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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 10th, 2017

by newsdigest on April 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Hindu Cow Vigilantes in Rajasthan, India, Beat Muslim to Death (Apr 5, 2017, New York Times)

A 55-year-old man transporting cattle has died after being beaten by a mob of about 200 cow protection vigilantes in northern India, the police said on Wednesday. The vigilantes, who are Hindu and consider cows sacred, surrounded six vehicles carrying cattle on a highway connecting Jaipur to New Delhi on Saturday and pulled out five men, apparently Muslims, and beat them, said Rahul Prakash, superintendent of the police in Alwar, a city about 30 miles from the site of the attack, in Behror.

One of the men, Pehlu Khan, died of his injuries on Tuesday. An official from Mr. Khan’s village said that he was transporting cows for use in a dairy. He denied they were being transferred for slaughter, which is illegal in Rajasthan, the state where the attack took place. Video of the episode, which has circulated widely, showed men in white curled up on the roadside as they were kicked and whipped with belts and metal rods. The mob was so agitated that the police had to use force to disperse it, Mr. Prakash said.…

Mohsin, the local leader in Jaisinghpur, the village in the northern state of Haryana where Mr. Khan and his relatives lived, said the family had received all the necessary permission to transport dairy cows from Jaipur to Jaisinghpur for sale. He said the vehicles would ordinarily have been stopped at a police checkpoint where the police would have checked the paperwork. Instead, “the locals stopped Pehlu Khan’s vehicles at Behror and pulled them out,” said Mohsin, who like many Indians uses only one name. “The mob beat them ruthlessly and even robbed him of all his money.”…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/world/asia/india-cow-mob-hindu-vigilantes.html

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Supreme Court asks Centre, states why cow vigilantes shouldn’t be banned (Apr 8, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court asked the central government and five BJP-ruled states on Friday to say within three weeks why cow protection groups shouldn’t be banned amid growing outrage against vigilantes accused of violence and even murder.

The directive came on a petition filed by Congress leaders Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla, who called for cow protection groups to be declared illegal, saying there has been a spike in instances of vigilantism. The court sought responses from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Rajasthan – all BJP ruled – as well as Congress-run Karnataka, setting May 3 for the next hearing. It also asked the Centre to reply.

The move came as the opposition attacked the government in Parliament for a second straight day for not doing enough to curb a spike in cow vigilantism. In Rajya Sabha, the Congress demanded an apology from Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for “denying” the lynching of a Muslim man by so-called cow protectors in Rajasthan last week. In October, the court had orally asked the states and Centre to file a response to Poonawalla’s petition. However it received no response. On Friday, Poonawalla’s counsel, Sanjay Hegde, insisted on a response, citing last week’s lynching of the Muslim man to particularly push Rajasthan to reply.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sc-gives-centre-six-bjp-ruled-states-3-weeks-to-respond-to-plea-for-gau-rakshak-ban/story-3uXdmZVZhuNv4z1mwMXuDP.html

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Sheopur tense after RSS shakha row, 10 Muslims held (Apr 6, 2017, Indian Express)

Sheopur town of Madhya Pradesh is simmering since Sunday evening when a group of Muslims objected to a new RSS shakha in Gandhinagar locality and allegedly beat up more than 10 activists of the outfit. Police have so far arrested 10 Muslims in connection with the incident. One minor accused has been released on bail. In all, 76 Muslims, 60 of them unidentified, have been booked in four FIRs lodged in connection with the incident.

The RSS activists alleged that the Muslims did not want the shakha near a mosque. They also accused members of the community of raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans and uprooting the saffron flag of RSS. The activists alleged that they were stoned when they reached the police station late on Sunday night to lodge a complaint against the accused. On Monday, members of the Hindu community submitted a memorandum to the district administration and demanded immediate arrest of those named in the FIRs.

The next day, members of the Muslim community submitted a memorandum to the authorities, alleging that the community was being targeted and accused of offences it did not commit. The memorandum alleged that a group of right-wing Hindu activists had hurled stones at the mosque before they gathered for the shakha. Members of the community also said that they lodged two FIRs about separate attacks on Muslims, but the police have not acted on them. The memorandum further said that members of Muslim community wanted to take to the streets on Wednesday, but decided against it in view of the Ram Navami procession.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/sheopur-tense-after-rss-shakha-row-10-muslims-held-4601359/

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Babri demolition: CBI tells Supreme Court Advani, 12 others part of larger conspiracy (Apr 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Senior BJP leader LK Advani and 12 others were part of a larger conspiracy to demolish the disputed Babri Masjid, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing for charges to be revived against the politicians.

India’s premier probe agency told the top court that Advani and others hadn’t faced conspiracy charges based on technical reasons. The CBI wants the trial to be held in a Lucknow court.…

Earlier this month, the SC had hinted that it might revive criminal conspiracy charges against BJP and other Hindu right-wing leaders in the demolition case that was dropped by a special trial court in Lucknow on technical grounds. Other than Advani, the accused include senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, and a number of Vishwa Hindu Parishad members.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/babri-masjid-demolition-cbi-tells-supreme-court-lk-advani-12-others-part-of-larger-conspiracy/story-mAWKrjfewUSgkO730wG0OL.html

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After armed rallies on Ram Navami, Imam of Tipu Mosque asks Mamata to ‘ban RSS’ in Bengal (Apr 6, 2017, DNA India)

Never ever had the state of West Bengal seen such widespread pomp over Ram Navami. In what has been a bid to unite the Hindus of the state by Rashtriya Sayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other wings of the Sangh Parivar, about 50 processions of different sizes were organised on the occasion of Ram Navami today in Kolkata.

