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Muslim community urged to work towards development and pursuit of justice

May 26, 2014

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on all Indians to be vigilant in safeguarding the secular institutions under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) administration. It has also urged the Muslim community to utilize the democratic institutions to secure their constitutional rights and work towards strengthening the secular pillars of the nation.

BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the primary constituent of NDA, scored a simple majority in the recently concluded elections on the plank of development and good governance. Its vote share of 31% however, is a reflection of the electorate’s continued rejection of the Hindutva ideology, which BJP has espoused throughout its history.

On the occasion of the swearing-in of the new government, Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC remarked, “We should respect the decision of the voters, but work to counter the influence of Hindutva that seeks to relegate the minorities to second class citizens. Several factors including the alliance’s promise of economic growth and development contributed to their victory. However it does not mean that the masses have abandoned the pluralist ethos.”

“Ideological swings in elections is part and parcel of a democratic system, but the struggle for justice and for upholding constitutional guarantees goes beyond the results of any one election. While sincerity towards secular principles varies between the different political parties, the need for the populace to hold every elected leader accountable for upholding equality before the law of all citizens is always present,” Shaheen Khateeb, a former President of the organization commented.

IAMC urges the community and its leadership to move beyond the election results and focus on the upliftment of the community by getting more creative and resilient in the face of the odds. “The BJP can become an inclusive people’s party if it distances itself from the fountainhead of Hindutva, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). On the other hand, they will be successful in furthering the RSS agenda only if civil society does not challenge their actions. The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens and the democratic institutions of the country should be utilized to ensure it remains that way. Muslims, as the largest minority in the country, ought to be leading the way in defending human rights and religious freedom for all citizens,” Ahsan Khan exhorted.

Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of the organization said, “I have a simple message for Muslims: Stay optimistic and forward looking. The solutions to the challenges facing the community can and should be addressed by using available opportunities and creating new avenues. Be vigilant and positive to prevent the youth from getting radicalized. Demand your rights and fully participate in the development of the nation as equal citizens. Be relentless in the pursuit of justice for all the aggrieved and disadvantaged sections of society. IAMC will support all initiatives of the Muslim leadership in India to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the upliftment of the community.”

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Ishaq Syed
phone: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Will Modi be a prime minister for all Indians?
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/modi-615483-india-people.html

2. VHP’s wishlist for Modi ranges from Ram Mandir to law on cow slaughter
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/vhps-wishlist-to-modi-ranges-from-ram-mandir-to-law-on-cow-slaughter/474175-37-64.html

3. Preserve the Idea of India
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/preserve-the-idea-of-india/article6017266.ece

4. In ‘PM Modi’, Muslim clerics repose guarded faith, seek secular leader
http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/in-pm-modi-muslim-clerics-repose-guarded-faith-seek-secular-leader/99/

5. What Indians expect from PM Modi
http://twocircles.net/2014may21/what_indians_expect_pm_modi.html

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Renowned activist will always be remembered for his tireless struggle to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms and fake encounter killings.

May 14, 2014

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed grief and a profound sense of loss over the passing away of renowned human rights activist and lawyer, Dr. Mukul Sinha. Dr. Sinha breathed his last in Ahmedabad on May 12.

Dr. Sinha, a physicist turned lawyer-activist, and a graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, was a founding member of the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM). JSM is a civil rights body that has several successful public interest litigations to its credit, and which continues to fight for justice for the victims of the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat.

Dr. Sinha unearthed crucial facts about the Godhra carnage and post-Godhra violence in the course of his cross examinations of witnesses. His research strengthened the case against people like Maya Kodnani, former VHP leader Jaideep Patel and was crucial to their convictions. He was also in the forefront of the fight to bring to justice the perpetrators of fake encounters, including the killing of Ishrat Jahan.

“We express our deepest condolences to Dr. Sinha’s family, and to all those who were touched by Dr. Sinha’s life and work, ” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The loss to human rights activism in India and to the cause of justice and accountability, is immeasurable,” added Mr. Khan.

