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Gujarat riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 20th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre of Muslims (Jun 17, 2016, The Telegraph)

An Indian court jailed 11 Hindu attackers for life on Friday for murdering dozens of Muslims in one of the most notorious massacres of the 2002 Gujarat riots that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. The court sentenced 12 others to seven years in jail over the killing of 69 Muslims, while another was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors told local television channels after the sentencing.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of the Gulbarg housing society in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped. Several victims were children and women who were burned to death. The massacre was one of a series of riots that flared for two months in western Gujarat, killing more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

The riots dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence. Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. An Indian court this month convicted 24 Hindus for their role in the massacre at the Gulbarg housing society while acquitting 36. The trial began in 2009. Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress party legislator, Ehsan, died in the blaze, said Friday’s sentences were insufficient.…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/17/indian-court-jails-11-for-life-over-gujarat-massacre-of-muslims/

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Gulberg verdict: SIT to approach High Court on ‘lenient’ sentencing (Jun 17, 2016, Economic Times)

Special Investigation Team (SIT) counsel in the 2002 Gulberg massacre case, R C Kodekar today expressed dissatisfaction about court’s verdict in the case and announced to approach the High Court, as he felt the sentence was too “lenient”.

Kodekar was upset especially after the court’s refusal to add “till death” clause in the life sentence awarded to 11 convicts in the case. “Today’s verdict is not that satisfactory. We feel the sentence is lenient and inadequate. During arguments, we had appealed to the court that life imprisonment till death should given to all. We are not convinced with the penalty awarded,” said Kodekar. “12 convicts were given only seven years, which is very lenient too. It should be either ten years of life imprisonment,” he said. “We will appeal in the High Court,” said Kodekar.…

The Gulberg Society massacre, which took place here on February 28, 2002 when Narendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, shook the nation when a mob of 400 people set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad and killed the 69 residents including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. It was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52796052.cms

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Ishrat Jahan missing papers: ‘Mere ko ye poochna hai ki aapne ye paper dekha? Aapko kehna hai ki maine ye paper nahi dekha – seedhi si baat hai’ (Jun 17, 2016, Indian Express)

B K Prasad, the Union Home Ministry official who headed the probe into the “missing documents” in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, not only told a witness the questions he would ask but also suggested to him what answers he should give — that he had not seen any of the documents. This coaching of a witness by the man heading the investigation puts a question mark on the integrity of the probe announced in Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 10.…

Prasad then told the officer: “Aapko kehna hai ki ‘Maine ye paper nahi dekha.’ Seedhi si baat hai (You have to say, ‘I have not seen that paper.’ It’s as simple as that).” Prasad told Kumar that the consequences of giving a different reply would be that doubts would be raised about the officer having played a role in the disappearance of the papers.

“Aapko itna toh kehna hoga ki ya toh woh file hi maine kabhi zindagi mein deal nahi kiya, kabhi file ko dekhne ka kabhi mauka hi nahi mila (You will have to, at least, say that either you have never dealt with that file in your life, or have never had a chance to see it)… I don’t think you have seen that file at any point… Bas, that is what I want from you: ‘I have not seen that file at all’,” Prasad told the officer. Prasad also told the officer: “And another question will be, ‘Did anybody give you these documents to be kept separately with you?’ Aap bologe, ‘Nahi, mere ko kisi ne nahi diya.’ (You will say, ‘No, nobody gave them to me’).”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ishrat-jahan-fake-encounter-case-inquiry-ashok-kumar-2855542/

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Amnesty slams govt decision on Teesta-led NGO (Jun 19, 2016, Deccan Herald)

Amnesty International India on Saturday said the government decision to cancel Teesta Setalvad’s NGO’s licence was due to her work in seeking justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. The Centre on Thursday cancelled NGO Sabrang Trust’s licence on violation of various FCRA rules, which means it will not be able to collect foreign funds.

Seeking revocation of the decision against Teesta Setalvad-led NGO, Amnesty said it was “not a coincidence” that the most prominent use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, has been against NGOs “who seek to hold the government accountable” for its actions.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) appears to be persecuting Sabrang for its founders’ work in seeking justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots’ victims,” Amnesty executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement. “This pattern of using the FCRA as a pretext to go after NGOs that don’t toe the government line needs to stop. The government must end its NGO witch-hunt,” Patel said. Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand were among those who had helped a section of victims fight the then Gujarat government then led by Narendra Modi.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/553112/amnesty-slams-govt-decision-teesta.html

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Malegaon blast: Victims object to Pragya’s bail plea (Jun 17, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The court set up to hear the 2008 Malegaon blast case on Friday allowed an application by the victims, objecting to Pragya Singh’s bail application. Advocate Sharif Shaikh, representing the victims also questioned the probe of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On May 13, the NIA had submitted a supplementary chargesheet giving a clean chit to six accused, including Pragya, and also recommended that all the charges against them be dropped.

The central agency said the shoddy probe by Maharashtra authorities forced the U-turn. It added that the provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) were not applicable to the case. After getting a clean chit from the NIA, Pragya had applied for bail. Her advocate J P Mishra had on May 30 filed a bail application on the ground that the NIA had not pressed charges against her owing to a lack of evidence, and because of her deteriorating health.

