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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 29th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Babri Masjid demolition case: CBI court frames ‘criminal conspiracy’ charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and others (May 30, 2017, Indian Express)

A CBI special court on Tuesday granted bail to BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The bail was granted on personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. The court has, however, rejected the discharge petitions filed by the leaders. The conspiracy charges have been framed against all the 12 accused.

The court, which earlier rejected their discharge petition, framed charges against Advani (89), Joshi (83), Union minister Bharti (58) and three others under Section 120 (B) of the IPC (criminal conspiracy). The three others are the BJP’s Vinay Katiyar (62), VHP’s Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, who is in his late eighties, and one-time Hindutva firebrand Sadhvi Rithambara (53).…

This was the first time that these leaders had appeared before a court in connection with this case. Last month, the Supreme Court had restored the criminal conspiracy charges framed against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and other accused while overruling the Allahabad High Court judgment. Bharti, the union water resources minister, was also summoned to appear before the court along with BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia and one-time firebrand Hindutva preacher Sadhvi Ritambara.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/babri-masjid-demolition-case-lk-advani-murli-manohar-joshi-uma-bharti-bjp-leaders-granted-bail-by-special-cbi-court/

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Cow vigilantism: RSS man arrested for torching truck, cops say vehicle had bulls (May 26, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Police in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara have arrested 5 people, including a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for torching a truck they thought was carrying cows for slaughter, officials said on Friday.…

Station house officer of the Kacchola police station, Damodar Sharma, told the Hindustan Times they arrested Lokesh, Sanvra Jat, Bhagchand Regar, Shankar Dhakad and Nanda Gurjar on Thursday for “setting fire to the truck and creating a ruckus”. Sharma said those arrested are associated with the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Gau Raksha Dal.…

“There were no cows in the truck and all the animals that were being transported were bulls. The animals were being taken to a cattle fair in Udaipur from various villages in Bhilwara. The owners of the bulls wanted to sell them to other farmers for farm work,” said the SHO.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rss-worker-4-others-arrested-for-torching-truck-transporting-bulls-in-rajasthan/story-1iN7x171kAJyHSPYJ7MC1K.html

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Madras High Court stays Centre’s notification on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets (May 30, 2017, The Hindu)

The Madras High Court Bench in Madurai on Tuesday stayed the operation of Rules 22(b)(iii) and 22(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulations of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 notified by the Centre on May 23 banning the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets.

A Division Bench of Justices M.V. Muralidaran and C.V. Karthikeyan granted the interim stay for four weeks on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the constitutional validity of the rules.

S. Selvagomathy (45), an activist-cum-lawyer based in Madurai, filed the PIL petition on grounds that the statutory rules were repugnant to the parent Act itself since Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960 specifically states that it shall not be an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pil-against-new-animal-slaughter-rules/article18625410.ece

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Human rights abuses against minorities on rise in India: Indian-American group (May 24, 2017, Hindustan Times)

An alliance of Indian-American groups has alleged that human rights abuses against social and religious minorities have been on the ascendance under the current BJP-led government in the last three years. The report ‘Minority Rights Violations in India by Alliance for Justice and Accountability’ was prepared by the alliance, which represents several Indian-American groups…. The groups include Indian-American Muslim Council, Dalit American Coalition, Organisation of Minorities from India, TwoCircles and South Asian Solidarity Initiative.

The report has alleged “massive abuses” of human rights by state and non-state actors. “Human rights abuses against India’s social and religious minorities have been on the ascendance since the BJP government came to power. This grim reality is already being acknowledged within India as well as internationally,” the report, released at the Rayburn House office building at the US Capitol, alleged.

Running into more than 60 pages, the report alleged the unprecedented success of the BJP post 2014 has provided a “tremendous fillip to Hindu supremacist forces” who form a significant portion of its base. “The latter’s attacks on religious minorities have amplified. State agencies, including law enforcement and the bureaucracy are constitutionally mandated to act against such bigotry and supremacism. Alarmingly, these institutions are now under the control of the very Hindu ultranationalist forces who have run anti-minority campaigns,” it alleged, adding that impunity for police and security officials has touched a new high in India in recent years.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/human-rights-abuses-against-minorities-on-rise-in-india-indian-american-group/story-pYVmC22dDJfQ4Ro1ousclK.html

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Fresh Clashes in UP’s Saharanpur Leave One Dead, Several Injured (May 24, 2017, The Wire)

The Uttar Pradesh police heightened security across the Saharanpur district on Wednesday, May 24 after one person died and several were injured in fresh clashes between members of the Thakur community and Dalits in three villages of the region on Tuesday, according to Hindustan Times.

The communally sensitive region of Saharanpur has been rocked by inter-caste violence since April. On Tuesday, May 23, some Dalits allegedly set fire to the homes of 12 Rajputs in Shabbirpur village ahead of Mayawati’s visit, which led to increased tensions between the two communities. The intervention of the police prevented a flare-up at the time.

