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communal violence

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 16th, 2014

by newsdigest on June 17, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

BARTI to take communal harmony lessons to schools, may train teachers (Jun 12, 2014, Indian Express)

After a workshop to improve communal harmony, Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) will send books on teachings of social reformers such as Dr B R Ambedkar and Sant Kabir to aided schools in the state, and if cooperation from education department is received, BARTI plans to train teachers to impart lessons on communal harmony to students.

The first book that will be sent to all schools will be on Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj written by Jaisingh Pawar. “The distribution of books will take place in a phased manner. We have already got one such book written about the life and teachings of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. We will start distributing it soon,” said D R Parihar, director general, BARTI.

BARTI plans to send other reading materials and pamphlets containing material on equality, social justice, ethics, moral values, brotherhood etc. “It is important that students develop a scientific temper and look at things in a communally sensitive way. Only then can we eradicate atrocities against SC and ST in the society,” said Parihar. “BARTI was established to propagate teachings of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. There is a need that his teachings as well as core issues of the Constitution go to masses. The best way is to inculcate fraternity, equality and social justice in students so that they grow up into responsible citizens,” said Parihar.

Parihar said BARTI will talk to the education department to see if teachers can be trained to impart teachings of great leaders, along with regular lessons. “We will talk to the education department. We are ready to train teachers if they are interested. It is the need of the hour that students learn the importance of keeping scientific temper and not have a communally coloured view. The teachers can be trained during holidays like winter or summer break. It will not be forced on anyone,” said Parihar. “We will send books to gram panchayats so that teachings of such personalities reach villagers too,” added Parihar.

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Rise of communal tensions after BJP Government formed at center (Jun 11, 2014, Times of India)

As Maharashtra gears up for its Assembly elections later this year, tensions have already started developing. Several reports of communal, religious and caste based nature have erupted in the last two weeks after a Narendra Modi led BJP Government took the center stage in New Delhi. The opposition rendered hopeless and dejected after the National Results have almost got a life line with these happenings. They are quick to blame Modi Government for this tension being created. This too is easy to assume and blame for anyone that Modi and BJP, who have always traditionally been blamed for communal politics is flaring up this tension across the country.

While the radical and right wing groups will definitely feel pumped up and elated with BJP at the power, it may not necessarily mean Modi is giving them a free hand. Modi has made his intentions clear in his Foreign Policy approach and wishes to want to stay clean of it. But those that will benefit from such communal tension will be definitely Congress and Opposition, who had used Fear of Riots as the chief strategy in Lok Sabha Poll 2014 to prevent Modi from becoming the PM. Now if they succeed – it is going to be an easier task to win people back – gradually.

While Modi is a debated name and there are equal number of people who love or hate him, blaming him for the communal tension in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh – as both stated ruled by oppositions of BJP – is somewhat not beyond doubt. It might be a lot lying beneath the blanket. But it is also known to all that all the child groups and organizations of BJP are maintained in a Hierarchy where even a town level Hindu wing worker also have direct contacts to the top leaders of RSS. The recent investigation and proceeding has proved that the Pune violence is executed by Hindu Rashtra Sena. Pune is known for the pride people take in their glory of History and Hindutva – the same people of Pune themselves are demanding to ban this group for its terrorism activity.

The Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Desai was arrested by the Pune crime branch on Tuesday for his involvement in a criminal conspiracy that led to the murder of 28 years old Mohsin Shaikh on June 2 in Hadapsar and events preceding the murder. The most notorious part of the Maharashtra Police administration is that – Desai is documented as officially arrested before the murder of Mohsin Shaikh. Although Section 120[B] & 302 are framed against Desai, police staged the exit path of him by documenting his official arrest date as June 2 – just few hours before Mohsin’s murder. It is known to all that this Dhananjay Desai has notorious criminal background already. As Maharashtra gets more into the election mode, the situation may get all the more worse in coming days unless proper control measures taken. Especially outsiders are feeling the heat already and this is not good news for the liberal crowd of cities like Pune or Mumbai.


