection was picked to become a day to institutionalise lawlessness like never before. December 6, the death anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the drafter-in-chief of our Constitution, in 1992, became the day when they pulled Babri Masjid down, brick by communalised brick.

Multiple accounts of what happened on that day, reflections on how law was compromised at every level, as hundreds of kar sevaks, armed with iron rods, other weapons, brought down a 16th century mosque named after the Mughal emperor Babar, have been published.…

In the hall of mirrors that Indian commentary and mainstream media has now become, much of historical accuracy is lost in the din of political point-scoring. So, here’s a recap of the major names and their notorious contributions to the making of the day that sullied India’s constitutional secularism forever.…

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/babri-masjid-demolition-ram-janmabhoomi-ram-temple-lk-advani-uma-bharti-murli-manohar-joshi/story/1/20979.html

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Heinous murder of Afrajul Khan sparks outrage among Indian Americans (Dec 10, 2017, Twocircles.net)

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, noted the sense of outrage among millions of Indians, both within India and across the diaspora over the heinous murder of Mohammed Afrajul, a Muslim migrant worker from West Bengal, who was hacked with a cleaver and his body set on fire in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district.

The accused in the case, Shambulal Regar, is captured on video committing the crime and claiming that he committed the murder to “stop Muslims from love-jihad” – a term publicised by Hindu supremacist groups to refer to Muslim men supposedly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam as part of some grand conspiracy.

“We are appalled at the horrifying level of hate and violence that not only exists but is worsening by the day, particularly in the state of Rajasthan,” said Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “We call upon the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to uphold her constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens, regardless of caste and creed. This would include reining in organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad who have been on the frontlines of spreading hate and discord against the state’s Muslim minorities,” Mr. Khan further added.…

http://twocircles.net/2017dec10/418992.html

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‘Do we really value human rights,’ asks former CJI RM Lodha, citing cow vigilantism, ‘love jihad’ (Dec 11, 2017, Scroll.in)

India has not been able to protect human rights despite constitutional safeguards and a “strong judiciary”, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said at a Human Rights Day event on Sunday, citing cow vigilantism, “love jihad” and sedition charges against citizens.

Referring to the controversy over the Bollywood film Padmavati and the threats faced by its crew, Lodha said he wondered if India really values human rights. He said that the laxity in police action was “shaking me every day”, The Indian Express reported.

“In the name of cow protection, human beings were slaughtered,” Lodha said. “Cow vigilantes are mushrooming everywhere. Sedition charges are being invoked against activists. Cartoonists, actors and students were charged with sedition charges.”…

https://scroll.in/latest/861043/do-we-really-value-human-rights-asks-former-cji-rm-lodha-citing-cow-vigilantism-love-jihad

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Gujarat Assembly polls: For many Muslims, EVM the real enemy (Dec 12, 2017, Times of India)

For many Muslim voters in Gujarat, if there is an issue of concern in the coming Assembly election, it is the electronic voting machine (EVM). EVM – described as the “devil” by one worried voter – was the hot topic of discussion among the people, who, however, said they would vote in the December 14 election in the state, despite their concerns.

With the circulation of messages on social media sites about EVMs being tampered with, many in the border district of Chhota Udaipur feared their votes might be transferred to other candidates. Our vote is the only power we have and if somebody changes it, what are we left with in a democracy, asked 57- year-old Sayed Mala, a small-time construction contractor. Mala said he did not trust the electronic machines, adding that ballot papers were the more credible option – a sentiment shared by many others across the district with three Assembly constituencies.

Educated sections of the people, with access to social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, were more worried about EVMs than the others. I know who I will vote for. But I am not assured if it will be counted in his favour. But with a ballot paper, my vote can t be changed, said Kalol college student Sultan Hussain.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/62039937.cms

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Narendra Modi government spent nearly Rs 3,755 crore on its publicity since 2014, reveals RTI query (Dec 8, 2017, First Post)

The Modi government has spent a whopping nearly Rs 3,755 crore in three and half years on its publicity till October this year, an RTI revealed on Friday. The expenditure on advertisements from April 2014 to October 2017 through electronic, print media and outdoor publicity is Rs 37,54,06,23,616, according to the RTI reply by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The application was filed by Greater Noida-based social activist Ramveer Tanwar, a copy of which is with IANS. According to the information, the central government spent over Rs 1,656 crore on electronic media advertisements, including, community radio, digital cinema, Doordarshan, internet, SMS, and television. For print media, the government spent more than Rs 1,698 crore.