According to an Outlook report, during her visit to Shabbirpur village, the BSP chief blamed the BJP-led UP government for the continuing violence and said that they had failed to stop their own party brigades from inciting clashes.…

https://thewire.in/139438/up-government-blames-mayawati-for-fresh-violence-between-dalits-and-thakurs/

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Saharanpur clashes: Suspended cop was indicted over Muzaffarnagar riots (May 25, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A senior police officer suspended on Thursday over deadly caste clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur was previously “held responsible” for the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar by a judicial committee.

Subhash Chandra Dubey, suspended as Saharanpur’s senior superintendent of police, headed in 2013 the district police in Muzaffanagar, the epicentre for communal clashes that left more than 60 people dead.

“So far as Subhash Chandra Dubey is concerned, I have already held that the government of UP has prime facie found him responsible for riots; pending inquiry has suspended him and I am in agreement with the view of government of UP,” said the report by Vishnu Kant Sahai.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/saharanpur-dalit-thakur-clashes-suspended-top-cop-also-indicted-over-2013-muzaffarnagar-riots/story-LHWXIBXSItqPkkEYF7cgKK.html

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By Inciting Violence, Paresh Rawal, MP, Must Surely Forfeit His Seat (May 26, 2017, The Wire)

When actor and BJP MP Paresh Rawal recently tweeted that Arundhati Roy and others be tied to an army jeep, he was making a laudatory reference to the degrading and inhuman treatment meted out to a citizen, Farooq Ahmed Dar – who was tied to a jeep by army Major Leetul Gogoi as a human shield against stone pelters during the recent elections in Kashmir. Astonishingly, Gogoi has received a commendation card from the army for this act.

Rawal’s statement is particularly serious as it is not restricted to the specific action, but is an incitement to further violence of that nature against civilians at large. With each passing day, we see the escalation of violence at every level against persons belonging to marginalised social groups. In recent times this has been particularly visible in the orchestrated attacks against Muslims by ‘cow protection’ vigilantes.

This incitement to deploy degrading and inhuman treatment and brutal violence against a writer – incitement that is tacitly supported by the ruling party – has the immediate danger of escalating the gruesome violence that we are already a witnesses to. This is violence being propagated on social media by an MP of the ruling BJP.…

https://thewire.in/140026/paresh-rawal-arundhati-roy-human-shield-tweet/

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Muslim-Dominated Malegaon, Bhiwandi Reject BJP in Maha Civic Polls (May 27, 2017, The Quint)

Counting for elections held in three municipal corporation in Maharashtra – Panvel, Bhiwandi and Malegaon – concluded today, voting for which took place on 24 May. The three parts saw a voter turnout of 55, 53 and 60 percent respectively.

The elections are significant because the BJP tried to make inroads into the Muslim-majority areas of Malegaon and Bhiwandi, from where it fielded not only a record number of candidates, but also a record number of Muslim candidates. The aim was to snub the Shiv Sena, which has been threatening to exit its alliance with the BJP, which had brought them to power in the 2014 Assembly elections.

However, BJP suffered a humiliating defeat in both areas, where the Congress party emerged as the winner.…

https://www.thequint.com/india/2017/05/27/maharashtra-civic-body-poll-results-bhiwandi-malegaon-bjp-congress

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Bilkis Bano gang-rape case: SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer (May 30, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the conviction of an IPS officer in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case. A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta said that there is no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer has already undergone the sentence.

The bench, however, listed the matter for hearing in the second week of July, observing the fine is of Rs 15,000 only. IPS officer RS Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, has been convicted along with four other policemen by the Bombay High Court recently after the trial court had acquitted them.

The counsel appearing for Bhagora said if the conviction is not stayed, then he will be terminated from the service as per service rules.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bilkis-bano-gang-rape-case-sc-refuses-to-stay-conviction-of-ips-officer/story-0BR2eXDvY6NoA4cXYP1xXP.html

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Clean Yourselves With Soap Before Meeting Adityanath, Dalit Villagers Told (May 28, 2017, The Wire)

Days after the house of a slain BSF soldier was given a temporary ‘makeover’ to make chief minister Adityanath’s visit to the family more comfortable, media reports claim that Dalit villagers in Uttar Pradesh were given soap, detergent and shampoo to ‘clean’ themselves before the Uttar Pradesh CM’s recent meeting with them.

“I got the soaps from the Anganwadi women. I didn’t get the shampoo, but others did. I was told to take a bath with the soap before going for the meeting. We already use soap which we buy from the local shop. What’s going to change with just two bars of soap,” a villager told the Indian Express. Musahar Dalit families are the primary residents of UP’s Mainpur Deenapatti village in Kushinagar district. The community is discriminated against for being ‘untouchables’.…

“The incident at the village of [the] Musahar community has depicted the true face of BJP, the RSS and in particular of their CM. They have insulted the entire community in that village but more importantly they have most importantly insulted the very concept of Dalit in this country,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI. “Appropriate case must be registered under the very specific and powerful and wide provisions of ST/ SC act against this brazen and shocking form of untouchability and the CM and the officials must immediately unconditionally, comprehensively apologise to the entire community,” he added.…

https://thewire.in/140934/adityanath-up-dalits-soap/

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Opinions and Editorials

A nation of vigilantes – Lynch mob republic – By Mukul Kesavan (May 28, 2017, The Telegraph)

