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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 4th, 2017

by newsdigest on September 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Gurudwara opens doors to Muslims to offer namaz on Eid-ul-Adha (Sep 2, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Muslims and Sikhs on Saturday set an example of communal harmony in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, 300 kilometres from here, when the local gurudwara offered Muslims space to offer Eid prayers. Muslims had gathered at a local ground in large numbers to offer prayers on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Zuha, but could not proceed due to incessant overnight rains. This is when Gurudwara Singh Sabha stepped in and welcomed them to the gurudwara.

“Be it Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims we have a strong bonding in Joshimath. The senior management from the Gurudwara sahib and the Muslim community held a short meeting on Saturday morning and made quick arrangements for the prayers,” Buta Singh, manager, Shri Hemkund Sahib gurudwara, told HT on phone. More than 500 Muslims offered Namaaz in the retiring hall of the gurdwara, he said.…

This is not the first time that Sikhs have offered space for Eid prayers. On August 20, 2012, the Muslims prayed at the same gurudwara. Joshimath is believed to be the last place in the state towards the China border where Muslims offer Namaaz. Beyond Joshimath lies Badrinath, one of four shrines of the Chardham pilgrimage of Hindus. “Though we keep hearing stories about growing hatred in the society, by Allah’s grace we never witnessed such negative things here,” said Rais Ahmad (50).…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/gurudwara-opens-doors-to-muslims-to-offer-namaz-on-eid-ul-adha/story-YOrYOevzJuhVobs2z6ptSM.html

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Probe said Purohit held ‘illegal’ meetings with radical Hindu groups (Aug 31, 2017, Indian Express)

Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the 2008 Malegaon blast case after nine years in prison, has repeatedly argued that he was the Army’s mole in radical Hindu organisations. This was also a key argument in his plea for bail. However, a 2011 inquiry report of the Directorate General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) had found his presence in several of the Hindutva group meetings to be “illegal”.

The DGMI probe, which began in October 2008, shortly after Purohit’s name cropped up in the 2008 Malegaon blast, revealed that beginning October 2007, Purohit used his “relaxed work environment” at the Army Education Corps (AEC) Training College to hold meetings and negotiations with prominent religious leaders and arms dealers. Most of these meetings – with people such as Swami Aseemanand, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, then RSS chief K S Sudarshan, VHP chief Praveen Togadia, Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and an arms dealer from Bangladesh with radical Hindutva links – were illegal, the probe held.

Among his various records of absence from the AEC college, the DGMI report details one on December 24, 2007, when he attended a meeting organised by Swami Aseemanand in Pune. “The meeting was attended by Vilas Pawar of Sree Ram Sena (Karnataka), Pramod Muthalik of Hindustan Rashtriya Sena, Bharat Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai of Vivekanand Kendra (Gujarat) and Dr Seetharamaiah (Andhra Pradesh). Abhinav Bharat (the radical organisation founded by Purohit) was represented by Sudhkar Chaturvedi, Ajay Rahirkar and the officer,” the report said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/lt-col-prasad-shrikant-purohit-malegaon-blast-probe-said-purohit-held-illegal-meetings-with-radical-hindu-groups-4821363/

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‘Qurbani’ Of Cow, Buffalo, Camel, Ox On Eid Ul-Adha To Invite Gangsters Act (Sep 2, 2017, NDTV)

In a strict order, local authorities warned that the stringent Gangsters Act would be invoked against those who sacrifice cow, buffalo, camel, or ox as ‘Qurbani’ during Bakrid today. “All police stations under Sambhal tehsil have been alerted to invoke the Gangsters Act against anyone sacrificing cow, buffalo, camel or ox on the occasion of Bakrid,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sambhal Rashid Khan said.

Till last year, animal sacrifice was carried out at government slaughterhouses but their closure has created a difficult situation in Uttar Pradesh and confusion prevailed among the Muslim community on the eve of Bakrid. Besides, the movable and immovable property of those involved in such a sacrifice will be impounded, he said.…

A person booked under the provision of Gangsters Act becomes part of a gang listed in police records. It entitles the police to keep track of those booked under the Act and issue summons to them for attendance at the local police station for questioning even if no fresh case is lodged against them.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bakra-eid-2017-qurbani-of-cow-buffalo-camel-ox-on-eid-ul-adha-to-invite-gangsters-act-1745129

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‘Cow sheds in BJP states silent slaughterhouses’ (Aug 24, 2017, Times of India)

BSP chief Mayawati said on Wednesday that if the BJP government cared to protect cows in sheds owned by government it won’t be seen as ‘saffron appeasement’. Referring to incidents of death of cows in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, Mayawati said PM Narendra Modi did not even discuss the issue with the chief ministers of the two states when he met them recently. “Governments in BJP-ruled states should stop the cow sheds from becoming silent slaughterhouses,” she said.

Mayawati said the poor condition of “gau mata” was because of corruption in BJP-ruled states. She said though BJP made cow protection a political, communal and casteist issue, it did not bother to curtail cruelty against it.

