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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 20th, 2017

by newsdigest on April 2, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Teesta Setalvad delivers an indictment at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in India

Renowned Indian activist speaks on behalf of IAMC, Advocates for Human Rights and other partner organizations

March 21, 2017

Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today welcomed Ms. Teesta Setalvad’s hard hitting testimony at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 15, 2017.

One of India’s most recognized activists and a strident voice against hate and sectarianism, Ms. Setalvad spoke on behalf of The Advocates for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and the Quill Foundation. Her testimony was part of a larger effort by IAMC and its partner organizations that includes a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council for India’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled for May 4,2017. IAMC has also made a separate joint submission with Ms.Setalvad’s organization “Citizens for Justice and Peace,” for the same UPR.

Her brief testimony was before a full session of the UN Human Rights Council, with all the UN member countries in attendance, convened to review the report of the UN Rapporteur on Minority Rights. Ms.Setalvad noted that since the UN Special Rapporteur’s 2013 General Assembly report, the following developments had taken place in India:

1. Speeches by political leaders and members of Parliament had exacerbated the violence in Muzaffarnagar that claimed over 60 lives and left thousands homeless

2. The targeting of religious minorities accused of “improper” conversions from Hinduism

3. In the wake of state laws banning the sale of beef, mob attacks on people alleged to have beef in their possession have becoming a recurring event

4. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions noted that encounter killings “have become virtually a part of unofficial State policy” in India

5. The above acts are often committed with impunity stemming in part from close alignment between the government and non-state actors

6. Law enforcement agencies fabricate terrorism cases where Muslims are often targets

Ms. Setalvad then went on to mention that “progress in minority rights protection is under threat, including by hate speech, xenophobic rhetoric and incitement to hatred against minorities.” She then voiced the partner organizations’ position, joining the Special Rapporteur “in calling on UN Member States and the Human Rights Council to recognize that States bear the primary duty to protect the security of religious minorities with positive and preventive actions, through active engagement with religious minorities.”

“Ms. Teesta Setalvad’s testimony and the joint submissions of the partner organizations mark a turning point in international spotlight on the human rights situation in India”, said Mr. Ajit Sahi, noted journalist and Advocacy Director for the Indian American Muslim Council. Mr. Sahi, along with Jawad Khan, President of IAMC and Jennifer Presthold V.P. of AHR were also present at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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

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CONTACT:

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

References:
1. Video of Teesta Setalvad Testimony at UN Human Rights Council at 22 minutes in link below
http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/id-sr-on-minority-issues-contd-39th-meeting-34th-regular-session-human-rights-council-/5359444074001

2. Joint Submission of Indian American Muslim Council, The Advocates for Human Rights, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and the Quill Foundation
https://www.scribd.com/document/342451699/India-UPR-Submission#from_embed

3. UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Minorities/SRMinorities/Pages/SRminorityissuesIndex.aspx

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Letters for 2 years, SOS to PM, Election Commission still awaits EVM papertrail funds (Mar 19, 2017, Indian Express)

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi four months ago, the Election Commission sought urgent release of funds to procure enough Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines to cover all polling stations ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The EC has sent over 10 reminders to the government on the matter, since June 2014, and the letter to Modi by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, on October 25, 2016, was an SOS of sorts. The CEC very rarely writes directly to the PM, with its communication to the government on electoral matters normally limited to Law and Home ministries.

Several parties, including the BSP, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party, have raised doubts about tampering of EVMs following the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand results. Before the 2014 general elections, the BJP had talked of EVM tampering on many occasions.…

During a recent hearing on the contempt petition against the CEC on the matter, the EC told the Supreme Court that it needed 30 months to procure close to 16 lakh paper trail machines. This means that unless it ropes in more manufacturers, the poll panel would miss the 2019 deadline to equip all polling stations with VVPATs.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/letters-for-2-years-sos-to-pm-ec-still-awaits-evm-papertrail-funds-4575546/

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Uttar Pradesh: New Chief Minister must retract previous statements against Muslims (Mar 20, 2017, Amnesty.org)

The new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, must publicly withdraw his previous inflammatory statements against Muslims and other religious minorities, Amnesty International India said today.

“Adityanath has been one of Uttar Pradesh’s most polarizing politicians, given to hateful rhetoric that incites discrimination and hostility against minority groups, particularly Muslims,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India.

“As chief minister of India’s most populous state, he and his party have an obligation to ensure that his positions do not become government policy. It is therefore imperative that he retracts any statements which may provide a license for others to abuse human rights.”…

https://www.amnesty.org.in/show/news/uttar-pradesh-new-chief-minister-must-retract-previous-statements-against-m/

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India: Hindus tell Muslims to leave village ‘immediately’ (Mar 17, 2017, The Independent)

Posters calling on Muslim residents to “leave immediately” have resulted in a police investigation in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Written in Hindi, the posters were found in more than two dozen locations in the town of Jianagla. They warned of “dire consequences” if the estimated 200 Muslim residents in the village do not all leave by the end of the year.

Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have just secured a substantial victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and the posters featured had the name of one of their MPs. “With BJP in power in Uttar Pradesh, Hindus of the village would do what US president Trump was doing to Muslims in that country,” the poster reportedly said, according to the Times of India.

