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Communal Riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 9th, 2017

by newsdigest on November 12, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslims forego Muharram procession to support cancer treatment of their Hindu neighbour in West Bengal (Oct 6, 2017, Times of India)

A Hindu man suffering from cancer in West Bengal’s Kharagpur district had no money for the treatment but his Muslim neighbours came forward with help. Abir Bhunia (35) is suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

When the villagers heard Bhunia’s problem, the Muslims cancelled their Muharram procession all because they wanted to save the money and use it for the treatment of a Hindu neighbour. Samaj Sangha Club, a local club which organises Muharram procession in Kharagpur’s Puratan Bazar, raises around Rs 50,000 every year for the event. This year, they are raising the same amount, but for Bhunia.

Bhunia, a local mobile recharge shop owner, needs Rs 12 lakh for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in the southern fringes of the city. “I don’t know whether I will recover from this disease or not. But what my neighbours did for me have touched my heart. I’m indebted to them,” Bhunia told EiSamay.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60973115.cms

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Gujarat HC Allows Zakia Jafri to Appeal for New Probe in Modi’s Role in 2002 Riots (Oct 5, 2017, The Wire)

In what appears to be a silver lining in an otherwise adverse judgment for Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress politician Ehsan Jafri who was killed by a mob in the Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, the Gujarat high court on Thursday allowed her to move the courts to request a fresh investigation into the alleged criminal role of the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others.

Zakia had moved the high court in 2014 against the closure report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed special investigative team (SIT). Zakia had also alleged in her petition that the 2002 riots were part of a larger conspiracy involving Modi and others.…

However, the high court allowed Zakia to demand a fresh investigation in the case – as sought by her in the petition – and overturned the trial court’s observations, which had ruled out another probe as it thought the SIT was monitored by the Supreme Court.… Effectively, the high court judgment has created an opening for Zakia to seek redressal at a lower court instead of the Supreme Court, which would have been her last stop for appeal.

https://thewire.in/184802/gujarat-hc-allows-zakia-jafri-appeal-new-probe-modis-role-2002-riots-reopening-debate-sit-report/

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Rahul Gandhi on Jay Shah’s business: Modiji, did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? (Oct 9, 2017, Indian Express)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi pressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “say something” on claims in a media report that a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah’s son saw a huge rise in its turnover after his party came to power in 2014. “Modiji, …Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Please say something,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

In another broadside against the BJP, the Congress leader had said yesterday, “We finally found the only beneficiary of Demonetisation. It’s not the RBI, the poor or the farmers. It’s the Shah-in-Shah of Demo. Jai Amit.” He had also tagged a copy of the news report on the issue in his tweet.

According to the report on a website, the turnover of Jay Amit Shah-owned Temple Enterprise zoomed by around 16,000 times during 2015-16 from around Rs 80 crore in the previous year. The charge was rejected by the BJP and Shah’s son, who termed the story “false, derogatory and defamatory”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rahul-gandhi-on-amit-shahs-son-modiji-did-you-act-as-a-watchman-or-were-you-a-partner-4881980/

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Five linked to Sanatan Sanstha are key suspects in Gauri Lankesh’s murder (Oct 6, 2017, Indian Express)

Five persons linked to the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha organisation, including four with Interpol red-corner notices against their names for their alleged involvement in a bomb blast in Madgaon in Goa in 2009, have emerged as key suspects in the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5.

The five missing persons are: Praveen Limkar, 34, from Kolhapur; Jayaprakash alias Anna, 45, from Mangalore; Sarang Akolkar, 38, from Pune; Rudra Patil, 37, from Sangli and Vinay Pawar, 32, from Satara. They are among the key suspects being investigated by a Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka police as part of its probe into the murder of Lankesh.

The names of Rudra Patil, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had earlier emerged in the CBI investigation into the August 20, 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, at Kolhapur in Maharashtra; in the Maharashtra SIT’s probe into the February 16, 2015 shooting of leftist thinker and rationalist Govind Pansare, 81 in Pune; and in the probe into the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, 77, in Dharwad, Karnataka.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/five-linked-to-sanatan-sanstha-key-suspects-in-gauri-lankeshs-murder-4876649/

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Kancha Illaih’s Ordeal A Reflection Of Creeping Fascism In India Say Indian Americans (Oct 2, 2017, Countercurrents)

The Alliance for Justice And Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, today condemned the life-threatening attacks against renowned author and Dalit scholar Kancha Illaiah by members of the Arya Vysyas community.

The attack was an attempt on the life of the outspoken political philosopher who has authored several books including “Why I am not a Hindu,” “Buffalo Nationalism Post-Hindu India,” “Untouchable God,” among many others. The violence and ensuing death threats were apparently a response to the release of a chapter from his book on “Post-Hindu India.”

AJA has demanded court ordered 24-hour protection of Professor Kancha Illaiah, and accountability for those that threatened his life, under the full extent of the law. The role of the police, who failed to even file a First Information Report (FIR), on Prof. Illaiah’s complaint needs further scrutiny.… The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/10/02/kancha-illaihs-ordeal-a-reflection-of-creeping-fascism-in-india-say-indian-americans/

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UP: Two Hindus arrested for slaughtering cow to provoke communal riots by blaming Muslims (Oct 5, 2017, Siasat)

Two persons in their early twenties tried to create communal tension by cow slaughtering but the plans were foiled and have been arrested by the police. The incident happened on Monday at Bhatpurwa village in Katra Bazar in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda.

