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Gujarat riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 28th, 2014

by newsdigest on July 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Hadapsar sees Hindu-Muslim unity (Jul 21, 2014, DNA India)

In the backdrop of the recent communal clashes in Hadapsar, the Hindus and Muslims in a major interfaith initiative have come up with the idea of protecting each other’s places of worship. The Hindus of the area have taken the responsibility to protect the Muslim mosques and shrines while the Muslims have taken the responsibility of protecting the temples.

To overcome the issue, the police along with the local residences and community had together formed a peace committee which later was bifurcated into “Almagira Masjid defence committee” and Ram-Hanuman Temple Defence committee ” with the sole objective to spread the message of peace and harmony. Now, both the communities have taken the onus of protecting each other’s places of worship and vowed to protect them till the last breath of their lives.

Real estate Amit Dhabhade (31), a resident of Handewadi said, “It’s a good initiative and I do not understand why there is always a discrimination between two communities and why religious places are targeted. God is one and his place of residence is a temple, mosque, church or any other religious place. On Fridays, we along with police patrol around the mosques in the area and also keep a vigil on the anti-social elements, traffic jams and honking,” he said adding that it was his duty to protect Muslim mosques with he being a true Hindu.

Ejaz Pathan (30), a resident of Sayeed Nagar and a businessman said that the misunderstanding has been caused due to vested interests. “As muslims it is our farz to protect our Hindu neighbours and protect their temples in Muslim dominated areas. We have taken an oath to protect the life and property of our Hindu brothers and ensure that divisive forces are booted out of the society,” he said.

A month of chaos and misunderstanding between the two communities had let to panic atmosphere in Hadapsar after defamatory SMSes related to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray were circulated on social networking sites and social messengers. …

http://www.dnaindia.com/pune/report-hadapsar-sees-hindu-muslim-unity-2004040

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United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill (Jul 22, 2014, Counterview.net)

At a time when the Narendra Modi government is all set to consider dropping it, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has asked the Government of India (GoI) to “promptly enact the draft Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill” as an important step to prevent violence against women. It notes “continued marginalization and poverty of women and girls survivors of the Gujarat riots living in the relief colonies and their precarious living conditions with limited access to education, health care, employment and security.”

This law is also needed, CEDAW indicates, because there has been a “significant number of displaced women and girl, particularly in the North-Eastern region”, resulting from “sporadic communal violence”. In this context, it expressed deep concern about “the reported high level of violence against women in conflict-affected regions” in Kashmir, the North East, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Pointing towards state complicity in all this, SEDAW wants the Government f India (GoI) to “amend and/or repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act”.

This, CEDAW suggests, is necessary to end “sexual violence against women perpetrated by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel”, who, it insists, should be “brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law.” Asking GoI to “remove the requirement for government permission to prosecute members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel accused of crimes of violence against women”, CEDAW says, the Protection of Human Rights Act be also changed by conferring powers to the National Human Rights Commission to investigate cases against armed forces personnel.…

http://www.counterview.net/2014/07/united-nations-body-recalls-gujarat.html

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Sena MP ‘force-feeds’ fasting Muslim staffer at Maharashtra Sadan (Jul 23, 2014, Rediff)

A shocking incident of misuse of power has come to light in national capital New Delhi where 11 Shiv Sena Members of Parliament are reported to have forced a Muslim worker to break his Ramzan fast and eat a chapati, at the Maharashtra Sadan. The MPs were apparently dissatisfied by the fact that they had not been served Maharashtrian food.

An Indian Express report identified the 11 Shiv Sena MPs as Sanjay Raut (Rajya Sabha), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Arvind Sawant (Mumbai-South), Hemant Godse (Nashik), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ravindra Gaikwad (Osmanabad), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Shivaji Adhalrao Patil (Shirur), Rahul Shewale (Mumbai-South Central) and Shrikant Shinde (Kalyan).

Soon after the incident, Shankar Malhotra, deputy general manager of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism, which handles subsidiary catering for Maharashtra Sadan, shot off a letter to Maharashtra resident commissioner Bipin Mallick.

In the letter, Malhotra wrote, “All the guests along with media reporters and staffs of Maharashtra Sadan got into kitchen where I was getting the orders prepared. They caught me and put the chapati into my mouth. I was wearing a formal uniform set as prescribed by IRCTC and everybody in the panel also knew my name as ‘Arshad’ as I was wearing the name tag. Even then they inserted chapati in my mouth which caused my fast to break on the eve of Ramzan. I was hurt with the thing they have done as religious sentiments are concerned.”

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-sena-11-mp-force-feed-fasting-muslim-staffer-maharashtra-sadan/20140723.htm

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Sangh sets up panel to push ‘saffronisation’ of education (Jul 27, 2014, Business Standard)

Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, an organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has set up Bharatiya Shiksha Niti Aayog (Indian Education Policy Commission), the first commission of its kind in the non-governmental sector, to study “the present education system and suggest corrective steps to make it Bharat-centric”. Likely to be headed by Dinanath Batra – who shot to fame when he pulped American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism – this body is being seen as RSS’ effort to mount pressure on the Narendra Modi-led government to implement the Sangh agenda of “saffronisation” of education and to prevent the latter from diverting from its core ideals.

Though the commission was formed a few months ahead of the swearing-in of the Modi government on May 26 – Sangh mouthpiece Organiser informs the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the office was done in Delhi on April 13 – RSS gave its go-ahead for the panel at a recent Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meeting in Madhya Pradesh.

According to Sangh insiders, education is a key area in the RSS’ scheme of things and could emerge as a point of conflict in future with the government. Given Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani’s lack of understanding of the Sangh Parivar’s functioning, RSS is adopting a wait-and-watch policy. Irani, meanwhile, has managed to establish a good rapport with some senior RSS leaders, but a section of the organisation still has reservations about her credentials to occupy the important HRD portfolio.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/sangh-sets-up-panel-to-push-saffronisation-of-education-114072601164_1.html

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Rape the activist: RSS man posts on facebook (Jul 29, 2014, Deccan Chronicle)

Several police complaints were lodged against V.R. Bhat, a prominent member of the right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on Monday for posting a derogatory remark against a woman activist on Facebook. The post by Mr Bhat read that the activists like her should be raped by rapists. Such activists should be held by their hair and sexually assaulted to correct their approach towards Hinduism.

It was his apparent reply to Ms Prabha N. Belamangala’s post that a great deal of contributions are made by the lower strata of people towards development of a nation, but the upper strata of certain religious sects take the credit. Ms Belamangala (43) is a social activist and state secretary of Janavignana Samiti, an NGO. After Mr Bhat’s incendiary post, she lodged a complaint with the Chandra Layout police under whose jurisdiction she resides.