Activists, bike borne and on foot, brandishing swords and chanting ‘Jay Shree Ram’ were seen in all the cases with giant size pictures of Lord Ram leading all the processions. Interestingly processions were taken out even at the Muslim-majority pockets such as Kidderpore where they also shouted slogans like ‘Hindu Raj Banayenge’ (will build Hindu rule).…

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after an administrative meeting at Bankura district lashed out at the RSS and the BJP a public meeting and said that the celebration was aimed at dividing the state on the basis of religions.… On the other hand, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, at another press conference said that RSS should be banned in India. “RSS is a threat to India and just as the US banned Taliban, RSS should be banned in the country. I will talk to the CM and request her to ban RSS in Bengal, because it is spreading communal tension everywhere,” Barkati said on the sidelines of the press conference.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-after-armed-rallies-on-ram-navami-imam-of-tipu-mosque-asks-mamata-to-ban-rss-in-bengal-2382834

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BJP’s Raja Singh booked for his threat to behead those opposing Ram temple (Apr 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Hyderabad Police have booked controversial Bharatiya Janata Party legislator T Raja Singh for allegedly threatening to behead those who attempt to stop the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and also making inflammatory and humiliating comments against Muslims.

Following a complaint by Mohammad Amjadullah Khan, spokesperson of a local political outfit Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), police filed a case against the BJP MLA, who represents the Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad, late on Sunday night. Singh was booked under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).…

In his complaint, Khan alleged that Singh made provocative speeches during Sri Ram Shobha Yatra at Jumeraat Bazar area on April 5 targeting the Muslim community several times on the pretext of the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Khan alleged that Singh had openly taunted the Muslims saying, “Tum hamare pair pakadloo, kahi na kahi hum tumhare Babar ki masjid banadenge (Come and touch our feet, we shall construct Babur’s mosque at some place or the other)”. He also pointed out at another comment made by Singh in the speech that they were ready to use lathis and bullets to achieve their goal of constructing the Ram temple. “It clearly shows he is openly challenging the law,” Khan said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-s-raja-singh-booked-for-threatening-to-behead-traitors-who-oppose-ram-temple/story-y7zwpStDdHyFL00NFNKL8I.html

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CBSE biology students asked which is better, burial or cremation? (Apr 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The teachers and students described the Class 12 CBSE Biology paper as tricky and moderately difficult. However one question about cremation practices in the paper led to people questioning the HRD minister.

The question under Section D was based on air pollution and asked students to justify with arguments whether one should “bury” or “burn” to control air pollution.

“How is this question relevant to Biology? Does the CBSE want to promote burial and not burning? They even asked impressionable minds to give reasons in support,” said Alok Bhatt who tagged the question paper to the HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Twitter.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/which-is-better-burial-or-cremation-biology-students-asked-in-cbse-paper/story-Bx63U0mD1l3TTicjEFYVYM.html

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Is the NIA Actively Working to Keep Aseemanand Out of Jail? (Apr 9, 2017, The Wire)

In what appears to be an instance of sabotage, top officials of the highest investigative body, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) allegedly scuttled plans of its Hyderabad unit to challenge the bail granted to Aseemanand, the primary accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case. He was granted bail by a Hyderabad court on March 23.… Aseemanand, who is the primary accused in a number of bomb blasts including Mecca Masjid, Ajmer, Samjhauta Express and Malegaon that occurred between 2005 and 2007, walked out of Chanchalguda jail on April 1 after the NIA chose not to challenge the trial court order of March 23.

According to an Indian Express report, senior NIA officials in New Delhi rejected a proposal made by its Hyderabad office to challenge the bail. “There were sufficient grounds to challenge the bail order of Aseemanand and the High Court was at liberty to reject the agency’s move if there were no merits in the appeal. Among investigators, the opinion to appeal was very strong,” officials in Hyderabad, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were quoted as saying. …

NIA’s dilly-dallying in matters related to Hindutva militancy and its resultant failure to build solid cases will definitely be put into question. In most cases, the top security agency in the last three years has dismissed the earlier investigations done by state-level SITs. As a result, many of the primary accused like Aseemanand and Sadhvi Pragya have been having an easy time different trial courts.

https://thewire.in/122480/nia-aseemanand-bail-sabotage/

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Ex-Gujarat BJP chief minister disputes “clean chit” on scams under Modi, cites BM Shah panel report as proof (Apr 6, 2017, Counterview)

Former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta has said that the Gujarat government’s assertion about “clean chit” to it by the MB Shah Commission of Inquiry into 17 corruption cases has “no basis”, as the top panel, in its report says, it would “concur” with the conclusions arrived at, among others, by Supreme Court and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on them.