These three years have seen the State fuse with the street to create a vigilante nation. If India’s first national movement was a mobilization against foreign rulers, the new nationalism, the principal style of which is vigilantism, is directed at the enemy within.…

Modern vigilantes bend the system to their will and take the law into their hands with the tacit or explicit blessing of the State and in the name of the virtuous Nation. This is a Nation that is insufficiently realized because its coming into being has been thwarted by a false nationalism and a corruptly administered republic. The new vigilante is insurgent in this thwarted Nation’s cause.…

Institutions take decades to build and moments to undo. Vigilante nationalism has corroded our universities, our armed forces, our media organizations, and our mechanisms of law and order. It will destroy them if we keep bending rules and abandoning due process to prove our patriotic credentials or worse, to challenge those of others. Fascism is best understood as violent nationalism with the violence turned inwards.… If India ever takes a fascist turn, vigilante nationalists will be our Brownshirts.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170528/jsp/opinion/story_153811.jsp

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Is the Ban On Cow Slaughter Animal Protection Or Hindutva Agenda? – By Dr K Narayana (May 29, 2017, Milli Gazette)

The recent ban on cow slaughter is nothing but surgical attack on very fundamental rights of the citizens under our Constitution. This is not real affection of manuwadis towards cows. But it is an attempt to drag votes of majority community.

Basically, the present unilateral order of environment ministry is anti-dalits, anti-minorities and above all anti-farmers. The present order is snatching away the very right to live. Is it a majority people’s decision of the country? What right they have to pass such an order without taking the consent of Parliament, the law-maker of the biggest democracy?

As of now, the ruling BJP has the support of only 32 per cent of votes. That means 68 per cent of Indian voters have either rejected them or did not vote for them. How can the environment ministry pass such an order on a matter concerning Indian economy, people’s food habits and their petty businesses? Gujarat, the BJP-ruled state and from there the Prime Minister Modi has come to the Center, is exporting beef to the tune of 25 thousands crores of rupees.… The Apex court should intervene, take this issue as a sou moto case and protect the liberty of 125 crore of people of our nation and their right to live.

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15627-is-the-ban-on-cow-slaughter-animal-protection-or-hindutva-agenda

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Modi celebrates three years in office as Saharanpur burns – By Abid Shah (May 25, 2017, National Herald)

Amid growing caste and communal discrimination and strife, the Narendra Modi, Government has not only preferred to look the other way but is also gearing up to embark upon a 15-day long anniversary of three years of his rule. And, as yet another anniversary bash of the government awaits to kick off in Guwahati on May 26 this time, the past two similar events – at Saharanpur in 2016 and at Mathura a year before that – stand out as stark reminders of merriment amid utter disregard and lack of empathy to sad realities on the ground.

It was a year ago, on May 26, 2016 to be exact, when PM Modi addressed a huge rally at Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh (UP) to mark the second anniversary of his rule. He had also set the tone for the Assembly elections in the then poll-bound state in Saharanpur. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning a mandate and Yogi Adityanath sworn in as the chief minister, Saharanpur is in the news for all the wrong reasons, rather than hope that the PM had promised last year.

Thus, scores of poor Dalits from embattled parts of the unfortunate district, as also from the nearby areas, had to take to the streets of Delhi last Sunday to express their ire over caste violence and arson, that robbed many of them of their hearths and homes besides putting them at grave risk. Through this grim caste crisis, the head of Dalit outfit Bhim Army, Chandrashekhar Azad, said that Dalits were Hindus before the polls and became Dalits again after the polls were over.…

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/2017/05/25/narendra-modi-celebrates-three-years-in-office-as-saharanpur-burns

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Babri Prosecution Will Not Be Safe in CBI’s Hands Unless the Supreme Court Monitors Its Work – By G.S. Chawla (May 30, 2017, The Wire)

Last month, the Supreme Court decided that senior BJP leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others must be tried for the charge of conspiring to demolish the Babri Masjid and ordered that their trial in Lucknow be held on a day-to-day basis. On May 30, Advani and the others were formally charged with criminal conspiracy and then granted bail by the trial court on sureties of Rs 20,000.

Though the Supreme Court has fixed a period of two years for the trial’s completion, this is unlikely to happen unless the apex court directly supervises matters and also monitors the role of the CBI – the prosecuting agency – during the course of the trial. The trial court can give its verdict only on the basis of the evidence placed before it and it is the CBI that will have to provide the evidence.