Mr Bhat’s post created has a furore on the social media network, and other activists lodged complaints against Mr Bhat at different police stations in different parts of the state. In Nelamangala, the state president of Karnataka Dalita Sangatanegala Okkutta, B.R. Bhaskhar Prasad, filed a police complaint against Mr Bhat. He has suggested that Mr Bhat should be booked under Goonda Act. “We will not stop with this, there are two more police complaints that will be lodged on Tuesday from Mandya and H assan,” Mr Bhaskhar Prasad told Deccan Chronicle.

Immediately after the complaints were registered, Mr Bhat deleted the post. But the complainants had taken the screen shots of his message and decided to pursue the case legally. Mr Bhat also called the activists and apologised to them. Mr Bhat is also a columnist for vernacular newspapers, and has been slapped with Section 66A of the IT Act.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140729/nation-crime/article/rape-activist-rss-man-facebook

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UP: 3 dead, several injured in Saharanpur clashes; shoot-at-sight orders against rioters (Jul 26, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Communal violence left Uttar Pradesh bloodied again with three killed and several injured in a clash between Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur on Saturday. Curfew was clamped and shoot-at-sight orders given against rioters. The two groups fought pitched battles and burnt several vehicles, as home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav who assured him that the situation would be contained soon.

The communities, who clashed over construction on a disputed plot, fought with firearms, swords and stones and torched shops and vehicles. One of the deceased, Sanjeev Kochar, died of bullet injuries. The second victim was identified only as Arif while there was no confirmation of the third’s identity. A constable and a home guard sustained serious injuries as the police stepped in to control the rampage. They are both in critical condition.

The situation continued to be tense till late Saturday, as heavy security was deployed by the state government, officials said. Over a dozen policemen were also injured in the violence. Curfew continues in a few areas under six police stations. Police have arrested over a dozen people for inciting violence over a land dispute and sources in the home department said the tense situation was now under control.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1244777.aspx

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Breach of pact sparked Moradabad riots (Jul 28, 2014, The Hindu)

Tension in Nayagaon Akbarpur village in Kanth town of Moradabad, which sparked communal tension in the area erupted as an agreement reached between the Muslims and Dalits earlier this month was breached.

Just a day before the controversial July 4 “Mahapanchayat”, called by the BJP in protest against the removal of the loudspeaker, at the temple in Nayagaon Akbarpur village, all stake holders, including Moradabad MP Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh, Sambhal MP Satyapal Saini and local BJP leaders, had a meeting with Kanth MLA Anisurrahman at his residence. All the leaders and other participants in the meeting reached an agreement according to which the loudspeaker was to be put up on the Shiva temple after Eid, August 3.

However, the agreement was allegedly breached the very next day by BJP supporters and the Moradabad MP, who started protesting on the issue on July 4. The most important condition of the agreement was that after the meeting, the “Mahapanchayat” will not be organised, a condition to which all the BJP leaders present in the meeting had agreed. However, later the BJP supporters allegedly rejected the agreement.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/breach-of-pact-sparked-moradabad-riots/article6255558.ece

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Justice remains elusive dream for the victims of 2012 BTAD violence even after two years (Jul 21, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Two years is a pretty long period for anything to change. But for a section of ill-fated people in Assam, it’s all the same as their pain continues to haunt them, in fact, in a more painful way. The bloody violence which broke out in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) on July 20 in 2012 witnessed around 100 deaths and several lakhs were displaced but the victims did not get the justice.

Ainuddin Sheikh is still inconsolable when somebody reminds him of that fateful day. The day when he lost his father Bashir Sheikh exactly two years ago in Assam’s troubled torn BTAD. “Sometimes I do not feel like living anymore. Time and again we are facing atrocities and there is no justice. There is no value of live for the people like us. I got Rs 50 thousand as compensation but my father is gone forever without his fault. We can only get peace if the culprits are punished,” said a dejected Ainuddin of Heikipara of Kokrajhar district.

The incident was criticized from different parts of the globe. The state government was slammed for its failure to control law and order situation but it remained all the same. The culprits are roaming free whereas the victims are still living shedding tears in the memory of their dear ones.…

http://twocircles.net/2014jul21/justice_remains_elusive_dream_victims_2012_btad_violence_even_after_two_years.html

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Skewed representation of Muslims in police behind trust deficit: Islam (Jul 22, 2014, Indian Express)

For a state that has nearly 30 per cent minority population, West Bengal does not have enough representation of Muslims in the police forces leading to a trust deficit between the community and the administration, a retired IPS officer has said.

Nazrul Islam, a former IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, said he shares the same perception that a report by three DGPs – Sanjeev Dayal of Maharashtra, Deoraj Nagar of Uttar Pradesh and K Ramanujam of Tamil Nadu – has thrown.

“At present, Bengal has 30 per cent minority population, which is pretty high in terms of the all India scenario and in terms of other states. However, we do not see any reflection of this population ratio in the police force of the state. Starting from the rank of constables to the IPS cadre, there are handful of people in the force who belong to the Muslim community,” Islam who retired as an ADG said.

Islam, quoting some in-depth studies over crime patterns, and analysed that “around 45 per cent criminals who are lodged in jails in Bengal are Muslims”. “In Murshidabad, Muslim population is 63.7 per cent. But, crime records bureau states that 90 per cent of the criminals lodged in Murshidabad jail are Muslims. This is a big divide,” he said.

The retired IPS said that there is a “common perception (in the police force)” that a “Muslim courier of Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) from a small village is essentially a member of a terrorist organization”. “This outlook of the police force needs to be changed. At times, uneducated and poor Muslims are targeted by crime syndicates,” he said, adding Bengal has never had a Muslim home minister.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/skewed-representation-of-muslims-in-police-behind-trust-deficit-islam/99/

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Naxals blow up rail tracks, Rajdhani pilot engine derails (Jul 24, 2014, Indian Express)

Maoists blasted a portion of a railway track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section in Bihar, leading to the derailment of a pilot engine running ahead of the Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. No casualty was reported in the blast that took place late on Tuesday night, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Magadh range, P K Shrivastava told PTI.

In Patna, Chief Public Relations Officer, East Central Railway, Arvind Kumar Rajak said the advance pilot engine running ahead of Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express jumped off the track due to the incident. Nearly one dozen mail and Express trains including three Rajdhani Express trains have been stranded at various places between Gaya and Mughalsarai due to the incident, Rajak said.

The blast was trigerred during a one-day bandh call called by the Maoists against police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts. The CPRO said that nearly three metre of the track has been damaged in the blast. Electric wire overhead has also been damaged, he said.

The DIG said that the blast appears to be a powerful one creating a four-feet deep crater. Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Jodhpur-Howrah Express and Doon Express were among the major trains stranded at various places.

