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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 24th, 2017

by newsdigest on August 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Soul of India resides in pluralism, need to eschew violence: President (Jul 24, 2017, The Tribune)

Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday that soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance and the country must free its public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. In his farewell address broadcast to the nation, he said creation of an inclusive society has to an article of faith. He called for resurrecting the power of non-violence.…

He said multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. “We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” he said.…

“At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalised and the dispossessed in the democratic process. “Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a compassionate and caring society,” he said. Mukherjee said Mahatma Gandhi saw India as an inclusive nation where every section lived in equality and moved forward unitedly in ever-widening thought and action.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/soul-of-india-resides-in-pluralism-need-to-eschew-violence-president/441483.html

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Chhattisgarh minister’s wife buys state forest land to build a resort, his dept says we can do nothing (Jul 25, 2017, Indian Express)

Raising questions of propriety and conflict of interest, Sarita Agrawal, wife of Chhattisgarh Minister and BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal, acquired 4.12 hectares of forest land which was owned by the government and is now, along with her son, building a resort on it.

The purchase, in September 2009, was red-flagged by several officials of the Raman Singh government, as recently as June 30 this year, but her husband’s Ministry put down in writing that “it’s not possible to take any action in the matter,” an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.…

The resort, called Shyam Vatika, is being developed near Sirpur in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh…. Not just the wife, his son, too, is involved with the project. Two companies, Aditya Srijan Private Limited and Purbasa Vanijya Private Limited, have acquired land for the same project. Registrar of Companies records show that the former company has both Sarita Agrawal and her son Abhishek Agrawal as directors while Purbasa Vanijya has Abhishek Agrawal as one of its directors.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/chhattisgarh-ministers-wife-buys-state-forest-land-to-build-a-resort-his-dept-says-we-can-do-nothing-4765761/

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‘Modi’s election, like Trump’s, has unleashed violence against minorities’ (Jul 22, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Drawing parallels between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Martin Luther King III, the son of American civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr, said here on Friday that both have limited regard for the poor and for law and order.

King III, a human rights advocate and community activist was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day conference “Quest for equity – Reclaiming social justice, revisiting Ambedkar”, in which around 300 scholars, activists and policymakers will discuss the ideas of Dr BR Ambedkar.

“Like Donald Trump’s campaign, the election of Narendra Modi has unleashed a ferocious animosity against minorities,” King said drawing unflattering parallel between the two leaders. The government has consistently denied that there is any intolerance in the country. “We must find a way to bring together the best minds in the world to find solutions,” he stressed.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-s-election-like-trump-s-has-unleashed-violence-against-minorities/story-fyq4HW0RCSJpLPoqnP4sIK.html

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Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to them, they’re implicitly meeting approval from higher-ups: UCLA scholar (Jul 18, 2017, Indian Express)

…These lynchings are a form of communal violence that is different from what we have seen before. Firstly, they are apparently decentralised. Earlier, organised acts of mass violence were repetitive in character and there was a pattern, e.g. processions were attacked or the violence was timed with public festivals.…

But what we are seeing now is not at a single place, there are fewer numbers attacked and it is decentralised, done by little groups all over the place. These groups are either being told, or imagine that they have been told to act in this way. Further, after the event, no one in authority is clearly telling them the contrary. There is also an aspirational quality to the violence. It is low-level… if journalists don’t choose to report it, it may not even register if one isn’t vigilant.

But the curious thing is that the perpetrators want it to be known. After all, some of the people doing this are even videotaping it. They make sure the information is circulating, intended as a warning, as a signal and controlling device for the social behaviour expected of minorities. It is a form of violence which can pop up here one day and there on another. It is never mass killings, but based on the existence of grassroots kind of organisations which believe in doing this, and also to an extent on copycat behaviour. So even if it is decentralised, there is a larger context.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/lynch-mobs-seem-to-know-nothing-will-happen-to-them-sanjay-subrahmanyamucla-scholar-4755228/

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Adani Group ‘SLAPP’ Pushes EPW Editor Out of His Job (Jul 18, 2017, The Wire)

Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta became the first top-level editorial casualty of corporate India’s increasing tendency to file multi-crore defamation cases as a means of countering critical reporting, resigning after the directors of the trust which runs the storied journal ordered him to take down an article on the Adani group.

Last month, Adani Power Ltd. sent a letter via its lawyers to EPW, the article’s four authors (which included Thakurta) and Sameeksha Trust, which owns and runs the journal. The lawyer’s letter demanded that immediate steps be taken to “remove/delete and unconditionally retract” an article ‘Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group'(June 24, 2017) that they said was defamatory and harmful to the reputation of their client. The letter also objected to the publication of an earlier article,’Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1,000 Crore in Taxes?’ (January 14, 2017), but did not specifically ask for it to be removed.

