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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 4th, 2015

by newsdigest on May 5, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Announcements

Indian Americans urge India, US to heed USCIRF’s recommendations on safeguarding religious freedom in India

USCIRF Report for 2015 documents forced conversions of minorities to Hinduism, rising attacks on their places of worship and other restrictions on religious freedom

April 30, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has welcomed the recommendations on India in thereport released today by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and called on India to heed its recommendations. IAMC has also urged the US State Department to take cognizance of the report when issuing its own report on international religious freedom, and to act on USCIRF’s multiple recommendations on including religious freedom concerns in bilateral talks with India.

Of particular significance is the fact that the USCIRF report again places India on the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk. India has been on this list every year since 2009. The Chapter on India in the report documents violence as well as the sharp increase in hate campaigns against religious minorities, including Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. It notes with concern the renewed calls for legislating on a national level, anti-conversion laws that have been used to restrict freedom of religion in some states. The report has also cited physical violence, arson, desecration of churches and attempts to forcibly “reconvert” thousands of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. It clearly points to Hindu supremacist forces for most of the religiously motivated violence and attacks on freedom of religion. “The perpetrators are often individuals and groups associated with the RSS and VHP and operate with near impunity,” the report stated.

“The USCIRF report represents international recognition of the growing attacks on minorities in India by Hindutva forces, including those that are part of the ruling dispensation,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “India remaining on USCIRF’s Tier 2 list of countries since 2009 is an unfortunate but inevitable fact, given the ground realities in India. Instead of taking steps to address concerns about religious minorities, the BJP administration’s sectarian and divisive agenda has only resulted in a worsening of India’s record on religious freedom. The international community is rightly concerned about India’s religious minorities, given the attacks have targeted them, their institutions and places of worship and their ability to practice their religions. In the case of Sikhs, Hindutva elements have even targeted the community’s right to self-identification as a distinct religious community,” added Mr. Malick.

Although India’s traditionally pluralist society has seen a decline in religious freedom in the last two decades due to the growing influence of the supremacist ideology of Hindutva, the deterioration since the movement’s political wing came to power last year has been dramatic. From programs known as “ghar wapsi,” intended to forcibly convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, to hate campaigns calling for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and the forced sterilization of Christians and Muslims, the situation of minorities under the BJP rule has become precarious.

IAMC has urged the US government to accept the report’s recommendation to integrate concern for religious freedom in its bilateral talks with India. “We believe the report’s recommendation is best fulfilled through an inclusion of religious freedom and human rights in the US-India Strategic Dialogue,” stated Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
USCIRF Issues its 2015 Annual Report
http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/uscirf-issues-its-2015-annual-report

USCIRF Report 2015: Chapter on India
http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/India%202015.pdf

Indian Political Party Advocates the Denial of Voting Rights for Muslims
http://time.com/3819055/shiv-sena-india-saamana-editorial-muslim-voting-rights/

Hindu Mahasabha leader calls for forcible sterilization of Christians and Muslims
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-impose-emergency-and-sterilise-muslims-christians-forcibly-says-hindu-mahasabha-leader-2076735

‘Reconversion’ of Religious Minorities Roils India’s Politics
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/world/asia/india-narendra-modi-hindu-conversions-missionaries.html

RSS body seeks donations to fund Christmas ‘conversions’ in Aligarh
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45484672.cms

UN Official: India’s ‘Conversion’ Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/03/10/un-official-indias-conversion-laws-threaten-religious-freedom/

Shocking: Plans to name flyover after Gandhi’s assassin
http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/alwar-flyover-was-about-to-named-after-nathuram-godse-47187.html

How India is assassinating Gandhi’s legacy
http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/01/187982/how-india-assassinating-gandhis-legacy

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Communal Harmony

A worthy example for communal harmony (Apr 30, 2015, The Hindu)

The devotees of Ugra Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal Temple in Thammampatti town near here have set a worthy example for communal harmony and national integration by extending invitation to the members of the Muslim community in connection with the forthcoming Chithirai car festival.

The Chithirai car festival in this famous temple, attached to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department, is scheduled to be held for May 3 and May 4. The car festival is being conducted after a gap of seven years.…

The members of the organising committee decided to invite the members of the Muslim community for the car festival in an effort to strengthen the bond prevailing between both the communities for centuries together. As such, they visited the big mosque on Thammampatti bazar street on Tuesday and extended formal invitation to the members of the jamath to participate in the temple festival. The jamath leaders, who accepted the invitation, promised to participate in the festival, said a senior member of the organising committee. A cross-section of people of Salem district commended the gesture. They said that such initiative would go a long way in promoting communal harmony in the whole State.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-worthy-example-for-communal-harmony/article7156471.ece

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Bid to evoke ‘Godhra’ in UP town (May 4, 2015, The Hindu)

Days after Muslims in the Kandhla area of Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh clashed with the police over alleged assault of Tablighi Jamaat workers, the social media and local Whatsapp groups were abuzz with messages claiming a Muslim conspiracy to perform “another Godhra” in Shamli.

An angry crowd from Kandhla, a Muslim majority town, blocked the rail track on Saturday protesting against the alleged ill-treatment of a few Tablighi Jamaat volunteers on a local train near Badaut, in Baghpat.