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Online posts against Narendra Modi spell trouble (Jun 16, 2014, Times of India)

Social media in India has suddenly become a decidedly dangerous place for dissent or irreverence, especially if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the centre of your dissidence. State administrations, be it in Goa, Karnataka or Kerala, have shown great alacrity in arresting, browbeating and often simply terrorizing anyone who is even slightly critical of Modi on networking sites. On a few occasions, at the receiving end of the police’s anger — and anxiety — have been students not even out of college.

Naval engineer Devu Chodankar got into a fair bit of trouble in Panaji last month when he posted some comments on Facebook which were deemed to be anti-Modi. Though he withdrew them later, a sessions court ordered his arrest and rejected his anticipatory bail plea after inputs from the local cyber crime cell said there was a “larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony”.

The police went on to file an FIR under Section 153(A), 295(A) of the IPC, besides Section 125 of the Representation of People Act and Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act. Justifying these sections, some of them non-bailable, police inspector Rajesh Job told the court that Chodankar’s custody was being sought as his interrogation was “essential” to find out if there was a greater conspiracy behind the posts.

Last month, Syed Waqas, an MBA student in Bangalore, was arrested for allegedly circulating offensive messages against Modi on WhatsApp. And on May 15, author Amaresh Mishra, who wrote the script for the Saif Ali Khan-starrer ‘Bullett Raja’, was arrested from his Gurgaon residence for posting messages on his Twitter account, that was later closed by the UP police. At that time, Modi had not yet taken oath as India’s Prime Minister.

“Unlike in America, where (Barack) Obama is routinely panned for some of his policies, where he is made fun of for clicking selfies during funerals or for sometimes staring at the behind of beautiful women, one has to be careful in India when it comes to our politicians,” says a professor in Sikkim University.” All parties in India are on the same page. You just can’t question their leaders.” The censure isn’t limited to social media and networking-microblogging forums. In the past four days alone, Kerala police have registered two separate cases against 18 college students and teachers for “defaming” Modi in their respective campus magazines.


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Gujarat HC directs Nanavati panel to allow Sanjiv Bhatt examine intel reports during 2002 riots (Jun 16, 2014, Indian Express)

The Gujarat High Court on Monday directed the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riots, to allow suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt examine the intelligence reports generated during the 2002 Godhra riots. The bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala directed the commission to allow Bhatt to inspect the documents by Friday and has kept the matter for further hearing on June 26. NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL) is a co-petitioner in the case.

Bhatt had written several letters to the Nanavati Commission, as well as the Gujarat state government, asking for the documents pertaining to the 2002 riots. After the state government’s refusal, Bhatt and PUCL had approached the High Court through a PIL seeking 42 types of documents. The court had directed the government to release the documents.

Last year, Bhatt again filed a civil application in the court stating that nine documents were not given to him. The state had argued that these documents are classified and they can’t be shared. They also said that some other documents have gone missing. The court ruled in Bhatt’s favour and asked the sate government to let Bhatt inspect the classified documents.

Bhatt, a controversial cop who is under suspension, had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against former Chief Minister Narendra Modi, now the Prime Minister, alleging that Modi told senior officers to “let Hindus vent out their anger” following the Godhra train burning incident that led to riots in the state.

Bhatt has also claimed that he was present in the meeting in which Modi allegedly ordered the officials to stand down. However, Bhatt’s claim has been trashed by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team probing the riots. In case of Zakia Jafri, who has alleged Modi of being involved in the conspiracy, the SIT didn’t rely on the statement of Bhatt while giving clean chit to Modi.


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IB’s NGO-scare report to Modi plagiarises from old Modi speech (Jun 13, 2014, Indian Express)

In its 21-page classified report, Impact of NGOs on Development, first reported by The Indian Express, that identifies certain foreign-funded NGOs as threat to India’s national economic security and the Gujarat model of development, the Intelligence Bureau has cut and pasted from a published speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to describe the modus operandi of certain organizations.

On September 9, 2006, then Gujarat chief minister Modi had lashed out in a speech at a “wealthy” and “influential” class of NGOs that “hire PR firms to continually build their image” with “money coming from abroad.” The occasion was the release of the first edition of NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry edited by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak – a collection of articles on what they called the anti-Hindu agenda and corrupt practices of certain NGOs and activists – at New Delhi.