Despite battling with lung cancer for more than a year, Dr. Sinha continued his tireless efforts to expose the high and mighty who held human lives cheap, and expended them freely in their quest for power. His online portal http://www.truthofgujarat.com/ is an authoritative source on the Gujarat pogroms as well as on the reality of the much-hyped Gujarat development model.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit http://www.iamc.com/

 

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
Noted human rights activist Mukul Sinha dies
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/noted-activist-and-lawyer-mukul-sinha-dies-522862

Gujarat fake encounters are similar: Mukul Sinha
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/gujarat-fake-encounters-are-similar-mukul-sinha/article1-1088835.aspx

Mukul Sinha’s open letter to Arun Jaitley on fake encounter cases
http://www.tehelka.com/mukul-sinha-counters-arun-jaitley-on-fake-encounter-cases/

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Grief and outrage over merciless killing of women and children in Assam in the din of elections

May 08, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the gruesome massacre in Assam that has claimed the lives of 43 people, most of them being women and children, at the hands of Bodo militants. The victims were predominantly Bengali speaking Assamese Muslims living in the Bodo Territorial Area Districts (BTAD). The massacre is directly related to the election where divisive and hateful rhetoric demonizing Assamese Muslims as “illegal immigrants” has been used to incite violence and advance a sectarian agenda.

The brutal killings are a grim reminder of the pogrom of 2012, in which hundreds were killed, and over 400,000 people displaced. The violence marked the largest internal displacement of people in India since the Partition in 1947. Experts agree that the violence and resulting displacement of indigenous Assamese Muslims is designed to make them “illegal” in their own country, and justify their disenfranchisement.

The canard of illegal “Bangladeshi” immigrants has been used primarily by the Hindu nationalist BJP as a red herring in order to leverage ethnic rivalry between Bodos and Muslims and gain political mileage. The mass killings, and their justification by political forces inimical to the minorities has been rightly condemned by conscientious citizens and human rights activists.

The killings started on May 2 after Pramila Rani Brahma of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), accused Muslims of not voting for the BPF in the ongoing elections. Initial investigations show that besides the Bodo militant groups, members of BPF were involved in the massacre. Moreover, the brutal police crackdown at Harbhanga polling booth shows that Assamese Muslims cannot expect security even from law enforcement, as the elections have turned them into easy targets.

“The mass killing of Assamese Muslims is the bitter harvest of the usual divisive politics espoused by Hindutva supremacists,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “It represents a brutal attempt to alter the electoral demographics of Assam, through violence, intimidation and mass displacement, ” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC has called for the seizure of all illegal arms and ammunition from the BTAD area, as a necessary first step towards ending the ethnic cleansing. The organization has also demanded an immediate enquiry headed by a Supreme Court judge, into the killings, as well as the suspension of police personnel accused of participating in the violence. Pramila Rani Brahma’s inciteful statements represent a flagrant violation of the code of conduct for candidates. The fact that these have not yet invited any censure from the Election Commission is a matter of grave concern.

In order to restore confidence in the populace and uphold the rule of law, IAMC has further demanded the deployment of additional paramilitary forces and immediate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com

 

References:

1. 20 Are Held and Curfew Is Imposed After Attacks on Muslims in India
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/world/asia/militants-kill-dozens-of-muslims-in-northeastern-india-police-say.html

2. Indian Muslims flee homes after rebel massacres in Assam
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-04/muslims-flee-homes-after-rebel-massacres-in-india-s-assam.html

3. 6 more bodies found, Assam toll rises to 43
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/6-more-bodies-found-assam-toll-rises-to-43/article1-1216636.aspx

4. Assam violence, nine key demands of civil organizations
http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/assam-violence-nine-key-demands-of-civil-organizations

 

CONTACT:

Ishaq Syed
phone: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Automated bogus voting attempts to create fake popularity for Indian politicians in the midst of elections

April 22, 2014

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, http://iamc.com), a group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on TIME magazine to disqualify Indian politicians from the 2014 TIME 100 online poll. Millions of fake online votes were cast using automated systems for Indian politicians Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, sometime running into 1,000 votes every 5 seconds. In the two hours between 1:15-3:15PM today (past midnight in India), over 1.4 million votes were cast for candidate Narendra Modi. Since 6PM last evening (April 21st 2014), over 4 million votes were cast for Modi and 2 million for Kejriwal. This polling fraud has implications on the ongoing Indian elections where perceptions on the outcome of the TIME poll have impact on the masses. Over 300 parliamentary seats go to polls in India between now and May 12th.

While the TIME Magazine poll is known to have been rigged for the last several years, the Magazine has done little to address the issue. Although a detailed account of how Katie Perry was pushed to the top spot in last year’s TIME poll through automated polling has been published by hackers, TIME continues to use the same polling service. What is rather alarming is that TIME seems to actually believe in the authenticity of its own online poll and is publishing ‘news’ reportsbased on how Kejriwal and Modi are leading in their poll.

