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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 11th, 2016

by newsdigest on July 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Thapar slams Hindutva interpretation of nationalism (Jul 10, 2016, Deccan Herald)

That nationalism has been reduced to waving flags, shouting slogans and penalising people for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ shows “lack of confidence among those making the demand for slogans”, writes Romila Thapar in her new book.

The book, titled ‘On Nationalism’, which she co-authored with legal expert A. G. Noorani and cultural critic Sadanand Menon, addresses one of the hotly debated topic of our times. The veteran scholar says in her article that nationalism has more to do with understanding one’s society and finding one’s identity as a member of that society.

While expressing displeasure with the way right-wing Hindutva forces have interpreted ‘nationalism’ in the light of recent events in Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad, she says that while someone who deliberately abstains from paying taxes is not declared anti-national, someone who doesn’t chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/557000/thapar-slams-hindutva-interpretation-nationalism.html

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MP towns shut on Eid, Hindu groups blamed for forced bandh (Jul 8, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Several towns in the communally sensitive Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh shut down on Thursday, raising allegations of Hindu right-wing organisations orchestrating the unofficial bandh during Eid celebrations.

Reports said the majority of business establishments in Neemuch, Javad and Manasa in Neemuch district and Mandsaur, Shyamgarh and Sitamau in Mandsaur district remained closed and people had a tough time even buying essential commodities on Thursday.…

Congress leader Umrao Gurjar said that people belonging to RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal were behind this and BJP was pressuring the administration to look the other way. “This is an attempt to create animosity between communities,” he said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mp-towns-shut-on-eid-hindu-groups-blamed-for-forced-bandh/story-e2j56tShHUfszUIlRtlkNJ.html

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State Intelligence Dept. gives clean chit to Naik; no arrest on his return to India (Jul 12, 2016, The Hindu)

The Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID) has given a clean chit to controversial preacher Zakir Naik, conceding there is simply no case to be made out against the televangelist for now. Sources in the special team of the SID handling the investigation ordered by the Maharashtra government said Naik will not and cannot be arrested on his return to India.

As part of his preliminary probe, the SID has studied hundreds of YouTube videos and speeches given by the controversial preacher in and out of India. A dossier of evidence has also been received and collected from the other intelligence teams in various states, including Hyderabad, where an ISIS module was reportedly inspired by Naik’s speeches, said a senior official.

“There is no case to be made out against the English-speaking preacher, except maybe the possible charge of hurting religious sentiments, but even that cannot be established from his speeches. We are tracking his movements and only if he speaks out of turn, can we ‘pin’ him down on a charge. For now, we are closely monitoring him,” said a senior police official, who on Monday conveyed the preliminary assessment of the SID findings to the ‘higher-ups’.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/state-intelligence-dept-gives-clean-chit-to-naik-no-arrest-on-his-return-to-india/article8837594.ece

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BJP creating divisions in Kashmir with eye on UP elections: NC (Jul 11, 2016, Indian Express)

Opposition National Conference (NC) on July 11 accused the BJP of “creating division” in the society “with an eye on the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh”.

“BJP has let down the people. Instead of solving their problems, the party is indulging in petty politics of dividing various segments of the society, not only to conceal its own failures, but with an eye on the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh elections,” said NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana.

He cautioned the saffron party against “converting the state into a hate theatre” saying the “misadventure” could have serious political and strategic ramifications.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bjp-creating-divisions-in-kashmir-with-eye-on-up-elections-nc-2907712/

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Home Ministry declines to reveal details of officer who probed Ishrat files (Jul 10, 2016, Indian Express)

The Home Ministry has declined to share details of file notings related to extension of service granted to senior IAS officer B K Prasad, who went into the missing files related to the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan, saying being an adjunct to proposal of a Cabinet panel it cannot be disclosed.…

As the file notings in this regard are an adjunct to an Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) proposal, the same is exempted under Section 8 (1) (I) of the transparency law, it said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.…

Prasad, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, was due to retire in May end. He was granted extension for a period of two months with effect from June 1, 2016 to July 31, an official order had said without mentioning the reason behind it.… The officer was recently in news for allegedly “tutoring” witnesses in the missing files case, a charge denied by him. The Home Ministry had recently asked an RTI applicant to prove he is Indian before disclosing details on the extension given to Prasad.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/home-ministry-declines-to-reveal-details-of-officer-who-probed-ishrat-files-2904901/

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Akalis burnt Quran in attempt to defame AAP: Kejriwal in Malerkotla (Jul 4, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal said here on Monday that “some forces are working to divide the country on communal lines”. Speaking at an Iftar party hosted by AAP supporters in Punjab’s only Muslim-majority town, Kejriwal also rejected allegations that his party’s MLA Naresh Yadav was involved in the sacrilege of the Quran that had led to violence here on June 24. Instead, he blamed Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is the BJP’s partner in the central government too, for it.