The police have removed the majority of the posters and five men from the village have been hauled in for questioning. There are approximately 2,000 Hindus and 200 Muslims living in Jianagla. Indian media reported that neither group was happy about the incident.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-uttar-pradesh-posters-anti-muslim-leave-immediately-a7633096.html

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Ayodhya Dispute: Muslim Law Board says negotiation should be based on justice, evidences (Mar 21, 2017, India Tomorrow)

Responding to the mediation offer of Chief Justice of India in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has said that though such negotiation efforts have failed in the past, it would consider the offer as it has come from Chief Justice of India.

However, the board made it clear that the negotiation for an amicable solution of the dispute should be in clean environment, with both parties having equal status and it should be based on justice and evidences and without any preconceived notion.…

“All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s stand has been that the dispute should be resolved either through dialogue or court. In the past also, several attempts were made for dialogue but all failed. The main reason of the failure was that the other party demanded us to vacate the place saying it was birthplace of Ram. So dialogues could not proceed further. If they have the same stand, then there is no use of fresh dialogue,” said Dr. SQR Ilyas, Co-convenor, Babri Masjid Committee of AIMPLB. AIMPLB is party to the case pending in the Supreme Court.…

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/ayodhya-dispute-muslim-law-board-says-negotiation-should-be-based-on-justice-evidences

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Uniforms of Rajasthan government schools get a touch of RSS (Mar 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The new school dress for students of government-run schools in Rajasthan will have a tinge of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of the state’s ruling party, the BJP.

Education minister Vasudev Devnani told HT that from the next academic session boys will have light brown shirt and brown trousers or shorts and girls will wear light brown kurta or shirt with brown salwar or skirt.

A senior government functionary, however, added that the colour of the trousers/ short and salwar was identical to the new RSS uniform introduced in 2016.… To ensure that the shade of brown exactly matches with that of the RSS uniform, the education department is collecting samples from Bhilwara, the textile town that supplied clothes for the first lot of new uniforms of the right-wing organisation.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rss-colour-in-rajasthan-government-schools-uniforms/story-vWBm4apOBqZeSCsMMO7VwO.html

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Visit to study crime scene: Gujarat HC judges likely to visit Naroda Patiya riot site (Mar 21, 2017, Indian Express)

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court is likely to visit Naroda Patiya this Saturday to understand the geographical location of the scene of offence where 97 Muslims were massacred on February 28, 2002, during the post-Godhra riots.

The bench, comprising Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A S Supehia, has asked the lawyers representing the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the case, to make necessary arrangements. A senior lawyer representing the SIT said the bench is yet to pass a formal order, but has orally instructed SIT officials to remain present at the spot on Saturday morning.

The bench is hearing a set of appeal petitions moved by 30 convicts, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi who have been sentenced to life imprisonment. The appeal also includes petitions moved by the victims and the SIT for enhancement of sentences and also against the acquittals.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/visit-to-study-crime-scene-gujarat-hc-judges-likely-to-visit-naroda-patiya-riot-site-4578218/

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Girl students asked to remove burqas to write SSC exams in school (Mar 19, 2017, New Indian Express)

The Sri Vignana Vardhini (SVV) High School located in Saidabad here finds itself in a controversy after a teacher allegedly forced Muslim girl students to remove their burqas before writing SSC exams. Tension prevailed outside the school as irate parents of the students staged a protest near the school on Saturday.…

“On Friday students were made to remove their burqas before the exams. Today again when the school asked them to remove their burqas, their parents were infuriated,” said Amjed Ullah Khan, an MBT leader, who lodged a complaint with Saidabad police against the school management for hurting religious sentiments.

He also enclosed along with his complaint a copy of orders from District Education Officer (DEO), Hyderabad vide: RC.No.01/G-II/DEO/Hyd Dated: 1st March 2017 that no Muslim girl student should be forced to remove burqa during the exams at any centre.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2017/mar/19/girl-students-asked-to-remove-burqas-to-write-ssc-exams-in-school-1583060.html

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SC to Modi govt: Why not give March 31 extension to all to deposit old notes (Mar 21, 2017, Economic Times)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the Modi government’s decision to close the March 31 RBI window to deposit old notes was smacked of arbitrariness and sought to know why categories other than those travelling abroad were not being allowed to do so.

A bench led by chief justice of India J S Khehar said that the discretion vested in the government by the ordinance had been exercised arbitrarily to allow one category only when the law permits the government to extend the relief to other categories too.

Under the December 30 ordinance, only those who missed the December 30 deadline because they were travelling abroad could deposit old notes with RBI subject to verification. Though the government can allow the benefit to other categories it hasn’t. A slew of petitions in the court have challenged this as illegal. The bench led by the CJI prima facie seemed to agree with this view.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57749272.cms

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Case of abetment to suicide registered in JNU scholar death (Mar 15, 2017, Times of India)

Two days after a 28-year-old Dalit student of Jawaharlal Nehru University allegedly hanged himself at his friend’s house in south Delhi’s Munirka, a case of abetment to suicide was registered on Wednesday. The deceased Muthu Krishnan, who had named himself ‘Krish Rajini’ on Facebook, allegedly hanged himself at his South Korean friend’s house in Munirka using a blanket on March 13.