On outdoor advertisements, which include hoardings, posters, booklets and calendars, the central government has spent over Rs 399 crore, the RTI reveals. The amount spent on publicity blitz is more than the yearly budget allocated to some key ministries and government’s flagship programmes. The government’s allocation for “pollution abatement” in the last three years has been only Rs 56.8 crore.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/narendra-modi-government-spent-nearly-rs-3755-crore-on-its-publicity-since-2014-reveals-rti-query-4248835.html

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Manmohan Singh speaks out: Pained at PM Narendra Modi spreading falsehood to score political points (Dec 11, 2017, Indian Express)

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed anguish at the “falsehood” and “canards” being spread by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “score political points”. In a statement, the former PM said “Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief”.

The former two-term PM was referring to Prime Minister Modi’s remarks at an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, where he referred to a purported tweet by a former Pakistan army director general, who said Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, should be made the chief minister of Gujarat. “Why is Pakistan’s senior retired army officer exercising his brain in the Gujarat election?” Modi had questioned.…

“I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner. The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations. Names of the distinguished Indian public servants and journalists present at the dinner are enclosed to this statement. None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities,” Singh said, adding that PM Modi should apologise to the nation for his ‘ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies’.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pained-at-pm-modis-spreading-of-falsehood-to-score-political-points-manmohan-singh-mani-shankar-aiyar-pakistan-dinner-4977971/

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Gujarat officials “indifferent” to communal riot victims, “don’t care” to implement PM’s 15 point programme for minorities (Dec 12, 2017, Counterview)

Living in a continued state of fear even nine months after the attack on his son, allegedly by Bajrang Dal activists on March 24, 2017, Allubhai of Vadagam village in Dhansura block of Aravalli district, Gujarat, complains that no action has yet been taken against those who tried to instigate the communal divide by seeking to whip up the love jehad bogey.

A teenager, his son was listening to a Bollywood song being played in a car, says Allubhai, a daily wage worker. The boy was spotted by a local, and accusations flew high that he was seeking to molest a Hindu girl. At around 9 pm, a group of goons entered the Muslim mohalla in Vadagam, wielding iron rods and swords, hockey sticks, engaging in wanton destruction of property.

“Instead of taking our complaints, the police detained six of us”, Allubhai says, adding, “Even 79 year old Aminaben was put behind bars. On being freed, we were forced to flee our village. Badly injured, my son was picked up from the Civil Hospital in Modasa. While following a compromise with elders we have returned, wounds are still fresh in our memory.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/12/gujarat-officials-indifferent-to.html

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After Padmavati, Hindutva groups oppose Game of Ayodhya (Nov 30, 2017, The Hindu)

Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), a group founded by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have opposed the release of Game of Ayodhya, a film that has the Ramjanmbhoomi agitation and the demolition of the Babri mosque as its background.

The film, which is expected to be released on December 8, was initially not given a green signal by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the pretext that it could stoke communal passions because the subject of the temple-mosque dispute was provocative. The producers had then approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which cleared it for release.

Amit Goswami, an ABVP leader from Aligarh, has threatened to kill Sunil Singh, the director of the film. He has also announced a bounty of ₹1 lakh for anyone who chops off his hands.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-padmavati-hindutva-groups-oppose-game-of-ayodhya/article21235326.ece

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SIT quizzes dera head in jail about violence cases (Dec 7, 2017, Times of India)

After 101 days of violence which claimed 37 lives and left over 200 injured, the special investigation team (SIT) on Wednesday finally went to Sunaria Jail in Rohtak to quiz rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the cases of violence and waging war against the state.

Violence had erupted on August 25 when the Panchkula CBI court had convicted Gurmeet in two cases of rape. The SIT headed by assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Mukesh Malhotrashowed video footage and pictures of violence to Gurmeet and questioned him for two-and-a-half hours.

