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BJP tampered with EVMs

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 24, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Opinions and Editorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book Review

Foot Solider of the Constitution – A Memoir

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

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

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

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

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 19th, 2014

by newsdigest on May 20, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Mukul Sinha’s demise a loss for justice and accountability say Indian Americans

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

May 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat police, orders release of Akshardham convicts (May 17, 2014, Indian Express)

Pulling up Gujarat police for framing “innocent” people in the 2002 Akshardham temple attack case, the Supreme Court Friday ordered that all the six convicted by lower courts be freed, and blamed the Gujarat Home Minister for “non-application of the mind.”

A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and V Gopala Gowda blamed the home minister for “clear non-application of mind… in granting sanction,” since it was based neither on an informed decision nor on an independent analysis of facts… The court said the sanction was hence “void” and not a legal and valid sanction under POTA. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi held the portfolio in November 2003 when sanction to prosecute them under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was granted.

The six had been convicted in the criminal conspiracy to plot the terror strike at Akshardham to avenge the post-Godhra communal riots. Two terrorists who sprayed bullets from AK-56 rifles killing and injuring devotees were killed by commandos on September 25, 2002. After perusing evidence and lower court judgements, the SC bench noted “the story of prosecution crumbles at every juncture”.

The court said, “The confessional statements cannot be relied upon and the case of the prosecution fails. Accordingly, we hold there is no independent evidence on record to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt in the face of retractions and grave allegations of torture and violation of human rights the accused have made against police,” it said.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sc-pulls-up-gujarat-police-orders-release-of-akshardham-convicts/

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‘Modi’s remarks fuelled violence in Assam’ (May 15, 2014, Indian Express)

A fact finding committee of the Centre for Policy Analysis, which visited Assam in the aftermath of the May 1 violence that left 45 people dead, has concluded that inflammatory speeches by BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi was one of the factors that contributed to the killings. Modi, in his speech at Dhemaji in Assam, had said there is a conspiracy to kill rhinos to make space for Bangladeshi settlers.

“The local climate of hatred and a long history of impunity – this was the same village where 50 people were killed in 1994 – was aggravated by the heat of the elections with national leaders stoking the pyres of hatred. Modi’s statement on rhinos being killed to make room for Bangladeshis was one such comment,” said social activist and former IAS officer Harsh Mander, who was a part of the team that went to Narayanguri village in Baksa district. The report also calls for fair share for the non-Bodo population in the political arrangements to put an end to the circle of violence.

“There is a lot of discrimination. In the Bodo Territorial Council, Bodos, who make up 27 per cent of the population, occupy 70 per cent seats,” said journalist Seema Mustafa. Terming it simplistic to blame violence on administrative failure alone, the committee held that the immediate cause appears to have been the elections, linked to the fielding of non-Bodo candidates. “Anger was further fuelled by former minister Parmila Rani Brahma who declared openly that the Muslims had not voted for her,” said the report.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/modis-remarks-fuelled-violence-in-assam/

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Bail plea of three riot accused rejected (May 14, 2014, Business Standard)

A court here has rejected the bail plea of three persons accused in a riot case in Sikarda village of the district.

District Judge Vijay Luxmi rejected the plea of Mohit, Sachin and Nitu yesterday, saying there is no case for bail.

The three are accused of murdering a youth and injuring several others during riots in the district in September last.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/bail-plea-of-three-riot-accused-rejected-114051400505_1.html

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MBT demands registration of murder cases against police for firing on unarmed protesters (May 14, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Majlis Bachao Tahreek President Dr. Khayam Khan has strongly condemned the communal violence and death of three innocent Muslims in police firing in Mohammedabad near Kishan Bagh area in Rajendar Nagar police limits. In a press statement MBT described the violence as a result of a larger conspiracy to target the Muslims living in Kishan Bagh area. He demanded a high-level probe through a sitting Judge of the High Court into all the aspect of violence.