“Akalis have stooped so low… If they had to defame AAP, they could have done it any other way. But what was the need to burn the Quran?” he said at the gathering that saw scores of people and was held even after the police imposed section 144 of the CrPC (criminal procedure code) restricting assembly of more than 10 persons at a place.…

Kerjiwal concluded his speech telling the people to “pray that God save the country from divisive forces that are triggering communal tensions”.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/kejriwal-at-iftar-in-malerkotla-akalis-burnt-quran-trying-to-defame-aap-forces-trying-to-divide-country/story-grHOYKU7ShUVDeZ5zAHIPI.html

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Pansare murder: Bombay HC refuses bail to Gaikwad, says the crime shocked society’s conscience (Jul 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Pointing out that the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare had “shocked the conscience of society”, the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant bail to main accused in the case Sameer Gaikwad. “Looking at the enormity of charges, this is not a fit case for granting of bail to the accused,” the court said.

Gaikwad, a member of controversial right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in Sangli on September 16, 2015 by the special investigation team of Maharashtra Police. Appearing for Gaikwad, Sanjeev Punalekar had argued that he should be granted bail as he cannot be kept in “continued pre-trial detention if the trial is not going to be completed in reasonable time”.…

The court also pointed to the evidence which had come to light while Gaikwad’s phone was under surveillance and he had conversed with his colleagues and the woman he loved. Pointing to one conversation with his lover, which the prosecution argued showed extra-judicial confession by him, Gaikwad had said, “Pansare is done, now should I take action against Nikhil Wagle (journalist.)?”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pansare-murder-hc-refuses-bail-to-gaikwad-says-the-crime-shocked-societys-conscience-2907992/

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Indian government is targeting NGOs yet again, claim non-profit workers (Jul 9, 2016, Scroll.in)

Should board members and trustees of non-profit organisations be treated as “public servants” if they are partially funded by the government? If NGOs receive foreign funding, should their office bearers be made to declare their assets to the public?

India’s non-profit sector has been grappling with these questions for more than two weeks, ever since the Union government issued a notification to bring large numbers of NGOs under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013. The notification, issued on June 20, specifies that the Lokpal law will now apply to any registered society, trust or non-profit organisation receiving annual government grants of Rs 1 crore or more, or receiving foreign funds worth Rs 10 lakh or more.…

Excluding private companies from the same rules only compounds the belief that the state is attempting to clamp down on dissenting civil society organisations. “The state is encouraging the high participation by foreign entities in for-profit enterprises, but we see no attempt to institute similar measures with regard to non-profit organisations,” said Mander.

http://scroll.in/article/811436/indian-government-is-targetting-ngos-yet-again-claim-non-profit-workers

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Modi govt buried under carpet massive telecom scam of Rs 45,000 crore: Congress (Jul 7, 2016, Indian Express)

The Congress on Thursday accused the Modi government of burying “under the carpet a massive telecom scam of Rs 45,000 crore.”

At a press conference in the national capital, Congress leader RS Surjewala said the scam aims to help Modi Govt’s industrialists friends.

“Latest is a staggering ‘Telecom Scam’ of approximately Rs.45,000 crore plus that is being buried under the carpet by ‘Modi Sarkar’,” party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala alleged at a joint press conference with party spokespersons Shaktisinh Gohil and R P N Singh.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/modi-govt-buried-massive-telecom-scam-of-rs-45000-crore-under-carpet-congress/

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Four Dalits in Gujarat town beaten up with iron rods, dragged for a km with SUV for “possessing” cow beef (Jul 12, 2016, Counterview)

In a second incident of gruesome atrocity against Dalits in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region in a week’s time, four Dalit youths were beaten up and dragged for almost a kilometre, allegedly because they “possessed” cow beef. The incident took place in Una town of Gir Somnath district.

