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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 21st, 2015

by newsdigest on December 26, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslim man in Madhya Pradesh left his marriage midway to perform final rituals of a Hindu girl (Dec 19, 2015, India.com)

In an unprecedented incident of communal harmony which took place in Jabalpur, a Muslim man left his marriage (nikaah) midway to cremate a Hindu girl who died near his vicinity in Jabalpur district hospital. The groom who is a renowned activist in the region is known for cremating 3000 dead bodies who were unknown to him and his family.

The video which has gone viral on social media shows that Inayat Khan, a 29-year-old activist attached with Garib Nawaz Trust (Muslim NGO) is sitting at his home with his family members. Inayat’s hand was coloured with mehndi, when he got a call from the Jabalpur district hospital to come down and cremate the girl who was unknown to him.

Soon after which Inayat rushed to the grieving family of deceased and took the body to carry out final rituals with the family members of girl at Ranital cremation ground.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/muslim-man-in-madhya-pradesh-left-his-marriage-midway-to-perform-final-rituals-of-a-hindu-girl-798099/

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Seminar on communal harmony held in the capital (Dec 17, 2015, Business Standard)

Seeking to send out a message of brotherhood and harmony, a seminar was held in the national capital on the eve of the UN Minorities Rights Day.

Speaking on the occasion Delhi Social Welfare MinisterSandeep Kumar said, “religion teaches us brotherhood and we should respect all the religions. India is like a bouquet of flowers and the force driving this country is the same despite it having different names in different religions.”

The minister appreciating the Delhi Minorities Commission for holding the seminar on a relevant contemporary topic (‘inter-faith and communal harmony’) added that the government will try to hold such programmes in all the eleven districts of Delhi from next year.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/seminar-on-communal-harmony-held-in-the-capital-115121700689_1.html

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Army intelligence had filmed razing of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya: Sharad Pawar (Dec 21, 2015, First Post)

As defence minister, then Congress leader Sharad Pawar ordered the army intelligence to videotape the Babri Masjid razing in Ayodhya on 6 December, 1992. Not knowing what would happen that day when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad announced a “kar seva” at the 16th century mosque site, Pawar says he told then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to take a tough posture.

“But Rao was not in favour of using force,” Pawar says in his just released autobiography “On My Terms” (Speaking Tiger). “He turned down my suggestion that we should post army platoons at the disputed site as a precautionary measure. After my suggestion was rejected, I asked the army’s intelligence wing to video shoot all developments at the disputed site on 6 December.

“The film captured various stages of the demolition job accomplished by ‘kar sevaks’ including how they were egged on by their leaders.” Says Pawar, who is now Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president: “The demolition exposed Narasimha Rao’s weakness as a leader.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/army-intelligence-had-filmed-razing-of-babri-masjid-in-ayodhya-sharad-pawar-2554114.html

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Gujarat government yet to furnish details of beneficiaries affected by 2001 earthquake, 2002 riots (Dec 15, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

The State Government of Gujarat and the Gujarat Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (GMDFC) have not furnished to the Central government details of beneficiaries affected by earthquake during 2001 and riots during 2002.

This was stated in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in a written reply last Wednesday.

He was replying to the questions raised by four MPs who sought information in this regard. He also informed the house that the information has been sought from the Gujarat government and GMDFC and they have been reminded again.

http://twocircles.net/2015dec15/1450192909.html

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High Court allows NHRC to intervene in Hashimpura massacre case (Dec 11, 2015, The Hindu)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene in the appeals filed by the victims of the infamous Hashimpura massacre of 1987, in which a trial court had acquitted 16 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel on March 21 this year.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice R.K. Gauba allowed the intervention application of NHRC and posted the case for further hearing on February 17, 2016. In its plea, the NHRC had sought further inquiry into the 28-year-old incident and framing of guidelines for cases of custodial violence.

The court also asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy about his locus standi in filing an appeal against a fast track court order, which had rejected his plea seeking a direction to the Uttar Pradesh police to probe into the role of Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who was Union Minister of State for Home at the time of Hashimpura massacre.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/high-court-allows-nhrc-to-intervene-in-hashimpura-massacre-case/article7973030.ece

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Police search for Hindu Yuva Morcha activists following FIR for derogatory posts against Prophet Mohammed (Dec 21, 2015, Twocircles.net)

An FIR has been registered by Mumbai police against members of Hindu Yuva Morcha for spreading hatred message against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Police are looking for the offenders. Muslim leaders were in a meeting of the ‘Peace Committee’ when one of them received a message on WhatsApp, which represented a hatred post against the Prophet made by Deb Prakash Shukla of Raibareli (UP). The post also showed satirical comments below it written by Shivam Mishra, President, Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Yuva Morcha.

Noting the intensity of this hate message, Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, General Secretary of All India Ulama Council immediately called Deven Bharti, Police Joint Commissioner, and asked him to take prompt action before the message was widely spread and law and order was disturbed. Following this, Bharti ordered for registering of FIR at MRA Marg Police station and the alleged hate post on social site has been blocked. Police is now looking for offenders from Uttar Pradesh.