Mayawati also accused the BJP of trying to make cow protection a political issue like Ram Mandir. The former UP chief minister referred to incidents of atrocities against Dalits on the pretext of cow protection and said the BJP has infused an atmosphere of fear and apprehension amongst the lower caste community.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60203620.cms

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‘Who is next?’: Killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh sparks protests (Sep 6, 2017, Washington Post)

The killing of a prominent journalist and government critic outside her home in Bangalore prompted protests in major Indian cities Wednesday and a national uproar about the shrinking space for free speech in the world’s most populous democracy.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot in the head and chest Tuesday on her doorstep by motorcycle-riding gunmen. Although police have not yet identified suspects or possible motives, Lankesh’s death is widely being attributed to her work as a journalist and activist.

“They want us to be intimidated,” said Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, former editor of the academic journal Economic and Political Weekly, speaking at the Press Club here. “I hope that a thousand Gauri Lankeshes will be born and will rise among us.”…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/who-is-next-killing-of-indian-journalist-gauri-lankesh-sparks-protests/2017/09/06/e0f2e6f8-9271-11e7-8482-8dc9a7af29f9_story.html

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Past Continuous: How Communal Political Campaigning Changed Post Gujarat 2002 (Aug 29, 2017, The Wire)

Fifteen years ago, almost to the date, for the first time, India witnessed an electoral campaign in which majoritarian pride and identity were harnessed by a political party and its principal leaders brazenly. Religion or the R-factor played a role in elections from the first general polls in 1952.… But Narendra Modi’s first electoral campaign in 2002 changed all that: for the first time the leader of a party and its chief campaigner revelled in mounting a campaign inlaid with hate against Muslims.

While the foreign hand had been previously mentioned by Indira, Modi campaigned that a direct link existed between Gujarati Muslims, Pervez (Mian) Musharraf, Pakistan and terrorists. It must be recalled that the election was held not just in the backdrop of the aftermath of the Godhra riots but also in the wake of 9/11, the heinous assaults on the state assembly in Srinagar and the attack on parliament.

The 2002 Gujarat assembly election that is instrumental in the making of Modi, remains a decisive milestone in the pathway of communalising electoral campaigns in India. While earlier, leaders resorted to using symbolism – for instance visiting a temple, a mosque, a dargah or a gurudwara – all pretensions were dropped by Modi and he resorted to the use of direct language, at times derogatory.…

https://thewire.in/171971/past-continuous-modi-communal-political-campaign-gujarat- 2002/

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BJP Has Most Number Of MPs, MLAs With Cases Of Crime Against Women, Followed By Shiv Sena (Aug 31, 2017, India Times)

In the run up to the 2014 general elections on of the issues the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaigned on the most is women’s safety and increasing crimes against women under the UPA rule. But now it turns out the BJP has the most number of elected representatives with cases related to crimes against women.

According to a study by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-government organisation working for electoral reforms, as many as 51 MPs and MLAs have declared cases of crime against women, including of alleged rape and abduction. Out of 51, 48 are Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and three are Members of Parliament (MPs).

BJP has the highest number of MPs and MLAs (14), followed by the Shiv Sena (7) and the All India Trinamool Congress (6) who have declared cases related to crime against women.… Out of the analysed 1,581 (33%) MPs and MLAs with declared criminal cases, 51 have declared cases related to crimes against women, it said. Besides, 334 candidates analysed who had declared cases related to crime against women were given tickets by recognised political parties, ADR said.

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/bjp-has-most-number-of-mps-mlas-with-cases-of- crime-against-women-followed-by-shiv-sena-328843.html

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Taj Mahal is Muslim tomb not Hindu temple, Indian court told (Aug 30, 2017, The Guardian)

A court in India has heard testimony from government archaeologists that the Taj Mahal is a Muslim mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor to honour his dead wife – delivering an official riposte to claims it is a Hindu temple.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects monuments of national importance, had been ordered to give its view in response to a petition filed by six lawyers stating that the Unesco world heritage site in the city of Agra had originally been a temple called Tejo Mahalaya dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva.

The petition also demanded that Hindus be allowed to worship in it. Only Muslims are permitted to offer prayers at the 17th-century monument.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/30/taj-mahal-muslim-tomb-not-hindu-temple- indian-court-told

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Raghuram Rajan breaks silence, says neither he nor RBI under him wanted demonetisation (Sep 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has revealed that he did not favour demonetisation as he felt the short term economic costs associated with such a disruptive decision would outweigh any longer term benefits from it.

Rajan makes the disclosure in his latest book – I do what I do – which is a compilation of speeches he delivered on a wide range of issues as the RBI governor. Although he maintains the book is not a tell-all, the short introductions and postscripts accompanying the pieces offer fascinating insights into his uneasy relationship and differences with the present government.

