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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 27th, 2015

by newsdigest on July 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Irony of ironies: Judge afraid for her life after convicting Modi’s minister in Gujarat riots! (Jul 23, 2015, Daily Bhaskar)

Former judge Jyotsna Yagnik has accused the Gujarat government of turning a deaf ear to her requests to enhance her security. She has reportedly been receiving threats in the form of calls and letters. In August 2012, Yagnik, who was the judge of special trial court, had convicted 31 accused persons including BJP leader and former minister Mayaben Kodnani and a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Babu Bajrangi under the charges of criminal conspiracy for killing 97 people at Naroda Patiya area here.

“They (state government) have turned a deaf ear to my request. As it is said in court – status quo, so there is status quo,” Yagnik, who recently received threat calls and letters, said when queried on whether government has taken any action on her demand. Yagnik said she has been receiving threat calls and letters for a long time and repeatedly requested the state government to upgrade her security to “Z” level from the present “Y” level.

Yagnik also commented on the issue of some convicts approaching High Court judges when their appeals were pending. “When they (convicts of Naroda Patiya riot case) can approach the High Court judges, you people may imagine under what pressure, a trial court judge would have delivered the judgment,” she said.…

http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/NAT-TOP-riots-case-judge-in-gujarat-fears-for-her-security-5061514-NOR.html

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Teesta Setalvad accuses Modi govt of ‘vendetta’ to silence her (Jul 24, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Activist Teesta Setalvad, a long-time critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Gujarat riots 13 years ago, says an investigation into allegations she received illegal funding is a “vendetta” designed to silence her.

Setalvad told AFP she was being targeted by the government because of her fierce criticism of Modi following deadly violence in Gujarat in 2002 when he was the chief minister.

“It’s nothing short of a vendetta because even if it were to be seen as an offence, it’s an economic offence if at all, and it should be examined by the courts,” she said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/teesta-setalvad-accuses-modi-govt-of-vendetta-to-silence-her/article1-1372637.aspx

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1500 ‘encounter’ deaths under glare (Jul 14, 2015, The Telegraph)

The Supreme Court today said it might order the CBI to probe as many as 1,500 extra-judicial killings carried out under a controversial law that gives security personnel sweeping powers, or refer them to trial courts under whose jurisdiction the alleged fake encounters took place.

All the alleged encounters took place in insurgency-affected Manipur, one of the states where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in force.

A three-member panel the top court had appointed had earlier submitted a preliminary report that said at least six of the cases it had taken up as a sample survey clearly indicated they were all staged.…

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150714/jsp/nation/story_31454.jsp

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Will perpetrators of Babri masjid demolition be hanged too, asks Owaisi (Jul 24, 2015, The Hindu)

Triggering controversy over capital punishment to Yakub Memon in Mumbai blasts case, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday sought to know whether the perpetrators of demolition of disputed structure in Ayodhya, communal riots of Mumbai and Gujarat and other such sensational cases would get a similar punishment.

“Why have not perpetrators of demolition of Babri Masjid been convicted and will they also be given capital punishment as that is the original sin?” the Hyderabad MP said while addressing a gathering here. Alleging that the recommendations of Sri Krishna Commission have been put in cold storage both by the BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP governments in Maharashtra, he wondered how many have been convicted in the Mumbai riots of December, 1992 and January, 1993. …

He claimed that the Narendra Modi government did not allow SIT investigating the case of Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, convicted for life in a Gujarat riots case, to appeal and enhance it to death sentence. “Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi convicted to life for killing 97 Muslims were given conviction for life and Narender Modi’s government did not allow SIT investigating the case to appeal and enhance it to death. SIT dropped its plans for both Kodnani and Bajrangi,” he alleged.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/will-perpetrators-of-babri-masjid-demolition-be-hanged-too-asks-owaisi/article7460484.ece

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India Sees a Sharp Rise in Communal Violence in the First Five Months of 2015 (Jul 21, 2015, Time)

Incidents of communal violence in India rose by nearly a quarter in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, the Economic Times reports. The newspaper, citing data from India’s Home Ministry, also reported a rise in deaths from communal violence, which rose from 26 between January and May 2014 to 43 over the same period this year.

