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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 24th, 2017

by newsdigest on May 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Saharanpur violence over Ambedkar rally: 2 FIRs lodged against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal (Apr 22, 2017, India Today)

Two FIRs have been registered against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma and several others in connection with two cases of violence in Saharanpur’s Janakpuri.… Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Love Kumar said, “A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against over 300 people in connection with stone pelting by members of two communities on Thursday during a rally to mark Ambedkar Jayanti at Sadak Dudhali village.”

They were booked under IPC Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and Section 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) among others. The second FIR was lodged in connection with the protest outside the SSP’s house in which a CCTV camera was damaged and his “nameplate removed”, Kumar said.… The SSP said, “According to both the FIRs, local MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma was present at both the spots.”…

BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal, along with his supporters, reached outside the SSP’s official residence demanding that the rally be allowed to take place. Lakhanpal also demanded suspension of the SSP. The protesters damaged a CCTV camera outside the SSP’s residence. Police force was deployed at SSP’s residence to bring the situation under control. The SSP said that permission for the rally was not given by the administration.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/saharanpur-violence-bjp-mp-raghav-lakhanpal-fir-ambedkar-birth-anniversary-rally-sadak-dudhali/1/935352.html

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Kerala: 14 BJP-RSS men booked for attack over cow slaughter (Apr 19, 2017, Indian Express)

Ernakulam rural police have registered a case against 14 BJP and RSS workers on the charge of attacking a house where a cow was allegedly slaughtered on the eve of Easter. Police said the case was registered following a complaint from a person named Kallarackal Jose of Karumallor.

Jose and another person had bought a cow to slaughter it for Easter. They wanted to distribute the meat among relatives and friends. Cow slaughter is not illegal in Kerala.

The police said the alleged accused who face charges of trespassing, threatening and rioting, have not surrendered.… Local BJP leader P R Pramod said although all of them were BJP workers, the attack has no political angle. “Some assailants wanted to get a chunk of cow meat. Since they did not get it, they threw mud on the meat,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-14-bjp-rss-men-booked-for-attack-over-cow-slaughter/

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Alwar lynching: call for united fight against fascism (Apr 20, 2017, The Hindu)

Incidents such as lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Alwar show that not just minorities, but livelihoods of the poor are at stake in this country, was the common refrain among protesters staging a dharna against the recent incident, at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.…

While the focus was on demanding justice for Pehlu Khan’s family, the speakers lambasted the ruling BJP for “not only allowing such acts of crime but also actively participating in them from Dadri to Latehar and now Alwar”.

“A united struggle against this fascism is the only way forward to fight this (Union) government. These Gau Rakshaks are destroying lives and livelihoods of millions, attacking everyone linked to the business of cattle in any way, be it in the milk trade or tanneries. (Prime Minister) Mr. Narendra Modi talks about generating two crore jobs a year, but this is one way of taking away whatever the farmers have as an alternative income,” said CPM leader Brinda Karat.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/alwar-lynching-call-for-united-fight-against-fascism/article18149983.ece

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Bajrang Dal men attack Agra police station to rescue 5, S-I injured (Apr 23, 2017, Indian Express)

A police official was attacked in Agra on Saturday and his vehicle set ablaze by a mob that attempted to rescue five men believed to be associated with the Bajrang Dal detained at the Sadar Bazaar Police Station. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Agra City, Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan, said the incident took place after BJP Fatehpur Sikri MLA Udaybhan Singh, who was among the protesters, left the spot.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Shlok Kumar said “the protesters were Bajrang Dal workers”. The five men had been detained in the morning after Bajrang Dal workers gheraoed the Fatehpur Sekri police station demanding that an FIR registered against nine Hindu men for allegedly beating up people of a minority community be expunged. The protesters also demanded that a case be registered against people of the minority community.

During the protest, the agitators reportedly misbehaved with a senior police officer, following which police used mild force to disperse the crowd. Five persons were later caught and detained at the police station. They were later sent to Sadar Bazaar Police Station.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bajrang-dal-men-attack-agra-police-station-to-rescue-5-s-i-injured-4624345/

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Cop In Madhya Pradesh Gets Thrashed Brutally For Issuing A Fine To A BJP Leader’s Relatives (Apr 23, 2017, India Times)

…The constable was thrown on the ground, punched, kicked and repeatedly beaten by a group of 4-5 men, as spectators watched. The incident happened yesterday, in Guna, about 200 kilometres from Bhopal. The savage attack, which was captured on cell phone cameras, was led by the family members of a local BJP leader.