Modi’s speech at that function was included in the second edition of the collection. The second paragraph on the fourth page (page number 417 in the book) of Modi’s article, NGOs as Non-Accountable Businesses, reads as follows: “Another conspiracy – a vicious cycle is set up. Funds are obtained from abroad; an NGO is set up; a few articles are commissioned; a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media, an image is created. And then awards are procured from foreign countries to enhance this image. Such a vicious cycle, a network of finance-activity-award is set up and, once they have secured an award, no one in Hindustan dares raise a finger, no matter how many the failings of the awardee.”

The second paragraph on the third page (Part A) of the IB report on NGOs reads: “A small group of activists and NGOs at times have succeeded in shaping policy debates in India. Apart from that, in some cases it is observed that in a cyclical process, an NGO is set up, funds are obtained from abroad, a few articles are commissioned, a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media an image is created. And then awards are procured from foreign countries to enhance the image, after which Government machinery finds it more difficult to act against the awardee.”

When asked of the IB had asked for permission to use the paragraph from the book she edited, Radha Rajan of Vigilonline said she stood vindicated. “No, the IB did not contact me. But probably they were present at the high-profile book release next to the BJP office on Delhi’s Ashoka Road in 2006,” she told The Indian Express. Contacted by The Indian Express, a senior IB official closely associated with the report declined to comment.


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Disappearance of key witness: two ex-ATS officers in the dock (Jun 12, 2014, Mumbai Mirror)

A CBI investigation has found two Mumbai police officers responsible for the mysterious disappearance of a prime witness in the 2008 Malegaon serial blasts case. Dilip Patidar, who was a tenant of Ramji Kalsangra, one of the main accused in the blasts case, was last seen by his family when he was picked up by a Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) unit from his home in Indore’s Shanti Vihar Colony in November 2008.

The investigating agency, which registered an FIR in connection with Patidar’s disappearance after it was asked by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to investigate the matter, has now charged Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajan Ghule and Police Inspector Ramesh More with abduction, criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement with the intention of extracting a confession, kidnapping and creating false evidence.

Ghule and More were attached to the ATS in 2008. Ghule is now with the Thane police and More is serving with the Navi Mumbai police. While Ghule and More’s defence was that Patidar disappeared after seeking to go home to fetch his identity papers, which were required to record his confession before a magisterial court, the CBI has rubbished their claim, saying that Patidar was never produced in any magistrate’s court.

The 2008 Malegoan serial blasts had left seven people dead and several injured. Kalsangra, believed to be one of the main conspirators behind the explosions, went underground after the blasts and has remained untraced since. Since Patidar was a tenant of Kalsangra for many years, the ATS had wanted him to become a witness.

While he was in Mumbai, Patidar, according to the CBI, called his father and one of his cousins on a few occasions. The calls were short and on each occasion Patidar informed that he was in ATS’s custody and that they wanted him to become a witness in the Malegaon blasts case. Patidar’s case is throwback to the disappearance of Khwaja Yunus, an accused in the December 2002 Ghatkopar bus blast case. Yunus, a native of Parbhani was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch just days after the blast. …


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Custodial death, sexual abuse: HC orders FIR against 9 cops (Jun 11, 2014, Asian Age)

The Bombay high court on Tuesday has ordered the Mumbai crime branch to file an FIR against nine policemen and investigate into the alleged custodial death of 24-year-old Agnelo Valdaris and sexual abuse of the three others held in a robbery case by Wadala railway police.

A division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice Pramod Dattatrya Kode observed that prima facie it was a serious crime. The Judges directed the director general of police to personally monitor the investigation of this case. The crime branch has been directed to probe the role of policemen into the death and the matter has been posted for further hearing on June 13. The court was hearing a petition filed by Leonard Xavier Valdaier, father of the deceased and three others, Sufiyan Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Irfan Hajan and Arbaz Shamim Khan, who were also arrested in this case along with Agnelo.

The petitioners demanded a probe by the CBI. However, the judges did not accept this application. The judges directed the government of Maharashtra, which is among the respondents, to hand over the post-mortem report, medical reports and copy of the hospital register to the petitioner. It is alleged that Agnelo Valdaris died in police custody on April 18, 2014.