“At no point during my term was the RBI asked to make a decision on demonetisation,” Rajan has said, putting to rest speculation that preparations for scrapping high-value banknotes got underway many months before Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the surprise announcement on November 8.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/raghuram-rajan-breaks-silence-says-he-wasn- t-on-board-for-demonetisation/story-6rXr8VWBpFd4w37NySulEN.html

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Not One But Several US Biometric Companies Involved In Aadhaar, Govt Evasive, SC Prepares for Verdict (Aug 27, 2017, The Citizen)

…As per rulings of the court it is established that no Central or State Government can coerce citizens to access subsidies by sacrificing their private data by enrolling for UID/Aadhaar given the fact that they have a right to subsidy. No Government has the constitutional power to make right to have rights condition precedent.

After the trashing of UID/Aadhaar by Lok Sabha’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and later by Rajya Sabha, the Constitution Bench of the Court too has trashed government’s position after seeing through the coercive and unconstitutional nature of UID/Aadhaar number project by deciding the matter of right to privacy raised by Attorney General amidst hearing on some 20 cases challenging it.

Subsequent to the verdict of 9-Judge Bench, another bench will decide the constitutionality UID/Aadhaar and the passage of Aadhaar Act as Money Bill amidst gnawing national security concerns because of involvement of foreign governments and their companies which are eyeing rich assets of personal sensitive information of present and future Indians for all times to come.

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/11572/Not-One-But-Several-US-Biometric-Companies-Involved-In-Aadhaar-Govt-Evasive-SC-Prepares-for-Verdict

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Anti-conversion laws will not help India (Aug 15, 2017, Washington Times)

Early this month, the state government in Jharkhand, northern India, introduced a new Freedom of Religion Bill. At first glance, the name of this bill suggests an important step forward in human rights for India, but it’s actually the opposite. The bill is a cleverly disguised anti-conversion law, and it’s not the first to be introduced in the country.

Despite the fact that the Indian constitution clearly defines and protects the freedom to practice and propagate religion, radical members of both national parties – Congress and the BJP – have already managed to pass anti-conversion laws in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Arunachal Pradesh.

When the new bill passes in Jharkhand – a draft has already been approved by the Cabinet – anyone found guilty of the vague crime of converting people could be sentenced to a minimum three years in jail.…

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/15/india-anti-conversion-laws-are-outrageous/

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Opinions and Editorials

My spineless country murdered Gauri Lankesh in cold blood – By Rana Ayyub (Sep 6, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The last time I had a detailed conversation with Gauri Lankesh, we both laughed as she tried to get a grip over the pronunciation of “nincompoop”. It was the term she used to describe those who threatened her with dire consequences. Gauri was getting Gujarat Files – my book on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s roles in the 2002 Gujarat carnage – translated into Kannada, to be published by her in house Lankesh Publication.

She was the first person to reach out to me in June 2016 after I self-published the book. Gauri’s subsequent arrest in a defamation case and the routine threats she encountered from various organisations ensured that the publication got delayed.

I suggested to her that I could ask another publication take over because she was embroiled in a legal suit. But she simply laughed and said, “Darling, I am stronger than these nincompoops.” Only two days ago, I wrote an emotional Facebook post about being under constant attack from the Right, as skewed leaks by those in power targeted me during my recent trip to Canada.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gauri-lankesh-hindutva-critic-murder-journalist-deaths-rana-ayyub-writes/story/1/19368.html

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Dera violence: How BJP funded & promoted the monster called Ram Rahim Singh – By Aditya Menon, Anurag Dey (Aug 26, 2017, Catch News)

Large scale violence broke out in parts of Haryana and Punjab soon after a CBI court in Panchkula convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape. Over 30 people had been killed in Haryana in the violence at the time of writing this story.

The BJP government in Haryana stands accused of gross administrative failure. On the eve of the verdict, it allowed lakhs of Dera supporters, or Premis as they are called, to gather at Panchkula. Dera supporters also mobilised themselves at Sirsa, the Dera’s bastion.

The administrative failure of the Manohar Lal Khattar government stems from its political compulsions. The BJP in Haryana enjoys close ties with Dera Sacha Sauda and this seems to have impaired it from cracking down on Dera goons on time. Nothing embodies this failure more than Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma’s comment that the Section 144 imposed in Panchkula “did not apply to Dera supporters”.… The Modi government also used Ram Rahim to push its Swachh Bharat initiative.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/dera-violence-how-bjp-funded-promoted-the-monster-called-ram-rahim-78829.html

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Tantric Rites In The Bed – By G.C. Shekhar (Sep 11, 2017, Outlook)

Say “Sex and the Swamiji” in Tamil Nadu and the first name that pops up is that of Nithyananda. A video footage of Nithi (nickname given by the Tamil media) gallivanting on the bed with a Tamil actress continues to be one of the most watched footages on YouTube even six years after it was first aired on television.

This tall, dusky young man – originally A. Rajasekharan, from the pilgrim town of Thiruvannamalai – could spellbind audiences with his fluent oratory on Hindu spirituality. It stayed, till he got undone by a hidden video camera. That plot by two of his own disillusioned followers stripped him of his halo and exposed him as a sexual pervert.