In order to demonstrate how easy it is to crack the TIME poll, IAMC has listed below step-wise technical details on how fake voting can be automated on the TIME Magazine poll:

      1. Open a Facebook account

      2. Using a browser recording tool such as Selenium, record a session for the following:

            1. Go to TIME Magazine poll, click on the person to vote.

            2. It will give the option to login to Facebook or Twitter. Login into Facebook.

3. This will result in the poll service accepting the vote.

      3. Write a script that does the following:

            1. Clear all cookies and other private data from the browser

            2. Play the Selenium recording

      4. Write an auto initialization script that continuously runs the above.

5. Save the virtual image of the machine.

      6. Use the virtual image to launch hundreds or thousands of machines on a cloud service or data

           center to cast their millions of votes for the person of your choice.

This loophole can easily be plugged by TIME through the introduction of industry standard techniques such as Captchas, however TIME has persistently ignored poll fraud on its site for the last several years.

“TIME Magazine should reflect on its willing complicity in allowing itself be used as a PR tool, especially when it has the potential to impact elections in the world’s largest democracy,” said IAMC President Ahsan Khan. Mr. Khan further called upon TIME to not include any Indian politicians in the outcome of its poll. “Given the well documented history of the poll being hacked year after year, it would be irresponsible on the part of TIME to publish its poll results when elections are ongoing in India and the top two candidates in the TIME poll are Indian politicians vying for higher office.”

IAMC also called upon the Election Commission of India to ensure that the results of TIME 100 poll are not used as a publicity tool by the Indian political parties during the course of these elections.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy group of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation.

REFERENCES:

TIME: Indian Politicians Are Dominating the TIME 100 Poll
http://time.com/70002/indian-politicians-are-dominating-the-time-100-poll/

Rigging Time’s Person of the Year poll? All in a day’s twerk
http://www.dailydot.com/news/time-person-of-the-year-miley-cyrus-rigged/

TIME poll hacked by Modi BOTs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U4hqNcZcQc

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Broad range of experts call for inclusion of human rights and religious freedom in the US-India Strategic Dialogue.

April 4th 2014: Coalition Against Genocide (CAG – http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, today welcomed the congressional hearing on the subject of minorities and religious freedom in India.
The hearing was organized by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on April 4, 2014. The congressional panel was presided by Rep. Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, an ardent champion of human rights and religious freedom. Rep. Keith Ellison – co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Rep. Trent Franks – co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Congressional Caucus, were also part of the panel for the hearing. The commission sought to examine the implications of the politicization of religious identities and increase in violence against religious minorities in India in the context of US-India relationship.

Several witnesses were invited to appear and present their observations and information on the subject matter. Among those that testified include Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett – Vice Chair of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Dr. John Dayal – Secretary General of the All-India Christian Council and a prominent member of India’s National Integration Council, Robin Phillips – Executive Director with The Advocates for Human Rights and John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch.

Alex Koshy, a spokesperson for the coalition, welcomed the hearing and its potential for positive impact in the lives of religious minorities in India. “In light of H. Res. 417, the request to incorporate human rights into the strategic dialogue framework provides a way to address the increasing difficulties bilaterally,” he said. “Often, issues of religious freedom are given a short shrift in the bilateral talks or eliminated altogether. Including it will allow for healthy dialogue instead of criticisms on the issue.”, he added.

In a written deposition, Dr. Dayal highlighted the plight of religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims, due to the growing intolerance and polarization, repeated instances of mass violence and impunity for the perpetrators, a sluggish and compromised judiciary, and enactment of draconian laws whose implementation is repressive towards religious minorities. In his oral testimony, Dr. Dayal observed that multiple states have enacted laws that curtail religious freedom, while the votaries of the supremacist Hindutva ideology have openly called for the enactment of a national law with similar scope. He urged the United States and the international community to play a role in safeguarding India’s pluralism, and called on the US government to incorporate human rights and religious freedom in the US-India Strategic Dialogue framework.

Robin Phillips’s written submission brought out the entire gamut of issues faced by religious minorities, including the impunity and even support enjoyed by those accused of fomenting violence and enmity. She cited the analysis of Pew Research Center in which India was among the worst performers in terms of government restrictions and social hostilities involving religion. Her testimony also underscored the apathy, indifference and lack of will of the local governments and judiciary in providing timely relief and remedy to the victims. John Sifton cited instances underscoring the ineffective remedial conditions for victims of communal riots and targeted attacks.