The three other men have alleged that the police sexually abused them in custody.On the other hand, the Wadala railway police has claimed that Agnelo died after coming under a running train while trying to flee from custody. Petitioners’ advocate Yug Choudhary has denied all allegations and said they did not commit any theft, he also said that the police was responsible for Agnelo’s death.

The four boys were picked up by Wadala railway police from their residence on April 15 and April 16. They were taken to the police station where they were allegedly beaten up and questioned where they had kept a gold chain and a ring suspected to be stolen by them.The petition also sought compensation of Rs1 crore for the deceased and Rs50 lakh each for the three others who were allegedly sexually abused in custody.


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Hindu Rashtra Sena chief arrested for Mohsin’s murder (Jun 11, 2014, Times of India)

Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Desai was arrested by the Pune crime branch on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in a criminal conspiracy that led to the murder of 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh on June 2 in Hadapsar and events preceding the murder. Senior police officials said interrogation of 17 suspects arrested so far for attacking Mohsin revealed that Desai had instigated them to launch a series of violent protests after objectionable posts were put up on a social media site. He will be produced before the Pune cantonment court on Wednesday afternoon.

Desai had incidentally been arrested on June 2 afternoon for distributing pamphlets with objectionable content. Mohsin was murdered later on the same day. A senior official told TOI that though Desai was not directly involved in Mohsin’s murder, he was clearly involved in the conspiracy that led to the murder. Shahaji Solunke, additional commissioner (crime), who is supervising investigations in the Mohsin murder case, said, “Investigations have revealed that Desai had conspired with other activists to commit Mohsin’s murder and other offences. We are collecting evidence to prove his complicity.”

Assistant commissioner of police, cyber crime, Gopinath Patil, told TOI that Desai was arrested under section 120 (b) – (criminal conspiracy) read with section 302 (murder). On Tuesday morning, the police secured a production warrant for Desai from the Pune cantonment court. Assistant public prosecutor B R Patil told the court that Desai’s custodial interrogation was important to ascertain his exact role in the conspiracy, which he played with the other accused and to collect evidence in the case. The court then granted the production warrant.

Officials of the Yerawada central prison, where Desai was lodged following his arrest in pamphlet distribution case, handed him over to the crime branch and Hadapsar police at 5 pm. Desai was taken to the Sassoon general hospital for a medical examination after which he was taken to the Hadapsar police station for further investigations. Elaborating on his participation in the conspiracy, senior officials said that on January 19 this year Desai had held a big rally in the city and given a provocative speech. On March 17, he distributed pamphlets bearing objectionable matter in cantonment and Loni Kalbhor areas. His workers staged a rasta roko at Warje Malwadi on June 1 – a day before Mohsin’s murder, to protest against the objectionable posts on a social media site. There were subsequent incidents of rioting and stone pelting that were reported in several parts of the city.

“Considering the sequence of events and subsequent murder of Mohsin, it is clear that Desai’s intentions were malafide, there was a conspiracy and Desai was behind it,” a senior official said. Desai was brought to state-run Sassoon General Hospital for routine medical check up. “Our doctors carried out Desai’s clinical examination and enquired about his health complaints. This was a routine heath evaluation to see whether he needs any immediate medical care,” said D G Kulkarni, medical superintendent of Sassoon Hospital. Kulkarni, however, refused to divulge further details. …


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MP recruitment scam: Ex-minister held (Jun 16, 2014, Indian Express)

Former BJP minister Laxmikant Sharma was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) on Sunday for his role in the alleged illegal recruitment of contractual teachers in government schools. Sharma was a powerful minister and held the technical education, culture and mining portfolios between 2003 and 2013 before losing the Assembly elections in November last year. The STF had questioned him twice in the past but let him go claiming it did not have sufficient evidence. On Sunday, a team of STF officials questioned the BJP leader at his home before taking him to the STF office in the afternoon.

More than 250 persons, including officials of Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, brokers, politicians, students and parents, have been arrested by the STF so far in the examination and recruitment scam that came to light last year. The agency has already arrested Sharma’s OSD but had delayed the former minister’s arrest, an action that was slammed by the Congress.

The agency had filed two separate FIRs against Sharma for his role in recruitment of contractual teachers whose names he had recommended to MPPEB officials who manipulated OMR sheets to ensure they cleared the examination. STF (AIG) Ashish Khare said Sharma would be produced before a court on Monday. The agency is investigating irregularities in at least 10 examinations, including the pre-medical test (PMT).