There were others too fed up with Nithyananda’s wayward and pretentious ways. Like, a mechanical engineer who used to work in the US and surrendered at the feet of Nithyananda in search of spiritual awakening. Now 42, she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the swami. The godman brainwashed her into believing that she was only doing “guru seva” by subjecting herself to his carnal pleasures.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/tantric-rites-in-the-bed/299261

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Implications for Aadhaar – By Usha Ramanathan (Sep 15, 2017, Frontline)

The nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has propelled the privacy right to a place that is far higher than it was before this decision. In 2012, when the Justice A.P. Shah Committee (of which I was a member) was considering the contours of the right, it was a right that had been developing incrementally, case by case, and slowly acquiring an identity in fundamental rights jurisprudence.

Some even considered it a “weak” right. That is now a thing of the past. While the detailing of the right will continue to happen as situations emerge where the right is asserted, the status of the right has been definitively pronounced by the nine-judge bench. The right to privacy is now a part of the rights and freedoms that are in the “Fundamental Rights” Chapter of the Constitution. It is closely allied to dignity. It is now “an intrinsic part of the right to life and liberty”.

This happened because of the doubts that the Attorney General cast on the very existence of the right.Since 2012 and 2013, several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) Aadhaar project on a range of grounds. It was a project that had been started without a feasibility report, with no law, no clarity on what it was and how it would be used, and what it meant for citizens’ rights and for state power over people. Biometrics were untested and UIDAI documents testified to this. There were fears that the poor would get excluded from services to which they were entitled: an apprehension that has come to pass and which academics, activists and journalists have documented.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/implications-for-aadhaar/article9834539.ece

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Love jihad bogey: Hadiya committed no crime. Why has she been in confinement for a year now? – By Shoaib Daniyal & Sruthisagar Yamunan (Aug 31, 2017, Scroll.in)

On August 22, the Supreme Court of India struck a significant blow for women’s rights. The court scrapped the practice of instant triple talaq, which gave Muslim men arbitrary powers to end a marriage. The move bought India in line with much of the rest of the world, where most Muslim legal systems have already barred the practice.

It is therefore a curious irony that the same court had also struck a blow against women’s rights just a week before the triple talaq judgement. On August 16, the Supreme Court ordered the National Investigation Agency to inquire into the religious conversion and marriage of Hadiya, a 24-year old woman from Kerala. In this, it backed an earlier judgement of the Kerala High Court. While Hadiya has converted to Islam and then married of her own choice in 2016, both courts seemed to disregard her own thoughts on the matter, preferring instead to let her father decide for her.

Some media reports have presented this as a case of “love jihad”, the conspiracy theory that Muslim men woo Hindu women with the express purpose of pressuring them to convert them to Islam. This is a misrepresentation. Hadiya had converted to Islam long before her marriage. The main issue here is: does India believe an adult woman has a mind of her own?…

https://scroll.in/article/848958/love-jihad-bogey-hadiya-committed-no-crime-why-has-she-been-in-confinement-for-a-year-now

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Lessons From History on the Feasibility of RSS’s Politics – By Shankar Gopalakrishnan (Aug 31, 2017, The Wire)

With hate speech proliferating, people being beaten to death on the streets and the Hindu Right dominating Indian politics as never before, it is easy to believe that the ultimate goal of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other Hindutva organisations – a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ – is just around the corner. For those of us who don’t agree with them, this sounds like the start of a decades-long nightmare.

But this view is flawed, for the experiences of other countries provide strong grounds for believing that the Hindu Rashtra project is absurd, a political impossibility. The danger of Hindutva politics lies not in creating a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ but in the destruction it will wreak and the lives it will destroy during its dominance and in its aftermath. It is no less dangerous because of that, but it is dangerous in a different way than one might think.

Why is a Hindu Rashtra impossible? Believing that doesn’t require any great faith in India’s “inherent tolerance” or “strong institutions” (both of which seem to be collapsing by the day). Rather, consider that there is nothing particularly unusual, or Indian, about ‘Hindu Rashtra’ politics. The last century is littered with political movements built on hatred and majoritarianism, and Hindutva is itself rooted in early 20th century European ideas of what constitutes a “nation”. Looking at the experience of some of those movements can tell us a lot about the way Hindu Rashtra politics is likely to develop.…

https://thewire.in/172172/lessons-history-feasibility-rsss-politics/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 3rd, 2017

by newsdigest on July 15, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

When mob frenzy becomes irrational, we have to pause and reflect: President Mukherjee on lynchings (Jul 1, 2017, Indian Express)

In the wake of growing number of mob lynching cases in India, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday asked whether the society is vigilant enough to save the basic tenets of the country. “When mob lynching becomes so high and uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect, are we vigilant enough?,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by ANI.