Dr. Shaik Ubaid, one of the co-founders of the coalition remarked, “Despite being a functioning democracy since its independence more than 60 years ago, Indian law enforcement and judiciary are lacking in both the will and capacity to tackle the menace of human rights violations by Hindutva organizations. We thank Congressmen Pitts, Ellison, Wolf, Franks and McGovern for spearheading this hearing and highlighting the increasing number of problems faced by religious minorities in India in their free exercise of constitutional rights.” He also criticised Hindu American Foundation (HAF) saying, “They pretend to be an interfaith and human rights organization but came out opposing the hearing on religious freedom and justifying anti-conversion laws. Such duplicity is the hallmark of the Hindutva ideology.”

The hearing was attended by a packed audience and several lawmakers participated in the course of the proceedings. There were several pointed questions from the panel and the members of the committee were surprised at the number and range of the issues faced by religious minorities.

Coalition members expressed hope that increased attention to the issue of religious freedom will bring about positive changes from the government to the needs of those that are vulnerable and affected.

CAG is a group of over 40 organizations, representing a diverse cross section of the religious and political spectrum of the Indian diaspora, including Hindu and other faith-based organizations. The coalition is committed to democracy, pluralism and to the preservation of the idea of India.

CONTACT:

1. Dr. Shaik Ubaid
Phone: (516) 567-0783

2. Mr. Raja Swamy
Phone: (864) 804-0216

Coalition Against Genocide
Phone/Fax: (443) 927-9039
Email: media@coalitionagainstgenocide.org
http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org

REFERENCES:

TLHRC Hearing: The Plight of Religious Minorities in India
HEARING WEBSITE: http://tlhrc.house.gov/hearing_notice.asp?id=1259
RECORDING: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/45757005

Testimony of John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/04/plight-religious-minorities-india

Testimony of Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice Chair, USCIRF
http://uscirf.newtarget.net/sites/default/files/India%20testimony%20TLHRC%20%20April%202014%20FINAL.pdf

The Advocates’ Robin Phillips Testifies before Congressional Committee
http://theadvocatespost.org/2014/04/04/impunity-emboldening-forces-of-religious-intolerance-in-india/

H.Res 417 — Praising India’s rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality, and reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities.
http://pitts.house.gov/sites/pitts.house.gov/files/documents/PittsEllison-IndiaReligiousFreedom.pdf

Pew Report on Restrictions on Religion – Social Hostilities reach a six year high
http://www.pewforum.org/2014/01/14/religious-hostilities-reach-six-year-high/#interactive

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Attempt to force news portal to withdraw interview critical of Police chief undermines freedom of press

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, condemned the threats to senior lawyer Mr. Mehmood Paracha by vested interests operating through underworld goons. IAMC has demanded the state administration nab the culprits and take immediate measures for the safety and security of the senior lawyer. Advocate Paracha is representing German bakery bomb blast case convict Mirza Himayat Baig.

Besides fighting to prove Himayat Baig’s innocence, Mr. Paracha has been fighting many terror related cases of Muslim youth across the country. Mr. Paracha reported he is getting threatening messages from the underworld don Ravi Pujari since his recent interview appeared on the TCN site. In the exclusive interview to online news portal TwoCircles.Net (TCN – www.twocircles.net) Advocate Paracha, had courted controversy by demanding that that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria be “arrested as a terrorist” and tried under anti-terror laws.

The senior lawyer had stated, “The fact remains that three investigating agencies (NIA, Delhi Police’ Special Cell and Central Crime Branch, Bangalore), my own understanding of the case, the charge sheet and the subsequent events, all point to one fact that the Maharashtra ATS led by Mr. Rakesh Maria was responsible in not only falsely implicating Himayat Baig, but also in the process actively saving the real terrorists,” adding, “the police officers involved, including Mr Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related. He has committed offense prima facie which are terror cases and he should be arrested as a terrorist.”

Mr. Paracha’s case is following the same pattern as the case of late Advocate Shahid Azmi, who was killed in broad daylight in his office by vested interests inimical to the rule of law. “The fact that there are threats to the life of the senior advocate demonstrates how the rule of law is disregarded with impunity when those struggling for justice start to take on the mighty and powerful,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.