The crowd threw stones at trains at Kandhla after which the Railway Police had to resort to lathi charge. After the clash, hundreds of social media users, mainly from western Uttar Pradesh, and led by those ideologically affiliated to the right of centre, alleged that Muslims in Kandhla captured and detained Hindu passengers at the railway station in an attempt to portray the incident as “another Godhra”. Mass messages were circulated mainly by numbers originating in western Uttar Pradesh claiming that “another Godhra” was enacted by Muslims at the Kandhla railway station on Saturday and alleged that the police and the media remained silent.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bid-to-evoke-godhra-in-kandhla-town-of-ups-shamli-district/article7167483.ece

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US panel questions RSS, VHP over attacks against minorities; slams “ghar wapsi” (Apr 30, 2015, Times of India)

A US panel tracking international religious freedom has, in its latest report on India, noted that religious minorities in the country were exposed to “derogatory” comments by leaders of the ruling BJP as well as “violent attacks and forced conversions by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)” since the Narendra Modi government took over last year.

It has also slammed the “ghar wapsi” campaign and accused the “Hindu nationalist groups” of offering monetary inducements not only to Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism but also to Hindus who carry out such “forced” conversions.

The findings of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), largely based on the accounts of religious leaders of the minorities and non-government organisations in India, have led it to place India on its Tier 2 list of countries for the seventh year in a row.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47108267.cms

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US asks India to explain action against 2 NGOs (Apr 26, 2015, Asian Age)

The US has expressed concern over India’s crackdown on funding to foreign NGOs operating in the country, Ford Foundation and Greenpeace, and said it is seeking a “clarification” in the matter. Talking to reporters in Washington on Friday, state department deputy acting spokesperson Marie Harf said, “We are aware that the (Indian) ministry of home affairs suspended the registration of Greenpeace India and has placed the Ford Foundation on a prior permission watchlist. We remain concerned about the difficulties caused to civil society organisations by the manner in which the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act has been applied.”

“We are concerned that this recent ruling limits the necessary and critical debate within Indian society and we are seeking a clarification on this issue with the appropriate Indian authorities,” Ms Harf said. However, sources in the government justified the latest move and maintained that a system of checks and balances has been put in place to ensure that no organisation is able to influence the country’s public and economic interests.

The MHA recently put Ford Foundation on its watchlist and ordered that all funds coming from the organisation have to be routed only with its nod, citing national security concerns. The MHA said it wanted to ensure that funds coming from Ford Foundation are utilised for “bona fide welfare activities without compromising on concerns of national interest and security”.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/us-asks-india-explain-action-against-2-ngos-484

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BJP MLA booked for ‘attacking’ policemen (May 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The police on Saturday registered a case against BJP MLA from Goshamahal Raja Singh for allegedly assaulting and threatening a constable after the cop asked some persons to stop playing loud music at a marriage procession last night.

The police said that at around 2 a.m., following complaints of sound pollution, a Blue Colt’s team reached the spot and asked the organiser, Vijendar Singh, to stop the music. “Instead, Vijendar along with few of his friends picked up an argument and obstructed the policemen,” Mangalhat Inspector R. Srinivas said.

As the baaratis did not stop the music, more policemen were rushed to the area. One of the constables switched off the DJ system following which a group of youngsters went to the house of MLA Raja Singh and complained to him. “Raja Singh along with a few of his followers came to the spot and abused the policemen. He then pushed a Sub Inspector and hit constable Chandrasekhar after threatening him,” Mr. Srinivas said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bjp-mla-booked-for-attacking-policemen/article7166331.ece

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Seven years later, 17 ‘SIMI men’ acquitted (May 1, 2015, Indian Express)

Seven years after 17 Muslim men, many of them medical students and engineers, were arrested by the Karnataka police on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, for allegedly being associated with the proscribed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a trial court in Hubli on Thursday acquitted all of them.…

The investigations into the activities of the alleged SIMI men began in January 2008, following the arrests of Raziuddin Nasir and Asadullah Akhtar in the north Karnataka town of Honnali, after they were found to be using a motorcycle with a fake numberplate. Investigations led the police to an alleged larger conspiracy involving organisation of Muslim youth to take up arms under the banner of the proscribed SIMI. The case was handed over to the erstwhile Corps of Detectives of Karnataka. The COD probe reportedly found that over a dozen youths from Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh had been attending meetings in different parts of south India, including Karnataka, prior to the arrests.…

In a dramatic development during the trial, a bomb exploded in a court hall in Hubli on May 10, 2008 – a day before the accused were set to be produced in court. Investigations later revealed that rogue elements linked to right wing Hindutva groups were involved in the blast.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/former-simi-chief-nagori-16-other-suspected-activists-acquitted-by-court/

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‘Encounter’ of five Muslim UTs: Inquest Panchnama shows over a dozen bullets and other mysterious injuries on victims’ bodies (May 3, 2015, Twocircles.net)

The new official details emerging from the encounter of five under trial Muslim prisoners is likely to further drag the Telangana police and its government in more embarrassing position. The Inquest Panchnama report available with TwoCircles.net details injuries on dead bodies of the gory shoot-out. …

The Inquest Panchnama began with the dead body of Lucknow resident Izhar Khan, described as the D1 or Deceased 1. Izhar’s body had 18 bullet injuries. The injuries description on the Panchnama report details: 1) Three bullet injuries on the right leg 2) Three bullet injuries on right thigh 3) Three bullet injuries on left thigh 4) left and right front knee one bullet injury each 5) stomach left side one bullet injury and on right side two bullet wounds 6) Left shoulder one bullet injury.