After filing of FIR, Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi said, “Right-wing organisations are intentionally spreading such messages so as to disturb peace prevailing in the society. We shall fight legally against every such attempt made by them.”

http://twocircles.net/2015dec21/1450683864.html

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VHP men raise ‘Love Jihad’ issue, booked for ransacking police station in Shamli (Dec 21, 2015, Times of India)

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers were booked for ransacking a police station in Shamli. They alleged police inaction in what they have claimed to be a case of ‘love jihad’, after a 40-year-old Muslim man and a 22-year-old Hindu girl went missing.…

“On December 1, a Hindu girl went missing. The family’s tenant Mohammed Asif (40) was missing as well. It was alleged that he had abducted her and taken her with her to an unknown location. After the family came to us, we registered a case and the investigation took its own course. We even arrested his brother Mohammed Arshad (35). We suspect that they are in Delhi. We have even dispatched a Shamli Police team that has gone to Delhi to search for the girl,” said Naresh Yadav, station officer at Kandhla police station.

He added saying, “On Saturday, VHP men held a panchayat at a local temple and then made their way to the police station. The forcefully entered the police station and started ransacking the premises. We asked them to remain calm and tell us their side of the story but they started breaking the tables and chairs inside the police station. We booked them under sections 147 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50271460.cms

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Random arrests of Muslim youths leading to radicalisation: Telangana Police chief (Dec 22, 2015, Indian Express)

Socio-economic exclusion of Muslims and random arrests of youths from the community in the aftermath of a terror attack are leading to radicalisation among the minorities. This was the running theme of a presentation and discussion on radicalisation at the conference of Director Generals of Police (DGPs) in Bhuj, that concluded on Sunday.

While there were 10 presentations on various aspects of internal security at the annual meet organised by the Intelligence Bureau, the one on radicalisation, presented by Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma, was the most critical in the context of threats from the Islamic State.

According to sources, Sharma said there was a sense of alienation among Muslims as “expected social and economic benefits” had not reached them. He highlighted how areas inhabited by minorities were generally bereft of civic amenities and dearth of economic opportunities. All this, he said, made the community vulnerable to radicalisation.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/random-arrests-of-muslim-youths-leading-to-radicalisation-telangana-police-chief-2/

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Police cremate body of Muslim murder victim, kin outraged (Dec 19, 2015, Times of India)

Police at Itimad-ud-Daulah station in Agra found themselves facing the wrath of a family and villagers on Saturday after it was revealed that they had mistakenly cremated a Muslim youth with complete Hindu rituals. To defuse the situation, police lodged a case of murder and promptly arrested three persons, including a woman. The inspector-general of police Agra has ordered an enquiry into the faux pas.…

On Friday, the family of the deceased, who were making the rounds of police stations to get a missing complaint filed for their son, saw a pamphlet pasted on a wall mentioning the unclaimed body. The family reached Itimad-ud-Daulah police station where police showed them the clothes the dead man had been wearing along with other items recovered from the body.

However, the situation got tense for the police when the family told them the dead man was named Mohd Sameer and he was 22 years old. Initially, the kin were allegedly told the man had been buried and they were free to take away his belongings. “When we asked for the location of the grave, they refused. Later a constable told us that Sameer had been cremated,” said Mohd Wasim, brother of the dead youth.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50249297.cms

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Respect rights, sensitivities of minorities: President Mukherjee (Dec 14, 2015, Hindustan Times)

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday called for respecting the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit, and eliminating forces that divide society.

Delivering the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture (2013) on National Integration of the Asiatic Society, he also stressed on the awareness about “limitations and mistakes of the past which gave rise to problems of inequality” in the country.…

“We must learn to respect the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit. We must cultivate a secular and democratic outlook, and promote a way of life that is inclusive and does not interfere with civic duties and rights as well as responsibilities of individuals,” he said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/respect-rights-sensitivities-of-minorities-president-mukherjee/story-OubpppOhZ0SFrGT6GisO7M.html

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Why did you criminalize possession of beef, HC asks state (Dec 17, 2015, Times of India)

The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the state the reason for introducing a provision in its beef ban law that made possession a criminal offence. “Why did the state now think it fit to bring in section 5D (that criminalizes possession of beef)?” asked a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and S C Gupte.

The court pointed out that the 1976 law banning cow slaughter did not have a similar provision. “Why should this not be treated as disproportionate?” the judges asked the state’s legal team led by advocate-general, S G Aney, and advocate, Hiten Venegavkar.

“What happens if someone brings beef from Goa, where it is lawful? Or if someone throws beef into some innocent person’s house?” the bench asked.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50224632.cms

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Maha govt against issuing ordinance for Muslim quota in education (Dec 17, 2015, Indian Express)

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Wednesday ruled out bringing an ordinance to enable 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in education. “Currently, there is no provision in the existing laws to facilitate such a move,” he said.

The matter demanding reservation for Muslims in education was raised by Congress-NCP members in both Houses of the state legislature. Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal said the government should seriously consider reservation for Muslims. Since the court had upheld the reservation for Muslims in education, they said, nothing stopped the government from issuing a fresh ordinance.