IAMC also condemned the Mumbai police department’s attempt to intimidate the online news portal TCN by demanding the removal of Mr. Paracha’s interview wherein he made the bold and stunning revelation about the dubious role of Police Commissioner and former Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria in terror related cases. “The Mumbai Police’s demand that the online portal withdraw the interview with Mr. Paracha is an unacceptable attack on the freedom of the press. It strikes at the very roots of our existence as a democracy where the state security apparatus is supposed to operate under the law and help uphold it, ” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC has called on the media, civil society institutions, legal fraternity and people of conscience, to strongly resist attempts by the Mumbai Police to infringe on the due process of law and on the freedom of media institutions.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at:http://www.iamc.com

REFERENCES:

Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Paracha
http://twocircles.net/2014mar18/rakesh_maria_should_be_arrested_conducting_activities_which_are_terror_related_advocate

Block articles against Maria: Police to US site
http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/block-articles-against-maria-police-to-us-site/

Mumbai Police wants TCN articles removed; Support for TCN comes from all quarters
http://twocircles.net/2014mar20/mumbai_police_wants_tcn_articles_removed_support_tcn_comes_all_quarters.html

Remove Maharashtra ATS Chief Rakesh Maria: JTSA
http://twocircles.net/2010may04/remove_maharashtra_ats_chief_rakesh_maria_jtsa.html

6/11 call record issue may suffer under Maria: Kamte’s wife
http://www.firstpost.com/mumbai/2611-call-record-issue-may-suffer-under-maria-kamtes-wife-1395627.html

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com

ADDRESS:
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com

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Gujarat pogrom commemorated by Indian Americans

Justice for Gujarat victims is pivotal in the struggle to save India’s secular tradition

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, joined human rights activists, survivors and people of conscience across the world in commemorating the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 on the occasion of its 12th anniversary. The commemoration is an expression of resolve to bring the perpetrators to justice and a call for unity against the hateful ideology responsible for the massacres, that claimed over 2,000 lives and rendered over 150,000 people homeless. Neither continued obstruction of justice nor the passage of time can diminish the enormity of the horrific crimes against humanity committed in the Indian state of Gujarat in February and March of 2002.

February 27 marks the 12th anniversary of the genocide of over 2,000 Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. “The graves of the thousands of victims of Gujarat genocide, and the countless survivors who are living with the trauma of seeing their loved ones raped and burned alive, are calling us to action. They beckon us to stand up and be counted among those who will spare no efforts to save the soul of India,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The lessons from Gujarat have not been learned as violence driven by Hindutva supremacists targeted minorities again in Muzaffarnagar in 2013. The world cannot afford to make light of the expression: ‘Never Again!’,” added Mr. Khan.

Under Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s watch, the killing and mayhem continued for over a month, with the complicity of the state’s administration and law enforcement machinery. Hundreds of women were subjected to the most brutal forms of sexual violence in a macabre show of savagery unleashed by the forces of hate. Mr. Ehsan Jaffery, a former Member of India’s Parliament and a lifelong proponent of pluralism, was dismembered and burnt alive. While human rights activists and whistle-blowers within the police and administration have called for accountability at the highest levels, there have been very few convictions, from the thousands of cases related to the Gujarat pogrom.

With the exception of Maya Kodnani, the major political figures that orchestrated the massacres remain free despite overwhelming evidence of state complicity. The conviction of Maya Kodnani, a sitting BJP legislator and later a minister in Modi’s cabinet, for leading a murderous mob, is indicative of the fact that the pogrom was planned and executed at the highest levels of the state government. Not surprisingly, Chief Minister Narendra Modi was described by Katrina Lantos-Swett, Vice-Chair of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as the “poster child for India’s failure to punish the violent.” Mr. Modi’s complicity and active connivance in the pogrom are evidenced by the testimonies given by top ranking law enforcement officials such as ex-DGP R.B. Sreekumar and IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

The “Concerned Citizens Tribunal”, established by journalists, retired judges and intellectuals in India to investigate the massacres in Gujarat, noted in its report:

The scrutiny of the evidence, which came before us, also reveals that there was systematic preparation for unleashing the violence all over the State. The attackers had with them the lists of persons and properties of the victims. The lists could not have been prepared without an access to government records and agencies like the state intelligence, the sales tax department, the revenue department and the state electoral rolls. The Muslim localities were identified beforehand, as also the property and business houses belonging to the Muslim community.