Speaking at the release of commemorative publication of National Herald, President Mukherjee said, “I am not talking of vigilantism, I am talking of are we vigilant enough, proactively to save the basic tenets of our country.”…

Recently, the country witnessed widespread protests across various locations under the tagline “Not in My Name” to protest against a streak of mob lynching incidents in the country. The lynching of 15-year-old Junaid Khan in a Mathura-bound train last week was the genesis of the flashpoint.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/are-we-vigilant-enough-to-save-basic-tenets-of-our-country-president-mukherjee-on-mob-lynchings-4730908/

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BJP leader arrested in Muslim trader’s lynching case; prime accused surrenders (Jul 1, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Ramgarh police have arrested a BJP leader, Nityanand Mahto on Saturday in connection with the lynching of a Muslim trader Alimuddin by a mob in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh two days back. The main accused Chottu Rana, who was seen beating Alimuddin with a stick repeatedly in a video, surrendered before the court, Ramgarh superintendent of police, Kaushal Kishore said.

55-year-old Alimuddin alias Asgar Ali was lynched by a frenzied mob of about 100 people for allegedly carrying beef in his car. The incident happened at the Bazartand market of the district on Thursday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he disapproved killing people in the name of protecting cows.…

The police had also detained a member of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of Ramgarh district for interrogation but released him later due to lack of evidence, police sources said.… Thursday’s lynching was the second attack in June by cow vigilantes in Jharkhand as a 200-strong mob thrashed a 55-year-old Muslim dairy owner and set his house ablaze after a cow carcass was found near his home in Giridih district on Tuesday.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-leader-arrested-in-muslim-trader-s-lynching-case-prime-accused-surrenders/story-wLXhTA3eIlrPUEGjwGdDQM.html

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Protesters across India hit the streets, say outraged over attacks on human life (Jun 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Thousands took to the streets of 10-odd cities across the country on Wednesday to protest a string of mob lynchings in recent years, which many say is proof of India’s fraying secular ethos. In several places, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata, protesters gathered under the “Not In My Name” banner to make a strong statement against violence perpetrated by right-wing Hindu groups and cow-protection vigilantes.

The Delhi protest saw people pouring in from neighbouring states, such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Though several Aam Aadmi Party leaders – including deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia – were in attendance, they claimed to have come in their personal capacity.

“We are laying our claim as Indian citizens upon this country… we are outraged at the attacks on human life, human dignity… at the systemic violence unleashed on Dalits and minorities,” said filmmaker Saba Dewan, whose post on Facebook a week ago helped coalesce the coordinated demonstrations. “This is not the India we want.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/notinmyname-protesters-across-india-hit-the-streets-say-outraged-over-attacks-on-human-life/story-uKhaV6tfdXbBkcvl4uP8JN.html

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Centre’s cattle slaughter restrictions violates fundamental rights, says All India Kisan Sabha (Jun 28, 2017, First Post ()

The Centre’s notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter violates fundamental rights of states and individuals, including the right to practice religion, a major Left farmers’ body has said.

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which is backed by the CPI(M), has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against the constitutional validity of the notification.

The AIKS has contended that the notification allegedly violates several fundamental rights of individuals and states, including the right to practice religion and free movement of goods. The notification would also hamper the economic interests and livelihood of farmers, dairy farmers, cattle traders and businessmen, the farmers’ body has argued.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/centres-cattle-slaughter-restrictions-violates-fundamental-rights-says-all-india-kisan-sabha-3754625.html

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India inching towards fascism, says Shabnam Hashmi (Jun 28, 2017, The Hindu)

As a mark of protest against rising intolerance against minority communities in India, human rights campaigner and social activist Shabnam Hashmi returned her National Minority Rights Award to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Tuesday. Stating that marginalisation of minority communities has become the norm under the present regime, Ms. Hashmi handed over the award, which was conferred to her in 2008, NCM director T.M.Skaria.

In a letter addressed to the Commission members, Ms. Hashmi wrote: “I am returning it [the award] in memory of the innumerable innocent victims lynched by marauding mobs”, adding that the current atmosphere in the country is laden with “fear and terror” and “Islamophobia”.

“For the first time, an entire Cabinet has boycotted the Iftar dinner hosted by the President. This reflects how they have defied the Constitution, in a way, and don’t care about it. These are all signals that India is inching towards fascism,” said Ms. Hashmi. The activist added that it is about time that people raise their voice against the atrocities being committed by the State.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/india-inching-towards-fascism-says-shabnam-hashmi/article19157477.ece

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Cops held for Rs 2 lakh bribe; 1 of them escapes from custody (Jun 28, 2017, Indian Express)

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it has arrested two police officials for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh for not taking action in a case. However, one of them escaped from police custody while undergoing medical examination on Tuesday, the ACB said in a release. The arrested officers were identified as Inspector Subhash Govind Kale (55) and Sub-Inspector Sanjay Sitaram Chavhan (46), attached to Kuhi police station in rural Nagpur.

According to the release, a hotelier had been locked in a land dispute with his brother and the latter recently filed a complaint against the former in Kuhi police station. The complaint related to alleged land encroachment by the hotelier. When the complaint came before Kale and Chavhan, they approached the hotelier and sought a Rs 4.5 lakh bribe for not proceeding against him in the case filed by his brother, the anti-corruption agency said.