According to the police, the incident was deliberate and was planned keeping in mind the Moharram procession in the village to pollute the communal atmosphere by spreading the news of cow slaughter. Two culprits identified as Ramsevak Dixit and Mangli Dixit has been booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), police said. The duo stolen the cow belonging to Ganesh Prasad Dixit from the latter’s house and slaughtered the animal in a nearby field. Locals spotted them and alerted the police whose immediate action averted major communal violence.…

According to Indian Express, Station Officer of Katra Bazar police station D P Singh said, “Around 7 pm Sunday, a 12-year-old boy spotted Ram Sevak and Mangal slaughtering a cow in a field. The boy alerted locals who ran to the spot and also informed police. People caught hold of Ram Sevak, who was drunk, while Mangal managed to escape”.…

https://www.siasat.com/news/two-hindus-arrested-slaughtering-cow-provoke-communal-riots-blaming-muslims-1239345/

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Kerala CM Compares Amit Shah And RSS To ‘Wet Cracker’, Accuses BJP Of Attempting To Break Secularism In State (Oct 5, 2017, Outlook)

Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday dubbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as “wet cracker.” This came after Shah held Vijayan directly responsible for killing of party and RSS workers in the state.

Claiming that the BJP is trying to break the secularism in the state, he said, “Amit Shah came and became like wet cracker here. The BJP is trying to break secularism with the power.”

“The BJP now shows the intolerance towards Kerala. Kerala does not have to learn any lesson on peace from you. The leaders also involved in the killing are carried out by RSS activists,” he added.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/kerala-cm-compares-amit-shah-and-rss-to-wet-cracker-accuses-bjp-of-attempting-to/302622

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Radhe Maa sits in SHO’s chair: Delhi cop in photo suspended, probe ordered (Oct 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Two Delhi Police officers were suspended on Thursday for “professional misconduct” in separate incidents involving controversial religious figure Radhe Maa, who was photographed seated in the official chair of a station house officer.

The widely circulated photo showed Sanjay Sharma, the SHO of Vivek Vihar, standing next to the seated self-styled ‘god-woman’ with folded hands with a red ‘chunri’ (stole) on his neck. He was in uniform.

A video also emerged showing assistant sub inspector Braj Bhushan singing into a microphone along with four other policemen at a nearby Ramlila event attended by Radhe Maa, known for her red robes and the ever-present trident in one hand. Deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara), Nupur Prasad, said Sharma and Bhushan were suspended after a preliminary probe found them guilty of professional misconduct.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/radhe-maa-sits-in-sho-s-chair-at-delhi-police-station-as-he-stands-with-folded-hands/story-tFJRoeTa3d27FfbArO48zI.html

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Savarkar, BJP’s most revered freedom fighter, “recruited” soldiers for British, when Netaji’s INA fought Raj rule (Oct 2, 2017, Counterview)

A recent journalistic investigation into the life of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966), whom BJP politicians revere more than any other freedom fighter, has claimed that at the time when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was raising his Indian National Army (INA) to confront the British in India, Savarkar “helped the colonial government recruit lakhs of Indians into its armed forces.”

Carried out by independent journalist Pavan Kulkarni, the investigation quotes the report sent by then viceroy Lord Linlithgow about a meeting he had with Savarkar to the secretary of state, which said, “The situation, he [Savarkar] said, was that His Majesty’s government must now turn to the Hindus and work with their support…. Our interests were now the same and we must therefore work together…” Linghthow is also quoted as saying, “Our interests are so closely bound together, the essential thing is for Hinduism and Great Britain to be friends and the old antagonism was no longer necessary. The Hindu Mahasabha he (Savarkar) went on to say favoured an unambiguous undertaking of Dominion status at the end of the war.”

“Two months later”, according to Kulkarni, “Addressing the Mahasabha’s Calcutta session, Savarkar urged all universities, colleges and schools to ‘secure entry into military forces for youths in any and every way’. When Gandhi had launched his individual satyagraha the following year, Savarkar, at the Mahasabha session held in December 1940 in Madura, encouraged Hindu men to enlist in ‘various branches of British armed forces en masse’.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/10/savarkar-bjps-most-revered-freedom.html

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RSS resorting to attack Muslims, Dalits across the country: Prakash Karat (Oct 8, 2017, Siasat)

The CPM senior leader Prakash Karat has alleged that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) indulging in attacks on Muslims and Dalits across the nation.

Addressing a program “Neo-liberal policies, authoritarianism, communal policies-alternatives” organized by the CPM, on the occasion of centenary celebrations of its leader late Moturi Hanumantha Rao here on Sunday, Prakash Karat said that the BJP availed the neo-liberal policies and also Communalism for its political mileage. Prakash Karat alleged that RSS was rubbing the policies of Hindutva organizations on people.