Citing three instances from the voluminous 5,500 page report, tabled in the Gujarat state assembly on March 31, Mehta, flanked by senior office bearers of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), told newspersons, “In each of them, the Shah Commission refuses to give clean chit, saying it leaves the matter to high authorities for judging them.”…

The first case cited by Mehta, who was BJP chief minister in 1995-96, is of Indigold Refinery Ltd, which he said was allocated 36.25 acres of land in Kutch district for just Rs 70 lakh, even though the state revenue department officials had ruled against it. “The chief minister’s office (CMO) and revenue minister Anandiben Patel overruled the decision and ensured allocation”, he said.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/04/ex-gujarat-bjp-chief-minister-disputes.html

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7 Bajrang Dal activists arrested for ‘misbehaving’ with woman (Mar 27, 2017, Deccan Herald)

The Karkala police on Sunday arrested seven Bajrang Dal activists on the charge of misbehaving with a woman by barging into her house at Tellar village near Karkala.

Additional Superintendent of Police Vishnuvardhan told DH that the arrested forcefully entered into the house claiming it to be a slaughterhouse. However, local residents prevented them and called the police immediately.

Meanwhile, a woman in the house lodged a complaint alleging that the activists misbehaved with her. Karkala Rural police have registered a case.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/603342/7-bajrang-dal-activists-arrested.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The cow as cause – Vigilantism and the BJP – By Mukul Kesavan (Apr 9, 2017, The Telegraph)

…The cow is so totemic for the BJP that the murder of human beings in this animal’s cause makes responsible leaders resort to silence, deflection, denial, defensiveness or arguments in mitigation that would shame the moral sense of a three-year old.

One BJP leader asserted that the Muslim dairy farmer killed in Rajasthan hadn’t in fact been killed by the gau rakshaks who assaulted him. In this telling, he had died of shock days afterwards, so no blame could be attached to the men who had beaten him. Rajasthan’s home minister, Gulab Chand Kataria, described the murderous assault as ‘manhandling’.

After Pehlu Khan’s killing he was prepared to argue that it was legitimate for vigilantes to stop suspicious vehicles carrying cattle, as if the cause of cow protection automatically conferred authority and legitimacy to anyone acting in its name.…

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170409/jsp/opinion/story_145303.jsp

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‘Not my Hinduism’ should be our slogan – By Jyoti Punwani (Apr 10, 2017, Rediff)

How do we deal with the continued lynching of Muslims by gau rakshaks? In the 17 months since Mohammed Akhlaq was beaten to death in UP on suspicion of having cooked beef, eight Muslim men have been killed, two Muslim women raped, and almost 40 persons, including two women and seven non-Muslims, assaulted by gau rakshaks.

One of the eight victims, 22-year-old Minhaj Ansari, died in police custody in Jharkhand, after his arrest over a WhatsApp message on beef. That’s a rate of over two lynchings a month.… One reality we have to face is that the State will not stop such lynchings. The silence of The Leader has once again been deafening.…

Instead, why can’t rights activists — most of them happen to be Hindu – ask that the court set up a mechanism to monitor the action taken after attacks by gau rakshaks? A list of such assaults, the inadequate response of the police, justifications of these assaults by those in power, and the effect of these assaults on the lives of the survivors can be presented to the court in support of such a demand. If there can be a National Investigation Agency to deal exclusively with terrorist acts, why can’t courts set up Special Investigative Teams to monitor gAU rakshak terror?

http://inwww.rediff.com/news/column/jyoti-punwani-not-my-hinduism-should-be-our-slogan/20170410.htm

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Is this Hindutva? – By Tavleen Singh (Apr 9, 2017, Indian Express)

It is horrible to watch a man being beaten to death. And, yet I forced myself to watch the video of Pehlu Khan’s lynching more than once. Not from cheap voyeurism but because I found it hard to understand why this was happening at all. The young men who kicked him and beat him with iron rods did not look like fanatics. They looked like modern young Indians. They wore tight jeans and fancy shirts that indicated an interest in fashion. They seemed educated and middle-class and, for me, this made their savagery more horrible. More disturbing.

They took obvious pleasure in what they were doing and made it clear that their intention was not to harm Khan and his sons but to kill them. They videotaped the lynching and posted it on social media so the Prime Minister would have seen it and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Why did they say nothing to indicate that they were sickened by what they saw?…

The vigilantes that roam our highways are outlaws, and from official reactions to what happened in Alwar, there are signs that these lawless gangs have the patronage of powerful political leaders. Do these leaders understand that once ordinary people believe they can take the law into their hands, then the authority of the State no longer exists? As someone who believes that a Hindu renaissance is necessary and possible, it saddens me that this very grand idea has been reduced to horrible violence in the name of the cow. No renaissance can ever come from this.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fifth-column-is-this-hindutva-cow-vigilantism-gau-rakshaks-ajmer-lynching-4605492/

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Why Muslims in Gujarat are living in fear once again – By Rajeev Khanna (Apr 8, 2017, Catch News)

With Assembly polls approaching and the communal temperatures on the rise, there is a palpable fear among the Gujarat’s Muslims. The BJP and other Sangh Parivar affiliates like the Bajrang Dal and VHP have gone on overdrive to achieve their target of at least 150 of the total 182 seats in the state Assembly. Muslims are worried over the recent developments and the pattern that is emerging.

