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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 22nd, 2016

by newsdigest on September 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Indian Americans demand withdrawal of sedition case against Amnesty International India

Malicious case is intended to suppress dissent and create fear among NGOs and activists

August 21, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the filing of a case of sedition against Amnesty International India over claims that slogans favoring Kashmiri independence were raised at an event organized by the reputed human rights organization in Bengaluru last Monday.

“The fact that the Bengaluru Police has registered the case at the behest of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is indicative of the political and ideological motivations behind it,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Clearly, the aim is to silence views and opinions contrary to the shrill nationalist construct of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” added Mr. Malick.

IAMC has expressed solidarity with Amnesty and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case. Not only does the police action violate India’s constitutional promise of free speech, it is significant to note that Amnesty’s event had been called to discuss the issue of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, a topic by no means anti-national or seditious. The violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir over several decades, both by State and non-State actors, is a matter of fact and has been acknowledged even by the Indian judiciary, from time to time. The international community too has been unsparing in its criticism of such violations.

It may be recalled that last March the ABVP had leveled a similar allegation of “azadi” slogans being raised at a public event in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University that had led to the arrests of JNU students, including its current students’ union president. That illiberal, anti-democratic campaign by the ABVP too was widely condemned and eventually exposed as nothing more than a brute attempt by show of strength to forestall any discussion of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.

The police action against Amnesty is completely characteristic of the regressive attitude of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which has, since taking power in May 2014, carried out a witch-hunt and vendetta against hundreds of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many of these have long worked in India across various social sectors, especially in human rights and civil liberties.

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://iamc.com

CONTACT:

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

REFERENCES:
Amnesty International India Denies Sedition Allegations
http://www.wsj.com/articles/amnesty-international-india-denies-sedition-allegations-1471359235

Space for Civil Society and dissent is shrinking; Amnesty International India Executive Director
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/08/aakar-patel-answers-questions/

Amnesty shuts office on police advice
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/amnestyabvp-row-amnesty-india-asks-employees-to-work-from-home/article9002766.ece

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Communal Harmony

Sadbhavana Yatra for peace and social harmony (Aug 22, 2016, The Hindu)

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, as part of its nation-wide campaign for peace and social harmony, launched ‘Sadbhavana Yatra’ here on Sunday. The JIH State president, Hameed Mohammed Khan, flagged off the yatra.

Talking to media persons earlier, he said at this moment, the nation needs peace, tranquillity and social harmony as certain incidents that occurred recently posed a threat to the very existence of its unity and integrity. Animosity rooted in religion which is on the rise would likely lead to group clashes, he said.

The yatra was launched all over the country to promote religious harmony, brotherhood and social and national integrity. Members from all religions, peoples’ organisations and intellectuals would be roped in for the yatra, he added.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/sadbhavana-yatra-for-peace-and-social-harmony/article9016652.ece

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Govt is weakening democratic foundations by targeting human rights groups (Aug 23, 2016, DNA India)

Acting on complaints filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the Bengalaru police on August 15, 2016, filed a case of sedition against Amnesty International India. The charge may be laughable but the message is clear. The student wing of the BJP is certain that whenever it hollers sedition, the police will take accusations with utmost seriousness.

It appears that any vigilante group that vociferously and violently objects to civil society activism is assured that its complaints, howsoever unwarranted they may be, will command instant action by agents of the State. More significantly the group will not be penalised even if it has transgressed the rule of law, and the fundamental right to association and freedom of expression.

But the transgression of these two rights by the State or by vigilantes seriously compromises democracy. There is much more to democracy than elections that bring a party and its ideological cohorts to power. Universal adult franchise validates the belief that ordinary people possess the political competence to vote governments in and out of power.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-collective-predicament-2247909

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Kerala: BJP worker dies as bomb made by him explodes (Aug 21, 2016, First Post)

A 27 year-old BJP worker died when a country bomb which he was allegedly making exploded at his residence in Koothuparambu on Sunday, police said.

Deekshit was seriously injured in the blast and died while being rushed to a hospital, they said.

The roof of the house where he was “making” the bomb was destroyed in the blast, they further said.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/kerala-bjp-worker-dies-as-bomb-made-by-him-goes-off-2969000.html

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CBI to probe murder of couple who questioned son’s ‘fake encounter’ (Aug 15, 2016, Indian Express))

The Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) has initiated an investigation into the murders of an elderly couple who had been relentlessly pursuing the case of their son’s death in an alleged fake encounter in 2007.

In April last year, Brajendra Gupta (70) and his wife Shanno Devi (66) were found dead in their home in Badaun district. Their decomposed bodies bore injury marks inflicted by a sharp weapon in several areas including their throats.

Since the Badaun police failed to make any headway, the state government wrote to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs recommending a CBI investigation. “CBI has taken up the case on the recommendation of the Uttar Pradesh government. An FIR has been lodged and we will soon leave for Badaun to visit the site of the incident,” said an officer.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/cbi-to-probe-murder-of-couple-who-questioned-sons-fake-encounter-2976041/

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Police reforms must to battle communal mindset: Ex-top cop (Aug 16, 2016, Business Standard))

India needs to carry out police reforms at the earliest to rid young recruits of the poison of communalism when they sign up, a retired senior police officer has said. Security forces should also be made accountable if and when communal riots erupt, retired Director General Of Police Vibhuti Narain Rai said.…

“I don’t think today’s intolerance level is even a fraction of what we saw in the 1980s when communal passions were soaring high,” Rai told IANS. He said the kind of communal divide one saw in the 1980s cannot be created now, “however hard the Hindutva forces may try”.

