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Demonetization

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 20th, 2017

by newsdigest on March 3, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Political storm erupts over Madhya Pradesh CM’s pic with ‘ISI man’ (Feb 13, 2017, Deccan Chronicle)

A picture purportedly showing one of the accused in the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-backed spy racket, busted in Madhya Pradesh on February 9, in the company of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday sparked a political storm in the state. Opposition Congress here expressed serious concern over the ISI suspect’s alleged link with several senior BJP leaders in MP including the Chief Minister.

In the picture, one of the members of the spy ring, Dhruv Saxena, was seen standing near Shivraj. It appears that the photograph was taken at a function. “Separate pictures showing Dhruv in company of the Chief Minister and also with BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargia have surfaced establishing his links to BJP. It is a matter of serious concern,” the Congress spokesman said.…

Anti-terrorist squad of MP on February nine busted the ISI-backed spy racket by arresting 11 people in four districts in the state. The racket used to facilitate their ISI handlers in Pakistan to contact officials in the Indian defence establishment through their parallel telephone exchanges by concealing their identities to extract military related information.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/130217/controversy-sparks-over-madhya-pradesh-cms-pic-with-isi-man.html

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Why India’s higher courts have ignored suo motu cognisance of mass crimes, including 2002 riots?: Teesta Setalvad (Feb 18, 2017, Counterview)

In her new book, “Foot Soldiers of the Constitution: A Memoir”, well-known human rights activist wonders as to why India’s High Courts and the Supreme Court, who are vested with a unique power of the suo motu jurisdiction, have failed to use it with any communal riots across the country. …

Recalling how under suo motu, the Courts have taken up matters and issues on their own, when they receive a letter of complaint and when they read a media report, Setalvad says, the power of the suo motu was used by the Supreme Court to “query the defacement of the mighty Himalayas”, yet, “When mass crimes against sections of our own population shook the core of the Indian republic, the power of suo motu has not been used.”

This is not just true of the the “2002 pogrom” in Gujarat, Setalvad says, but also “the widely-reported 1983 Nelli massacre, the extensively covered 1984 Delhi riots, the 1989 Hashimpura-Meerut killings (when the bodies of those shot dead were washed upon the shores of the Yamuna, near Delhi), and the 1992-93 Bombay riots”.… “It remains a shameful reminder of the depths to where we had fallen in 2002”, comments Setalvad…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/02/why-indias-higher-courts-have-ignored.html

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Narendra Modi, Amit Shah are terrorists spreading fear: Uttar Pradesh minister (Feb 20, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are terrorists who are trying to terrorise people in Uttar Pradesh, a Samajwadi Party minister has said, as campaigning in the state turned ugly halfway through the seven-phase assembly elections.

The comment by Rajendra Chowdhary came shortly after Modi accused the SP government of discrimination on the basis of religion. “They want to create an environment of fear. They are both terrorists – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. They are creating terror in our democracy,” Chowdhary said.…

On Sunday, Modi drew a parallel between Hindu and Muslim festivals to accuse the Akhilesh Yadav administration of practising discrimination on the basis of religion. “If you create kabristaan (graveyard) in a village, then a shamshaan (cremation ground) should be created. If electricity is given uninterrupted in Ramzan, then it should be given in Diwali without a break. Bhedbhaav nahin hona chahiye (there should be no discrimination,” Modi told a rally in Fatehpur, apparently playing the Hindutva card in the politically crucial state.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/narendra-modi-and-amit-shah-are-terrorists-they-are-spreading-fear-uttar-pradesh-minister/story-T7JWyh8AFIMW7cmJmxdenN.html

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Meerut: BJP leader Kuldeep Tomar shoots his wife dead after argument (Feb 18, 2017, DNA India)

BJP leader Kuldeep Tomar has allegedly shot his wife after a heated argument. His wife, Poonam, was seriously injured and was taken to a hospital. According to News18, she died while being treated in the hospital on Friday. The leader is on the run and cops are searching for him.

The incident took place on Friday night after the couple had a fight following which Kuldeep shot Poonam with his licensed revolver at the back of her head. He tried to shoot himself too but was stopped by his nephew.

Poonam’s family is in Meerut and has lodged an FIR against Kuldeep. The police has sent the body to conduct autopsy.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-meerut-bjp-leader-kuldeep-tomar-shoots-his-wife-after-argument-2327134

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Ghaziabad fake encounter: Four UP cops convicted of murder (Feb 21, 2017, Hindustan Times)

More than 20 years after the Uttar Pradesh police claimed to have gunned down four criminals in an encounter in Bhojpur in November 1996, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Monday held four cops guilty of murder, destruction of evidence and giving false evidence.