The accused politician here is Shobhna Raghuvanshi, the BJP block president and three girls belonging to her family. As these girls violated a traffic rule, the cop decided to fine them, however, it turned out to be an absolute nightmare for him instead. The girls immediately called their family members and they arrived at the spot within minutes of the call. The gang included BJP leader’s husband, Rajiv Raghuvanshi and some of his supporters.

A scuffle broke out in which constable Ashutosh Tiwari was pushed to the ground and roughed up. As another policeman tries to intervene, Mr Raghuvanshi is seen in a video threatening him. As of now, the police has filed two cases – obstructing a government officer from doing his duty and another of beating up a government officer on duty.

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/cop-in-madhya-pradesh-gets-thrashed-brutally-for-issuing-a-fine-to-a-bjp-leader-s-relatives-276233.html

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Hindu villagers foiled MMRDA bid to demolish mosque, threaten to vandalise temples (Apr 23, 2017, Siasat)

In a village adjacent to Kalyan, Hindus saved a mosque from demolition. On Tuesday, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) team reached Kona village adjacent to Kalyan to bull dozed the mosque but the people from the Hindus community stopped them from doing so saying that if they raze the mosque they would also vandalise their temples.

The mosque of Kona village was construction in the year 2003. MMRDA had sent a notice on 7 April to mosque committee regarding the demolition. On Tuesday, the team of MMRD reached with 500 police force, two JCB and Poke Lane Machine machines. As soon as the villagers received the information, they reached the mosques in large number.

The Hindu villagers, including the Sarpanch, told the officials that if they slide even a brick of the mosque, they would themselves demolish the temple and its whole charge would be the head of the administration. The members of the Hindu community said that the mosque was constructed on NA plot and the village panchayat has given permission regarding this.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/hindus-villagers-foiled-mmrda-bid-demolish-mosque-threaten-vandalise-temples-1174423/

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Jharkhand tribal students protest ‘saffronisation’ of higher education (Apr 18, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Hundreds of tribal students took out a ‘funeral procession’ of the BJP state government on Tuesday, accusing it of saffronising higher education and ‘killing’ democracy to please the party’s ideological mentor, the RSS.

The students took out the procession in the state capital after an uproar of over a month against the Raghubar Das government rechristening Ranchi’s oldest college – Ranchi College as Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University.

Mukherjee was the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangha, the forerunner to the BJP. Amidst slogans of “RSS Ka Jor Chatron Pe Kyu (Why force RSS ideology on students?)” and “Jharkhand Ke Mahapurushon Ka Apman Bandh Karo (Stop disrespecting Jharkhand heroes)”, the students also burnt an effigy of the BJP government in Jharkhand.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/jharkhand-tribal-students-protest-saffronisation-of-higher-education/story-qVFzy3U01QtcOfm72cUsQJ.html

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Need law in national interest to prevent custodial torture: SC (Apr 24, 2017, Times of India)

Pointing out that there was no law on torture, the Supreme Court today said there was “extreme urgency” in national interest to frame an effective law to prevent torture and inhuman treatment of individuals in custody.

“We do not have a law on torture. This is a matter of national interest,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. “Several issues are pending with the Law Commission. This is a matter which is required to be dealt with in extreme urgency. This is a matter of human rights,” the bench further said. The remarks were made after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the court that Law Commission was examining the issue.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by senior advocate and former law minister Ashwani Kumar, who has sought directions to frame an effective law on the issue and empower agencies like NHRC with necessary enforcement capabilities and mechanisms to implement its orders and directions.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58346819.cms

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How can you make Aadhaar mandatory when we passed order saying it’s optional: SC to Centre (Apr 21, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will decide on whether Aadhaar card can be made mandatory, for filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns, next week. The apex court asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhaar card mandatory for filing I-T returns.

News agency ANI quoted the Supreme Court bench as asking: “How can you make Aadhaar card mandatory when we have passed an order to make it optional?” In reply, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government now has an Act to use the Unique Identification Number. “We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory,” he said, according to ANI.