Besides the above, the injuries which raise the eyebrows are: 7) Back head right side one bullet injury 8) Body lower back one bullet injury 9) Back of head on the above one more bullet injury. The above mentioned wounds clearly suggest that deceased was shot to kill from behind.…

http://twocircles.net/2015may03/1430652850.html

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Cop gets life term for killing robber in ‘fake encounter’ (May 1, 2015, Times of India)

A fast-track court in Tiruvallur on Thursday awarded life sentence to a police constable for killing a robber in a fake encounter inside a police vehicle at Kanagamma Chathiram in 2009.…

Recalling the incident, a police officer said Murugan, head constable Alagesan and four other police personnel were escorting six undertrials, including Dhanasekar and Seemon, in a vehicle. When the vehicle was nearing Kanagamma Chathiram, Murugan entered into an argument with Dhanasekar and opened fire, killing him on the spot. Murugan was arrested based on Alagesan’s report.

As the encounter raised several doubts, the case was transferred to the CBI. Seemon and the four other undertrials were named witnesses. However, Seemon, who was released on bail, disappeared in 2011. After a long search, he was finally nabbed from a tea estate in Andhra Pradesh. Fast-track court judge Vetri Selvi pronounced the judgment on Thursday, convicting Murugan for the murder.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47115633.cms

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Farmers who commit suicide are ‘cowards’, ‘criminals': Haryana agriculture minister Dhankar (Apr 29, 2015, Indian Express)

As the debate on farmer suicide gathers momentum, a minister in Haryana has made shocking remarks that could put the Narendra Modi-led ruling dispensation in a dilemma. Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar told reporters on Wednesday that the farmers who commit suicide are ‘cowards’ and ‘criminals’. Since ‘suicide is a crime as per Indian laws’, he said the state government could not support those who were committing suicide as they were criminals under the rule of law.

Dhankar added that ‘coward’ farmers, who were committing suicide, were running away from their responsibilities and leaving their families with liabilities. Dhankar, who previously headed the BJP’s Kisan cell, often used to condemn the earlier UPA administration for not doing enough for farmers, leading to them committing suicides.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday vowed to raise voice for farmers on every platform and said the government should take into account their concerns and not just extend monetary assistance. Gandhi, who met farmers hit by unseasonal rains in Punjab and stayed here overnight after travelling by train to the NDA-ruled state, also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking whether the farmers are not contributing to ‘Make in India’ by providing food to the entire country.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/farmers-who-commit-suicide-are-cowards-haryana-agriculture-minister/

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Beef Ban: Police should not invade the privacy of citizens, says Bombay HC (Apr 29, 2015, Indian Express)

The Bombay High Court Wednesday refused to stay the provision of new beef ban law which restricts people from procuring beef from outside Maharashtra, but directed the state government not to take any coercive action for its possession for three months in the state.

“No FIRs will be registered for possession of beef. At most, if any illegal slaughter is made, then an FIR shall be registered,” said Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak. “We are of the view that the state not having granted reasonable time for disposing of beef products is admittedly unwarranted,” the court said.

Rapping the government for an “overnight” ban, the court said, “What was legal for 30 years has been declared illegal, even possession and import of beef, inviting serious consequences.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra/beef-ban-police-should-not-invade-the-privacy-of-citizens-says-bombay-high-court/

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Villagers claim cops tortured 20-year-old Dalit to death (Apr 21, 2015, Times of India)

A 20-year-old student of Class 12, a Dalit, was tortured, given electric shock in the police station, and hanged from a tree so his death could be passed off as suicide, villagers of Jalalpur in Moradabad have said. The youth was allegedly tortured at the police chowki in the village on Sunday. His body was discovered hanging from a tree later.

Examining the wounds on the body, angry villagers said there was no doubt he had been tortured. Some residents of the village pelted stones at police personnel in protest. On Tuesday, the district commissioner ordered a probe into the matter by a magistrate.

On the complaint of the youth’s kin, police registered an FIR against sub-inspector Ratnesh Kumar of the police chowki. Police officials said that Hari Singh Jatav, a resident of Tumadia Kala village, has complained that his 20-year-old son Sonu was arrested for breach of peace on Friday, after a village woman complained against him. On Saturday, the youth was produced before the court of the Thakurdwara SDM, and granted bail in the afternoon.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47004336.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Why PM hates some NGOs – By Bharat Bhushan (Apr 26, 2015, Deccan Chronicle)

The Narendra Modi government has suspended the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, (FCRA) for 180 days, preventing it from receiving any foreign funds. Earlier it had frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace for alleged financial irregularities. It has also placed the Ford Foundation on its watch list for allegedly funding organisations not registered under the FCRA. This came after the Gujarat government sought action against the agency for “direct interference… in internal affairs of the country and also of abetting communal disharmony in India.”…

Perhaps Mr Modi’s dislike of “five-star NGOs” stems from his experience of activists taking up the cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots and of extra-judicial murders of alleged terrorists in the state. It could also be that Mr Modi, who came on a pro-corporate platform, does not want “people-centric issues” to hamper development. It may also come from the fact of his being roundly defeated in Delhi by a ragtag group of NGO activists who formed the Aam Aadmi Party.…

However, choking their sources of funds, deriding them and eroding their legitimacy – as the BJP and Prime Minister Modi himself are trying to do – can only shrink the democratic space in society. India is not a “Hindu” society as imagined by the RSS and try as they might, the votaries of Hindutva do not represent the diverse identities with their myriad problems that make up this amazing democratic nation of India.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150426/commentary-op-ed/article/why-pm-hates-some-ngos

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Short circuits and communal violence – By John Dayal (May 4, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

…Modi’s government says there was violence against Christians even during the government of the United Progressive Alliance, chaired by a person of Italian catholic descent, with a Sikh as Prime Minister.