The defense pleaded that she had no knowledge of how her motorbike was used in the blast and said she had never given her consent for this. He said that the bike had been sold long before the incident. Meanwhile, 64-year old businessman Nisar Bilal had on June 8 moved an application before the special court seeking to include the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) as a party to the case and to hear the agency that had booked Pragya in the blast case.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/malegaon-blast-victims-object-to-pragya-s-bail-plea/story-lGOer0pcET88YepKFdCkEM.html

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Sangeet Som’s yatra: SP corners PM Modi, rakes up Gujarat riots (Jun 17, 2016, Times of India)

Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav on Friday attempted to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MLA Sangeet Som’s “Paidal Nirbhay Yatra” across Uttar Pradesh to assure safety to the Hindu families from Kairana village of Shamli district and said that the duo must worry about bringing back the people, who fled during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“Many people migrated after the Gujarat riots. Sangeet Som and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first worry about them. Prime Minister Modi must first bring back the people, who fled during the Gujarat riots,” Yadav told a press conference here. He claimed the Uttar Pradesh Government has intelligence reports which suggest that there was no exodus from Kairana.

“The people have left the place in search for jobs. We will not let the BJP vitiate the atmosphere here. We have intelligence reports to prove that there was no exodus in Kairana,” he added. Yadavb further said the BJP MLA was attempting to vitiate the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh, adding strict action would be initiated against such elements.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52794695.cms

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Seers visit Kairana, slam BJP’s ‘politics of hate’ (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

A team of Hindu seers on Sunday visited Kairana to probe allegations by BJP MP Hukum Singh that 346 Hindu families had fled the small town due to persecution. Swami Chakrapani, one of the five seers who visited Kairana, slammed BJP for playing the “communal card”.

Swami Chakrapani, president of Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha, told TOI that Hindus and Muslims alike had been worried about rising crime there. Samajwadi Party member and UP cabinet minister Shiv pal Yadav on Friday had suggested that a team of “apolitical” Hindu seers ascertain the facts on the ground.

The team of seers also included Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha’s Haryana president Swami Kalyan, president of Sant Samiti Devendranand Saraswati, founder of Shri Kalki Foundation Pramod Krishnam and Swami Chinmayanand of the Sant Mahasabha.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52825810.cms

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Latest gem from BJP leader: Saffronisation and sanghwad are inevitable, says Union Minister Katheria (Jun 19, 2016, First Post)

At a time when the Narendra Modi-led central government has come under immense criticism over Raghuram Rajan’s announcement in his farewell letter that he will not be renewing his term after September, this BJP leader is not making matters any easier for the party.

In a classic foot-in-mouth situation, Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria on Saturday said that ‘bhagwakaran’ (saffronisation) of education will definitely take place in India. Speaking at an event, Katheria, who is Minister of State in the HRD ministry, went on to say that saffronisation and ‘sanghwad’ will be good for the country and is inevitable.

“Reporters told us that some people are saying that our government is saffronising education in the country. I am saying this today: Saffronisation will definitely take place in education and in the country,” said Katheria.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/saffronisation-and-sanghwad-are-inevitable-says-union-minister-rs-katheria-2843654.html

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Smriti Irani Heckled and Boo-ed in Bhagalpur Bihar: Rohith Vemula Haunts the Modi Regime (Jun 18, 2016, Sabrang India)

When Smriti Irani visited Bhagalpur town in Bihar, people protested against her visit and shouted slogans of ‘Amar Rahe, Rohith Vemula’. This happened on June 16, 2016 it is reported.

Protesters in Bhagalpur said Smriti Irani is as responsible as the other five culprits booked for Rohith’s death because she misused her position of responsibility and exerted pressure on University administration to persecute the five Dalit research scholars. Smriti Irani acted upon the letter given to her by the BJP Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya in which he labelled University of Hyderabad as “a den of casteists, extremists and anti-nationals”.

Smriti Irani should be sacked from the MHRD minister’s post immediately and all the five culprits must be arrested immediately, the protesters demanded. The students movement across the country has been calling the minister ‘Manusmriti Irani’ since the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula.

https://www.sabrangindia.in/ann/smriti-irani-heckled-and-boo-ed-bhagalpur-bihar-rohith-vemula-haunts-modi-regime

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Police officer suspended for third degree interrogation of girl in Jharkhand (Jun 18, 2016, Businesss Standard)

In a case of alleged police brutality, a Class 10 girl student fell unconscious and had to be hospitalised after she was interrogated for more than 10 hours at a police station in Jharkhand’s Latehar district. The girl remained unconscious for more than 70 hours after the questioning by police on June 14 at Manika Police Station in Latehar.

According to doctors treating the girl, she may take some more days to recover. “She may take two to four days to recover,” said Umesh Kumar, a doctor treating the girl in RIMS.