“We have registered a case of abetment to suicide and the relevant section of The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act. The case has been registered against unknown persons,” said a senior police officer.…

The student’s father had said that his son cannot commit suicide and had demanded a CBI probe. “My son cannot commit suicide. He was very strong and confident. We want a CBI probe to be conducted and actual reason behind his death be revealed,” said Jeevanandam, Krishnan’s father. He had also demanded registration of an FIR under the SC/ST Act.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57648731.cms

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Cops ‘beat’ Dalit to death for applying Holi colours on upper caste in Jharkhand (Mar 16, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A 52-year old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by the police for throwing coloured powder on an upper caste on Holi in Jharkhand’ Koderma district, the victim’s widow said. The family of victim Pradeep Choudhary said that the deceased, along with other villagers, had sprinkled abir (coloured powder) on a local chowkidar Rajendra Yadav as a gesture of goodwill on Holi.

However, Yadav took exception to the action and called upon police to teach the group a lesson. “The police started beating up Pradeep till he fell unconscious. They then took him to the police station,” Pradeep’s widow Jashwa Devi said.

Jashwa claimed that she along with her brother rushed to the Satbarwa police station but the officials did not allow them to see Pradeep and instead abused them over their caste. Jashwa said police eventually dropped Pradeep home the next morning. “His body bore many bruises. We took him to Koderma Sadar hospital from where he was referred to Ranchi but he succumbed to his injuries,” Jashwa alleged.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cops-beat-dalit-to-death-for-applying-holi-colours-on-upper-caste-in-jharkhand/story-R7FC87pAkCDXyC3d8EolJL.html

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Opinions and Editorials

‘The Appointment of the Dodgy Yogi As CM is Last Nail in Coffin of Constitutional Democracy’ – By Neera Chandhoke (Mar 20, 2017, The Citizen)

…The 2017 U.P election has catapulted serious issues onto the centre stage of politics. A political party has won an absolute majority, but at what cost? Think of what incendiary rhetoric, and ruthless, soulless, irresponsible strategies do to the collective sensibilities of the Indian people. What is their impact on modes of living together, and on civility that has been created out of the experience of sharing common lives and livelihoods?…

The BJP has won in Uttar Pradesh, but the people of the benighted state are going to pay a heavy price for this victory. Scholarly research shows that people in some regions of the state exhibit a degree of social prejudice against members of other communities. This is part of the sociological process of defining one’s own community as distinctive, simply because it is not like the ‘other’.… Recollect the Prime Minister’s electoral speech in UP, in which he contrasted the spatial reach of kabristans to that of shamshan ghats.…

In its obsessive desire to undermine India’s secularism, the BJP has landed up destroying institutions, beliefs, practices and the protection offered by the Constitution. The leaders have taken political discourse to a new low. We hear with sadness the death knells of democratic constitutionalism. The appointment of this dodgy Yogi to a position of constitutional power is the last nail in the coffin to which constitutional democracy has been consigned.

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/10211/The-Appointment-of-the-Dodgy-Yogi-As-CM-is-Last-Nail-in-Coffin-of-Constitutional-Democracy

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Victory for anti-Muslim bigotry – Editorial (Mar 19, 2017, The Guardian)

The world breathed a sigh of relief last week as the Islamophobe populist Geert Wilders failed to become the head of the biggest party in Holland. The respite from elected bigotry did not last long. On Sunday an even more stridently anti-Muslim extremist took power in the biggest election of this year.…

The man chosen by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, to lead UP, home of Hinduism’s holy Ganges river and the Moghul tomb of Taj Mahal, is a fellow Hindu nationalist, Yogi Adityanath. Mr Adityanath is a Hindu priest who, while elected five times from his temple’s town, has been shown repeatedly to be contemptuous of democratic norms.

He has been accused of attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting. He says young Muslim men had launched a “love jihad” to entrap and convert Hindu women. Mother Teresa, he claimed, wanted to Christianise India. He backs a Donald Trump-style travel ban to stop “terrorists” coming to India. On the campaign trail, Mr Adityanath warned: “If [Muslims] kill one Hindu man, then we will kill 100 Muslim men”. This cannot be dismissed as mere rhetoric. The argument that once in power the BJP would become more reasonable does not wash. There’s little sign India’s constitutional protections would enable the BJP to continue in power while the dynamics of its wider movement are kept in check. Mr Adityanath, now a powerful figure, is signalling that in India minorities exist merely on the goodwill of the majority. Step out of line and there will be blood.…

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/19/the-guardian-view-on-a-key-poll-victory-for-anti-muslim-bigotry

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As Complaints of EVM Tampering, Electoral Malpractices Pour In, SC Directives on Paper Trail Verification Need Urgent Implementation – By Gautam Thaker (Mar 21, 2017, Sabrang India)

In the recent concluded local elections in Maharashtra, serious accusations have been made about tampering with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Following the results of the District Panchayat and Mahanagar Palika polls, several complaints to the state election commission have alleged that EVMs had been hacked. The fraud has gone to inexcusable levels: in many places, a large difference has been noticed between the number of voters registered and the votes counted.

In Mumbai, it has been found that one candidate had secured ‘0’ votes. In this context candidates of the respective parties have registered complaints before the Election Commission. Several parties across the political spectrum, the Shiv Sena, the NCP, the MNS, and the Congress candidates have lodged complaints about an alleged fraud within the EVMs.