CBI’s Special Judge (anti corruption) Rajesh Chaudhary on Monday held the then station house officer Lal Singh, sub inspector Joginder Singh and two constables Surya Bhan and Subhash Chand as guilty for murder. The fifth accused Ranbir Singh died during the trial.…

Forensic investigations nailed the policemen’s lies.… All four victims killed during the alleged encounter hailed from poor families and had gone to Pilkhuwa in search of daily wage job on November 8, 1996. They were sitting at a tea stall outside the Bhojpur police station and were called by the police personnel inside the police station where they were tortured before being killed in a fake encounter at Machli Bazar area nearby.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/four-up-cops-convicted-of-murder-in-20-year-old-fake-encounter-case/story-6GsrSn6X5thoFzSc98bBON.html

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2005 Delhi blasts – College to jail: How cops stole 12 years of his youth (Feb 18, 2017, Times of India)

Mohammad Rafiq Shah was … picked up by officials of Delhi Police’s special cell and Special Task Force (STF) of Kashmir Police.Two days later – after allegedly subjecting him to torture and humiliation at an STF camp – they brought him to Delhi. His crime: he was alleged to have planted a bomb in a DTC bus in Govindpuri on October 29, 2005, which injured many people.

Twelve years later, when he walked free on Thursday – after additional sessions judge Reetesh Singh acquitted him of all charges – the police were facing serious questions of credibility and human rights violations. Rafiq’s claim that “he was made an accused to assuage the public perception that Delhi Police was incompetent to act against terrorism” and that “he was a vulnerable target… made a scapegoat” rang true. Police, it seems, deliberately ignored his alibi at every step to prove their case. They brushed aside his plea that it could be proved he was in his class on the day of the blast. It relied on dubious witness es who ended up contradicting themselves, exposed Rafiq to many people when he was in custody before a test identification parade (TIP) could be conducted and suppressed inconvenient facts.…

The ground had been laid in Srinagar where Rafiq -according to his reply during framing of charges on January 21, 2008 which was cited by the judge – was allegedly forced to drink urine, kept naked and sexually abused, all in order to perhaps break his spirit. He had also alleged that rats were put in his trousers and attempts made to hurt his religious sentiments.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57215328.cms

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Hindutva terror cases will be ‘made to collapse’ by government, says Chidambaram (Feb 18, 2017, Hindustan Times)

All terror cases involving right-wing Hindutva groups will be “made to collapse” in courts as the NDA government is using investigation agencies to advance its “political objective”, former home minister P Chidambaram has said.

His remarks came a fortnight after a Dewas court acquitted Sadhvi Pragya in Sunil Joshi murder case. Joshi was the alleged mastermind of what came to be known as “Hindu terror” that was linked to right-wing group Abhinav Bharat and some individuals associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The National Investigation Agency (NIA) dropped all charges against Pragya and 5 others in 2008 Malegaon blast case last year. Many witnesses have turned hostile in 2007 Ajmer Dargah and Samjhauta Express blasts cases.

Asked how the so-called Hindutva terror cases – transferred from states to the NIA during his tenure as union home minister – were falling apart, Chidambaram told HT: “It shows how the investigation agency is being used to advance their (the ruling party’s) political objective. How can witness after witness turn hostile? Is there not a single witness who will come and depose?”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hindutva-terror-cases-will-be-made-to-collapse-by-government-says-chidambaram/story-64AuYRpFOwbjk04Gw7jA5I.html

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US report exposes India’s mistreatment of minorities (Feb 19, 2017, Milli Gazette)

India fails to comply with international standards on freedom of religion leading to the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, said a new report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The report, “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India” said that, although the country’s Constitution guarantees equal rights to religious minorities, the government fails to comply with international standards.

It also enumerates India’s failure to ensure the rights of Dalit people, those from socially and economically poor castes, once considered untouchables.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15401-us-report-exposes-india-s-mistreatment-of-minorities

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India’s GDP projected to slow to 6.6% post-demonetisation: IMF (Feb 22, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India’s growth is projected to slow to 6.6% in 2016-17 fiscal due to the strains that have emerged in the economy as a result of “temporary disruptions” caused by demonetisation, the IMF said on Wednesday.

In its annual report, however, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said demonetisation would have only short term impact on the economy and it would bounce back to its expected growth of more than eight per cent in the next few years.

The post-November 8, 2016 cash shortages and payment disruptions caused by the currency exchange initiative have undermined consumption and business activity, posing a new challenge to sustaining the growth momentum, the IMF said in its annual country report on India.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-gdp-projected-to-slow-to-6-6-post-demonetisation-imf/story-zlxP86sKhOfOIY2N20jYRP.html

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‘Torture can NEVER be justified’: Amnesty International calls for Indian minister who ordered police to hang rape suspects upside down, beat them and rub chilli in their wounds to be investigated (Feb 19, 2017, First Post)

A cabinet minister who claimed to have ordered police to torture rape suspects should be investigated for human rights abuses, Amnesty International has said.