“Our main focus was the circumstances and conspiracy behind the violence. The SIT could not complete the interrogation as it started late due to some technical issues. The team will visit Sunaria again for questioning,” said Panchkula commissioner of police (CP) A S Chawla.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/61954495.cms

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Can even murder Kanhaiya Kumar, Sambit Patra for insulting Godse: Hindu Mahasabha (Dec 11, 2017, Times of India))

Members of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha on Monday said that they can “even murder” student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra if the latter make anti-Nathuram Godse statements.

“Recently on national television, Kanhaiya Kumar and Sambit Patra started raising pro-Gandhi and anti-Godse slogans. We want to challenge both of them via media that if they use insulting words against our leader, then we can even murder such people. Godse did a favour to the entire Hindu community by murdering Gandhi.

“These people have always acted against the Hindus. So, we want to make it clear that if they use insulting words for Godse in future, Hindu Mahsabha will be bound to murder them,” said Abhishek Agarwal, Meerut district president of the outfit. Agarwal was speaking at a press conference at Mahasabha’s Sharda road office in Meerut.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com//articleshow/62025041.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

The Babri Masjid Demolition Was Impossible Without RSS Foot-Soldiers Like These – By Lalit Vachani (Dec 8, 2017, The Wire)

In September and October 1992, the Wide Eye Films team and I filmed The Boy in the Branch at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur. Commissioned by SOUTH, a documentary and current affairs programme on UK’s Channel 4 television channel, the film looked at the process of indoctrination and recruitment of young Hindu boys by the RSS shakha system.…

As I watched the images of the demolition, I was stunned. How had this been achieved?… When I met Sandeep, Sripad and Pururshottam, they were eager to tell me about what had happened in their lives in the intervening years. But most of all, they wanted to talk about the demolition of the Babri mosque, their contribution to the movement, and “how they made history”. There was absolutely no holding back and I was surprised at how outspoken they were. Sripad described the Ram janmabhoomi movement planning as a “war strategy where some are sent to the front while others man the base camp”. Both Sripad and Purushottam were at the front lines, while Sandeep was one of the RSS volunteers who was deputed to “stay behind and work on the foundation”.

They explained that there was detailed, meticulous organisation and deployment of personnel for months before the karsevaks were to arrive in Ayodhya. As Sandeep said, “there was micro-planning”. Groups of five karsevaks were formed and sent to Ayodhya under a leader. Purushottam was one of the group leaders. Sripad was one of ten RSS swayamsevaks from Nagpur especially selected to do ‘a job’, which he was proud to have accomplished.…

https://thewire.in/202998/rss-sangh-parivar-babri-masjid/

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A Rajasthan reminder: The targets of hate are not just Muslims and Dalits, but also vulnerable women – By Harsh Mander (Dec 9, 2017, Scroll.in)

The journey of the Karwan e Mohabbat into Rajasthan on September 15 was overcast by the violent opposition to our resolve to place flowers on the dusty kerb of the highway in Behror where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched by a vigilante mob in April.…

The determined opposition by stone-throwing mobs to my tribute to a man felled by hate-driven violence underlined a profound absence of remorse, and a sustained communal hatred. I recall the heated argument I had with a police officer as I sat on a dharna when the police blocked my path to the site where Pehlu Khan had been killed.

I told him that if the police chose, they could have easily prevented the gathering of a hundred men armed with stones. He hotly replied, “They have a constitutional right to protest.” I replied that I was not sure they had the right to protest with stones, but if they did, surely I had the right to protest with flowers.…

https://scroll.in/article/860140/a-rajasthan-reminder-the-targets-of-hate-are-not-just-muslims-and-dalits-but-also-vulnerable-women

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Justice? Fair trial? What foolish world do you live in, Sir? The victim was a Muslim – By Mazhar Farooqui (Dec 9, 2017, Twocircles.net)

In the end, justice will prevail. Nobody is above the law. Have faith in the judiciary. All these oft-repeated phrases sound good but the fact is that in India the possibility of a Muslim victim of Hindutva terror getting justice is as minuscule as the eye of a needle.