One reason for this is the pro-active media, “especially the electronic and social media… You cannot perpetrate such a brutality these days and get away with it,” Rai said, referring to the Hashimpura massacre, which was the first case in Indiaof mass custodial killings. “A large section of Hindus are fed up with communal politics. They voted Narendra Modi for development, not for communal reasons,” Rai said.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/police-reforms-must-to-battle-communal-mindset-ex-top-cop-116081600295_1.html

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Two Hindu Munnani activists arrested for ransacking mosque (Aug 17, 2016, Times of India)

Police arrested a Hindu Munnani cadre and his friend on Monday on charges of attacking an imam of a mosque and ransacking it after an unidentified person hurled a bottle at speakers at a public meeting of Hindu Munnani on Sunday night. The arrested people were identified as C Balanand, 23, a Hindu Munnani cadre from Periyar Nagar and his friend D Poornakumar, 36 from the same locality. Police launched a hunt for other people involved in the violence.

Police booked them under Sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 294 B (obscene acts and songs), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian penal code and produced them before a local court that remanded them in judicial custody.

Meanwhile Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) condemned the attack on imam and mosque and sought stringent action against the assaulters at the earliest.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53732492.cms

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Introducing Surya Namaskar in BMC schools BJP’s Hindutva agenda: Samajwadi Party (Aug 19, 2016, India Today)

Samajwadi Party has termed BJP’s move to introduce Surya Namaskar in BMC school as a Hindutva agenda.…

This move of BJP has been opposed by Samajwadi Party at BMC. The party feels that the move is BJP’s agenda to spread Hindutva through Surya Namaskar. Moreover, if the practice of Surya Namaskar gets compulsory in BMC schools then Samajwadi Party demands Salam Alaikum or Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim, a note used by Muslims before beginning anything should be made mandatory as well.

“It’s their clear cut agenda to spread Hindutva through Surya Namaskar. There is physical training period in schools where we can introduce physical training course,” said party corporator Rais Shaikh.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/introducing-surya-namaskar-in-bmc-schools-a-hindutva-agenda-samajwadi-party/1/744403.html

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Modi a mediocre leader, efficient in riots, economic adviser Subramanian had told US: BJP hardliner Swamy (Aug 21, 2016, Counterview)

Close on the heels of the appointment of Urjit Patel, formerly with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Reliance Industries Ltd, as the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, hardline BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy has stepped up his attack on Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser (CEA) of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

Swamy, who controversially criticized outgoing RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s alleged allegiance to the US being a green card holder, tweeted on Sunday that Subramanian called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “a mediocre leader, efficient in riots” and “asked the US to grill India in World Trade Organization for drub companies market access.”

Ending with the exclamation mark “tolerance!”, Swamy’s tweet is followed by his supporters wondering as to why was Subramanian appointed CEA when he had “appealed to the US to initiate disputes against India before the WTO”. Another tweeted, “It’s okay if he berated an individual not if he acted against Indian interests.” A third one called Subramanian a “US infiltrator”.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/08/modi-mediocre-leader-efficient-in-riots.html

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‘Cow politics is main Sangh agenda in Hindutva lab’ (Aug 19, 2016, Times of India)

Though cattle vigilantism has been a pet topic for the Sangh Parivar since the 1960s and stray attacks have taken place in the coastal region, things took a serious turn in 2005 when a 60-year-old cattle trader and his son were dragged into an open ground by a 50-member right-wing group, disrobed and assaulted in front of over 500 onlookers.…

“Cow vigilantism has been the main agenda of the Sangh Parivar, which had considered Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts as a ‘Hindutva laboratory’,” said Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, a member of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum who has been actively chronicling communal incidents reported in the region. He says there have been at least seven cattle vigilantism-related deaths in the region since 2005, which have claimed the lives of two Hindus.…

In fact, right-wing groups operating in the coastal region had been keeping the issues of cow vigilantism, moral policing and hate speeches alive to up their dominance. “However, the situation appears to be going out of control in recent times with many youngsters joining gau-raksha teams with a view to make quick money through extortion. Observing the movement of cattle transport trucks and intercepting them has become an organized business for these groups,” a senior police officer who served in Dakshina Kannada district said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53762014.cms

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‘Cow Holy, Dalit Unholy?’: Ambedkar group raises slogan during protest rallies in USA (Aug 18, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Giving a global voice to the ongoing protests against the caste atrocities committed in India against Dalits, the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) took out protest marches demonstrating support for #ChaloUna Freedom march at many places in USA.

A mile-long protest rally was held on Saturday by Michigan Chapter of AANA from Hart Plaza to Detroit riverfront passing through Marriott Hotel, GM Plaza. Parallel protest marches were organized on Saturday and Friday in Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Fransisco, DC and Dallas.