The blast took place at Lahat village under Rafiganj police station of Aurangabad district at around 11:30 PM last night. Gaya Additional Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Singh, who rushed to the spot after the incident, said the explosion took place during the one-day bandh call given by the Naxals against police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts recently.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/maoists-explode-rail-track-pilot-engine-of-rajdhani-derails/

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Mumbai model accuses senior cop of rape (Jul 25, 2014, Times of India)

A police first information report has been filed against a senior IPS officer in the city for repeated rape by a man in uniform, molestation and stalking under the new tougher anti-rape laws after a complaint by a small-time model. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment.

The complaint against DIG Sunil Paraskar, 57, was made to city police commissioner Rakesh Maria, who handed it to the women’s cell of the crime branch, which registered the FIR in secrecy at Malwani police station, under whose jurisdiction the crime allegedly took place. The model has accused the officer of coercing her into a physical relationship during investigation into a case and raping her on several occasions in a hotel in Madh between December 2013 and January 2014.

Paraskar, a 1987 batch officer who is to retire in two years, is now posted as deputy inspector general at the Protection of Civil Rights Unit in the state police HQ in Colaba. At the time of the case, he was additional commissioner of police (north) after being inducted into the IPS cadre in 2010. “Irrespective of the officer’s seniority, we will go with the merits of the case,” Maria told TOI. Despite repeated attempts, Paraskar could not be reached for his comments. …

Besides stalking and outraging modesty, Paraskar has been charged under section 376 (2) (c) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It says if a police officer commits rape, it will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which will mean imprisonment for the remainder of the person’s natural life.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38982559.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Creed of violence – Editorial (Jul 24, 2014, DNA India)

Any defence of, or silence on, the actions of Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare who force-fed a catering manager, a Muslim undertaking the Ramzan fast, despite the latter’s protestations, and of the ten other Shiv Sena MPs who allegedly vandalised the New Maharashtra Sadan in protest against not being served Maharashtrian food is untenable. Arshad Zubair, in his complaint to his employer, IRCTC, has categorically stated that the MPs knew his religious persuasion and would have seen the nameplate on his shirt. Leaked video footage of the attack also shows the young man pleading with Vichare to desist from stuffing the food into his mouth.

The government’s silence for hours after reports surfaced of this unacceptable act of MPs, who owe it their allegiance, is unfortunate. Even political compulsions offer no justification for such reluctance to condemn this ghastly act. But none of this should deter Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan from adopting a tough line and safeguard Parliament’s prestige. Their suspension from Parliament is the sine qua non before any credible inquiry can be undertaken by a parliamentary panel or the police.

Instead of an outright apology, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray appears to be defending his MPs by saying there was no intention to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. Vichare’s actions, seen in the context of the Shiv Sena cadre’s long history of lumpen behaviour, would hardly surprise anyone. By not offering an unconditional, unqualified apology, the Sena has yet again betrayed its inability to function as a responsible party.

For a party, aiming to return to power in Maharashtra after 15 years in the wilderness, the MPs actions might resonate with its militant core but could scare away ordinary law-abiding citizens. The Shiv Sena would do well to realise that the accumulated anti-incumbency against the three-term Congress-NCP government, rather than popular affinity towards its twin-espousal of Maharashtrian sub-nationalism and Hindutva, is facilitating its comeback. …

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued diktats on the code of conduct to be followed by his MPs but has maintained a studied silence on several troubling developments in the past two months having socio-political implications. His proactive stance on economic policy issues is welcome; but by not lending the stature of his office to comment on the burning social issues of the day, the signal it sends out is a State that cannot be bothered by the fates of those vulnerable and in need of its support. Fifteen of the 18 Shiv Sena MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal cases against their names and eight of them are accused of serious offences. Without political parties taking a stand against criminalisation, Parliament and India will continue to be shamed by such incidents.

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-creed-of-violence-2004754

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Hindutva politics in Moradabad: Here’s how a local dispute turned communal – By Ajaz Ashraf (Jul 29, 2014, First Post)

West Uttar Pradesh is fast emerging as the new laboratory of Hindutva politics, where are being tested techniques of electoral mobilisation for their relative efficacy. These techniques entail undermining the traditional mechanism for resolving disputes, imparting national undertones to a contentious local issue, and harnessing religious identity to challenge numerical domination and paper over caste/class contradictions.

These overlapping themes underlie the decision to abort the agreement that the Muslims and Dalits of Nayagaon Akbarpur village of Kanth town, Moradabad, had hammered through negotiations. Communal tension had been sparked off in Nayagaon Akbarpur, which gradually spread to Kanth town and beyond, over whether or not the Dalits could use the loudspeaker installed at the Shiv temple in the village.

The Muslims argued the temple did not have the tradition of using the loudspeaker other than during the Mahashivratri festival. They claim this tradition was flouted when the Dalits installed a loudspeaker at the Shiv temple on 16 June to felicitate Kunwar Servesh Kumar, who had won on the BJP ticket from Moradabad.

However, the loudspeaker wasn’t removed at the end of felicitation ceremony. On 25 June, a meeting was convened at the Kanth town residence of MN Jabar Singh, a Jatav leader who had twice served as pradhan of Rustampur-Sherpur village. Both Singh and local police authorities tried to persuade the Dalits of Nayagaon Akbarpur village to voluntarily take down the loudspeaker, promising they would have it installed at a later date. …

In other words, Kanth has provided the BJP an opportunity to magnify a local dispute to craft a narrative of the monolith Hindu community arrayed against the unreasonable Muslim community. Truly, in India, the apparent is rarely ever the complete story.

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/hindutva-politics-in-moradabad-heres-how-a-local-dispute-turned-communal-1638497.html

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The Brains Behind Modi Sarkar – By Brijesh Singh (Aug 2, 2014, Tehelka)

What do Ajit Doval, Nripendra Misra and PK Misra have in common? Of course, they are top bureaucrats whom Narendra Modi handpicked to run his team. There is another common factor. They all hail from New Delhi-based think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). Former IB director Ajit Doval was steering the ship at VIF as founder-director before he was appointed as Modi’s National Security Adviser. He was advising Modi even before the government was formed. In fact, it was Doval who came up with the idea of inviting South Asian leaders to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.…

Rumour has it that the plan to corner the Congress was allegedly drafted by VIF at the behest of the BJP and the RSS. On one hand, Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were raking up the corruption issue and protesting against the government. On the other hand, the BJP was adding fuel to fire. This is why senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh kept referring to the anti-corruption movement as an RSS conspiracy. But as the movement reached its peak and the UPA government came up with absurd steps to tackle the situation, nobody paid him any heed.

The VIF’s alleged links with the RSS has come in handy for Modi’s critics. Sangh leaders regularly visit the VIF, while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP leader LK Advani actively engage with it. Recently, Bhagwat was at the VIF to release former diplomat OP Gupta’s book Defining Hindutva. Since the VIF emerged out of the Vivekananda Kendra, critics believe it would be a mistake to consider the VIF separate from the RSS.