The hotelier agreed to pay the bribe and at the same time filed a complaint with the ACB (Nagpur) against the two police officials. Based on the complaint, a trap was laid yesterday and the two police officials were caught accepting the first instalment of Rs 2 lakh from the hotelier, the ACB said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cops-held-for-rs-2-lakh-bribe-1-of-them-escapes-from-custody-4726446/

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Uttar Pradesh authorities foil protest plan of Dalit group from Gujarat (Jul 3, 2017, Indian Express)

A group of Dalits from Gujarat, upset over an incident in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh some time back, tried to lodge their protest in a unique way but failed to do so. Over 40 Dalits wanted to visit Lucknow to present a 125-kg soap to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath because the Kushinagar district administration had purportedly distributed soaps and shampoo in a Dalit locality ahead of the chief minister’s visit to the area in May.

The activists of Dr Ambedkar Vichar Samiti and Nav Srijan Samiti from Ahmedabad were taken into custody at Jhansi on Sunday night and sent back home, officials said.

They were stopped from proceeding towards the state capital in apprehension of a breach of peace at the railway station at Jhansi and were sent back to Ahmedabad by Sabarmati Express this morning, said City Magistrate C P Misra.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/yogi-adityanath-chief-minister-uttar-pradesh-authorities-foil-protest-plan-of-dalit-group-from-gujarat-4733881/

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Indian women wear cow masks to ask: are sacred cattle safer than us? (Jul 4, 2017, The Guardian)

Indian women are posing in cow masks as part of a provocative photographic series that asks: is it safer to be a sacred animal in India than a woman?

The gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student in 2012 sparked a national conversation about violence against women but, more than four years later, police statistics show reported rapes and molestations have not significantly fallen in the capital. At least six rapes and 12 molestations were reported daily in 2016.

The conviction rate for sexual offences has declined, from about 50% in the year of the infamous Delhi attack, to less than one-third last year.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/04/women-india-cow-masks-sexual-violence-sacred-cattle

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Textbook sparks row over mosque depicted as noise pollutant (Jul 2, 2017, Indian Express)

An image in a class VI textbook taught in ICSE schools showing a “mosque” as a source of noise pollution has sparked outrage on social media, prompting an apology from the publisher and the promise that the picture would be removed in subsequent editions.

The science textbook, published by Selina Publishers, has a chapter on the causes of noise pollution. The picture, shared widely on social media, shows a train, car, plane and a mosque, all with symbols depicting loud sound, next to a man grimacing and shutting his ears.

Netizens have now launched an online petition demanding the book be withdrawn.… Excerpts from a class XII Physical Education textbook taught in some CBSE schools had kicked up a furore for defining a figure measurement of 36-24-36 as the “best body shape for females”. A class IV environmental science textbook that suggested killing a kitten as part of an experiment went viral on social media, forcing the publisher to withdraw it from the market earlier this year.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/textbook-sparks-row-over-mosque-depicted-as-noise-pollutant-4731666/

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Traders complain about GSTN registration hassles (Jun 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

…Under GST, commercial tax payers are required to shift their sales and service tax registrations to GST Network (GSTN), a web-based system for payment, information and documentation.

Jharkhand commercial tax department officials said out of 90,000 registered traders, 66,000 have migrated to GST so far. But hundreds of those who tried to migrate to GSTN, when registration was reopened on June 25, faced a host of issues.

“The server is not accepting earlier emails and passwords,” said Ranji Garodia, general secretary of federation of Jharkhand chamber of commerce and industries (FJCCI).…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/traders-complain-about-gstn-registration-hassles/story-rbRfRv4wUISkRp5CwqYxpI.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Romeos to rakshaks: How violence became normal – By Butalia (Jul 2, 2017, Times of India)

…This kind of casual dismissal of targeted brutality over the past three years flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s claim to have finally taken a stand against such crimes. Now what neither the Prime Minister nor Mehrishi will acknowledge is that hatred in human beings needs only a small trigger to turn violent – and the most effective violence is often self-righteous. So all the provocateur needs to do is provide a platform – it could be the train in 2002 or the cow in 2014. Once set in motion the instigator can easily disown his role in the affair.

A casual look at the emergence of new leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party over the past three decades reveals that violence has been the most effective stepping stone for many of them. There seems to be a pattern here whereby violence against disadvantaged groups, normally minorities, helps bring the individual to the notice of the party. Once the goal is achieved, overt violence is renounced by the individual and we start to see the individual as a ‘normal politician’. The violence doesn’t end, however. It just gets outsourced to those lower in the hierarchy.…

In 2002 this mantle of leadership through violence was taken up by the broad-shouldered Narendra Modi. By then he was a state chief minister and answerable to no one. He didn’t seem to have national ambitions and didn’t really care what the world thought of him as long as his core, aggressively Hindu-centric community didn’t desert him. This changed once large corporate houses decided to back him as a ‘development man’ in 2011-12. Today, Modi is a statesman, above violence, and a man with a vision for the country. His image has a makeover. All violence is normalised. However, those who stood by him this entire period are still around and violence initiated for electoral purposes still pays dividends. This makes Modi a willing prisoner of his past, in which he cannot even bring himself to say that the rapes and killings that took place in Gujarat 2002 were criminal acts and all those involved in such crimes should get the harshest punishment.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59403268.cms

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Junaid, my son – By Harsh Mander (Jul 1, 2017, Indian Express)

Junaid Khan was my son. I did not know him when he lived. But in his death, in the way he died, I mourn him like a son.… I travelled with a band of my friends to his village, Khandawali, in Faridabad district of Haryana. We felt compelled to say to his bereaved family that we grieved with them after Junaid’s brutal lynching. We knew that these words may mean little to a family that has been so brutally dispossessed, but for whatever they may be worth, we felt that these words still must be spoken.