Belonging to Mota Samadiyara village, the Dalits, reportedly, were called to collect a dead cow. Belonging to a community of leather traders, before they could actually reach the place, where they were called, the youths were cornered by a group at the Una bus stand.

According to local sources, the Dalits were stripped half naked, tied to an SUV by chains, and beat up with iron rods in full public gaze. Though a large crowd had gathered at the place, no one seemed to forward to rescue the Dalits. A video is said to have gone viral on the social media.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/07/four-dalits-in-gujarat-town-beaten-up.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Democracy and Political Hindutva – By MR Narayan Swamy (Jul 10, 2016, Thehansindia.com)

The challenge to Indian democracy has always come from those who hate democracy as an idea, those who preach intolerance towards the country’s religious, philosophical and cultural plurality. But the biggest challenge to Indian democracy now, says noted Malayalam writer K Satchidanandan, comes from political Hindutva.

It is a theme that runs through the book, a collection of essays by scholars, artists, activists, journalists, writers, intellectuals, a former judge and a former diplomat. The idea of the book followed the protests of 2015 when several writers, artists, scholars and scientists returned their awards or quit their posts in government institutions to oppose what they said was rising intolerance in India backed by administrative inaction.

It is this intolerance of the “other” that led to three murders that shook the literary fraternity. All three killings were blamed on the Hindu rightwing. The first victim was Narendra Dabholkar, a renowned rationalist who was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle in Pune in August 2013.…

http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Sunday-Hans/2016-07-10/Democracy-and-Political-Hindutva-/240989

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Lesson from Perumal Murugan verdict: Modi could learn much from Savarkar on sex in ancient India – By Manoj Mitta (Jul 10, 2016, Scroll.in)

A Hindu tradition called Niyoga allowed a childless woman to procreate through a man other than her husband. The Madras High Court took judicial cognisance of this tradition in its verdict earlier this week, upholding the freedom of expression of writer Perumal Murugan, much to the umbrage of the Hindu groups opposed to a book depicting it.

Unwittingly, however, the verdict also put in perspective Narendra Modi’s tacit denial of this tradition in the context of its best known symbol, Kunti, the mother of the legendary Pandavas in the Mahabharata. Modi famously claimed, at a corporate hospital in Mumbai in October 2014, that Karna, whom Kunti begot before her marriage, was testimony to the advances made by ancient India in genetic science.…

Savarkar and Ambedkar could not have got away with such irreverence to tradition in today’s India, as evident from the harassment suffered by Perumal Murugan at the hands of state and non-state actors. Hence the value of the Madras High Court judgment goes beyond upholding the freedom to deal with taboo subjects. It has served to expose the corrosive link, however unintended, between Modi’s attempt to glorify Niyoga as genetic science and Murugan’s declaration of his demise as a writer three months later.

http://scroll.in/article/811464/lesson-from-perumal-murugan-verdict-modi-could-learn-much-from-savarkar-on-sex-in-ancient-india

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Taint and thwart – By Anupama Katakam (Jul 22, 2016, Frontline)

On June 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order cancelling the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, (FCRA) registration of the Sabrang Trust, of which the chief trustees are the activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand. The order means that the Sabrang Trust will not be able to receive foreign funding anymore.…

In April 2014, just before the general election that returned Modi as the Prime Minister, the well-known columnist and Gujarat commentator Aakar Patel warned: “Like all tyrants, Modi has a fundamentally primitive view of criticism. Those who oppose him, write against what he says and does, are enemies and he must fix them before they harm him. They should watch out.”

In the same piece, he commented on Teesta Setalvad: “She is a genuine heroine who is being slowly martyred and tortured by Modi, as a disinterested nation looks elsewhere. This is the sort of third-rate pettiness Modi likes descending to because as a nation we allow him to. This constant mischief from Modi keeps Setalvad away from the work Modi is afraid of.”