Unfortunately, the CBI’s past record in this case does not inspire confidence about its impartiality. The investigating agency has already shown three different faces in this case, lending credence to the belief that it is a ‘Cover-up Bureau of Investigation’. There are many instances to prove this charge and even the apex court had described the CBI as a “caged parrot”.…

https://thewire.in/139208/babri-prosecution-will-not-safe-hands-cbi/

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‘Isn’t this our country?’ Why Indian Muslims feel shaken and ‘harassed’ – By Prashant Jha (May 30, 2017, Hindustan Times)

… University in Bareilly. The daughter of a mechanic, her parents battled hostile relatives, uncomfortable with sending a girl to college, and decided to educate her- she will become the first engineer in her family. Nisha has made friends with her classmates, a majority of Hindus. But something changed during the 2017 elections in UP. “I did not feel this earlier. But in this election, among our friends, this feeling of being Hindu and Muslim sharpened. In discussions, our friends made us feel we were different.” She says the BJP had created this ‘division’.…

Whether it is indeed, factually, their religious identity which is leading to Adnan’s loan being rejected, Alam’s voice not being heard, Ahmad or Khan being called anti-national, Nisha and Tanweer feeling a sense of distance from their friends, Roshan getting uncomfortable watching television, or Nehaal struggling to get funds for his campus is one part of the story, open to debate.

The more important part is that all of them feel that this is discrimination that stems from their religious identity. And all of this is leading to a question that Khan – the Kishanganj student – asks bluntly, “I have always felt Indian. But today, I am being forced to ask myself – is this my country?”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/isn-t-this-our-country-why-muslims-in-uttar-pradesh-feel-shaken-harassed/story-JuOWUrpN8uMPcvJ13GzoVI.html

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Bodo Villager Accounts Corroborate Top Cop’s Custodial Killing Charge Against CRPF in Assam – By Rajeev Bhattacharya (May 29, 2017, The Wire)

…It was around midnight when the family was woken up by continuous knocks on the door by four unarmed people. They asked for shelter and were subsequently allowed to sleep in one of the three huts in the small compound. Two members from the squad slipped out to another destination to spend the night. After about three hours, there was more noise and Basumatary’s mother, Binu, rushed out only to find the entire compounded being surrounded by police and army personnel. They entered the hut and dragged all the three people outside. While Basumatary was left behind, the other two who were picked up, have been identified as Lukas Narzary and David Islary – who were allegedly shot at Mandarguri located about five kilometres from the village.…

Anjali Daimary, president of Boro Women’s Justice Forum, feels that fake encounters have been more in Chirang and Kokrajhar than the other two districts of BTAD. She narrated an instance when the army shot a person by mistake, but had to give a job to the son of the victim after protests erupted.

There is no dearth of such instances in this border region where concrete roads sometimes vanish into the long and short shrubs abounding the area and where other basis amenities like electricity are yet to become realities of life. Another example comes from Mowphor village where Donda was apprehended from a house and shot in Khirubari. The villages have been warned several times by the security forces to keep their mouth shut and not to reveal anything to outsiders.

https://thewire.in/141092/assam-fake-encounters-crpf/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 17th, 2017

by newsdigest on April 29, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

A worthy example of communal harmony (Apr 14, 2017, The Hindu)

By honouring members of the Muslim community at the annual Panguni Uthiram festival on Wednesday, the Hindus in Gurusamipuram, a small village near Rasipuram, have set a worthy example of communal harmony.

It is a thanksgiving gesture to the Muslims of Rasipuram town, whose forefathers were believed to have cured through prayers many children of the Hindu community of cholera. This practice has been in vogue for over a century now, the village elders say.…

“This is a worthy gesture practised by our forefathers and we are continuing this tradition in the interest of strengthening the bond between both the communities for decades together,” says Mr. Thalamuthu.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/a-worthy-example-of-communal-harmony/article18029122.ece

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Alwar cops ‘botched’ Pehlu lynching probe (Apr 12, 2017, Times of India)

The district bar association of Nuh (Mewat) has accused Alwar police of botching up facts in the FIR registered in the murder of Jaisinghpur villager Pehlu Khan, who was lynched by gau rakshaks in Alwar a few days ago. The association has decided to move to the Prime Minister, seeking justice for the family of Pehlu Khan, who was killed after allegedly being mistaken as a cow smuggler. They have alleged Alwar police meddled with facts while registering the FIRs, to deny the victims justice.

The association said was Pehlu presumed to be a cow smuggler merely because he is a Muslim. The family of the deceased claimed their statements were not even recorded by police. “My father was the sole bread-earner for our family of eight. Occasionally, we’d sell milch cows to make the extra buck. We had gone to the Jaipur cattle fair along with neighbours Arif and Azmat. We bought cows and calves there, and were going to Tapukara in Alwar district to sell them to our aunt. We expected to earn some profit, but in the end, lost our father,” said Altaf Khan (23), Pehlu’s elder son.…

Noordeen Noor, former president of the Nuh district bar association, said, “There were five people who were attacked, but the FIR mentions only three. The video shows all five being attacked, but police ignored that. Secondly, the victims insist they were going to Tapukara to sell the animals to their relatives. The spot where the incident took place was 35km from Haryana border, yet FIR mentions they were driving to Mewat, implying they were smuggling cattle. The pick-up driver, a Hindu, was let off by the mob, proving they were driven by a communal motive. We’re writing to the PM to intervene, as such lynchings of Muslims is becoming common here.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58136561.cms

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Bail for All Assailant ‘Gau Rakshaks’ in Ayub Murder Case: Gujarat (Apr 14, 2017, Sabrang India)

All the cow vigilantes or gau rakshaks (cow protectors) accused of killing Mohammed Ayub Mev, a Muslim youth on September 13 last year, are out of jail, with the Gujarat high court granting regular bail to the eighth accused, Deepak Solanki, earlier this week. Shockingly investigations in this case have not progressed.