The RSS was rearing communalism; Karat said and alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allocated Cabinet portfolios to the MPs having business activities related to the same portfolio. He stated that intrusions increased after surgical strikes.

https://www.siasat.com/news/rss-resorting-attack-muslims-dalits-across-country-prakash-karat-1240405/

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Dalit man beaten to death for attending garba event in Gujarat, 8 booked (Oct 1, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A 21-year-old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by a group of men belonging to the upper caste Patel community for attending a garba event in Gujarat’s Anand district in the early hours on Sunday, police said. The incident took place around 4 am.

Jayesh Solanki, cousin Prakash Solanki and two other Dalit men were sitting near a house adjacent to a temple in Bhadrania village when a person made “derogatory remarks about their caste”, police said quoting a complaint filed in connection with the incident.

The accused said Dalits “do not have any right to watch garba. He made casteist remarks and asked some men to come to the spot”, an officer at the Bhadran police station said. The upper caste men allegedly thrashed the Dalits and banged Jayesh’s head against a wall, the officer said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dalit-man-beaten-to-death-for-attending-garba-event-in-gujarat-8-booked/story-Yk2LkmLKfEX6fIdmlyPtrM.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Relief for 11 Godhra death row convicts – Editorial (Oct 10, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Two years after hearings were concluded in the Godhra train burning case, the Gujarat High Court has upheld the death sentence of 20 convicts, commuted the death penalty of 11 and ordered the State government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who died in the carnage. The burning of a bogie in the train had resulted in 59 people, mostly ‘kar sevaks’ returning from Ayodhya being charred on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

That the burning incident was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the perpetrators had earlier been established by the Nanavati Commission appointed by the Gujarat government. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) court appointed by the apex court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail. Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.

A bench of Justices AS Dave and Justice GR Udhwani on Monday observed that the state government had failed to maintain law and order, and directed the State to pay compensation within six weeks. The question of compensation had not been considered by the trial court.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/relief-for-11-godhra-death-row-convicts/1151173

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What is Actually Behind the BJP-RSS Combine’s Holy War Declared on Kerala – By Shamsul Islam (Oct 9, 2017, News Click)

The RSS-dominated BJP rulers of India have finally woken up against violence! You are grossly mistaken if you believe that they are seeking forgiveness for large scale killing/ raping/ maiming/ robbing people of the minorities specially Muslims and Christians in 1992-3 (nation-wide carnage of Muslims before and after demolition of a mosque at Ayodhya), 1998 (wide-spread violence against Christians in Gujarat), 2002 (carnage of Muslims in Gujarat) and Kandhmal, Orissa violence of 2007-8 (cleansing of Christians in the area).

The RSS/BJP rulers have not expressed any intention of discarding or checking the present spate of violence against minorities in the name of cow, love-jihad, ghar wapsi (forcible conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism) and allegiance to Hindutva. There has been no respite in violence against Dalits too. In fact, in last three years incident of violence against Dalits has escalated by around 300%. Casteist, criminal and patriarchal elements are having free run in inflicting violence against women.…

The rulers marching under the banner of Hindutva have declared war against Kerala government by launching a strident Jan Raksha Yatra . It is not that only the left, CPM-run government of the state that is under attack. The whole of the Kerala society, its ethos and culture is under attack. The national leadership of RSS/BJP has descended on Kerala to fight the Left, to be specific, the CPM for ‘perpetrating violence’. The UP chief minister Mahant Yogi Adityanath who has many criminal cases pending against him in UP courts is at the forefront, the commander of this Hindutva juggernaut.…

https://newsclick.in/what-actually-behind-bjp-rss-combines-holy-war-declared-kerala

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Trying to Reopen Gandhi’s Murder Probe is Part of an Orchestrated Campaign of Lies – By Tushar A. Gandhi (Oct 7, 2017, The Wire)

The ideology that supported and inspired Nathuram Godse has launched a concerted campaign to justify Mahatma Gandhi’s murder. For seven decades, the proponents of this ideology have orchestrated their lies so successfully that a large segment of the Indian populace may even believe them.

Now they have taken it to the next level, to spread doubts about the murder itself. The Supreme Court recently heard a plea requesting a reinvestigation into Gandhi’s murder. The Court has appointed an amicus curiae and has set the next hearing for October 30. I am surprised the court did not dismiss such a blatantly frivolous plea out of hand.

This is not the first time an attempt is being made to sow disinformation and create confusion about the Gandhi murder. This is a part of a well thought out strategy of the Hindu right-wing, which provided the ideological inspiration to his murderers. Last year a petition was filed in the Bombay high court seeking a reopening of the investigation into Gandhi’s murder. The petitioner – Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher with Abhinav Bharat – alleged that there was another shooter, that there was a fourth bullet and alluded to the presence of a mysterious foreigner.…

https://thewire.in/185347/trying-to-reopen-gandhis-murder-probe-is-part-of-an-orchestrated-campaign-of-lies/

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India becoming dangerous for intellectuals, social activists – By Pushkar Raj (Oct 6, 2017, Asia Times)

When journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in front of her house early last month, quite a few writers and social activists in India must have felt a chill down their spines as the country steadily becomes a dangerous place for intellectuals.

Gauri was a journalist turned social activist based in Bangalore, the technological capital of India. She was the fourth activist to be killed in that region in as many years, whose killers have not yet been apprehended despite the fact that the opposition Congress party leads the government in Karnataka state.