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/taint-and-thwart/article8815548.ece

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Malegaon Blast Case: Modi Government Has Much to Explain After Pragya Thakur’s Bail Order – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jul 12, 2016, The Wire)

Soon after a special court in Mumbai rejected the bail petition of Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case on June 28, the BJP’s spokespersons raised a storm against the order, calling it an example of ‘judicial oligarchy’. Party leaders even went so far as to criticise the court for not taking into account an earlier report by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In May this year, the NIA had called the original Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) investigation led by the slain officer Hemant Karkare ‘dubious’, rejected all the confessions in the case and dropped all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the ten accused, including Thakur.…

While reviewing the case, the judge concluded that Thakur’prima facie connection with the motorcycle used in the blast could not be ruled out. He also concluded that the NIA and ATS reports both said that Thakur was present at the controversial meeting in Bhopal, in which the plan to bomb the Muslim-majority locality of Malegaon was allegedly hatched. These two factors became the primary basis for denying bail to Thakur.…

http://thewire.in/50838/pragya-thakur-bail-order/

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Now is not the moment – By K. Kannan (Jul 13, 2016, The Hindu)

…There are several provisions in the Constitution which are transitory, such as the number of years of provision for reservation of seats for representation in the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies (Article 334), the time frame when Hindi will substitute English as the lingua franca for official purposes (Article 343), and the special status to Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370).…

The Uniform Civil Code, if brought in now, will be perceived as an apology for hegemony of the Hindu laws over the personal laws applicable to Muslims and Christians, and justifiably so. To B.R. Ambedkar at the time of initiating the dialogue and finalising the draft of the Constitution, it was the obvious choice, for he saw no merit in the role of religion in its application to personal laws.

The truth is that personal laws are what we confront in our personal lives from birth to death, viz. laws of marriage, maintenance, adoption, custody, guardianship of children and succession. Religion is the first affinity at birth and it is carried through at one’s will through the laws that we recognise as personal to him/her. If we withdraw the personal laws by force, we trench upon the most intimate emotion of an individual.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/k-kannan-on-uniform-civil-code-now-is-not-the-moment/article8840401.ece

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For Muslims, primarily – By Faizan Mustafa (Jul 13, 2016, Indian Express)

… The AMU is a 96-year old institution, but it was only in 2005 that the university provided for 50 per cent reservation for Muslims of India. Since 1958, when it delivered its verdict in the Kerala Education Bill case, the Supreme Court has consistently held that minority institutions are primarily for minorities and there shall be “only sprinkling of outsiders” in such institutions.

The observation was reiterated by a 11 judge bench of the apex court in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka case: The court lifted the upper limit of 50 per cent minority reservation, which it had fixed in St. Stephens College v University of Delhi. Since minority institutions can be established by religious as well as linguistic minorities, there is no communal angle to such reservation. Moreover, religion-based reservation is prohibited only in state institutions under Article 15(1) and is permissible under Article 30(1).

Article 30 gives minorities the right to “establish and administer educational institutions of their choice” and the Supreme Court has held in the infamous S. Azeez Basha and the Union of India case that the expression “educational institutions” includes university. This repudiates the argument that minorities cannot establish universities. Similarly “governmental aid”, under Article 30(2), does not change the character of a minority institution. Thus the chorus of criticism against AMU’s 2005 reservation policy is flawed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aligarh-muslim-university-amu-muslim-education-reservation-column-2907925/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 16th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Temple and mosque promote communal harmony in Odisha town (May 14, 2016, The Hindu)

A mosque and a temple have been existing together for generations near Ganjam town in Ganjam district of Odisha. These two places of worship exist side by side on the road that connects the highway to the remains of Potagada fort.…

Interestingly water seems to be unifying factor of the two places of worship. The mosque and the temple are on two sides of a single pond. The mosque facing the road has the pond on its backside while the main gate of the temple opens to the bank of the pond. Water of this pond is used by devotees of both the religions, said Manoj Raula, a priest of the temple.…

Although most of the time both the mosque and temple remain deserted, yet people of the area do not let any one disfigure their walls through graffiti.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/temple-and-mosque-promote-communal-harmony-in-odisha-town/article8597917.ece

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Extremist Hindu groups’ “role” in terror attacks? Karkare showed me evidence before death: Supercop Ribeiro (May 18, 2016, Counterview)

Veteran supercop Julio Ribeiro, a known expert on terrorism, in a signed article on June 27, 2015, had warned that “going slow on ‘Hindu terror’ is dangerous”, adding, “It’s also an insult to the memory of Hemant Karkare”. Ribeiro said this even as recalling his meeting with Karkare one day before the latter was killed by terrorists in 2008 fighting in Mumbai. Ribeiro said, Karkare “was disturbed by the reactions of some BJP leaders, particularly LK Advani, to the turn his investigations had taken in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.”…