“VIF is an RSS project,” says a critic. “The first thing you notice when you enter the building is a photograph of Eknath Ranade. VIF is filled with right-wing officials. As they were marginalised intellectually, they created their own think-tank. It is a desperate attempt to get acknowledged in the intellectual world. If it is not so, then why does the RSS chief keep visiting the VIF?” …

As VIF basks in the newfound limelight, foreign dignitaries are making a beeline to the think-tank. … As more and more VIF members join the Narendra Modi sarkar, it is a no-brainer that the think-tank will play a key role in formulating the country’s foreign, economic and security policies.

http://www.tehelka.com/vivekananda-international-foundation-the-brains-behind-modi-sarkar/

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Gadkari Bugging Scandal: Is “Saheb” Listening? – By Shehzad Poonawalla (Jul 29, 2014, Countercurrents)

There is certainly more than what meets the eye in the “bugging controversy” that has hit the Narendra Modi government recently. Broken first on Newsx and its sister publication The Sunday Guardian (co-incidentally a paper launched by BJP leader and former veteran journalist MJ Akbar where he continues to be involved) news reports claimed that senior minister Nitin Gadkari’s official residence in Delhi at 13 Teen Murti Lane was planted with high-powered listening devices, obviously in an attempt to eve’s drop on conversations that the heavyweight minister was having. While details remain sketchy, it has further emerged that a total of six devices were recovered, including one from the minister’s bedroom, in the de-bugging exercise that was done sometime ago.

While the Bharatiya Janta Party and the government remains tight-lipped on the issue, Nitin Gadkari’s denial of the reports being ‘highly speculative’ was hardly convincing leave alone categorical. The fact that the de-bugging exercise was reportedly carried out by a private firm and not the national intelligence agencies itself is quite a revealing statement on its own! Surely, the competence of agencies like the Intelligence Bureau in carrying out de-bugging exercises and their locus standi in ensuring that ministers of the central government aren’t subjected to such scandals that potentially compromise national security and national interest, cannot be understated!

Now informed, educated analysis seems to indicate that the devices used were of a foreign origin. Whether this element of ‘foreign intervention’ was restricted to providing technology and expertise or whether it was a full-fledged spying operation, sponsored by a foreign government to achieve their own objectives, remains to be answered. Just recently, disclosures by Edward Snowden revealed that the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) had BJP on its spy-radar!…

Indeed, it is necessary that the Modi led government come clean on this entire issue. At the very least this could well be an assault on the sovereignty of India which a party that claims to have such high ‘nationalistic’ zeal can ill afford to be silent on. On the other hand, this could well be India’s ‘Watergate Scandal’ with a slight twist – where a Nixon equivalent, who is the executive head of what is India’s variant of the Republican party- the BJP was perhaps using illegal means to stifle political competition in his own ranks, in an attempt to vest absolute control in himself.

Not to imply, even for a moment that leaders of the opposition should take his benefaction for granted for too long! Only an independent enquiry, one that BJP seems to be avoiding like the plague at the moment, can reveal the timing, the antagonists and their motives behind , what is potentially, India’s biggest spy scandal! Till then, all we can hope for, is that ‘Saheb’ isn’t listening!

http://www.countercurrents.org/poonawalla290714.htm

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Ignorance, hypocrisy or biasness on Fatwas and ‘Shariat Court’? – By M Reyaz (Jul 8, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Figure this out, in a long pending petition, since 2005, the petitioner Vishwa Lochan Madan pleads in the Apex Court that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is striving to establish a ‘parallel judicial system in India,’ that makes it extremely difficult for Muslim women to get justice, he claims that Camps are being organised to train Qazis and Naib Qazis to administer justice according to Shariat; Dar-ul-Qazas, spread all over the country are functioning as parallel judicial system aimed to administer justice to Muslims in accordance with Shariat; and sought declaration that the Dar-ul-Qazas (Muslim Courts) and Shariat Court in India are “absolutely illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional”; and further that pronouncing fatwas has no place in Indian Constitution and hence, these should be banned and effective steps should be taken to disband these Dar-ul-Qazas and to direct the Muslim bodies to restrain from meddling in personal issues of individuals.

The two judge bench of Chandramauli Kr. Prasad and Pinaki Chandra Ghose ‘dispose off’ the petition “without any order,” and even noted, “The grievance of the petitioner that Dar-ul-Qazas and Nizam-e-Qaza are running a parallel judicial system is misconceived.” …

Increasingly it has been felt that they need training not only in Islamic jurisprudence, but also about modern day life, culture, society, politics etc, besides of course refresher course on handling of media. The countrywide establishment of Dar-ul-Qazas and training Qazis and Naib Qazis are thus a step in right direction, although as TCN had reported earlier , much needs to be done.

What is the need of the hour is much needed debate on codification of Muslim personal laws, the reference point for which should be progressive laws in other Muslim countries, and not some conservative and regressive system of governance. The codification of Muslim personal laws should not only take on board all the stake holders, but see to it that the concerns of women are particularly taken care of through constant consultations. It should also be mindful of secular traditions of the Indian Constitution.

In most Muslim countries and in erstwhile era of Muslim rule in India, the office of Qazis ‘Darul Qaza’ is institutionalized. It should be seen that fatwas are issued only by designated bodies and others should be discouraged to express their opinions publicly, or it should be well publicized that their opinions hold no value. As there are different schools and sects, a proper mechanism should be put in place by brining consensus.

http://twocircles.net/2014jul08/ignorance_hypocrisy_or_biasness_fatwas_and_%E2%80%98shariat_court%E2%80%99.html

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Shadow Lines – By Neha Dixit (Jul 25, 2014, Outlook)

“Why were we raped if a boy eve-teased a girl? Did the whole nation go about raping the women of the community of Nirbhaya’s rapists to avenge what was done to her?” She is someone I’ll call S, not because she does not want the world to know her name, but because her identity has to be protected, for the consequences it might possibly have. S is one of the ‘Muzaffarnagar rape victims’, of the seven whose ordeal is the collective shame and guilt of our entire country.

Around the end of August 2013, word was that a Muslim boy in Kawal village had eve-teased a Jat girl, though the incident remains uncorroborated till date. Her brother and cousin, in an attempt to safeguard their sister’s ‘honour’, apparently killed him and were in turn allegedly lynched by an irate Muslim mob on the spot.