The rally in Detroit was strategically organized here so as to draw maximum attention of Americans and Canadians, on the brutal and barbaric atrocities on Dalits in India and in solidarity with #ChaloUna Freedom march. The route of the rally is a major attraction area where American Canadians gathers for hart Plaza summer festivals and concerts.…

http://twocircles.net/2016aug18/1471493067.html

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‘Khaki terror’ forces Dalits to flee homes in UP village (Aug 22, 2016, Times of India)

Every night since Independence Day, Dalit men in Saharanpur’s Usand village have been making their way to the nearby forest to spend the night while the women watch out for police jeeps. At least three Dalits have died in the village over the last week, allegedly in police excesses. While the police deny that any brutality took place, villagers here tell horror stories of how policemen and PAC personnel rained down on them with lathis and riot-gear.

Tensions began on August 15 after a man from another caste told a Dalit to “deposit” his daughter as “collateral” for a debt he owed. When the two communities came face to face, the police was called. According to the police, there was a riot-like situation in the village which needed to be contained “by use of mild force”, but local residents allege police action was unprovoked and only targeted Dalits.

“They came down on us heavily as if we were animals. We were beaten so badly and there isn’t a single Dalit house in the village which the police did not ransack. At least a hundred police and PAC personnel went on a rampage. The irony is that this took place on Independence Day. Sarita Devi, Rakesh Kumar and Chaman Singh were beaten so badly that night that they died. They were all Dalits. Such is the atmosphere of fear that we have started sleeping in the forest while the women watch out for police. Even the sound of an ambulance siren in the distance is enough to send our children scurrying for cover,” said Ravi Kumar, a Dalit resident of Usand.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53802484.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

How ABVP used sedition to silence Amnesty India – By Rajeev Dhavan (Aug 22, 2016, Dailyo.in)

…The FIR against Amnesty India was filed by BJP youth group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Amnesty India had published a publicly available report in July 2015 called “Denied”: Failures in accountability for human rights by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It was earmarked for discussion in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi in August 2016.…

The FIR was clearly politically motivated as it was filed by the ABVP, a student organisation affiliated to the RSS. They were gunning for Amnesty and led a 700-person protest outside Raj Bhawan. ABVP’s national general secretary Vinay Bidre was emphatic: “We want Amnesty International banned”. It was a set-up by the ABVP since they were waiting outside the meeting hall asking for the arrest of those who raised azaadi slogans. Amnesty refuted the charges in a point-by-point rebuttal…

The present safeguards against planted sedition cases are too weak to prevent cognisance by courts without sanction. This is no good. The state must review such proceedings, taking direct responsibility for such cases which are a threat to free speech and democracy. The Sangh Parivar is using these provisions for defamatory harassment.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/amnesty-india-bangalore-sedition-fir-abvp-free-speech-indian-army-kashmir-mc-kash-azaadi/story/1/12504.html

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If Ramya can be charged with sedition why not PM and others? – By Ashok Kumar Upadhyay (Aug 23, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Actor-turned-politician Ramya, whose real name is Divya Spandana, recently visited Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit for young parliamentarians. After her visit she expressed her views on the overall experience, saying the people of Pakistan were very welcoming and once they knew she was from India, they went out of their way to make her stay comfortable. Refuting defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement that “going to Pakistan is like going to hell” she said, “Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well”.…

The moot question is – can calling “Pakistan is not hell” be termed seditious? And if her utterances warrant sedition charges, what about other Indian leaders who visited Pakistan or praised it? Shouldn’t similar charges been made against all of them? …

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only went to Pakistan but spent over an hour at his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif’s ancestral home near Lahore.… If Ramya’s visit and statement warrant sedition charges, then why not Narendra Modi’s visit and tweets? Like Ramya, he too went there and praised his host. Similarly, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh, too, went there. Should they also face criminal cases? In 2005, LK Advani went to Pakistan and said, “there is a little bit of India in every Pakistani and a little bit of Pakistan in every Indian.” If Ramya’s statement is sedition, then Advani’s words were blasphemous. But no one was booked, then why target Ramya?…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/sedition-ramya-section-124-a-indian-penal-code-narendra-modi-amnesty-international-india-kanhaiya-kumar/story/1/12542.html

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RSS wants Hindus to stay worried about Muslim population – By Sahil Joshi (Aug 23, 2016, Dailyo.in)

It wasn’t surprising when Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, asked a gathering of young “Hindu” couples in Agra “which law stops you from producing more children”? The RSS’s age old propaganda has been to promote Hindu Rashtra and many of the outfit’s ideologues believe that birth control is not practised by the Muslims and fear the community will outnumber the Hindu population.…

So now RSS wants law to control population, which raises the question that do they really believe the theory being spread by some of their own, that the Muslim population will outnumber Hindus? What RSS is not saying is that they have been popularising this theory for long to spread fear among Hindus, despite the fact that the Muslim population in the country is 14.2 per cent – way behind the Hindu population.…

But what RSS doesn’t present is that the rate of growth among Muslims declined 0.4 percentage point between 1991 and 2001, over that between 1981 and 1991. The rate of growth among Hindus declined 0.3 percentage point over this period. In fact, numbers also show the growth rate among Muslims never rose except in the 1981-91 period. It remained constant during 1971-1981.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/rss-mohan-bhagwat-muslim-population-census-2011-kerala-bjp/story/1/12539.html

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In which Modi must we trust? – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Aug 24, 2016, Dailyo.in)

When he was the chief minister of Gujarat, we knew he was at times the Vikas Purush though he became the iconic leader that he is because of the persona of Hindu Hriday Samrat. The Janus-faced leader that he always was, like most Sangh Parivar leaders, Modi has in the past 27 months added several variants of the two faces.