Uma Bharti, in charge of water resources, told supporters last week that she used to order rape suspects to be beaten in front of their victims and then have salt and chillies rubbed into their wounds while she was Madhya Pradesh chief minister.…

But London-based rights group Amnesty said her comments were dangerous and she should be prosecuted for violating basic human rights principles and Indian laws if she had in fact ordered such treatment. ‘Torture is always a crime, and is never justified. Politicians cannot decide that certain people do not have human rights,’ Aakar Patel, the head of Amnesty in India, said in a statement.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-4223534/Amnesty-urges-probe-India-minister-torture-claim.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi is back to dirty trick by trying to divide Hindus and Muslims in UP – By Muqbil Ahmar (Feb 20, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a speech in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday, said: “Ramzan me bijli aati hai, toh Diwali me bhi aani chahiye; bhedbhav nahi hona chahiye (when electricity is available on Ramzan, then its supply should be ensured during Diwali as well. There shouldn’t be any discrimination.” He added: “If there is a kabaristaan, there should be shamshaan too.”…

Moreover, Modi’s polarising remarks are not new. He has a history of doing that. Time and again, he and the BJP have tried to polarise important elections, particularly when the party feels it is on a sticky wicket. During the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, Modi sought to pit the Dalits and backward classes against Bihar’s Muslims.…

The party has been notorious for such tactics… During the West Bengal Assembly elections, the BJP ran a highly virulent and divisive campaign. However, it backfired as the results showed. It was the same during the Bihar polls. This time, the BJP is playing the same card in Uttar Pradesh. Let’s see if it works in the party’s favour.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/uttar-pradesh-polls-modi-fatehpur/story/1/15745.html

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No Prime Minister Has Stooped So Low in His Statements as Modi Has – By Om Thanvi (Feb 13, 2017, The Wire)

Outraged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘raincoat’ remark on Manmohan Singh, Congress MPs staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha last week. Their protest may have been a bit of an overreaction but the truth is that the jibe was in extremely poor taste. What Modi did, in essence, was to accuse the former prime minister – without providing any proof – of personal involvement in corruption.…

What drove Modi to make such an allegation? For one, he was desperate to strike back. In the last parliamentary session, Singh had spoken like the economist he is and delivered a rare, brief and relatively strong speech condemning demonetisation – a speech in which he used terms like “organised loot” and “plunder”. Singh’s vocabulary was not abusive or frivolous but it stung Modi – who is aspiring to be the Messiah of neo-liberal economics – where it mattered most.…

Still, the use of such low level language in parliament by a man holding the top-most position in the country indicates a deterioration not witnessed before. Never has a prime minister put on such a shocking display of language. Not even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose rhetoric and dramatic gestures Modi and others in the BJP have strived to emulate.

https://thewire.in/108328/mod-manmohan-raincoat-parliament-demonetisation/

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2005 Delhi blast: Shoddy probe is an insult to both victims and those acquitted – Editorial (Feb 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

In the end, it would appear that justice has not be done to any of the people involved in the 11-year-long saga following the Delhi bomb blasts that killed 67 people. Two of the accused have been freed after spending more than a decade in jail. On the face of things, it beggars belief that the police investigative team could have got it so wrong and that too in such a high-profile case.

But a closer look at many such incidents, a similar one in Hyderabad for instance, shows that the errors in evidence gathering begin right from the start. The crime scene is almost always compromised due to the police being late to arrive or their inability to cordon it off even when they do. This is the first lapse. Very often we see that all sorts of hasty conclusions are reached and these are publicised with no thought to how this could affect a sensitive case.… The easy route is taken and people are picked up on flimsy grounds.…

To return to this case, there was, according to lawyers, evidence of wilful negligence or incompetence in arresting people with little proof. This has led not only to an erosion of faith in the criminal justice system, but also has traumatised Muslims who are most often picked up for terror crimes. In effect, these lapses lead to persons, who may well be innocent, losing several years of their lives and the victims of the outrage are left in pain and grief. Those wrongly accused can, of course, sue the State but the stigma rarely goes away. It affects their chances of education, employment, overseas travel and also reintegrating into society. It also leaves deep psychological scars from which many never recover.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/shoddy-probe-into-the-2005-delhi-blast-case-is-an-insult-to-both-victims-and-those-acquitted/story-6DkQw24d0f2s0xoWguHYTM.html

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The chessboard was ready; we were just pawns: Habeeb Hawa, acquitted from Ahmedabad blasts case – By Amit Kumar (Feb 16, 2017, Twocircles.net)

Until April 22, 2003, Habeeb Hawa’s life was no different from the thousands around him. A 29-year-old born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Hawa ran a business dealing with electrical wiring, and in his free time, he would help various social organisations. He had got married three years ago and both him and his wife were enrolled at IGNOU: Habeeb had his exams for graduation a few days later, while his wife was preparing for her M.Com final year.

And then, Hawa got a police call. His life was about to nosedive into a hell specially reserved for innocent Muslims in India: not that he knew it then. “The police called and said that I needed to file an ‘answer’ for a query they had. I was confused because I had no clue, but then I thought there is no harm in going to the police station. I had been working in the relief committee for post-Godhra riots, and I had spoken to the local police so I went again. I knew these people (the cops),” says Hawa in a conversation with Twocircles.net.

