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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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – October 31st, 2016

November 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Bhopal “encounter” killings; Indian Americans demand Chief Minister’s resignation, judicial probe News Headlines SIMI activists’ jailbreak: Encounter, contradictions, politics and all that happened today SIMI shooting: Here’s India’s track record when it comes to fake encounters Police killed my son in fake encounter, alleges top Maoist RK’s wife […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 10th, 2016

October 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal Harmony Awakening Camp Watch how Kashmiri youth rescued an army jawan trapped inside a mangled vehicle News Headlines Delhi: Heavy police deployment in Trilokpuri as communal tensions rises after stone pelting Dadri accused’s body draped in tricolour sends out aggressive message to Muslims 2 hurt as […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 3rd, 2016

October 13, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Amid Uncertainty After Uri Attack, A Hindu-Muslim Bond Grows Stronger NGO to hold national conference for spreading communal harmony News Headlines A year after Ikhlaq’s lynching, Bisada sitting on a communal tinderbox I am out of jail, but I feel I am in a bigger jail now: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 22nd, 2016

September 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans demand withdrawal of sedition case against Amnesty International India Communal Harmony Sadbhavana Yatra for peace and social harmony News Headlines Govt is weakening democratic foundations by targeting human rights groups Kerala: BJP worker dies as bomb made by him explodes CBI to probe murder of couple […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 18th, 2016

July 27, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 11th, 2016

July 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Thapar slams Hindutva interpretation of nationalism MP towns shut on Eid, Hindu groups blamed for forced bandh State Intelligence Dept. gives clean chit to Naik; no arrest on his return to India BJP creating divisions in Kashmir with eye on UP elections: NC Home Ministry declines to […]

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