The Union government, last month, made providing one’s Aadhaar number a compulsory detail for filing IT returns and for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN). Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to identify those who avoided taxes by having duplicate PANs.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/how-can-you-make-aadhaar-mandatory-when-we-passed-order-to-make-it-optional-supreme-court-to-centre-4622048/

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Socially boycott men who misuse triple talaq: JIH (Apr 24, 2017, Times of India)

“Shariat is not just a legal system but a way of life. The Indian constitution has permitted us to practice our religion and we must approach the Shariat courts to resolve disputes,” said Sufiya Khan to a group of women at Godavari Nagar on Sunday. Giving an insight about Islamic law she urged them to fight against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to protect Shariat.

As part of the nationwide awareness campaign on Muslim Personal Law, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) is reaching out to Muslims in city belonging to all sections of society. Starting from April 23 to May 7, the jamaat will go door-to-door, conduct activities and distribute journals about appropriate implementation of Shariat and legal remedies. The book titled ‘Instructions for Talaq’ will be distributed in the 250 registered mosques, so that imams can read it out after Friday prayers to spread the word, said members.…

Unit president (west), Umar Khan said, “We don’t have right to punish people who break the laws but on April 16, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had called for social boycott of those men who misuse triple talaq and use it arbitrarily without a valid reason.”… Senior member Najma Khan advised women that they should turn to Muftis in Darul Qaza (Islamic Judiciary) or counselling centres for settlements and cognisance of grievances.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58331789.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Anatomy of a Lynching – By Aatish Taseer (Apr 16, 2017, New York Times)

…The hysteria that now surrounds the cow in India has been engineered. It was Mr. Modi who, during his election campaign in 2014, whipped crowds into frenzy over “a pink revolution,” an alleged conspiracy by his political opponents to promote cow slaughter and beef export. “We’ve heard of the Green Revolution,” he thundered, “we’ve heard of the White Revolution, but today’s Delhi government wants neither; they’ve taken up arms for a Pink Revolution,” he said, presumably evoking the pink color of beef. “Do you want to support people who want to bring about a Pink Revolution?”…

Vasundhara Raje, the chief minister of Rajasthan, is someone I grew up around in Delhi and have known all my life. She is aristocratic and is educated. She had many Muslim friends and even a Muslim boyfriend.… That someone like her would now refuse to speak up for a poor Muslim farmer with small children who was lynched in her state is an indication of how poisoned the air has become in three short years since the B.J.P. came to power.

India is slipping beyond the pale. It is unfathomable that the ancient Hindu horror at the taking of life, any life – the very same doctrine of ahimsa, or nonviolence, that governed the beliefs of men like Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – should in our time be used as a justification for murder. And not merely a murder in which one man is implicated, but rather a great televised spectacle in which a whole nation, through its silence, is complicit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/opinion/anatomy-of-a-lynching.html

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As Hindutva Toughs Run Riot in UP, Will Adityanath Enforce the Law on His Own Cadre? – By M.K. Venu (Apr 23, 2017, The Wire)

Yogi Adityanath took over as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh amidst claims by the Bharatiya Janata Party that keeping a strict watch on the maintenance of law and order would be his forte. However, on Saturday a group of men drawn from militant Hindutva parivar outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was founded by Adityanath himself, attacked the Fatehpur Sikri police station in Agra, pelted stones at police personnel and slapped the deputy superintendent of police who had filed an FIR against some of their activists for assaulting and robbing a Muslim vegetable vendor.…

What happened in Fatehpur Sikri is not an isolated incident. Just two days earlier, on April 20, a communal riot broke out in Saharanpur in which dozens were injured and the house of a senior superintendent of police, Luv Kumar, was attacked by a mob led by a local BJP MP.… How do these two incidents square with the BJP’s claim that Adityanath is very strong and resolute on the law and order front? Will Adityanath proceed against the members of the BJP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini who have been named in the two serious cases of mob violence which occurred in the past one week?…

If the Saharanpur and Fatehpur Sikri violence had occurred during the tenure of the earlier regime, the BJP would have gone to town with the charge of “goonda raj” against the Samajwadi Party. Now, the boot is on the other leg. Whether it is the Saharanpur rioting or the killing of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan, the prime minister, the BJP and the Centre are all answerable as such violence is happening in BJP-ruled states. People are watching closely to see whether justice is being dispensed without fear or favour.