The Opposition leaders argued that they had given consent for 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in education during their regime. However, after the ordinance lapsed, the BJP-Shiv Sena government did not re-issue the ordinance.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maha-govt-against-issuing-ordinance-for-muslim-quota-in-education/

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Opinions and Editorials

A generation after Babri demolition, India must choose its future – By Harsh Mander (Dec 17, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Razing the Babri mosque was an assault on the secular promise of the Constitution – the pledge that none are children of a lesser god.

A generation has passed since the day a medieval mosque was pulled down by triumphalist crowds in a dusty nondescript town of Uttar Pradesh 23 years ago. This traumatic moment altered the course of India’s contemporary history, marking a belligerent victory of the politics of hatred and division in the ongoing struggle by Hindu nationalists against the secular idea of India.…

The second generation, disillusioned by the cynical decay of those who claimed to carry these ideas in formal politics, joined hands with Hindu nationalists to oppose their authoritarianism and venal corruption. A third generation was swept into a tempestuous political movement of engineered division and social hatred, symbolised by the mass movement to destroy the mosque in Ayodhya. A fourth generation, more than half of all Indians below the age of 25 today, must now choose the India of their future.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/a-generation-after-babri-demolition-india-must-choose-its-future/story-0Z9opjJazHu5WMasAO0cTJ.html

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How Gujarat riots made Vajpayee lose out to RSS – By Kingshuk Nag (Dec 18, 2015, Dailyo.in)

…After the Gujarat riots of 2002, however, Atal seems to have lost out to the RSS. The organisation gained ascendancy with the help of hardliners in the party as also the Sangh Parivar. The first indication of this came on April 4, 2002, when Atal visited Gujarat after the bloody riots in which one thousand people lost their lives.

The riots had followed the burning of the compartment of a train that was bringing back kar sevaks from Ayodhya. The incident had happened on February 27, 2002. At a press conference Atal, with the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by his side, said that the government’s job was to practise rajadharma and kings and rulers cannot discriminate between people on the basis of birth, caste and religion. Unexpectedly, in what was seen as a snub, Modi said, “Wohi toh nibha rahein hain [That’s what we are doing].” The audience was shocked and Atal kept quiet.

Atal, disquieted with the way the Gujarat riots had been handled, decided to get rid of Modi at the national executive of the party scheduled a week later at Goa. As per the plan, in a face saver for Modi, he would submit his resignation at Goa and would be allowed to quit. On the flight to Goa, tremendous pressure was exerted on Atal by Advani to not accept Modi’s resignation. Somehow word about the proposal for Modi to resign had leaked out. Young and mid-level leaders of the party started raising slogans, “Istifa mat do, istifa mat do [Don’t quit, don’t quit],” the moment Modi stood up to resign. In fact, a resolution was passed that Modi and his government had done their best while facing the challenge during the riots. Thus Atal was stymied.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/atal-bihari-vajpayee-rupa-publications-india-rss-narendra-modi-2002-gujarat-riots-lk-advani/story/1/8009.html

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How Modi Sarkar betrayed Minority Rights on #MinorityDay – By Shehzad Poonawalla (Dec 18, 2015, IBN)

For decades now India had been observing the December 18 as “Minorities Rights Day” every year as part of its commitment to the cause of minorities. It was on this day in 1992 that the United Nations had promulgated the “Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities” proclaiming that “States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.” For the first time India will see a marked departure from this stated commitment under the majoritarian government of Narendra Modi.

It began with the appointment of Najma Heptullah as Minority Affairs Minister. The Minister upon entering office first claimed that “Muslims were not a minority”!… If indeed Muslims are not minorities why does her Government actually categorise and identify them as one of the six minority groups (Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Parsis and Jains being the other groups) represented in the National Commission for Minorities – a statutory body whose chairperson is also a Muslim?…

The undeniable message that is going across is that the Modi government is being shepherded by the RSS in matters of governance. If the Hindutva agenda is allowed to dominate the discourse, there is no doubt in my mind that alienation will continue to increase as more and more minorities feel insecure and discriminated against. With 65% of the minority population below 35years, most of them hungry for jobs and opportunities and decent life, this kind of divisive narrative can prove to be disastrous for us as a nation.…

http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/politics/shehzad-poonawalla/how-modi-sarkar-betrayed-minority-rights-on-minorityday-11000-1178617.html

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Intolerance Has Gone Up Due To Sectarianism – By Ram Puniyani (Dec 18, 2015, Countercurrents)

Beginning with September 2015 we witnessed a flood of ‘returning’ honors by writers, scientists and artists. There are also various statements from academics, historians, artists and scientists showing their concern about the growing intolerance and erosion of our plural values. … The growing intolerance has taken the lives of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi. There are incidents like where the lynching of one Muslim on the issue of beef eating which has shaken the conscience of the society.…

At the same time the President of India disturbed by the happenings in the society; time and again has been reminding the nation about our core civilizational values of pluralism. The vice President has told that it is the duty of the state to protect the ‘right to life’ of citizens. The international agency Moody Analytics pointed stated that unless Modi reins in his colleagues, India stands to lose her credibility.…

The major factor leading to present atmosphere lies in the qualitative transformation of ‘hate for others’. The stereotyping of minorities has assumed horrendous proportions. Intolerance has been there earlier also, now it is changing qualitatively for the worse. We need to combat the threat of sectarian nationalism looming large on our democratic society, the threat of sectarian propaganda and politics leading to stifling of democratic space. And these are not the ordinary times, the divisive process, intolerance have assumed menacing proportions and cannot be hidden by the illusory growth story!

http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani181215.htm

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Praveen Swami and the informed art of speculating – By M Reyaz and Amit Kumar (Dec 17, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

National daily The Indian Express was not pretty sure where the alleged Al-Qaeda’s Head of the Indian subcontinent hailed from, but it nevertheless thought of making an informed guess before finally correcting themselves when questioned. And, after arrests had been made elsewhere in the country.