[Crime Against Humanity, Volume 1 – An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat]

Babu Bajrangi, a convicted mass-killer of the Gujarat pogrom, acknowledged on camera during a media sting operation, that the pogrom would not have been possible without the support of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The state government’s efforts to shield criminals, sabotage the investigations and appoint Hindutva extremists as prosecutors amount to open admissions of the state’s intent to shield the guilty. In this context, that the Special Investigation Team – with officers appointed by the very same state government, found insufficient evidence to initiate prosecution comes as no surprise. The compromised nature of the team, which had officers that were themselves under investigation, has resulted in a monumental travesty of justice. Human rights organizations have been at pains to point out that the first step towards justice would be to take the Gujarat pogrom related cases outside the state of Gujarat.

More than a decade after the orchestrated violence, around 16,000 people are still living in refugee colonies without being able to return to their homes or villages for fear of being targeted again. The isolation and marginalization of minorities in Gujarat is now complete.

IAMC honors the brave victims and the activists that are at the forefront of the struggle to secure justice in a system that is indifferent to their suffering. “The world’s resolve to bring the perpetrators of the holocaust that happened almost 70 years ago remains as strong as ever. So too should our resolve be, to not rest until there is full accountability for the crimes against humanity in Gujarat in 2002,” Ahsan Khan further added.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com

REFERENCES:

1. Concerned about communal violence in India: US
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/international/concerned-about-communal-violence-in-india-us/article5735404.ece

2. US denies going soft on Narendra Modi
http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/us-denies-going-soft-on-narendra-modi-114022800246_1.html

3. Row in British parliament complex over Narendra Modi’s past
http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/row-in-british-parliament-complex-over-modis-past/

4. Modi, political Hindutva and the clash of worldviews
http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-political-hindutva-and-the-clash-of-worldviews-560252.html

5. What Makes Modi Unacceptable
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?283979

6. What if Modi becomes Indian premier?
http://twocircles.net/2014feb11/what_if_modi_becomes_indian_premier.html/a>

7. The Truth – Gujarat 2002: Babu Bajrangi
http://www.tehelka.com/video/the-truth-gujarat-2002-babu-bajrangi//a>

8. The two faces of India
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/12/the-two-faces-of-india//a>

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
Phone: 1-800-839-7270
Email: 
info@iamc.com

ADDRESS:
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

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Administration showed poor judgement in reaching out to Modi but is justified in maintaining the policy over his visa ban

Washington DC, Friday, February 14, 2014

Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and to combating extremist ideologies that were its genesis, today expressed disappointment at the hype over the US administration’s outreach to infamous Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, banned from entering the US for his egregious violations of religious freedom, while criticizing the US Department for its ill-advised move. News reports indicate US ambassador to India, Ms. Nancy Powell met with Mr. Modi, as well as opposition leaders and non-government organizations in Gujarat.

The administration has maintained that the meeting between Ambassador Powell and Chief Minister Modi is a customary gesture extended to regional and opposition leaders. However, reaching out to Modi at a time when survivors are marking the twelfth anniversary of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, is a demonstration of poor judgment and insensitivity on the part of the US State Department.

Mr. Modi is unlike other regional leaders, as he has the dubious distinction of being the only individual whose entry to the US was banned under the International Religious Freedom Act (the only time the Act has been invoked to institute a visa ban). Most people also understand that in the ensuing years since 2002, Mr. Modi has done more to rehabilitate his own image than to rehabilitate the countless survivors of the pogrom. CAG welcomed the State Department spokesperson Jan Psaki’s statement affirming that the US was effectively holding firm to its 2005 decision to deny Mr. Modi an entry visa.

“We do not believe Ms. Powell’s meeting with Modi serves any purpose other than providing the Modi camp some sound bites for use in the election campaign, ” said Dr. Shaik Ubaid, a CAG spokesperson. “The 2002 pogrom, extra-judicial killings and anti-conversion laws in Gujarat should give the international community an idea of the blighted vision that Mr. Modi and his ilk represent,” added Dr. Ubaid.

At the meeting with Ms. Powell, Mr. Modi’s posturing over the treatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade is condemnable, given that hundreds of women were raped under his watch, before being burned alive during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002. “While we will continue to work towards accountability for the Gujarat pogrom, our broader struggle is to educate Americans about the dangers posed by the Hindu supremacist ideology and to uphold India’s secular ethos,” said Dr. Raja Swamy, also a CAG spokesperson.