How does that minimise the undercurrents if communalism and hatred that are, unfortunately such a deep part of the landscape, and escalating with each passing year? Governments have come and gone, and even the Congress has a strong section that says the party should not be seen as “appeasing” or being sympathetic to Christians and Muslims.

But the common factor is the pungent hatred spewed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the organisations that are collected in its Sangh Parivar. Modi has said everyone should feel safe in the country; but not once has he named the Sangh. Perhaps he cannot. Many of the hate mongers are in his party in the Parliament. At least two are in his council of ministers. It is difficult to believe that they do not have his permission, or at least, his indulgence.

http://twocircles.net/2015may04/1430733308.html

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Scrapping the UGC: Corporate Agenda under Knowledge Economy – By Rajan Gurukkal (May 2, 2015, EPW)

Reports about a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) committee’s recommendation for scraping the University Grants Commission (UGC) have excited varied responses. Though officials dismiss the reports as incorrect, saying that the ministry has only constituted a committee of “experienced and credible academicians” to recommend restructuring and strengthening of the UGC for attaining its avowed goals, we cannot accept all this without being apprehensive. Presumably, the committee has submitted its report, so tailored as to be in perfect alignment with the bureaucratic agenda that hardly makes any difference between the previous and the current governments.

This is only the latest in the series of incarnations along the ongoing process of structural adjustments since the 1990s, with an added aggressiveness after the nation’s surrender to General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 2005 requiring legislative reforms (apparently) to gain from trade in services (in effect to benefit developed countries). In fact, its groundwork was over way back in 1985 itself by changing the name of the ministry of education into that of human resource development.…

Shrouded in controversies even over their constitutional validity, all of them have been pending legislation. Being sure about the withdrawal of HE&R Bill 2011, the government had constituted a UGC review committee on 30 July 2014 itself to re-examine the commission’s regulatory function.…

http://www.epw.in/perspectives/scrapping-ugc.html

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Crying Shame – justice delivery for minorities in India – By Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (Apr 17, 2015, Milli Gazette)

How do we judge the justice delivery system in India? Is it good, shoddy, or great? In fact, it is all the three at different times and levels. To be fair to it, its shoddiness does not always come from within it, but mostly from outside: the political culture, the police, the state itself.

Before coming to the crying shame part, let us mull over a rather comical point. After coming out of jail where he had languished for years on charge of killing innocent people in false encounters, Gujarat Police officer DG Vanzara declared: “Achche din aa gaye” (Good days are here), which was a take on a BJP electoral promise “Achche din aaen gay” (Good days are coming).

One wonders whether with the achche din of criminally-oriented policemen, bure din (bad days) for law-abiding citizens have also come. The vicious criminality and partiality of elements in the Gujarat state, including the state judiciary, had forced the Supreme Court to shift several cases of anti-Muslim violence out of the state in the interest of justice. That was a reasonable move on the part of the apex court as it did lead to some victims getting justice, after all.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/12173-crying-shame-justice-delivery-for-minorities-in-india

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After RSS men attacked us, police forced us to forego legal action, say Sonepat Dalits – By Dhirendra K Jha (May 2, 2015, Scroll.in)

It is hard to say what left a bigger scar on the Dalit residents of Rajendra Nagar locality in Sonepat recently: a violent attack on them by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh men that injured over a dozen people, or the compromise they were driven to sign promising not to seek any legal remedy against their assailants.

Though the episode occurred not far from Delhi’s border with Haryana, it has failed to attract national media attention. But in Rajendra Nagar, there is no mistaking the atmosphere of fear and helplessness it has created among the residents, all of whom belong to the Valmiki caste. …

“What was most distressing was the manner in which the police sought to save the RSS men,” said Mahipal, another victim of the attack. “Despite the CCTV footage [procured from a shop outside the locality] clearly showing the RSS men on the rampage wielding lathis and rods, the police did not make a single arrest. Nor did it register any case against them. What it did instead was to force us to sign a peace agreement with the RSS men on April 25.”…

http://scroll.in/article/724632/after-rss-men-attacked-us-police-forced-us-to-forego-legal-action-say-sonepat-dalits

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Will The Opposition Unite To Stop The BJP? – By Qamar Waheed Naqvi (May 2, 2015, Tehelka)

Blame it on Modi’s ‘corporate sarkar’, Sangh Parivar’s aggressive Hindutva campaign or Kejriwal’s emphatic victory in Delhi, a political renaissance seems inevitable in the country. Rising from the ignominy of General Elections 2014, the opponents are finally getting back on their feet to give a tough fight yet again.

If Rahul Gandhi’s return after a 56-day-long sabbatical and formation of Janata Parivar(JP) were not enough, then Sitaram Yechury taking over as general secretary of the CPM added more spice to the proceedings. Lohia’s rhetoric of ‘Tata-Birla ki sarkar’ has found a resonance in Rahul’s ‘corporate sarkar and suit-boot ki sarkar’.