https://thewire.in/127437/as-sangh-parivar-members-riot-in-up-will-adityanath-enforce-law-on-his-own-cadre/

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Babri demolition case: Blow to Advani, but BJP stands to gain from SC order – By DK Singh (Apr 20, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Wednesday’s Supreme Court order restoring criminal conspiracy charges against LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti in the 1992 Ayodhya Babri masjid demolition case might be a blow to these leaders individually, but the BJP is unlikely to be unduly worried about its political costs.

For one, the trial – to be completed in two years as per the apex court’s directions – will keep the Hindutva pot boiling, not an undesirable situation for a party that blended it with development to win a series of elections over the past three years. If the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya alienated a section of people including the middle class and liberals from the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought them back into the party fold with his persona and development narrative.…

In the immediate context though, the BJP and Narendra Modi will have to take some tough calls, which are rather administrative in nature. The Prime Minister has to decide whether he wants to retain a minister, Hindutva mascot Uma Bharti, who will be facing a court trial. Another question confronting him and the ruling party is about the propriety of keeping Kalyan Singh in the Jaipur Raj Bhawan. The Supreme Court has said that since he enjoys Constitutional immunity in his capacity as Governor, he can be tried after he ceases to be in office.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/babri-demolition-case-modi-s-bjp-stands-only-to-gain-from-supreme-court-verdict/story-Q8zSeLoOzDJjdX0CL6YHDI.html

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Only the BJP Stands to Gain from Inciting Communal Riots in Saharanpur – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 24, 2017, The Wire)

Images of arson and destroyed property flooded social media in the aftermath of communal clashes in Saharanpur last week. The riots triggered by BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma’s ill-timed call for a “shobha yatra” (a procession) in memory of social justice icon B.R.Ambedkar, and Hindutva groups’ insistence to take it through communally-sensitive areas of Saharanpur… left major parts of the town blighted for the second time in the last few years.

Saharanpur also witnessed a Muslim-Sikh riot in 2014 over a land dispute. The Muslim leadership of the town had stoked the fears of the community, which was already demoralised by the rise of the BJP. In the days following the clash, the BJP further polarised the city along communal lines and exacerbated the already tense environment of the city.

This time around, however, the riots in this volatile town broke out quite tactically, just a month ahead of the civic body polls, which will take place for the first time in May 2017. Saharanpur was declared a municipal corporation around ten years ago but elections for it kept getting stalled for one reason or another. Despite an unprecedented victory for the party in the recent assembly election, the BJP failed to make a mark in the city.… This means that Sharma, the MP, remained the only electoral representative for the party in the politically and economically-significant town. The civic body polls, therefore, have become the only chance for the saffron party to register its electoral presence in the city.…

https://thewire.in/127619/bjp-communal-riots-saharanpur/

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The end of privacy: Aadhaar is being converted into the world’s biggest surveillance engine – By Saikat Datta (Mar 24, 2017, Scroll.in)

Democracies survive on the delicate balance of power between the ruling class – the executive, generally known as the government – and the citizens. The more power citizens get, the more robust the democracy. As the ruling class accrues more power to itself, it erodes democracy to a point where it ceases to exist.

This axiom has always held true. The fast expanding remit of the Unique Identity number project, Aadhaar, has now taken a giant leap with an amendment to the Finance Bill making it a mandatory requirement for filing Income Tax returns.

The way the move was sought to be pushed in Parliament is part of a trend that is now becoming a clear and present danger to India’s democracy.…

https://scroll.in/article/832592/the-end-of-privacy-aadhaar-is-being-converted-into-the-worlds-biggest-surveillance-engine

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Adityanath’s 2014 Article Equating Women With Demons Comes Back to Haunt Him – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 19, 2017, The Wire)

With Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath joining the BJP’s strident campaign against triple talaq in the name of women’s rights, a 2014 essay by him on the role of women in Indian culture has come back to haunt him.

On April 17, Adityanath attacked the opposition for keeping mum on the triple talaq issue and said they were also responsible for the injustice meted out to Muslim women.