In Gujarat, while chanting the development mantra, Modi did not have to be apologetic about the advocacy of hardline Hindutva. But as PM, the office imposes limitations and makes it necessary to adhere to certain norms. There is a different audience that Modi has to address outside India or when hosting global leaders and he has to be a complete contrast to the despot the world imagined him to be before 2014.…

When Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched, after stupefying silence lasting weeks, he said he was sad. Period. He wasn’t even angry! Recently, he did not condemn the actions of gau rakshaks, saying there were some groups giving a bad name to a noble act.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/modi-akhlaq-gau-rakshak-dalits-anti-national-arun-jaitley/story/1/12562.html

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Gau Raksha Vs Bull Run: Modi has attacked cow vigilantes but can he dismount the Hindutva tiger? – By Sagarika Ghose (Aug 17, 2016, Times of India)

“If you want to attack, attack me and not Dalits. If you want to shoot, shoot me and not Dalits,” raged PM Narendra Modi at self- proclaimed cow vigilantes. Masterful performance or a reflection of serious concern? Modi’s is the dilemma of the clever politician increasingly held hostage by ideological foot soldiers of his own brotherhood. In every ideology, the pragmatic politician who hopes to win votes faces attack from ideologues who care only for ideological purity.…

The PM has fought a similar battle in the past as CM of Gujarat. And won. During the riots of Gujarat 2002, VHP leader Pravin Togadia was a putative Hindu hriday samrat, goading his supporters to avenge the Godhra train burning. Modi remained strategically silent in the build-up to the 2002 Gujarat elections, virtually allowing a free run to VHP cadres.

But once he had cemented his position as CM, he struck back at Togadia and VHP. In fact, his move to demolish unauthorised street temples led VHP chief Ashok Singhal to describe him as a “modern day Mahmud of Ghazni” even as Togadia was pushed into political irrelevance. But having used the wider Hindutva parivar in his 2014 general election victory, can Modi dismount the Hindutva tiger and do in Delhi what he once did in Gandhinagar?…

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/bloody-mary/gau-raksha-vs-bull-run-modi-has-attacked-cow-vigilantes-but-can-he-dismount-the-hindutva-tiger/

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Sharmila’s Message – Editorial (Aug 13, 2016, EPW)

In India, we do not want our mahatmas and goddesses to be human. They have to be superhuman so that we can worship them from a distance. For 16 years, Irom Chanu Sharmila was elevated to that status by her supporters in Manipur who, like her, were opposed to the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in their state and the impunity it granted the security forces. On 9 August, Sharmila tasted honey and broke her protest fast, thereby reminding her supporters that she is not a goddess but a human being.

By doing so, she also raised relevant questions about the efficacy of protests like hers and by choosing the political route, she asserted the right to rethink and change strategies to achieve the larger end. These are logical conclusions that an individual, who has put her body through 16 years of virtual torture with force-feeding and isolation, an annual ritual of release and rearrest, could arrive at if this personal suffering was not making any difference.

That Sharmila did not come at such a conclusion earlier is indicative of the enormous pressure on her to continue. Going public with her decision was perhaps the only way she could break out from another kind of prison, apart from the actual one, in which she found herself incarcerated.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/33/editorials/sharmilas-m-essage.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 18th, 2016

by newsdigest on July 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Kashmiris rush to help injured Amarnath pilgrims in bus accident (Jul 14, 2016, Indian Express)

Kashmir, which has seen violence over the last few days, on July 13 witnessed a display of humanity and religious brotherhood when local people in Bijbehara rushed to the help of a group of Amarnath pilgrims after their bus met with an accident in which two persons were killed.

The bus, en eroute from Baltal to Jammu, collided with a truck at Sangam in Bijbehara, killing a pilgrim Pramod Kumar of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and local driver Bilal Ahmad Mir of Kangan and injuring 23 others. When the news of the accident reached the locals, they defied curfew and reached the spot and began evacuating the injured pilgrims. The yeoman’s service of the local Muslims found praise from the rescued yatris.

Around 50 local people came to evacuate the injured after the accident, said AK Arora from Meerut in a two-minute video, which has gone viral on social networking sites. “If anyone wants to understand humanity, learn it from people of Kashmir. I felt the true value of humanity from the people of Kashmir. They came to our rescue at a time when we were abandoned by even fellow pilgrims and army,” he said. He said he has “witnessed humanity for the first time”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmiris-display-humanity-rush-to-help-injured-amarnath-pilgrims-2911966/

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Cops “tipped” Gujarat’s cow protecting Shiv Sainiks, who tied Una Dalits to SUV, assaulted them with iron rods (Jul 19, 2016, Counterview)

Amidst Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel ordering CBI probe into the assault on four Dalit youths with iron rods after tying them with SUV in order to punish them for seeking to skin a dead cow in a village near Una town of Saurashtra region, it has come to light that it was the local cops who had “tipped” the attackers.