On December 15, the paper’s National Security Expert, and National Editor (Strategic and International Affairs) Praveen Swami decided to tell its readers where the Al-Qaeda’s Indian Chief was from. In a story titled, ‘In Heart of Asia, why hope is fading’, Swami wrote “The camp, Afghan intelligence sources told The Indian Express, housed over 150 fighters from across South Asia, flying the banner of the newly-formed al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, led by Gujarat-origin jihadist Asim Umar.…

Several of Swami reports, particularly his theories published in The Hindu on conspiracy and plots in the Mecca Masjid blasts, Ajmer blasts, Malegaon, etc. fell flat in past, in all of which earlier Muslims youths were falsely accused of terror, but it was later revealed by the security agencies that those were in fact conducted by Hindutva extremist groups.

http://twocircles.net/2015dec17/1450372735.html

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Disenfranchising the Deprived – Editorial (Dec 19, 2015, EPW)

…The Supreme Court’s judgment in Rajbala has been delivered in a constitutional challenge to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 which had been amended in 2015 to disbar those candidates for panchayat elections who are not literate, or who are in arrears of their dues to electricity boards, or on loans taken from state cooperative banks, or do not have a toilet in their residence, among other disqualifications.…

While ostensibly holding that the right to vote and stand for elections are constitutional rights, the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Haryana act. The Court’s “reasoning,” such as it is, utterly fails to see the latent discrimination written into the illiteracy, indebtedness and residential toilet disqualifications for candidates to the panchayat elections. The census data and detailed statistics on the possible impact of the disqualification criteria presented by the petitioners have been brushed aside with broad homilies, vague generalisations and utter callousness.

The Supreme Court has taken no note of the possibility that the Haryana law ends up punishing those who are the victims of state failure to provide education and sanitation in the first place. The Court seems blissfully unaware of the centuries of discrimination that has been inflicted on Dalits when it came to education and sanitation, the effects of which are still being felt by Dalits and other lower castes. Instead of attempting to grapple with or address such ground realities, the Court has preferred to turn a blind eye to this and for all practical purposes, blamed the victims themselves for being illiterate, poor or having no toilet in their homes.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2015/51/editorials/disenfranchising-deprived.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 2nd, 2015

by newsdigest on March 3, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Shocking reversals in the struggle for justice mark Gujarat pogroms anniversary

February 28, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has marked the 13th anniversary of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, by pledging to continue the struggle for justice, regardless of the passage of time and the vicissitudes in the electoral fortunes of the masterminds behind the genocide. IAMC has expressed its dismay over the brazen mockery of justice in cases related to the pogroms, since the new government came to power in May 2014.

The Gujarat pogroms of 2002 represent the most horrific case of mass targeted violence against a specific religious community in independent India. In systematic and organized attacks against Muslims, over 2,000 people were massacred and over 150,000 were displaced and rendered homeless. The genocide was accompanied by brutal forms of sexual violence against hundreds of women.

In several high-profile cases, the perpetrators have either been acquitted by the infamous and compromised Special Investigations Team (SIT), or granted bail after having been convicted. In parallel, activists such as Teesta Setalvad, who demonstrated exemplary courage in pursuing justice for the victims, are being hounded by the police and subject to harassment by the state under trumped-up charges.

Last Friday, six people accused in the barbaric killing of three British citizens during the Gujarat massacres were acquitted by the court for “lack of evidence.” The three Britons were Saeed and Shakil Dawood and Mohammad Aswat. They were burned alive near Prantij town of Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district.

“The denial of justice for the victims of the Gujarat pogroms compounds the enormity of the crimes committed against them in 2002,” stated Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “The BJP government has continued in the tradition of the Gujarat government, of shielding the guilty and harassing those that are striving to bring them to justice,” added Mr. Malick.