Outbreaks of communal violence, meanwhile, rose from 232 during the first five months of 2014, when a Congress Party-led coalition government was in power in New Delhi, to 287 over the same period this year. The Congress Party–led administration was displaced in last year’s national elections in May by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party led by the country’s current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Overall, 2014 saw a decline in communal violence, with the number of incidents dropping to 644 from 823 the previous year. The number of related deaths also fell, declining to 95 in 2014 from 133 in 2013.…

http://time.com/3965515/india-communal-violence-rise/

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Video shows Rajasthan BJP MLA Shimla Bawri saying she gave money to journalists (Jul 22, 2015, Indian Express)

A BJP MLA from Rajasthan has reportedly claimed that she sent ‘envelopes’ containing cash to all journalists in her constituency before the 2013 Assembly polls. Anupgarh MLA Shimla Bawri reportedly made the revelation at a recent event organised by local journalists to honour her for facilitating allotment of plots of land for journalists in the district.

The video of her speech, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, shows the MLA saying she had sent “envelopes” containing cash to all journalists in the constituency. Three of the journalists returned the envelopes saying they would take the money from her after she won, she added.

The MLA went on to lament the “fall” in standards of journalism. When contacted, Bawri rubbished the allegations and said the video had been “edited” and doctored. She said she would raise the issue in the Assembly.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/video-shows-rajasthan-bjp-mla-saying-she-gave-money-to-journalists/

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SC upholds ban on hijab and long sleeves in pre-medical test (Jul 25, 2015, Times of India)

The Supreme Court on Friday firmly declined to entertain the trend of flaunting religious beliefs to seek immunity from dress code, asking three Muslim girls and little-known Students Islamic Organization of India to follow the code prescribed by CBSE for the All India Pre-Medical Test.

Buoyed by the Kerala high court’s recent order allowing two Muslim girls to wear head scarf during examination, SIOI and the students requested the SC to grant similar relaxation to all Muslim girls during AIPMT by permitting them to wear full-sleeved dress with head scarf.

Appearing for them, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde said, “It is a matter of religious belief. Muslim women and girls are required by religion to be attired in full-sleeve clothing and scarf whenever they appear in public. If the relaxation in dress code is not granted, these Muslim girls may have to drop out of the examination.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48209334.cms

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UP beautification plan near Babri site irks Muslims (Jul 25, 2015, Times of India)

The Akhilesh government has chalked out an elaborate plan to improve amenities and beautify the areas around the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. However, even before the government can implement its plan, Muslims, particularly the litigants in the title suit, have opposed the proposal saying any maintenance activity at and around the disputed site would violate Supreme Court’s order for maintaining status quo and also hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.…

Opposing the proposal, Khaliq Ahmad Khan, nominee of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, one of the main litigants from the Muslim side in the Supreme Court, told TOI: “It is not a picnic spot. It is a disputed land and the title suit is sub-judice before the Supreme Court. There was a mosque before December 6,1992, which was pulled down unlawfully by a gathering of communal mob, so beautifying it will hurt the sentiments of Muslims worldwide. The government should only ensure the security of the site and not try to turn it into a tourist attraction.”

Senior lawyer and vice chairman of Babri Masjid Action Committee, Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqi, said, “The Supreme Court in its order of March 30, 2003, has made it very clear that status quo would be maintained both on the disputed site and acquired land. So, why is the government so keen on beautifying such a disputed place?”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48209355.cms

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Asaram rape case: UP recommends CBI probe into witness murder (Jul 25, 2015, Indian Express)

Uttar Pradesh government on Friday recommended a CBI probe into the murder of Akhil Kumar Gupta, a key witness in a rape case against self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu. Gupta (38), who worked as a cook and personal aide of Asaram, was shot dead in Muzaffarnagar on January 11. “A CBI probe has been recommended to facilitate investigation into the murder of witness Akhil Gupta,” said Debashis Panda, principal secretary (Home) in Lucknow.