Emboldened by the landslide victory in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, elements within the Sangh Parivar have upped the ante across Gujarat. “One is once again hearing the slogans on Ram Mandir. Overnight graffiti appeared on the walls in prominent localities asking Hindus to be wary of ‘Love Jihad’. It is all aimed at keeping the communal temperatures simmering that would help in polarisation,” said a senior mediaperson based in Ahmedabad. Such graffiti was recently seen in prominent localities of Ahmedabad.

Social activists among the Muslims point at the series of instances that have taken place in the last few days across the state. After the violence against the Muslims in Vadavali village in Patan district came the violent clash in Savarkundla town in Amreli district of Saurashtra. Sources say that while the riot was triggered by a trivial altercation between students from Hindu and Muslim communities, the one at Savarkundla started with some Hindu youths targeting a Muslim youth who was sitting with a Hindu girl.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/why-muslims-in-gujarat-are-living-in-fear-once-again-57179.html

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Tensions High in Odisha’s Bhadrak After Communal Violence – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 9, 2017, The Wire)

Several incidents of pillaging and arson allegedly committed by Hindutva groups have come to the fore in the coastal Odisha town of Bhadrak. According to reports from the region, violence escalated in the aftermath of communal tension between Hindus and Muslims triggered by a Ram Navami procession on April 5.

While there has been no direct clash between Muslims and Hindus, large-scale destruction of property over the last two days, the imposition of Section 144 (that prohibits any assembly of more than four people) has ushered in a sense of foreboding among the residents. Markets have been shut since then and offices remain closed.

According to Alok Barik, a reporter with the Odia daily Dharitri, the communal tension surfaced a day after the procession when Hindutva groups – primarily the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal – sought police action against those who had allegedly circulated blasphemous social media messages against Hindu deities Ram, Sita and Hanuman.… In all these years, no significant communal incident has been reported. However, as elections draw closer, incidents in Bhadrak can soon become a motif for religious polarisation in the state.

https://thewire.in/122418/bhadrak-odisha-communal-tensions/

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Intolerance Threatens India’s Universities – By Aftab Alam (Apr 10, 2017, US News)

Higher education in India is going through a critical phase.… This is particularly worrying as some of India’s leading institutions are now facing drastic cuts in employment and resources. The prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), for instance, has just announced an 83 percent cut in its research funds and a reduction in the number of students accepted for doctoral and masters degrees for the academic year 2017-2018. And on March 25, the Tata Institute for Social Science, another center of research excellence, issued termination letters to 25 members of its faculty.…

In fact, the very idea of what universities are meant to be is under severe attack in India. For the past couple of years, universities in the country have been the theater of various upheavals. In 2016, protests erupted in JNU after an event organized by students turned into a political controversy over the Kashmir conflict and led to a countrywide debate on nationalism.

In February 2017, Hyderabad University students, who had taken part in a national solidarity movement in 2016 when Rohith Vemula, a young Ph.D. candidate and a liberal student activist committed suicide over caste discrimination, were barred from taking exams. The same month, Ramjas College, which is part of Delhi University, witnessed violent protests by the nationalist student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) against a seminar. The group is an offshoot of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its parent organization the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).… The incidents at Ramjas College and JNU are not one-off episodes. Rather, such clashes have become the new norm in Indian universities.…

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-04-10/growing-intolerance-threatens-open-debate-in-indias-universities

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 3rd, 2017

by newsdigest on April 14, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Hindu, Muslim couples tie knots under one roof (Apr 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

At a time when religious differences are high on the minds, Lucknow witnessed a unique wedding ceremony that left all differences of religion and caste aside. At the community centre at Sahara States in Jankipuram, chanting of mantras for marriage and reading of nikahnama resonated simultaneously on Sunday evening. Hindu and muslim couples tied knots under the same roof during the same time and vowed for a happy life amidst grand arrangements.…

The food, gifts and all other arrangements were common for all couples. While nikahnama was read for the muslim couple, for hindu couples, vedic mantras were recited by priests. Soni, another bride said, “We all got ready together. We are only brides and grooms here – no Hindu or Muslim, no upper or lower caste.”…

While selection of brides and grooms were done by the respective families, the organising committee did an investigation to find about the finer details of the families. Their below poverty line (BPL)ration cards were checked before they were registered for the wedding.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/hindu-muslim-couples-tie-knots-under-one-roof/story-S85Pzb2wc5hGhfRerY6wjL.html

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BJP behind organized communal flareup in North Gujarat village: Civil society report. “Target assembly polls” (Apr 1, 2017, Counterview)

A civil society fact-finding team, which visited Vadavali village of North Gujarat where communal clashes on March 25 led to the death of one person, has claimed that it was “organized” riot with the aim of “dividing” Hindus and Muslims, blaming BJP for “strategically using violence through its various wings to create tension” with an eye on state assembly polls, due in December.…