There have been a spate of killings of intellectuals and writers in the country in recent years. Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist activist, was killed in August 2013, after lobbying for social reform against superstitions such as black magic and child sacrifice. Govind Pansare, a left-wing politician and author of the best-selling book Shivaji Kon Hota, was killed in February 2015 after being an outspoken critic of communalism in society.…

http://www.atimes.com/india-becoming-dangerous-intellectuals-social-activists/

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Why does Akhila@Hadiya need a custodian at all? – By Supriya Juneja , Drishti S Harpalani (Oct 5, 2017, Indian Express)

Akhila, now known as Hadiya, has had to face harsh public and media scrutiny not only because she chose to convert from Hinduism to the Islamic faith, but also due to her gender. In January 2016, 24-year old Akhila left her parental home in Kerala to convert from Hinduism to Islam. Her father, Asokan K.M., filed a habeas corpus petition before the Kerala High Court, alleging that his daughter had been taken away and he was unaware of her whereabouts. He demanded that she be produced.

So Hadiya appeared before the High Court through her lawyer and gave a sworn affidavit stating that she had left her parental home voluntarily. Since she was now an adult, she said, she was well within her rights to choose a religion of her choice and follow a faith which appealed to her. The High Court, after interacting with Hadiya was of the opinion that she was no under any illegal confinement, and accordingly permitted her to live at a place of her choice. However, in August 2016, Hadiya’s father once again approached the High Court with a habeas corpus writ, alleging that his daughter had been forced to convert to Islam and was possibly being taken out of the country by Muslim extremist organisations.…

The girl, after attaining majority, is under no obligation under law to be in the protective custody of her father and has the absolute right to choose the religion of her choice; the parents under such circumstances have no right to question the choices of their daughter. When a major girl exercises her fundamental right under Article 21 by choosing her partner, the Court cannot resist such an expression of opinion. Whether or not the decision is against the wishes of her parents, but when a fundamental right is exercised by a major girl, the Court will have to enforce the same.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/sc-bench-gives-relief-to-hadiya-but-remains-regressive-kerala-love-jihad-akhila-4873635/

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‘Police Chased Us Even Into Our Hostel Rooms. We Want An Apology From The V-C’ – Pragya Singh interviews Seema (Oct 9, 2017, Outlook)

…All of a sudden, the police rained lathis on us—on our backs, or feet, our hands, our heads. They were beating us mercilessly. The students started running, and some of them went inside their hostels and the police chased them there also and beat them up.…

It was absolutely unexpected. The injured girls mostly just went home with their injuries. That is why the extent of the lathicharge is understated in the media also. The girls were mostly too shaken to reveal what had been done.…

Actually, the police were raining down blows indiscriminately. They hit girls on the head, arms, torso, wherever they wanted. You see, some of the injuries are on the back, thighs and stomach and the girls are unable to show them to the media or even talk about them. They were in fact catching hold of girls, surrounding them and then beating them up. They were also beating up boys.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/police-chased-us-even-into-our-hostel-rooms-we-want-an-apology-from-the-v-c/299366

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 8th, 2017

by newsdigest on May 19, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

In riot affected Dhulagarh, Hindus & Muslims celebrate Tagore’s birth anniversary together (May 9, 2017, Twocircles.net)

On Tuesday, members from Hindu and Muslim communities of Dhulagarh, West Bengal together celebrated the birth anniversary of poet Rabindranath Tagore by tying threads of unity and harmony on each other’s wrists.

The unique birthday celebration of the Nobel Laureate, who had championed the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity, was organised under the banner of ‘Bangla Sanskriti Manch’ to celebrate the spirit of unity, fraternity and communal harmony in the state in which several civil society members from Kolkata also went to participate.

A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion in a hall in Dhulagarh around 11.00 AM, where social activists from the city as well as some villagers sent out a message of peace and harmony. They later tied Rakhi to each other. This ritual was followed on streets as well and local villagers responded spontaneously and positively.…

http://twocircles.net/2017may09/409168.html

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Bilkis Bano verdict is a reminder of state complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots (May 5, 2017, Scroll.in)

One of the many horrors that came into public view after the Gujarat riots of 2002 was the Bilkis Bano case. On March 3, 2002, 19-year-old Bano and her family had been trying to flee the riots in a truck. They were set upon by a mob of men who gangraped Bano, pregnant at the time, killed her three-year-old daughter and 14 others in her family. Fifteen years later, those responsible for the brutalities have been dealt with by the Bombay High Court, which upheld 12 life sentences in the case. “Somewhere, somehow, justice can prevail,” Bano said in a statement on Thursday, even in times “when the secular values of our country” are in peril.