Except that when he reached the police station, he was a taken to another place which was unfamiliar. “There were about 50 Muslims detained in the place. When I spoke to the others, they too seemed clueless. One cop jokingly said, ‘The chessboard is in place, now we need to place the pawns in the right place.’ Also, every few hours one of us would be picked, beaten black and blue and he would never return,” Habeeb, now 43, says.…

http://twocircles.net/2017feb16/404855.html

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100 days of demonetisation: Bank queues, RBI flip-flops – here is how it all unfolded – By Kanishka Singh (Feb 17, 2017, Indian Express)

Hundred days have passed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government announced its demonetisation drive. The government invalidated legal tender of ₹500 and ₹1,000 and announced restrictions on ATM and bank withdrawals on November 8. Further announcements included introduction of new currency notes of ₹500 and ₹ 2,000 denomination.

Announcing the decision, PM Modi had asked for 50 days to bring the situation back to normal. At the end of 50 days on December 30, the RBI and the Centre had both come out with a combined 74 notifications, circulars, decisions and reviews or turnarounds of those decisions. By the end 100-day mark, the situation has stabilised by some measure, but the shock is still felt and will take some time to wither away.…

Many lost their lives standing in queues and farmers were forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices. Digital payment infrastructure crumbled with high demand and low preparation. Digital India was not there to support demonetisation blues. After demonetising 86 per cent of the currency on November 8, only 0.0006% was recovered as counterfeit. Although large amounts of money made its way into the banking system, citizens by and large suffered the brunt.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/100-days-of-demonetisation-bank-queues-rbi-flip-flops-here-is-how-it-all-unfolded-4528321/

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Mohan Bhagwat is confusing religion with nationality by saying all Indian Muslims are Hindus – By Bikram Vohra (Feb 9, 2017, First Post)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken religion, nationality and rationale to a whole new level, and served it up as a khichdi of logic. There was absolutely no need to create even a sliver of controversy, or to confuse the country you hail from with the religion you practice. Yet, he chose to do just this.

The one nice thing he did say during his eight-day tour of Madhya Pradesh will get lost in the din over all the other statements designed to tee off anyone who is not Hindu, and also a lot who are and who would rather not spread their spiritual blanket with such abandon.

Oh yes, the good part: He called on people to rise above caste, religion and language, which in itself is worthy of applause, but if only the rest of his speech wasn’t all about Hinduism and antithetical to the first sentiment. Why, for a start, do Hindus need the Bhagwats to bat for them and turn it all into a verbal circus? There is no call for this propping up, of adding cardboard dimensions to a faith. But Bhagwat clearly believes so in some fashion, since he says all Muslims are Hindus by nationality, though it makes no sense. But the Indian majority will somehow feel joyous about it and discover great happiness from this incandescent revelation.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/mohan-bhagwat-is-confusing-religion-with-nationality-by-saying-all-indian-muslims-are-hindus-3274180.html

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Book Review

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

Author: Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha
Reviewed by: Mohammad Sajjad
Available at: Three Essays Collective, B-957 Palam Vihar, GURGAON (Haryana) 122 017 India. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
‘Splintered Justice’ in the Aftermath of Communal Violence (Feb 15, 2017, The Wire)

Communal violence has been a blot on the Indian record since British rule, with inter-community rivalry extending to well before that. Post-independence, this issue has reached truly dangerous levels… Even in the studies of causation, the career-profiles and roles of the goons patronised by the politicians and officials have remained woefully under-explored. Similar omission persists about studying the communalisation of minorities.

Asghar Ali Engineer, Paul Brass, Steven Wilkinson and Ashutosh Varshney are among the best known names to have explored and published influential works on the theme. Of these scholars however, Brass has diligently argued against using the word ‘riot’ for such violence. He has argued that such violence is not spontaneous. Instead it is ‘organised’ and ‘structured’. Riots don’t ‘happen’, these are ‘produced’ by politicians in connivance with the administrative machinery – an aspect that Wilkinson has also expanded on in his Votes and Violence. Brass wrote that, “What are called Hindu-Muslim riots in India are, in fact, more like pogroms, and have …taken the form of genocidal massacres and local ethnic cleansing as well”.

What has remained less attended to is the aftermath of the violence and barbarity. What happened to the victims that survived? Enough has been said on incumbent regimes, through choice or not, failing to pre-empt and control the violence. What remains understudied is the criminal justice system after the carnage. How did the ‘secular’ regimes protect and promote the perpetrators in the long run? What happened to the security personnel who either looked away or joined in the perpetrators? How difficult and complicated did it become for the victims to claim and get compensations? How did the victims and the survivors of the deceased ones re-build their lives? These are the questions that have been probed in Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha’s Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat. This melancholic story tells us how the Indian republic frequently fails to dispense justice.… It exposes the chilling fact that “the process to provide impunity to the accused begins immediately after the violence”.…

https://thewire.in/108972/splintered-justice-communalism/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 23rd, 2017

by newsdigest on February 2, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Assam: Hajo’s post-Babri Masjid communal harmony march enters 25th year (Jan 15, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A harmony march, started as a show of unity among different communities in Assam after the riots following the Babri Masjid demolition, and turned into an annual event, entered its 25th year on Sunday. While rest of Assam was busy celebrating the post-harvest festival of Magh Bihu, hundreds gathered at Hajo, 24km west of Guwahati, to take part in Samanway Sobha Jatra and Monikut Festival.