The Times of India has reported on the bail given to a string of accused in this crime. Solanki got bail after two of three eyewitnesses in the case could not identify him during a test identification parade before a magistrate. He also got bail on the grounds of parity, as seven co-accused in this case were granted bail by the very same Gujarat HC last month. Last September, Mev died after gau rakshaks attacked him and Sameer Shaikh in the Anandnagar area, when the duo were allegedly found transporting cattle.

It was only after much public protest, police got into action and eight persons were arrested and charged. Before Solanki, another accused Vijay Bharwad had got bail on March 17. Both are accused of murder, attempt to murder, rioting and unlawful assembly. The HC granted them bail on condition of not leaving Gujarat without the court’s permission.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/bail-all-assailant-gau-rakshaks-ayub-murder-case-gujarat

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Tension in Muzaffarpur village after lynching of man for hitting goat (Apr 16, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Tension prevailed at Mahadalit tola of Bhelaipur village in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar, following the lynching of a motorcyclist who accidentally hit a goat, which had strayed from an encroached residential area on to the state highway, Saturday.

Navin Kumar, 45, a farmer of Patti Bandhu Rao village under Lalganj police station of Vaishali, was thrashed mercilessly before his throat was slit by a mob for injuring the goat. His friend and pillion rider Sikandra Sahni, who was also injured in the incident, is battling for his life at a private nursing home in Muzaffarpur.

People from nearby villages retaliated by attacking the Mahadalit tola and ransacking the houses there, late Saturday evening. Some 100 families, residing at the tola, had already deserted the tola, leaving their houses unattended. The police have so far arrested 10 persons – two in connection with Navin Kumar’s murder and eight others for arson and loot at the Mahadalit tola.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/tension-in-muzaffarpur-village-after-lynching-of-man-for-hitting-goat/story-0LFzmRt75Ll4rdBq3T0qzK.html

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Opposition meets President, says ‘environment of fear, insecurity prevailing in the country’ (Apr 12, 2017, Indian Express)

Tension prevailed at Mahadalit tola of Bhelaipur village in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar, following the lynching of a motorcyclist who accidentally hit a goat, which had strayed from an encroached residential area on to the state highway, Saturday.

Navin Kumar, 45, a farmer of Patti Bandhu Rao village under Lalganj police station of Vaishali, was thrashed mercilessly before his throat was slit by a mob for injuring the goat. His friend and pillion rider Sikandra Sahni, who was also injured in the incident, is battling for his life at a private nursing home in Muzaffarpur.

People from nearby villages retaliated by attacking the Mahadalit tola and ransacking the houses there, late Saturday evening. Some 100 families, residing at the tola, had already deserted the tola, leaving their houses unattended. The police have so far arrested 10 persons – two in connection with Navin Kumar’s murder and eight others for arson and loot at the Mahadalit tola.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/congress-ghulam-nabi-azad-sonia-gandhi-manmohan-singh-opposition-evem-money-bill-4610360/

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Gujarat riots: Court allows Kodnani to call Amit Shah, 13 others as witnesses (Apr 13, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A special court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case in Ahmedabad on Wednesday allowed an application filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Maya Kodnani seeking to call BJP president Amit Shah and 13 others as defence witnesses to prove she was not present at the scene of the incident. Judge PB Desai said summons should be issued to these witnesses “at appropriate and relevant stage of trial”.

The judge also said “some witnesses can be dropped at a later stage if there is a possibility of repetition of their testimonies, but however, in absence of any objections (by prosecution) and while recognising the right of the accused to examine defence witnesses, I am of the opinion that the number of witnesses sought to be examined is neither unreasonable nor unjustified.”…

The Naroda Gam massacre was one of the nine major riot cases from Gujarat investigated by a special investigation team. Eleven people belonging to the minority community were killed at Naroda Gam. A total of 82 people are facing trial. Kodnani later became state minister for women and child development during chief minister Narendra Modi’s government.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/2002-gujarat-riot-case-court-allows-kodnani-to-call-amit-shah-13-others-as-witness/story-lCxLoaTai62qZVCrZdY15K.html

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Behead Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, get Rs 11-lakh: BJP youth leader (Apr 12, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A leader of the BJP’s youth wing has announced a reward of Rs 11 lakh for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s head following state police action against a saffron rally billed as a show of strength. The threat came a day after hundreds of saffron activists took out massive rallies in the heart of Kolkata to mark Hanuman Jayanti, highlighting the growing muscle of right-wing forces in a state the BJP barely managed a toehold in the past.