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 http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1. Gujarat govt. & Teesta Setalvad: Hounding Activists to Protect the Guilty
http://newsclick.in/india/hounding-activists-protect-guilty

2. Gujarat govt says will continue probe against whistleblower Rahul Sharma after his retirement
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gujarat-govt-says-will-continue-probe-against-sharma-after-his-retirement/

3. Gujarat Riots: All 6 Accused of Killing of 3 British Nationals Acquitted
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/gujarat-riots-all-6-accused-of-killing-of-3-british-nationals-acquitted-742852

4. Teesta Setalvad’s lawyer Prashant Bhushan denied renewal of passport over traffic rule violation
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/prashant-bhushan-aap-passport-renewal-traffic-violation/1/420119.html

5. After Kodnani, her former assistant gets bail in 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/after-kodnani-her-former-assistant-gets-bail-in-2002-naroda-patiya-riot-case/

6. Naroda Patia massacre: Babu Bajrangi gets seven-day bail
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46303538.cms

7. Rights abuse rampant in India: Amnesty
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46363569.cms

8. India had highest level of social hostilities in 2013: Pew Research
http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-india-had-highest-level-of-social-hostilities-in-2013-pew-research-2064639

9. “We have no orders to save you” – Report by Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2002/india/

10. Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002; An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat
http://www.sabrang.com/tribunal/volI/index.html

11. Riot Victims protest bail to Kodnani, others
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/riot-victims-protest-bail-to-kodnani-others/article6946133.ece

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Communal Harmony

Call to maintain unity and communal harmony (Feb 26, 2015, The Hindu)

The Tamil Maanila Imamgal Peravai has urged the Muslim community to forge unity on political issues forgetting the petty differences for the overall development of the whole community. A resolution to this effect was adopted at the day-long Meelad conference held in the city on Wednesday.

Another resolution condemned the communal forces which were indulging in the barbaric act of killing innocent people in the name of religion. These forces were bent on dividing the countrymen by fanning communal passions. Such activities of communal organisations deserved severest condemnation, the resolution said.

It urged the countrymen to maintain unity and communal harmony. The Peravai explained the ill-effects of dowry system prevailing in the society, and called upon the youths and parents to put an end to this menace.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/call-to-maintain-unity-and-communal-harmony/article6935091.ece

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Indian-American Muslims demand justice for Gujarat victims on 13th anniversary of mass massacre (Feb 24, 2015, Twocircles.net)

On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the massacre of over 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat in the post-Godhra riots after February 27, 2002, the city-based Indian-American Muslim NGO, Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIMA) has issued an appeal to India’s President and the Prime Minister to help expedite criminal cases against the culprits responsible for the massacre.

The AIMA has reminded the two top political heads of the Indian government that 13 long years after the “well-organized” brutal attack by some sectarian organizations on a large number of innocent Muslim men, women and children in Ahmedabad and other cities in central Gujarat, only very few of the hundreds of culprits have been sentenced to jail, a release said here.…

In the years since the violence, in several instances the Gujarat state government legal authorities have destroyed critical evidence against the culprits, who in various instances were ministers, senior police officials and officials of the Gujarat government. “The enquiries conducted by the enquiry commissions appointed by Gujarat government were a sham and committed many irregularities,” the release pointed out.…

http://twocircles.net/2015feb24/1424777182.html

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British victims’ family slams Gujarat riots acquittal verdict (Feb 28, 2015, Business Standard)

The acquittal of six people in a case related to the killing of three British nationals of Indian origin during the 2002 Gujarat riots was today described as a “failure of justice” by the victims’ family. Citing lack of evidence, a special trial court in India today acquitted all the six accused of killing three British nationals near Prantij town in Sabarkantha district of west Indian state of Gujarat in 2002.…

“The tragedy, something that the family has to live with on daily basis, is that the mob responsible for killing their loved ones are still loose on the streets.

“The family will not rest until the Indian government fulfils its legal duty and responsibility of bringing the real culprits to justice,” said Suresh Grover, spokesperson for the Dawood Family Justice Campaign set up here in the wake of the tragedy.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/british-victims-family-slams-gujarat-riots-acquittal-verdict-115022800019_1.html

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Indian Hindu leader’s criticism of Mother Teresa adds to religious tension (Feb 24, 2015, The Guardian)

Just days after the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, assured church leaders that his government would ensure the right of every citizen to “retain or adopt” any religion, the country’s foremost Hindu nationalist leader questioned the work of Christian missionaries by accusing Mother Teresa of having served the poor in order to persuade them to become Christians.…

Since Modi came to power nine months ago, Christians and Muslims have felt besieged by a strident Hindu nationalist propaganda campaign, and in some instances have even been “reconverted” at highly publicised “homecoming” events, in line with the RSS belief that all Indians were originally Hindus.

Bhagwat had earlier described religious minorities as “stolen goods”, and declared: “I will take back my goods.” Parliament had come to a standstill on the issue, and until last week Modi had steadfastly refused to defend religious freedom and the rights of minorities.…

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/24/indian-hindu-leaders-criticism-of-mother-teresa-adds-to-religious-tension

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In Gujarat Encounter Cases, Language of Bail Orders Belies Claims of Weak Evidence (Feb 22, 2015, NDTV)

This week, as Gujarat’s “encounter” cop DG Vanzara walked out of the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad where he has spent the past eight years, his supporters erupted into noisy celebrations. With his exit, virtually none of the police officials charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a series of alleged fake encounters that took place between 2004 and 2006 in the state remain in jail.

The joyous mood that greeted Mr Vanzara, however, seemed to belie the legal reality – he is out on bail with fairly stringent conditions. The trials in the two encounter cases he is charged with – the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004, the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi in 2005 and that of Sheikh’s associate Tulsiram Prajapati in 2006 – are yet to begin. When they do, it could take years before there is a verdict.