Dr. Khan blamed the police inaction for the violent incidents. He claimed that police did not reach the spot on time while allowing the miscreants to attack the lives and properties of Muslims living in that area. He alleged for over an hour, the officials of Hyderabad and Cyberabad police fought over jurisdiction with none of them accepting the responsibility to stop the violence. Immediately after their arrival at the spot, the police, including the Para-military forces, resorted to open firing killing three innocent Muslims on the spot and injuring seriously several others.

Dr Khayam Khan demanded information regarding who ordered the police firing and whether the central paramilitary forces had acted on the advice of the local police or obtained the order for firing from a magistrate. He stated, “The police did not use lathicharge, teargas or rubber bullets to disperse the mobs. Instead, they went on “shoot to kill” mode and open fired on the innocent people.” He also alleged that the injured were not immediately shifted to the hospital and when they were shifted, they were not immediately provided the required medical care in Osmania General Hospital.

MBT President demanded the registration of murder cases against all the police officials involved in the firing on Muslim protestors in Kishan Bagh area. He also demanded that commissioners of both Hyderabad and Cyberabad Commissionerates should be suspended immediately on moral grounds. Venting their anger against current de facto authority of the state, Governor ESL Narasimhan, MBT said, “Governor who spends lot of time in visiting temples, should have visited the spot or the hospitals to meet the victims, immediately after knowing about the deaths of Muslims and destruction of Properties of Muslims.”

Mr Khayam Khan demanded Rs 25 lakhs and Govt Job as Ex-Gratia for the families of those killed in the police firing. Further, he said that the government should provide free Medical treatment to all those injured in police firing and stabbing. MBT Spokesperson Majeed Ullah Khan @ Farhat Khan also demanded a probe into the incident of burning of flag which incited the violence in Kishan Bagh. He said a similar incident occurred 10 Years back which had triggered violence. In view of its past, why no CC TV cameras were installed on the location, he questioned. Mr. Majeed Khan said that some miscreants might have burnt the flag to use it as a reason to target the Muslims community residing in that area. Mr. Khan also feared that communal violence just two days before the announcement of results could be the result of a larger conspiracy and therefore it should be probed through a sitting judge of the High Court.

http://twocircles.net/2014may14/mbt_demands_registration_murder_cases_against_police_firing_unarmed_protesters.html

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Nirupam says BJP tampered with EVMs, to file PIL (May 18, 2014, Indian Express)

Sitting Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam Saturday accused the BJP of tampering the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and said he would soon file a public interest litigation (PIL) on the matter.

Nirupam, who had contested from Mumbai-North Lok Sabha constituency, lost with a big margin of 4,46,582 votes to BJP candidate and two-time MLA Gopal Chinayya Shetty. At a press meet at his residence, Nirupam alleged that the EVMs used were faulty and said the “figures just do not match” as they are lower than what he had expected.

“Congress candidates have been defeated in Gujarat, Maharshtra and Uttar Pradesh with massive leads, which is not possible. The contract of the EVM had been given to a multi-national company based in Gujarat. This in itself is suspicious,” Nirupam alleged. “I am filing a PIL in court on this matter. All senior leaders of Congress and other parties should also file PILs in their respective courts, ” he said, adding that the “machines were set in such a way that only a few hundred votes were counted properly”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/nirupam-says-bjp-tampered-with-evms-to-file-pil/

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Three policemen summoned for keeping people in illegal custody (May 14, 2014, IBN)

A local court has issued notices against former SP, former additional SP and present SHO of Shamli district after taking cognisance of a complaint accusing them of keeping some people in illegal custody during an agitation in 2013. Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar issued notices against then SP Abdul Hamid, then Additional SP Atul Saxena and SHO RN Yadav and directed them to appear before court on July 4 in connection with a complaint of torturing few agitators.

According to prosecution, a journalist Pushpender Bhardwaj had filed a complaint alleging that police had beaten up the agitators who were demanding arrest of the accused in a gangrape case in Shamli. The complainant has alleged that police had lathicharged the protesters and taken them in illegal custody on June 17, 2013, on direction of these police officers.