“Those who will cut and bring West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee head, I will give that person Rs11 lakh. Mamata Banerjee never allows Saraswati Puja, fairs during Ram Navami and during Hanuman Jayanti procession, people were lathi charged and brutally beaten up. She organises Iftar party and always supports Muslims,” Yogesh Varshney, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, told ANI.

In West Bengal’s Birbhum district, police said they had already warned Bir Hanuman Jayanti organisers on Sunday that no rally or meeting would be allowed. The organisers pressed on and assured the police that they would not carry arms. However, the police did not move from its stand and charged on.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/youth-bjp-leader-offers-rs-11-lakh-bounty-on-mamata-banerjee-for-action-against-saffron-rally/story-ZsFXbOkCwYpw1aQIMNOjmN.html

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Uttar Pradesh: BJP tampered with EVMs in 250 seats of 403, says Mayawati (Apr 14, 2017, Indian Express)

Stepping up allegations of tampering with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) by the Bharatiya Janata Party during Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday said the party tampered with the machines in at least 250 seats out of 403.

“BJP did tampering in EVMs on 250 seats out of 403, in the seats where it was in very weak position,” she said. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also said she’s ready to join hands with non-BJP parties in fighting against EVM tampering in the state. “BSP has no reservation in taking help of anti-BJP parties in fight against EVM tampering and BJP to keep democracy alive,” she said.

After the results of assembly elections in the state saw BJP winning by a huge margin, BSP raised the issue of EVM tampering in the state and demanded that an investigation be conducted regarding the usage of voting machines.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh-bjp-tampered-with-evms-in-250-seats-of-403-says-mayawati-4612709/

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Ghaziabad: 20 Hindu right wing group men held for holding unlawful procession (Apr 16, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Twenty office-bearers of a right wing organisation were arrested here on Sunday for unlawfully taking out a religious procession and brandishing deadly weapons allegedly with intent to breach the peace, police said.

An FIR has been filed against over 100 workers of the fringe group for rioting and attacking public servants to deter them from discharging duty as they unlawfully assembled on Loni road near Bhopura in vehicles, a senior official said.

The workers of Hindu Raksha Dal (HRD) were intercepted by a police team while carrying out a procession for Hanuman Chhati (after six days of Hanuman jayanti) without permission from the administration, Superintendent of Police Salman Taj Patil said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ghaziabad-20-hindu-right-wing-group-men-held-for-holding-unlawful-procession/story-i7F73igihmi3H0w8QS8KeK.html

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Gujarat is among 3 Indian states without minorities’ commission: Rights group to send 1 lakh protest postcards (Apr 15, 2017, Counterview)

In an unusual move, the newly-formed civil rights organization, Minority Coordination Committee Gujarat (MCCG), has decided to begin a state-wide campaign to press for the demand to form a state minorities’ commission by sending around one lakh hand written post cards to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani.

Claiming to be non-political and not attached with any non-government organization, MCCG convener Mujahid Nafees said, “While the post cards will be sent from across Gujarat over the next few weeks, we have listed the demands for minorities’ welfare, which will be converted into a representation to Rupani. The representation will attract similar endorsements.”

Regretting that Gujarat is one of the very few Indian states which do not have a minorities’ commission, Nafees said, “We are hopeful that Rupani, who is a Jain, a minority community, will surely look into our demand.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/04/gujarat-is-among-3-indian-states.html

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Hindu Mahasabha’s bizarre solution to end Triple Talaq: Muslim women must convert (Apr 14, 2017, New Indian Express)

Offering a bizarre solution to end the controversial practice of Triple Talaq, the Hindu Mahasabha has asked those Muslim women who have been a victim of the practice, to adopt Hinduism. For the same, an ‘Utthaan Yagya’ was held at the office of the outfit.…

However, earlier on Tuesday, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) vice-president Kalbe requested the Government to not interfere in the matter of Triple Talaq, adding the Muslim board would eradicate this evil themselves.

“The Muslim Personal Board has decided that they will eradicate this problem from the society itself. We request the government to not to interfere in this matter,” said Sadiq.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/apr/14/hindu-mahasabhas-bizarre-solution-to-end-triple-talaq-muslim-women-must-convert-1593603.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Cow vigilantism – or minority hunting? – By Surjit Bhalla (Apr 12, 2017, Indian Express)

Of the six innocent individuals transporting cows and calves bought at a cattle fair in Alwar, Rajasthan, one was a Hindu named Arjun. He was released by the vigilantes acting in the name of the cow; the other five, all Muslim, were severely beaten. One of them subsequently died of the lynching by the Hindu mob. While most of the media has mentioned this fact and gone on to dwell on other horrendous details, I consider the Hindu being released as the most crucial in interpreting what happened, and possibly why it happened.