…The Gujarat government has even reinstated some of these officers, using their being granted bail as a defence. But a closer reading of the bail orders suggests that the courts, in varying degrees, have found merit in the CBI’s charges. While granting bail to Mr Vanzara in the Sohrabuddin encounter case in September 2014, the Bombay High Court observed that “the role attributed to the applicant (Vanzara) is quite serious and prominent… there is sufficient material in the chargesheet to support these allegations, and therefore, there exists a prima facie case of serious offences against the applicant.”…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-gujarat-encounter-cases-language-of-bail-orders-belies-claims-of-weak-evidence-741321

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Amnesty International criticises Modi govt’s rights record (Feb 25, 2015, The Hindu)

Human rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday criticised the Narendra Modi-led government, saying under the new regime India had witnessed a rise in communal violence and its Land Acquisition Ordinance has put thousands of Indians at “risk” of forcible eviction. In its Annual Report 2015, released here, Amnesty highlighted poll-related violence in the lead-up to the May 2014 General Elections, communal clashes and failure of consultation on corporate projects as key concerns.…

The report highlighted that “the authorities continued to violate people’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression. There was a rise in communal violence in Uttar Pradesh and some other states and corruption, caste-based discrimination and caste violence remained pervasive.”

In reference to communal violence, it noted that, “A string of communally charged incidents in Uttar Pradesh prior to elections led to an increase in tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities… Politicians were accused of and in some cases criminally charged with making provocative speeches.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/amnesty-international-criticises-modi-govts-rights-record/article6931794.ece

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CPI (M) worker hacked to death allegedly by RSS-BJP men in Kannur (Feb 26, 2015, Indian Express)

A CPI (M) worker was hacked to death allegedly by RSS-BJP men on Wednesday night at Chittariparamba near Koothuparamba in Kannur. According to police, O Preman, 45, a toddy tapper, was attacked. An armed gang hurled bombs to scare people away, before hacking O Preman, 45, a toddy tapper, police said. He had sustained serious injuries on both legs. He was rushed to a hospital in Thalassery but succumbed to injuries on Thursday morning.

A hartal was observed in Kannur district, in protest against the murder. Police have registered a case against 10 BJP-RSS workers. The district administration has convened a peace meeting on Friday. CPI (M) district secretary P Jayarajan said the Sangh Parivar has converted the district into battle ground after the BJP government came to power at the Centre.

Kannur district, which had a long blood-stained history of cyclical political violence, had remained peaceful for the recent years. However, things have changed after BJP stepped up its membership campaign after the party assumed power at the Centre. Several pro-CPI (M) men had joined the BJP in the recent months.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/cpi-m-worker-hacked-to-death-allegedly-by-rss-bjp-men-in-kannur/

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Thirteen men acquitted from a 12-year-old POTA case in Maharashtra (Feb 26, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Thirteen persons, who were termed accused in a 2003 terror case under sections of Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), were acquitted by a session court here. Session Court Judge N N Dhend acquitted all the 13 accused in the case on Tuesday for want of evidence. Those acquitted are: Anwar Shaikh, Mansoor Shaikh, Gulam Shaikh, Mudassir Shaikh, Ibrahim Momin, Mubin Shaikh, Farooq Tubib, Hamid Mulla, Yaqub Saudagar, Jabbar Shaikh, Mahboob Daula, Rahman Shaikh and Imaan Nadaf.

All these men were arrested by Maharashtra police on August 8, 2003 alleging they were planning to make crude bombs for explosion. Police had allegedly recovered some preparatory material from some of the accused. Soon after their arrest, police had invoked sections of POTA in the case. All the accused were released on bail after spending six months behind bars after their arrest in 2002.

There were 62 witnesses in the case but prosecution examined only 14 of them. All the witnesses were declared hostile by the court. Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind that had extended legal help to these accused expressed delight with the judgment and thanked its legal cell for continuous work in getting justice for the innocent.…

http://twocircles.net/2015feb26/1424940311.html

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Muzaffarnagar Riot Cases: 10 months on, cops wait for DNA report to confirm identity of riot victim (Mar 3, 2015, Indian Express)

For the last 10 months, the Special Investigation Cell (SIC) probing the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riot cases is awaiting a DNA report to proceed into the murder case of 45-year-old Shakeel, who went missing after communal violence erupted in the district. In his complaint, Shakeel’s son Dilshad had named 22 people – all belonging to the Jat community – for killing his father and later setting ablaze the body. The case was filed at Fugana police station in Muzaffarnagar. No one has been arrested yet.

On September 8, 2013, a charred body was recovered near Dilshad’s house at Bahadi village in Muzaffarnagar. Dilshad claimed that the deceased was his father. In June last year, the police had taken Dilshad’s blood sample to conduct DNA profiling with the charred body. But the report is yet to arrive. Investigating officer (IO) of the case, Inspector Dharampal Tyagi, said the police will proceed after it receives the DNA report.…

In June last year, Dilshad’s blood sample was collected and sent to Hyderabad for DNA profiling with the preserved parts of the body. ASP (SIC) Manoj Kumar Jha said though they have sent regular reminders to the laboratory, they are yet to receive the DNA report.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/muzaffarnagar-riot-cases-10-months-on-cops-wait-for-dna-report-to-confirm-identity-of-riot-victim/

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Demolition of Babri masjid greatest national crime and tragedy after partition: Justice Katju (Feb 26, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Terming the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992 as the “greatest national crime and greatest tragedy,” Justice (retd) Markandey Katju, Press Council Chief and former Chief Justice of Madras High Court, has demanded that the perpetrators must be given the “harshest punishment.”