Five BJP leaders, including legislature party leader Hukum Singh, were also arrested then as police tried to check the unruly mob staging a protest demanding arrest of gang rape accused.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/court-summons-three-policemen-accused-of-keeping-people-in-illegal-custody-during-muzaffarnagar-riots/471765-3-242.html

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Modi, Advani Among 10 Gujarat MPs Facing Criminal Cases (May 19, 2014, New Indian Express)

Narendra Modi and veteran BJP leader L K Advani are among the ten MPs elected from Gujarat, who are facing criminal charges. Out of the 66 candidates from Gujarat, who faced criminal charges ranging from poll code violation to attempt to murder, ten won the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls from the state. An FIR had been lodged against Narendra Modi on April 30 in Ahmedabad for violation of the Model Code of Conduct after he displayed a lotus, BJP’s poll symbol, before TV cameras and addressed a press conference on the premises of the school where he cast his vote. Later, at a rally in Tirupati, Modi had said that it was the first FIR of his life and he would never forget the day. Modi won the Vadodara seat by a margin of over 5.70 lakh votes.

Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, who won the Gandhinagar seat defeating Kiritbhai Patel of Congress, is an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992. Some other candidates who won the elections include C R Patil from Navsari, Vitthal Radadiya from Porbandar and Devji Fatepura from Surendranagar constituency. One of the richest BJP candidates from the state, C R Patil, who won Navsari Lok Sabha seat, is facing cases pertaining to financial irregularities. Three cases are pending against him before the state recovery tribunal and one is pending before the Surat judicial magistrate court. Patil defeated Congress’ Maqsood Mirza by a margin of more than 5.58 lakh votes.

Vitthal Radadiya, who switched over to BJP in 2012, is facing the maximum number of criminal cases. The ten case include rioting, criminal assault, damage to public property, criminal intimidation and death threats. Radadiya defeated NCP candidate and deceased “Godmother” Santokben Jadeja’s son Kandhal, who is also facing severe criminal charges. BJP candidate from Surendranagar Lok Sabha seat Devji Fatehpura, who has defeated Soma Patel of Congress by a margin of 2.02 lakh votes, is facing charges for allegedly causing voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally insulting to provoke breach of peace.

Other victorious candidates who are facing criminal charges include Rajesh Chudasama from Junagadh, Prabhatsinh Chauhan from Panchamhal, Naran Kachhadiya from Amreli, Prabhu Vasava from Bardoli and Dilip Patel from Anand. Chudasama, who defeated Punja Vansh of Congress from Junagadh, is facing three cases of criminal assaults. Naran Kachhadiya, who won Amreli Lok Sabha seat, has been named in cases of attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and also under the Prevention of Atrocities Act for using derogatory remarks indicating the caste.

Prabhu Vasava, who had recently switched over to BJP from Congress, has also been booked under the sections of Prevention of Atrocities Act and was also allegedly involved in two cases of assault. Vasava contested from Bardoli Lok Sabha seat and defeated Congress candidate and former union minister Tushar Chaudhary. Prabhatsinh Chauhan, who won from Panchamahal, was booked in the cases of criminal conspiracy and was allegedly involved in the criminal breach of trust. Chauhan defeated Ramsinh Parmar of Congress by a margin of 1.70 lakh votes. Dilip Patel, who defeated former union minister Bharat Solanki, is facing four criminal cases under criminal breach of trust.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/elections/news/Modi-Advani-Among-10-Gujarat-MPs-Facing-Criminal-Cases/2014/05/19/article2233566.ece

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Was ‘supari’ gang on its way to eliminate Akbar Owaisi? (May 19, 2014, Times of India)

Have police stumbled upon a plot to eliminate a high-profile legislator in the city? A team from Hyderabad has rushed to Bangalore to question members of a Karnataka-based dacoit gang who were nabbed by the Hindupur police, reportedly on a mission to execute a ‘supari’ killing in the city.

On a tip-off from the Hindupur police, their Karnataka counterparts on Sunday nabbed three notorious dacoits Vasu, Manjunath and Govind from their hideout in Hindupur based on information given by another gang member, K Girish alias Giri from Tumkur in Karnataka.