Latehar Superintendent of Police Anup Birthare has suspended Sub-Inspector Ram Pravesh Sharma posted at Manika Police Station after he was found guilty of questioning the girl for more than 10 hours inside the police station without the presence of a woman police constable or even her parents.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/police-officer-suspended-for-third-degree-interrogation-of-girl-in-jharkhand-116061800348_1.html

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Opinions and Editorials

US-Modi Bonhomie – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Jun 15, 2016, Countercurrents)

There has been a steady increase in Indo-US bonhomie ever since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India. During his two years in chair, he has taken long strides than his predecessors in reducing the distance and increasing convergence in the strategic perspectives of the two supposedly democracies. During his latest visit to US, Modi has received a thunderous applause to his forty five minute speech to the joint session of US congress during which he is reported to have received extraordinary number of clappings & standing ovations.

The rousing reception begs a very important question. Has the US, which positions itself as a champion of human rights around the world, forgotten or forgiven Modi for his complicit role in killing minority Muslims thus committing grave crimes against humanity during Gujarat riots 2002. The question is important because in its answer lies the future survival of democracy as a best model which respects human rights.…

Modi’s Complicity in Gujarat riots is well researched & adequately documented. The latest addition to the existing implicative material on the subject is Rana Ayub’s book ‘Gujrat files- Anatomy of a cover-up’. Prior to that Manoj Mitta’s book ‘The fiction of fact finding’ & Sreekumar’s Book ‘Gujrat behind the Curtain’ have provided ample evidence of Modi’s involvement through his acts of omission & commission. Not to speak of Teesta Setalvad’s material compiled after untiring efforts and Tehlka’s sting operations conducted in 2007.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar150616.htm

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As election season approaches in UP, BJP moves in to communalise everything it can – By Shoaib Daniyal (Jun 20, 2016, Scroll.in)

On Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Shakar Katheria said that it was inevitable that saffronisation will proceed, both in the education sector as well as of India as a whole – and that this is a fine thing. Katheria is no ordinary leader. He is a minister in the Narendra Modi government. His words, like the exculpation of the Dadri beef murder by Union minister Mahesh Sharma, carry some significance. Clearly, this sort of statement is a prelude to the keenly contested 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

And this isn’t the only indication of the party’s strategy for the state. The BJP is continuing to attempt to make the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana a point of contention. The controversy was sparked last fortnight when a party MP produced a list of people who had purportedly been forced out of the town by Muslim criminals. Pro-government media such as Zee News went to town with these claims, comparing the situation to Kashmir in the 1990s. The only problem? There was no exodus.…

Uttar Pradesh is the country’s largest state, home to one out of six Indians. It is also desperately poor. Even Bihar, the poster boy of India’s poverty for much of the recent past, seems to have turned the corner. In such an environment, it seems naked communalisation is the only way to do politics in the state. It was true when the BJP was rising on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid in the late 1980s. Today, three decades later, even with a BJP government in Delhi, it still seems to hold true.

http://scroll.in/article/810261/the-daily-fix-as-election-season-approaches-in-up-bjp-moves-in-to-communalise-everything-it-can

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Gulberg Judgment: It’s doubtful that punishments handed out match up to the magnitude of the crime – Editorial (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

…While the court found 24 out of the 60 accused guilty in the horrific rampage that tortured and murdered 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, it said that the accused deserved “a second chance to reform and rehabilitate”. Indian authorities are often not sufficiently tough on supposedly ‘spontaneous’ communal riots, which is one reason why they recur. It’s difficult to say this judgment has broken with that tradition of leniency.

In contrast to the strong words expressed in the Naroda Patia verdict, criminal conspiracy has been ruled out in the Gulberg case, as though it was a spontaneous eruption of anger after the Godhra killings. The judgment has also held that Jafri’s firing of a gun was what triggered the mob’s violent frenzy, thus denying him the right to self-defence.…

This paper has reported eyewitness accounts of how Jafri was stripped, his fingers and limbs methodically chopped off, before he was thrown into a fire. Even if Jafri fired in self-defence when faced with an armed mob, it strains credulity that one man’s gun provoked violence on this scale. The Gujarat carnage of 2002 has resulted in 140 convictions, but the process has been tortuous and opaque. The lower judiciary, police and administrators were complicit in tampering with evidence, destroying trails and forcing witnesses to turn hostile. This judgment is unlikely to bring a sense of closure to victims of the Gulberg massacre.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/gulberg-judgment-its-doubtful-that-punishments-handed-out-match-up-to-the-magnitude-of-the-crime/

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Sacking Raghuram Rajan: It is intolerance again – By Anil Sharma (Jun 20, 2016, Free Press Journal)

As the RBI governor Raghuram Rajan conveyed to the central bank’s employees in a letter that was placed on the bank’s website for wider circulation: “… I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term as Governor ends on September 4, 2016”, he was in effect announcing his dismissal by the Modi Sarkar. To interpret this as anything else is to rob the BJP’s battering ram Subramanian Swamy of his rightful claim to brag that he has had the RBI governor, a mere government employee, dismissed. For Swamy it was a command performance executed at the behest of his boss the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Lest anyone has any doubts on this count as well, Swamy provided the clinching evidence by acknowledging on twitter that “…. my admiration for Namo has gone up hugely: media, industrialists, and international bureaucrats piled on him for R3 but he did not bend.” For the uninitiated ones R3 is swamyspeak for Raghuram Rajan. The reference “did not bend” prompts a query as to when the decision to sack Rajan was taken? Before Swamy got into the act or after?…