Although Katju made no mention, his comments on the Babri demolition come a day after reports of one of the main litigants in the Ram Jamnbhoomi Babri Masjid case, Hashim Ansari having a discussion with Akhara Parishad chief Mahant Gyan Das for a new proposal for the resolution of the Ayodhya dispute that they reportedly plan to put before the Supreme Court. According to a report in The Hindu, the idea behind the plan is to find a middle path keeping in mind the sensibilities of both the Hindu and the Muslim communities.…

“I refused to go to the so called ‘Ram Janma Bhoomi’, which had been erected on the site of the demolished Babri Masjid,” he said, adding, “I did not go there because I regard demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 as the greatest national crime and greatest tragedy after the Partition of India in 1947 and I refuse to convey the impression that I have condoned this crime.”…

http://twocircles.net/2015feb26/1424966483.html

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Christian who reconverts as Hindu SC will get quota benefits: Apex court (Feb 27, 2015, Indian Express)

Amid the controversy over “ghar wapsi”, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a person who “reconverts” from Christianity to Hinduism shall be entitled to reservation benefits if his forefathers belonged to a Scheduled Caste and the community accepts him after “reconversion”.

Citing articles by B R Ambedkar and James Massey, and reports by Mandal Commission and Chinappa Commission, the court said: “There has been detailed study to indicate the Scheduled Caste persons belonging to Hindu religion, who had embraced Christianity with some kind of hope or aspiration, have remained socially, educationally and economically backward.”

The bench of Justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda held that a person shall not be deprived of reservation benefits if he decides to “reconvert” to Hinduism and adopts the caste that his forefathers originally belonged to just because he was born to Christian parents or has a Christian spouse.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/christian-who-reconverts-as-hindu-sc-will-get-quota-benefits-apex-court/

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Opinions and Editorials

13th Anniversary Of Gujrat Pogrom: When Bharat Lost To Bharatiya Janata Party – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Feb 26, 2015, Countercurrents)

Tomorrow, the 27th day of February, is the thirteenth anniversary of Gujrat pogrom in which more than 1OOO Muslims were massacred mercilessly under a communal & partisan administration headed by then Chief Minster Narendra Modi. After demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and accompanying riots, Gujrat pogrom of 2002 stands alone as one of the worst onslaughts on the cultural identity, economic survival & physical existence of Indian Muslims.

While Justice was subverted in both these holocausts, it was additionally shamed in Gujrat as was eloquently exposed by “Tehelka” – an Indian Magazine in a sting operation. According to the Magazine, “It was not just the carnage that was clinically planned and supervised by the State, it was also the aftermath. Even before the riots began, One of the Sangh parivar outfits, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had started chalking out a strategy for providing legal assistance to Hindus who were likely to be accused of rioting and killing. Its members met on the night of the Sabarmati Express incident to constitute a panel of advocates to defend the rioters. The fact that the VHP had a good number of advocates – both private lawyers and public prosecutors – among its ranks, made the task easy.”

In district Sabarkantha, RSS had formed a body called “Sankalan” to provide legal aid to Hindu rioters. Many of the VHP’s lawyers, who had their own private practices, became defence counsels for the accused, and public prosecutors who were either members of the VHP or sympathetic to the Sangh extended indirect assistance to the rioters.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar260215.htm

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Is Sarva Dharma Samabhava Back? – Editorial (Feb 28, 2015, EPW)

…Modi was embarrassed by Obama on 27 January; it took him quite a while to speak about it (i e, freedom of religion), even about the Indian version of secularism in the form of sarva dharma samabhava (equal respect for all religions).

But eventually, talk he did, 12 days after Obama evoked Gandhian ideals to drive home the message. Modi’s Indian critics, clearly unimpressed, asked him to now “walk the talk,” which he is yet to do; unlikely, we think, because that would involve the union government taking necessary action against the likes of the president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Pravin Togadia, indeed, even against the sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat.

With one of his pracharaks as the Prime Minister of India, Bhagwat has been counting on being given a free hand in playing his role as Raj Guru (the prince’s counsellor) and in fulfilling the RSS mission of regenerating Indian society and restoring the nation’s vitality. What could be better than the ghar wapsi exercises? After all, the Other, the prodigal, needs to be brought back, by any and all available means, to the ghar, the Hindu religion, and the nation, which is claimed to be that of the Hindus, but only after a shuddhi (purification) ceremony, for these Others have been defiled by Christianity and Islam, and therefore they need to be cleansed before bringing them back to the ghar in the jati (caste) quarters of their origins.…

http://www.epw.in/editorials/sarva-dharma-samabhava-back.html

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Vanzara gets bail: It’s morally and ethically wrong to reinstate policemen accused of fake encounters – By MK Venu (Feb 21, 2015, First Post)

A controversy has erupted over the release on bail of former Gujarat cadre IPS officer DG Vanzara who was arrested in 2007 in connection with several fake encounter killings in that state. Vanzara came out of jail this week and claimed that “Achhe Din” had come for police officers” who had suffered in Gujarat jail for many years on charges of fake encounter killings.