Meanwhile, according to sabrangindia.in, a top site championing human rights issues, Muslims have started fleeing the village following allegations that the cops are targeting the minority community and reports of continued attacks on Muslims.… The incident took place immediately after a decision on sarpanch, in which for “2.5 years there would be a Patel sarpanch and for 2.5 years there would be a Muslim Sarpanch”, the report says. “Rashidaben Sultanmiyaan was elected immediately, after which the incident of violence broke out.”…

“The mob seemed to have planned the attack”, the report says, adding, “they arrived with barrels of petrol, private guns and other weapons etc.… Identifying those leading attacks included a member of Shiv Sena, a school teacher, a BJP lawyer, and two SRP jawans from the Thakore community, the report claims, it is one of the SRP jawan’s firing from a private gun which “hit Rashidaben’s husband on his thigh.”

http://www.counterview.net/2017/04/bjp-behind-organized-communal-flareup.html

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EVMs Poll in “Favour” of BJP in MP Bypoll, Election Officer Warns Journos Not to Report Scam (Apr 1, 2017, Sabrang India)

The Election Commission has sought a detailed report from the district poll authorities in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh on media reports that VVPAT was only dispensing slips of BJP symbol during a demonstration exercise, PTI reports.…

This Video has gone Viral and that’s not a surprise. In the post-truth era where the media is being lured away from dispassionate investigations, it is no wonder that it is on Facebook that this EVM Scam has been unearthed. And its a development that could give credence to allegations of election fraud.…

In the video (above), Singh is seen surrounded by several election officials who try to test the accuracy of the machine by pressing the number four button of a VVPAT machine. However to everyone’s utter shock, the paper receipt showed the vote had in fact gone in favour of the BJP, whose election symbol, lotus, was against the first button and not the number four button. When questioned, Singh asked the reporters not to report the incident adding that the act could land them in jail. Will there be an Investigation? Will the officer be questioned, even prosecuted? Is there Justice for All?

https://sabrangindia.in/article/evms-poll-favour-bjp-mp-bypoll-election-officer-warns-journos-not-report-scam

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‘You may as well kill us’: Human cost of India’s meat ‘ban’ (Mar 30, 2017, BBC)

The government’s crackdown on meat shops in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has left many traders and butchers without much work and money.… “I have no money since my shop shut two weeks ago. I don’t know how to feed my children and aging parents. Is it because I am a Muslim, or a meat trader?” Shakeel Ahmad, 52, asks.…

Authorities have closed many slaughterhouses since Mr Adityanath’s BJP party won the state elections earlier in the month. Small shops selling goat and chicken have also been forced to shut, despite the slaughter of these animals being legal. Most butchers are Muslims and many suspect that they are being targeted unfairly. They allege that their businesses are being shut on technicalities. One meat traders association went on strike, alleging harassment by state authorities.…

A few blocks away, I meet Mohamed Shariq who has also shut his shop. “I have the licence needed to run my shop, but I fear attacks from right-wing groups,” he says. Mr Shariq’s fear is not unfounded. Media reports suggest that several meat shops have been attacked in the state in the past two weeks.…Every house in this community has similar stories.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-39427552

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Ujjain: Former RSS functionary Chandrawat arrested for hate speech (Mar 29, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Former leader and office bearer of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), Dr Kundan Chandrawat who rattled the country with his provoking speech, was arrested on Monday and produced in court. The Madhav Nagar police station had registered an FIR under IPC Section 505 against Chandrawat after his controversial speech in which he announced an award of Rs 1 crore to the person who succeeded in beheading Kerala CM Pinnarayi Vijayan.…

He was sent on judicial remand to the Bhairavgarh Jail as per the order of CJM court on Monday. On Tuesday, another bail application was moved on behalf of Chandrawat by his lawyer Virendra Sharma, which was allowed by the Special Judge (atrocities), PK Vyas.

He was granted bail on producing a bail bond of Rs 10,000. Sharma told Free Press that no reaction in any form had come to the forefront after the so-called hate speech of Dr Chandrawat.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/ujjain/ujjain-former-rss-functionary-chandrawat-arrested-for-hate-speech-gets-bail/1042396

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Cancel Aseemanand’s bail, demands Owaisi (Apr 1, 2017, Business Standard)

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday urged the central government to take steps for cancelling the bail of Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case. A day after Aseemanand walked out of Hyderabad jail, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Member of Parliament told reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was adopting double standards in dealing with terrorism.

He alleged that the government is soft towards non-Muslims facing terrorism charges but tough towards Muslims. He recalled that the BJP used to talk tough against terrorism and had even stated that it would not view the problem from a religious angle. “Why so much love for Aseemanand. Cancel his bail. You can’t take a rigid stand on one side and be soft on another side,” Owaisi said.

The MP said Aseemanand had confessed his involvement in the Ajmer blast but after he was acquitted by a court, the BJP government did not file an appeal to challenge the verdict. He remarked that ‘acchey din’ have come for Aseemanand and said ‘acchey din’ would also come now for Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Purohit.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/cancel-aseemanand-s-bail-demands-owaisi-117040100539_1.html

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Muslim bodies in MP oppose move to teach patriotism in madarsas (Apr 2, 2017, Times of India)

A day after the Madrasa Board announced the introduction of a syllabus on patriotism, the Co-ordination Committee for Indian Muslims (CCIM) Madhya Pradesh unit on Saturday strongly opposed the move of exposing “only” madrasa students to patriotism.