The men of both communities swore revenge. A congregation of Muslims did so after Friday prayers in Muzaffar¬nagar town; thousands of Hindu farmers gathered in Nanglamandor village some 15 to 20 km away on September 7, 2013, to ensure the avowed objective of ‘beti bachao, bahu banao (save your daughters, make theirs (Muslims’) your daughters-in-law’. Several khap panchayats in the vicinity issued this call, with help from local BJP leaders, including MLA Suresh Rana, the recen¬tly-elected Hukum Singh, besides Sangeet Som and Sadhvi Prachi. The panchayat also declared a war against ‘love jehad’, perceived by the Hindu right-wing as an organised attempt by Muslims to “make Hindu girls fall in love with Muslim boys and marry them”. …

What is refusing to be stifled, however, is the voice of courage these seven women have displayed, whose bitterness, rage and agony are tempered by the stronger determination to bring the perpetrators to book, and move on. Read these voices also as a challenge to the selective outrage of a nation that bleeds for a while when one Nirbhaya is raped but chooses not to say a word when countless other Nirbhayas are subjected to such ignominy in their daily lives.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Shadow-Lines/291494

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 14th, 2014

by newsdigest on July 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

UK fights for Britons killed in Gujarat riots (Jul 12, 2014, Times of India)

Britain has asked India to speed up action against the killers of three Britons murdered during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat. Foreign secretary William Hague made the request while raising British concerns about the delay in justice for the three during his recently-concluded India visit.

“The Foreign Secretary raised this case during his call on Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, the appropriate person to raise consular issues with,” said a foreign office spokesperson. “The foreign secretary raised our concern about the delays in taking forward these cases and undertook to follow up with more detail in writing. Mrs Swaraj took note of our concerns.”

British brothers Saeed and Shakil Dawood were killed along with their friend, Mohammed Aswat. They were among over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed in the riots. The three men of Gujarati origin were visiting the state as tourists when they were killed. The remains of the three are yet to be returned even after 12 years. Six men were initially charged with the murders. But they were released on bail and a number of key witnesses turned hostile.…

The mob circled the jeep and asked the occupants their religious identity. “The tourists answered they were British citizens and were Muslims. The hired driver was then dragged out of the jeep and attacked with sticks and killed on the spot,” the statement said. “His body was then thrown back into the vehicle and set alight. In the meantime, the British tourists were chased to a nearby farm. Mohammed Aswat and Imran were stabbed and left to dead. Imran miraculously survived and he recalls Saeed and Shakil pleading with the mob to spare all their lives.”

The family said it has endured this terrible tragedy and their grief is compounded by the lack of serious Indian police investigation. “The family has had to visit the crime scene themselves, find vital clues and collate forensic evidence including the charred remains of bodies,” the statement said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38229620.cms

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Cop accused by CBI of firing at Ishrat is back at work (Jul 12, 2014, Indian Express)

Weeks after Gujarat reinstated IPS officer G L Singhal, one of the key accused in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, another accused policeman is back at work. The suspension of constable Anaju Chaudhary, accused by the CBI of firing 10 rounds from a sten gun at Ishrat and three others, was revoked on July 2 by the state government. He has been posted to the State Reserve Police (SRP) camp in Godhra.

Chaudhary is the third accused to be reinstated. Inspector Bharat A Patel, who was arrested but never chargesheeted, was the first to return to work. He is currently posted at Prantij police station in Sabarkantha district. On May 27, the government revoked the suspension of Singhal. The order reinstating him as commandant of the SRP in Gandhinagar was with retrospective effect from May 16.

Nineteen-year-old Mumbai girl Ishrat, her friend Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by Gujarat police officers near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The officers claimed they were gunned down in an encounter, that they were Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives on a mission to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi. But the CBI said their investigation found nothing to suggest that the four had come to assassinate Modi. Two earlier probes – by a magistrate and a special investigation team constituted on the orders of the Gujarat High Court – had declared the encounter as fake.

The magistrate had said the officers killed the four to get promotions and laurels.In February this year, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case – the two chargesheets have been filed against 11 accused. On May 7, the agency gave a clean chit to Gujarat’s former home minister Amit Shah, citing insufficient evidence.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat/cop-accused-by-cbi-of-firing-at-ishrat-is-back-at-work/

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Why give a top post to murder accused: Congress (Jul 10, 2014, Times of India)

Congress slammed BJP over appointment of Amit Shah as party chief, asking whether the saffron party had “limited talent” that forced it to go in for an accused in a murder charge for the top post. “The nation is obviously mystified as to how no other better talent is available in BJP except a murder accused on bail and formally externed for two years from one part of India,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.

The party termed the appointment as unprecedented, saying Shah is an accused in a murder charge, and is on bail. Describing Shah’s appointment as BJP chief as a “sad day for democracy”, AAP said BJP had lowered the minimum moral qualification for the post.

“By appointing Mr Shah as its chief, the BJP has lowered the minimum moral qualification required for leaders to head major political parties in the country. It is difficult to recall any other example in which a leader who faced serious criminal charges including murder, extortion and kidnapping was anointed as chief of a national political party,” a statement by the party said.

AAP said Shah is currently out on bail and is facing serious charges of having masterminded the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausarbi and an eyewitness in the case Tulsiram Prajapati.

“In his first major speech in Parliament as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had stressed on deciding cases of MPs facing criminal charges within a year to free this important institution of democracy from criminals. Now, by appointing an individual who is facing trial in cases of murder, conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, destruction of evidence and wrongful confinement as party president – are Mr Modi and BJP indicating that office-bearers of political parties enjoy immunity from criminalization of politics,” AAP said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38097893.cms

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Home Ministry has destroyed over 1.5 lakh files: CPM (Jul 9, 2014, IBN)

Citing media reports, a CPI-M member on Wednesday claimed in Rajya Sabha that the Home Ministry had destroyed over 1.5 lakh crucial files on the instruction of the Prime Minister, triggering uproar and adjournment of the House. Raising the matter during the Zero Hour, P Rajeeve said that the destroyed files included some historical documents relating to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and the Cabinet discussions held immediately thereafter.

He alleged that instructions to destroy the files were given by the Prime Minister immediately after taking oath, even as the claims were dismissed by the government. “I would like to know why this decision was taken in a hurry,” Rajeeve said, with several members from the opposition benches associating themselves with his concern.

“You cannot scrap history by destroying secret files,” Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the charges, saying, “I deny it emphatically that the Prime Minister had given such instructions.” Alleging that such an attempt was intended at destroying records about the alleged involvement of some Hindu elements in Gandhi’s assassination, Rajeeve demanded a reply from the Prime Minister. He was supported by Congress and TMC members.

While the Chair ruled that the matter should be put to rest after the minister’s statement, the members refused to relent and demanded a reply from the Prime Minister. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) demanded that action should be taken against the editors of newspapers who have carried the report if the allegations are proved wrong. Amid uproar, the Chair adjourned the House for an hour till 2 PM.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/home-ministry-has-destroyed-over-15-lakh-files-cpm/484814-37-64.html

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Babri demolition case: Non-bailable warrants against 2 BJP MPs (Jul 14, 2014, Times of India)

A CBI special court on Monday issued non-bailable warrants against six accused in the Babri demolition case. These people had been skipping court hearing since long.