Talking to TOI on phone, Penukonda deputy superintendent of police (DSP) N Subba Rao said the dacoit gang, headed by Girish, was wanted in over 80 cases in Karnataka. “The gang members had taken shelter in Hindupur after committing a series of offences in Karnataka.

Information about the gang came to light when Girish, who was in an inebriated condition, met with a road accident after his Honda Activa crashed into a road-divider in Hindupur while he was heading towards Karnataka.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/35324113.cms

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RAW officer sentenced to ten years imprisonment in dowry death case (May 14, 2014, IBN)

A RAW officer was on Wednesday sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment by a court in Bihar’s Patna district which found him guilty of burning to death his wife for dowry in 2008. Additional District and Sessions Judge-XI Anil Kumar Singh passed the order sentencing the officer, Manish Kumar Singh, to ten years RI and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000.

Singh, posted as RAW Deputy Field Officer at Danapur, had married in Kanpur on December 13, 2002. His wife Shibu Singh was burnt to death at their house in Maurya Vihar locality near BMP 16 camp office under Phulwarisharif police station on August 21, 2008. The victim’s mother Kiran Rathore had lodged an FIR against her son in-law and five other family members accusing them of murdering her daughter for dowry.

The names of the five other accused were not in the charge sheet as their role in the murder case could not be proved by the investigators, according to the prosecution. The complainant, a native of Kidwai Nagar locality in Kanpur, had alleged that her daughter was killed by her husband and in-laws after she failed to meet their demand for Rs ten lakh in cash.

Rathore said that she had been told by her daughter two days before the incident that the money should be provided within a couple of days or she would be tortured. Her son-in-law also allegedly told her that her daughter would be harmed if she failed to meet his demand.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/raw-officer-sentenced-to-ten-years-rigorous-imprisonment-in-dowry-death-case/471772-3-232.html

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Cops Accused of Assaulting Dalit in Hazat, Locals Seek CB Probe (May 15, 2014, New Indian Express)

Tension ran high in Raghunathpur area here on Wednesday after a Dalit woman accused the police of assaulting her husband inside Ragunathpur police station hazat. The irate locals including human rights activists and leaders of different Dalit associations demanded a Crime Branch probe into the matter. Sources said the families of Sukant Das and Sudam Bhoi clashed on Monday over the repair of a thatched house. Both Sukant and Sudam lodged two separate complaints with Raghunathpur police. After registration of cases, police detained the duo and kept them in the hazat of the police station on Monday night.

However, locals found a severely injured Sukant lying unconscious at an isolated place in nearby Gopalpur on Tuesday morning. On being informed, Sukant’s family members rushed to the spot and took him to Raghunathpur hospital. Sukant was shifted to district headquarters hospital and later to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack after his condition worsened.

It is alleged that Sukant was beaten up inside the police hazat and later dumped at an isolated place by the cops. Sukant’s wife Malati alleged that her husband was assaulted by the IIC of Raghunathpur police station and constables at 1 am on Monday. “The police then took severely injured Sukant in their van and threw him at Gopalpur,” she said.

Some local villagers witnessed police dumping him at Gopalpur during the wee hours, she claimed. Superintendent of Police Satyabrat Bhoi and other officials rushed to the hospital to inquire about the condition of Sukant. SP Bhoi said a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) has been directed to investigate into the matter.

Refuting the allegation, SDPO Manoj Kumar Mahant said Sukant was attacked by Sudam inside the police hazat. Police have no role in the assault on Sukant. Another case has been registered against Sudam in this regard and he has been forwarded to court, the SDPO added. Human rights activists and advocate Susant Kanungo and Dalit community leader Debendra Mallick condemned the police brutality and said the case should be handed over to the Crime Branch for a free and fair probe.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/Cops-Accused-of-Assaulting-Dalit-in-Hazat-Locals-Seek-CB-Probe/2014/05/15/article2225943.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Gujarat Riots: Will Modi follow Manmohan? – By By Mumtaz Alam, Abu Zafar (May 20, 2014, India Tomorrow)

The 82-year-old finance executive had little to do with politics when he became prime minister of the country, had no role – direct or indirect – with the 1984 anti-Sikh riot and none of the victims, human rights organizations or political opposition had remotely blamed him for the gruesome killing of around 3000 Sikhs in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Yet, when Dr. Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister of the country he thought it necessary to offer a sincere apology for the pogrom. Will 63-year-old RSS pracharak-turned politician Narendra Modi follow him for the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riot?