Taking cognizance of the TOI report published on Saturday titled ‘Madarsas to teach patriotism’, a delegation of CCIM led by secretary Masood Ahmed Khan met the chairperson of Madhya Pradesh Madrasa Board Syed Imauddin and raised their objection against the proposal sent to the government of India for its approval.

The Muslim leaders dubbed the move as highly discriminatory and said it should never be introduced in the state. In the meeting, the CCIM members said that “the move could be seen as a discriminatory approach toward Muslims in the state.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57968004.cms

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Muslim Villagers Flee Vadavali, Patan as Allegations of Targeting & Police Complicity Turn Gujarat’s Clock Back (Mar 31, 2017, Sabrang India)

Muslims have fled the Gujarat village of Vadavali in a chilling recollection of pre-2002 and 2002 bouts of targeted violence after a minor altercation between a Muslim and Hindu boy at school in Patan leads to a mob killing two and destroying dozens of homes. One more Survivor succumbed to his injuries.

Police have rounded up only Muslims, a local resident, Yusuf Parmar alleges. Parmar had contacted the DCP Amreli updating him of attempts to disturb the harmony of Savar Kundla and other villages on the night of March 25-26. Meanwhile the mass arson of homes in Vadavali sees smoke still billowing.

On the night of March 30, local reports indicate that one Muslim youth has been arrested by the police on allegedly false charges of teasing a non-Muslim girl. Three other Muslim youth have been also arrested on charges of rioting. While the police claim 14 arrests on rioting and attempt to murder, some residents also allege that a VHP leader who allegedly accompanied the Darbars during the attack on Muslim homes has not been named in the FIR.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/muslim-villagers-flee-vadavali-patan-allegations-targeting-police-complicity-turn-gujarat%E2%80%99s

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US govt report criticises India over corruption, lack of transparency (Apr 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A US State Department report has panned the Indian government over alleged human rights violations, citing the police case against activist Teesta Setalvad and encounter killing of eight suspected SIMI activists in Madhya Pradesh.

The report on ‘Human Rights Practices in India for 2016’ also referred to restrictions on foreign funding of NGOs, including some whose views the government believed were not in the “national or public interest”, female genital mutilation and dowry-related deaths as human rights problems in the country.

It mentioned about rejection of renewal of government permission to 25 NGOs to receive foreign funds, including senior lawyer Indira Jaisingh’s ‘Lawyers Collective’ and US-based Compassion International’s two primary partners, noting that several voluntary organisations said these actions threatened their ability to continue to operate in India.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/us-govt-report-pans-india-over-human-rights-violations-corruption-lack-of-transparency/story-AScAwYvYBH6i0wq2KhQcbL.html

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Modi Government Legalises Higher Levels of Political Corruption (Apr 2, 2017, Peoples Democracy)

The Modi government has indulged in the height of duplicity to hoodwink the people of this country with its loud pronouncements to cleanse corruption, particularly in the electoral process.

This is clear from the amendment slipped into the provisions of Finance Bill 2017 where the “limit of 7.5 percent of net profit of the last three financial years” and “the requirements of a company to disclose the name of the political parties to which a contribution has been made” has been deleted.

The Companies Act as amended now allows corporates to pay political parties an unlimited amount through the Election Bonds Scheme without disclosing the beneficiaries names.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2017/0402_pd/modi-government-legalises-higher-levels-political-corruption

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Minor girl raped inside Jagannath temple in Puri (Apr 2, 2017, Indian Express)

A physically challenged minor girl was allegedly raped by a youth inside the premises of Lord Jagannath temple at Baripada, police said on Sunday. The incident took place when the 11-year-old girl went inside the temple for ‘Darshan’ of the Lord late on Friday night when the shrine was virtually deserted, they said.

Taking advantage of the situation, a 28-year-old youth escorted her to the bathing mandap of the Lord and raped her before fleeing.

The victim was rescued in a critical condition from the spot. Angry locals spotted the accused and thrashed him before handing him over to the police.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/minor-girl-raped-inside-jagannath-temple-in-puri-4596340/

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s Alarming Power Grab – By Mihir Sharma (Mar 29, 2017, Bloomberg Quint)

Relatively quietly, India’s government has just undertaken an unprecedented power grab – one that should worry not just citizens and taxpayers but also foreign investors. And it comes in the most unlikely of places: the annual federal budget.

The presentation of the budget is a fairly splashy event;… While the budget itself was lackluster – with a few handouts, but no real growth-promoting reform – what happened afterward has been startling. The government decided to tack on amendments that are worrying in both intention and execution. These amendments change as many as 40 other laws, and will have wide-ranging effects. They seem to suggest the worst: that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are trying to expand the powers of the Indian state in ways not seen for decades. Also, he’s getting away with it.…

The larger trend here is what should worry us. India has worked as a democracy and as a slowly liberalizing economy precisely because there are at least some checks on government power. Already, anyone doing business in India knows that half your time – perhaps more – is spent getting on the right side of the government. But the courts, the tribunals and the upper house of parliament have all acted as constraints on the executive. Modi, empowered by his huge victory in recent local elections, is trying to reduce the power of these checks.…

https://www.bloombergquint.com/opinion/2017/03/27/modi-s-alarming-power-grab

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Anti-Muslim Hindu priest facing charges of attempted murder now runs India’s largest state – By Zeenat Saberin (Mar 29, 2017, Vice.com)