The accused include two BJP MPs, Sakshi Maharaj from Unnao and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from Kaiserganj, besides Amarnath Goyal, Jai Bahadur Goyal, Ramchandra Khatri and Pawan Pandey.

Pawan Pandey was earlier in Shiv Sena but contested recent the Lok Sabha election on BSP ticket against BJP’s Varun Gandhi from Sultanpur.

The case of demolition is under trial against 22 accused including two BJP MPs in Lucknow. Another case, against 13 other accused, is underway in Rae Bareli special court.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38373028.cms

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DSP investigating Muzaffarnagar riot cases alleges Baliyan of intervention that led to his suspension (Jul 10, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police and Circle officer of Budhana Circle in Muzaffarnagar district, Shailendra Lal has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court urging direction against the impugned suspension order and to direct the state government to provide adequate security and protection to him.

DySP of Budhana in Muzaffarnagar, Shailendra Lal, and circle officer of Chandpur in Bijnore, Nirmal Kumar Bisht, were suspended with on June 10, for ‘dereliction of duty’ and laxity and lack of foresight in dealing with cases of crime against women in their respective districts on the orders of Home Secretary Vishal Chauhan.

The suspended Cop has directly accused the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Sanjeev Baliyan and Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Baliyan for “direct intervention and threat.” He alleges that he has been suspended due to intervention of Baliyan, and hence he feels a “sense threat to life and liberty at large.”

Baliyan is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riot case for attending the Mahapanchayat and giving instigating speeches.

http://twocircles.net/2014jul10/dsp_investigating_muzaffarnagar_riot_cases_alleges_intervention_baliyan_his_suspension

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Assam Villagers Protest the Murders of Muslim Lemon Traders (Jul 14, 2014, Wall Street Journal)

Tension mounted in India’s northeastern state of Assam as hundreds of villagers took to the streets to protest the killings of four Muslim traders whose bodies were found over the weekend, state police officials said. On Sunday, police officials fired rubber bullets and used batons to break up protestors who violated a curfew and beat up a police officer in Assam’s Baksa district, Vinod Seshan, a district magistrate in Baksa, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

As the army and paramilitary forces stepped up patrols in the area, the protesters retreated to their homes, officials said. “The situation is under control. A curfew is in place in some areas to ensure nothing untoward happens,” Mr. Seshan said. The army also has been “put on high alert,” he said.

The four Muslim men, identified as lemon traders, went missing Friday from a village in Baksa district where they had traveled to sell their goods, said Lajja Ram Bishnoi, a police official in Assam. The body of one man was found on the bank of the Beki river, while the three others were spotted in paddy fields, he said.

All the bodies had severe head injuries, Mr. Bishnoi said. He said no arrests have been made because it’s “not yet clear” who might have been responsible. “We have launched a massive investigation to find out the motive behind the killing and those involved in the crime,” Mr. Bishnoi said.

State police said they suspect that a faction of a separatist group, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, may have been responsible for Friday’s kidnappings. The Bodoland organization, which seeks an independent homeland for the Bodo, an ethnic group, denied responsibility.…

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/07/14/assam-villagers-protest-the-murders-of-muslim-lemon-traders/

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Congress alleges Vaidik-Saeed meeting at govt’s behest (Jul 15, 2014, Times of India)

The Congress on Monday alleged the involvement of Prime Minister’s Office in the meeting of journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik with 26/11 attack mastermind and JuD Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, asking the BJP government to “come clean” on the issue. Rejecting the government’s contention that it had nothing to do with the meeting, the opposition party said Vaidik was “very close to the Sangh Parivar” and was associated with saffron think tank Vivekanand International Foundation.…

“This is a very serious matter relating to national security. The PMO is directly involved in it,” said Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed. The Congress leader said Vaidik belonged to the same organisation (Vivekananda International Foundation) whose three members – Nripendra Misra, PK Mishra and Ajit Doval – are Principal Secretary to PM, Additional Principal Secretary in PMO and as National Security Advisor (NSA).

“Now the fourth person, Vaidik, who also worked in the Foundation, Vaidik, has met the most wanted terrorist in India, who is an accused in Mumbai terror strikes. A serious question arises. Did he go to meet Hafiz Saeed at the instruction of the Prime Minister?” Ahmed said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38399857.cms

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Minorities Commission report on Kishanbagh communal violence agitates human rights group (Jul 14, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Report of Andhra Pradesh State Minorities Commission on Kishanbagh communal violence has not gone down well with Human rights groups who felt recommendation of the commission is “like a report of a subordinate officer submitting to its higher officials.”

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) wrote a letter to its chairman Abid Rasool Khan describing Commission report as “A complete bureaucratic report lacking on Human rights concept.”

Minorities Commission chairman Mr. Abid Rasool Khan on 8th July submitted the report to Governor E.S.L. Narsimham and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on May 14th communal violence between Sikhs and Muslims in Kishanbagh where three Muslims were killed in para military firing.

Although the report has not yet been made public, according to media reports, Minorities Commission in its report recommended establishing of new police station in the communally sensitive area of Arsh Mahal as a preventive measure hinting at a possible resurrection of similar violence.…

http://twocircles.net/2014jul14/minorities_commission_report_kishanbagh_communal_violence_agitates_human_rights_group.html

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Saki Naka cops under police probe (Jul 14, 2014, Times of India)

A departmental inquiry has begun into the conduct of Saki Naka police personnel following a TOI report. A victim of sexual harassment claimed that she was being tormented by the police after she lodged an FIR. A fresh statement of the 32-year-old woman has been recorded by an assistant commissioner of police. At least four cops from the Saki Naka police station have been questioned. The state commission for women is monitoring the developments.

The woman lodged the FIR at the police station on June 19 against a former classmate, Pravin Shetty, after he sent her 21 pornographic pictures on a cellphone app. He was arrested, but got bail in three days. A constable visited the woman’s residence in her absence, and spoke ill of her to her family.

She was also summoned to the police station at odd hours. Once she was told to “forget about her cellphone”, which had been taken for examination. Also, an unidentified man began to stalk her. “After the departmental enquiry began, the stalking has stopped. But if it resumes, I might ask for police protection,” the woman told TOI.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38385985.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Attempt to rewrite India’s history is dangerous – By Sitaram Yechury (Jul 14, 2014, Hindustan Times)

This column is being filed soon after a debate in the Rajya Sabha where a suo moto statement was made by the Union home minister, concerning the destruction of historical files. Based on media reports, the issue was first raised on July 9 and on that occasion, the Union law minister, on behalf of the government, had said the following on record: “This whole allegation against the honourable prime minister is completely wrong; I deny it completely and emphatically. That is all the position of the government”.