The case against Mr. Modi has only been heard by a lower court, that ignored findings of national and international human rights organizations about state complicity. Numerous whistle-blowers, human rights activists and investigative journalists have documented evidence of Mr. Modi’s complicity in the pogrom. Ex-Deputy Inspector General of Police, D. G. Vanzara has gone on record stating that fake encounter killings in Gujarat were carried out with Mr. Modi’s knowledge and sanction.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has raised serious concerns on continued violations of religious freedom in Gujarat, and lack of any concrete steps to address the issues that led to the revocation of Mr. Modi’s visa in 2005. On the other hand religious minorities in the state of Gujarat have been effectively reduced to second class citizens in the 12 years following the 2002 pogrom.

The Coalition Against Genocide is composed of a diverse group of US-based organizations and individuals that have come together in response to the Gujarat genocide to demand accountability and justice.

References:

1. US clarifies on Modi-Powell meet
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/us-clarifies-on-modipowell-meet/article5683044.ece/a>

2. US Says Powell-Modi Meeting is ‘No Big Deal’
http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/US-Says-Powell-Modi-Meeting-is-No-Big-Deal/2014/02/12/article2052434.ece

3. US Commission on International Religious Freedom Report – 2013
http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2013%20USCIRF%20Annual%20Report%20(2).pdf

4. Why DG Vanzara’s Letter Matters. And Why It Should Bother Narendra Modi
http://www.tehelka.com/why-dg-vanzaras-letter-matters-and-why-it-should-bother-narendra-modi/

CONTACT:

1. Dr. Shaik Ubaid
Phone: 516-567-0783

2. Dr. Raja Swamy
Phone: 864-804-0216

3. Coalition Against Genocide
Phone/Fax: (443) 927-9039
Email: media@coalitionagainstgenocide.org
http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org

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January 15, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned attempts by the Gujarat government to use the state security apparatus to harass and intimidate noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, and the organization she represents, Citizens for Justice and Peace.

Teesta Setalvad has been at the forefront in the struggle to secure justice for the victims of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. The Gujarat police’s trumped-up charges of fraud against her, are indicative of the aggravation and fear among powerful elements within the Gujarat administration that stand to lose much if the truth about the Gujarat pogrom is established in a court of law. Clearly, the public officials and institutions that were complicit in the genocide, are lending themselves to the silencing of the voices of justice.

The fact that the administration is using law enforcement to intimidate human rights activists is in keeping with Mr. Narendra Modi’s track record. Whistleblowers such as IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, ex-DGP R. B. Sreekumar, and human rights activists such as Fr. Cedric Prakash, have all experienced harassment and intimidation at the hands of the Gujarat government under Mr. Modi. This should give every Indian pause to reflect on the implications of such an individual potentially occupying the highest executive office in the land.

“The cases against Ms. Setalvad are clear vendetta against her for her activism and struggle in the cause of justice,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “This sets the stage for other public officials in positions of power to behave like tin pot dictators, exacting revenge from anyone who dares to hold them accountable,” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC has called on civil society institutions and people of conscience, to stand by the victims of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and those who are fighting to secure justice for them.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com

REFERENCES:

Statement from Citizens for Justice and Peace
http://www.cjponline.org/prelease/06Jan14.htm

Bombay HC grants interim bail to Teesta Setalvad, husband
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-grants-interim-bail-to-teesta-setalvad-husband/article5562176.ece

Teesta Setalvad disappointed with court decision on Gujarat riots, will appeal
http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/12/26/255-Teesta-Setalvad-disappointed-with-court-decision-on-Gujarat-riots-will-appeal.html

Teesta Setalvad: Wheels within wheels
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-letter-display.asp?xfile=data/letters/2014/January/letters_January42.xml§ion=letters

“The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaun, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
Phone: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com

ADDRESS:
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

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Open Letter to UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav‏

Chief Minister Shri Akhilesh Yadav,
5, Kalidas Marg,
Lucknow,
Uttar Pradesh

January 1, 2014

Subject: UP State Government’s handling of sectarian violence and humanitarian crisis in Muzaffarnagar

Dear Shri Akhilesh Yadav,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Indian American Muslim Council, an organization of non-resident Indians that is dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos.