Chants of “Modi Modi” have been replaced by “Yogi Yogi” in the largest Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi Adityanath is 44, wears saffron robes, and renounced worldly pleasures at the age of 21. And now this hard-line Hindu priest is the chief minister of the state, having been hand chosen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP party and sworn in on March 19. Many view this appointment as Modi moving to consolidate Hindu support in the run up to 2019 elections, and Adityanath certainly fits the bill. He is popular, controversial and full of religious ideology, but critics warn that he also relies too heavily on divisive policies.…

In 2005, Adityanath launched a ‘purification drive’ to re-convert Christians to Hinduism, later claiming to have reconverted more than 5000 people. In 2007, he spent 11 days in jail for defying prohibitory orders imposed by the administration during a time of heightened sectarian tension.

More seriously, Adityanath’s 2014 election affidavit says he faced criminal charges including attempted murder, intimidation, promoting religious enmity, defiling a place of worship, rioting, and trespassing on burial places. Throughout his many electoral campaigns, Adityanath has repeatedly reinforced the message of “Hindu unity” against a perceived threat from Islam. In January, he voiced his support for a Trump-inspired Muslim immigration ban in India.…

https://news.vice.com/story/anti-muslim-hindu-priest-facing-charges-of-attempted-murder-now-runs-indias-largest-state

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Beef and the BJP: What happens to Hindutva in the states of the North East? – By Ipsita Chakravarty (Mar 30, 2017, Scroll.in)

… The Bharatiya Janata Party won the elections that followed, and the Naga party is now an ally in the Manipur government, with legislators in the state cabinet. Beef – the eating of it, the cooking of it, the killing of cows to cook and eat it – was not a bone of contention.

And now BJP leaders from Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram have said that Uttar Pradesh-style beef politics would not come to the North East. All three Christian-majority states are bound for elections in 2018. There would be no bans on beef, slaughterhouses or cow slaughter if the BJP came to power, they assured voters. They also said that the central leadership was aware of cultural differences in the region.

In the Hindi heartland, the BJP has given free rein to the fantasies of Hindutva, with its beef banditry and its anti-Romeo squads, aimed at preserving a fetishised cultural purity. But as the saffron party advances farther East, it becomes a different beast, faced with cultural realities that are new to it.…

https://scroll.in/article/833168/beef-and-the-bjp-what-happens-to-hindutva-in-the-states-of-the-north-east

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In 24 Hours, a Lifetime Goes Up in Smoke for Muslim Villagers in a Corner of Gujarat – By Damayantee Dhar (Mar 30, 2017, The Wire)

Smoke still billows from Vadavali. Days after it was razed in a mob attack that left two dead, the village in Gujarat’s Patan district stands deserted. The only people in sight are the police. Charred shells of houses and vehicles, along with the smoke still billowing two days after the incident when this reporter visited, underline the violence that took place in the Chanasma tehsil village on March 26. The Muslim villagers have fled, many taking refuge in a neighbouring hospital.

The mob attack was triggered by a fight between two students – one from the Thakor (Darbar community) and the other a Muslim – on March 25. The next day, a group of people belonging to the Darbar community, mostly from the neighbouring village of Sunsar and two other villages, attacked the Muslims residents of Vadavali. About 80-100 dwellings were ransacked and burnt, food grain was set afire and three shops gutted along with 10-12 vehicles.

The dead included a 50-year-old villager, Ibrahimbhai Lalbhai Belim, and a youth who was grievously injured and later succumbed to injuries. About 25 people were injured; five of them are in a critical condition.… “The local (Chanasma police station) police did not help us much. They didn’t even pick up the injured. My father got badly injured and fell down and was left lying there for a long time. I had to run, they attacked me too,” said the son of Belim, the man who died. He himself has a fractured leg and sword injuries on his forehead and right hand and is hospitalised.…

https://thewire.in/119862/gujarat-patan-communal-violence-muslims/

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Shall We Stay Silent at This Most Unholy of Wars? – By Nayantara Sahgal (Mar 28, 2017, The Wire)

Men have gone to war since time began, for conquest, for plunder, for glory, for keeping muscles trim and adrenalin flowing. … Whether men have been broken on the wheel or on the rack, or burnt alive at the stake, no form of torture has succeeded in making them deny the god they worship or the way they worship. In India this belief in the sanctity of one’s own religion is integral to the fact of being Indian, in a land whose Constitution has given us the right to live, love, eat and worship as we choose. The unholy war being waged on our multi-religious civilisation needs to come to terms with this basic truth.…

True religion has given birth to great song, great poetry, and the great ideal of the brotherhood of man. There is no one today to proclaim this ideal, no Gandhi who went unarmed to the killing field of Noakhali and brought peace by his mere presence, no Nehru’s voice for peace in a savagely armed post-war world. It is for citizens to defend the heritage of equal citizenship bequeathed to us by our founding fathers and to ensure that religion remains a private affair if incidents like those cited above are not to become daily unchecked outrages.