Quoting police sources, one of the most well-informed Gujarat-based scribes, Prashant Dayal, has said in a personal blog that the “police control room of Una had passed on information” to the attackers on July 11, following which the vigilante group of cow protectors reached the village, Mota Samadhiyala, where the Dalits were skinning the dead cow, and beat them.

The four were later taken to Una town, where they were tied to SUV and hit with iron rods. While the Gujarati blog calls it a “small mistake” or a “misunderstanding” which, it says, “triggered” the events that followed, leading to violent Dalit protests all over Gujarat,… Meanwhile, the four cops, responsible for tipping the Shiv Sainiks, have been suspended.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/07/cops-tipped-gujarats-cow-protecting.html

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Family of Slain Man in India May Be Charged With Cow Slaughter (Jul 14, 2016, New York Times)

Nearly a year after a mob bludgeoned to death a Muslim man, Mohammad Ikhlaq, over rumors that he had illegally killed and eaten a cow, a court ruled on Thursday that villagers could open a criminal case against the dead man’s family for cow slaughter.

The killing in Dadri, in northern India, in September came amid a rising mood of conservative Hindu nationalism in India and set off passionate debate about religious tolerance. Nineteen men face murder charges in Mr. Ikhlaq’s killing.…

Sanjay Rana, the father of one of the suspects, said the group would file charges against seven people, including Mr. Ikhlaq’s brother, wife, sons and daughters.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/world/asia/family-of-slain-man-in-india-may-be-charged-with-cow-slaughter.html

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Rana Ayub fears for her Gujarat Files (Jul 18, 2016, The Hindu)

The author of the recently published book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up , Rana Ayub, is apprehensive that the Bharatiya Janata Party will take legal recourse to block the circulation of her book, which, she claims, sold more than 30,000 copies without much of publicity.

The book, which was released last month, contains previously unpublished transcripts of sting operations conducted by Ms. Ayub during the eight-month undercover stay in Gujarat. The transcripts document the violence that took place prior to the consolidation of power of the BJP in Gujarat in the wake of the 2002 communal riots.

At a recent event here, Ms. Ayub said her actions were constantly being monitored by the Centre. “Every word I write will be under the scrutiny of the Modi government. They are not silent but silently observing me. They are waiting for me to make the first mistake,” she said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/rana-ayub-fears-for-her-gujarat-files/article8863509.ece

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Four RSS activists arrested in relation with Kerala CPI(M) worker’s murder (Jul 17, 2016, Indian Express)

Four RSS activists have been arrested here today in connection with the July 11 murder of a 38-year old CPI(M) worker over political rivalry in the politically volatile Payyannur district, police said.

A team led by Payyannur Circle Inspector V Ramesh arrested Vysakh (21), Sukesh (29), Prejithlal (21) and Anoop (21), all hailing from the district, they said.

The arrested men were among the eight persons identified as accused in the case. The four allegedly had direct involvement in the crime and the others will also be nabbed soon, police said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/four-rss-activists-arrested-in-relation-with-kerala-cpim-workers-murder-2919825/

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Zakir Naik victim of mediawitch-hunting, says Cong MLA (Jul 19, 2016, Times of India)

Firebrand Congress MLA Imran Masood on Monday came out in support of TV preacher Zakir Naik saying that he had become a victim of media witch-hunting and security agencies though he never advocated terrorism.

“If at all he has to be booked then the government should first arrest Sadhvi Prachi for appealing to make India free of Muslims,” said the newly appointed UPCC vice-president, who was arrested for hate speech during the 2014 elections.

“Have you heard Sadhvi Prachi’s speeches? Don’t they incite people of one community against others? But no action is being taken against her. Even the prime minister is maintaining a studied silence,” Masood said, adding that the country was passing through its most dangerous phase under the Modi government.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53273795.cms

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Kashmir unrest: NHRC issues notice to Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of State (Jul 20, 2016, Indian Express)

Taking cognizance of the numerous casualties and injuries in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the state calling for reports in the matter.

The commission has given two weeks time to the concerned authorities to respond in this regard. Issuing a statement, NHRC said that it is closely watching the incidents of violence in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahiden commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with the security forces on the July 8.…

After Burhan’s death, Kashmir is on boil and more than 40 people have been killed and over 3,000 including 1,600 civilians injured in clashes between youth and security men during protests.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-unrest-nhrc-issues-notice-to-union-home-secretary-and-the-chief-secretary-of-state-2923968/

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ATS wants jail term for filing fake IS complaints (Jul 18, 2016, Times of India)

After investigating hundreds of fake complaints about ‘Daesh men’, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has requested the state government to make filing such complaints a punishable offence. The proposal will first be studied by the state’s law and judiciary department before the government takes a decision.

In the last eight months, the state ATS, crime branch and city police received around 300 such bogus complaints, including one against the 80-year-old imam of a Vikhroli mosque. Till date, no arrests have been made on these complaints but 300 people were investigated and released after verification. The incidents traumatized the victims’ families who had to suffer for weeks before they got a clean chit.