The procession and festival, at the small town considered Assam’s ‘oasis of communal harmony’ is symbolic of how residents of this sacred place have learnt to live in peace. Hajo is home to Hayagrib Madhab temple, a four-century-old popular Vishnu shrine. The area is also considered holy by some Buddhists who believe Buddha attained ‘Nirvana’ here.

The Powa Mecca mosque, constructed over 350 years ago, is located few kilometres away. It is believed the structure was made using soil brought from Mecca, Islam’s most sacred site. “The procession started in January 1993 to show unity among followers of different faiths in Hajo after communal riots spread across India following demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992,” Siba Prasad Sarma, ‘doloi’ (chief priest) of Hayagrib Madhab temple said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/assam-hajo-s-post-babri-masjid-communal-harmony-march-enters-25th-year/story-VQwQdcJm9jjFEJgMB7ZpsO.html

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BJP MLA Sangeet Som booked for showing ‘riot’ documentary ahead of UP polls (Jan 19, 2017, Times of India)

Sangeet Som, the controversial BJP MLA from Sardhana in UP, has been booked for allegedly screening footage from the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots as part of a documentary. The riots left 63 people dead and over 50,000 homeless.

“A case has been filed against Sangeet Som under Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) in the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” Sardhana circle officer Chandra Pal Singh said. On Tuesday, police had seized a CD allegedly containing footage of the riots from Som’s campaign vehicle at Fareedpur village in Meerut’s Sardhana constituency.

A case was also filed against the driver of the vehicle and another person for violating Section 144 of CrPc. Police sources said the CD contained footage of the clashes that took place in Muzaffarnagar’s Kawal village in 2013.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56651778.cms

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BJP’s Vinay Katiyar makes sexist comment about Priyanka Gandhi (Jan 25, 2017, Economic Times)

Senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar today triggered a controversy by saying they were “more beautiful women star campaigners than Priyanka Gandhi.”

Priyanka is one of the star campaigners of Congress for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and has also played an important role in forging an alliance between Congress and SP.

To a question, the BJP’s firebrand leader said, “It doesn’t matter…there are girls and women who are more beautiful than her (Priyanka) and are also star campaigners.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56775387.cms

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Malegaon blasts case: ex-cop Mujawar claims ATS actually killed 3 accused (Jan 18, 2017, Catch News)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is getting deeper and deeper into trouble in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case. Former police officer Mehboob Mujawar, who was part of the probe and, in December 2016, filed an affidavit in a Solapur court claiming that the ATS had killed two accused in the case, has fired another salvo. He now claims that the number of accused shot down by the ATS was actually three.

The affidavit had come as a major blow to the theories propagated by the ATS. And given the gravity of the fresh claims, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been probing the matter since 2013, summoned Mujawar for questioning on Tuesday.

…It is suspected that the third person claimed to have been killed in custody could be Dilip Patidar. The other two ‘killed’, as per Mujawar’s affidavit, were Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra. Officially, as per NIA and ATS records, Dange and Kalsangra are ‘absconding’, while Patidar is said to be ‘missing’. However, the three do share some things in common – all of them resided in Indore, and were arrested from there. Kalsangra had been Patidar’s tenant before being arrested by the ATS.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/malegaon-blasts-case-ex-cop-mujawar-claims-ats-actually-killed-3-accused-1484756211.html

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Dabholkar, Pansare murders: Bombay HC raps CBI, SIT for ‘tardy’ probe, says ‘much time, energy wasted’ (Jan 21, 2017, Indian Express)

Expressing displeasure over the “tardy” investigations by both the investigating agencies in the murder cases of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the Bombay High Court on Friday pulled up the CBI and SIT and said considerable time and energy had been wasted by the agencies in investigating the cases.

The agencies provided the status report of investigations and materials in sealed covers to a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Justices B P Colabawalla who perused the report and asked them to not disclose the contents of the report to anybody.…

The court expressed its surprise at the way the ballistic report analysis was being handled and how the case is not moving forward due to this and several adjournments sought from the court in the name of assistance from Scotland Yard.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/dabholkar-pansare-murders-bombay-hc-raps-cbi-sit-for-tardy-probe-says-much-time-energy-wasted-4484432/

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NGOs release report on India’s human rights record (Jan 18, 2017, The Hindu)

On a day when the University of Hyderabad was wracked with protests on the first death anniversary of research scholar Rohith Vemula, a clutch of NGOs released a report highlighting India’s human rights record.

Ashalatha of Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Sajaya of Caring Citizen Collective released the report which had some startling facts like India topping world hunger list with 194.6 million undernourished; having the world’s largest number of homeless and landless persons; the world’s highest number of malnourished and hungry children; 56 percent landless rural households; 30 per cent of world’s poorest people and 10.2 million working children between 5-14 years.