Subsequently, the Union home minister made a statement which inter alia said: “In accordance with the instructions mentioned above (from the prime minister), the files lying in the different sections of the ministry of home affairs were reviewed and a total of 11,100 files were destroyed during the period 05.06,2014 to 08.07.2014.” This apparent contradiction is tantamount to misleading Parliament and would, surely, merit the consideration of a privilege motion.

Now, consider the facts: On June 23, the PTI filed a report informing that, “On the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union home ministry is on a cleanliness drive and, in less than a month, has destroyed nearly 1.5 lakh files …”. It further noted, “While going through the steel almirahs of North Block, officials also found some interesting files which gave an insight into some historic moments”. Among many interesting such moments was, “Another file (which had) details about the Cabinet meeting that was called before the death of Mahatma Gandhi was announced, an official said”.…

It is necessary to recollect that, on the basis of the decisions taken at that very Cabinet meeting whose records, we are now informed, have been destroyed, Vallabhbhai Patel, then home and deputy prime minister, banned the RSS following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A government communique dated February 4, 1948, drafted by Patel, announcing the ban on the RSS says, “The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself”. It is, indeed, an irony that the Union finance minister in his budget speech has allocated a sum of ’200 crore for the construction of a statue of this very same Sardar Patel.

It is this historical record of the RSS and its today’s political arm, the BJP, which is sought to be destroyed by the Modi government. This is part of the overall project of rewriting Indian history in order to negate its rich diversity of intermingling of various cultures, traditions and experiences that have defined the lands of India as the churning crucible of human civilisational advance. It is part of the overall objective to straightjacket Indian history into a monolithic record of the glorification of the ‘Hindu nation’ and ‘Hindus’ alone. Such an effort will necessarily have as its immediate corollary the danger of changing our entire education system and syllabi to dovetail the advancement of the RSS project. One among its many diabolical bugles, thus, has been sounded. It is time to defend our great country and further enrich the ‘idea of India’.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1240334.aspx

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A new low in Indian politics (and journalism) – By Rana Ayyub (Jul 11, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Late last week, a special CBI court adjourned the bail application of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter cases, accepting his excuse that he was engaged in political work in New Delhi. Shah, 49, the first serving Home minister of a state to have gone behind bars in a criminal case of murder and conspiracy had a legitimate reason to skip court hearings. He was presiding and taking part in day-long meetings in Delhi with senior RSS leaders and BJP functionaries who were all set to seal his fate as the next BJP President.

There is a significant back story to his exemption which did find its way as a small snippet in the media but needs to be brought to light as Shah, the man who waved the magic wand for BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the PM’s confidante and the number two in the government now takes over the reins of the party. Amit Shah had twice in the past sought exemption from personal appearance citing political work, but the then CBI judge JT Utpat had found his excuse inadequate for the court to grant him relief.…

As a journalist covering Gujarat extensively since 2005, as someone who exposed Shah’s role in the fake encounters in the state and who can claim to have knowledge of his political trajectory, I would not mince my words in suggesting that by appointing Amit Shah as the president of the party, the BJP has hugely disrespected the law of the land and signalled an all time low for the criminal justice system of India. For the cases against Shah are for crimes so gruesome that the cloak of political astuteness will be too short to cover it.…

http://twocircles.net/2014jul11/new_low_politics_and_journalism.html

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Debating Secularism In A Communalized Society – By Ram Puniyani (Jul 9, 2014, countercurrents)

In the aftermath of the recent elections Congress, Communist parties, Samajvadi and Lalu’s RJD, which can be called secular in some sense; bit the dust. In the review of defeat the major opposition party Congress, which has been in power for maximum number of years, one major opinion from its top leader A.K. Antony came forth to say that the secularism practiced by Congress was seen more as an appeasement of minorities (read Muslims) and so the large sections turned against it emasculating it to a mere 19% votes with 44 seats in Lok Sabha. In a free for all; different opinions on secularism, and failure of Congress are coming forth.

BJP with glee and confident assertion came to claim that it has the correct opinion of secularism, “We (BJP) have always said secularism should mean justice for all, appeasement of none, discrimination against none” Ironically this assertion, which negates the very concept of a democratic and secular society, has come to be perceived by many as ‘the secularism’. Many a commentators opined that Modi could demonstrate the hypocrisy of secularism and went on to take the cake of power. Sometimes victory can be taken as the proof of correctness!

In Indian scenario, secularism has been a much debated word, more so after Independence. At the time of Independence critics went on to say that state is not curbing religious practices in official places and called it an erosion of secularism. What we see today in most public places, the pantheon of Hindu deities adorning the Government offices and vehicles, and is passé’ was criticized by many earlier. Hindu practices like Bhumi Pujan (worshipping land) before construction of Government buildings became part of ‘normal practice’.

Sarswati Puja, Surya Namaskar in some Government outfits by now is becoming a matter of routine. When Nehru was asked by Andre Malraux about such religious practices going around, Nehru did confess that we have a secular constitution but the society is in the grip of religiosity. Today a Prime Minister-elect performing a Ganga Aarti is part of the official menu and the tables are turned on those who question such practice of secularism by state and party. …

Congress has not kept up the ideological commitment to secular values. Its workers hardly think differently on the issues related to communal propaganda. Many of its leaders come from communal stock, for many others standing upright for secular values is not important at all. There is a serious need for introspection, not only for Congress but for all those wanting to uphold the values emerging from our National movement for freedom.

http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani090714.htm

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Indian Intelligence Agencies Helping NSA to Spy on its own Citizens – By Prabir Purkayastha (Jul 13, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

The Indian media has missed the major implications of the latest Snowden disclosures. It is not simply that India is one of the countries, or that the BJP is one of the political organisations under NSA surveillance. The real question is how is the NSA carrying out this surveillance? The answer to that lies in another piece of the puzzle that is now public – India is one the 33 countries that have “3rd party” agreement that allows NSA access its telecom and internet network subject to this intelligence being shared. In other words, India is providing NSA access, while NSA decides what it will share with Indian government – or deem what is fit to be viewed by Indians. If we recall, India’s former National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon had complained earlier that the issue is not that the NSA is spying on Indians, but that they are not sharing their data. This appears to be our only complaint!