It was not difficult to visualise the strong disapproval of such a person. This was the intolerance of another variety. It is something that places conformism over merit. It is neither difficult to see the logic. “We can find brilliant men dime a dozen, but they have to be conformists,” is the way it runs. Lest, we may forget one such classmate of the ‘sacked governor’ happens to be Jayant Sinha, the minister of state for finance.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/editorspick/sacking-rajan-it-is-intolerance-again-anil-sharma/874440

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BJP’s Doublespeak on Terror – By Gurpreet Singh (Jun 21, 2016, Sabrang India)

…The Hindu ‘nationalist’ (read supremacist) Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which is currently in power was in the opposition at that time. The so called secular Congress government too tried to play down the involvement of Hindu extremists initially as it wanted to isolate Pakistan internationally for sponsoring terrorism. The truth however cannot and could not be buried. As the complicity of the Hindu extremists became apparent, the BJP reacted sharply and accused the Congress government of defaming the Hindu community.…

Notably, the BJP government is known for its tough anti terror stance, but this is weakened or stands exposed when it comes to dealing with the terrorists from within their lot. It is pertinent to mention that the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen in the company of one of the Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand in Gujarat where he was previously the Chief Minister.

Aseemanand is an ascetic who ran a camp in Gujarat that worked aggressively to covert Christians into Hinduism. It was during Modi’s tenure as chief minister that an anti Muslim massacre took place in 2002. Modi had also publicly opposed the arrests of Hindu extremists in connection with terrorism.…

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/bjp%E2%80%99s-doublespeak-terror

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Ishrat Jahan: After the Fake Encounter, a ‘Phoney’ Probe – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jun 16, 2016, The Wire)

If there is one case that exposes the fragility of Indian democracy in recent times, it is the killing of Ishrat Jahan in 2004.… Human rights activists have decried her killing as a fake encounter; the Congress’s flip-flop – initially calling her a terrorist and then a victim of a fake encounter – has triggered suspicion over its intentions. The BJP, quite naturally, has been the only party to support the Gujarat government’s action, given the fact that party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at the time of Ishrat’s killing, have directly or indirectly been implicated in the case since the probe began.

At no point of time has the probe functioned in a transparent manner. Depending on their political agenda, officials and politicians have leaked selective information about the case to establish their views, leading to highly polarised and uninformed opinions on the matter. This opacity showed of yet again when a senior home ministry official, B.K. Prasad, who headed an official probe into the case documents that have gone missing, was captured on tape by an Indian Express reporter trying to doctor his own investigation. Prasad retired from service after his probe began but has been given an extension.…

Even 12 years after Ishrat’s killing, the case is still in limbo, despite an SIT probe and a magistrate’s report implicating the Gujarat police. As long as they are not found, the ‘missing documents’ will allow the BJP to turn what is a straightforward case of custodial murder into a political football that can be kicked around to discredit the Congress and divert attention away from the original crime. The question the BJP will have to answer is why it had to manipulate the probe into the missing papers if it was certain the Congress’s second affidavit was false and politically motivated.…

http://thewire.in/43322/ishrat-jahan-after-the-fake-encounter-a-phoney-probe/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 6th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Narendra Modi’s US visa secure despite Gujarat riots guilty verdicts (Jun 2, 2016, The Guardian)

In 2005, Narendra Modi, leader of India’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and then chief minister of Gujarat, applied for a US visa. His request was turned down. Modi, notorious for his failure to halt Hindu riots in 2002 that killed about 1,000 Muslims and destroyed livelihoods and homes in Gujarat, was not welcome.

How times change. Next week, Modi – now India’s prime minister – will be feted at the White House by Barack Obama during a two-day official visit to Washington. He has also been invited to address a joint session of Congress, a sign of high favour, and will meet business leaders and CEOs.

Modi has never apologised nor expressed remorse for the Gujarat killings, nor did his state administration investigate them. That was left to others. On Thursday, one of several inquiries finally came to an end when a court found 24 people guilty in one of the worst single 2002 incidents: the hacking to death and burning of 69 Muslims in Ahmedabad.… Hindus bent on revenge rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods, in some of India’s worst religious riots since independence. More than 100 people have already been convicted, including one of Modi’s former state ministers.…

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/02/narendra-modis-us-visa-secure-despite-gujarat-riots-guilty-verdicts

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U.S. senators attack India’s human rights record before Modi’s Capitol Hill address (Jun 1, 2016, Washington Post)

U.S. lawmakers have sharply criticized India’s human rights record ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to a joint meeting of Congress onJune 8. In a speech in New Delhi on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking minority-party member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on India to “do better” to address issues of violence against women, government corruption, extrajudicial killings, human trafficking and outdated anti-conversion laws that are still in use. “A country must respond to these challenges,” he said.