The agency had seized several documents and computer hard discs that showed how names recommended by powerful persons like Sharma besides bureaucrats and those who operated syndicates, cleared the examinations conducted by MPPEB. The former minister had first surrendered in December last year claiming he was innocent and that he came to know of his involvement only through newspapers. He was questioned by the STF one more time.

The BJP leader’s arrest comes a day after the agency declared a reward of Rs 5,000 on information about mining baron Sudhir Sharma. The latter was also the minister’s OSD when he held the mining portfolio. The former minister and Sudhir Sharma had surrendered together but the agency had not arrested either of them. The mining baron was issued several notices but he did not appear before the agency announced a cash award. The Congress, however, alleged that the delayed arrest was an attempt to save the CM’s chair. Congress state chief Arun Yadav and Leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare reiterated the demand for a CBI probe into the mega scam.


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Four remanded for attack on madrassa (Jun 10, 2014, Times of India)

The court of judicial magistrate first class P D Zambre on Monday remanded four men in police custody till June 12 for allegedly ransacking a madrassa along the Handewadi bypass in Hadapsar during the protests over some objectionable posts on social networking sites on the night of May 31.

In their remand plea, filed by assistant police inspector Y A Nandre, the Hadapsar police said that the four men – Pravin Zambre (23) of Holkarwadi, Sujit Holkar (19) of Thite Aali, Haveli, Sagar Dikshit (23) and Chandrakant Rajesh Bhadle (27), both from Uruli Devachi – were arrested from Mantarwadi phata around 8.50am on Monday following a tip-off. The police seized three motorcycles used by them during the attack.

According to the remand plea, the four were part of a larger group of 10-12 youths on motorcycles who attacked and ransacked the madrassa around 11.30pm on May 31. All four men have admitted to their involvement in the attack, the plea stated.

An offence under various penal sections, including unlawful assembly, rioting and deliberate and malicious attempt to outrage religious feelings, was then registered following a complaint by Maulana Meraj Ul Islam Mumtaz Sheikh of the religious school.

Public prosecutor B R Patil pleaded for seven days’ remand in police custody for the accused on the grounds that the police have to arrest some more suspects, including the mastermind behind the attack. The police also have to find out if the four men are linked with any organization or political party, he said.


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Shame for Modi Sarkar: Rape survivor wants CBI probe, names Nihal Chand as culprit (Jun 14, 2014, Deccan Chronicle)

Breaking barriers and ending her four-year-silence, the rape survivor who named Union Minister Nihal Chand Meghwal in her rape case on Saturday demanded a CBI probe into the incident. On Friday, notices were issued to Nihal Chand Meghwal, Minister of State (MoS) in the Narendra Modi government, by a district court in Jaipur.

The victim had filed a First Information Report (FIR) in 2011, alleging sexual exploitation by her husband. She had accused him of drugging her and then letting his associates rape her. The FIR also named MOS chemicals and fertilizers Meghwal, now the only minister from Rajasthan in the Modi cabinet, as one of the people who sexually exploited her.

The police closed the case in 2012 stating that the charges by the rape survivor were false and fabricated. She appealed to a district court, following which additional district judge Prem Prakash Gupta issued notices to Meghwal and 17 others in this case asking them to respond by August 20.


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Opinions and Editorials

Kidiad Massacre In Gujarat – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Jun 11, 2014, Countercurrents)

During the Gujarat riots 2002, one has heard much about brutal massacre of Muslims at Gulberg society, Panchmahal, Naroda Patiya & Naroda Gam. What has relatively remained untold is the massacre at Kidaid on March 2nd, 2002. On this date Muslims were fleeing in two lorries from their village, Kidiad in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. The Hindutva mobs halted them at two different spots about ten Kilometers apart and killed seventy of them with a military precision in a meticulously planned operation. Twenty one killers were identified out of which only nine could be captured(rest declared as absconders) and put on trial. In the trial court, they were represented by a battery of lawyers having affiliations to VHP & other Sangh parivar outfits.