Ribeiro said, “Such thoughts would come naturally to any policeman those days as Muslim groupings like Simi had been responsible for several terrorist acts across the country.” He added, “But the ATS had suddenly, unexpectedly and, I must add, fortuitously come across incontrovertible evidence, which included taped conversations, to prove that the Malegaon blasts, as well as the Ajmer, Hyderabad and Samjhauta Express blasts that killed nearly a hundred people, were conceived, planned and executed by a group of fanatical Hindus bent on revenge.”

Calling Karkare as one officer who was guided by the “lofty ideal” that politics, religion, caste, community have “no role to play in the pursuit of truth and justice”, Ribeiro said, “I went through some of the evidence he had gathered. I was staggered.” “I could understand the anger that prompted the perpetrators to embark on their misconceived journey. But a police officer has to do his duty, which is to stick to the truth and the letter of the law. I advised Karkare to abide by his ‘dharma’,” Ribeiro recalled.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/extremist-hindu-groups-role-in-terror.html

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Two absconders in Malegaon blast mentioned as RSS workers: NIA (May 16, 2016, The Hindu)

Ram Chandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, the two absconding accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, have been mentioned as ‘RSS workers’ in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week.

Naming Mr. Kalsangra as accused number 13 and Mr. Dange as accused number 14, the NIA has referred to the two as “RSS workers” against the column for occupation in its charge sheet.Both of them have been on the run after their names surfaced in connection with the Malegaon blasts. The duo have been named as accused in other cases too that included Samjhuata train blasts in February 2007 in which 68 people were killed.

When asked to comment on its workers being named in the Malegaon charge sheet, RSS Head of Communication department Manmohan Vaidya said: “They were with the RSS. We do not know about their whereabouts. Neither do we know about their involvement in the case.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/two-absconders-in-malegaon-blast-mentioned-as-rss-workers-nia/article8607433.ece

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Lt Col Shrikant Purohit booked for planning 2008 Malegaon blasts in Mumbai (May 14, 2016, India Today)

The National Investigation Agency has charged Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit for being a part of the 2008 Malegaon blasts conspiracy but has questioned Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad’s RDX theory suggesting that bombs were prepared in the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who was a close source of Purohit.

While the NIA charge sheet says Purohit was instrumental in setting up Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu extremist group, it raises doubts about the traces of RDX picked up from Chaturvedi’s house in Devlali, Maharashtra.

The charge sheet mentions the testimonies of two Army officers who claim ATS Assistant Police Inspector Bagade was caught planting RDX in Chaturvedi’s house, who also has also been charged for the conspiracy.… The stringent MCOCA law has been dropped in the case but 10 accused, including Purohit are charged under terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other Sections of the Indian Penal Code.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/purohit-booked-for-planning-malegaon-blasts/1/667961.html

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2006 Malegaon blasts: ‘They took me with them saying I would be released after 10 minutes. But I returned after 10 years’ (May 15, 2016, Indian Express)

Muslims who were discharged from all terror charges in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case narrated their horrifying experiences in Pune during a programme organised by Republican Yuva Morcha and Kul Jamaat E Tanzeem on Saturday. Last week, a court had discharged nine Muslims in the case.

Three of them – Noor ul Hooda, Raees Ahmed and Dr Farooq Makdumi – shared their experiences of how they were falsely implicated allegedly by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). “At first, I was wrongfully arrested by Nashik police in 2001. Police were looking for a person named Noor, but they arrested me only because I was having similar name. Later, they branded me as an operative of the Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI),” said Noor.