The planned sectarian violence in Muzaffarnagar and surrounding areas has resulted in one of the worst cases of oppression of minorities since the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and the mass killing and displacement of Muslims in Assam in 2012. The way an entire community in Western UP has been traumatized, through killings, sexual violence and intimidation, while most perpetrators still roam free, is a shocking example of the barbarity that hate ideologies can unleash. Unfortunately, it also reflects on your administration’s lack of commitment to upholding the rule of law and to safeguarding the life and property of every citizen.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that your administration acknowledges sectarian violence only in those villages that were worst hit, treating refugees from other villages as less than genuine victims, or worse, as opportunists. Party supremo and your father, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statement that the inhabitants of refugee camps are agents of the BJP and Congress is reflective of the moral bankruptcy that has taken hold of the Samajwadi Party. It is inconceivable why thousands of people would leave their homes and ancestral lands and put up with the dismal living conditions of the refugee camps if they were able to live comfortably in their homes without any fear or affront to their dignity and way of life.

The Supreme Court itself has taken cognizance of the deaths of some children due to severe cold in the refugee camps. Unfortunately this heart-rending reality has not moved your administration to improve living conditions. On the contrary the refugees have been forcibly evicted in order to close down the camps and create an illusion of return to normalcy.

Media reports indicate your administration is having hundreds of refugee families sign an affidavit that would make them eligible for a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs, in lieu of an undertaking that they would forfeit their right to return to their villages and homes. This is deeply problematic on several counts:

  1. Refugees are currently unable or unwilling to return to their villages, due to the trauma inflicted on them and the tactics of intimidation that the perpetrators of the violence are engaging in. Turning this fear into an excuse for having refugees forfeit their right to return amounts to endorsing and institutionalizing the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Muzaffarnagar and surrounding areas.
  2. As Supreme Court Advocate Naushad Ahmad Khan has pointed out, the basis of this affidavit is illegal and unconstitutional. It is the state’s responsibility to rehabilitate victims and provide compensation for loss of life and destruction of property. Such compensation cannot be made conditional upon the victims giving up their right to return and resettle in their ancestral homes.
  3. While the state government has been at pains to point out that the victims will continue to remain owners of their properties, such ownership is virtually meaningless in the face of their inability to return. Such a constraint also reduces the value of their homes and properties, as many distress sales have shown
  4. The affidavit absolves the government of the responsibility to create conditions that would facilitate the return of the refugees to their villages. Since the banishment of the victims was one of the goals of the perpetrators of violence, the state’s action amounts to endorsing their plan and giving it a legal seal of approval.
  5. The affidavit requires the approval of the village pradhans, who are in many cases, themselves accused of inciting and abetting the violence.

In order to bring your administration in line with accepted norms of civilized governance, we demand that you take the following steps immediately:

  1.  Cancel the scheme of requiring victims to forfeit the right to return in lieu of compensation.
  2.  Accelerate the prosecution of individuals named in FIRs regardless of their status and ethnicity; Facilitate the filing of new FIRs by victims who have been unable to do so out of fear of reprisal.
  3.  Provide special care and compensation to victims of sexual violence, and arrest the perpetrators named by them immediately.
  4.  Conduct a survey of damaged houses and property and provide proportional compensation to the victims, without requiring them to forfeit their right to return
  5.  In cases where the victims are so traumatized that return is impossible, resettle the victims by establishing new villages on state land, instead of putting the onus on victims to find their own way.
  6.  Take up the reconstruction and repair of places of worship that were damaged during the violence on an urgent basis.
  7.  Halt the forced eviction of victims from refugee camps, and improve living conditions in the camps by providing sufficient food, medical and sanitation facilities.
  8.  Initiate efforts to normalize relations between the Jat and Muslim communities so that the refugees can return home. However, such normalization should not be predicated on withdrawal of cases against the perpetrators of mass violence.

Your administration’s acts of omission and commission have exacerbated the suffering of the victims. In dealing with the violence and in the rehabilitation of victims, your administration has shown a level of insensitivity that is shockingly close to that of the perpetrators of the violence. Rest assured that we are questioning the Muslim functionaries in UP whose silence in the community’s hour of need has not gone unnoticed.

By taking the steps outlined above, you can bring a semblance of order to the chaos and tragedy currently unfolding in Western UP. It is only through such prompt action that you can provide proof of the existence of a state government in UP, and enable the world to see the difference between democracy and mob rule.

Sincerely,
Ahsan Khan (President, IAMC).
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
phone/fax: (800) 839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053

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