Compared to Manmohan, Modi was not just ruling Gujarat when over 2000 innocent Muslims were killed in one of the bloodies anti-Muslim riots of Independent India, he has in fact been accused for first facilitating the riot, turning Nelson’s eye when Gujarat was burning and then protecting the culprits when they were brought to book. Since the riot 12 years ago, many people have been asking him to apologise for the killings even though many many others said apology is not enough – first culprits however tall they should be punished, and victims should be given full justice. But Modi has always refused sometimes directly and sometimes diplomatically to offer any apology.

His so-far attitude may have been because he did not want to antagonise saffron constituency in Gujarat – which helped him win three assembly polls in a row – and also because he was eying Prime Minister’s post. Now that the Lok Sabha elections 2014 are over and Narendra Modi is set to become Prime Minister of the country in a week thanks to the impressive landslide victory of his BJP, the question of apology has once again come up. However, neither community leaders nor social activists are hopeful that Modi will show any such statesmanship. …

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/gujarat-riots-will-modi-follow-manmohan

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How Secure Are India’s Elections? – By Cleo Paskal (May 14, 2014, Huffington Post)

…The problems with EVM security have been widely known since the large-scale irregularities in Florida during the 2000 elections. Many countries have moved to get rid of them. In 2006 Dutch TV aired adocumentary showing how easy it was to hack the EVMs that were about to be used in their general election. The machines were subsequently withdrawn and the Netherlands went back to paper ballots. Germany has declared EVMs unconstitutional. And, after spending close to $75 million on its EVMs, Ireland found them to be so insecure they literally scrapped them.

In 2009, Steve Stigall, a CIA cybersecurity expert, told the U.S. Election Assistance Commission there were concerns over electronic vote-rigging in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine. According to the McClatchy report on his testimony: [Stigall] said that elections also could be manipulated when votes were cast, when ballots were moved or transmitted to central collection points, when official results were tabulated and when the totals were posted on the Internet.

Concerns about the Indian EVMs were raised during the 2009 election in part as a result of an astounding discovery on the Elections Commission of India (ECI) website. Dr. Anupam Saraph, at the time Chief Information Officer for the city of Pune, and Prof. M D Nalapat, Vice-Chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, discovered files on the ECI website that seemed to show election results days before votes were actually cast and counted.

India’s 2009 elections were held in 5 phases, running from April 16 to May 13. Counting was not supposed to begin until all the phases were complete. Before the voting started, Saraph and Nalapat decided to track the elections and create a wiki for constituencies and candidates, with data sourced from Excel files on the ECI website. The ECI spreadsheets contained what you would expect: candidate’s name, gender, address, party, etc. But, starting May 6, the spreadsheet changed and something unexpected was added.

From May 6 onwards, the candidate’s name was ‘coded’, based on their position on the EVM, and the number of ‘votes polled’ were added, even though voting had yet to take place in many constituencies and, even where voting had taken place, votes were yet to be counted. Even more confounding, the ‘votes polled’ numbers were adjusted in subsequent spreadsheets before the results were announced. …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cleo-paskal/how-secure-are-indias-ele_b_5317788.html

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Narendra Modi and the new face of India – By Pankaj Mishra (May 16, 2014, The Guardian)

… Modi is a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary Hindu nationalist organisation inspired by the fascist movements of Europe, whose founder’s belief that Nazi Germany had manifested “race pride at its highest” by purging the Jews is by no means unexceptional among the votaries of Hindutva, or “Hinduness”. In 1948, a former member of the RSS murdered Gandhi for being too soft on Muslims. The outfit, traditionally dominated by upper-caste Hindus, has led many vicious assaults on minorities. A notorious executioner of dozens of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 crowed that he had slashed open with his sword the womb of a heavily pregnant woman and extracted her foetus. Modi himself described the relief camps housing tens of thousands of displaced Muslims as “child-breeding centres”.