Besides, tampering has also been alleged with the electoral rolls. During the polls of Mumbai Mahanagar Palika, 11 lakh voters lost their right to vote at the last moment, as their names were missing. Many of these were from underprivileged sections of society.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/complaints-evm-tampering-electoral-malpractices-pour-sc-directives-paper-trail-verification

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A Hotelier Attacked In The Name Of Beef In Jaipur – By Kavita Srivastava (Mar 20, 2017, Countercurrents)

One Kamal didi ( she signs as Kamal didi too) of the Rashtriya Mahila Gau Rakshak Mandal was trying to catch stray cows with the help of the nagar nigam to take them to the Gau shalas, when Qasim a cleaner boy from Rabbani Hotel came to throw garbage in an empty plot near the dustbin on Kanti Chandra road. All the hoteliers and other private residents throw garbage there. Some of the stray cows who were hanging out near the kachra, (The stray cow population of the city is always hovering near dustbins, as they are very hungry) immediately went for the freshly thrown bags, which had food waste along with some chicken / mutton bones.

Kamal Didi immediately started thrashing Qasim that he was trying to pollute the cows with so called beef and dragged him and brought him to the hotel, with 15 other of her followers. Very Soon more than a hundred people joined them later, all wanting Rabbani to come out. The police was called that beef was being Cooked and served in this hotel. The police and the media came together.

The Gau Rakshaks are always with the media. When they could not find Rabbani, they picked up Wasim the receptionist and the cleaner and booked them under section 151 CrPC and arrested them. At the hotel they found brochures on the activities of the SIO (the Jamaat Student wing), writings of Maulana Wahauddin and the communal HARMONY campaign literature of Jamait Islami Hind, so the police reached the Jamaat office asking for Naeem Rabbani. When they learnt that he was not there, they went to his house and as said by filmstar Ajeet, in his famous dialogue “uski ma, behen ko utha lao”, they picked up the brother in law Abdul Rahman, who had nothing to do with the hotel.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/03/20/a-hotelier-attacked-in-the-name-of-beef-in-jaipur/

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Depoliticisation of students is a cover for right-wing forces to take over universities – By Rajat Datta (Mar 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

If there is one claim being made by the BJP, that nothing like this has happened since India’s independence, which rings true, it is the BJP’s success in introducing a discourse of binaries in the way nation or nationalism ought to be understood.

What do I mean by this discourse of binaries? The central point of this discourse is not the way nationalism is constructed, but the manner in which a rhetoric of anti-nationalism is articulated, and then morphed into an ideal nationhood.… Such a view of anti-nationalism denies dialogue, not in a broad liberal sense of occupying a middle position among contending views, but as a fractious embroilment of opposing political and ideological dispositions, which is necessary to expand and broaden the democratic space in a free-thinking environment. The worst victim, in my view, of this kind of constriction is old-style liberalism. What we are seeing in India increasingly is a vicious attack on that.…

The call to de-politicise students is a fig leaf to legitimise an ultra-right wing ideology under the mask of equivocality. De-politicisation does not mean the absence of politics. It is another means of covertly creating the space for the right-wing to take over, without opposition, the space to be vacated by left and left of centre political formations. Once this happens universities will die; so, will the nation.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/depoliticisation-of-students-is-a-cover-for-right-wing-forces-to-take-over-universities/story-hGJKF87raliuU4nDSLnwaP.html

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BJP leader held in baby-sale racket – By Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay (Mar 31, 2017, Frontline)

Mahila Morcha leader Juhi Chowdhury’s arrest for her alleged involvement in a baby-trafficking racket in north Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district has come as a major setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State. She was arrested by the State’s Criminal Investigation Department on February 28 from Kharibari near the Nepal border after a 10-day search. The names of several other State- and national-level BJP leaders have come up during investigations. This was the second time in three months that names of BJP leaders came up in separate baby-selling rackets.

The latest case was unearthed when the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) spotted irregularities in the activities of Bimala Sishu Griha, a government-approved home for newborns in Jalpaiguri, and alerted the State police. According to preliminary investigations, as many as 17 babies were sold from the home to Indians and foreigners. On February 19, the police arrested the institution’s director, Chandana Chakraborty, and her assistant, Sonali Mondal. Chandana Chakraborty heads two other organisations in the region – the Ashroy Short Stay Home and the Naorth Bengal People’s Development Committee, a non-governmental organisation.

According to Chandana Chakraborty, Juhi was first approached by the home for “help” in solving certain “problems” of the organisation. According to informed sources, the home repeatedly got into trouble with the CARA over its activities and sought to use Juhi Chowdhury’s BJP connections at the Centre to smoothen out the difficulties. Chandana Chakraborty claimed that on several occasions she had accompanied Juhi to Delhi, where the latter apparently met senior BJP leaders.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/bjp-leader-held-in-babysale-racket/article9583646.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 24, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Protest held in Ghaziabad against irregularities in electronic voting machines (Mar 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A group of protesters on Tuesday, at the district headquarters of Ghaziabad, demanded an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in votes registered through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the recently concluded assembly elections. The protesters alleged that there were several irregularities in EVMs that led to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gaining the majority of seats in the UP assembly elections.…

“We just read the news and also received messages on social media that EVMs led to the victory of the BJP. Even Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati had raised the issue with the Election Commission,” Pranvir Singh, a protester, said. “We demand that an inquiry be initiated and the formation of the government be put on hold. Also, we want an assurance that only paper ballots will be used in future elections,” Ajay Kumar, another protester from Vijay Nagar, said.