The ATS wrote to the government after hundreds of such false ‘tip-offs’. “At present, we simply reprimand the applicant if we can locate him. The proposal to the government talks about making such applications a cognizable offence,” said a police official.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53272829.cms

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Two more Gurgaon cops held in Gadoli fake encounter case (Jul 13, 2016, Indian Express)

Two policemen were arrested in Gurgaon Tuesday in connection with the killing of Haryana gangster Sandeep Gadoli. The two were identified as Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav.

The Mumbai Police Special Investigation Team (SIT), acting on a tip-off, found them at Gurgaon police lines, same place from where it had earlier arrested Police Sub-Inspector Pradhuman Yadav, who led the Haryana police team that killed Gadoli on February 7, a source said.

A senior IPS officer said, “We arrested Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav, the two constables who were part of the five-member team that killed Gadoli, on Tuesday afternoon. They were brought to Mumbai by evening. In the CCTV footage of the hotel, Jitendra Yadav is seen carrying a weapon. We will produce them before the local court on Wednesday to seek their custody,” he added. “They are not cooperating with the probe at all,” the source said, adding, “We would want to bring the duo face to face with Pradhuman and interrogate them together.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/two-more-gurgaon-cops-held-in-gadoli-fake-encounter-case-2910172/

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After AYUSH Ministry Story, Police Asks Milli Gazette Why Licence Shouldn’t Be Suspended (Jul 13, 2016, The Wire)

A “reader supported newspaper” which claims that it is there to “help Muslims get a stronger voice”, Milli Gazette has in its latest edition reported that ever since it carried a report in early March, titled ‘We don’t recruit Muslims: AYUSH ministry’, it has been “facing an existential threat from the Modi government”. The paper has been served a police notice asking why its declaration should not be cancelled, they said.

In its July edition, editor Zafarul Islam Khan has written an article stating that the threat being faced by the organisation now is the gravest in its 17 years of existence. This is despite it having faced many threats earlier, including death threats to Khan.

The government is being harsh on the newspaper, Khan said. The Delhi police licensing office (directly under the union home ministry) wrote to Milli Gazette on May 30 asking why the newspaper’s declaration or licence should not be cancelled.…

http://thewire.in/51376/mili-gazette-licence-ayush-ministry/

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Republican convention: India should protect all religious communities from violence, discrimination (Jul 19, 2016, Indian Express)

Describing India as a “geopolitical ally” of the United States, the Republican party has asked New Delhi to protect all its religious communities from violence and discrimination as well as permit greater flow of FDI.

The Republican manifesto released by the party after its formal approval said that Indian ancestry had made notable contributions to the US.

“India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. The dynamism of its people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world,” it said. “For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination,” it said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/republican-convention-india-should-protect-all-religious-communities-from-violence-discrimination-2923263/

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Opinions and Editorials

Vigilante groups beat and kill to protect cows in India – By Parth M.N. (Jul 20, 2016, Los Angeles Times)

…While cow vigilante groups have been active in India for years, commentators believe they have been emboldened after the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with close ties to Hindu radical groups, came to power in May 2014 and Narenda Modi ascended to the office of prime minister.…

Modi has not been prompt in denouncing killings, and his language has been far from forceful. As recently as July 11, four Dalit men were stripped, tied to an SUV and beaten up in broad daylight in Gujarat, the home state of Modi. The victims had brought dead cows from another village and were skinning them when a group of six accused them of cow slaughter and took turns beating them.

As a result, though, massive protests by Dalit groups have erupted and spiraled across Gujarat, triggering violence that left one police officer dead. Mobs have taken to streets, torched state buses, blocked roads and, outside one district official’s office, dumped truckloads of carcasses.… Despite the obsession of some to protect the cow, India ironically remains one of the largest exporters of beef.

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-cow-terror-snap-story.html

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India should be ashamed of charging Akhlaq’s family with ‘cow slaughter’ – By Arpan Acharya (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

I did not think that as a society we could stoop this low. A trial has been ordered against Mohammad Akhlaq’s family for cow slaughter. In any civilised nation the Dadri lynching case would have provoked an outcry and seen the guilty punished. Akhlaq’s family must surely be wondering how they are the ones at the receiving end of the legal process. The answer, perhaps, is we are not a civilised nation.

The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have shamelessly jumped into the fray, decrying the lab report that claims the meat was indeed beef. Nobody, however, has the courage to come out and say what would have been said in a civilised society. The provenance of the meat does not matter when a man was pulled out of his house and lynched for consuming it.

It is shameful that people are rejoicing at the court order directing action against the beleaguered family. In their eyes, it somehow vindicates the lynching. A cow is safer than women in most parts of the country. At a time our education and healthcare infrastructure desperately needs funding, we waste resources by creating cow ministries and researching the benefits of cow urine.…

http://www.dailyo.in/voices/dadri-lynching-mohammad-akhlaq-cow-slaughter-beef-ban-sp-narendra-modi-uttar-pradesh/story/1/11765.html

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In ‘Hindutva or Hind Swaraj,’ a Warning Against Hindu Nationalism – By Vaibhav Sharma (Jul 18, 2016, New York Times)

The last months of U. R. Ananthamurthy’s life were tumultuous. One of India’s foremost novelists and political commentators, Mr. Ananthamurthy, who died in August 2014 at 81, had threatened to leave the country if Narendra Modi, then leading the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, won the vote in the national election. Mr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks drew vitriol, abuse and death threats from Mr. Modi’s supporters, and he remained under round-the-clock police protection for months.