Such rhetoric has helped Modi sweep one election after another in Gujarat. A senior American diplomat described him, in cables disclosed by WikiLeaks, as an “insular, distrustful person” who “reigns by fear and intimidation”; his neo-Hindu devotees on Facebook and Twitter continue to render the air mephitic with hate and malice, populating the paranoid world of both have-nots and haves with fresh enemies – “terrorists”, “jihadis”, “Pakistani agents”, “pseudo-secularists”, “sickulars”, “socialists” and “commies”. Modi’s own electoral strategy as prime ministerial candidate, however, has been more polished, despite his appeals, both dog-whistled and overt, to Hindu solidarity against menacing aliens and outsiders, such as the Italian-born leader of the Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, Bangladeshi “infiltrators” and those who eat the holy cow.

Modi exhorts his largely young supporters – more than two-thirds of India’s population is under the age of 35 – to join a revolution that will destroy the corrupt old political order and uproot its moral and ideological foundations while buttressing the essential framework, the market economy, of a glorious New India. In an apparently ungovernable country, where many revere the author of Mein Kampf for his tremendous will to power and organisation, he has shrewdly deployed the idioms of management, national security and civilisational glory. …

His ostensibly gratuitous assault on Muslims – already India’s most depressed and demoralised minority – was another example of what the social anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls “a vast worldwide Malthusian correction, which works through the idioms of minoritisation and ethnicisation but is functionally geared to preparing the world for the winners of globalisation, minus the inconvenient noise of its losers”. Certainly, the new horizons of desire and fear opened up by global capitalism do not favour democracy or human rights. Other strongmen who supervised the bloody purges of economically enervated and unproductive people were also ruthless majoritarians, consecrated by big election victories. The crony-capitalist regimes of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand and Vladimir Putin in Russia were inaugurated by ferocious offensives against ethnic minorities. The electorally bountiful pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, too, now seems an early initiation ritual for Modi’s India.

The difficulty of assessing his personal culpability in the killings and rapes of 2002 is the same difficulty that Musil identifies with Moosbrugger in his novel: how to measure the crimes, however immense, of individuals against a universal breakdown of values and the normalisation of violence and injustice. “If mankind could dream collectively,” Musil writes, “it would dream Moosbrugger.” There is little cause yet for such despair in India, where the aggrieved fantasy of authoritarianism will have to reckon with the gathering energies below; the great potential of the country’s underprivileged and voiceless peoples still lies untapped. But for now some Indians have dreamed collectively, and they have dreamed a man accused of mass murder. …

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/16/what-next-india-pankaj-mishra

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A different kind of a victory – in Gujarat – By Ujjwala Nayudu (May 18, 2014, Indian Express)

Shahwan remembers the day nearly 11 years ago that the Gujarat Police came to arrest his father Adam Sulaiman Mansuri alias Adam Ajmeri. He especially remembers how his mother pleaded with them, telling them her husband was an innocent mechanic and not a terrorist involved in the attack on the Akshardham temple of a year ago. Shahwan remembers the visits to jail on Eid, and that every time, his father broke down, saying he had nothing to give him for the festival.

On a day that little else registered in the Narendra Modi wave sweeping the country, came the news that the Ajmeris had been waiting for. Pulling up the Gujarat Police for framing “innocent” people in the Akshardham case, the Supreme Court ordered that all the six convicted by the lower court, including Adam, be freed. It also accused the then Gujarat home minister of “non-application of mind”. Modi had held the portfolio in November 2003 when sanction to prosecute the six under POTA was granted. Two of the accused have already finished their terms.