Attention has been centred on the life sentences, and the fact that the court dismissed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to convert three of these into death penalties. But the court also made another significant decision. It overturned the acquittals, handed down by a Mumbai sessions court, to five members of the Gujarat police. The court found them guilty of carrying out a “dishonest investigation”, of various “acts of omission and commission”, by which they tried to “screen the perpetrators of the crime” and “gagged the mouth of the prosecutrix”.…

The Bombay High Court’s verdict now is yet another reminder of chilling state complicity in the violence of 2002. Survivor accounts depict a state police that was indifferent at best or guilty of deliberate inaction, standing by and allowing the violence to take its course. The complicity carried on into the afterlife of the horrors, as evidence was destroyed or suppressed, cases were closed, voices of dissent within the force were silenced. How high up did the lines of accountability reach? Were the police were acting under political pressure? These questions have now passed into the realm of speculation. The Supreme Court’s decision to move the trials out of the state was acknowledgment that the system was tainted.…

https://scroll.in/article/836647/the-daily-fix-bilkis-bano-verdict-is-a-reminder-of-state-complicity-in-the-2002-gujarat-riots

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Muslims protest against India TV for ‘fabricated’ Halala Operation (May 6, 2017, The Indian Awaaz)

Hundreds of Muslims today staged a protest Dharana against India TV at Jantar Mantar. They were protesting against the telecast of what they called a ‘complete fabricated’ story run by the TV channel in the name of ‘Operation Halala’.

They alleged that programme showed Muslim men and women in bad light and degrading their dignity using impersonate persons. The alleged anti Muslim programme was telecast on April 15. The protesters with banners against TV channels in their hands, said the programme was nothing but a huge conspiracy to malign Islam and Muslim community of India.

The Dharna/protest was organized by Management Committee Madarsa Taleemul Quran Society Seelampur Delhi. The TV Programme was allegedly shoot near the madarsa run by this society. The society has also lodged complaint against the India TV at local court, CBI and Delhi police demanding stern action against the channel.…

http://theindianawaaz.com/muslims-protest-against-tv-for-fabricated-halala-operation/

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Police ask man to remove communally sensitive poster (May 8, 2017, Times of India)

Accusing members of a community in the neighbourhood of harassment, a resident of Kachcha Haata in Aminabad has put up a poster outside his house that reads, “Hindu pariwar palayan ko majboor”. When TOI spoke to other Hindu Families in the vicinity, however, they said they had never experienced any communal discord.

The area is mostly commercial and families of different communities have been living together from more than 80 years. Speaking to TOI, Rahul Garg, who has alleged he is being harassed by his neighbours from the minority community for the past six months, said he was being pressurised to sell his house where his family has been living for 70 years.

Officer in charge of Aminabad police station Ashwini Pandey said Garg created unnecessary sensation in the locality on Saturday evening. “Eight different families stay in the said property out of which seven want to sell it to a local builder. Garg is the only one against the deal. When the builder came to talk to him, Garg decided to put up the board. We convinced him to take it down as it was leading to nuisance and could lead to unnecessary controversy,” said Pandey.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58570623.cms

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UP BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal scolds IPS officer Charu Nigam to tears (May 8, 2017, IB Times)

…Gorakhpur MLA Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal – a UP BJP veteran – has been caught on camera scolding high-ranking IPS officer Charu Nigam till she is moved to tears. He is heard shouting repeatedly at her: “Don’t cross your limits.” What’s worse, all this happened in Gorakhpur, the home turf of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

It all started on the afternoon of Sunday, May 7, when a group of women blocked a road in Gorakhpur demanding the closure of certain liquor shops. Gorakhpur Assistant Superintendent of Police Charu Nigam – an IPS officer who has been given the moniker of “Lady Singham” for her tough-as-nails ways when it comes to matters of law and order – reached the spot and tried to forcefully evict them.

Some local reports say some of the women then attacked Nigam, while some other reports say she ordered lathi-charge on them, leading to some protesters being injured. Soon, Gorakhpur BJP MLA Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal reached the spot and confronted Nigam. A video of that interaction has now surfaced online, showing the BJP MLA shouting at the IPS officer in the presence of her colleagues as well as a large crowd. He is heard telling her to “keep quite,” and “don’t cross your limits.”…

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/watch-bjp-mla-radha-mohan-das-agarwal-scolds-ips-officer-charu-nigam-tears-725845

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UP Launches Exclusive Ambulance Service For Cows, As Man Carries Son’s Body On His Shoulder (May 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya flagged off an exclusive ambulance service for cows, the latest among a slew of measures taken to protect the bovine species in the state. Just hours later, a video footage of a man in Etawah, in another part of UP, surfaced, which showed him carrying his 15-year-old son’s lifeless body on his shoulders for lack of an ambulance. The contrast between the two reports could not have been starker.

According to The Hindu, Gauvansh Chikitsa mobile vans were rolled out to ferry ailing or injured cows to gau shalas (cow shelters) and veterinary homes for treatment. To begin with, this service would operate in Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Mathura and Varanasi, in collaboration with the MNREGA Mazdoor Kalyan Sanghathan, an organisation that works with farmers and labourers in the informal sector.

The organisation also threatened to take stringent actions against those who abandon cows after they stop giving milk and against municipal workers, in case the animals are forced to eat plastic off the streets.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/05/02/up-launches-exclusive-ambulance-service-for-cows-as-man-carries_a_22064637/

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Hindu Yuva Vahini members accused of killing Muslim (May 3, 2017, The Tribune)

Police have detained four members of Hindu Yuva Vahini, founded by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on suspicion of killing a Muslim man who had helped an interfaith couple elope, an investigating official said on Wednesday.