With the battlelines clearly drawn, the forthcoming Assembly elections of Bihar and West Bengal are evidently going to be a rich-versus-poor contest. The Congress, the Left Front and the Samajwadi Party(SP) will certainly think of a coalition to check the BJP juggernaut. It is the same formula on which the Deve Gowda-Gujral government was formed nearly two decades ago. Though the government did not last long, there is no harm in trying a tried-and-tested method to check BJP’s advances. Besides, is there an option?…

http://www.tehelka.com/will-the-opposition-unite-to-stop-the-bjp/

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Book Review

Destruction of the Babri Masjid – A National Dishonour

Author: A.G. Noorani
Reviewed by: V. Krishna Ananth
Available at: Tulika Books, 35 A/1 Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049. Rs. 995.. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
The courts and the demolition (May 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The political discourse in India since the mid-1980s, dominated by the revanchist campaign involving the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, has been marked by rhetoric, invocation of myths and the juridical. It is idle to argue that any one of the democratic institutions – the legislature, the executive or the judiciary – had acted in a manner it ought to have in this. That the canker of communal fascism has eaten into the vitals of our Republican Constitution – in other words, the idea of India – is indeed a fact.…

The period was marked by three important developments or events and all those in the realm of the judiciary: the instances of how the perpetrators of the criminal act of demolition and those who conspired to do it were allowed to go scot-free with the CBI and the trial court judges refusing to follow the rule of law; the Liberhan Commission of Enquiry submitting its report in 2009, after many years since it began enquiring into the demolition, simply refraining from pinning down the guilty; and the judgment by the Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court on the civil suits before it on September 30, 2010, where some established canons of the CrPC, the Indian Evidence Act and principles of justice were thrown in to the bin and the judges revealed what could happen to a Constitution based on lofty principles when individuals in high positions decide to compromise on those principles.…

This book is indeed an important addition especially in terms of the documents that are reproduced and will be of immense help to scholars, researchers and anyone interested in knowing one of the tragic events that contemporary India witnessed and to learn that it happened because too many people abdicated their duty.

http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/the-courts-and-the-demolition/article7165025.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 27th, 2015

by newsdigest on April 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Hazaribagh: ABVP threatens two Christian schools, forces one to close (Apr 22, 2015, Indian Express)

Hazaribagh police on Tuesday detained 16 activists of the RSS-affiliated ABVP for minor vandalism outside two town-based Christian schools, forcing one of them to be closed for the day. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad was unhappy that Holy Cross and St. Xavier’s, CBSE-affiliated, were open despite an education bandh call by the organisation.… However, only two of the 18 private educational institutions were attacked on Tuesday despite all the schools in the town being open on the day.…

The Principal of Holy Cross said that once inside the campus, the ABVP’s demands changed. “They wanted to know why we did not have a photo of Prime Minister Modi in the school, why we had a photo of St. Francis by no statues of Saraswati. They accused us of receiving money from London,” said Sr. Clerita D’Mello.

Holy Cross had to end teaching for the day and send students home. “They kicked open doors, broke a few flower pots and demanded that the school be emptied in 15 minutes. By then, our children had started crying in classrooms,” said the Principal.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/hazaribagh-abvp-threatens-two-christian-schools-forces-one-to-close/99/

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Humanity not found! 7 Muslims alleged of forced religion conversion arrested, but the TRUTH will shock you (Apr 27, 2015, Daily Bhaskar)

Several areas of Uttar Pradesh state including Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh, Meerut and more are known for their religious sensitivity. In a recent incident, 7 Muslim men who were passing by Menth village in Aligarh were taken into custody by the police. They were accused of forced religion conversion of a Hindu family in the region. However, you will be shocked to know the truth behind the story. It was a simple humanitarian act that Surajpal, a resident of the village, executed which caused the Muslim men trouble.

While the 7 religious men were passing through the Menth village, they knocked at the door of Surajpal, in the village, hoping to get some drinking water as it was very hot outside. Out of humanity, Surajpal welcomed them inside with open arms and provided them with drinking water.

In the meanwhile, it was the time for their namaaz. The 7 men asked for Surajpal’s permission to pray to which he humbly agreed. While they were performing namaaz inside the house, one of the men from the village saw the scene and understood that the Muslim men were teaching Surajpal about how to offer prayers and he will be forcefully converted to Islam. This was enough for the miscreants.…

http://daily.bhaskar.com/news-ht/UP-muslims-alleged-of-forced-religion-conversion-arrested-in-aligarh-but-truth-shoc-4976262-NOR.html

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‘That’s not us': RSS steps in to deny Nepal rescue act tweet (Apr 27, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The news of more than 20,000 RSS workers participating in relief activities in earthquake-ravaged Kathmandu, doing the rounds on social media, is false and an image used is that of RSS volunteers during the Gujarat temblor of 2001.

BJP national executive member Shaina NC tweeted on Sunday: “20000 RSS swayamsevaks goin to Nepal to assist in rescue-relief operations media won’t report this @RSSorg @RSS_Org ” The post was retweeted more than 400 times and went viral. A few hours later, she tweeted about being proud of associated with the RSS, considering how 20,000 of its volunteers were helping people in Nepal.

Social media users shared the tweets hailing the good work done by the organization considered the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. But things changed when the RSS tweeted that reports of large numbers of its volunteers working in Nepal were false. It accused the media of reporting wrong facts.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/that-s-not-us-rss-steps-in-to-deny-nepal-rescue-act-tweet/article1-1341417.aspx

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VMC yet to solve row over houses for Muslims (Apr 27, 2015, Indian Express)

Even as about 500 families displaced during the Kalyannagar demolitions continue to await rehabilitation by the civic body, the VMC held a hushed meeting on Sunday evening to decide on the allotment of houses 320 families in Sayajipura, selected vide a JNNURM draw on April 8.