All of them were acquitted in a hasty judgment on 11th October 2002, roughly seven months after the commission of crime. In his judgment, the judge held that Police had failed to conduct further investigations despite repeated request by victims & they had also refused to implicate the assailants actually named by witnesses. In effect, the submissions of the victims & witnesses were used against them by a highly biased Judiciary.

All these & many other details about the Gujrat pogrom 2002 are contained in an excellent, courageous & scrupulously researched book – “the Fiction of Fact Finding-Modi & Godhra” written by Manoj Mitta, a journalist & senior Editor with Times Of India. It is a multi-dimensional book which informs the reader as to how things happened, how the events were camouflaged & how the judicial apathy and pliable institutions conspired with the government machinery to successfully erase everything from the horrific event?

In chapter 5, the author deals with the examination of Narendra Modi by SIT formed by Supreme Court following Zakia Jaffri’s Complaint and points to brazen loopholes, contradictions and ambiguities in the statements made by Modi reducing it to a farce exercise and a travesty of Justice. Intriguingly, the chairman of the SIT absented himself from the critical interrogation process with questions and answers in a written format, not cross examining him on basic contradictions in his testimony. In this masterpiece of investigative journalism, the author identifies the violations of law perpetrated by the Special investigation team (SIT ); and brings to fore, the failings of the Supreme Court of India in discharging its basic Constitutional responsibilities to the people. …

Modi has since become Prime Minster of India and it remains to be seen whether the bath he took in Holy Ganges in Varanasi on the eve of parliamentary elections will cleanse him of crimes committed against Muslims in Gujarat, or will the long arm of law catch him one day to account for the sins committed by him.


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Cause vs. Catwalk – By Archana Nathan (Jun 12, 2014, The Hindu)

She refuses to be pinned down by labels and is as fearless, articulate and candid as the protagonists of her film. Filmmaker Nisha Pahuja released her film, The World Before Her, a feature length documentary, across multiplexes in the country last week.

The World Before Her gives us access to two radically opposite women: Ruhi Singh, a 19-year-old contestant of the Miss India Pageant and Prachi Trivedi, a 24-year-old staunch member of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Navigating through the private worlds of Ruhi, Prachi and others like them, the film offers an insight into their minds, their dreams and the choices before them.

The film was released in New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata and Mumbai this past week. Pahuja brings her film to Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad (special release) today. She talks about her film, the process of filmmaking, the documentary in India and more in this interview: …


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Murder Most Foul – Editorial (Jun 21, 2014, EPW)

The murder of a 28-year-old man in Pune by a Hindu right wing group is not just shocking but a warning of bad times ahead. Mohsin Sadiqe Sheikh, who was employed by an IT company, was on his way home on 2 June. He was surrounded by a group of men belonging to the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) and beaten to death with hockey sticks. Sheikh happened to be wearing clothes that identified his religion; his killers were on the rampage against some unknown persons who had morphed pictures of Shivaji and the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray that had appeared on Facebook. Had the police taken action earlier to stop these mobs, Sheikh would not have been killed. Instead for close to three days the police stood by while members of right-wing groups subjected Pune to mindless violence and destruction of public property.

This is not the first time that a desecration of a leader’s statue or an obviously mischievous offensive post on social media or a perceived insult to a particular personality has set off violence. Yet, there is no excuse for why the police failed to crack down on the miscreants. The HRS is not a new group. Its leader has been booked several times for inflammatory statements and other infractions of the law. The police was well aware of this. Yet, inexplicably, the group was allowed to paralyse the city and only after Sheikh’s murder did the police take some action.

Such seemingly sporadic acts of violence take place ahead of elections. Vested interests ensure that emotions are provoked, stoked and, worse, expressed in violence against the vulnerable. A similar tactic was tried in eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 2013 with the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar. It paid rich dividends in the Lok Sabha elections in the form of a religious consolidation of votes. …

In a situation that reeks of irony, the media reported that the Bharatiya Janata Party would target Maharashtra with its high internet penetration to replicate its successful nationwide social media campaign during the Lok Sabha elections. At the same time, the state’s deputy chief minister, giving the example of China, called for a ban of social media, although he quickly retracted the statement. Clearly, social media will play an ever greater role in politics in the years ahead. Monitoring it and dealing with offensive posts while at the same time safeguarding freedom of expression is the challenge that law-enforcement authorities face today.