These facts, and the official reaction to them, illustrate several aspects about our degraded polity. First, one can rule out the claim that this was slaughter on behalf of a cow – if it were so, then why was the Hindu not guilty of the crime? This fact also puts a lie to the statement made by the Rajasthan Home Minister that both sides were to blame for this incident. Parenthetically, when will our not-so-savvy Indian politicians realise that they are operating in a social media-camera age and they cannot brazenly lie about crimes committed in the name of their reprehensible “ideology”.

What Alwar has done is to expose several BJP and RSS leaders to scrutiny. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has been surprisingly quiet; Nirmala Sitharaman, the Commerce Minister, felt compelled to point out that “cow protectionism was the spirit behind India’s freedom movement”. Really? Most people believe, perhaps mistakenly, that it was the “protection” of the Indian human (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai) from colonialism.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/cow-vigilantism-or-minority-hunting-ajmer-lynching-gau-rakshaks-bjp-rajasthan-hindu-muslim-4609449/

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I got letters during the Best Bakery trial urging me to act like a Hindu – Justice (RETD) Abhay Thipsay with Jyoti Punwani (Apr 13, 2017, Mumbai Mirror)

…Justice Thipsay was selected to conduct the 2002 Best Bakery trial, which was transferred out of Gujarat by the SC. He convicted nine of the 17 accused, sentencing them to life.…

Did the transfer come as a shock to you? I was deeply hurt by it,… Actually, in 2014, a social media campaign was started against me, alleging that I was corrupt. It was so strong that the police themselves informed me that it was emanating from Gujarat, and that the same post had been clicked 1,000 times on just one day.…

Did you face pressure during the Best Bakery matter? No pressure, but I got a lot of letters, persuading me to “act like a Hindu”. They recalled the history of 800 years, told me this was an opportunity to take “revenge”. Some assured me that the entire Hindu society would back me if I acquitted the accused; others said God would reward me. The persuasive letters outnumbered the threatening ones.…

http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58156368.cms

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Where Are India’s Dissenting Hindus? – By Harsh Mander (Apr 12, 2017, The Wire)

In these troubled times, the world’s two largest democracies – India and the US – are increasingly becoming hostile, threatening places for people with Muslim names. US President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from Muslim majority countries signals an official ideology legitimised from the top that people of Muslim faith are potentially dangerous. In India, the appointment of a man who revelled in hate speech and communal incitement against Muslims as chief minister of UP, the country’s most populous state – which, if independent, would be the fifth largest country in the world – similarly signals, in the words of The Guardian, that “…in India minorities exist mainly on the goodwill of the majority. Step out of line and there will be blood.” And blood has already begun to flow.…

The most striking differences between India and the US has been the response of ordinary people to the anti-Muslim policies of their governments. Protestors gathered with welcoming signs at American airports within hours of the first travel ban being announced, people visited their Muslim neighbours to reassure them of their safety, judges at all levels struck down the presidential order, lawyers gathered at airports to offer legal aid and film actors spoke eloquently for the rights of people of colour and minority faiths in film award functions.

In India, I wait for the day when in UP villages where posters have come up giving notice to Muslim residents to leave, Hindu residents reassure their Muslim neighbours that they are both welcome and safe; where they fight to defend the security and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people threatened by cow politics and contested abattoirs; where students, teachers, lawyers, doctors, workers, farmers, actors and journalists all join the battle against the toxic politics of baiting and scapegoating minorities. Our silences can only signal our complicity with the brazen changing of India into a Hindu country. A land where minorities must submit, else blood will flow.

https://thewire.in/123008/india-hindutva-narendra-modi-rss-muslims/

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ECI needs to dispel doubts over integrity of EVMs to restore faith – By Charanjit Ahuja (Apr 17, 2017, Tehelka)

When the former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to “proactively and aggressively” counter doubts raised by leaders of various political parties over integrity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), he raised a very pertinent point.…

The ECI would do itself credit by seeking external audit of its working and that of EVMs. Instead of asking parties to introspect the reasons for their electoral loss, the ECI may want to introspect on the loss of faith in its own credibility.

The ECI explanation in the form of a detailed press note reiterating that EVMs are standalone machines and are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system is not a sufficient. The ECI undertaking given before the apex court that the 2019 poll would be held using the VVPAT machines (India would need two million such machines), seems to be a step in the right direction!…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/04/eci-needs-to-dispel-doubts-over-integrity-of-evms-to-restore-faith/

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Abandoned Women Vastly Outnumber Victims of Triple Talaq and It’s Time Modi Spoke Up for Them – By Abusaleh Shariff and Syed Khalid (Apr 17, 2017, The Wire)

…Our principal finding is that the situation of Indian Muslim women seems far better than women from other religious groups. For example, the percentage of women staying in marriage is highest amongst Muslims (87.8%) compared to Hindus (86.2%), Christians (83.7%) and other religious minorities (85.8%). The percentage of widowed women is least amongst Muslims (11.1%) compared to Hindus (12.9%), Christians (14.6%) and other religious Minorities (13.3%). It is likely that the culture of widow remarriages provides a higher level of family protection to Muslim women compared to women from other religious communities.