Muzaffarnagar resident Gupta was questioned by Gujarat Police in 2013 in connection with the alleged rape of two sisters in Surat, and had given a statement against Asaram. Both Asaram and his son have been booked in the case.

Gupta was the second witness to be killed after Amrut Prajapati who was shot dead in June 2014. Another witness Kripal Singh was killed earlier this month. Gupta’s wife Varsha, also a witness in the case, had written to the state government requesting for CBI probe.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/asaram-witness-murder-case-up-govt-recommends-cbi-probe-in-akhil-guptas-death/

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Dalit-upper caste brawl in Gujarat town off Ahmedabad: Police refuse protection to victims, says letter to CM (Jul 22, 2015, Counterview)

In a gruesome incident in a town situated situated just about 60 kilometres from one of India’s topmost business hubs, Ahmedabad, Dalits were badly beaten up, with authorities remaining “indifferent”. In a letter to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, one of the members of the family which claimed to have become “victim” of the brawl caused by objections to occupying a public space for private function has complained that, despite strong plea, the Dalits were “refused” police protection.…

“The way to our house was totally blocked. There was no space for us to go out”, Chauhan said, adding, “When our family members requested them to remove the vehicles, first the upper castemen started abusing us, and when we objected to using such language, they badly beat three our family members, including my mother, Champaben.”

Suggesting that those who beat them up had strong political connections, as one of them was a local councillor of Viramgam municipality, Chauhan said, “They were around 200 to 250 persons, while we just just a handful. We phoned up the police from the spot, when they were beating us up, but nobody came to our rescue.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2015/07/dalit-upper-caste-brawl-in-gujarat-town.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Hindutva In Hurry – By Shamsul Islam (Jul 25, 2015, Countercurrents)

Political arm of the RSS, BJP could secure only 31% of the total votes polled in the 2014 parliamentary elections (if this percentage is analyzed in context of the total voters in the country this percentage would further drop down to less than 17 percent). This clearly showed that 69% of the Indians; 80% of whom were Hindus did not vote for BJP. However, overlooking this reality the masters of BJP; the RSS top brass boasted that BJP’s victory put “an end to 800 years of slavery” and by 2020 “entire country will be Hindu”. The VHP patron Ashok Singhal went to the extent of declaring that by “2030 the entire world will be Hindu”.

With this frame of mind RSS is getting more myopic and accelerated its game of turning a democratic-secular India into a Hindu theocratic polity. In fact, such over-bearing attitude may be the outcome of feeling of insecurity of the Hindutva leadership which knows that the Hindus of this country do not subscribe to their kind of theocratic politics and in the next elections they may be shown the door by the India electorate. After getting political power they seem to be in hurry and resorting to all kinds of tricks to capture national institutions specially belonging to the realms of art, culture and academia. This clique knows that time is running out fast and they need to bulldoze.

After appointing a twelfth class pass as HRD minister, the eminent national institutions have been brought under the clutches of RSS cadres. The Indian Council of Historical Research witnessed the appointment of Y Sudershan Rao, an old RSS cadre, a votary of ‘sanatan’ Hindu religion, as its chairperson. The National Book Trustwas given under the charge of Baldev Sharma, former editor of RSS Hindi mouthpiece Panchajanya. Lokesh Chandra was crowned as head of The Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Chandra while talking of Narendra Modi says: “Woh bhagwan ke avatar hain (He is reincarnation of God)”. He goes to the extent of claiming that Modi “from a practical point of view supersedes the Mahatma”. The list is endless but all have not succumbed to the Hindutva juggernaut.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam250715.htm

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Modi, Terrorism and Indian Muslims – By Irfan Engineer (Jul 21, 2015, Muslim Mirror)