The Joint Stakeholder’s Report will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council during the upcoming third Universal Periodic Review of India due to take place at Geneva in May 2017. The activists demanded a law for protection of human rights defenders.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/NGOs-release-report-on-India%E2%80%99s-human-rights-record/article17052116.ece

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Jallikattu stir bristles with anti-Modi anger (Jan 20, 2017, Asian Age)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rejection of the state’s demand for a Central ordinance on jallikattu has triggered widespread anger in Tamil Nadu. Residents geared up for massive protests on Friday, with all sections of people joining students and youth fighting to save its traditional sport and preserve Tamil culture.

Furious jallikattu protesters widened the canvass of the protests to include all issues in which the state’s rights were trampled. One of the students, Senthilnathan, who had gathered at the Marina asked, “If Narendra Modi is so concerned about respecting the Supreme Court, why had he opposed the apex court’s verdict to form the Cauvery Management Board?”.

Protesting Tamil youth vowed to return the Aadhaar cards as a sign of declaration that they are no more the citizens of India. The protesters also targeted the railways blocking the trains in several parts of the state. Traders associations announced a total shutdown on Friday and cinema theatres would remain closed to express support the agitations.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/200117/jallikattu-stir-bristles-with-anti-modi-anger.html

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Modi Government Re-Allots Land Cancelled By UPA to RSS-Backed Organisations (Jan 17, 2017, The Wire)

Nearly 13 years after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had cancelled the allotment of institutional land to 29 right-leaning organisations by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in Delhi, the Narendra Modi government has restored the allotment of prime plots of land to most of them.…

The BJP government under Vajpayee had made 225 allotments.… Since of these 125 were made to government and political institutions, the subsequent Manmohan Singh government that came to power in 2004 did not question their allotment. However, it did constitute a committee under retired IAS officer Yogesh Chandra to review the others.… Of these, 22 were affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or belonged to outfits backed by it such as Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Samarth Shiksha Samiti, Sewa Bharti and Swadeshi Jagran Foundation.

In all these cases, the committee had held that the allotments were made “without due regard to the stipulated procedure.” After much deliberation between the urban development ministry and the office of the attorney general on the issue, the UPA government had finally cancelled 29 of these allotments. Thereafter, three of these institutions had returned the plots while the remaining 26 had moved the Delhi high court against the order.… With a right-wing government back in the saddle, most of these religious and socio-cultural institutions once again felt emboldened and approached the Centre for restoration of the cancelled plots. Many of them had not given up the plots and had even opened temporary offices on them.…

https://thewire.in/100783/modi-government-re-allots-land-cancelled-upa-rss-backed-organisations/

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Demonetisation like search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: Former RBI Governor, D Subbarao (Jan 23, 2017, Financial Express)

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief, Duvvuri Subbarao discussed PM Narendra Modi-ordered demonetisation drive and expressed his discomfort with it. When asked about how will he measure the success of demonetisation, Subbarao said, “I will use two metrics to measure the success of demonetisation. The first metrics is to what extent has the stock of black money been destroyed and the second is to what extent has the further regeneration of black money been prevented.”

He further stated, in an exclusive interview with CNBC TV-18’s Lata Venkatesh, that “in the first one, the initial expectation of the government was 15-20 percent of the black money (which is about 2- 3 trillion rupees) to be destroyed which would have a deadly blow to all the people who had that money and would have been a huge win for the RBI and the government could have declared moral and material victory. But nothing of that sort has happened as 97 per cent of the money has come back and now the government is looking for the recovery of black money out of the deposits.”

In D Subbarao’s view, “If 1 percent is not added to the tax-to-GDP ratio, then demonetisation would be like the search for the weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.”…

http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/demonetisation-like-search-for-weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-iraq-former-rbi-governor-d-subbarao/519364/

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BJP govt targeting only Muslims in Assam, minority body seeks intervention of Supreme Court (Jan 20, 2017, Siasat)

Assam Minority Jatiya Parishad (AMJP) has sought the intervention of Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the ongoing eviction drive carried out by the BJP government in Assam alleging that it has adopted double standards in these operations.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court, AMJP stated that random eviction has been carried out in Assam only with a view to driving out the poor Muslims from government land who took shelter on such lands due to devastating flood and erosion on the bank of river Brahmaputra.…

The people belonging to all communities have taken shelter on government lands which are not useful for any propose. However, only the Muslims are being targeted without touching the people of other communities. He said we have submitted a petition to the Chief Justice of India seeking justice.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/bjp-govt-targeting-muslims-assam-minority-body-seeks-intervention-supreme-court-1113673/

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BJP-RSS anti-Dalit, won’t let them succeed: AAP on Manmohan Vaidya remark (Jan 20, 2017, Indian Express)

AAP on Friday came out strongly against RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya’s remark favouring a review of the reservation policy and said it won’t allow the “anti-dalit” BJP and RSS suceed in their “nefarious designs”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was quick to latch on the controversial remark, which could potentially help the party in Punjab, a state with over 30 per cent of dalit population.