The letter said that unless this was done, “our clients shall be constrained to take such action as they may be advised”. On Tuesday, the Sameeksha Trust board, which met in Delhi, ordered the editorial department to take the article down (alongside which Thakurta had also posted a copy of the Adani letter and a legal response by EPW). Thakurta resigned soon after the meeting.…

https://thewire.in/159090/adani-group-slapps-epw-editor-job/

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Maharashtra Collector Confirms EVM Malfunctioning In RTI Reply, Votes Went To Lotus Symbol (Jul 22, 2017, Outlook)

Contrary to the claim by the Election Commission of India (ECI), an RTI response from Maharashtra’s Buldhana district collectorate has confirmed malfunctioning of electronic voting machine (EVM), reported IANS.

According to the report, Buldhana collectorate’s election department has replied to an RTI query confirming that votes of an independent candidate had gone to BJP’s lotus symbol.

The “EVM fraud” happened during February 16 elections to Buldhana Zilla Parishad from Lonar, at a polling station in Sultanpur village of the district, said RTI activist Anil Galgali.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/maharashtra-collector-confirms-evm-tampering-in-rti-reply-votes-went-to-lotus-sy/299695

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SC questions reappointment of Gujarat cops involved in ‘fake encounters’ (Jul 21, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The reappointment by the Gujarat government of two cops, allegedly involved in fake encounter cases, has come under the Supreme Court scanner.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar on Friday issued notice to the state on a petition filed by retired IPS officer, Rahul Sharma, who claimed the appointments are in violation of the law laid down by the apex court in the police reforms case. Sharma’s plea was not entertained by Gujarat high court following which he moved the SC.

The two cops are NK Amin and Tarun Barot. Amin was accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case but was discharged. He is yet to get a clean chit for allegedly killing Ishrat Jehan in a staged encounter.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sc-questions-reappointment-of-gujarat-cops-involved-in-fake-encounters/story-QjdMRjQg8x6YE6eFLdWagM.html

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Modi’s false promises on crop MSP exposed, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh makes a u-turn in Lok Sabha (Jul 21, 2017, Twocircles.net)

On Wednesday, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh again misled the country by making a completely false statement by claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had never promised to offer a minimum support price to farmers but had instead promised to give a profit of 50% to farmers on the production cost.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has said that not only is this a completely false statement, but the agricultural minister also did not clarify how the farmers can gain a profit of 50% without having an MSP in place.

Defying Singh’s claim, social activist and founder of Swaraj Abhiyan Yogendra Yadav tweeted a video dated April 4, 2014. The video clearly shows that Modi had promised to fix the crops’ MSP at above 50% of the production cost.…

http://twocircles.net/2017jul21/413381.html

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Modi government policies are burning Kashmir: Congress VP Rahul Gandhi (Jul 22, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reiterated his charge on Friday that the Modi government’s policies are “burning” Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that no third party intervention was required to resolve India’s internal matters.

“India is Kashmir and Kashmir is India,” Gandhi told reporters in the Parliament House Complex. “It is being said there should be discussion on Kashmir with China and Pakistan, but this is our internal matter… our internal business and no one should interfere in it,” he said.…

“I have been saying this for a long time that Modi’s and the NDA’s policies are burning Jammu and Kashmir,” the Congress vice president said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-government-policies-are-burning-kashmir-congress-vp-rahul-gandhi/story-sJk78n4Pfo2pcvhpUUJLVO.html

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Ambedkar meet: Resolution adopted against ‘regressive forces’ (Jul 24, 2017, Indian Express)

Regressive political and social forces which are in positions of power are undermining the foundations of Indian society and pose “a grave threat to the idea of India espoused by the freedom movement and spelt out in the Constitution”, said a resolution called the Bengaluru Declaration that was passed at the end of a three-day international conference on Dr B R Ambedkar.

Regressive forces with state power “are systematically dismantling the institutions that are the foundations of our society, by undermining India’s holistic welfare and affirmative action architecture and by destroying the pluralistic fabric of our nation”, read the declaration, put together by academics and participants at the conference organised by the Congress government in Karnataka. The conference ended on Sunday.

While assiduously avoiding direct references to BJP, RSS, PM Narendra Modi or recent incidents of violence over food habits, the Bengaluru Declaration has called for all governments in the country to uphold constitutional values and the rule of law. “The State must be unequivocal in its protection of fundamental rights and constitutional values. Irrespective of religious identities or institutional affiliations, the State needs to strictly reassert political and legal accountability for any violence. This is the only way to prevent lynchings and uphold the rule of law,” it said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/resolution-adopted-against-regressive-forces-4764029/

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Turn Toward Intolerance – Editorial (Jul 17, 2017, New York Times)

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.

Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/opinion/indias-turn-toward-intolerance.html

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Muslims Still Consigned to Gujarat’s Slums 15 Years After 2002 Riots – By Rina Chandran (Jul 25, 2017, The Wire)

Shahjahan Bano was a young boy in February 2002, selling vegetables with his mother in a market in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, when some of the worst communal riots in the country’s history broke out.