Going by the record set by the Maharashtra police, it is clear that they are ill-prepared to meet this challenge. With Maharashtra’s assembly elections scheduled for later this year, it is very likely that efforts to foment communal and casteist violence will only increase and the avenue for such provocation could well be social media. Unless the police is trained to respond with greater alacrity than it did to the recent trouble in Pune, we could well see a repeat of UP in Maharashtra later this year.


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The great NGO scare – Editorial (Jun 13, 2014, Indian Express)

Less than a month after the Narendra Modi government took office, civil society organisations can be said to be feeling the heat. An Intelligence Bureau report to the prime minister’s office has warned against a range of NGOs, suggesting they pose a threat to the economy, and that they have collectively cost India 2-3 per cent of its GDP. The IB’s list includes not just international organisations like Greenpeace that have drawn attention to the environmental damage of coal-based and nuclear energy, or those with extensive foreign funding, but also many Gujarat-based NGOs that have campaigned for the victims of the 2002 riots, among other issues, including the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

This is not the first time a government has had occasion to complain about motivated civil society organisations – the UPA often deployed the FCRA to delay or revoke licences, and former PM Manmohan Singh has complained about the “foreign hand” instigating campaigns against nuclear energy. This charge is not entirely baseless. Many NGOs do have agendas that further the interests of their funders, while others are driven by the particular causes they speak for. They are not meant to take the large view and harmonise interests. By their very nature, advocacy groups take the narrow, intense position. The logic of the voluntary sector and private capital often work in concert, and try to supplant the legitimate functions of the state. They are often irritants to the government, but they also often aid governments in informal ways, fill gaps on the ground, bring a useful view to policy and legislation. In other words, there is no single theory of civil society organisations or one ideal approach to them. NGOs cannot be red-flagged and harassed – the government’s test is in how it reacts to their interventions.

The UPA erred on the other side too, on occasion, treating NGO orthodoxy on GM crops as equivalent to the scientific consensus, for instance, or inviting civil society to take on an outsized role in drafting policy through the NAC. But the Modi government must be wary of taking a repressive attitude to NGOs, merely because they articulate alternative priorities. It will be challenged, like all governments are, and its task is to accommodate diverse perspectives where possible, to shoulder past the ones that it judges irrelevant, and know that some criticism is inevitable given the tradeoffs of any decision-making. It must realise that scapegoating NGOs is not going to strengthen the government.


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The North-eastern challenge – By Sanjoy Hazarika (Jun 9, 2014, The Hindu)

The recent attacks and killings in Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya by armed non-State groups represent a challenge and test for the Narendra Modi government and the need to understand the frustrating complexities of the North-eastern region.

Things are not being made easy after strident demands by the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party MPs from Assam to rid the State of “Bangladeshis,” a phrase that many from the minority community say is aimed at targeting them, irrespective of nationality, and one that can swiftly turn into a security nightmare not just for governments in Delhi and Dispur, but also for ordinary people caught up in a storm. For a moment, the “Bangladeshi” issue has moved away from the headlines because of other events that have captured public attention. …

The Modi government must send a clear and unambiguous message to its members and followers that they cannot take law into their hands over the issue of “Bangladeshis.” This could spread fear, tension, mistrust and worse in Assam. Due process must be followed – otherwise there is acute danger of violence, tragedy and abuse of human rights just because of a person’s religion. Isn’t the Pune murder of the young Muslim techie by Hindu thugs a warning and wake-up call?

The media must play a sober role in this because definitions of “Bangladeshis” are often blurred and arbitrary. We need to abide by the recent judgment in the Meghalaya High Court which, while stating the obvious, defined a Bangladeshi as someone who came to India after the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Many tend to look at much earlier cut off dates in their search for “illegal migrants.”

New Delhi needs to inform all State governments in the region – whichever the party – that the murder of innocents, of whichever ethnicity, religion or language group, and the abuse of rights by armed groups (or security forces) and local thugs is unacceptable. Such violations need to be met with a cabrated robust response aimed at showing results in a specific time frame.