A meeting was held at the office of the Municipal Commissioner HS Patel and attended by MLAs Yogesh Patel and Rajendra Trivedi, Mayor Bharat Shah, executives of the VMC and representatives of the displaced families, including activists Dr JS Bandukwala, Zuber Gopalani and Shaukat Indori to decide on the fate of the allotments.

The VMC, which is trying to convince the families to relinquish their claim on the Sayajipura apartments, for which the civic body had conducted a draw earlier this month, offered that it would construct a new apartment in the Muslim neighbourhood of Tandalja.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/vmc-yet-to-solve-row-over-houses-for-muslims/

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More time for Gulberg Society case trial (Apr 25, 2015, The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on Friday granted another three months to the trial court in Ahmedabad to wind up the proceedings in the Gulberg Society and Naroda Gam riot cases of 2002 in Gujarat. …

In the Gulberg Society massacre case, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed. In the Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed, former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani is one of the accused.

The apex court has been monitoring nine sensitive cases on the plea of National Human Rights Commission and various non-governmental organisations. These cases were about the riots in Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/more-time-for-gulberg-society-case-trial/article7138692.ece

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California assembly describes 1984 riots as ‘genocide’ (Apr 22, 2015, Times of India)

The California state assembly has passed a resolution describing the 1984 riots as “genocide and recognized the responsibility of the Indian government in the alleged rape, torture and murder of thousands of Sikhs across India”.

Co-authored by Sacramento area assembly members Jim Cooper, Kevin McCarty, Jim Gallagher and Ken Cooley, the Assembly Concurrent resolution states “government and law enforcement officials organised, participated in, and failed to intervene to prevent the killings.”

Further, remarks on the floor of the assembly declared that the atrocities were a “genocide” since it “resulted in the intentional destruction of many Sikh families, communities, homes, and businesses,” said a media release issued by the American Sikh Political Action Committee.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47011681.cms

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Mumbai bomb blast case: Detainees forced to drink each other’s urine and have sex with a dog (Apr 27, 2015, Muslim Mirror)

The Prosecutor had to face great humiliation today in Mumbai’s Pota Court when in his testimony an approver called by him unveiled the heinous deeds of the investigative agencies. He told the court that he was forced to stand witness against the accused and during police custody the accused were forced to drink each other’s urine and an accused was also forced to have sex with a dog.

Testifying before special Pota Court judge Deshmukh, Anas Khot said that in order to get a statement from him investigative agencies kept him in illegal detention during which he was beaten and forced to register [false] statements against the accused.

The prosecutor Rohini Salian requested the court to declare Anas Khot as abstained. Accepting the request special judge declared him as abstained. Then during the cross examination by the Defence lawyer, Abdul Wahab Khan, representing the organisation, Jami’at-ul Ulema, Maharashtra (Arshad Madani), that is providing legal aid to the accused, he said that the crime branch Chambor had recorded his statement in May 2003 wherein he was forced to make a written statement that he used to go for training along with those accused, Saqib Nachin and Haseeb Mulla.…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/mumbai-bomb-blast-case-detainees-forced-to-drink-fach-others-urine-and-have-sex-with-a-dog/

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NHRC asks Telangana to submit details of Alair encounter (Apr 24, 2015, Times of India)

Wondering whether the Telangana police have resorted to retaliatory killings, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday directed the state government to furnish reports of inquest, post mortem and the magisterial enquiry that probed the Nalgonda encounter in which Vikaruddin and four other terror suspects were killed on April 7.

The full bench of NHRC comprising its chairman, Justice KG Balakrishnan, and members, Justice Cyriac Joseph, Justice D Murugesan and SC Sinha, was hearing complaints by Vikaruddin’s father Mohammed Ahmed and other civil rights activists seeking action against the police personnel involved in the encounter.

Ahmed wanted the commission to examine whether it is possible for a person who is handcuffed and whose legs are chained to snatch a weapon from police and attempt to kill them. Pictures of the scene of offence clearly show that it is a cold blooded murder, he said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47033990.cms

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Four cops booked for custodial death (Apr 26, 2015, Times of India)

Four police officials including a sub-inspector (PSI) posted at Vanda police station in Amreli district were booked for murder on Friday night in connection with an alleged custodial death reported on Thursday.

Sources said that 35-year-old Devji Dholakia alias Devji Pataliyo of Gariyadhar town in Bhavnagar district had died in police custody after alleged torture at Vanda Police station. His family members alleged that Devji died due to police torture during questioning.

On Friday night, a complaint was lodged by Devji’s relative Odha Parmar of Palitana against PSI S B Acharya and three other police personnel at Vanda police station. Police have started investigating the matter.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47058919.cms

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Dalit’s Murder at Temple Fest Sparks Tension in Manapparai (Apr 28, 2015, New Indian Express)

The murder of a 20-year-old Dalit youth by a gang during a temple procession on Sunday night sparked tension near Manapparai in the district. The deceased’s relatives besieged the Manapparai government hospital, seeking action against the perpetrators and refused to accept the body after post-mortem.