“The RSS/BJP/Akalis are anti-Dalits. We will not allow their nefarious designs to succeed,” he tweeted. “The statement by RSS functionary is shameful. This is not the first example of RSS and the BJP being anti-dalit. There is no proof required after state-sponsored murder of (Dalit scholar) Rohith Vemula (who committed suicide). We condemn this,” AAP’s national spokesperson Dilip Pandey said, adding that such remarks also came up before the Bihar polls.

RSS’s publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya on Friday kicked up a row with remarks favouring a review of the reservation policy, saying even the architect of the Constitution B R Ambedkar had not favoured its continuance in perpetuity.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-rss-anit-dalit-wont-let-them-succeed-aap-on-vaidya-remark-4484168/

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Opinions and Editorials

Pune Muslim youth murder: Is the Bombay HC bail to accused a licence to kill for sake of religion? – By Ajay Kumar (Jan 17, 2017, First Post)

The Bombay High Court on 12 January granted bail to three men accused of murdering a Muslim man in Hadapsar, Pune, in 2014 sighting an absence of “personal animosity” against the victim. The bail was granted even though the accused are alleged to have bludgeoned the victim to death with hockey sticks, bats and stones, for simply being a Muslim on 2 June 2014.

The prosecution’s case was that the accused had just attended a rally where a person called Dhananjay Desai of the Hindu Rashtra Sena had made an inflammatory speech where he had incited the passions of these accused. So, when the accused saw the victim, on his way to dinner on a motorcycle, wearing a pastel green shirt and was sporting a beard, they started assaulting him with hockey sticks, bats and stones.…

When we contrast the two orders we can see how India may have slightly changed from March 2015 to January 2017 where on the one hand a man making a hate speech is denied bail because he may be a danger to the public at large, on the other hand, three men who get incited by speeches and go around allegedly killing people by beating them with hockey sticks and stones may be excused of their behaviour because they did it because of “religion” and no out of personal enmity. The order of 12 January 2017 must give us all a reason to pause.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/pune-muslim-youth-murder-is-the-bombay-hc-bail-to-accused-a-licence-to-kill-for-sake-of-religion-3207584.html

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Why Babri Masjid, Ramjanmabhumi, Yogi Adityanath And Azam Khan Stand Muted In The Battle For Uttar Pradesh – By Betwa Sharma (Jan 17, 2017, Huffington Post)

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls are taking place in the 25th year of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Election eve is a good time to reflect on how the event so large then, influencing so significantly the politics and elections of that time is viewed today. Communal polarization will depend largely on how the face off between the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party shapes sentiment on the politically festering remains of the 16-century mosque.

But the pitch for Hindu resurgence is on the back-burner today with hardliners gagged. Not so long ago, the Muzaffarnagar riots had spurred BJP’s sweeping performance in the region during the parliament elections. One of the accused, Sanjeev Balyan, became a minister. The Dadri lynching and the reign of the Gau Rakshaks signaled dark clouds of further polarisation.

BJP, against expectations, has not lined up Ramjanmabhumi firebrands such as Yogi Adityanath or Sangeet Som for the UP elections. Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan has also not stepped out to bat for the Muslims. There were posters after the ‘surgical strikes’ depicting Narendra Modi as Lord Ram and Nawaz Sharif as Ravana, coinciding with Dussehra. Such hyperbole has become muted.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/17/why-babri-masjid-ramjanmabhumi-yogi-adiyanath-and-azam-khan-st/

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Hindutva And Cultural Nationalism: The Missing Chapter In Netaji’s Life – By Saswat Panigrahi (Jan 23, 2017, Swarajyamag.com)

Indian historiographers have deliberately brushed aside a significant chapter on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Today, as the nation commemorates the 120th birth anniversary of the most admired nationalist-revolutionary, it is significant to lay bare the unread chapter on Netaji’s life.

A careful study of the life and times of Netaji clearly suggests that the great patriot championed the cause of Hindutva and cultural nationalism. As a quintessential Hindu, Subhas Chandra Bose considered Vedanta and Srimad Bhagavad Gita as his sources of inspiration in the fight against the British.

A young Subhas was moved by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings on universalism and his fresh interpretation of Indian scriptures. Similarly, the writings of Sri Aurobindo had a lasting impression on his mind. In addition, Bose drew influences from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s teachings. All those together helped shape up his social-political activism, loaded with a nationalistic fervour and driven by a religious fascination ever since his young days.…

https://swarajyamag.com/culture/hindutva-and-cultural-nationalism-the-missing-chapter-in-netajis-life

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Modi Cult Building Is Part Of Hindu Rashtra Building – By Shamsul Islam (Jan 22, 2017, Countercurrents)

There has been a universal belief among the modern historians and political scientists that history does not repeat ever. But recent happenings in the ‘largest’ democracy, India and the ‘greatest’ democracy, USA seem to have presented a challenge to the above dictum. It was in the mid-20th Century that world witnessed the rise of totalitarian ideologies like Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy.