For days mobs rampaged the city, burning houses, looting shops, raping women and killing men, women and children. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the violence. Bano and his mother, who hid in the market the first night, were taken to a relief camp the next day where other Muslims huddled, awaiting news of their families and homes.…

“As a result, Muslims are confined to the filthiest corners, with no hope of upliftment. Development and progress are for everyone else in the state, but not for Muslims,” he said. The division is so marked that Juhapura, a teeming township in Ahmedabad of about 400,000 people, many who moved there after the 2002 riots, is referred to by local Hindus as “Little Pakistan”. Conditions there and in other Muslim settlements in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, are similar: residents lack proper roads, streetlights, adequate drinking water, sewage pipes, and access to public clinics and schools.…

https://thewire.in/161532/muslims-gujarat-riots/

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Why Dina Nath Batra wants Tagore, Urdu, Mughals removed from school books – By Shougat Dasgupta (Jul 24, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Ideological warriors like Dina Nath Batra should have no part to play, no influence to wield in the writing of Indian textbooks or on the content of the national syllabus. As a reporter, I met Batra in 2014 when Penguin India, to general bemusement, agreed to pulp extant copies of scholar Wendy Doniger’s award-winning book The Hindus: An Alternative History.

I went to the school he ran in southwest Delhi and he proved, for the record, to be a genial companion. He is a man of considerable experience and achievement. But he is, without question, a crank.

Our discussion, apart from Batra’s digressions into the existence of nudist colonies in Calfornia, mostly centred around the lack of cultural education imparted to Indian schoolchildren. But no one who is thinking critically would accept Batra’s version of Indian culture and history. His myriad objections to passages in books amount to one overall objective – a desire to eliminate complexity.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/dina-nath-batra-tagore-urdu-remove-school-textbooks-rss/story/1/18562.html

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Ram Nath Kovind’s election was fixed. It brings no honour to India – By Rajeev Dhavan (Jul 23, 2017, Dailyo.in)

No one can seriously claim that India has had a proper presidential election. Ram Nath Kovind’s election was fixed. That brings no honour to a nation that claims to be a democratic republic.

The election was a non-starter because the votes were pre-determined. If Meira Kumar provided a temporal moment which could provide the possibilities of a contested match, it was dashed into the ground by majority politics.…

As things stand, the president has interesting powers. The Constitution gives him the right to access all government information (Article 78), to remand matters (Article 78 (3) and 74 (1)) for reconsideration, especially after post-Emergency changes to the Constitution. He can block President’s Rule and ordinances. He has a role in the appointment of governors. He is not a mere symbol but can be the powerful conscience keeper for the nation. This is why his post is important and should go beyond appointing stooges bereft of dignity.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/ram-nath-kovind-president-presidential-elections-2017-modi-amit-shah/story/1/18536.html

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Trump and Modi’s silence on hate crimes provides shelter for criminals – By Rachana Kamtekar (Jul 17, 2017, TRT World)

…In May the Modi government proposed a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter in deference to extremist Hindu “cow protectors”, despite the fact that Muslims and Christians, and quite a few Hindus and Sikhs besides, might choose to eat beef. Since then India has seen seven lynchings of Muslims on the pretext of beef eating or cow slaughter. One of the bloodiest was the June 22 lynching of fifteen year-old Junaid Khan and his teenage friends as they were heading home on a suburban train from some Delhi Eid shopping.

“Beef-eater!”, “Anti-national!”, “Mullah!”, the twenty-odd assailants taunted the boys as they began slapping them around before stabbing them repeatedly and throwing Junaid onto the platform where he bled to death. India has seen a dozen lynchings of Muslims since the BJP came to power in 2014. Yet the BJP-led government has been silent about them. The Trump regime has also been reticent about condemning the rising tide of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US (260 since 2015).…

In India, criminalising what Muslims might ordinarily eat – and what they must, for fear of their lives, give up or at least deny eating – doesn’t just license criminals to attack Muslims.…

http://www.trtworld.com/opinion/trump-and-modis-silence-on-hate-crimes-provides-shelter-for-criminals-402668

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Cow Is Mother As Long As It Gives Milk – Editorial (Jul 19, 2017, Nav Hind Times)

…Most lynchings have taken place in the BJP-rules states. There has been a spurt in the number of cases of attacks by the pseudo cow vigilantes over the last two years and scores of cases have been reported in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

The states did not take the Prime Minister’s first warning seriously. Let us hope that they would act strongly and arrest and prosecute the offenders as well as take steps to prevent lynching of people in the name of cow protection. The Prime Minister’s advice to the states to open dossiers to see how many of the self-proclaimed vigilantes were criminals should be followed.

BJP President Amit Shah recently alleged that there were more lynchings during the UPA regime. It cannot be anybody’s case that violence was not taking place during the Congress-led regime. Lynchings by mobs of criminals are quite a gory, but common phenomenon in India. There have been lynchings of eve teasers and boys in love with a girl whose family did not like him to see her. However, the difference between those lynchings and the lynchings taking place in the BJP-ruled states is that it is being done in the name of Hindu religion.…

http://www.navhindtimes.in/cow-is-mother-as-long-as-it-gives-milk/

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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

March 3, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Political storm erupts over Madhya Pradesh CM’s pic with ‘ISI man’ Why India’s higher courts have ignored suo motu cognisance of mass crimes, including 2002 riots?: Teesta Setalvad Narendra Modi, Amit Shah are terrorists spreading fear: Uttar Pradesh minister Meerut: BJP leader Kuldeep Tomar shoots his wife […]

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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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