Vanzara was Inspector General incharge of border areas in Gujarat when petty criminal Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsi Prajapati were killed by the police. The three were travelling by bus from Andhra Pradesh to Gujarat. The case was investigated by the CBI under Supreme Court’s monitoring and a chargesheet was filed accusing Vanzara and several others, including Amit Shah, in the fake encounter case.

Amit Shah, who was then incharge of Gujarat Home Ministry, was discharged by the Mumbai High Court recently on the ground that that there was no evidence of his involvement in the killing of Sohrabuddin, his wife and Tulsi Prajapati.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/vanzara-gets-bail-its-morally-and-ethically-wrong-to-reinstate-policemen-accused-of-fake-encounters-2113691.html

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Mera Bharat Mahan – By Pavithra S. Rangan (Mar 9, 2015, Outlook)

Mahan is a metaphor for the raging debates that India is engaged in today. As the budget session kicks off, the Narendra Modi government is resisting a huge and concerted political opposition to the land acquisition ordinance. Insisting that there is an international conspiracy to slow down India’s growth, the government recently prevented a Greenpeace activist working in Mahan from flying to London. Outlook travelled to Singrauli, the energy capital of India, to find out why some villagers are trying to save a forest with over 5,00,000 sal trees – and why the poor refuse to part with their land, rivers and forests.

It’s a Monday morning but just a dozen two-wheelers are parked outside the gate. The orange company bus has just driven in – but there are only two people in it. The Essar Power plant does not betray much sign of activity. The plant that generated electricity for close to two years, we are told, was shut down two months ago. The company claims it had invested Rs 4,500 crore in setting it up in anticipation of getting the Mahan coal block barely four kilometres away, but ran out of patience when the government failed to put up the block for auction. It was not cost-effective to generate power at the plant with coal transported from a longer distance, officials explain.

But even when the plant was generating electricity, no power was being supplied to the Nandnagar Resettlement Colony – which is the present refuge of a thousand people, mostly tribals, displaced by the plant. “The company did not give us any job either. We were only engaged for two or three months during the construction,” says Bhanu Dutt Gond, 42, who lost three acres of land to the plant. “They took away our land permanently but they wouldn’t give us permanent jobs. Our entire family used to work on the farm and sell the produce profitably. But now only one person in the house gets an unemployment allowance of Rs 7,000 a month.”…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Mera-Bharat-Mahan/293533

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Why, to many critics, Mother Teresa is still no saint – By Adam Taylor (Feb 25, 2015, Washington Post)

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic missionary who became an international icon for her charitable work, has been dropped into modern India’s religious debate after the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticized the intentions behind her work.

“It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in Rajasthan state on Monday, the Times of India reports. “In the name of service, religious conversions were made. This was followed by other institutes, too.”

Bhagwat’s comments caused a storm among opposition politicians, angered by the implication that a woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in India would have had ulterior motives. Congress party official Rajiv Shukla demanded an apology while the newly elected Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said Teresa was a “noble soul” and asked RSS to spare her.…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/02/25/why-to-many-critics-mother-teresa-is-still-no-saint/

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Modi makeover behind leak of espionage ring? – By FJP Bureau (Feb 21, 2015, Free Press Journal)

The selective leaks about involvement of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited and arrest of one of his executives in the alleged corporate espionage ring in the Petroleum Ministry may be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image makeover plan to shrug the charge that he tweaks the government policies to benefit only a handful of industrialist friends.

As many as nine corporate entities were said to be under the scanner as recipients of sensitive documents, including Reliance, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Essar and Cairns India, but the Delhi Police on Thursday evening chose to raid only the Reliance office in Connaught Place, sending a clear message to the media.

The general perception is that even a minister has to seek an appointment before he can access the prime minister’s residence, but a few industrialists can walk in any time and get their work done without fuss. Modi apparently wants to change that image as he has been sounded by the RSS leadership and because he wants to negate AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s charge that he was returning favours to Reliance for the help extended in the Lok Sabha elections.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/modi-makeover-behind-leak-of-espionage-ring/

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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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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 – March 4th, 2013

March 5, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements IAMC welcomes clarification by JUH Secretary Mahmood Madani News Headlines I was a victim of prejudice by security agencies: Muthiur Rahman ‘Illegal arrest’ of Muslim youths on terror charges echeos in Lok Sabha DRDO fires Mirza; army giving salary to charge-sheeted Purohit in jail Wharton cancels Narendra […]

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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 – August 27th, 2012

August 27, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony In bad weather, Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus make good friends News Headlines Cops turned a blind eye to tell-tale signs of tension Ruling BPF legislator arrested for Assam violence 20% of banned hate sites put up by Hindu groups Raj Thackeray shows his Hindutva colours as […]

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