Sources said that six caste Hindu youth were arrested in connection with the assault and police were trailing the gang. The police said, Muthukumar (20), a MGR Nagar resident, was walking near an illuminated chariot carrying flowers to shower the Veppilai Mariamman as part of Chithirai annual feast. He was accompanied by his friends Vignesh (23), Harikrishnan (26) and Palaniyappan (30).

While the procession was approaching Amman Marriage Hall near the temple, a gang of 10 started attacking the Dalit quartet with wooden logs. Devotees ran helter-skelter, triggering a stampede-like situation. The attackers managed to flee the spot.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Dalits-Murder-at-Temple-Fest-Sparks-Tension-in-Manapparai/2015/04/28/article2786776.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

For The Champions Of Hindutva, It’s Time For Some ‘Reason-Wapsi’ – By Deepa Philip (Apr 25, 2015, Tehelka)

…Impervious to any damage its statement could cause to the secular fabric of India, the Hindu Mahasabha this week stated that attacking churches is not illegal. Going a step further to substantiate its point, the right-wing outfit said it would protect and even award Hindu youths who attack churches and marry Muslim girls.

In this ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate, it seems the Hindu fundamentalist group is brazenly overlooking what their own stalwarts have said on the issue of diversity.…

It is clear that Golwakar wouldn’t have agreed with the current crop of sadhus labelling other communities as haramzade. Asking Hindu women to have more children so as to ‘outdo’ the allegedly growing numbers of Muslims is another war cry that he would have detested.…

http://www.tehelka.com/india-in-the-grips-of-hindutva-madness/

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Color Coding Of Communal Politics – By Ram Puniyani (Apr 22, 2015, Countercurrents)

As per the reports from Ahmadabad (12th April 2015) the uniform at Shahpur School; where most of the students are Hindus; is saffron and the color of uniform in Dani Limda school where almost all the students are Muslims; the color is green. This is absolutely shocking! One knew that the ghettoization of Muslims in Ahmadabad is probably the worst in the country but whether the things will go this far was unbelievable. The process of communalization which worsened after the 2002 Gujarat carnage is seeing a new low with incidents like this one.

Surely this is the most blatant expression of communalisation- segregation-ghettoisation physical and psychological, which the country as a whole and Gujarat in the most extreme form, is witnessing.… In Ahmadabad, particularly post 2002 carnage the majority of nearly 12% of Muslim population has been forced to live in Juhapura and Shah Alam area, both predominantly Muslim areas. Irrespective of the socio-economic profile the Muslims are not permitted to buy houses in mixed localities. The banks don’t extend their credit card facilities in these areas and neither does eating outlets deliver pizzas etc. in these localities.

In India the phenomenon of ghettoisation of Muslim community has run parallel and as an aftermath of the communal violence. Once the violence occurs in a particular city that city is affected very severely and its fallout is seen in other cities as well. In the cities where major communal violence has been witnessed, this has been the invariable accompaniment.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani220415.htm

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History as mythology? – Editorial (Apr 22, 2015, The Hindu)

History, they say, is always written by the winners. But could this be by even winners of elections? So it would seem from the workings of India’s premier institute of historical research and funding, the Indian Council of Historical Research, which sees a reshuffle of people and priorities every time there is a regime-change in New Delhi. Senior historian and former Chairman of the ICHR, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, who recently resigned as the Chief Editor of Indian Historical Review, the ICHR journal, has delivered a sharp indictment of the competencies within the ICHR in its present avatar after a new family of historians was appointed by the present government.

He said: “I doubt whether you would find instances of persons, nominated by the government in power, regarding their position pro tem as a franchise to fantasise about history.” The comments of this reputed historian reinforce the concerns that many professional historians have warned of, namely, the dressing up of myth and religious belief as history. This can be seen in the priorities set by the ICHR Chairman, Y. Sudershana Rao, who is from the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana, affiliated to the Sangh Parivar.…

The problem in the ICHR today, as Professor Bhattacharya’s comments suggest, is serious precisely because of attempts to render factual evidence irrelevant. The Bharatiya Janata Party established a questionable record with regard to rewriting history textbooks during its first stint in power at the Centre. Its current efforts highlight the dangers of which many historians have warned: the replacement of history as social science, by “history” as fantasy and myth.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/history-as-mythology/article7126840.ece

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Strategy to Quash Dissent – Editorial (Apr 25, 2015, EPW)

Is the Narendra Modi government cherry-picking which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to target and destroy or at least paralyse? Or is it raising legitimate questions about the accountability of foreign-funded NGOs? If it is the latter, then the way it is going about it is decidedly odd. Few will question the need to set up structures of accountability and transparency in organisations handling large funds, including those that come from outside India. But the government appears less concerned about transparency and more about the issues these organisations have chosen to raise.