Cardin’s speech followed a contentious hearing last week on Capitol Hill, when Cardin, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) and other senators pressed a State Department official on India’s human rights issues, including human trafficking, its crackdown on nongovernmental organizations receiving foreign funding such as Greenpeace and the Ford Foundation, rising intolerance, and a recent decision to bar investigators from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from traveling to India.

Corker said in that hearing that the United States had not been “brutally honest” with India, while Kaine spoke of the several dozen artists and writers who had returned their national awards as a protest against intolerance after a Muslim man was beaten by a mob allegedly for eating beef.…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/06/01/u-s-senators-attack-indias-human-rights-record-before-modis-capitol-hill-address/

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Delhi’s Special Cell court discharges ‘Lashkar operative’ accused of facilitating infiltration, says no admissible evidence (Jun 7, 2016, Indian Express)

An alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative accused of facilitating infiltration of terrorists into India through the Indo-Nepal border has been discharged by a Special Cell court in Delhi, noting that there is no “admissible evidence” against him.

Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh granted relief to Uttar Pradesh resident Irfan Ahmed, who was alleged to be a close aide of LeT’s alleged bomb-maker Abdul Karim Tunda.… While the detailed judgment has not yet been released, advocate M S Khan, who represented Ahmed, said the court noted that the Special Cell of Delhi Police did not have any admissible evidence against the accused.…

“In the absence of any admissible evidence qua Irfan Ahmed, there is no material brought by the prosecution to substantiate the charge of criminal conspiracy on the basis of which any charge can be framed against him. For the reasons recorded above, the accused Irfan Ahmed is discharged,” the court said in the judgment issued on May 30.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/special-cell-court-in-delhi-discharges-lashkar-operative-accused-of-facilitating-infiltration-says-no-admissible-evidence-2838403/

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Inside a far-right Hindu ‘self defence’ training camp (Jun 2, 2016, BBC)

It is an extremely hot afternoon in Siddharth Nagar district where around 100 teenagers armed with wooden sticks and knives are practising how to “decimate any attacker” in a large, fortified school campus. Not very far from them, another group of around 50 youths are taking turns to squeeze past a ring of fire, some even getting bruised in the process.

Loud slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (Long live Mother India) reverberate as a dozen of them start performing dangerous tricks with fire. About 100 guests, including women, who are watching the show from a distance, clap aggressively after every stunt. Although the activities being conducted here are more in line with what you would find at an army training programme, organisers insist that this is a “self-defence” camp for youth.

They are conducted by the Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu organisation that traces its origins from the days of the infamous Babri Mosque demolition movement in the temple town of Ayodhya.… At least six week-long camps like this have been held in various cities across Uttar Pradesh in the past month. A team of trainers, who supervise these camps, say that this training is essential to ward off “the enemy”.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36415080

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Who is Ram Vriksha Yadav and what is his role in Mathura violence? (Jun 3, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A day after violent clashes broke out in Mathura, killing 24 people, police are on the look-out for Ram Vriksha Yadav, the alleged mastermind behind the conflict. Trouble started on Thursday when police tried to evict close to 3,000 people from Jawahar Bagh park, two years after they had occupied the park in a prolonged sit-in, led by Yadav.

Police claimed they were fired upon, unprovoked, by the squatters and said they later found a cache of arms and spent bullets from AK-47 rifles. According to sources, Yadav and the security officer of the group, Chandan Gaur, fled with thousands of supporters amid the chaos.

Belonging to Raipur Baghpur village in Ghazipur, Yadav was associated with the Doordarshi party floated by spiritual leader Baba Jai Gurudev in 1980 in Ahmedabad.… However, Baba Jai Gurudev severed ties with him a few years before his death in 2012. “Baba received complaints against him and six others sometime in the mid 1990’s. He was told not to put on sack clothes and all ties with him were severed.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ram-vriksha-yadav-the-man-behind-the-mathura-clashes/story-tqi8bWTGwwnFrtm021ND8J.html

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Goa blast, Dabholkar murder linked? CBI lens on Sanathan Sanstha man (Jun 1, 2016, Times of India)

In what could link the Goa blasts of 2009 and the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 in Pune, the CBI on Wednesday searched the residence of alleged Sanatan Sanstha member Sarang Akolkar, against whom a red corner notice was issued by Interpol in connection with the Goa blast case.

Officials said the two came under the scanner after the CBI found some “cyber forensic evidence” about their alleged role in Dabholkar’s murder. CBI sources said Akolkar’s residence in Pune and that of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendrasing Tawde in Panvel near Mumbai were searched.

Sources said during probe in the Dabholkar case, continuing for the last two years, the agency had found some emails which were being analysed. During forensic analysis of these emails, the CBI found material which indicated that these could be linked to the murder case.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52543735.cms

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Mathura lab report on Dadri meat may deepen communal fault-lines in poll-bound UP (Jun 2, 2016, Indian Express)

Mathura-based forensic laboratory’s report has disclosed that the meat collected from the crime scene in Dadri where 50-year-old Akhlaq was allegedly lynched after the rumour that his family was consuming cow meat, was actually meat of cow or its progeny. The fresh disclosure may not affect the case of murder, but it has certainly heated the politics in the state which will go to polls in less than nine months.