“Then, after bombs exploded in Masjid in Malegaon in 2006, two policemen came to me. They took me with them saying I would be released after an inquiry for 10 minutes. But I returned after 10 years. I kept saying I am innocent, I am not a terrorist, I have nothing to do with the bomb blast. But a police officer told me they were implicating me in this because I was an extremist as I wore skull cap and beard and offered namaz five times a day. I was tortured for 48 days. ATS officials said they knew I am not capable of making bombs and carrying our bomb blasts, still they would be implicating me,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/2006-malegaon-blasts-they-took-me-with-them-saying-i-would-be-released-after-10-minutes-but-i-returned-after-10-years-2801241/

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After Nehru, Rajasthan now axes RTI Act from textbook (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

After doing away with references to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and several other freedom fighters from school History curriculum, the Rajasthan government’s revised syllabus has also removed a page highlighting the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

A prominent section on page 105, which was part of chapter 12 of the previous Social Science textbook for Class VIII in state schools, has now been removed in the “restructured” book. The section highlighted the RTI Act, and the people’s movement that led to it.…

MKSS has, meanwhile, filed an RTI application at the Education Department, seeking details of the procedure adopted and the expenditure incurred for the exercise to restructure school syllabus.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jaipur/after-nehru-rajasthan-now-axes-rti-act-from-textbook-2806182/

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India journalist arrested over Muslim yoga ban report (May 14, 2016, BBC)

Pushp Sharma’s report appeared in March in the Milli Gazette, a newspaper aimed at India’s Muslim community. It quoted what was said to be a government document that banned Muslims from travelling abroad to teach yoga for last year’s World Yoga Day. Mr Sharma faces charges of fabricating the document, which he denies.

His report was based on what he said was an official reply from a government ministry that promotes yoga and ayurveda medicine. The report said that, after several queries to the ministry, it replied saying that none of the 3,841 Muslims who had applied to become yoga teachers had been hired up to October 2015.

A letter printed alongside the article, purporting to be from the ministry, said that 711 Muslims had applied to travel abroad as instructors during the first World Yoga Day last June, but none was selected “as per government policy”.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36293836

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Meghalaya: AICC condemns RSS ‘Hate Pamphlets’ (May 14, 2016, The Northeast Today)

It was reported by the heads of Christian religious groups who had appealed to the District Magistrate of West Garo Hills about targeted distribution of Hate Pamphlets of the Right-Wing, Hindu Nationalist organisation; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ahead of the elections, demanding them to convert to Hindu’s or leave India. The pamphlet claims Christianity as a SAMASYA (problem) and the mission and purpose of the distribution is termed as GHARWAPSI.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) has strongly condemned this act of vandalism. AICC, General Secretary, Mr. B.K Hariprasad and AICC Legal Secretary, Mr. K C Mittal, has written a strong complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi and has demanded an immediate probe into this matter.

AICC has demanded an immediate seizure and arrest of these fringe anti-social elements so that they cannot operate in the area and hamper conduct of free and fair elections.… The Superintendent of Police, West Garo Hills, Tura has accordingly been intimated to lodge an FIR and initiate necessary actions.…

http://thenortheasttoday.com/meghalaya-aicc-condemns-rss-hate-pamphlets/

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Bhiwandi violence: BJP MLA’s kin booked for murder, rioting offences registered (May 16, 2016, The Hindu)

A day after RPI activists went on a rampage in Bhiwandi following the death of its Dalit member Vicky Dhepe, police has registered cases of rioting-related offences against unidentified persons even as a close relative of a local BJP MLA has been booked for the murder, police said today.

According to police, four offences of rioting were registered against the 100-plus armed mob which damaged number of vehicles, including two police jeeps on Sunday.

Bhiwandi Police Control Room said that two offences were registered with Narpoli police station last night while one each at Bhoiwada and Bhiwandi city police station.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bhiwandi-violence-bjp-mlas-kin-booked-for-murder-rioting-offences-registered/article8606832.ece

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Mumbai Crime: ‘Godman’ held for duping businessman of Rs 3.77 crore (May 10, 2016, Mid Day)

A 40-year-old self-styled godman, who allegedly duped a south-Mumbai based diamond merchant of Rs 3.77 crore, has been nabbed by the police. The businessman was conned of the amount by the ‘baba’, on the pretext that he would arrange a loan of Rs 40 crore for the victim to overcome his business losses.

The Tardeo police have detained the accused from Uttar Pradesh and are bringing him to Mumbai. Police have succeeded in recovering over 90 per cent of the cash. According to cops, Virendranand Bramachari alias Krishna Singh, claims to be a spiritual-cum-ayurvedic Baba. Singh would also pretend that he has huge number of followers.…

Police analysed phone calls of Singh and recently traced his location in UP and detained him on Monday. Sources say that police have managed to recover over 90 per cent of the money.