It has focused on two categories of NGOs: those raising uncomfortable questions about the environmental fallout of some of India’s energy choices, particularly nuclear and coal, and groups highlighting human rights concerns, especially around the Gujarat 2002 violence. If these NGOs happen to be partly funded from foreign sources, then inevitably the government spots a conspiracy threatening “national security.”…

Apart from Greenpeace, the other organisation being specifically targeted is the Sabrang Trust headed by Teesta Setalvad, who is known for her unrelenting pursuit of the court cases of victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence. She has been charged with misusing funds; a warrant of arrest has been issued against her and her husband, Javed Anand. Although the Supreme Court has granted them anticipatory bail, they continue to face daily harassment.…

http://www.epw.in/editorials/strategy-quash-dissent.html

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No Easy Acres, No Easy Answers – By Saba Naqvi (May 4, 2015, Outlook)

A man’s body swung from a tree in the national capital last week. It was disturbing, it was tragic, it was for real. Some newspaper reports have speculated on whether the man actually intended to kill himself. But in the end, he was dead. Gajendra Singh’s final moments were spent at a rally called by the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. In its reaction to the suicide, AAP bungled. Kejriwal had continued with his speech, not realising the man was dead.…

But the greater damage – for all the discomfort and the questions being raised about the sequence of events at the AAP rally – has been done to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A farmer had died, and he would not be an invisible statistic from Vidarbha (the place most associated with farmer suicides). He had died at Jantar Mantar, the protest spot of Delhi, a short walk from Parliament, which is in session, and where the ruling party has been trying to get a consensus on getting changes to land acquisition laws passed in Rajya Sabha. Every action of Gajendra Singh’s was therefore recorded on television and still cameras. In a strange way, this gave the tragedy a touch of farce.

There was apparently a suicide note, in which Gajendra Singh said he was a farmer from Dausa, Rajasthan, whose crops had been damaged by unseasonal rain. Before he died from the choke-hold of his gamcha, Gajendra Singh had raised slogans of ‘Vasundhara-Modi, kisan virodhi!’ As the Modi government approaches its first anniversary, the prime minister is being encircled. The greatest performances, it seems, now happen abroad. In Apna Desh, it’s tough going.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/no-easy-acres-no-easy-answers/294139

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As Pawns Circle Knights – By Pragya Singh (May 4, 2015, Outlook)

Minutes after Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh committed suicide at a political rally in Delhi, Jayant Chaudhary, grandson of peasant leader and former prime minister Charan Singh, looks visibly perturbed. The latest suicide is a stark symptom of the agrarian crisis ripping through the northern belt – an expression of the farmer’s anger, frustration and utter helplessness.…

Conventionally, ‘Jat’ and ‘farmer’ are interchangeable terms in swathes of north India, though land is owned and tilled by all communities. Gajendra, the farmer who killed himself on Wednesday, was not Jat. “But farmers always band together in a crisis and Jats can become a rallying point,” says Ashok Yadav, a former UP minister and popular leader from Shikohabad. “It is a truism that the party in power always faces the brunt of any anger, rightly or wrongly,” he says.

From Jhajjhar to Bhiwani, Muzaffarnagar to Mathura, Jats – once ardent Modi fans – are challenging his government’s might, feeling betrayed, even believing they are victims of official/political bias. Many had voted for BJP ‘as Hindus’, but their religious identity is being overridden by their occupational one – of being predominantly agricultural.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/as-pawns-circle-knights/294140

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 13th, 2015

April 14, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Anti-Muslim massacre overshadows Modi visit Arrest Sanjay Raut, de-recognise Shiv Sena, demands Aam Aadmi Party Activists, organisations deprecate fake Telangana encounter; demand CBI probe Red sanders smugglers’ killings: 2 encounters, 20 bodies, several unanswered questions Post-mortem report gives new twist to Nizamabad custodial death The new anti-terrorism […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 9th, 2014

June 10, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims safeguard Hindus in Hadapsar post the Pune Muslim techie murder News Headlines ‘Hinduize politics, militarize Hindus’ is slogan of group suspected of Pune techie’s murder First wicket has fallen, say killers of Pune Muslim youth 18 policemen guilty in fake encounter case Delhi policeman found involved […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 26th, 2014

May 27, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements All Indians need to be vigilant in safeguarding secularism say Indian Americans News Headlines The SC release of Akshardham suspects raises questions about PM Modi ‘They asked me to choose: Godhra, Pandya or Akshardham’ Goa professional booked for anti-Modi post, people call it an attempt to muzzle free […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 24th, 2014

March 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Death threats to Advocate Pracha and intimidation of online media are unacceptable, say Indian Americans News Headlines Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Pracha Two Haryana policemen get life sentence for fake encounter ‘Reject The Closure Report Filed By SIT’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 1st, 2013

April 2, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US lawmakers paid Rs 9 lakh each to praise Modi: report Did aggressive Hindutva agenda cost BJP dear? Police make 5 dead accused in Dhule riots Mumbai police face defamation suit for false terror circular Eight policemen convicted in Gonda fake encounter case Civil group to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 25th, 2013

February 26, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans outraged over bomb blasts in Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad News Headlines Hyderabad blasts: Interruption of Hindutva organizations CJI expresses concern over ‘media trial’ Indian-Americans condemn Hyderabad blasts No change in policy on visa to Modi: US IPS officer arrested in Ishrat fake encounter Ishrat Jahan […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 25th, 2012

June 26, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Communal violence erupts in Pratapgarh of UP Gulberg: Court raps SIT, asks for probe report NDA’s disarray has to do with the BJP’s Hindutva parochialism ‘Tulsiram saw policemen picking Sohrabuddin, wife’ (Jun 23, 2012, Indian Express Fake Encounter by ATS, Claims Mumbai Blast Accused Police, administration […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 5th, 2011

December 5, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Babri Masjid Demolition 19th Anniversary: Indian American Group Demands Justice Communal Harmony Literature should Promote Communal Harmony – B’lore Varsity VC News Headlines More evidence has come up to prove Advani’s role in Babari Masjid demolition Naroda Patia victims want top cops to be made accused Sohrab […]

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