You are living in a fool’s paradise if you believe Shambhulal will be punished for hacking an innocent Muslim man to death and burning his body in the name of love jihad. For all you know, he could soon be an MLA or some such thing.

It doesn’t take rocket science to predict the outcome of Afrazul’s bone-chilling murder. All you need to do is look at the outcome of some recent and past cases. Whether it’s Akhlaq (Dadri), Pehlu Khan (Alwar), Imran (Aligarh), Imtiyaz (Jharkhand) Umar Khan (Alwar) or 16-year-old Junaid (train lynching (Ballabhgarh) in each instance the killers were let off despite clinching evidence such as dying statements.…

http://twocircles.net/2017dec09/418964.html

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Cow-Related Hate Crimes Peaked in 2017, 86% of Those Killed Muslim – By Alison Saldanha (Dec 8, 2017, The Wire)

After the recent murder of a dairy trader by cow vigilantes on the Rajasthan-Haryana border, 11 deaths have been reported in 2017, the highest toll from cow-related hate crimes since 2010, from when IndiaSpend’s database records hate crimes. The database is being launched in a new, interactive format today.

No incidents of hate crime were reported in 2010 and 2011, but over the eight years since 2012, 29 persons have been killed in cow-related hate violence, 25 of whom were Muslim.

Until 2015, 76% or 13 of 17 cow-related hate crimes were reported from northern India. Since then, during 2016 and 2017 to-date, more incidents have been reported from the east, west and south of the country.…

https://thewire.in/203103/cow-vigilantism-violence-2017-muslims-hate-crime/

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India’s plural soul – By Gopalkrishna Gandhi (Dec 6, 2017, The Hindu)

The partitioning of India broke us, shamed us.… After that traumatic year, three dates, three events, shook Indian pluralism again. Gandhi’s assassination – January 30, 1948; the Babri Masjid demolition – December 6, 1992, and the unveiling of V.D. Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament House – February 26, 2003.…

The first of these three saw a believer in the criticality of India’s pluralism being put to death. The second witnessed a pre-eminent Islamic monument reduced to rubble. The third valorised a man who believed India was meant to be a Hindu Rashtra. The first was murder, the second vandalism, the third a celebration. Those three form a triptych. All three occurrences singed India’s plural soul. Their “work” is still on. It is still affecting ways of thinking, acting, reacting.…

But hate and fear are not a normal condition; fanaticism not a natural emotion. Plain common sense and Gandhi’s miraculously still-alive spirit have staved off communal frenzy. Never more effectively than when bloodthirsty terrorists sought to mutilate life in Mumbai in 1993 and then to maim the House of India’s Parliament in 2001. All of India could have erupted then into communal frenzy, but it did not. Likewise, when Gujarat 2002 could have spread, but did not.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/indias-plural-soul/article21268638.ece

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Voting machines without safeguards – By Uttam Sengupta (Dec 12, 2017, National Herald)

“We have a single technology at our disposal that is invulnerable to hacking – paper” Computer Scientist who prefers paper. That is how the American magazine The Atlantic described her earlier this year. Having worked at IBM for long, Barbara Simons (76) is among the pioneers in computer science. When, therefore, she began saying that electronic voting was not safe, people took her to be a ‘crank’. But undeterred, Simons became one of the founders of American organization Verified Voters, which has been in the forefront of the movement to replace machines with paper ballots in American elections.

The idea that software can be manipulated to rig elections is still neither popular nor widely accepted. But the election of Donald Trump in 2016 as the US President and the cloud cast by allegations of Russian interference in the electoral process, has overnight changed the usually cold reception that Simons was used to from public officials and citizens alike. People are now more curious to hear her and more willing to accept that she may actually be talking sense.…

“Paper, Simons said, is the best answer to this riddle. Marked clearly and correctly, it’s a portable and transparent record of voter intent, one that voters themselves can verify, at least while the ballot is still in their possession. It’s also a permanent record, unlike computer memory, which can always be overwritten. “There’s no malware that can attack paper,” Simons said. “We can solve this. We know how to do it.”

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/voting-machines-without-safeguards

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