In an interview to CNN’s Freed Zakaria ahead of his US visit, Prime Minister Modi said that Indian Muslims would live and die for India and would not want to do anything bad for India. (Express News Service, 2014).…

However, in the year 2001, Narendrea Modi had claimed, “All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” (Varadarajan, 2002). Later the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi used this statement extensively in his subsequent election campaigns. Following the 2002 massacre of Muslims and sexual assaults on Muslim women in many districts of Gujarat, there was anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic frenzy being whipped up by Gujarati Media. Modi did nothing to assuage this frenzy.…

The massacre of Muslims in Gujarat was followed a gaurav yatra undertaken by Modi invoking “Gujarati pride”, which he claimed was hurt by the secularists who stigmatized all Gujaratis for the 2002 carnage. He would typically ask the people he was addressing – “Are you all murderers?” The next State Assembly elections after the riots were fought against not the opposition Congress Party, but “the Mian Musharraf” mentality of Muslims.… While Modi was the Chief Minister of the state, Gujarat Police gunned down several Muslims alleging them to be terrorists belonging to outfits across the border.… Prime Minister Modi is not offering any explanation as to which of his numerous assessments of Indian Muslims really represents his honest opinion? Or have his opinions changed? What new information he received which led to the change?…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/modi-terrorism-and-indian-muslims/

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The missing conservative intellectuals – By G. Sampath (Jul 25, 2015, The Hindu)

The appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan – described by some sections of the media as a “C-lister” – to the chairmanship of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has once again raised questions about the scarcity of credible, right-wing intellectuals.

It is no secret that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been struggling to find intellectuals to head various academic and cultural institutions. According to media reports, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had even set up an informal committee to come up with saffron-friendly candidates for some 680 positions. But it could come up with only 160 names. Even these 160 people, one presumes, included the likes of Mr. Chauhan…

None of these names has inspired much confidence in the constituencies these bodies serve. Many have charged the NDA with not just saffronising but also degrading the country’s premier institutions by appointing underqualified candidates to the post.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-missing-conservative-intellectuals/article7461274.ece

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Justice or vengeance? – By Lubhyathi Rangarajan (Jul 24, 2015, The Hindu)

There is a worrying certainty around the hanging of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, convicted for planning and executing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The Maharashtra government seems determined to execute him on July 30 despite several omissions on its part and constitutional options still remaining open for Memon. These concerns have gone unaddressed, given the obsession with both the manner in which Memon is likely to be executed and his demeanour on hearing his fate.…

In Memon’s case, the death warrant that was issued on April 30, 2015 scheduling his execution for July 30, 2015 was unnecessary and invalid in law. The Maharashtra government should have known that Memon still had the option of filing a curative petition. Before proceeding to execute an individual, it is the government’s obligation to ensure that all legal options have been explored. Moving for an execution in a clandestine manner, hoping that the prisoner would not exercise his constitutional options, reeks of vengeance. The fact that the Maharashtra government thought it fit not to give notice of the death warrant proceedings to Memon or his lawyers casts a serious shadow over the manner in which the government sought to proceed on the matter.…

Constitutional safeguards allow prisoners on death row, regardless of the offence they may have committed, to exhaust all legal remedies and to be spared hurried, arbitrary and secret executions. Yakub Memon cannot be denied the opportunity to exercise his legal options, and it would be a dangerous precedent to preclude him from doing so. The taking of life by the state must be subject to the highest levels of constitutional scrutiny. To deny someone fundamental rights on the basis of public demands for revenge would cast serious questions over our claim of being a modern constitutional democracy.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/yakub-memons-death-warrant-suffers-from-serious-constitutional-flaws/article7457166.ece

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Silencing Teesta Setalvad – By Julio Ribeiro (Jul 24, 2015, Indian Express)

The “caged parrot” that sings to its master’s tune is at it again. Twelve “parrots” searched Teesta Setalvad’s home and office in Mumbai for proof that she had used foreign donations to her NGO for private purposes. I would think that the CBI has weightier matters to deal with but Setalvad has offended those in power with her single-minded devotion to the cause of justice for Gujarat’s Muslims. If not for this intrepid woman, the injustices of Delhi 1984 would have been repeated in Gujarat.