A 60-year-old farmer was killed on Tuesday by a mob that included members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini.… Since his appointment, units of the Hindu Yuva Vahini have ramped up their anti-Muslim rhetoric and launched a campaign against so-called “Love Jihad” – what they regard as an Islamist strategy to convert Hindu women through seduction and marriage.…

“The Muslim farmer was beaten to death in a mango orchard after he refused to share the whereabouts of the couple,” said Sharma.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/hindu-yuva-vahini-members-accused-of-killing-muslim/401479.html

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Women being kept with criminals in detention camps in Assam: Ajmal (May 3, 2017, India Tomorrow)

Lok Sabha MP and president of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Maulana Badruddin Ajmal on Tuesday accused the Assam BJP government of harassing a large number of local people raising doubts over their citizenship.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Ajmal, who represents the Muslim-dominated Dhubri constituency of Assam in the Lok Sabha, alleged that government officials come to houses in plain clothes in the night without any female officer and ask women to produce Identity Card. If they fail to do so, then they drag them to vehicles and put in detention camps set up in unknown locations, said Ajmal. He also alleged that in detention camps, women are kept with men who are facing serious criminal charges.

“And no one from outside are allowed to meet these women in the detention camps,” alleged perfume baron AIUDF chief adding that “Thousands of such cases are happening in the state.” “In the current situation, it seems, a certain community speaking a particular language is being targeted,” Ajmal said.…

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/women-being-kept-with-criminals-in-detention-camps-in-assam-ajmal

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‘Dalits should unite, rise against rightist forces’ (May 3, 2017, The Hindu)

The Constitution of India is in danger from rightist forces. It is everyone’s responsibility to save it [the Constitution], Prakash Ambedkar, founder of Dalit Swabhimani Sangarsh Samiti, said in Belagavi on Tuesday. He was speaking at a regional level rally of the samiti. He said that the RSS-backed BJP leaders were trying to destroy the spirit of the Constitution by amending it in such a way that are contrary to its basic principles.

The Constitution drafted by a committee headed by B.R. Ambedkar guarantees right to life and liberty to all. It strives for the equality and opposes discrimination based on caste, creed, gender, religion, region or language. But the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre is trying to divide the country on these lines.…

“It is a wake-up call. Dalits should remember such injustice during the next election and work against the rise of the rightist forces,” he said. He accused the BJP of trying to create a “counter revolution” that was opposed to the social, economic and political revolution promised by the Constitution. He said that the samiti would organise a rally in Bengaluru after Vijayadasami, where a million people would participate.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dalits-should-unite-rise-against-rightist-forces/article18362493.ece

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Gujarat polls: Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on suspicious EVMs (May 7, 2017, Business Standard)

The Supreme Court has sought response of the Centre and the chief election commissioner on a plea filed [by] a Gujarat Patidar leader seeking the use of either ballot paper or electronic voting machines with paper trail for the upcoming Assembly election in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul issued notice to the Centre, the CEC, the Gujarat government and the state election commission, and sought their response in four weeks. The apex court posted the matter for hearing to the first week of July.

Petitioner Reshma Vithabhai Patel, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was in the forefront of the Patel quota agitation, claimed that EVMs were not “fully reliable, foolproof, tamper-proof or hacker-proof”.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/gujarat-polls-supreme-court-seeks-centre-s-response-on-suspicious-evms-117050700222_1.html

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Khwaja Yunus custodial death: Policemen beat me like an animal, says eyewitness Mateen (May 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Fourteen years after the alleged custodial death of 2002 Ghatkopar blast accused Khwaja Yunus, the eyewitness in the case — Dr Abdul Mateen — deposed before the sessions court on Wednesday. He said the police beat him up “like an animal” in lock-up.

It has taken five years for the trial to begin after the court framed charges in 2012. Mateen, who was picked up by the crime branch with Yunus in December 2002, finally deposed on Wednesday, but the hearing was again adjourned for a month on the defence’s request. Wednesday’s hearing began with the defence raising an objection to Mateen’s deposition.

The defence lawyer said the prosecution had not submitted a case diary (maintained by the investigating officer), which they were asked to, and asked that the court not let the trial begin until it is submitted. The court, however, overruled the objection and proceeded with the trial while asking the prosecution to submit the diary.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/khwaja-yunus-custodial-death-policemen-beat-me-like-an-animal-says-eyewitness-mateen/story-WjgXpb74hIlIG5FAqsgIpI.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi Wants to Give Muslim Women Their Rights. So Why Did He Abandon Bilkis in Her Hour of Need? – By Siddharth Varadarajan (May 5, 2017, The Wire)

In a speech last month, Narendra Modi said he wants Muslim women to get the rights promised to them by the constitution. Bilkis Bano is a reminder that he didn’t always want that. Just when the prime minister thought the stain of 2002 was well and truly behind him, the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of 11 persons for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and mass murder of 14 Muslims in Limkheda and also convicted the policemen and doctors who attempted to cover up the crime – one of the most heinous to take place during the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat that year.

For the record, Bilkis’s charges were investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, not the Gujarat police, and the trial of the accused was held in Mumbai because the Supreme Court decided a fair trial was not possible in Gujarat.