On Wednesday, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath demanded that the financial assistance given to Akhlaq’s family should be taken back and they should be booked under Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. He also demanded that the Hindu youths arrested in the case of Akhlaq’s murder should be released from the jail.

BJP which is hugely dependent on consolidation of Hindu votes to make an impact in the next year’s elections, especially in western UP, will definitely use the disclosure to their advantage, if not directly then through the hardliners like Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj and Sangeet Som.… The pro-Hindutva organisations could increase their anti-cow slaughter, anti-beef activities in the state.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mathura-lab-report-on-dadri-meat-may-deepen-communal-fault-lines-in-poll-bound-up-2828893/

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10 students injured at Jaipur protest against ‘saffronisation’ of education (Jun 6, 2016, The Tribune)

At least 10 students affiliated to NSUI injured when police resorted to lathicharge to disperse protesters outside Rajasthan University’s main campus in Jaipur on Monday. The NSUI activists were protesting against alleged saffronisation of education and change in question paper pattern in examination by the BJP government.

One of the seriously injured students Deepak Dhindoria was admitted to the trauma ward of SMS hospital, while others were discharged after first-aid. The police have arrested 13 students, including NSUI president Satveer Choudhary and a girl, under Section 151 of the IPC.

Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president Archana Sharma condemned the police “highhandedness” and alleged that the BJP government wanted to crush students’ silent protest. She accused the state government of saffronising higher education by deleting references pertaining to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and even Mahatma Gandhi from history books.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/10-students-injured-at-jaipur-protest-against-saffronisation-of-education/247614.html

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VHP volunteers asked to get ready for Ram Mandir (Jun 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Volunteers of rightwing groups are being asked to prepare themselves for the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya in the poll-bound state of Uttar Pradesh during a weapons training programme in Madhya Pradesh.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) made its intentions clear during the week-long training camp for its women activists saying they will have to “tackle any obstacle” during the construction of the temple in the communally sensitive state, where polls are slated for early 2017.

Durga Vahini volunteers, who are being trained on the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh’s capital city of Bhopal, learned to shoot guns and use cane sticks during the Shourya Prashikshan Shivir or Bravery Training Camp. VHP and aBajrang Dal activists also attended the camp.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/vhp-volunteers-asked-to-get-ready-for-ram-mandir/story-JRf7ivOxHYMdvvM2YddG3L.html

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Vadodara locality to the civic body: Don’t let Muslims here (Jun 2, 2016, Indian Express)

Residents of Kapurai – a neighbourhood in Vadodara where about 300 displaced families, mostly Muslims, are supposed to be relocated following the demolition of their homes in Suleiman Chawl – have written to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation protesting against the move. The letter states that allowing Muslims to move into the locality will “hamper the peace-loving nature here” as their “daily activity involves assaulting and abusing”.

Kapurai is located about a kilometre from Hanuman Tekri, where the Best Bakery outlet run by a Muslim family was set ablaze during the 2002 Gujarat riots, resulting in 14 deaths.

As many as 318 clustered homes in Suleiman Chawl were on Tuesday demolished as part of the VMC’s ‘Slum Free Vadodara’ drive. On Monday, the civic body had conducted a draw of lots to choose homes for 218 families, who would be relocated under the Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) housing scheme.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/vadodara-locality-to-civic-body-dont-let-muslims-here-kapurai-2829764/

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Opinions and Editorials

Justice denied in Gulbarg society massacre: Will Modi ever face tough questions? – By Apoorva Pathak (Jun 4, 2016, Dailyo.in)

On the fateful day of February 28, a 72-year-old Indian Muslim’s fingers and legs were first chopped off and then he was burnt to death by a bloodthirsty mob, comprising mostly members of the Sangh Parivar. He was not the lone victim in the massacre that took place at the Gulbarg society.

Sixty nine Muslims were murdered with such heart-rending brutality that words fail to grasp the cruel proportion of the events that shamed the whole Indian republic. This 72-year-old, Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, was no ordinary man. Jafri was among the political stalwarts of Gujarat, having been an MP and one of the grand old party’s top leaders.…

If Modi was not informed throughout the day such gruesome lawlessness prevailed, it raises serious doubts about his governance credentials; it reveals the worth of someone who shirks responsibility and refuses to lead from the front when the situation so requires. And if he was informed (as claimed by the victims of the massacre), then the questions about Modi’s commitment to our constitutional values and his duty become even more questionable. Either way, Modi’s role in the whole episode raises serious questions, which have again been renewed as the memory of the massacre has been revived in the light of the judgment.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gulbarg-society-massacre-2002-gujarat-riots-ehsan-jafri-zakia-jafri-indian-muslims/story/1/11013.html

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RSS Pracharak Sunil Joshi was “100%” Involved in Samjhauta Blasts: Former SIT Chief Rai – By Seema Mustafa (Jun 4, 2016, The Citizen)

“We had confirmed the involvement of the Sunil Joshi group in the Samjhauta explosion and the fact that no one from SIMI was involved,” was the categorical response of then Special Investigation Team chief, Vikash Narain Rai, an upright police officer who had been entrusted with the enquiry of the train explosion in 2007.