Just two months earlier, we had made a similar journey to share in the same way in the pain of Pehlu Khan’s family in Nuh. I wondered how many such journeys – of solidarity, of atonement – will we have to make before we resolve to say as a country, no more. Until then, we need at least to say to those devastated by hate violence: We share your anger. We share your sorrow. It does not make your pain less. But know at least that you are not alone.

Junaid’s father, Jalaluddin, less than 50 years old, looked both numb and stunned, as though he still could not comprehend or accept what had happened. He was unused to the large crowds that had gathered outside his small home. In one corner, a plainclothes local police inspector was grilling his sons about the details of the incident, but curiously writing nothing in his notebook.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/junaid-my-son-4729828/

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Towards unfreedom – By Amartya Sen (Jul 4, 2017, Indian Express)

…Does India’s tolerance of heterodoxy still hold? As we look around today’s India, the signs of tolerance seem to have faded fast. The country that welcomed people fleeing persecution abroad, and allowed the immigrating minorities to have their own beliefs and practices (and food habits), now harbours gangs of wild men hunting down beef-eaters, and killing people – very poor people – whose employment in the leather industry arouses the suspicion of faithful believers in the holiness of the cow.

A leading news agency that dares to include news that the ruling government does not like can have its founders raided on extraordinarily flimsy charges (NDTV can tell you about this, if you have not kept up with news about news). Which side you back in a cricket test match could possibly place you in custodial arrest on the unbelievable ground of “sedition” as determined by the local bosses of the ruling party in control of the police force…

In the suppression of India’s tolerant tradition, the ruling party, the BJP, has clearly played a gigantic role. What is astonishing is how much tolerance of intolerance the political climate in India has been made to bear. It is as if stunned people are waiting in a daze for something to happen. Further, many people with evidently liberal instincts have been able to continue supporting the government for one reason or another, such as expected benefits from Narendra Modi’s economic reforms (what The Economist, the global magazine, calls “the illusion of reform”), while the country is made to descend down the ladder of intolerance and unfreedom.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/intolerance-in-india-mob-violence- towards-unfreedom-4733908/

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Cow-related violence: ‘Not In My Name’ protests need to go beyond caste, religion to be effective – By TS Sudhir (Jul 1, 2017, First Post)

Just hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked cow vigilantes not to kill people, 1,600 kilometres away, Asgar Ali was lynched in Ramgarh, 60 kilometres from Ranchi in Jharkhand, by a mob of 30 men. His Maruti van, carrying raw meat which was suspected to be beef, was waylaid at a crowded marketplace.

The Telegraph reports that the police had reason to believe they had prior information and that the murder has the hallmarks of premeditation. HMV television channels celebrated Modi’s warning as an indication that the whip had been cracked. They forgot Modi had said the same and in fact, in a more strong language in Delhi and Hyderabad in August 2016, after the flogging of Dalits for skinning dead cattle in Una, Gujarat. Nothing has changed. No state government has prepared a dossier on the cow vigilante groups, hardly any police force cracked the whip which is why in broad daylight, a group could dare to kill Ali and burnt his van.

If anyone is a holy cow in India today, it is the gau rakshak. The law indeed bans cow slaughter in most states in India but the militant version of the cattle class has taken it upon itself to dispense instant justice in its kangaroo courts. With branches of support available in good measure online, Indians have begun to wear their ‘Hinduism’ on their sleeve resorting to “whataboutery” to defend the bloody acts. It is as if India at 70 has opted to run with the cows and hunt with the gau rakshaks.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/narendra-modi-warns-gau-rakshaks-protests-can-be- effective-only-when-not-confined-to-caste-religion-3762521.html

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Decoding new India – Narendra Modi is giving shape to M.S. Golwalkar’s dream – By Manini Chatterjee (Jul 3, 2017, The Telegraph)

…The speech at Sabarmati on June 29 was not the first time that Modi spoke out against the lynch mobs. He had expressed similar sentiments after the lynching of Dalits in Una last year. That had had little effect on the ground.…

The “enough is enough” sentiment that animated the protests may have touched Narendra Modi too and impelled him to speak, some believe. …This hope, sadly, is likely to be belied because it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding. Narendra Modi may be a consummate politician with an enviable ability to mould his words and persona to suit the audience and the occasion. But he is also a deeply committed ideologue, more ideologically oriented than any Indian prime minister barring, possibly, Jawaharlal Nehru.…