Some of the protesters claimed that a majority of BSP votes in some polling booths went to BJP, while others claimed that votes in Muslim settlements had also gone to BJP.… Immediately after the results on Saturday, BSP chief Mayawati had alleged that the EVMs were “faulty” and that the EVMs did not register the votes cast for parties other than the BJP. Some of the leaders of political parties, who had lost, also supported her claims. A letter was also sent to the chief Election Commissioner.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/protest-held-in-ghaziabad-against-irregularities-in-electronic-voting-machines/story-jqk2dwUunDFDgGeCKnSe6K.html

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Manohar Parrikar is #NotMyCM: Goans protest as BJP ministers take oath (Mar 14, 2017, Scroll.in)

The police tried their best to keep them out of sight, but the 100 or so protesters held their ground. As Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party made his way to Goa’s Raj Bhavan to be sworn in as the state’s new chief minister on Tuesday evening, they waved placards saying “I want my vote back” and “No horse-trading” and broke into jeers. “Shame,” they yelled. “Chor, chor” (thief, thief). The small demonstration had been put together on social media by people using the hashtag #NotMyCM.

“I am a first-time voter,” said a young woman named Rhea Sequeira who was at the protest. “Whom I voted for is immaterial, but I feel like my vote has been usurped. This is unacceptable and I wanted to show my anger.”

The protest was the culmination of a wave of anger that had begun to build up in several pockets of the coastal state since Saturday, as the results of elections to its 40-member assembly became clear.… No party won a majority, but the Congress emerged as the single largest entity, with 17 seats. The other seats went to regional parties and independents. Many expected the Congress to form the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party, which had three seats, and some of the three independent candidates. But on Sunday, the BJP pulled off a surprise when it announced that Parrikar would return to the state to become chief…

https://scroll.in/article/831804/manohar-parrikar-is-notmycm-goa-protests-as-bjp-ministers-take-oath

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Muslim leader Aamir Madni questions Lucknow encounter (Mar 10, 2017, Times of India)

Rashtriya Ulama Council (RUC) president Aamir Rashadi Madni on Friday, while lashing out at the the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the Government and media, alleged that the terror stand-off was fake and was performed to trigger communal polarisation amid UP polls, ANI reported.

“The way police has killed the suspect was wrong, this encounter was same as the Batla House fake encounter,” Madni said.…

He, after a brief interaction with Saifullah’s father Sartaj Mohammed, also questioned Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary’s silence on the matter.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57579864.cms

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‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’ (Mar 9, 2017, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was undecided on appealing against a trial court order, which acquitted self-proclaimed monk and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Swami Aseemanand and six others in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case on Wednesday. Three others were held guilty by the court.

Public Prosecutor Ashwini Kumar Sharma told The Hindu that there was enough evidence against Aseemanand, including his confessional statement to a Delhi court.…

In his confessional statement recorded before a magistrate in a Delhi court, Aseemanand had said that he and other activists were involved in bombings at various places of worship across the country, such as Ajmer Sharif and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and Samjhauta Express for taking revenge against the “terror acts of Muslims”.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/had-enough-proof-against-aseemanand/article17436792.ece

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‘Cops need only a Muslim name to fabricate a case’ (Mar 12, 2017, Time of India)

It is easy for the police to fabricate a terror case in the country than to foist a case against a thief because all they need, to make a person terrorist, is just a Muslim name, said Irshad Ahmed Malik, who was acquitted by the special court in Delhi in December, 2016. Malik, who was an informer for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was arrested and imprisoned after he disregarded certain directives from IB.

Addressing the People’s Tribunal on Saturday – organized by the Innocence India Network – he said the special cell of the Delhi police was on his tail after the arrest of his brother in 1991. “Later, I was in IB’s custody and officers wanted me to work for the agency,” he said, adding that IB offered him Rs 7,000/month as salary.

“They convinced me that I was working for the country. Later, they wanted me to go to Pakistan on a secret mission. They also asked me to work in Muslim-dominated areas and instigate youths to participate in jihad,” Irshad said. When he refused to follow orders, Irshad was arrested. He fought a legal battle for 11 years to prove his innocence.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57601528.cms

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The BJP Has Been Posting Bail For Hindus Arrested For Rioting In Bengal (Mar 14, 2017, Huffington Post)

In the past six months, the BJP in West Bengal has arranged for the bail of approximately 150 Hindus who were arrested in clashes with Muslims in various parts of the state, much to the frustration and astonishment of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Bengal has witnessed several clashes between Hindus and Muslims over the past few months, but almost every such clash has been hushed up by the state and/or under-reported by the media, for fear of leading to further flare-ups. But the atmosphere is still tense in several areas, where the police is on tenterhooks and fears clashes.