In June, a political tract Mr. Ananthamurthy wrote during the final stage of his life, the parting shot of a writer who devoted substantial time to warning of the dangers of Hindu nationalism, was published to widespread acclaim. More than two years after Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister, even as many continue to fear that India’s founding values of secularism and diversity are under threat, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s voice has served as an urgent reminder of the perils of majoritarianism and hyper-nationalism.…

Unlike more measured critics of Mr. Modi, who saw his rise through a contemporary social and political context, Mr. Ananthamurthy, with his novelist’s temperament, mounted his criticism in ethical, psychological and civilizational terms. “People like Modi,” Mr. Ananthamurthy writes, “live in a gumbaz, a dome that echoes what they say to themselves over and over again.” Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister has been followed by, as many feared, a climate of hostility toward minorities and renewed assaults on civil society and free expression.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/books/in-hindutva-or-hind-swaraj-a-warning-against-hindu-nationalism.html

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Has TV News Given Up The Ghost On Kashmir? – By Vikram Kilpady (Jul 14, 2016, Outlook)

From blanket coverage of the protests in Kashmir on TV immediately after Burhan Wani’s encounter killing to the near pindrop silence now, what has changed that has put Kashmir off the menu of news TV?

Given the lack of coverage one would imagine that all is “normal” in the state which otherwise is in turmoil as evidenced by activity on twitter. That too is being curtailed with the Modi government allowing its trolls to put forth the Parivar’s view on social media while snuffing out Kashmiri voices from accessing the Internet and Twitter or Facebook to report their anguish to the rest of India and the world.

Not all is well. Omerta has been necessitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s admonishment of the media for “making Wani a hero” and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu killing any anti-mainland view by asking how can any “Indian have sympathy for Burhan Wani?”. Or, even worse, the newshounds have given up the ghost on Kashmir.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/blog/story/has-tv-news-given-up-the-ghost-on-kashmir/3774

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‘Mockery’ of Democratic Process – Editorial (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

In 2013, in the course of hearing a petition filed by the Extrajudicial Execution Victims’ Families Association and Human Rights Alert, the Supreme Court had asked the Manipur government whether there was “a war going on” in the state. At the heart of this petition which demands an inquiry into the 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters over the last 20 years by security forces and the state police is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958.

The AFSPA, which was enacted ostensibly to tackle insurgency in the North East (with a modified version for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enacted in 1990), has been a bitterly contentious law. While the government and the Army argue that its draconian provisions are needed to deal with extremist and secessionist violence, the people of the areas and states where it is imposed are clear that it results in military personnel enjoying total impunity and non-accountability for their acts.

In an interim ruling in the same case the Court has made significant statements about the deployment of the act and what it means to the “democratic process” while also questioning the arbitrary definition of an “insurgent.” More importantly, while the Court’s interim ruling has been welcomed by those opposed to AFSPA, what it will mean at the ground level is a matter of speculation. … The Supreme Court’s statements are unambiguous. What remains to be seen is the response of the state and the Army to the interim ruling.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/29/editorials/mockery-democratic-process.html

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Why must Muslims be synonymous with terrorism? – By Rajdeep Sardesai (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

“So, why is it that every terror attack involves a Muslim?” It’s a question that’s asked with rising anger after every terror attack. It’s not an invalid question in the present times (LTTE is now a distant memory and “Hindu” terror was, after all, purely “retaliatory”).… No point listening to a religious preacher telling you that Islam is a religion of peace, that the Quran would never endorse the killing of innocents. The fact is, there are beastly people out there who are killing in the name of the Quran.…

Terror has an address in the eyes of millions and it reads C/O Islam. So, let’s press stop on the denial button and accept that the suicide bomber has won this round: he has ensured that the world is now sharply divided on religious grounds, that any Gandhian belief in peace and brotherhood is a romantic illusion. Now, having got that out of the way, let’s look at where next this narrative of Islamic terror is taking us, especially in a country like India with the third largest Muslim population in the world.…

But if an Asauddin Owaisi chooses to lambast the IS publicly, we don’t really want to listen to him: after all, he belongs to a “Muslim” party, so why should we see him as a credible voice against terror.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/islamic-terror-indian-muslims-isis-islamophobia-akhlaq/story/1/11782.html

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Book Review

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: Harsh Mander
Available at: self-published by Rana Ayyub, 2016; pp 204, Rs. 295..https://www.amazon.com/
Review:
Compelling Anatomy of Communalism and Power (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up is an explosive book. But more than that it is a work of rare and raw courage. It brings to us, at enormous personal peril, harrowing conversations with and stories about men and women under whose watch the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and a string of extrajudicial killings that followed, unfolded. Above all Rana Ayyub’s self-published book throws intensely troubling light on the character and motivations of the political, administrative and police leadership of the Government of Gujarat during the fateful decade beginning with the carnage of 2002.… The result is her book Gujarat Files, one that deserves the closest public attention, debate and introspection. However the book has been largely bypassed by the powerful mainstream media, which is obviously unable to match the singular courage and candour of this young and daring reporter. Her reports were not initially intended for publication as a book. She submitted these first to her editors in Tehelka where she was employed at that time. Her version is that they refused to publish it. As editor, Tarun Tejpal is said to have told her, “Modi is set to be the most powerful man, the PM. If we touch him we will be finished” (p 203).