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-crime-godman-held-for-duping-businessman-of-rs-377-crore/17217169

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At 44%, “progressive” Gujarat has one of the highest proportion of Dalit out of school children: Govt of India (May 18, 2016, Counterview)

Government of India figures, released in the Rajya Sabha recently, have shockingly revealed that, of Gujarat’s nearly 1.59 lakh “out of school” children, 43.76 per cent are Dalits, which is one of the highest proportions in India.

The revelation is particularly surprising because Gujarat has one of the lowest proportion of Dalit population in the country, less than seven per cent.…

While Dalits comprise of 16.6 per cent of the country’s population, they form about 32.42 per cent of the total “out of school” children in the country, 60.64 lakh. Only three states in India have a higher proportion of Dalit “out of school” children – Tamil Nadu 72.23 per cent, Punjab 69.33 per cent, and Bihar 44.81 per cent.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/at-44-progressive-gujarat-has-one-of.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Another caged parrot? – Editorial (May 17, 2016, Business Standard)

The recent move by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to drop all charges against six of the accused in the 2008 bomb blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra, has raised afresh the question of the susceptibility of governmental investigative agencies to political pressures.

The Malegaon case was considered a milestone because investigations, originally conducted by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS), revealed for the first time the role of Hindu right-wing groups in terror attacks such as on the Samjhauta Express in 2007. The decision by the NIA, which took over the investigation in 2011, to drop all charges against the six, who were members of various Hindu-right organisations, is disturbing for several reasons.

First, the former Special Prosecutor in the case, Rohini Salian, revealed to The Indian Express that a Superintendent of Police attached to the NIA had approached her soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance came to power to ask her to “go soft” on the accused in the case. She was later taken off the case. It is hard to understand why this informal advisory should have been issued had there been no case against the accused in the first place.…The Supreme Court once evocatively described the Central Bureau of Investigation as a “caged parrot”. On current evidence, the descriptor could apply to the NIA too.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/another-caged-parrot-116051701480_1.html

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Clean chit to Sadhvi, MCOCA dropped, Karkare probe was fudged: NIA’s new Malegaon script – By Deeptiman Tiwary (May 13, 2016, Indian Express)

Significantly watering down the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided not to name Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as an accused in its chargesheet to be filed in a Mumbai court Friday. This sets the stage for her early release from jail.

The chargesheet is likely to mention that the investigation conducted by former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, later killed in the 26/11 terror attack, was flawed, that the evidence produced against Colonel Prasad Purohit, another key accused, had been fabricated, and statements of witnesses were taken under duress. However, Purohit will remain a key accused in the chargesheet to be filed by NIA.

In all likelihood, the chargesheet will state that the ATS planted explosives in Purohit’s living quarters at the Deolali Army camp at the time of his arrest in 2008. “We have evidence to show that the RDX was planted by ATS,” an NIA officer said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/malegaon-blasts-2008-nia-probe-sadhvi-pragya-singh-gets-clean-chit-2797995/

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Malegaon blasts case shows that Hindutva forces are succeeding in widening Hindu-Muslim divide – By Julio Ribeiro (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

Hemant Karkare laid down his life for his friends. Every man and woman in the land was his friend. He did not discriminate between man and woman, Hindu and Muslim, this caste or that. He was a professional policeman. And he was a patriot. And that is what people expect of their public servants.…

He came to meet me on November 25, 2008, a day before his life was extinguished by jihadi terrorists. He came to tell me he was disturbed. He was disturbed because L.K. Advani had the previous day, or a couple of days earlier, accused the Maharashtra Police Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), of which he was then the chief, of framing Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and others in the Malegaon blast case. He said he would not dream of framing anyone and I believed him because I knew he would do nothing wrong. I told him I would speak to Advani personally as I had faith in his integrity.

Karkare had brought the case papers to show me that his investigations had nailed the real culprits. I did not look into those files for lack of patience. I am sorry today that I did not take more interest in his findings. If I had done so I could have attempted to defend that good and honest man with concrete facts. He is not alive to defend himself against all the forces that have been unleashed against him in his absence. But I cannot let these forces go unchallenged.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/malegaon-blasts-2008-burying-hemnat-karkare-2805887/

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Malegaon’s innocents – By Anupama Katakam (May 27, 2016, Frontline)

…In 2006, as the community prepared to attend the prayers, a series of powerful bombs exploded at Mushawerat Chowk and Bada Kabrastan in the congested Muslim quarter. Thirty-seven people died and over 300 were injured. It is widely believed that had the blasts taken place later in the evening, when the prayers were to begin, the death toll would have been much higher. Within days of the blasts, nine Muslim men from the town were arrested.