… Annie Raja, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and renowned women’s rights activist, raised doubts over the BJP’s intentions in the triple talaq debate.… She attributed a “hidden agenda” to the BJP for singling out the issue of triple talaq. “Even the prime minister is talking about it. This is nothing but using it for political gains. If they are really concerned about injustices meted out to women, they should take it up in a holistic way. Why are they singling out one issue? Do they mean to say that interests of women from other religions have already been safeguarded? It is sad that the government is trying to gain out of the pathetic conditions of women. Women have been discriminated in all the religious personal laws. Why can they not talk about women’s issues, irrespective of their caste and religious loyalties,” she asked.

https://thewire.in/125708/adityanath-womens-rights-triple-talaq/

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Book Review

Kandhalmal: Introspection for Initiative for Justice 2007-2015

Author: Vrinda Grover and Saumya Uma
Reviewed by: Ram Puniyani
Available at: Media House Delhi, Mayur Vihar Phase 1, Delhi and United Christian Forum, Delhi; 2017. Rs. 595.00. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Kandhamal: Whither Justice for Violence Victims? (Apr 19, 2017, Mainstream)

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

The principal brunt of communal violence has been borne by the Muslim community while Sikhs also became a major victim in 1984. The 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 having been witnessed in Kandhamal in August 2008, when on the pretext of murder of Swami Laxmananand anti-Christian violence was unleashed.…

The book does confirm the finding of other researchers like Dr. V. N. Rai that no violence can continue beyond 48 hours unless the state is complicit in it. The book also reaffirms the findings of outstanding scholars like Asghar Ali Engineer and Paul Brass about the ‘institutional riot mechanism’ in India where riots are not only orchestrated but are made to appear as if minorities have begun the violence.…

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article7103.html

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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

April 14, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu, Muslim couples tie knots under one roof News Headlines BJP behind organized communal flareup in North Gujarat village: Civil society report. “Target assembly polls” EVMs Poll in “Favour” of BJP in MP Bypoll, Election Officer Warns Journos Not to Report Scam ‘You may as well kill […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 27th, 2017

April 8, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat: Communal clash in Patan district kills two people, injures ten others Delhi Police registers FIR against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad on complaint by Air India Ajmer blasts: Two terrorists affiliated to RSS sentenced for life imprisonment Cops refuse to share SIMI jailbreak ‘key’ pics Law […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 21st, 2015

December 26, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim man in Madhya Pradesh left his marriage midway to perform final rituals of a Hindu girl Seminar on communal harmony held in the capital News Headlines Army intelligence had filmed razing of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya: Sharad Pawar Gujarat government yet to furnish details of beneficiaries […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 2nd, 2015

March 3, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Shocking reversals in the struggle for justice mark Gujarat pogroms anniversary Communal Harmony Call to maintain unity and communal harmony News Headlines Indian-American Muslims demand justice for Gujarat victims on 13th anniversary of mass massacre British victims’ family slams Gujarat riots acquittal verdict Indian Hindu leader’s criticism of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 13th, 2014

October 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Carrying on a tradition: An ode to communal harmony News Headlines BJP behind clashes at Ahmedabad, Vadodara: Gujarat Congress Communalism, biggest threat facing state: AGP Now, ‘love jihad victim’ says she had eloped; family cooked up story Boy, allegedly set ablaze by Army men, dies in Hyderabad […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 30th, 2013

December 31, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Lower court goes along with dirty SIT’s clean chit to Modi News Headlines Criminal Charges against Modi and 59 others ‘Shaken to the core’ but Modi does not offer apology Gujarat riots: Nanavati Commission gets 21 extension till June 30 to submit report Snoopgate went on even […]

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International Human Rights Day a time for renewed resolve to uplift humanity say Indian Americans

December 10, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Indian American Muslim Council ( http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called on people of all faiths to come together on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, to renew their commitment to the UN Declaration of Human Rights [1] and […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 9th, 2013

December 10, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US experts see no indication of ‘Modi wave’ in Assembly elections results Narendra Modi trying to protect Godhra riots perpetrators: Minority minister Ishrat encounter: Doubt over ‘explosives’ on victims ‘Modi represents forces that brought down Babri Masjid’ Relief for babus in reworked draft of communal violence […]

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