In September 2002, two armed attackers had entered the Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinagar, and killed 30 people and injured more than 80. Both the attackers had been killed. Adam and four others were arrested from Shahpur and Dariapur areas of Ahmedabad in August 2003, and the sixth accused from Uttar Pradesh days later. Sentenced to death, Adam is currently lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail. News of Adam’s acquittal sent a cheer through his Shahpur mohalla. His emotional wife Naseem Bano, 40, said she had struggled to raise Shahwan and elder brother Almas (20) on the money she made from embroidery work and stitching of burqas.

“My own family, brothers cut all ties saying my husband was a terrorist. Those in the neighbourhood supported us as they knew the real Adam – a poor mechanic who worked with his father to make ends meet.” Adam’s family kept Naseem out even when his mother died six months ago. Recently the brothers opened a small handkerchief shop at home. Shahwan, who is waiting for his Class X board results, hopes to study further. “My father always told my elder brother to take care of Ammi. My brother dropped out to work but it is my father’s wish that I study,” he says. Dressed in a new pair of jeans and shirt bought for a family wedding, the 16-year-old adds, “Now that Abba is coming back, family members will realise that he was framed.” …

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/a-different-kind-of-a-victory-in-gujarat/99/

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‘Should minorities be deprived of quality education?’ – By Parmod Kumar (May 12, 2014, Business Standard)

A Supreme Court judgment holding that the RTE Act guaranteeing free education to children from socially and economically-backward sections is not applicable to minority-run institutions is not finding many takers in the legal fraternity who feel it is flawed and would deprive hundreds of thousands of children from vulnerable sections of quality education.

Though a few swear to the minorities the right to administer their institutions without any interference by the state as the law stands today, others feel that no exceptions could be made for implementing rights-based laws like the right to free education. Another view is that the state should not interfere with education at all.

The judgment by a five-judge constitution bench has come in for critical appraisal on the grounds that the rights conferred on minorities under the Constitution’s article 30 (1) to establish and administer their institutions could not be taken recourse to restrict the application of the progressive law that confers the right to education on all children.

Besides this, some legal experts feel that an 11-judge-bench verdict in the 2002 T.M.A. Pai Foundation case needs to be revisited as it was coming in the way of children being admitted to these schools and that article 30(1) could not be read in absolute terms, when even fundamental rights are subject to reasonable restrictions.

In this case, the apex court granted absolute immunity to private, unaided educational institutions, including those of minorities, in admissions, leaving them to decide the manner in which students should be taken in and barred any interference by the state. Legal experts, however, said that the rights that minorities get under article 30(1) could not be elevated above the fundamental rights, noting there are regions in West Bengal and other eastern and northeastern states where bulk of the schools are run by the minorities.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/should-minorities-be-deprived-of-quality-education-114051200379_1.html

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Where everyone is a minority – By Sanjoy Hazarika (May 7, 2014, The Hindu)

The grim and bloody incidents in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), that narrow wedge of land in western Assam where everyone is a minority – or rather a non- majority since their numbers don’t have it – have been aggravated by the verbal violence of our politicians, the blame game and the total incapacity of the State government to deal with existing conditions.

For the second time in less than two years, thousands of Muslims and smaller numbers of Bodos are fleeing their homes, frightened by their complete vulnerability to gun-wielding terrorists, the nightmare of seeing loved ones, ranging from infants to elders, butchered in front of them and, perhaps worse still, the fearful knowledge that the government can’t protect them.

Today, the capacity of the Congress-led government in Assam to ensure the protection of minorities is being gravely questioned. For in every major communal clash or bout of violence in the Bodo areas – 1993, 2008, 2012 and now – a Congress Party government has ruled Dispur.

The State government’s seeming failure may be a tipping point for the last round of the Lok Sabha election elsewhere in the country. Ironically, the greatest violence in the country during an otherwise seemingly flawless massive election exercise has been, ironically, in the home area of one of the country’s Election Commissioners, H.S. Brahma, who is incidentally a Bodo.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/where-everyone-is-a-minority/article5983030.ece

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