The percentage of separated and abandoned women is also least amongst the Muslims (0.67%) compared to Hindus (0.69%), Christians (1.19%) and other religious Minorities (0.68%).… Against this backdrop, the eagerness of the RSS, the BJP and even Prime Minister Modi to project triple talaq as the major issue to be confronted so as to empower the Muslim community is questionable. Instead, they need to focus their concern on the 43 million widowed women belonging to all parts of society, provide them incentives for remarriage and/or programmatic financial support for sustaining a living.… Most live in extremely dire conditions socially and financially; and at risk of exploitation by others. They are desperate to live with their husbands, waiting for one call from him. Despite not living with her husband for 43 years Jashodaben Modi said on November 24, 2014, that “if he calls once, I will go with him”. But her husband never responded.

Abandoned wives find it difficult to even get a passport in India; for example, in 2015, when Jashodaben applied for a passport, her application was rejected for the reason that “there was no marriage certificate or a joint affidavit with the spouse”. She struggled and filed an RTI to get details of her own husband’s passport. Anyone trying to improve the conditions of Muslim women by talking of the red herring of triple talaq should know the depth of sufferings of 2.4 million deserted women. “No injustice should be meted out to our mothers and sisters in the name of religion or community,” Modi had said. Will he not take up their cause despite the fact that the vast majority – 1.9 million – are Hindu and there may be no political gain from talking about their plight?

https://thewire.in/86335/abandoned-women-triple-talaq/

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The Hinduisation of Ambedkarism – By Bhanwar Meghwanshi (Apr 14, 2017, The Wire)

On April 13 in Jaipur, a ‘bhakti sandhya’ (devotional evening) was organised in the name of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Two Union ministers were guests of honour at this event, which goes against the spirit of what Ambedkar stood for. Ambedkar, the radical rationalist, being subjected to the folly of devotion – can anything be more absurd than this?

By the time you read this, in Bhilwada, the ‘SC Cell’ of the Congress party, Ambedkar’s lifelong antagonist, would have displayed its foolishness. About 126 kilo-litres of milk will be used to consecrate a statue of Ambedkar, and this invariably comes with pandits chanting mantras. The urine and dung of the cow, along with milk and curd, are among the things used to purify the Untouchable Ambedkar in Bhilwada – this is exactly what the Brahmins in Mahad did to ‘purify’ the temple tank after Ambedkar and his 3,000 followers drank water from it in 1927.

We all know that Ambedkar was dead against Gauri, Ganpati, Ram-Krishna, Bramha, Vishnu, Mahesh, destiny as well as concepts of soul and God – his 22 vows at the time of conversion in 1956 make this clear. He was a sharp critic of cults of personalities and hero worship… What we are doing today in Ambedkar’s name is most shameful. This will only carry the anti-caste caravan of Ambedkar and other great leaders back by a thousand years. This needs to stop.…

https://thewire.in/124045/ambedkar-hinuisation/

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Book Review

Anger and Forgiveness: Resistance, Generosity and Justice

Author: Martha Nussbaum
Reviewed by: Arudra Burra
Available at: Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. www.amazon.in/
Review:
‘Anger and Forgiveness’: Has Nussbaum Given Either Its Due? (Apr 17, 2017, The Wire)

In August 2012 a special court delivered a judgement in the case of the Naroda Patiya massacre of 2002, in which 96 Muslims were killed (many of them having been burned alive), and a number of women raped. The judgement convicted a former minister in the Gujarat cabinet, Mayaben Kodnani, and former Bajrang Dal convenor Babu Bajrangi, among 30 others, for various offences in the Indian Penal Code, sentencing them to prison for terms ranging from 24 years to life.…

Despite noting that the crimes involved a pre-planned conspiracy to engage in “mass murder” of a brutal and gruesome kind, Justice Jyotsna Yagnik decided not to award the death penalty, arguing that there were more constructive ways of responding to such violence. Perhaps it was this observation which prompted Martha Nussbaum to write a column for the Indian Express a few months later. The column, ‘When is forgiveness right?’, addressed the question whether there was any room for forgiveness and reconciliation after the Naroda Patiya judgement, along the lines of experiments all over the world to explore non-punitive responses to wrongdoing.…

In in her new book, Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice, Nussbaum notes that her views on anger and forgiveness have changed since her Indian Express column. She now argues that anger is rarely warranted, because it always carries with it the implicit wish for some kind of “payback,” a desire that the wrongdoer suffer. Though the idea of payback has deep roots, she claims that involves a kind of “magical thinking,” because the wrongdoer’s suffering cannot cancel or undo the suffering he or she has caused. So while demands for payback may be understandable, they are nevertheless irrational.…

https://thewire.in/124952/martha-nussbaum-anger-forgiveness/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 1st, 2016

August 9, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Operation #BetiUthao Shiv Sena leader is main conspirator in Gujarat Dalit flogging case: CID ‘Gau Rakshaks’ strike again? Fresh video from Rajasthan surfaces Mob beats Muslim women in MP over beef rumour, Oppn corners govt in House No water supply and electricity for Muslim families in Vadodara […]

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