Ayyub has only one face-to-face encounter with Narendra Modi, before she claims that her story was killed by the editors of Tehelka. This is a somewhat amusing meeting. She describes her 30-minute conversation with him in which he says that his inspirations are Barack Obama and Swami Vivekananda (presumably in that order!). But somewhat surprisingly, the assessment of most senior officers who could be presumed to be favourably inclined towards him is largely uncharitable (except P C Pande), suggesting that he was behind both the carnage and the encounter killings but in ways that he could never get caught. Rajan Priyadarshi indicts him directly for “the killings of Muslims across (the state).” He adds, “He fools everybody and everybody gets fooled” (p 57). K Chakravarthy says that since Modi “has grown up as an RSS cadre, he has to bow to their demands.” Singhal says that “all decisions are taken by the CM,” yet he remains unscathed “because he does not come in the picture directly” (p 47). Ashok Narayan agrees. He says that Modi would not openly ask officers to go slow (p 48). “He would also never write anything on paper. He had his people and through them the VHP and then through them (it would) trickle down to the lower rung inspectors.” He feels though that Modi did “play a role in instigating, like bringing the bodies from Godhra and dilly-dallying on decisions” (p 86).…

From most of Ayyub’s conversations, the most powerful and unsettling portrait that emerges is of the then Home Minister Amit Shah. Rajan Priyadarshi says that Shah boasted to him about how he instigated riots in 1985, and claimed that he confided in him that Ishrat Jahan was detained before she was killed in a fake encounter, and that she was not a terrorist. Both he and G C Raigar speak of pressure from Shah to take illegal action, including even elimination of unwanted persons. All describe Shah as extremely powerful, deriving his vice-like control over the police administration by his proximity to Chief Minister Modi. He appears over and over again in these secretly recorded conversations with men and women who worked closely with him, as being closely involved in, and even directing, most of the communal crimes and human rights violations for which the state administration became notorious.…

<ahref=”http: www.epw.in=”” journal=”” 2016=”” 29=”” book-reviews=”” compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html”=””>http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/29/book-reviews/compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 11th, 2016

July 20, 2016

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 16th, 2016

June 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Temple and mosque promote communal harmony in Odisha town News Headlines Extremist Hindu groups’ “role” in terror attacks? Karkare showed me evidence before death: Supercop Ribeiro Two absconders in Malegaon blast mentioned as RSS workers: NIA Lt Col Shrikant Purohit booked for planning 2008 Malegaon blasts in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 15th, 2016

February 26, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Bishop House in Kerala opens doors for Muslims to perform prayers Hindus take care of a mosque in UP’s communal cauldron News Headlines Sedition case against JNUSU president: Lawyers, BJP MLA take law in their fists ABVP members raised anti-India slogans: AAP submits video clip proof to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 8th, 2016

February 24, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony J&K: Muslims perform last rites of 84-year-old Kashmiri Pandit in Kulgam News Headlines Gujarat BJP on cheap land to CM’s kin: Price fixed in 2011 after district, state penals, Modi Cabinet “cleared” it 2008 Malegaon blasts: NIA under fire from former prosecutor as it seeks to drop […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 11th, 2016

January 18, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines BJP MLA booked for creating ruckus inside thana in Bhind ‘Subramanian Swamy’s Ram temple comment aimed at RS seat’ Gurdaspur SP ‘less than truthful’ during questioning, suspects NIA Sudheeran comes down heavily on Hindutva politics ‘The RSS is conspiring to gain a hold of all academic institutions’: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 15th, 2015

June 16, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines International Yoga Day: It’s RSS, Centre’s way to propel Hindutva agenda Tripura suspends three cops for custody death UP journalist killing: Five policemen suspended Advocate Pracha threatened by Rajasthan ATS officer for defending terror accused RSS Activists Attack Christian Religious Gatherings In Kerala CCTV footage shows Ramdev’s […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 1st, 2015

June 2, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu-Muslim bonhomie in Bihar town News Headlines Ballabhgarh riot victims blame local SHO, says NCM report Communal tension in Lucknow following clashes Fifty Gujarat NGOs “join hands” with Congress, AAP, Swaraj Samvad, decide to start “mega agitation” against Modi ‘Ghar Wapsi’ victims, Sikh rights group file lawsuit […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 4th, 2015

May 5, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans urge India, US to heed USCIRF’s recommendations on safeguarding religious freedom in India Communal Harmony A worthy example for communal harmony News Headlines Bid to evoke ‘Godhra’ in UP town US panel questions RSS, VHP over attacks against minorities; slams “ghar wapsi” US asks India to […]

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