While every such minor clash is hushed up by the state, those involved in the incidents are arrested by the police. And the state BJP unit has used the opportunity to cobble Hindu support. Admitting that BJP had indeed arranged for bail for about 150 Hindus in the past six months, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told HuffPost India, “There is no one to back the Hindus in this state. Muslims get a lot of support and sympathy from several quarters.” It was not difficult to understand what he was hinting at.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/03/14/bjp-bails-out-those-arrested-for-rioting-in-bengal-as-long-as-t/

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Gujarat: Victims of rape, activists gagged at PM Modi’s women’s day event in Gandhinagar (Mar 8, 2017, Indian Express)

A young woman from Uttar Pradesh was gagged and whisked away by police when she raised slogans near the podium where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a gathering of women panchayat members on International Women’s Day in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. Hours earlier, two gangrape victims and an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist were taken into preventive custody by the Gujarat Police before they could make a representation before the Prime Minister.

At the women sarpanches convention at Mahatma Gandhi Mandir in Gandhinagar, Shalini Singh, an elected sarpanch from Uttar Pradesh’s Thora village of Gautam Buddha Nagar district was dragged out of the auditorium by security personnel who covered her mouth to prevent her from talking.

She later told reporters that she was seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention about development in her village which was being ignored. “I just wanted to personally put forth demands before the PM as neither the state government nor the central government has been heeding to our request for the last two years,” said Shalini Singh, who has an MA and B Ed degrees.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-victims-of-rape-activists-gagged-at-pm-modis-womens-day-event-in-gandhinagar-4560805/

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ABVP leader Sunny Dedha booked for assaulting NSUI member at DU (Mar 10, 2017, DNA India)

ABVP leader and ex-DU Students’ Union (DUSU) vice president Sunny Dedha has been booked for assaulting an NSUI member and his friend at the Law faculty of the university.

Pradeep Vijayaran, a third-year law student, who contested 2015 DUSU polls as a candidate of NSUI, Congress’s students’ wing, said the incident happened on Thursday evening when he and his friend Vineet were studying at Law Centre-I of Campus of Law College of the varsity. He alleged that Dedha, along with his 7-8 friends, hit him and Vineet.…

Pradeep has said in his complaint that it all started after he objected to a youth urinating in the union room. He said that the youth he did not stop but “7-8 men later thrashed me”. He also alleged that one of the alleged attackers was Sunny Dedha. Further, he alleged that he was hit on the head with a steel chair causing injury. His friend Vineet who tried to intervene was also beaten up by the group, he said.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-abvp-leader-booked-for-assaulting-nsui-member-at-du-2349134

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Another Rohith Vemula at JNU: Student commits suicide alleging discrimination (Mar 13, 2017, New Indian Express)

Just days after writing a post on inequality, 27-year-old Dalit MPhil student at JNU Muthu Krishnan was found having allegedly committed suicide in south Delhi’s Munirka area Monday evening.

Muthu, who was known to friends on Facebook as Krish Rajini, was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. He was a student at the University of Hyderabad when fellow Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in January 2016 and had blogged about meeting Rohith and his mother, Radhika.

Police said no suicide note had been found and that it hadn’t been found that the alleged suicide was owing to any issues at the university. He is said to have been depressed for some time over some personal issues, police said.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/13/another-rohith-vemula-at-jnu-student–commits-suicide-alleging-discrimination-1580984.html

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Gujarat model? Allocation for Dalits 2.67% in 2017-18 budget against 7% population, lurking gap of Rs 7,001 crore (Mar 14, 2017, Counterview)

A budget analysis by the Gujarat-based Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan has alleged that the Gujarat government has made the lowest percentage of allocation for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) in the state budget for 2017-18, presented in the state assembly last month, ever since 2010-11.

Carried out by Dalit scholar Vasudev Charupa, the analysis says, “Against the need-based requirement, and keeping in view of the resources in sight, the size of Annual Budget 2017-18 has been fixed at Rs 1,72,179.24 Crore. But of concern is the missing focus for the scheduled castes’ socio-economic development.”

Thus, he says, as against the Dalit population of 7%, the state government has allocated just about 2.67% for SCSP – or Rs 4,603.69 crore. The proportional allocation, he adds, should have been due Rs 11,604.88 crore. This means that a massive Rs 7,001.19 less amount was allocated for Gujarat Dalits’ development.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/03/gujarat-model-allocation-for-dalits-267.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The Consecration of a Hindu Vote Bank – By Harish Khare (Mar 13, 2017, The Wire)

Here’s a simple question: why did the Modi magic work in Uttar Pradesh so gloriously but fail so conspicuously to cast its charm in Punjab, Goa and Manipur? If the Bharatiya Janata Party is the new pan-India party and if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only pan-Indian leader, as was loudly claimed after the civic polls in Maharashtra, then why have the party and the leader failed to click beyond good old UP? The answer is simple: a Hindu vote bank has been cobbled together and sustained there because UP has a sizeable Muslim population, against whom ancient prejudices and new resentments could be stimulated. This is the bottom line of an otherwise complicated electoral contest.…

It has been suggested that the UP verdict is a vote on demonetisation, as well as an endorsement of the ‘surgical strikes’. The suggestion is that voters were happy to put up with all the notebandi-centric dislocations and disruptions because it had put the terrorists out of business and that Pakistan’s dirty designs had come to naught. But then why should this nationalistic messaging be confined to UP? No one can argue that voters in Punjab, Goa and Manipur lack in patriotism; Punjab being a border state has every reason to be receptive to any anti-Pakistan sales-pitch. Yet, the BJP lost even the Pathankot, Dinanagar and Gurdaspur assembly seats, where terror-attacks took place under Modi’s watch. In fact, the BJP contested 23 seats in Punjab and managed to win only three.