So what does this have to do with Modi, the BJP is likely to ask, apart from the fact that he happened to be chief minister at the time. After all, the allegation that Modi orchestrated the anti-Muslim violence was probed by a Special Investigation Team set up by the Supreme Court but no evidence of his complicity emerged. The SIT’s controversial findings are being appealed by Zakia Jafri but as matters stand, Modi still has the “clean chit” the SIT gave him in 2013. Only the Gujarat high court, or the Supreme Court, can take that away from him.…

https://thewire.in/132084/bilkis-bano-rape-case-narendra-modi/

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Attacks on India’s minority Muslims by Hindu vigilantes mount – By Sujoy Dhar (May 5, 2017, USA Today)

One April afternoon, a group of men clad in saffron scarves barged into a house in Meerut, 40 miles northeast of here, and dragged out a young Muslim man and a Hindu woman.… Several similar attacks have occurred since March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose an anti-Muslim firebrand, Yogi Adityanath, to be chief minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the nation’s Hindu population.…

Also in April, two dairy farmers returning from a cattle fair in a northern state were attacked by vigilantes, leaving one dead and the other seriously wounded.… India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, said Muslims feel a deep sense of dread since Modi, a fierce Hindu nationalist, took office in 2014.…

“Recent incidents are worrisome,” said Faizul Hasan, the student leader of Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. “We have written letters to the prime minister to honor his commitment to the Muslims that they would be protected and be part of India’s nation building.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/05/05/attacks-indias-minority-muslims-hindu-vigilantes-mount/100951514/

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Modernity or murder, Mr Modi? – By Tavleen Singh (May 7, 2017, Indian Express)

… It is hard to understand why a Prime Minister so passionate about making India a modern, digital, prosperous country has seemingly not noticed that hunting and killing Muslims on the pretext of cows and love jihad does not sit well with modernity. The Prime Minister talks about a ‘new India’ built with the energy of the largest population of young people on the planet. Has he noticed that hunting Muslims is serving mostly to distract these same young Indians from far more important tasks?…

It is cowardice of the worst kind for young men to gang up and kill an old man, so I tweeted against this latest lynching and was immediately subjected to an onslaught of abusive tweets.… What frightens me most is the pride Hindutva tweeters plainly take in every new lynching. They make it clear that the squads of Hindu vigilantes that roam about these days in search of Muslims to kill are in their view heroes avenging centuries of repression by Muslim rulers. Like the cowardly cow vigilantes, these tweeters remain nameless, but from their language it is obvious that many of them are linked directly to the RSS or one of its sister organisations.…

My reason for repeatedly drawing attention to Hindutva violence is because I believe it is motivated not by some twisted nationalism but by uncontainable hatred of Muslims. This hatred is what persuades young Hindus to go out in gangs and hunt for the poorest, most vulnerable Muslims to beat to death. It is true that there have been almost no communal riots in the past three years, but it is also true that there is an insidious new kind of violence that takes the form of hate crimes.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fifth-column-modernity-or-murder-mr-modi-4644120/

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The RSS idea of India is not just being spread in colleges but among the defence forces too – By Apoorvanand (May 3, 2017, Scroll.in)

It would have been any other government function. The launch of the Vidya Veerta Abhiyan by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar in the presence of Minister of State for Defence Subhas Bhamre would not have made news in the normal course of events.

Even the presence of Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Sarath Chand along with Rear Admiral Krishen K Pandey and Air marshal HN Bhagwat at a function to launch a programme to honour Indian soldiers would not have caused any flutter. The presence of Bharatiya Janata Party politician and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak Tarun Vijay at the function would also have been routine.

But there was a problem. The Bharat Mata to which charan vandana – salutations at the feet – was offered by the leaders of our armed forces at this function was no ordinary Bharat Mata. For this Bharat Mata, resting on a lion and holding a saffron flag against the backdrop of a map of India, is the RSS version of Bharat Mata. The map she spreads over is also not the usual, ordinary map of India. One can sense that this is the map of Vrihhtattar Bharat, greater India which extends far beyond the internationally recognised boundaries of what is known as India.…

https://scroll.in/article/836472/the-rss-idea-of-india-is-not-just-being-spread-in-colleges-but-in-defence-forces-too

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Time for trial – By Purnima S. Tripathi (May 12, 2017, Frontline)

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” but sometimes it is better late than never, as in the case of the December 6, 1992, demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by thousands of frenzied kar sevaks gone berserk, which unleashed one of the most horrendous bouts of communal riots in the country. More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that in all these years not one individual who had been at the forefront of the Ram Mandir movement had been held guilty.

The masterminds of the entire episode had got off scot-free, seemingly cocking a snook at the rule of law. In the eyes of the people at large, it was the most despicable mockery of the rule of law because the perpetrators of the crime escaped prosecution, with their influence in the corridors of power seemingly providing them immunity. They went on to become Union Ministers, and in the case of the BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, even Deputy Prime Minister.