In an exclusive interview to The Citizen Rai – former Director General of Police (Law and Order), Haryana – spoke of the painstaking investigation, the non cooperation of agencies, and the fact that he and his team had zeroed in on Joshi and his group for planting the explosive that set the Samjhauta on fire. Joshi was a RSS pracharak and was killed in the winter of 2007 after the blasts by two men who are still absconding.

Rai who was contacted by News X for his views yesterday found that a 25 minute interview where he had stated the facts was not telecast by the channel that instead as clearly part of its official policy, targeted another police officer on the show to take forward the claim that Muslim and not Hindu groups were involved in this case. “It was totally insane, unbelievable,” he said.…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/7875/RSS-Pracharak-Sunil-Joshi-was-a-100-Involved-in-Samjhauta-Blasts-Former-SIT-Chief-Rai

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BJP all set to polarise UP with Dadri lynching over ‘beef’ ahead of polls – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Jun 7, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Beef is back in the political business in Uttar Pradesh and returns to the national stage as well. The police report that the sample of meat collected from Bisada village in Dadri on the day Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched belonged to “cow or its progeny” provided an opportunity to the Sangh Parivar to justify the horrific incident in September 2015. And they have seized it!

Union minister Sanjiv Balyan came up with an ingenuous argument last week while speaking at the Jan Darbar held in his home in a Muzaffarnagar village. He told the people who had gathered for the address that he holds, without fail, every week, that Mohammed Akhlaq “couldn’t have eaten the full cow all alone. The meat would have gone to 20 families there. It’s time to track them down and ensure justice is done to the other side.”

Forty eight hours after Balyan’s provocative utterance, a meeting of the panchayat of Bisada village was convened. The ultimatum served by leaders of the village, ably fronted by the local BJP leader, Sanjay Rana, that they will wait for just 20 days for the district administration to meet their demands.…The BJP knows that if it has to win UP, the cow must be milked. Since winning UP will be vital to Modi’s strategy in 2019, we can expect the rumblings to continue. The spotlight, like 2014, shall remain on western UP.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/sanjiv-balyan-up-polls-2017-dadri-lynching-akhlaq-beef-muzaffarnagar-riots/story/1/11061.html

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Why the BJP rewrites history – By Christophe Jaffrelot (Jun 7, 2016, Indian Express)

The rewriting of history textbooks is an old priority of the Hindu nationalist movement. In the 1970s, former Jana Sangh members in the Janata Party and the Morarji Desai government had asked for changes in text books.

In May 1977, Desai was presented a memorandum that sought the withdrawal of four history books – of which three were intended for use in teaching – from public circulation.… The memorandum criticised these works above all for not condemning forcefully enough certain Muslim rulers – including Aurangzeb – and emphasising that freedom struggle leaders such as Bala Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo were partly responsible for the antagonism between Hindus and Muslims.

However, the BJP succeeded in changing parts of textbooks in the state they formed a government in the 1990s. After BJP leader Keshubhai Patel took over as chief minister in 1995, the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks published a Class IX social studies textbook in which Muslims, Christians and Parsis were presented as “foreigners”.… What is at stake in history is an idea of the nation and a definition of citizenship.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/why-the-bjp-rewrites-history-textbooks-jawaharlal-nehru-aurangzeb-bala-gangadhar-tilak-aurobindo-2838231/

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Two Years of an Ambedkar Bhakt and the Plight of Dalits – By Anand Tultumbde (Jun 4, 2016, EPW)

Narendra Modi, the self-proclaimed Ambedkar bhakt, has completed two years of his boastful rule. Babasaheb Ambedkar, an iconoclast par excellence, was loath to having bhakts but with characteristic pragmatism, he might just have relented when a Prime Minister announced himself as his bhakt. Ambedkar had made a modest demand for Dalit representation in the state structure. He had hoped that such representatives would safeguard Dalit interests from the majority of the caste Hindus.…

The basic principle of “equality before law” in the Constitution, the single biggest constitutional solace for the poor and marginalised, has been almost dismantled as evidenced by the “clean chit” to the Hindutva criminals in Malegaon blast case.

Ban on beef eating, ghar wapsi, saffronisation of education, jingoist promotion of nationalism/patriotism and irrationality are directly detrimental to the Dalit interests. All these are effective reversals of all gains made by Dalits during the last century.… In these two years Modi has deprived Dalits and tribals of ‘13,370,127 crore and ‘5,689,940 crore from their legitimate share.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/23/margin-speak/two-years-ambedkar-bhakt-and-plight-dalits.html

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A Triumph Only On Television – By Badri Raina (Jun 2, 2016, Outlook)

The trick of the times, clearly, is to bloat the least of the BJP’s successes into an India-shaking phenomenon. Thus, does it matter that in Assam the Congress had been in government for 15 years and was by any reckoning due for rejection; never mind the fact that had that party borrowed an iota of the BJP’s cunning and struck what might have seemed alliances-waiting-to-be-made, it could well have got a fourth term in office?