Similarly, Goa has the honour of being the home state of our hon’ble defence minister – who single-handedly instigated the government’s muscular anti-Pakistani narrative. Modi campaigned in all the other three states, though not in every galli as he did in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Yet the electorate remained immune to the Modi charm, as also to the presumed curative power of his leadership. The Modi magic worked in Uttar Pradesh because of a very sizeable Muslim presence. That made it easy to effortlessly inject zero-sum sentimentality into the election-time discourse. This is not the first time a Hindu consolidation has been attempted. It has been working rather well in Gujarat since 2002.…

https://thewire.in/116195/consecration-of-a-hindu-vote-bank-uttar-pradesh-election-2017/

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With two RSS members convicted for bombing Ajmer shrine, should the organisation be banned again? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Mar 10, 2017, Scroll.in)

On October 11, 2007, an explosion ripped through the 800-year-old shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti in the Rajasthani town of Ajmer. The attack was timed well: it was the month of Ramzan, and a crowd had gathered outside the dargah to break their fast.… It took a court verdict on Wednesday to rekindle some interest in the case. Three people were convicted for the terror bombing. Two of them – Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi – have been identified in court records as “RSS pracharaks”. At a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh controls the levers of power in the Union government itself, what does it mean for India that members of this hardline Hindutva organisation conducted a terror strike on a Sufi shrine?…

This, of course, is not the first time an RSS member has been convicted for murder. Gopal Godse, the brother of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, confirmed that the latter was an RSS worker. This led to the organisation being banned by the then Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. Eight months after the assassination, Patel wrote to the RSS head, MS Golwalkar, blaming the organisation’s communalism for leading to Gandhi’s murder. Patel even claimed that RSS men had distributed sweets to celebrate the killing. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was also banned during the Emergency in 1975 and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

In most circumstances, the Ajmer terror attack would have given rise to a conversation about the role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its ideology and whether it deserves to be banned like it was after Gandhi’s assassination. If, in 1948, Patel could discuss the “communal poison” that led to Gandhi’s assassination, India in 2017 should also seriously consider what elements of the RSS’ ideology led two of its pracharaks to bomb an 800-year-old Muslim shrine.

https://scroll.in/article/831454/ajmer-blast-with-two-members-convicted-for-bombing-chisti-shrine-should-the-rss-be-banned-again

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Babri Masjid demolition is an indictment of Indian polity; criminal conspiracy charge serves no purpose – By Ajay Singh (Mar 7, 2017, First Post)

In criminal jurisprudence mens rea connotes an intention of crime which is no less culpable than the crime itself. When LK Advani, as BJP president, took out the Rath Yatra in 1990, his explicit intention was to build the Ram Temple at the site of Ayodhya where Babri Masjid stood. The obvious implication was that the mosque had to be replaced with a temple befitting the status of Lord Ram’s birth place. The unambiguous message then was that the mosque would not remain at its original place.…

When the Supreme Court pointed out that the criminal conspiracy charge against LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi should not have been dropped, it seemed to have ignored the colossal failure of Indian polity to respond to a situation which snowballed into a criminal crisis.…

In the past 25 years of investigation, neither the CBI nor the Liberhans Commission could collect credible evidence to arraign the RSS-BJP-VHP leaders and prove the charges of criminal conspiracy.… As of now, instead of reviving a conspiracy case, the Supreme Court should use it as a framework to set up guidelines on how the powers-that-be could respond to such a situation in the future.

http://www.firstpost.com/world/babri-masjid-demolition-is-an-indictment-of-indian-polity-criminal-conspiracy-charge-serves-no-purpose-3320028.html

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Who’s behind the Kerala killings? – By C. Gouridasan Nair (Mar 10, 2017, The Hindu)

Right from the Ranchi riots in August 1967, the Babri demolition in 1992, the Gujarat riots in 2002, to the recent Muzaffarnagar riots, the Sangh Parivar has always used nefarious designs to foment, organise and spread communal riots for rich electoral dividends. The Sangh Parivar is engaged in an attempt to make inroads into Kerala with the intention of altering society forever by giving it a communal colour. It is desperate because it finds that this is not an easy task given the strong presence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the State, which will stall all attempts at communal polarisation.

This desperation is at the root of the murderous politics being practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghin Kerala. From 1971, when Thalassery in Kannur district witnessed rampant RSS-instigated violence against Muslims, the CPI(M) has taken the path of resistance.

The designs of the RSS did not work in 1971 because of the stand the CPI(M) took. Since then, the RSS has been targeting our cadre and supporters, declaring us as their sworn enemies. They have not succeeded in their grand design of communal polarisation, but they have certainly succeeded in turning Kerala into a simmering pot of political violence.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/whos-behind-the-kerala-killings/article17436566.ece

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The march of fascism from Gujarat 2002 to Ramjas College 2017 – By Humra Quraishi (Mar 7, 2017, Milli Gazette Online)

What is happening on the Delhi University campus is a pointer that fascist forces have intruded into campuses, making life hell for any of those sane voices. This is the very basic crux of what took place last week in the very interiors of Delhi University’s Ramjas College. It’s all out in the open, battle between the sane and the fascists.

It’s about time we sit and read any of the available volumes on how fascists intrude and take on and then destroy. The reality of the day is that we have got to take on these destructive forces.