Recently, the Washington Post published a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Order dated July 16, 2010 listing all the countries including India and the six political organisations, (one of which was the BJP) that could be put under NSA surveillance. As India is one of the countries that have signed the third party agreement with the US, this enables the NSA to directly access the Indian telecommunications and Internet network. No wonder, all the officials and ministers of the UPA government downplayed the NSA surveillance on Indians. We were fully a party to our being spied upon! …

Contrast this with India. We hear a few protests, some noise is made and then, very quickly, it is business as usual. This is what the Congress-led UPA did and this is what the BJP-led current dispensation also seems to be doing. Will the Indian parliament start an enquiry on the NSA spying in the same way as the German parliament is doing? Will the government take steps against Verizon, AT&T and Vodafone, identified by the home ministry as partners in NSA-GCHQ (the UK equivalent of the NSA) spying? Will it cancel the third party agreement that Indian agencies have with the NSA? Without any such measures, the Indian citizens are not only being spied upon by the US and UK agencies, to add insult to injury, with the help of the Indian intelligence agencies.

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2014/0713_pd/indian-intelligence-agencies-helping-nsa-spy-its-own-citizens

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Scuttling Inconvenient Judicial Appointments – By Prashant Bhushan (Jul 12, 2014, EPW)

Every trick in the trade will be used to manage the judiciary. That is the signal that one gets from the manner in which Gopal Subramanium’s appointment was scuttled by the Narendra Modi government. Consider the facts: four names including those of Gopal Subramanium (along with another former solicitor general, Rohinton Nariman, and two high court chief justices, Adarsh Goel and Arun Mishra) had been unanimously recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court in early May by the five-member collegium headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha.

Subramanium had been a solicitor general in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government who had resigned because of his differences with the government in the handling of the 2G case. Subramanium had represented many important institutions in the country, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in many cases and had acquitted himself with great distinction. He had also been appointed as amicus curiae by the Court in many cases in which he had invested considerable amounts of time with great dedication. One of such cases was the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case,1 which also came to involve the fake encounters of his wife Kauser Bi, as well as Tulsiram Prajapati, the unfortunate witness to these encounters who was done away with.

The CBI charged Modi’s right-hand man, Amit Shah, along with a number of Gujarat police officers for that encounter. Shah stayed in jail for several months in that case. When the Supreme Court eventually granted him bail, Subramanium persuaded the Court to order that he would not be allowed to be in Gujarat. It was Subramanium’s role in this case which must have made him persona non grata with Modi and his men. …

There is little doubt that the National Democratic Alliance government will try to revive the idea or make a similar proposal soon. It is as unlikely to cede the power of judicial appointments to the judiciary alone and is not likely to support a full-time independent body for such appointments. Till that happens, however, the BJP is likely to continue using the technique of just sitting on inconvenient recommendations sent by the collegium while using its dirty tricks department and hatchet agencies like the IB to defame the nominee and force him to withdraw. There is also little doubt that the BJP, like the Congress, also wants a “committed” judiciary.

http://www.epw.in/commentary/scuttling-inconvenient-judicial-appointments.html

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Fighting Sexual Violence In A Country Whose Police Doesn’t Respond To Distress Calls – By Samar (Jun 27, 2014, Countercurrents)

The calls were not getting answered, not a single one of them. The friend was recounting the tale of a female friend held hostage by some people in her own house with horror. I was calling the Senior Superintendent of Police and other officers, district administration, the local police station. Every passing minute was sending shivers down my spine, he continued.

Worst was the response of the police station where full rings went with nobody answering them. What for these police stations are if they cannot respond to such emergencies? The story, in short, was eerily similar to countless other stories of bodies of women being turned into the site of ‘honour’ and battles for the same. …

They had also confiscated her phones for stopping her from seeking any help. She was asked to tell where the couple was and threatened with rape and getting paraded naked if she did not. She, in fact, did not know. Yet, she asked for her phone on the excuse that a friend might know the couple’s location and she will ask her. That is how the friend I was talking to came to know about the incident. She, in turn, tried to contact every possible person who could help starting with the local police.

As I said before, the police did not answer the calls even once leaving her flummoxed. Then she started contacting her friends in media and women’s movement who could, finally, reach the police and make them act. The hostage situation was broken next morning after hours long ordeal for the woman. Thankfully, she was rescued before getting violated despite being kept in illegal confinement. That too, it broke because the woman was well connected and her friend could reach people in positions of helping. What would happen to an ordinary woman with no such contacts is anybody’s guess. …

Introducing newer, harsher laws is not going to curb sexual violence in India. Only thing that can is radical restructuring of the criminal justice system by making it responsive and responsible. Having dedicated teams to respond to emergencies might be a beginning but until and unless impartial investigations ending in speedy convictions become the norm, nothing will change on the ground. Till then, we can make do police stations which do not respond to distress calls.

http://www.countercurrents.org/samar270614.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 19th, 2014

May 20, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Mukul Sinha’s demise a loss for justice and accountability say Indian Americans News Headlines Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat police, orders release of Akshardham convicts ‘Modi’s remarks fuelled violence in Assam’ Bail plea of three riot accused rejected MBT demands registration of murder cases against police for firing [...]

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Mukul Sinha’s demise a loss for justice and accountability say Indian Americans

May 14, 2014

Renowned activist will always be remembered for his tireless struggle to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms and fake encounter killings. May 14, 2014 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed grief and a profound sense of loss over the [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 27th, 2014

January 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony National communal harmony award for CSSS News Headlines 2002 Gujarat riots: Zakia Jafri to move HC against clean chit to Modi CBI may soon file charges against IB officers in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case Samjhauta blasts: Aseemanand, three others charged with sedition, murder ATS chief [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 30th, 2013

December 31, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Lower court goes along with dirty SIT’s clean chit to Modi News Headlines Criminal Charges against Modi and 59 others ‘Shaken to the core’ but Modi does not offer apology Gujarat riots: Nanavati Commission gets 21 extension till June 30 to submit report Snoopgate went on even [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 18th, 2013

November 19, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony The unsung heroes of Muzaffarnagar – an untold story News Headlines Gujarat riots return to haunt Modi as US writers brand him ‘the poster child of India’s failure to punish the violent’ US Republicans deny they invited Modi to address party Congressional leaders Snooping charges leveled [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 7th, 2013

October 8, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Youth in UP bridging harmony News Headlines Modi vs CBI: Is the saffron fold jittery about law catching up their own ‘the one’ leader? Mystery of Modi’s silence: Some of his key associates may get disqualified People who razed Babri mosque talking about toilets: Azam Khan [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 30th, 2013

October 2, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Post Riots, Samajwadi Party committee to strengthen communal harmony in Muzaffarnagar News Headlines Criminal Charges Which Narendra Modi Faces Caught on tape: Praful Patel admits influencing Ishrat probe, CBI likely to grill Narendra Modi for inspiring, guiding and monitoring every police action CBI grills BJP Rajya [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 23rd, 2013

September 24, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘No anguish on Modi’s face when he talks about riots’ I wouldn’t want to live in India if Modi becomes PM, author Ananthamurthy says Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: CBI quizzes principal secretary to Modi, top cop BJP MLA Suresh Rana arrested for role in Muzaffarnagar [...]

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