Or does it matter that even now the Congress has a higher vote-share in Assam than the gloating BJP? Or that the BJP’s “triumph” owes less to itself and more to some borrowed help from other parties, chiefly the Congress itself?…

In the days to come, responsible citizens who worry about the state of the republic and the secular-democratic Constitution in selfless and non-partisan ways must ascribe to themselves the patriotic task of sifting truth from hype and the substantial from the ephemeral. As to the fortunes of particular political formations, history teaches us to read the democratic process in more sophisticated ways than Mr Amit Shah might want us to.

http://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/a-triumph-only-on-television/296939

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Book Review

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: M.R. Narayan Swamy
Available at: Self published, Pages: 204; Price: Rs 295. https://www.amazon.com
Review:
An explosion far bigger than Gujarat riots (Jun 4, 2016, Business Standard)

This is an explosive expose of the 2002 Gujarat riots, which rightly or wrongly made Narendra Modi a household name in India. The author is a young though proven and fearless journalist who posed as a filmmaker from the US to go undercover and interview the state’s top bureaucrats and police officials, both serving and retired, to prove for the first time on tape what was otherwise widely known: that the 2002 bloodbath was an orchestrated disaster.… Her only other companions were her hidden cameras – and a put on accent. Not realizing they were talking to a Tehelka journalist, everyone opened up – and the result is this gripping “Gujarat Files”.

G.L. Singhal, who headed the Gujarat ATS, told Rana Ayyub/Maithili Tyagi that all ministers in Gujarat were “rubber stamps” and all key decisions were taken by Chief Minister Modi “but he does not come in the picture directly. He gives orders to bureaucrats”. According to Singhal, “riots huey, Muslims ko maara, benefit liya.” (Riots took place, Muslims were killed, people benefitted.) Rajan Priyadarshi, another ex-ATS chief… who claimed the Gujarat government was “communal and corrupt” – said he was once asked to kill a man in custody but he refused. According to him, Ishrat Jehan was kept in illegal custody before she was killed in cold blood in June 2004 after being dubbed a terrorist out to kill Modi. And a minister frankly confessed to Priyadarshi that she was no terrorist.

Then Home Secretary Ashok Narayan recalled that several Gujarat ministers “were standing on the roads and inciting the crowds” during the 2002 riots and that top politicians got things done through “agents and agents and agents”. G.C. Raigar, who headed the Police Intelligence in 2002 and was later the Director General, accused Modi of reaping political benefit from the riots and “he is what he is today because of the riots”.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/an-explosion-far-bigger-than-gujarat-riots-book-review-116060400282_1.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 30th, 2016

June 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Sting claims political pressure in Gujarat riots Modi “decided” to bring dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad, triggering 2002 riots: Gujarat bureaucrat Scribe’s Book ‘Validates Cbi’s Evidence’ In Guj Fake Encounters AAP minister alleges RSS members threatened street artists in Delhi Tripura textbook omits Indian history of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 9th, 2016

May 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines USCIRF till 2013 held ‘considerable cloud on Modi’ of Gujarat riots Mr. Modi, your hands are stained with blood: M A Baby Jawaharlal Nehru Removed From Class VIII Textbook In Rajasthan: Report Gujarat has over a third of India’s Muslim detainees Ishrat Jahan encounter: Gujarat HC wants […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 4th, 2016

April 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi News Headlines Human Rights Watch asks European Union to tell Modi to “stop harassing” civil society, minorities, Dalits Pathankot attack ‘stage-managed’ by India, claim Pak media reports; Opposition slams Modi SIO: Cops tried to slap false charges Murder case: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

April 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Gurbani Samagam depicts communal harmony News Headlines Modi under fire as middle-class India still awaits ‘Achhe din’ Kanhaiya compares ‘onslaught on universities’ to Gujarat riots Was Delhi dentist Dr Narang lynched to death by Muslims? Or is RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal giving it a communal spin? Madrassa […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 28th, 2015

January 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup  Communal Harmony They pray for peace and communal harmony News Headlines Congress didn’t let Sonia meet Zakia Jafri after riots: 2002 ‘whistleblower’ BJP MLA & MP involved in spreading communal tensions in Shamli; were present on dais when Prophet Muhammad was ridiculed BJP leader’s son Vishal Rana and cousin […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 21st, 2015

December 26, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim man in Madhya Pradesh left his marriage midway to perform final rituals of a Hindu girl Seminar on communal harmony held in the capital News Headlines Army intelligence had filmed razing of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya: Sharad Pawar Gujarat government yet to furnish details of beneficiaries […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 21st, 2015

September 23, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Indian widow fights Modi in ‘final’ court battle over deadly riots Sanatan Sanstha under scanner: Hindu outfit man held for killing of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare Sunil Joshi murder: charges framed against Sadhvi Pragya, 7 others Jhabua blast accused Rajendra Kasawa arrested: Report Hindu Yuva Vahini […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 14th, 2015

September 16, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat riots case: Sanjiv Bhatt moves SC, seeks to make Amit Shah a party to his petition Justice Continues to Elude Victims of Kandhamal Violence SC issues notice to centre for allegedly asking Salian to go soft against accused Bail pleas of Purohit, Dwivedi opposed Petlawad explosives […]

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