A decade later, on April 26, a sessions court in Mumbai acquitted all of them. The judge, V.V. Patil, said: “In my view, the basic foundation or the objective shown by ATS [Anti-Terror-Squad] behind the blast is not acceptable to a man of ordinary prudence. I say so because there was ‘Ganesh immersion’ just prior to September 8, 2006…. Had accused No. 1 to 9 any objective that there should be riots at Malegaon, then they ought to have planted bombs at the time of Ganesh immersion which would have caused death of most Hindu people. It seems to me highly impossible that accused No. 1 to 9, who are from Muslim community, would have decided to kill their own people to create disharmony between the two communities, that too on a holy day i.e., Shab-e Barat.”

The judge noted that there was not sufficient ground to proceed against the eight men (the ninth accused, Shabbir Masiullah, died in an accident early last year) and ordered that they be “set at liberty”. The complete story behind the blasts may take time in emerging, but this case once again reflects how flawed India’s investigation process is when it comes to cracking terror cases.… The Malegaon blasts case runs deep. The false charges against the nine men form just the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/malegaons-innocents/article8580609.ece

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Modi government’s second year: Too many controversies, too little governance? – By Seema Chishti (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

On May 16, 2014, the BJP and its leader Narendra Modi were rightfully elated: they had just come to power in the Lok Sabha elections, a result which gave a party a full and undisputable majority for the first time in 30 years. Two years later, Indian politics looks different: there are surprises, new alignments, and fierce debates on an entire range of issues.…

In terms of policy, vital political capital during the NDA’s first year had been spent on policy proposals which had to be eventually jettisoned. Amendments to the Land Acquisition Bill which promised to make it “easier” to acquire land for industry, despite three ordinances, had to be abandoned because of widespread criticism within the party, the parivar and outside.…

With three years to go, there is much that remains to be done by the BJP-led government. On social media, there is a major PR campaign on – there has been an increase by one-fifth in ad spend – to promote the Centre’s side of the story. But Achche din still seems to be a distant dream.

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/modi-governments-second-year-too-many-controversies-too-little-governance/

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Fake Encounters Sowed the Wind and India is Reaping the Whirlwind – By Prem Shankar Jha (May 12, 2016, The Wire)

In her 22 minute televised press conference attacking the UPA government’s decision to revise the home ministry’s affidavit to the Gujarat high court on the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hurled not one but two accusations against the Congress. The first was that it had ‘created a charade’, of an innocent girl being killed in cold blood by a brutalised police, when it knew from its own intelligence inputs that she had been a member of the Lashkar-e Taiba cell that had been sent from Pakistan to kill chief minister Narendra Modi. As my article in The Wire showed last week this was pure political jousting.

But in the furore that followed Sitharaman’s second, more serious, allegation slipped into peoples’ minds through the cracks created by the first. This was that by unleashing the CBI on the case, and allowing it to interrogate officers and men of the Gujarat police endlessly in their search for evidence with which to discredit the Modi government, the UPA had divided and demoralised the police and security agencies, and harmed the country’s security.

To make this accusation Sitharaman glossed over the fact that the CBI had had to be brought in because the reaction of the Gujarat government to affidavits presented to the Gujarat High Court by two ‘whistleblowers’ in the government, S.P. Tamang, chief metropolitan magistrate of Ahmedabad, and Satish Verma, member of the Special Investigation Team set up by the Gujarat high court after it received Tamang’s report, showed that it had no intention of indicting its own police personnel.…

http://thewire.in/2016/05/12/fake-encounters-sowed-the-wind-and-india-is-reaping-the-whirlwind-35458/

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 27th, 2015

April 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Hazaribagh: ABVP threatens two Christian schools, forces one to close Humanity not found! 7 Muslims alleged of forced religion conversion arrested, but the TRUTH will shock you ‘That’s not us’: RSS steps in to deny Nepal rescue act tweet VMC yet to solve row over houses for […]

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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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