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India must stop denying caste and gender violence – By Nilanjana S Roy (Jun 11, 2014, BBC)

When I think of Badaun, the small village in India’s Uttar Pradesh state near the spot where two young girls were raped and then hanged from a mango tree, one detail out of all of the horror is inescapable: their deaths were by no means inevitable. …

According to a Reuters report, when the girls did not come back, the father of one went to report the missing children to the police. The constable on duty slapped him and sent him away. This is the detail that cannot be forgotten. If the father had not been from a less privileged caste, if the police had searched for the girls, they might have been found before their assailants hanged them from the tree on the village common. …

One of the most horrifying aspects of the Badaun crimes is how normal they are, fitting the general pattern of caste crimes. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) records crimes against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – the most disadvantaged groups – in a separate category. These crimes are grievously under-reported, but even so the figures for 2012 are revealing: 651 cases of murder, 3,855 cases where people were hurt, 1,576 cases of rape, 490 cases of kidnapping and abduction, and 214 cases of arson.

The need to end the collective denial is urgent if the country is to acknowledge just how widespread the epidemic of violence is, and how savage the caste and gender wars have become. Those at the receiving end of the ropes and the flames are so often the poorest, the most marginalised, the most profoundly silenced.

In Delhi last week, the families from Bhagana were briefly evicted from their place of protest. The police had been casually violent; a complaint alleges that the protesters, many of them women, were beaten and sexually assaulted by police officers. After some negotiation, they were allowed to continue with the protest.


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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 19th, 2014

by newsdigest on May 20, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup


News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials


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 –, 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 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


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

Noted human rights activist Mukul Sinha dies

Gujarat fake encounters are similar: Mukul Sinha

Mukul Sinha’s open letter to 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.


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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.


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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.


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

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.


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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”.


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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.


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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.


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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.”…


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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.


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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.


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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. …


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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. …


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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. …


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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.” …


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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.…


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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.…


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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 20th, 2014

January 21, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Witch-hunt against Teesta Setalvad an indictment of Gujarat government say Indian Americans News Headlines Gujarat incident cannot be forgotten or pardoned, Nitish Kumar says Burqa-clad women were actually male RSS workers: Congress Third ex-judge refuses to probe snoopgate 3 POTA accused walk free for want of proof […]

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Muzaffarnagar carnage a planned tactic of communal politics

September 16, 2013

Indian Americans condemn purveyors of hate for the massacres and UP government for its criminal inaction. Sunday, September 15th, 2013 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC –, an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the politics of violence and hate that has taken the lives of over 50 people and […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 19th, 2013

August 20, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines HC confirms conviction of 9 for post-Godhra riots Hindu supremacist Narendra Modi should not be invited to the Commons Narendra Modi’s attack on PM on I-day leaves some BJP leaders squirming CBI finds common link in Haren Pandya murder, Ishrat encounter Karat sees BJP, RSS role […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 15th, 2013

April 16, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Zakia moves court, challenges clean chit to Modi in Gulbarg massacre Narendra Modi failed to tackle Gujarat riots in 2002: JD(U) Fake encounter case: Non-bailable warrants against 19 policemen India policemen suspended for ‘taking bribes’ in Mumbai RSS worker on bike with explosives dies in blast […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 10th, 2012

December 11, 2012

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 25th, 2012

June 26, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Communal violence erupts in Pratapgarh of UP Gulberg: Court raps SIT, asks for probe report NDA’s disarray has to do with the BJP’s Hindutva parochialism ‘Tulsiram saw policemen picking Sohrabuddin, wife’ (Jun 23, 2012, Indian Express Fake Encounter by ATS, Claims Mumbai Blast Accused Police, administration […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 14th, 2011

November 14, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 31 Indians Convicted in Violence That Killed Muslims in 2002 Riot cop who battled state vendetta: Witness lost constable job A lead the SIT ignored on Gujarat riots Nadeem Saiyed murdered to scare other Gujarat riot case witnesses? Bhatt demands security against ‘Modi supporters, Hindu fanatics’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 17th, 2011

October 17, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony docu bags international award Hindus, Muslims to rule Ambur Municipality News Headlines Prashant Bhushan bashed up, attacker held SC rejects Gujarat govt. petition, will continue monitoring riot cases Move against Bhatt smacks of vendetta: former Gujarat DGP Sanjiv Bhatt case: Cops quiz lawyer; seize […]

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