Setalvad has fought the case almost single-handedly. I, for one, would not have had the patience and perseverance to fight for so many years through the maze of our judicial system. She kept vigil over grovelling police investigators, partisan prosecutors and timid adjudicators to finally force the system to convict a few of the murderers, including a minister in the state’s cabinet and a notorious thug of the extreme right. This required guts and determination that only she could muster.

The allegation that Setalvad has diverted funds supplied by the Ford Foundation for personal use has been summarily discarded by all who know her and her husband, Javed Anand. Both live simply and frugally, have no social life outside their one overarching interest of “communal harmony”, and have no taste at all for the good life. Setalvad hails from an old, respected Gujarati family settled in Mumbai for more than a century. Her family has a long tradition in the legal profession. Teesta was born with the proverbial silver spoon and could have lived a life of leisure, but instead chose to stand up and fight for causes. It is inconceivable that she could have misused any money she had sourced from foreign donors to sustain the work of her NGO. If the government wants to ferret out acts of non-compliance with the laws of the land it will be able to silence any citizen.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/silencing-teestathe-courts-must-step-in-when-governments-persecute-individuals-like-setalvad/

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Rot Runs Deeper In MP – By Ankush Vats (Aug 1, 2015, Tehelka)

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team is in Bhopal to probe the Vyapam scam, following the Supreme Court directive. The central investigative agency will look into the alleged rigging in Pre-Medical Test (pmt) and corrupt practices involved in offering government jobs across Madhya Pradesh. However, the improprieties are not limited to Vyapam examinations alone. Some of the accused involved in the Vyapam scam have also had a role to play in corruption at various levels in other government institutes as well.

It seems that an unholy nexus reigns supreme in the state that looks after all the recruitments and postings in colleges, bypassing all the eligibility norms. Sources tell Tehelka that the education mafia includes state government officials, local goons and governor’s office staff.

Few professors working with reputed engineering colleges tell Tehelka that most of the recruitments in government colleges at Madhya Pradesh (both central as well as state government) have been challenged in various courts. They (education mafia) recruit their own people, in return for a hefty sum (bribe). This is the case with most of the government colleges in the state.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/07/rot-runs-deeper-in-mp/

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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.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/barti-to-take-communal-harmony-lessons-to-schools-may-train-teachers/

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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.

http://www.timesofassam.com/headlines/rise-communal-tensions-bjp-government-formed-center/

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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.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/36635876.cms

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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.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gujarat-hc-directs-nanavati-panel-to-allow-sanjiv-bhat-examine-intel-reports-during-2002-riots/

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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.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/ibs-ngo-scare-report-to-modi-plagiarises-from-old-modi-speech/

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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. …

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/cover-story/Disappearance-of-key-witness-two-ex-ATS-officers-in-the-dock/articleshow/36405053.cms

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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.

http://www.asianage.com/mumbai/custodial-death-sexual-abuse-hc-orders-fir-against-9-cops-971

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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. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/36364838.cms

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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.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/mp-recruitment-scam-ex-minister-held/

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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.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/36333692.cms

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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.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140614/nation-current-affairs/article/shame-modi-sarkar-rape-survivor-wants-cbi-probe-names-nihal

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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.

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar110614.htm

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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: …

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/cause-vs-catwalk/article6107356.ece

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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.

http://www.epw.in/editorials/murder-most-foul.html

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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.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/the-great-ngo-scare/

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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.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-northeastern-challenge/article6095004.ece

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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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27774908

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 19th, 2014

May 20, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Mukul Sinha’s demise a loss for justice and accountability say Indian Americans News Headlines Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat police, orders release of Akshardham convicts ‘Modi’s remarks fuelled violence in Assam’ Bail plea of three riot accused rejected MBT demands registration of murder cases against police for firing […]

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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 – www.iamc.com), 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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