Generally, we know how these two debased ideologies under the leadership of Hitler and Mussolini came to power leading to the World War II which caused unparalleled death, devastation and misery to the world. But another fact not much known is that both Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy came to power through prevalent constitutional system in their respective countries. They were able to use weaknesses of the constitutional systems in their countries and turned the polities into unbridled dictatorships, themselves becoming cults.

India and USA seem to have gone through the same process and towards the same end. Narendra Bhai Modi, a seasoned pracharak (whole-timer)of the RSS who was described decades back as ‘fascist-in-making’ by a renowned Indian sociologist, and criticized even by the Supreme Court of India for his handling of the Gujarat Genocide of 2002, became Prime Minister of India in 2014 with only 30% of the polled votes.… It may be a matter of immense pleasure to our PM Modi and his team that this dictum of one flag, one leader and one ideology was directly borrowed from the programmes of Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe which RSS wants to execute in India in order to get rid of minorities.… One wishes that history does not repeat in this case.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/22/modi-cult-building-is-part-of-hindu-rashtra-building/

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Mass rape of Adivasi women in Bastar: Why are human rights body and women’s panel mum? – By Rajkumar Soni (Jan 17, 2017, Catch News)

The roles of Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission and Women’s Commission in the mass rape of Adivasi women in Bastar, have been under scrutiny for a while. The pressure has been upped in the wake of the notice sent to the state government by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Social workers and human rights workers have accused the government of making political appointments to major positions in the commission. And consequently, these appointees take into consideration the convenience of the government when it comes to deciding whether to take note of an incident or just ignore it.

After the rape of 16 Adivasi women from Kunna, Guler and Bellam Landra villages of district Bijapur in Bastar by police and security forces came to light, the NHRC issued a notice to state government, holding it indirectly responsible for it. After this notice the state government is being trounced thoroughly. Generally the commission recommends action only when a victim makes a complaint with facts. The commission can also take cognition of the matter looking to the gravity of the dastardly act. But in this case of Adivasi women, neither of the two commissions took note of the rape.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/mass-rape-of-adivasi-women-in-bastar-why-are-human-rights-body-and-women-s-panel-mum-1484654825.html

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A Clarion Call – Editorial (Jan 21, 2017, EPW)

Even a year after Rohith Vemula’s suicide in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), it is difficult to express the anguish of lost dreams and aspirations of a young person whose death was preventable. In death, Rohith has inspired young people to come out in solidarity across the country.

In their struggle for justice for Rohith, his mother Radhika Vemula, along with the students’ Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, reached out across the country to support others in the fight against caste and communal prejudice, and discrimination. The past year has shown that a politics of wider solidarities is indeed one that is possible.

…Rohith’s legacy has become a clarion call against state oppression of underprivileged castes, minorities, and for all those who have been denied dignity and rights by the Indian state.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/3/editorials/clarion-call.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2017

January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival News Headlines ‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers Watch: BJP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 26th, 2016

January 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Another mosque returned to Muslims in Punjab News Headlines Demonetisation: “What India has done is commit a massive theft of people’s property – a shocking move for a democratically elected government”, says Steve Forbes MP: Ailing old man forced by bank to be personally present for money […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2016

December 22, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Maratha Seva Sangh organises communal harmony rally as part of Eid ul Milad celebrations News Headlines Bengal BJP man held with Rs 10 lakh in new notes Bhaiya reference to minister Kiren Rijiju: ‘Bhaiya ka help chahiye toh humko boliye Sir’ UP polls: BJP, RSS want to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 5th, 2016

December 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition: 25 years on, trial against accused pending Exposed: How spiritual leaders are laundering hawala, secretive money during demonetisation Cash front finger at politicians – Dramatic claim by record declarant 27 senior bank officials suspended on charges of illegal conversion of notes Eight BJP-RSS workers […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 28th, 2016

December 6, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines CBI not investigating PM Narendra Modi will be a travesty of justice: AAP Over Rs. 20 lakh seized from BJP functionary India’s cash crisis could kill its economic boom Demonetisation is a draconian move: Greek Minister Zakir Naik links ban on IRF to demonetisation drive, asks […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 21st, 2016

December 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu-Muslim unity in Uttar Pradesh gets note exchange shot News Headlines BJP Left Red-faced After Rs 92 Lakh Cash Seized From Vehicle Owned By Maharashtra Minister BJP leaders’ presence at Reddy’s family wedding exposes party’s double standards on black money British archives document “links” Godse with RSS, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 14th, 2016

November 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Digest News Headlines Rs 3 crore deposit ahead of Rs 500 & Rs 1000 note ban puts West Bengal BJP in a spot Day 9: Demonetisation Death Toll Rises To 55 ‘Staged encounter’ probe panel chief has RSS links AiNNI writes to President against BJP man getting into NHRC […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 7th, 2016

November 17, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘Sabko nipta do’: Senior police official heard giving orders to kill 8 SIMI operatives on audio recording Bhopal encounter: Bullets hit SIMI suspects in chest, abdomen, reveals post-mortem report 1,654 shot dead in encounters between 2004-2014 2 RSS Men Arrested For Murder Of Left Worker In Kerala’s […]

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