As a practitioner of yoga for many years, I have been taught that a cardinal principle on the spiritual path is non-violence. No one who advocates violence is a yogi so permit me to refer to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh as Shri Adityanath.… What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is taking place under his watch, a sign that Hindutva is on the warpath. Why else would the Muslims in a Bareilly village be ordered on pain of death to leave? Is it possible that the Hindu neighbours they have lived with all their lives have delivered this barbaric ultimatum? Or, as is more likely, is this another case of roving vigilante enthusiasm that consigns these defenceless Indian citizens and their families to a wilderness of fear and desperation? Shall we stay silent and watch?

https://thewire.in/119513/india-unholy-wars-communalism/

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Babri Masjid: Back to Square One, Or Worse? – By Kuldip Nayar (Apr 3, 2017, The Citizen)

We are back to square one. The Supreme Court has advised the two parties, those who want the Babri Masjid to be reconstructed and those who claim that the site is that of Lord Rama’s. In its judgment, the court has advised the different parties to sit together and sort out the problems through negotiations.

One surprising part of the advice is that the Chief Justice of India is willing to mediate for an out-of-court settlement. He has said “give a bit and take a bit. Make an effort to sort it out.” He points out that these are issues of sentiments and he can even step aside and let his brother judges to decider. How can the Chief Justice or, for that matter, his brother judges mediate because their very office is supposed to be above controversies?

Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu icon, who has been elected as the leader of the Uttar Pradesh legislative party with a huge margin and installed at chief minister. Whether the credit for securing this majority in UP goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or to the Yogi, who has the reputation of being a hardcore Hindu leader, it shows that Hindutva is sweeping the country. Obviously, the RSS is behind the move.…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/10318/Babri-Masjid-Back-to-Square-One-Or-Worse

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Book Review

Kandhalmal: Introspection Of Initiative for Justice 2007-2015

Author: Vrinda Gover and Saumya Uma
Reviewed by: Ram Puniyani
Available at: Media House and United Christian Forum, Delhi 2017 595.00 info.mhdelhi@gmail.com . www.amazon.in/
Review:
Kandhamal: Introspection Of Initiative For Justice (Apr 4, 2017, Countercurrents)

Violence is the bane of Indian society and a manifest agenda of communal forces, which thrive on divisive politics and polarization. This is part of their political agenda. While Hindu-Muslim violence during British period had a particular beginning and characteristics, the same violence became anti-Muslim violence after Independence.

The major brunt of communal violence has been borne by Muslim community while Sikhs also became the major victim in 1984. Christian community was not under attack till practically 1999 when Pastor Stains was burnt alive in a brutal way. Following that anti-Christian violence kept dogging the society in Gujarat (Dangs), MP (Jhabua) and many other places, the peak of this was witnessed in Kandhamal in August 2008, when on the pretext of murder of Swami Laxmananand, anti-Christian violence was unleashed.…

This book is a meticulous chronicling of the process of attempts to get justice, the hurdles and inadequate outcome of the same. The lawyer duo… have examined the role of police and its apathy in controlling the violence (What of that, violence took place in their very presence). They point out the role of state apparatus, in first letting the violence take place and then default on rehabilitation and on giving justice to victims. Both these are part of the Indian system as it is deeply justice and rehabilitation have been undermined due to the prevalent virus of communal thinking. Few and far are the officers, bureaucrats or politicians who stand up to mark come to do what is expected of them.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/04/04/kandhalmal-introspection-of-initiative-for-justice/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

March 24, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Protest held in Ghaziabad against irregularities in electronic voting machines Manohar Parrikar is #NotMyCM: Goans protest as BJP ministers take oath Muslim leader Aamir Madni questions Lucknow encounter ‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’ ‘Cops need only a Muslim name to fabricate a case’ The BJP Has Been […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 3rd, 2015

August 4, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Religious heads stress the need for harmony Wedding bells ring in communal harmony in Kashmir News Headlines SC deputy registrar quits over Yakub orders Prashant Bhushan: Why this unseemly hurry in Yakub execution? Memon’s Execution Focuses Spotlight On Gujarat’s Naroda Patiya Convicts Activists question leniency for Aseemanand […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 10th, 2014

February 11, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines NRG sisters’ film records lingering trauma of 2002 Cops ignored Hindu terror leads, says officer who arrested Aseemanand Shinde hints at conducting probe in Samjhauta Express blast case Ishrat Jahan encounter case: CBI charges former IB special director, 3 serving officers Government forced to defer Communal […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 27th, 2014

January 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony National communal harmony award for CSSS News Headlines 2002 Gujarat riots: Zakia Jafri to move HC against clean chit to Modi CBI may soon file charges against IB officers in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case Samjhauta blasts: Aseemanand, three others charged with sedition, murder ATS chief […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 30th, 2013

October 2, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Post Riots, Samajwadi Party committee to strengthen communal harmony in Muzaffarnagar News Headlines Criminal Charges Which Narendra Modi Faces Caught on tape: Praful Patel admits influencing Ishrat probe, CBI likely to grill Narendra Modi for inspiring, guiding and monitoring every police action CBI grills BJP Rajya […]

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