Today, this government is following an agenda – the RSS agenda! Using all possible ploys trying to crush all those who are against communal politics. All those who are against the fascist forces.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15438-the-march-of-fascism-from-gujarat-2002-to-ramjas-college-2017

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Indocrination as Education: One more govt directive towards saffronisation of Rajasthan schools – By Subhash Gatade (Mar 13, 2017, Sabrang India)

Rajaram (name changed) principal of a school near Jaipur, Rajasthan is a worried man. An honest teacher all his life, is not able to comprehend the rationale behind the recent order by the state education ministry asking every secondary and senior secondary school to purchase collected works of Deendayal Upadhyay.

Not only that he has never heard this name before but does not know how funds can be managed for the same. The school does not have a proper library till date. The budgetary situation of the school is such that despite repeated demands by the girl students the sole toilet in the school still remains unrepaired.

The circular sent by the state government on February 27 has asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy the compendium of essays and speeches titled ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Sampoorna Vangmay’ – which has been published by a Delhi publisher in 15 volumes at a concessional rate of Rs 4,000. Schools are asked to draw from the school development fund – meant to be utilised for local needs – to make the purchase.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/indocrination-education-one-more-govt-directive-towards-saffronisation-rajasthan-schools

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Book Review

Foot Solider of the Constitution – A Memoir

Author: Teesta Setalvad
Reviewed by: Anupama Katakam
Available at: Publisher: LeftWord Books, 2254/2A, Shadi Khampur, New Ranjit Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110008, Pages: 211, Price: Rs.295. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Never say die (Mar 17, 2017, Frontline)

An aggressive vilification campaign by the right wing has landed Teesta Setalvad in a situation where she is forced to divert her energy to protecting herself. The crusader who has relentlessly fought for justice for the marginalised and for minorities has been in recent times the target of attacks on her reputation and, in a few instances, on her life. She is one of the country’s most inexhaustible human rights activists and has tried hard to speak above the jingoistic nationalist din that appears to have taken over democratic India.

Her attempts at justifying her work, mainly that of fighting the injustices that have rendered thousands violated, homeless and helpless, have often been dismissed or ignored by the mainstream media. Consequently, the debate has sadly gone silent—definitely a blow to the movement against communalism.

But Teesta Setalvad is not one to be put down. She makes herself heard in her book Foot Solder of the Constitution: A Memoir. The book is a testimony to the many controversies she combats and reflects her indomitable spirit in the face of the many curveballs thrown her way. The book makes it clear that Teesta Setalvad’s fight is not just about Gujarat. It is a battle for justice and for upholding the principles of the Constitution.…

http://www.frontline.in/books/never-say-die/article9563407.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2016

December 22, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Maratha Seva Sangh organises communal harmony rally as part of Eid ul Milad celebrations News Headlines Bengal BJP man held with Rs 10 lakh in new notes Bhaiya reference to minister Kiren Rijiju: ‘Bhaiya ka help chahiye toh humko boliye Sir’ UP polls: BJP, RSS want to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 5th, 2016

December 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition: 25 years on, trial against accused pending Exposed: How spiritual leaders are laundering hawala, secretive money during demonetisation Cash front finger at politicians – Dramatic claim by record declarant 27 senior bank officials suspended on charges of illegal conversion of notes Eight BJP-RSS workers […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 8th, 2014

December 9, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Muslim groups urge President Pranab Mukherjee to refer all Babri Masjid cases to Supreme Court TMC seeks probe into death of judge hearing Sohrabuddin case Hindutva literature widens communal chasm Sushma Swaraj’s call for making Gita ‘national scripture’ an effort to make India a Hindu nation: NDA […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 22nd, 2013

April 23, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat govt’s failure to protect people during 2002 riots: US report Kodnani’s Death move to warn Advani,deflect Zakia? Probe Narendra Modi’s call records in Tulsiram encounter case: Sohrabuddin’s brother Bangalore blast: Terrorist attack or political plot? High Court cancels bail of ex RSS members accused in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 24th, 2012

December 25, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans call for stringent enforcement of anti-rape laws, justice for victims News Headlines Narendra Modi’s re-election a black mark for Gujarat: Martha C Nussbaum Muslim poverty may bite Narendra Modi at NDC meet in Delhi NIA arrests prime suspect Dhan Singh in 2007 Samjhauta Express blast […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 10th, 2012

December 11, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Resolution of Babri Masjid case should be a National Priority Communal Harmony This school is a lesson in harmony Temple gifts house to Muslim woman News Headlines 25 US lawmakers urge Hillary Clinton to continue denying Narendra Modi visa Muslims are the most deprived social group in […]

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Resolution of Babri Masjid case should be a National Priority

December 6, 2012

Indian Americans demand justice, urge peace and restraint on the 20th Anniversary of Babri Masjid Demolition Thursday December 06, 2012 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called the Babri Masjid case a continuing travesty of justice while urging peace and restraint on […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 7th, 2012

May 7, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Modi NOT eligible for diplomatic visa: US embassy 9 get life term in Ode riots case ‘4 Maharashtra blasts, Malegaon linked’ Advani must be tried for Babri Masjid conspiracy: CBI to SC Staged shootout: Charges framed against Rajasthan IPS officer BJP MLA booked for inciting communal […]

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