But even if it is 25 years late, the political life of Advani more than anybody else has come full circle with the Supreme Court ordering that he and other BJP leaders such as Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and Uma Bharati, besides some Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena leaders, be tried for criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.… It was a crime that shook the very foundation of Indian jurisprudence because the BJP had given solemn affidavits in various forums affirming its commitment to protect the disputed shrine even as a shrill political movement was being woven around it.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/time-for-trial/article9663122.ece

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Aadhaar is an electronic leash on citizens – By Kanishk Tharoor (May 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked of roses. The 21st century version of this thorny question is: “What’s in an ID?” With great leaps in digital and biometric technology, the possibility that all individuals can be “known” by states and other institutions has becoming tantalisingly real. Until the coalescence of nation-states in the early 20th century, most people didn’t have ID cards of any kind. Now with over one billion people registered for Aadhaar numbers, India boasts the largest biometric database in the world.

Though wrapped in often opaque and cumbersome legalese, the debate over Aadhaar at the Supreme Court in the past week asks one of the most important questions of our time. In the age of big data, how much should the state know about individuals? It is a classic duel of two rival imperatives: The desire to expand the capacities of the State against the fear of the State developing illiberal powers over individuals.…

Without serious privacy protections, we should be wary of these efforts to make all people known and knowable. They remain ripe for abuse and error (already, lakhs of Aadhaar numbers have been accidentally leaked). Aadhaar will not only grant the State an “electronic leash” on citizens, but also allow corporations to build invasive financial profiles of people’s habits and histories. Why should we either repose faith in private sector whose ultimate interest is its own well-being, or surrender so much trust to state institutions with long traditions of incompetence?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/aadhaar-is-an-electronic-leash-on-citizens/story-b9Q13XUK7aAwRfcUZFmehL.html

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Book Review

Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat

Author: Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha
Reviewed by: Kalpana Sharma
Available at: Three Essays Collective, New Delhi: 2016, pp 221, ?500 (paperback). www.amazon.in/
Review:
A Book of Memory and Forgetting (Apr 29, 2017, EPW)

Does anyone even remember the communal violence that tore apart Bhagalpur in Bihar in 1989? According to official estimates, around 250 villages and 50,000 people were affected. The official death toll was estimated to be over 900 although the unofficial toll was higher. It was a familiar story because it had happened before. And since then it has happened again. And will do so in the future.…

Why is it important to record these divisions, these conflicts that recur with such worrying frequency? Would it not be better to erase these memories and look ahead? The writers of this book demonstrate convincingly why incidents of mass violence must be recorded and followed up. If they are not, then history will only remember the version of the victors while the victims will continue to remain voiceless, unheard, without justice.

In this regard, the book under review serves an important purpose. It is a record of the communal killings in Bhagalpur in 1989, and in Gujarat 2002. But instead of going over familiar ground, the authors help us understand the legacy of such mass violence. These recorded memories show us the costs of a broken criminal justice system and the price that victims of mass violence continue to pay for decades.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/17/book-reviews/book-memory-and-forgetting.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

April 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Gurbani Samagam depicts communal harmony News Headlines Modi under fire as middle-class India still awaits ‘Achhe din’ Kanhaiya compares ‘onslaught on universities’ to Gujarat riots Was Delhi dentist Dr Narang lynched to death by Muslims? Or is RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal giving it a communal spin? Madrassa […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 6th, 2015

April 7, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bihar CM Nitish Kumar demands BJP’s explanation for 2002 Gujarat riots 1992 Jalandhar fake encounters: 8 ex-cops get life sentence Main accused in Patna blast case arrested Babri Masjid demolition case: Courts are ‘the only way ahead when accused are in govt’, says Haji Mehboob Muslims have […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 16th, 2015

March 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Puttur: CM inaugurates Mini Vidhana Soudha, stresses on communal harmony News Headlines Gulberg society massacre: In final arguments, SIT seeks conviction of all 61 accused ‘Ishrat’s family living in fear’ Bombs hurled at Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai’s office by bike-borne assailants ‘Love jihad’ gets a Bengal […]

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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 – September 8th, 2014

September 9, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Home ministry maintains secrecy over shredded govt files Hindu hardliners unrepentant a year after India riots ‘Cops framing Muslims for Vadodara riots’ Media trials: SC calls for norms on reporting, police briefing After Reconversion, Shivpuri Family Hints at Pressure From Hindu Groups, Foul Play by Police ‘Love […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 14th, 2013

October 15, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal Harmony Meeting Held at Aligarh News Headlines SIT asks apex court’s permission to seek death for Kodnani BJP MP accused of ‘extortion’ for Modi’s rally Amit Shah is questioned by CBI for 4 hours in Ishrat case Gujarat Police killed ‘terrorist’ Sadiq, but failed to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 16th, 2013

September 17, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Rounup Announcements Muzaffarnagar carnage a planned tactic of communal politics Communal Harmony Hindus, Muslims in 2 villages show UP how to live and let live News Headlines SP, BJP flared up communal tension: Ajit Singh Muzaffarnagar riots: ‘I saw my wife and child killed’, tearful villager tells PM Nearly […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 16th, 2012

July 16, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Keshubhai Patel compares Narendra Modi to Adolf Hitler Best Bakery case: Too little, too late Communal riot cases can’t be quashed, rules Kerala HC Government harassing FSL officer: Satish Verma Purohit generated input on Pragya Singh 12 days after her name came up, say NIA sources […]

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