Modi may have focused on ” vikas” and “parivartan” all through his election campaign but after assuming power he has given glimpses of his deep adherence to RSS ideology. And though he has seldom mentioned M.S. Golwalkar by name, it is Golwalkar’s thoughts and writings that seem to have most influenced him. Since Golwalkar took over the reins of the RSS in 1940 and remained at the helm till 1973, he exercised an enormous influence over generations of young men who joined the RSS in the post-Independence era, the most dedicated of whom became pracharaks (full timers) – Modi a star among them.…

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170703/jsp/opinion/story_159775.jsp

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On GST; Concerns Over India’s Federal Structure – By Yadul Krishna (Jul 1, 2017, Countercurrents)

India is all set to sail in its new taxation policy set out after three months of the new financial year. The move is definitely going to make a niche of its own down in history. But having said that, there are umpteen number of issues connected with its implementation in such a country as diverse as India. Still several questions remain unanswered as of yet about the consequences to be followed after its implementation. The confusions of the taxpayers on issues such as tax burden on essential goods, double taxation (cascading effect), bearing of the tax burden, etc. goes on and on. Moreover, are the implementation effects of the GST, in general, clarified enough? Won’t it lead to double taxation? Will it affect our federal system? Questions remains interminable!

The prime political confusion, as far as the left is concerned, is on the question of how our federal system is going to get affected. The main subject of disputation is over the States’ right to collect tax revenues from firms that have a turnover of up to 1.5 crores or less. The Centre urges to take over this also. GST, thus, will be a move to take away the rights of States to decide taxes according to their socio-economic situations. Whatever little vestigial powers are left for the State governments to acquire funds, as a result, all will be lost. In situations when national disasters occur or to fund welfare schemes to improve people’s livelihood, State governments will now have to remain at the foot of the Central government to avail funds.

In effect of the new reform, the States will have no rights or powers in deciding their tax structure on what rates to impose on what all commodities including on luxury goods and necessity goods. The GST, thus, will lead the State governments no way out in forming any other backup ways to collect funds to make up with accordingly to their deficits and overdrafts, something that the States have been till now relying upon hugely to cope up in accordance to their fiscal policies. With such stupendous amount of power given to the Centre to collect funds, the State governments, which is ruled by different political ideologies across, will now have to be deliberately liable to obey the interests of the Centre, which basically will be the biggest wound that could ever happen to our democratic and federal set-up.…

https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/07/01/on-gst-concerns-over-indias-federal-structure/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 5th, 2017

June 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Uttar Pradesh: 270 people booked for violence in Muzaffarnagar Journalists Detained in Rajasthan While Reporting on Bajrang Dal’s Weapons Training Camps Activists demand law to stop lynching by mobs Kerala BJP Leader Uses Old Pic of Cow Slaughter to Decry Beef Fest NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan throws […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 1st, 2017

May 12, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony When Muslims helped with the funeral ceremony of a Hindu man News Headlines BJP MP asked Police to ‘Fire on these Pigs’ referrring to Muslims: Samajwadi Party report on Saharanpur violence In Adityanath’s Raj, Police Officers Pay the Price for Enforcing the Law on Hindutva Mobs Kerala […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 24th, 2017

May 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Saharanpur violence over Ambedkar rally: 2 FIRs lodged against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Kerala: 14 BJP-RSS men booked for attack over cow slaughter Alwar lynching: call for united fight against fascism Bajrang Dal men attack Agra police station to rescue 5, S-I injured Cop In Madhya Pradesh […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 19th, 2016

September 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat: Man thrashed by suspected cow vigilantes, dies in Ahmedabad Muslim women ganged raped by Hindu gang ‘for eating beef’ RSS coup? Una victims may join Sangh Dalit rally Bijnor violence: ‘Before firing, made 12 calls to cops, MLA but no action taken’ Three killed in communal […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 29th, 2016

September 8, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Minority outfit’s call for communal harmony Kandhamal Day Observed For Peace, Justice And Communal Harmony News Headlines Hardik accuses Modi of using Patidars for ‘orchestrating’ 2002 riots Amnesty International row: Govt ‘paranoid’ for pressing sedition charge, says Karnataka HC HC directs Maharashta to trace 1996 custodial death […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 18th, 2016

July 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Kashmiris rush to help injured Amarnath pilgrims in bus accident News Headlines Cops “tipped” Gujarat’s cow protecting Shiv Sainiks, who tied Una Dalits to SUV, assaulted them with iron rods Family of Slain Man in India May Be Charged With Cow Slaughter Rana Ayub fears for […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 25th, 2016

May 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims News Headlines Hostile witnesses derailing trials in ‘saffron terror’ cases Modi, Shah ordered staged shootout in Ishrat Jahan case: Congress Curfew imposed in Jamod, Maharashtra due to communal tension Armed men attack Chhattisgarh […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 16th, 2015

November 18, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Activists march for communal harmony News Headlines PM Modi should come clean on his record about 2002 riots as Gujarat CM, says Azam Khan Bihar results show majority of Hindus still believe in peace and amity: Dalai Lama Tipu row: VHP protest fails to gather support in […]

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